Come Back

Come Back

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 3:2

“Come back! Come inside! Enjoy the wonders of My realm.”

“Repent” has been thrown around a lot, and usually in a way that feels more condemning than hopeful. If, upon hearing the call to repent, we were to ask why, we might get a response about avoiding sin and hell. While that response is certainly arguable from Scripture, it isn’t the rationale Jesus gave His listeners. No, after telling them to repent, He followed up with a reason: because the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.

That’s a fuller, much more positive purpose than we might have heard before. Repentance—in Hebrew thought, to change one’s direction; in Greek thought, to change one’s thinking—is not primarily about avoiding something; it’s about entering something. It’s a plea to those who are walking away from God’s beautiful realm to turn around and walk into it. It’s not an oppressive command; it’s a welcoming invitation. It is God’s way of saying to those who are about to miss Him, “Come back! Come inside! Enjoy the wonders of My realm.”

If that’s what biblical repentance is all about, who would pass it up? Who forgoes the adventure of a lifetime? Who gives up a front-row seat to history’s most thrilling events? Who wouldn’t want to enter into the throne room of ultimate power and sit at His feet? Who doesn’t want a new start, new eyes, new wisdom? Why would anyone disregard access to the supernatural Kingdom? Only those who don’t recognize what’s at stake. Only those who think their way is the right one and no turning around is needed.

History is full of such tragic mistakes, but we have a daily opportunity to align ourselves with truth, beauty, love, and goodness. We are zealous about repenting— changing thoughts, feelings, words, and actions—in order to see more, do more, and live more fully. The word “repent” may be laden with extra baggage, but the decision is remarkably free of it. Stepping further into the Kingdom experience is always a good thing.

Names of God

Names of God

Names of God – a Devotional Study

What if Jesus had never told us anything about Himself?

We’d be left to guess who He is and what He is like. The possibilities would be endless. And no matter what theories we came up with about Him, we’d have no guarantee that we were ever close to being right about the true nature of God.

But thankfully, that’s not how God wants things to be. The God of the universe has chosen to tell us who He is, to reveal his heart to us.

In Names of God, a FREE devotional study from Walk Thru the Bible, we explore the titles God has given Himself throughout Scripture—and what they tell us about His character.

Names of God

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God of the Angel Armies

God of the Angel Armies

Our God is not only a warrior, but he commands an army—of angels. He is the God of the Angel Armies.

READ

God is Jehovah Sabaoth—the Lord of Hosts or the God of the Angel Armies. In the Bible, God’s title as commander of the armies of angels appears as Lord Almighty or Lord of Hosts.

When David fought Goliath he told him: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45).

When Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a foreign king’s army, the servant was afraid. “‘Don’t be afraid,’ [Elisha] answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

THINK

Do you ever feel outnumbered? Don’t forget who is on your side! God heads up armies of angels who fight for us. The physical world is what we see and experience every day so it’s easy to forget that a far greater spiritual battle is being fought too. But when evil seems to be prevailing, ask God to open your eyes. There are more on our side than on theirs. Scripture says there are millions of angels (see Revelation 5:11).

LIVE

The interaction of the physical and spiritual realms is a mystery to us. But it’s clear that God used both the armies of angels and the people of Israel, including Elisha, Elisha’s servant, and the Israelite army to defeat His enemies. Your responsibility is to keep doing the next right thing in every situation, to keep following Him, and to keep fighting for His kingdom with every decision you make.

And when you need help, call on the God of the Angel Armies. Then stand firm and with confidence. He and His forces are with you.

NEXT LEVEL

Read 2 Kings 19:35 to see what just one angel was able to do in one night.

For more devotionals about who God has revealed Himself to be throughout Scripture, sign up for your FREE copy of Names of God today!

30 Days Walking with Jesus Reading Plan

30 Days Walking with Jesus Reading Plan

30 Days Walking with Jesus Reading Plan

This Scripture reading plan is a 30-day walk with Jesus, His life, His miracles, and more.

30 Days Walking with Jesus Reading Plan

This Scripture reading plan is a 30-day walk with Jesus, His life, His miracles, and more.

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God Unveiled

God Unveiled

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT GOD IS LIKE, LOOK AT JESUS.

It had been a long, long time to be misunderstood. God yearned for His people to know Him, but early on they had chosen to walk away. They broke their connection with Him which left them fatally sick and spiritually blind. 

In rare honest moments, when something in them cried out for home, their hearts must have asked: Who are You, God? But they had lost their ability to see.

God wouldn’t give up. He began the long process of reintroducing Himself. Through Passover He painted a picture of His heart—“I am the God who rescues.” The powerful display at Mount Sinai declared: “I am the God of love and justice.” The Tabernacle pointed to His desire for intimacy, proclaiming: “I am the God of closeness.” 

God was showing the people who He was, but blind hearts can’t see even clearly-presented truth. God must have heard people talking about Him over the years—dialogs at synagogues and around dinner tables. How often He must have wanted to bust through to correct misunderstandings. To show Himself for who He really is. Who are You, God?

