Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 13 – Return To The LORD Your God

“The LORD utters His voice before His army, for His camp is exceedingly great; He who executes His word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it?  ‘Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster.”  Joel 2:11-13

Devotional Thought For The Day

I heard a snippet from last night’s presidential address, intimating that the cause of all of the increased intensity of bad weather was our failure to enact greater “ecological” efforts.  This was utterly stunning.  Now, it is true that we are to be good stewards of the earth, and that we have not always been careful in utilizing natural resources, or taking care of our waste wisely.  However, God’s Word clearly and powerfully asserts the cause of nasty natural disasters as being God’s powerful judgment upon mankind’s moral filth and perversion, the refusal to truly repent and humble ourselves before God, and our rejection of His love in Christ Jesus [and the transformation His love effects on those who see and know His love by faith].  This is not always specific judgment on individuals, but general judgments against societies and nations that plunge themselves into the darkness of evil and destruction, rebelling against God’s good and gracious will.  Our nation has a number of these evils that we have eagerly embraced:  abortion, sexual licentiousness, divorce, homosexuality, selfishness and greed, rejection of God [atheism and evolution] in our schools, despising of God’s Word [Holy Scripture, the Bible], and disregard for the church [worship attendance, membership].

God does not want to see human beings suffer.  He does not want human beings to plunge themselves into a squalid existence.  He does not want to impose harsh judgments.  Rather, He desires that the “wicked turn from his way and live.” [Ezek. 33:11]  God is eager to “relent” of the disastrous judgments He is obligated [by love] to impose upon the wicked.  “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [1 Tim. 2:4]  God is love.  His very heart is described in these verses:  “He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”  But He is also Lord of the universe, executing His powerful Word – and upon those who harden themselves against the way of love, goodness, decency, and right, He will impose powerful judgments.  We have not even begun to see what He is capable of imposing upon our nation and the rest of the decadent, privileged nations of our time.  And yet our “leaders” want us to focus on some smaller issue – like manufacturing too many automobiles and utilizing too much gas and coal?  Really?  The future cannot be pleasant for any nation or people that is this myopic and blinded, that is so thoroughly bamboozled and enmeshed in wickedness.  Lord, have mercy!

Today is Ash Wednesday – probably no mention of that in the President’s speech, or the political response.  I doubt there will be many in Washington wearing ashes today.  Apparently repentance is out of style – across the nation.  No need for this to deter us – and our repentance must not be merely external, for superficiality and hypocrisy is detestable to God.  Rather, He is concerned about our hearts and minds, our soul and our being:  “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”  And we all have much sin and guilt for which such fasting and weeping and mourning is appropriate.  But God’s Word is full of promise for those repenting: “He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”  “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]  “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” [1 John 1:7]

We cannot change the minds and hearts of those in Washington, at least not directly.  Unfortunately, God will have to do that.  We can change our own hearts and minds, and perhaps influence some of the people around us.  The greatest impact we can have on the good of the nation is to at least be among those who are rending our hearts in genuine repentance, among those rejoicing to know the goodness and love of God in Christ Jesus, among those living lives of goodness, decency, and love.  Who knows, perhaps the Lord will relent of the punishment our nation has so richly earned and deserved – before it is too late and the nation is lost.  So let us repent, today and every day, and pray for God’s gracious mercy upon the nation – not so that we can continue to sin with impunity, but rather that by His mercy the many might turn back to God in repentance and receive His healing.  Lord, have mercy!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, we know that You do not desire the death of the wicked, for You suffered and died on the cross in our place, that we might receive and embrace life.  Oh Lord, grant repentance – to us and to all our fellow citizens, to all people everywhere, that we might be spared Your powerful hand of judgment.  But if Your judgment must come, cover and protect Your people with Your powerful hand of love.  Amen.