What it Takes to BOLDLY Approach the Throne (Part One)

Hello Friend! I don’t know about you, but I miss Jeremiah already! I loved digging into the weeping prophet’s life and learning from him. I couldn’t believe the number of emails I received last week from people who either gave suggestions for our next topic of study, or asked that we continue in a Bible study format on the blog long-term. I’m super excited about that! The Word will not change, but it has the power to change us! We can depend on it because it endures the test of time. The ESV says it like this:

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

-Isaiah 40:8

The Word of our God stands tall in strength with authority, and I count it a privilege to study it with you. For the month of June, I would like to take some time to study prayer. Here’s why: We often depend on the prayers of others to carry us through, but what about our prayers? Are we praying for others? Are we praying for ourselves? Do we understand what it means to approach the throne of grace boldly? Our communication with the living God has the power to change everything. If we aren’t communicating with Him, how can we expect to maintain a healthy relationship with Him? Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at some people from the Bible and examine some of the powerful prayers they prayed. We will apply those prayers to us and begin to unpack power through the Word. Are you with me?

We will continue in the same study format. This means that each week you will once again see a key point of struggle and a key proof of comfort. Let’s begin!

Key Point of Struggle:

Many of us aren’t sure how to talk to God. We’re afraid He won’t answer, or that our prayers might seem selfish.

Key Proof of Comfort:

We will take an in-depth look at Hebrews 4:16 to sort out those fears.

As we prepare our hearts for a series on prayer, let’s take a closer look at Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

-Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

The word boldly inside the text makes me nervous. Do you know why? Because, friend, I’m a lot of things, but bold isn’t one of them. It seems to take me forever to say what I need to say. I tend to filter everything. I recognize what trickles from my heart, ends up on my tongue, multiplies, and overflows through my lips. I want those words to be genuine, consistent, and kind. I understand how easy it is to be misinterpreted, and to have my heart unfairly judged by others just like me. It’s scary. And to be honest, I even tend to filter what I speak to my Father in heaven.

I worry my prayers are selfish and aren’t as faith-filled as they should be. I’m also petrified that if I become bold, then I’ll somehow lose humility. And James, the half-brother of Jesus says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (See James 4:6) I can’t imagine a worse circumstance than to be resisted by my God. But there’s good news: this word bold isn’t to be confused with prideful confidence. It’s to be aligned with confidence in the power of God! Let me show you…

The Greek word for bold in Hebrews 4:16 is the word parresia. It means freedom, openness, especially in speech, boldness, confidence. The short definition is freedom of speech, confidence.

This means we have freedom of speech with our God. We can communicate to Him openly, unafraid to ask Him for the desires He’s placed within our hearts. We can obtain mercy at His throne and receive grace in our time of need. Now, of course, our requests must match up to His Word. We must make sure they are God-honoring.

Let’s try something new and take the short definition of parresia and insert it into scripture replacing the word boldly.

Let us therefore come with freedom of speech and confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Friend, it’s time to get honest with God. He already knows everything about us, but He’s waiting for us to confide in Him. It’s in our most authentic moments that we begin to truly accept freedom.

If you look at the word bold in the Meriam Webster dictionary, you’ll see it has three definitions. I love the second. It says this… Bold: Showing or needing confidence or lack of fear.

Let’s take that definition and insert it into scripture replacing the word bold:

Let us therefore come showing or needing confidence or lack of fear to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Isn’t that great?!?! It’s important that we have confidence in Christ when approaching the throne. It’s time to rid ourselves of fear speaking our words won’t be good enough or faith-filled enough. We need to shut down the voice that says we are shallow and shouldn’t be bringing such silliness to God. Listen, God wants to hear it all!  He loves every part of us and desires open hearts. When we pray with an honest and upright heart, God sees that and honors it.

The International Standard Bible quotes Hebrews 4:16 like this:

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

“Let us keep on coming boldly…” I LOVE that! Conversing with our Father isn’t just a onetime deal. It shouldn’t be about frustration over what seems to be unanswered prayers. We have to learn to keep coming back to Him, to keep asking with humility and gratitude, and believe in faith that His will, will be done in our lives.

  • In your journal, write a prayer asking God to help you to keep coming back to the throne with confidence and freedom of speech.

 

Next week, we will begin studying lives from those who went before us in confidence to the throne of grace.

Love,

Jennifer

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I Told You Life Isn’t About Rainbows. I Was Wrong…

RedLetterWords Rainbow_nThere have been many instances when I’ve said that life isn’t about rainbows. Accepting Christ doesn’t mean everything is going to fall in place and morph into the fairytale we’ve dreamt about.

I was wrong.

