The first chapter of the book of Joshua talks about how the children of Israel camped along the east bank of the Jordan river, at the very edge of the Promised Land. They were completing a period of mourning for Moses who had just died. Studying Joshua’s life gave me the opportunity to look back at the moment the Israelites crossed the Jordan river into Canaan. Once they crossed the river the promise became a reality that surpassed their expectation, and a reality that took 40 years to accomplish. However, before the crossover the camp was experiencing a time of mourning which later led to shouts of jubilation when they conquered Jericho. They experienced two very different emotions within the same season and possibly year.
As this year is coming to a rapid close, we like the Children of Israel are either celebrating or downcast. This begs the question; what are you thankful for? what are you jubilating over? Is it a miraculous healing? Is it finding your soulmate? Could it be a new addition to your family or starting a new job or a promotion? On the other hand, I ask you what are you downcast over? Is it losing a loved one, losing a job? Chronic illness?
Although it may seem like the year is over for you, it is not over yet. Many of you may have heard of the saying “it ain’t over till it’s over” this means one should not presume to know the outcome of an event while it is still in progress, moreover this year is not over yet. So for the reminding weeks we have left lets count our blessings; no matter the challenges we’ve being through or what may seem like unanswered prayers let us take our eyes off these situations and look to Jesus by praising God all the way into the new year and the new season.
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David in the book of Psalms tells us to acknowledge the Lord God Almighty. To joyfully come into His presence and express our thanks for His goodness and unfailing love. The Word of God says in Psalms 22: 3, that “God inhabits the praises of His people.”
What exactly does this mean? Inhabit in the dictionary means to “live in”, to “settle down in”. God lives in our praises, when we respond to a situation with praise, thanksgiving and worship we are inviting His presence into that situation. We are making a choice to choose God’s way over our own and see life from God’s perspective. David certainly, advises us in the Psalms that we should;
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4)
A well known use of the word “gate” is as the threshold into Heaven and the passage through the pearly gates. In Genesis 22:17, God promised Abraham that “his descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies.” To possess the gates is to have authority and the ability to go through the gates of life knowing that God’s presence is with us.
Therefore, as we worship and praise we enter through Heaven’s gates and experience His glory. As we mentioned earlier in the book of Joshua the children of Israel demonstrated the power of praise and worship by marching around the city of Jericho and going through the gates – this brought His glory down into their situation and encountered His miraculous power.
To this effect God is calling to us from now, to the end of the year and beyond to enter His gates, through the gates of our soul. Our five senses are the gates by which the human soul interacts with the world: through the physical body and these gates must be guarded daily. As such, a life of constant praise allows knowledge, counsel, and revelation to gain access into our inner being.
Entering His gates is the key to a successful spiritual life, we should always come into God’s presence with gladness and praise just as David realised. I like the way the Passion translation interprets Psalm 100:4 “you can pass through His open gate with the password of praise.”
Wow! Password of praise!
Can you imagine trying to gain access into a building without a password? You won’t be able to get in through the doors and gates of this building as it will be locked to you.
So, how do you get around this? Use the password. How do you get around opening the gates of Heaven? The Psalmist answered that praise is the password that opens the gate. Praising God radically transforms our souls, removes melancholy and sorrow, it also draws down the presence of God and empowers us to hear the voice of God easily.
Let me encourage you from this moment on, that as you begin to praise and worship you will receive an infusion of joy, because joy is found in gratitude and delighting in God’s goodness. While you do this, God will speak to you, He will give you ideas, strategies and directions that will change the cause of your life before this year ends.
Hence, just like the children of Israel praised their way into victory you will cross over into 2019 spiritually stronger, prepared for every eventuality that might come your way. So I say to you ”wake up you living gateways! Lift up your heads, you ageless doors of destiny. Welcome the King of Glory for he is about to come through you.” (Psalm 24:7)
Have a glorious and encountering month!