Encouragement for Today
Sharon Jaynes - Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker
In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12 NIV).
One of my favorite people is author and speaker Patsy Clairmont. We were discussing my first book on the telephone one day and trying to set up a time to meet face-to-face when she came to speak at a Women of Faith Conference in my hometown.
“Patsy, I’d love to spend some time with you before the conference, but I don’t have a backstage pass. I won’t have access to the part of the building where you will be.”
“No problem,” Patsy answered. “Just go to my book table and tell my son who you are. He’ll bring you to me.”
The day of the conference arrived, and I swam through a sea of women to reach Patsy’s crowded book table. It wasn’t hard to spot her son – a male version of Patsy herself. After proper introductions, Jason and I were off to find his mom. First we passed through heavy mahogany double doors that led to an area called, The Crown Room, for the VIP’s who attended professional basketball games and other important events. Then we entered an elevator that took us to an area where the speakers were tucked away.
As I stepped into the elevator, a stern faced security guard pointed his finger in my face and pronounced, “You’re not supposed to be here, young lady. Where’s your backstage pass? You’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”
He whipped out is walk-talkie and was not afraid to use it. Before I could force one word out of my dry mouth, Patsy’s son stepped forward, showed the guard his credentials, and gallantly stated, “She’s with me.”
“That’s right,” I agreed when I had once again found my tongue. “He’s Patsy Clairmont’s son, and I’m with him.”
“Oh, okay then,” the guard said, and he was off to seek and find other dangerous Christian women like myself who were attending the conference.
I had a wonderful visit with Patsy and left the conference very inspired by each one of the speakers. But perhaps the best lesson I learned was on that elevator ride. One day we will leave this earth, bound for heaven. As we make our way to His throne room and pass through heaven’s doors, there may be someone lurking in the shadows, waiting to accuse us, to call us unworthy, and to question our credentials. In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren.” I envision him standing in my path, pointing his crooked, gnarled, demonic finger in my face and saying, “You don’t belong here! Where’s your pass? What are your credentials?”
Then just as Patsy’s son stepped forward to vouch for me, God‘s Son will step forward and say, “Leave her alone! She’s with me. I’m all the credentials she needs.”
In the Old Testament, there is a sense that God was unapproachable because of His holiness. In the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies where God resided, from the other areas of the temple where the priests attended daily. The high priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Before he could enter, the priest went through a rigorous ceremonial cleansing process. Bells were hemmed to the bottom of his robe and a rope was tied around his foot. The people outside listened for the tinkling bells to make sure the priest was still alive. If per chance the sound ceased, they pulled the dead priest out by the rope.
But in the New Testament things changed. God was and is still the holy great I AM, but He invites us to enter the Holy of Holies with the confidence of a child approaching his daddy. When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, God tore the veil of the Holy of Holies from top to bottom, inviting all those who believe in Christ to enter with assurance and confidence. (Mark 15:38). “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12).
No longer do we have to offer blood sacrifices as they did in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is our perfect High Priest who offered the perfect sacrifice – Himself. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Just like the security guard who pointed his gnarly finger in my face and told me I didn’t have the right credentials to enter the secured area, Satan will tell us that we don’t deserve access to the Father. Never fear my friend. Just as Patsy’s son showed his pass to allow me to enter the secured room, Jesus Christ stands to show His credentials that allow us to enter the throne room of God. As a child of God, you have undeniable access because God’s Son is with you and in you - and He’s all the credentials you need.
My prayer for today:
Dear Lord, thank you that I can come before you at any time. Unlike the people in the Old Testament, I do not have to be afraid to come into your presence, and I do not have to go through an earthly priest. You invite me to come directly to you. The only priest I need is Jesus Christ, our High Priest forever. In His name, Amen.
When you go before the Lord in prayer today, thank him for his undeniable access.
The next time your child comes to you with a request, imagine yourself going before you heavenly father with the same confidence.
The next time you make a telephone call and are put on hold or have to go through a lengthy series of (if…press two, if…press three, if…press 0) thank God that you do not have to go through such maneuvers to get to Him.
What was the Israelites response when God spoke directly to them? (Exodus 20:19)
Can you think of any reason why someone would not want to enter into the presence of God?
Who can ascend to the hill of the LORD? (Psalm 24:3-4)
What is the only way we can truly be clean? (Hebrews 9:14, 10:11)
What do you think Jesus meant when he told Peter that he only needed his feet washed (cleansed) and not his entire body? (John 16:6-10)
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:38 NIV).
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV).
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV). (Notice who was invited to enter God’s presence)
Dreams of a Woman – God’s Plan for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes