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Home is Near

I stood at the end of the boardwalk, slipping my feet into the sandy shoes I had left there earlier in the day. Little ones waiting impatiently at the other end, I was in a hurry to get to the next thing, but the setting sun over the majestic ocean stopped me in my tracks. Immediately, I exhaled. Surrounded by His glory, I felt embraced by my Father in an instant. One glance and He was no longer distant, but enveloping me - and it felt like home.

Scripture tells us sheep know the voice of their shepherd. It is basic and instinctual. No one need educate them on the intonations of his voice nor of his rugged appearance. When he is near, they simply know.

I get that.

Before anyone accurately educated me on the character of Jesus, before I had the opportunity to understand doctrine, before I knew how divisive religion can be, I knew He was near. When life got hard and sin got heavy and dark, He was the light I ran to. Since those steps, I have not taken a single one alone. He's always been near. When I've held new life and when I let it go, He has held me tight. When I knew He could heal, but understood He would not, He comforted and kept me in His palm like no one else could do. When I've been loved and when I've been hated, He has proudly called me His own, never letting my flaws diminish His love or destruct His plan. When I have been driven and when I have been utterly lost, He's held fast to my hand and led me just the same. He's stayed near: right here.

When I look to the future and it looks foggy at best, I am tempted to fear, but I am always reminded He is near and there will never come a day when that is not true.

Standing there on that little pier, I realized that's the kind of Jesus folks need to know. No matter how far they have wandered, they need to be reminded Home is near.

That's the Gospel He called me to share. It's not complicated. I am a simple girl. I would have never found my way to Him if it were hard. God is not lost in convoluted details or debatable doctrine. He is near: right here. There's not a soul on earth who doesn't need the peace of knowing they are never alone. There's no one who doesn't want to feel like they're at home, no matter where they have to go. Love is what we long for and love is His Name. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8) Many will call on His name, but He will know us by our love, by our willingness to do His will (Matthew 7:21) and believe He is near.

When every knee bows, none of this mindlessness will matter. Love wins in the end.

In ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) In the end, it won't matter who was against us if we are found in Him. Justification belongs to God - condemnation, too.

I don't know about you, but that's good news for this girl.

Pleasing people is not our purpose; praising our Father gets to be our passion. The pursuit of Him is the name of this game. All else can fall to the wayside. The voices clamoring for our attention from the other end of the pier are silenced by the One who is always near. His majesty was meant to lift our eyes above it all, to remind us who we are and whose we are - the Maker of the very stars made us, too.

Oh friend, you know His voice. It is basic and instinctual. Nobody has to tell you what He sounds like or how He gets to speak to you. You are His alone. Introductions are not required, but if you need an affirmation, consider this one. When He is near, we simply know.

When life gets hard and sin gets heavy and dark, He is the light you'll long for. Rise, my sister. Run, my brother. After those steps, you'll never take another one alone. He's always been near. Come what may in the day or the night, He will hold you tight. When healing won't come and understanding won't either, He'll keep you right there in His palm.

People will disappoint you and when they do, He'll be right there singing over you. You will disappoint people and when you do, He'll be singing over you then, too. He knows your story - beginning to end. Even so, the Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love, He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) Friend, when you cannot delight in yourself, when you all you need is someone to draw you close, He calls to you rest in Him, to lay your burdens down. Then, He gives you His easy yoke and a light burden in return. (Matthew 11:28)

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better than; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."

You call out to God for help and he helps - he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.

Your life is a journey you must travel with deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even thought it has only lately - at the end of the ages - become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God Himself! That's why the prophet, 

The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; 
Grass dries up, flowers droop, God's word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

1 Peter 1:13-25 MSG


  1. Those reminders that God is near as so appreciated. It's those moments that help get us through.


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