When Tongues Strut

“Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
    my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pangs until death;
    their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
    they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;

    their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
    and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
    and find no fault in them.
And they say, ‘How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?’
Behold, these are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
    and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’
    I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.

Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin…
When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
    I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:1-18,21-28

When the wicked prosper and tongues strut, we roil with envy and anger. Why do nations rage, the arrogant succeed, and the righteous suffer? When eyes linger on the world, we can slip into self-righteous cattiness and lash out in vociferous condemnation, not realizing we’ve fallen prey to the same behavior we abhor. It is a prideful heart that pities the pride of others.

But God mercifully interjects to redirect our focus and correct our affections. When I thought how– stop! Think! Discern! When I went into the sanctuary– go! Flee to Jesus! Sieze His perspective! While it’s wearisome to swim upstream when downstream runs fast and strong, it’s godly, right, and worth it. The Lord’s counsel loosens chains of bitterness and misery, clears our vision, and renews heart strength with divine blood. His portion satisfies like no earthly riches can.

Where are we boasting against others and a brute before God? What keeps us from entering God’s sanctuary and taking His hand?

Lord, when other tongues strut, cause mine to praise You.

The Scaffold of Prayer

“Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.’” Daniel 2:17-23

The time was short for Daniel and his friends. A capricious, unreasonable, hot-headed king Nebuchadnezzar had ordered the death of all his best advisers because they could not uncover and interpret his troubling dreams. What did this mature man of God do? He enlisted the prayer support of his comrades. He knew that the prayer of a righteous man avails much, and that God alone, who had been faithful to them thus far, was able to reveal mysteries. (Daniel 2:28,45; James 5:16b)

As his friends exercised their faith muscles in prayer, the Lord directed Daniel what to tell the vitriolic king. He would relay the truth about what was to come. Just as with Esther, who enlisted her uncle and all the Jews to pray for her pressured situation, the Lord delighted to translate these requests of the saints to His favor, unveiling, and clear guidance of His people in response. (Esther 4:15-17)

Do we make it a regular practice not only to pray, but to enjoin others in beseeching the Almighty? By opening up about specific needs, and taking time to kneel together, we give many the privilege of support, mutual encouragement, and growing faith. It awakens expectancy for those praying and waiting on tiptoe, and hope and confidence in those observing. It swells the gratitude that ultimately goes to God, and magnifies Him when He’s praised for His answers.

And for whom am I a regular prayer support? We aren’t meant to live the Christian life alone, but to support one another in love, confidence, and prayer. For whom could I offer this scaffolding as they struggle in making their way, crumble in defeat, or face a difficult circumstance? Would I ask the Lord to show me those He would have me undergird? (Matthew 26:41; Romans 14:7)

As we support one another within the body, we are building up the temple of God. What part will we play today in either offering, or procuring, prayer support? And would we faithfully, with one voice, praise the Lord for His gracious answers? (Psalm 34:3; 1 Peter 2:4-5)

Lord, help me be, and enlist, a scaffold of prayer, that Your church be built and Your great name glorified.

Turned Your Back? Face Front!

“‘If I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you…’ And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest...’ Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The Lord.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live… Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.’” Exodus 33:13-14,18-23

“You have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back.” 1 Kings 14:9

“Then he brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple, and I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord. And I fell on my face. And the Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I shall tell you.'” Ezekiel 44:4-5

Where we face each day makes a difference. Face the sun, absorb its warmth and light, and be energized and hopeful, taking in all that is exposed by its rays. Turn our back, and shiver in the shadows, away from the influence of light, and under the influence of darkness. Face the Lord in His glory and goodness, and fall face down, humbled, inspired, submitted to His will. Or turn from truth a rebel, and find the path ahead shrouded by the image of man’s cast shadow of self-sufficiency, idolatry, and pride. Which will it be?

We do not always intend to turn our backs on the Lord, but simply do not exert the effort it takes to seek Him. We fail to climb the mount, and fill our time with anything but reading His love-letter-to-us word, and never crave to know Him. We fill our days and shelves and sights with lesser things, and, satisfied enough with their diminished charm, cannot see His glory. When asked, we would not admit to casting Him behind our back, yet every idol, every alien affection, every bit of trust in something else, is an about-face to the wonder He invites us to see and relish.

What is our determination? To check off a quick glance but then shrug an intent Jesus away, because the call of the day is too loud, or the tasks too numerous? If it is to turn from casting Him behind us, and to hold Him before, are there trinkets and idols and notifications that distract us from beholding His glory that would fill our mind and heart?

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.” ~Helen Howarth Lemmel (1922)

Lord, may I ever look to You and be radiant. (Psalm 34:5)

When We Do His Good Will

“Ahab did evil in the sight of the Lord… And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, he took for his wife Jezebel.., and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal… And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him…

“Now Elijah said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’ And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Depart and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith… You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

“Then the word of the Lord came to him, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath… I have commanded a widow there to feed you.'” 1 Kings 16:30-33; 17:1-9

Elijah was sold out to his Lord. What God directed, he did, not because it was easy, or pleasant, or rewarded, but because it was right. When he announced the judgment of a drought, we can only imagine the wicked king’s reaction. What we see is the tender, faithful care of Elijah’s God.

He spoke directly, personally, with clear instructions to His servant. He invited his obedient faith onward, and hid him in safety in a lovely place. He provided miraculously for him morning and evening, displaying His glory and power. He was enough, never forsook him, and continued to lead, step by step, proving His love. (17:10-16,22-24)

He does the same for us when we do the hard and right thing in the face of rejection, evil, or opposition. When the Lord calls us to stand, act, and speak for Him, He is clear about our task, and present for the challenge. He understands every concern and need. (Exodus 3:10-14; 4:10-12; Ezekiel 40:1-4)

Do we make ourselves available for God to use in unexpected ways? Are we even open to standing up, standing out, speaking up, disrupting our lives for His sake? If we set aside our plans, and take time to explore His, we might be surprised at what He enlists us to do. When He calls to some new or bolder service, He will make the way, and bless our obedience beyond imagining.

“When we do his good will, 
he abides with us still, 
and with all who will trust and obey.” ~John H. Sammis (1887)

Would we change praying, ‘Lord, take and bless my schedule,’ to ‘What are your plans today, Lord? Help me obey.’?

“‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, 
and to take him at his word; 
just to rest upon his promise, 
and to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ 
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him! 
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er! 
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! 
O for grace to trust him more!” ~Louisa M. R. Stead (1882)

Lord, may I boldly keep Your agenda, in Your enabling, for Your glory.

Beauty in the Ordinary

“Elijah said to the people, ‘I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.'”

“‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus… And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place… Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” 1 Kings 18:22; 19:13-16,18

Look over the river valley awash with green, scan for that splash of fall, and catch your breath at the brilliant coal-glow of one spot that warms the heart and every sense. Sometimes, it is hard to find. There is only a splash or two, but their individual glow stands out all the more early in the season, and the cool. We yearn for more, we want every one and everywhere, but there are times that solitary color must burn bright and bold, leading the charge, and change.

At times, we’re lonely in our commitment to faith. We feel we are the only one who is holding forth the light, standing true. We are set apart by the toil or preparation required for a specifically called ministry, and perhaps are wistful at being left out, or having to say no to outside enticements. In these times, God calls His beloveds to be strong, to stand up and out and willingly be the only voice, or example, or naysayer. While people tend to measure us against the perceived masses and public opinion, our communities need that lone light and voice and divine beauty to attract them to the Savior who sees the heart, and is pleased. (1 Samuel 16:7; Daniel 3:13-26)

When we are the one looking, it may take our full spiritual concentration to find, and great boldness to cling to, God’s promised beauty in our ordinary. Busy days, hurt feelings, trying circumstances, exhaustion or exasperation may overwhelm our ability to see beyond, but we can keep looking for the glimpse of His glory. So sweet is the find. The Lord is nigh, brings beauty from ashes, and works good in all things. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Romans 8:28)

What causes us to be timid in our witness and shine? Might God use our very uniqueness, or what we are willing to give up, or speak out, to illumine Christ, make a difference, or begin a movement of change? And how keen is my eye to behold His excellencies in my mundane, and in turn rejoice? (1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:7)

Lord, prompt me to look for Your scattered beauties in the ordinary, then give You all the praise upon beholding them. And help me to do my part in scattering beauty, and standing out with a bit of Your glory, so others might praise You too.

All of our Oneness

“I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift...

“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:1-7,11-13

What a difference it would make in our daily atmosphere if we not just focused on, but rejoiced in, all that unifies us: a glory far beyond ourselves, our opinions, our preferences or political party. We’ve been summoned by a high calling, and can walk in it and fulfill it with humility, gentleness, and patience. The rub comes when we must set aside selfish ambition and the gnawing need to be right. Would that we make peace our ambition! (Romans 12:18; Galatians 3:26-29; Philippians 2:3-4; Hebrews 12:14)

In what ways do I stir disunity among fellow laborers, maybe even unwittingly? Do I gossip by sharing another’s sins behind their back? Do I, by facial expression or audible mention, imply suspicion or disdain, diss an opinion, or betray confidences? Am I argumentative, too ‘odious or touchy’ like ‘Euodia and Syntyche’? Have I loose self-control of a tongue that slanders, grouses, criticizes, and condemns? Maybe I lord it over others, insist on having the last word, or must boisterously make my expertise known? (Philippians 4:2-3)

When will I set aside that spiritual bully, and contribute instead to unity in the body? What comments and reactions need putting off? What default impulses and practices should be replaced, the new infused with love, a goal of harmony, and the rule of peace? How can I bring those with differing experiences, ideas, and tastes into the fold? What opinions and preferences can I set aside to zero in on what actually unites, and matters? How can I steer a conversation to commonalities that bring people together? Thinking through these considerations ahead of time equips us to respond with graciousness and the mind of Christ. (Colossians 3:5-17)

The next time we encounter opposition, or a boiling up of volatility, anger, disagreement, or divisiveness, what ingredients of grace will we inject? How will we stir up all involved to love and value each other, and to bring glory and honor to the God who unites us as His children for His kingdom’s sake? We can soar when we learn to appreciate differences, and do all we can to build up the Body in our common faith. (Hebrews 10:24)

Lord, illuminate my mind, soften my heart, and bring full maturity in my living to help me walk worthy of Your calling. Guide and inspire me to build up Your body in unity that reflects Your holy trinity, to Your honor. (Ephesians 4:15-16,22-24,29-32)

“All Done”

“I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God.” Isaiah 45:5

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!’

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down… and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.’” Revelation 4:8-11

“And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.'” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 21:6; 22:13

‘Holy holy holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee…’ While at play, the two-year-old sang earnestly, robustly, through the first stanza of the song, then said with finality, “All done.” Yes, all done. This truth, that the Triune God is holy holy holy, is an ‘all done’ that holds fast and secure and is enough to fill our mind for the time being and the long haul. He is God, we are not. All done. He is holy, we are sinners, Jesus died to save us forever. All done. Finis.

The glorious blaze of sunset flames in the clouded eastern sky, reflecting with indescribable glory that the day is done. How fitting an illustration for the magnificence of Christ’s wondrous, ‘It is done.’ How freeing are those words? Do we catch their fire? He is enough, and done! I need not, cannot, add anything!

“All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust…
Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.” Psalm 22:27-31

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

Am I trying to contribute, to work my penance, to pay restitution through hardship, to earn favor? Jesus finished the penalty of my sin at the cross. All done. Do I instead believe, by faith, that He has all done everything by His grace? Finished with guilt, shame, bitterness, and despair? He has crushed the enemy of death, and will one day vanquish the deceiver who seeks to destroy us. Are we rejoicing in the freedom that it’s all done, for us? (John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 20:10)

Lord, may I cease striving and rest in the glory of Your All Done.

Always Thank, Never Cease

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth…

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:3-6,9-14

Paul begins his letter to the Colossians with hearty encouragement: he and Timothy always thank God when they pray for them. Thanking God sets a joyful expectancy and lifts our hearts from self to heaven, our burdens from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of Christ. It reminds us of who God is, what He’s done, and that He’s able to do it again. It urges us to keep praying, because we know it is effective in making a difference in both its object and us. It opens fragrant blooms to shadow and soothe our disquiet, and windows to let in new possibilities.

When are we taking time for regular, focused prayer? How can we rearrange our prayers to begin and be peppered with thanksgiving? Perhaps we start by recounting the ways God has revealed Himself through His word, creation, circumstances, or spiritual insights gained. Go through the alphabet and name His gifts, or attributes, or names. Adoption, bears our burdens, conviction of sin; almighty, bountiful, compassionate; Alpha, Bread of life, Creator… Count blessings of life and good things visible and invisible. (Philippians 2:9; James 1:17)

In concerns for loved ones, for what can we first thank, before dictating our specific wants? Beginning with thanksgiving may open our eyes to good decisions and qualities we let criticism and worry obfuscate, or to God’s sovereign arranging of current circumstances to bring about broader results than we initially thought. It can certainly arouse hope and anticipation of great good. In present troubles, thanking God for His presence, faithfulness, divine reasons, and glorious future ends can transform our perspective and open new prospects of faith and trust.

Gracious Lord, empower my prayers with thanksgiving for all You never cease to be and do. Broaden the scope of my asking, and deepen my trusting, that You receive the gratitude and honor You deserve.

Reasonable Rejoicing

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

“Let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy.” Psalm 5:11

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.” Psalm 96:11-13

“This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm

“Fear not, O land;
    be glad and rejoice,
    for the Lord has done great things!..
Be glad, O children of Zion,
    and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the latter rain, as before.” Joel 2:21,23

“Rejoice always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

We have every reason to rejoice, and therefore, it is reasonable! It is commanded. Rejoice! The Lord is at hand, available to hear our prayers, and guards our hearts and minds with His inexplicable peace. Rejoice! We find refuge in Him. Rejoice! We can join the festal song of all creation. Rejoice! His judgments are righteous, He is faithful and provides for His people’s every need. Rejoice!

He made this day, and gives us breath to live and be a part of it. Rejoice! He has done great things, too numerable to count and beyond our imagining or asking. Rejoice! He thinks of us, all the time, in loving ways we cannot comprehend. Rejoice! (Job 9:10; Psalm 139:17-18; Ephesians 3:20-21)

Is it not our reasonable service to God- who has called us by name, redeemed us to be adopted as His child, and in us deposited His Spirit to guarantee our eternal life- to offer ourselves to Him as instruments of praise? Rejoice! (Isaiah 43:1; John 1:12-13; Romans 12:1; Ephesians 1:11-14)

We might think it reasonable to complain, to be anxious, to fret over uncertain what-ifs, to gripe about difficulties or what we can no longer do. Consumed with ourselves, we can keep a mental list of every reason not to rejoice, but the good and worthy Lord gives every reason to, and life is so much more pleasant when we do. Would we begin that list, and rejoice?

“Rejoice, ye pure in heart, 
rejoice, give thanks, and sing; 
your festal banner wave on high, 
the cross of Christ your King. 

Bright youth and snow-crowned age, 
both men and women, raise 
on high your free, exulting song, 
declare God’s wondrous praise.

Praise God, who reigns on high, 
the Lord whom we adore: 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
one God forevermore.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing! ” ~E.H. Plumptre (1865)

Lord, may this ever be my joyful refrain.

Boldness In, Boldness Out

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” “We have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.” Hebrews 4:16; 10:19

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ… so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” Ephesians 2:18; 3:7-8,10-12

Many have bold thoughts and lofty intentions, even magnificent passions, but find it hard to put them into action. In the flesh we may be timid or fearful, and therefore reticent, or we may be impulsive and brash but without proper focus, effective strategy, or discipline. But when we enter God’s throne room, and access the Spirit through the perfect way God made in Christ, we are infused with a holy boldness rooted in righteousness and divine purpose. We draw near so we can then go out. We enter the open way so we can exit to open the Way to others. Boldness to delve in to Christ’s communion becomes boldness lived out to make known our Christ to a needy world. (John 14:6)

Are we regularly drawing near to receive God’s ample measure of mercy and grace? His throne room is open and His counsel available to us in every time of need. Are we appropriating the power of His Spirit, the innumerable riches of Christ, and the manifold wisdom of God? Every spiritual blessing has been lavished on us, and is ours to absorb and implement. Is there anything that is keeping us from entering boldly- any shame, fear, or self-absorbed unworthiness that fails to trust the work of Christ’s blood? It has washed us clean! It opened the way! It imparts confidence! (Ephesians 1:3)

“No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!” ~Charles Wesley (1738)

Once we experience the unfettered entrance in, we are overwhelmed by Christ’s amazing love and cannot help but boldly, joyfully, arise to go out and announce His good news. Alive and clothed in Him, we take His indescribable love abroad to the world, wherever He leads.

Lord God, thank You for opening the way to You through Jesus. May I boldly, daily approach You, and then go with that same boldness into Your world with the grace, mercy, and love You so generously bestow. (Acts 4:29; Ephesians 6:18-20)