Return To God

Friday, September 16, 2022
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Listen while you read: "Love Divine All Loves Excelling"1 (Lyrics)

Isaiah 44:22 – I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. (NIV)

When I was a teenager and had strayed away from God, I found it very difficult to go back to church. I felt as though I had let God down, and the church members I once knew had become strangers to me. It was far easier to ignore God, as well as church, and just get on with my life. I thought that I could make it on my own and that God would understand, because every now and then, I offered Him quick snippets of prayers, which I believed made God happy.

However, because I was depending on my own strength, my spirit began to drain until it was almost empty. At the time, I didn't realize that for my faith to grow, I needed fellowship with other Christians. In order to compensate for this emptiness, I used alcohol and my drinking buddies. It almost killed me, and if Christ hadn't led me back to church, I don't think that I would be here today writing this message.

What really helped me was listening to a preacher who didn't condemn me for wandering away, but who actually welcomed me back into God's kingdom. Today's redeeming words from Isaiah touched my soul, and I knew that God had forgiven all of my past offenses through His Son Jesus. It was an amazing moment of grace and peace. I was able to return to God and His people by Christ's wonderful redeeming love.

Perhaps over the last couple of years, you've let yourself become disconnected from God and the church. Maybe like I once did, you've used up all of your strength and just want to get back home among God's people, but don't know how. It could be that you feel awkward, guilty, embarrassed, or unworthy to return to church. I understand, because I felt that way, too. But please know this: God will always welcome you back into Christ's fold; you are forgiven and redeemed, blessed and loved by Jesus.

Questions: How do I feel about returning to church? Am I willing to let God lead me back to where I belong?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for redeeming our lives and reclaiming our spirits. We have been wandering in a spiritual wilderness for several years. Call us back to Your fold and embrace us with Your unending love. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, John.

    This is beautiful! Thank you for your message.

    Thank you for this encouraging testimony, John.

    Great post and reminder, John! Thanks and blessings!

    Thanks for sharing this John, may you continue to be blessed.

    Great message!

    Thank you, John, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, John. And praise God for bringing you back into fellowship with believers and allowing the gift of your testimony and writing to be shared with us.

    Always, always enjoy your messages. I think because you have lived the life you have, you have such compassion for each person you meet. This allows you to touch each of us where we live. Thank you.

    Oh how powerful John! Nevertheless we all experience slippage throughout our spiritual maturational journey since live with one foot as human on earth all the while attempting to honour our Creator! Blessings.

    Thank you for sharing with us that we can come back to church after an absence for any reason. So happy for you that you returned. i pray this devotional calls many to return. Thanks.

    Thank you for this Daily Devotional, starkly honest, but uplifting. God Bless you and your ministry and may His Holy Spirit enable you to reach those who have “fallen by the wayside” with the life-changing Good News!

    I so relate to your devotional this morning. I haven’t been to church for over two years, ever since the Covid pandemic and then the discovery of hidden graves of Indigenous children further added to my dislike. I am thankful that hidden atrocities are coming to light.

    Good morning, John. I am one of those who have strayed from going to church in the last few years. I have a small community of Christians I share with that God has put into my life. I am very grateful for this. Thank you for sharing your experience and I will think and pray upon how your devotional impacts me. Blessings.

    Greetings John and many thanks for your devotional today, sharing your story of how our Lord worked in changing your life. Yes, we need be so thankful that no matter what wrong road we choose to go on, our loving Jesus is ready to receive us back and totally forgive our wrong choices. Life is so much better for us when His hand is upon us. Blessings for following the Lord’s guidance and writing such special devotionals.

    Hi there! I wanted to say thank you very much for these encouraging words, they definitely spoke to me. I was in the same boat as you. I used OTC meds to cope with my life and it nearly destroyed mine as well; He saved me again when I was on the verge of suicide. I’m battling the want to use in order to cope with more chronic pain. Your message hit me at the right moment, and I thank you for sharing at the exact moment I needed. God bless you and thank you! Blessings.

    Hello John: I just want to let you know how timely your devotional “Return to God” is to be today. Not so much for me but for a granddaughter who I sincerely feel has been claimed by the devil. She is an adult woman now and strayed very far from any church or Sunday School learning she received many years ago. When I politely asked her when she is talking with me to stop cursing and taking God’s name in vain, she blasted me and broke my heart. I have supported her through many ups and downs in her life, and I have done nothing but love her and helped her as much as I possibly can. I have pondered, prayed, and wondered about what to do. I know many of the hard knocks she has had throughout her life, but Grandma cannot fix things anymore. The evil one has a grip on her. Through many sleepless nights, I have finally come to the conclusion that I must “let go and let God”. He can do a much better job than I can. Thank you for sharing.

    Faith, Trust, Hope, Joy in the Lord.

    Thanks, Kathleen. This paragraph speaks to me:
    Even when I want to walk with God, I often start living by my own rules and my own desires. I think, This tactic may work for peace, or This next idea will give me purpose. When I recklessly disregard His commands, God rebukes me: “Your way is not My way.” He teaches me to seek Him while I’m in painful circumstances. He calls me to yield my stubborn will to His plan, for I cannot see the end results as He does. His original design will always be better than my cheap imitation, for with Him is love, acceptance, and grace. I achieve none of these through my meagre efforts.

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