On May 25th, I was sitting outside on my deck watching the twins play on their swing set. I grabbed my phone and decided to scroll through Facebook. The company RedLetterWords had just posted a picture. She photographed a rainbow behind her in the distance and used the side mirror of the car to capture the image. For some reason, words that all of us see every day, while driving, came alive to me. “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”

In Biblical history, We first see the rainbow, and its meaning, in Genesis chapter nine. It’s the Noahic covenant, which is an agreement between God and mankind. He promises to never again flood the earth and to continually remember his promise to us with the sign of the rainbow.

I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Genesis 9:13-17

If you pay close attention to the words all flesh in verse seventeen, you’ll see that the beauty inside this covenant is it stretches throughout all eternity for all flesh who choose to follow the will of God. The promise of the rainbow, and the covering which it provides, wasn’t just meant for Noah and his family, but for all future generations.

When I saw that facebook picture from RedLetterWords, it ignited something deeper in me. When I read the wording on the mirror, I couldn’t stop reeling about the fact that His promises are much closer than they appear.

In day-to-day life, we often look through the lens of whatever it is we are facing. I lost my stepfather, suddenly, last July to a heart attack, so for much of the past year I’ve been viewing life through a lens of grief. The colors in God’s promised rainbow seemed dull, if I could even see them at all. I felt defeated and destroyed.

And here is what the Holy Spirit has breathed deeply into me:

It says in the above passage, “I set My rainbow in the cloud… The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” You see, our ability to see the rainbow is a beautiful benefit, but God always sees it… even if we can’t.

I can’t speak for you, but in my own life I have had moments when I’ve thought that God had somehow forgotten about my small existence. Can you relate? However, the truth is, He won’t ever forget. He can’t. He sees the promise continually.

And here is the crazy, amazing part: I believe His promise to mankind is wrapped up in His glory.

In Ezekiel chapter one, the prophet Ezekiel describes his vision of God. Nearing the end of the chapter, he sees the throne and the glory of God. This is what he says:

And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

Ezekiel 1:26-28

In Revelation, John also sees the throne…

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

Ezekiel and John both mention a rainbow, which we know is a sign of God’s covenant to mankind. I love to think that His promises are wrapped in His glory right there at His throne causing the continual remembrance of His children.

We know that when God was leading Moses and the Children of Israel through the desert that His glory often came in the cloud. (See Exodus 16:10, Exodus 24:16, Exodus 40:34)

His rainbow is in the cloud, and, to me, that means His promises are wrapped up in His glory!

When we give Him glory with our lives, when we offer praise to Him and love to others with everything we do, when we make the goal of our time here on earth to give glory and honor to Him who sits on the throne, then He will cover us with His everlasting promise. The rainbow will shine bright over us and His glory will shine down. We don’t have to see it, we just have to believe it’s there.

In Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus is addressing the seven churches. Out of the seven churches only two were recognized without complaint. The other five were called out for their sins. However, all seven were given a promise. After each church is addressed, Jesus speaks a promise beginning with the words, “To him who overcomes…” One of my very favorite promises is given to the church of Laodicea, which most of us distinguish as the lukewarm church.

Jesus says the following in Revelation 3:21 – “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Let me explain why this touches my heart the way it does.

When I was a little girl, all the way into my thirties, my grandmother would rock me on her lap. I know it seems absurd that a married woman would visit her grandmother just to sit on her lap and be comforted, but the love I received through it was overwhelming.

My grandmother left this world to be with Jesus when I was thirty-four years old. Even when the cancer ravaged her body and she was too weak to bear my weight, she would reach for me to come close. In her hospital bed, I would wrap myself around her as much as I could while she spoke words that will never leave me, “Jennifer, I love you bushels and bushels full, and don’t you ever forget it.”

What I’ve come to realize is that God gives us beautiful gifts in the form of relationships that are pieces of Him and His love. He deserves the glory for all of it. My grandmother was one of those gifts in my life, and when I think of being wrapped in that kind of love by Jesus, it propels me to overcome all the obstacles I might face. I long to experience that kind of moment with my Savior.

I want to overcome and be granted to sit on the throne with Him, but in the most humble way possible. I picture myself to be rocked, cradled, and loved. I envision the rainbow of His glory covering me for all eternity.

Christ did the work on the cross so that we might have access to His throne. Is there anything more powerful than that? I think not.

From now on, when I look at a rainbow, I will remember that the glory of God is shining bright. It’s filled with promises for those who love Him. I will remember the gift of His Son and His longing to preserve mankind in a way that caused the shedding of holy blood in exchange for my future. And for your future, too!

I’m sorry if I ever said that life isn’t about rainbows, because, friend, life is ALL about rainbows. It is ONLY about rainbows.

When we sow seeds of overcoming, we will reap the promise of the glory surrounding His throne. We will reap life. Eternal life.

He knows your name, friend, and YOU are an overcomer!

To God be the glory.

love,

Jennifer