Come Home Again

Luke 15:7 – “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Have you ever felt so dirty and nasty that you can’t do anything? Like after you’ve just worked out and you know you smell bad, you don’t want to get too close to anyone. Do you ever feel that way in your life? Like you’re too dirty, too stained, too broken to ever be close to God…to ever be used by God…to ever be clean and good and whole.

No one is too dirty to come to God.

It reminds me of an illustration I read one time. A father came home from work and saw his little daughter who had been playing in the mud outside. He said to her, “Honey, you’re pretty dirty.” And in her childish way she replied, “Yes, I know daddy, but I’m prettier clean.”

It doesn’t matter how dirty our kids get, we will still love them and draw them near. BUT we also love them enough to be willing to hose them down, even though the dirt doesn’t diminish our love for them. When we think of God as our Father, we realize the love He has for His children is similar. God loves us as we are but loves us too much to leave us as we are.

Jesus taught this beautifully in the parable of the prodigal son. If anyone felt worthless and dirty and too far gone, it was the prodigal son. He spent all his inheritance only to end up eating food reserved for pigs. If that’s not hitting rock bottom, I don’t know what is. But when the son decided to come home again, before he was all cleaned up, his father came running towards him to embrace him and welcome him back. Then the father held a big feast in celebration of his son’s return.

No one is too far gone to come back home.

The parable of the prodigal son stands as a beacon of hope to the broken, hurting, bruised, and fallen men and women who look in the mirror and think, “There is no hope for me.” There IS hope for you. It is in God’s grace. And it is free.

God has been calling out for wanderers to come back to Him since the beginning. When Adam and Eve hid from Him because of their sin, even though He knew where they were, He called out to them by name. He called them to Himself. He knows that in Him is where real life is to be found. He met them in their brokenness, making fig leaves to cover their shame. They brought sin into the world, and still, they weren’t too far gone. Neither are you. You can always come home again.

Channing Gillespie makes known these grace-filled truths in his song “Come Home Again,” reminding you and me that “There’s abundant forgiveness, and the promise of hope. Grace will come meet you at the end of the road. I know you’re tired of feeling that you’re all alone. The voice of the Father is calling you home.”

You can stop running. Come home again. The Father is waiting for you with open arms.

Channing and Jacob will be partnering again for the second annual NIGHT OF HOPE on September 25. Tickets have been graciously paid for by the community for the first 100 to register. We would love for you to be a part of this inspirational night of lecture, testimony, and songs of hope.

View all five devotionals here.

Weep No More

Revelation 21:4 – “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

When you were a kid and skinned your knee, it wasn’t the Band-Aid that made you feel better. It wasn’t the cleaning of the wound or the ice pack either. It was the presence of the one who loved you, hugged you, and kissed you that comforted you. Only they could wipe the tears from your eyes. Their presence is what brought comfort and ended the pain.

God says in Revelation 21:3, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” The word used here for “dwelling place” is literally the word tabernacle. Think of the rich Old Testament meaning behind this eternal reality.

The tabernacle is where God dwelled. Because of that, even when it was just a tent, it was holy. But it was too holy for sinful man to enter and live. The dwelling place of God was amidst His people, but it was not with His people. Sin has always separated God’s people from God’s presence. Ever since Adam and Eve gave into the lies of Satan and hid from God’s presence, sin has separated each one of us from His presence as well.

Sin hurts. It causes untold pain. And it is because of sin that death exists (Rom. 6:23). More tears have been spilled over death than any other consequence of sin. The wages of sin is death, but Jesus defeated sin and rose from the dead. And God is making all things new. The worst consequence of sin will soon be gone, too. No, that consequence is not death, or mourning, or crying—those are just the byproducts of the worst consequence. The worst consequence of sin is not being able to dwell with God. Yet for those who have repented and trusted in Jesus’ atonement for their sin, our hope is that “the dwelling place of God will be with man” when He makes all things new again.

In the chorus of the song, “Weep No More,” Channing Gillespie sings these words as if God is signing them over us, “Weep no more, I will be your dwelling place.” This world and our lives are ravaged by sin. Its painful consequences hurt us every day. But the One who loves us will dwell with us now…and forever. Now, He “is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18). So even amid your present hardships, you can lift up your head and weep no more.

The bridge of this song couldn’t be more powerful as Channing calls us to lift our eyes and remember the promises God will fulfill one day: “I will wipe away every single tear; There’ll be no more death or sorrow there; No this suffering will not compare; To the glory that’s in store…And I’ll pull you close into my embrace; And you’ll know right then when you see my face; All this hurt and pain, it was worth the wait; It was always for your good; So just like a bride waiting for her groom; Don’t forget that I’m coming back for you; No don’t you ever forget; I’m coming back for You!”

His dwelling place will be with us. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. He will make all things new.

Channing and Jacob will be partnering again for the second annual NIGHT OF HOPE on September 25. Tickets have been graciously paid for by the community for the first 100 to register. We would love for you to be a part of this inspirational night of lecture, testimony, and songs of hope.

View the previous devotional here.

There is Room

Revelation 19:9 – “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’”

The Apostle John referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” At first glance, this can seem like arrogance, but I think it could be more about perspective rather than pride. If anybody knew the love of Jesus and saw it displayed, it was John. John witnessed the love of Jesus first hand.

John saw Jesus minister with truth and love for three years. He heard the accusations that Jesus was a friend of sinners, and he knew them to be true. He sat at those tables with Jesus, across from tax collectors and prostitutes. He heard the many conversations that we don’t have recorded in our Scriptures, yet we see the outcomes of. Take Zacchaeus, for example, a chief tax collector. The religious grumbled when Jesus dined with him, and John was likely right there with Him. While we don’t know exactly what was said at that table, we do see the outcome of the conversation in Luke 19:8-10: “Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John was reclining at another table next to Jesus during the Last Supper where he saw the love of Jesus perfectly demonstrated. He saw Jesus wash the feet of Judas, who would soon betray Him and turn Him over to the authorities. He saw Jesus wash Peter’s feet right before telling Peter that he would soon deny Him three times in His hour of greatest need. And at that same time, John heard Jesus say the words, “Love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” At that table that night, John not only heard of the love of Jesus, he saw it demonstrated. But His love didn’t stop there.

John was the only disciple to see Jesus fully demonstrate His love through sacrifice. He was there when Jesus was nailed to the cross and heard Him utter the words, “Father, forgive them.” While Jesus was hanging there, He looked down at John and asked him to take care of His mother. Then he saw Jesus breathe His last breath. John would later go on to write 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers,” echoing what Jesus said right next to John at that table the Last Supper. John saw love in action. He knew it, and he was changed by it.

Before John passed away into the presence of Jesus, he saw visions of Jesus in glory at another table—the great marriage supper of the Lamb. The Lamb who had been slain was reclining at a table, breaking bread, commemorating and celebrating the victory that His shed blood had brought…a victory that will last forever. John knew Jesus loved him. There was always room at the table. Not only for him, but for enemies who would become Jesus’ friends and for sinners who would find forgiveness. Even now, there’s room at the table for you and me.

Channing Gillespie brings this thought home so beautifully and powerfully in his song, “There is Room.” He sings “Guilty sinner, once condemned; There is room, room for you; Every sin, He will forgive; Come and sit, there is room; Come and dine now with the Master; There’s a place prepared for you; In remembrance of the Savior; Come and sit, there is room.”

Will you come to the table prepared for you today? There is room.

Channing and Jacob will be partnering again for the second annual NIGHT OF HOPE on September 25. Tickets have been graciously paid for by the community for the first 100 to register. We would love for you to be a part of this inspirational night of lecture, testimony, and songs of hope.

View the previous devotional here.