How do we enter into God’s presence?

We first must learn to cast the whole of our trust and reliance upon Jesus, who is the Captain of our ship and the Author and Finisher of our faith…

When in trouble, these are the necessary keys to enter into God’s presence:

Psalm 100:4
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

There is also a dress code requirement and certain other protocols that must be followed before we are allowed to enter into God’s presence.

First of all, we are ONLY allowed to come into God’s Presence by way of the blood of Jesus, and His propitious sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross; and when we do, the dress code requirement can be found in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah the prophet said,

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach Good News unto the meek. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning, the GARMENT OF PRAISE for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

And then Jesus, who is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, announced in His first sermon, when He started His ministry. . .

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel (Good News) to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister and sat down.

And the eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.

And He began to say unto them,

‘THIS DAY IS THIS SCRIPTURE FULFILLED IN YOUR EARS.’”
(Luke 4:18-21)

The Bible makes it very clear that it’s ONLY through Jesus Christ and His shed blood, that we have access to come into God’s presence.

And the Bible even tells us that because of Jesus’ propitious sacrifice and shed blood that we can BOLDLY come into God’s presence:

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19–20, 22).

“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (Jesus).” (Ephesians 3:12)

The moment we believe in Jesus Christ for salvation from hell we are placed “in Christ” (Eph 1:13-14; 2:8-9).

This phrase “in Christ/Him” refers to how God sees us.

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, the apostle Paul has been focusing on how God sees us after we come to faith in Jesus.

As a member of Christ’s body, the church, I can approach God’s throne room in prayer with “boldness” and “confidence.”

The word “boldness” (parresia) literally means “all” (pa) “speech” (rhesis) or freedom to say all.

It conveys an attitude of openness that comes from freedom and a lack of fear.

The word “confidence” (pepoithesis) refers to being persuaded that God is Someone I can fully trust and rely upon, much like the confidence that a beloved child has towards his gracious and loving father.

But again this access is ONLY granted us through the Cross of Christ and His shed blood.

John 3:3, 5
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

And then again Jesus tells us in John 14:6,

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

So the biblical protocols are that we first enter by way of Jesus’ shed blood and the cross of Calvary; and then after having been born again, we can then only “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise!”

How many times in life, when we are in trouble and we’re facing overwhelming challenges (financial, sickness, or otherwise), do we ask God what is it you want me to do here?

Well in fulfillment of the prophetic scriptures, in the Old Testament, and having now been granted access into God’s presence, in the New Testament, through the propitious work of Jesus, this is what the Bible says we are to do in every situation:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In EVERY THING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

[Please note also, in verse 18, we’re not thanking God for all the bad things that happen in our life; but rather the reason why we’re told to thank Him in EVERY situation is because of the promise of Romans 8:28, which tells us that God will enter into every situation (the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and He will work it for our good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.]

We should also know that the Bible tells us that the JOY of the Lord is our strength (Neh 8:10), but maybe what some of you don’t know is that to REJOICE means to return to that same JOY, that gives us the strength we need to face any challenge or battle in life, due to the faith, power and strength that Jesus brings to us, to face and overcome those challenges. Selah (let us pause and calmly think about that)
———

Sun, November 21

God At Eventide
by Two Listeners

BE GLAD IN THE LORD

Wait before Me with a song of praise in your hearts. Sing unto Me a new song. There will always be something in each day for which to thank Me.

Acknowledge every little happening as a revelation of My Love and thought for you. Praise has the power to wash away the bitterness of life. Be glad in the Lord.

Rejoice evermore. Great is the heart’s “Thank You.”

As you learn to thank Me more and more you will more and more see Me in the little happenings, and increasingly see much about which to rejoice.

Praise and thanksgiving are the preservers of youth.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
— Jude 1:24-25
———

Come join the Adventure,

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Jesus said, “We are to take up our cross daily”…

The cross is the symbol of our death to self (see Mark 8:34 and Gal 2:20)…

Christianity is neither a religion, nor is it a social club; it is rather a way of life (where Jesus is the only Way – see John 14:6); that after having been born-again, your whole paradigm view of life and purpose in life has changed.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (MSG)

Paul speaking: “…your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?

The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.

God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

Mark 8:34-38
The Message

34-37 Calling the crowd to join His disciples, He (Jesus) said, “Anyone who intends to come with Me has to let Me lead.

You’re not in the driver’s seat; I AM.

Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow Me and I’ll show you how.

Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, My way, to saving yourself, your true self.

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you (your soul)? What could you ever trade your soul for?

38 “If any of you are embarrassed over Me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when He arrives in all the splendor of God, His Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

1 John 2:6
The Message

4-6 If someone claims, “I know Him well!” but doesn’t keep His (Jesus’) commandments, he’s obviously a liar.

His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love.

This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
———

So what exactly did Jesus mean when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me?”

Let’s begin with what Jesus didn’t mean.

Many people interpret the “cross” as some burden they must carry in their lives: a strained relationship, a thankless job, a physical illness.

With self-pitying and pride, they say, “That’s my cross I have to carry.”

Such an interpretation is not at all what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”

When Jesus carried His cross up Golgotha to be crucified, no one was thinking of the cross as symbolic of a burden to carry.

To a person in the first-century, the cross meant one thing and one thing only: death by the most painful and humiliating means human beings could develop.

Two thousand years later, Christians view the cross as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace, and love.

But in Jesus’ day, the cross represented nothing but torturous death.

Because the Romans forced convicted criminals to carry their own crosses to the place of crucifixion, bearing a cross meant carrying their own execution device while facing ridicule along the way to death.

Therefore, “Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus.

This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender!

After each time Jesus commanded cross bearing, He said,

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:24-25).

Although the call is tough, the reward that Jesus offers in return is worth it.

It has to do with each of us fulfilling our God-given destiny and our experiencing the abundant Life that Jesus promised us (John 10:10), that we’re all looking for.

Wherever Jesus went, He drew crowds. Although these multitudes often followed Him as Messiah, their view of who the Messiah really was—and what He would do—was distorted.

They thought the promised Christ (Messiah – anointed one) would usher in and restore David’s kingdom. They believed He would free them from the oppressive rule of their Roman occupiers.

Even Christ’s own inner circle of disciples thought the kingdom was coming soon (Luke 19:11).

When Jesus began teaching that He was going to die at the hands of the Jewish leaders and their Gentile overlords (Luke 9:22), His popularity sank.

Many of the shocked followers rejected Him. Truly, they were not able to put to death their own ideas, plans, and desires, and exchange them for His.

Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly; our true commitment to Him is revealed during trials.

Jesus assured us that trials will come to His followers (John 16:33). Discipleship demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost.

In Luke 9:57-62, three people seemed willing to follow Jesus. When Jesus questioned them further, their commitment was half-hearted at best.

They failed to count the cost of following Him. None was willing to take up his cross and crucify upon it his own interests.

Therefore, Jesus appeared to dissuade them.

How different all this is from the typical Gospel presentation that we hear today!

How many people would respond to an altar call that went,

“Come follow Jesus, and you may face the loss of friends, family, reputation, career, and possibly even your life?”

The number of false converts would likely decrease!

However such a call is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”

If you wonder if you are ready to take up your cross, consider these questions:

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing some of your closest friends?

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means alienation from your family?

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means the loss of your reputation?

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your job?

• Are you willing to follow Jesus if it means losing your life?

In some places of the world, these consequences are reality. But notice the questions are phrased, “Are you willing?”

Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean all these things will happen to you, but are you willing to take up your cross?

If there comes a point in your life where you are faced with a choice—Jesus or the comforts of this life—which will you choose?

Commitment to Christ means taking up your cross daily, giving up your hopes, dreams, possessions, even your very life if need be for the cause of Christ.

Only if you willingly take up your cross may you be called His disciple (Luke 14:27).

The reward is worth the price. Jesus followed His call of death to self (“Take up your cross and follow Me”) with the gift of life in Christ:

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25-26).

The Apostle Paul summarized what Jesus is looking for in Romans chapter 12:

Romans 12:1-2
J.B. Phillips New Testament

We have seen God’s mercy and wisdom: how shall we respond?
1-2 With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him.

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. Amen
———

Fri, November 19
God At Eventide
by Two Listeners

CHECK UP

Turn out all of your self that would rebel against My way. Know no other rule.

Check your actions and motives habitually. Those that are actuated by self-esteem or self-pity — condemn.

Discipline yourself ruthlessly rather than let self gain any ascendancy.

Your aim is to oust it, and to serve and follow Me only.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25
———

Come join the Adventure!

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