It had been a long, long time to be misunderstood. God yearned for His people to know Him, but early on they had chosen to walk away. They broke their connection with Him which left them fatally sick and spiritually blind. 

And then, when the time had fully comethe God who wants closeness came closer. God stepped off His throne in Heaven and stepped into a single cell in the womb of a woman. For nine months, Jesus grew. Then He was born. Thirty years passed while He walked among the people, experiencing life with them, hearing their misconceptions about Him with His own human ears, but not letting anyone know who He was. Patient, patient, patient.

And then, at age 30, the Head of the Angel Armies, the Possessor of All Authority, the King of Heaven and Earth, made His presence known. The invisible God had stepped into the visible—into something His blind people would be able to see. 

In Jesus, God’s heart was on full display. He was endlessly compassionate—the purest, most perfect Being turned no one away. The hemorrhaging woman reached out to touch Him. The blind man called out to Him for healing. The 10 lepers, considered untouchable, ran up to Him. Children crawled in His lap. The cast-aside, the overlooked, the contagiously sick, the overwhelmingly sinful, the arrogantly righteous, the hopelessly broken—they all came to Him. And Jesus, God Himself, lovingly welcomed them all.

People made fun of Him. People didn’t understand Him. People hated Him. People stood in awe of Him. But not one single person was afraid to come to Him, the One to whom angels bow. Not a single person. The misguided woman at the well accepted His living water. The righteous Nicodemus sought Jesus out despite the social ridicule he faced. The “greatest” of sinners—prostitutes, thieves, criminals given the death sentence—came to Jesus freely. God is welcoming, inviting, loving . . . good.

And then, the invisible God stepped into the visible—into something His blind people would be able to see—in the Person of Jesus, who was born into this world, walked among us without sin, and died for us.

For centuries, the hearts of humanity had wondered, Who are You, God? 

And in Jesus, God answered. “Here I am.” The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus unveils the reality of the universe: The one, true God is relentlessly, infinitely, lavishly good. He doesn’t want us to know about Him, He wants us to know Him. And He will stop at nothing to make that happen. Right now, from the throne of Heaven, God pours out a love and a desire for closeness so intense it’s humbling. 

If you encountered Jesus when He walked on the earth—if you pushed past the crowd, making eye contact with Him—you would’ve found this: an inviting smile and His welcoming, overwhelming love. And that same heart sits on Heaven’s throne today. 

If your heart ever echoes Who are You, God? look to Jesus for the answer: “Here I am.”

And then come to Him. He has been waiting for you. 

***
©2023, Walk Thru the Bible

Where is your heart?

Where is your heart?

GOD WANTS A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU.

Here is one of the most mind-boggling truths of the universe: God—the God of everything—wants a relationship with you.

That’s an amazing truth—and a hard one to wrap our minds around.

We know what relationships are like. A relationship is about spending time together. It’s about conversations and experiences, sharing hearts and opinions, messing up and apologizing, loving and extending grace, and finding love and acceptance. It’s messy and organic, emotional and beautiful. It takes time, and it deepens over time.

The God of the universe—who knows everything, created everything, and is in charge of absolutely everything—wants that with you.

Amazing.

The God of everything wants a relationship with you. That’s an amazing truth, and a hard one to wrap our minds around.

But there’s a subtle shift in thinking where the focus of our relationship with God goes from heart-connecting with Him to just “being good” for Him. That shift is easy to make because it just feels right. Surely God must want something from us. Plus, following rules is easier than having a relationship with God. We’ve been following rules since we were toddlers, but there’s a lot of effort involved in a time-together, talking-over-stuff-together, walking-through-life-together relationship.

This very subtle shift in thinking—between “being good” for God and having a heart connection with Him—is a crucial one. “Being good” for God is actually a deadly lie, because we can start acting as if God is a standard to maintain, not a Person to relate to. And even if we still think of Him as a Person, we may start interacting with Him as our strict Parent instead of our loving Father. We might call Him “Father,” but we’d never call Him “Abba.” While we may obey Him, our hearts are far from Him.

But God isn’t after your obedience. He’s after your heart.

God isn’t after your obedience. He’s after your heart.

King Solomon chose to put other loves before his love for God. King Saul seem to have never loved God at all. But King David got it. He was God’s friend. He talked with God, spent time with Him, shared his heart with Him—because he loved Him. He followed God’s instructions, not to earn God’s love, but because he loved who God is. David knew that God was guiding him to the best way to live. David didn’t follow God perfectly. But when he sinned, he came back to God—the Friend he had hurt, not the rule he had broken—and he confessed his sins to Him. God forgave him, and they walked on together. Even in his imperfect life, David sought God with all of his heart.

What about you? Where is your heart? It will only be fulfilled if it loves God first. As you walk through life with Him as your closest Friend, you’ll find your life is richer than you ever imagined. He will become your greatest Treasure, what you’ve been looking for all along. And you’ll have the kind of relationship He wanted all along too.

Where is your heart? It will only be fulfilled if it loves God first. As you walk through life with Him as your closest Friend, you’ll find your life is richer than you ever imagined. He will become your greatest Treasure, what you’ve been looking for all along.