{RE:} "Return from your evil deeds"

Tuesday: "Return from your evil deeds"

Read: Zechariah 1: 3-6 (NRSV)

Therefore say to them,
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to me, and I will return to you."
Do  not be like your ancestors, to whom the the former prophets proclaimed, "Thus says the Lord, return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds." But they did not hear or heed me.

Your ancestors, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?
But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your ancestors? So they repented and said, 'The Lord has dealt with us according to our ways and deeds, just as he planned to."

The word "return" means to "come or go back to a place or person." Over and over in the Old Testament we see God using the prophets to call his people to return to him.
In this passage, Zechariah lays out this hard truth: if we want to return (go back) to God, we must also turn away from something else (evil deeds).

  • What do you sense God is calling you to leave behind in this season? 

  • What "ways and deeds" do you think God is asking you to return from?

God doesn't just tell the people they need to change, he makes a promise - if you return to him, he will return to you. I once read that our relationship with God often looks a lot like the image of Adam & God in the Sistine Chapel. (You can google it if you need!) In the famous painting, God is charging toward Adam with his arm fully extended and finger outstretched. Yet Adam is seen laying back, casually lifting a bent arm in God's direction. The writer concludes, "God is closer than you think. Sometimes all we need to do is lift a finger."

  • Take a moment to consider the way that God is pursuing you with all the energy of heaven. Not because he wants to scold you, but because our God desires a relationship with the people he created.

  • As you return to God, you can trust his word and know that he is already turned toward you! Make it a point as you go about your day to remind yourself that "God is closer than you think." As you return to him in this Lenten season, notice the way you increasingly sense God's presence. 


Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess.

O Lord, I am self-centered, concerned about myself, my career, my future, my name and fame.
Often I even feel that I use you to my own advantage.

Yes, Lord, I know it is true... I see clearly how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it.

O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.
Henri Nouwen, A Cry for Mercy


Nikki Wood - March 8th, 2022 at 4:12am

That last line of the prayer! Yes! 🙏🏻♥️

Peg Ash - March 8th, 2022 at 4:34am

I was actually thinking the same thing Nikki. I went back already after I read this and read Yesterdays over again and then came back and read today’s again. I know I have to though let down anger which seems to be consuming me at this time. ❤️🙏

Peg Ash - March 8th, 2022 at 4:36am

I just want to say thank you so much for posting this every morning. It’s a great way to start a day and think of what you can do to be closer to your father. Thank you

Nick Tebordo - March 8th, 2022 at 5:11am

At Church right now, thinking of God pursuing me, “I once was lost but now I’m found”. In Your arms Lord, there is refreshment and renewal. I love You Lord!

Susan Bla - March 8th, 2022 at 5:21am

Last night at the zoom meeting I commented that I loved my work life so much that now that I I am retired I feel like I have been banished to Siberia. I confess that I have not considered that God wants me to return to him, but not in the same way. Instead of complaining and dwelling on what I considered my loss, now I think that I have to consider what does God want me to do with this extra time that will be pleasing to him. Certainly God knows my limitations at this point in my life, but I think he wants me to learn how to serve him and please him differently. Thank you all Zoomers for trying to help me through this changing time in my life. I don’t think I have ever left the Lord, but I have spent two or three years carping and complaining about some thing that is so natural in The course of my life. Sometimes it takes an old dog more time to adjust to a new trick! Thank you all!

Melody - March 8th, 2022 at 5:37am


Linda Comstock - March 8th, 2022 at 7:50am

Instead of giving up something for Lent, I'm going to do something that I absolutely hate doing. Exercise! This will be harder for me to do daily than giving up something. We are to take care of our bodies as the temple where the Holy Spirit lives. I need accountability because in this area I'm a big time slacker. If I did this daily, my fibro just might be less painful. Here I go Lord...May I not disappoint you. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Melody - March 8th, 2022 at 5:42am

Dying to self is not natural, so it's really difficult. I've become a little lazy in my everyday life, so for Lent I've given up Amazon. We (AJ & I) talked about this choice & realize that whatever we think we might "need," I generally just order it. This is a terrible habit, the opposite of dying to self.

I'm praying to more fully see God, to patiently wait for his intention in my life instead of running with my impulsivity.

AJ - March 8th, 2022 at 6:01am

"Draw me close to you. Never let me go. I lay it all down AGAIN. to hear you that I'm friend. You are my desire. No one else will do. Cause nothing else can take your place. To feel the warmth of your embrace. Help me find a way. BRING ME BACK TO YOU.

I love that song. I am praying that during this season I will continue to long for God and keep returning to my first love.

I'm not sure I am explaining this correctly but I am not looking for a "Mount Top Experience". My life has been filled with too many highs and lows when it comes to my life with God. I don't want that anymore. I want to have, know, feel, experience God evenly in my life. I want to be close to God inspite of the highs and lows. I am working at getting to a place where God just IS in my life. Regardless of where my life is.

Kaitlyn - March 8th, 2022 at 9:19am

AJ - yes! I echo that desire for the constant, steady presence. I love the mountain tops, for sure. But I long for something sustained too!




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