downloadThis week I’m going to start with the one thing I hope you take away from today’s blog:

No matter how far away you are from God, He is always waiting for you, longing for your return, and ready to give you a new—or renewed—place in His family.  He has a heavenly celebration ready when you come back to Him. Don’t let fear, past or present failures, guilt or regret keep you from turning to God.

The Greek word Sumphonia is used in the Bible to describe a band of instruments or voices used produce harmonious music.  The English word “symphony” has roots in this word, but Sumphonia can be any band or group of musicians, not just a classical orchestra.

Here’s the cool reality of sumphonia: God commissions a symphony, the most incredible worship band, to supercharge His heavenly celebration whenever someone turns or returns to Him.  God wants you and me to be with Him in a redeemed, eternal relationship so much that all heaven sings when we say yes to Him.

The best-known context for Sumphonia is found in The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15.  It’s really the story of us all, and how God rejoices when we return to him.

In this passage, Jesus tells the story of a son who walked away from his father, pockets bulging with the inheritance money he wrongly demanded and received from his dad. The boy moved to the big city, intending to live the decadent dream with wine, women, and song. For a while, it was all good times, but the days and nights disappeared quickly, as did the money. The wayward son found himself with empty pockets: his inheritance squandered by the self-centered life and reckless spending he chose. He was now a broken man:  homeless, hungry, and alone. His so-called friends left him when the money ran out.  Now his only companions were the filthy pigs he was hired to tend and feed, and with whom he ate the pitiful scraps of produce and food that other humans wouldn’t touch. His dream life had turned into a living nightmare. The boy was at rock bottom and knew it was entirely his fault.

Realizing the awful way he had treated his father, the son swallowed any remaining arrogance and pride and took the long, painful trek back to His father’s farm. I’m sure he rehearsed and re-rehearsed his tearful apology and desperate plea to simply be treated not as a son, but as an entry-level employee.  He knew his days as a son were long gone, traded away for the worthless life he once chased after.  He didn’t care anymore about living a life of comfort or wanting more stuff from his dad. The son desperately wanted to be with his father, even if it meant living with the cattle in the barn.

As he entered the driveway to the old homestead, the boy saw his father running toward him and wondered: Is He coming to kill me? Will he drive me away? Instead, the son saw tears of joy come from his father, who hugged and kissed him and told him he had been waiting for him the whole time he was away.
Words of sorrow and repentance poured out of the boy, who pleaded for re-acceptance as a lowly servant. Then the Father did an amazing thing:  He took the boy back not as a servant but as his beloved son who was lost and now was found. He instructed his servants to dressed the son in fine clothing and jewelry fitting a much-loved child. Finally, the father ordered a full barbecue celebration complete with a sumphonia. His son who was lost and dead in selfishness was now alive. The Father couldn’t contain his joy and spared no cost to celebrate the boy who was finally home. The father’s happiness couldn’t be held back, so he ordered joyful music to fill His house.

This is the picture of what God does when we turn to him—filthy, unworthy, and broken—seeking a life-changing relationship with Him.

The Bible describes it like this:

“ 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

Jesus once said:

“…there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent”
Luke 15:7

Real worship begins when we step away from our old life and plunge into a fantastic, eternal relationship with God through the saving work of Jesus Christ God responds by lavishing us with His amazing love—and a heavenly symphony begins!

No matter how far away you are from God remember this:
He is always waiting for you, longing for your return, and ready to give you a new or renewed place in His family.  He has a celebration and heavenly symphony ready to go when you come to Him. Don’t let fear, past or present failures, guilt or regret keep you from running back to God.

God bless you.

Chris Atkins

Please share a link to this blog with a friend, and check out my new book “The Isaiah Encounter: Living An Everyday Life of Worship” at Barnes and Noble and Amazon:

Barnes and Noble: