Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord. – Psalm 118:19


Drawing close to the Lord should be your lifetime pursuit. Sometimes, however, that process is hindered. James writes about two stages you may have to pass through as you attempt to enter God’s presence.

First, James says to “humble yourselves before God” (James 4:7). Pride, lust, and friendship with the world will block your prayer requests. Also, you may be asking with wrong motives: “You want only what will give you pleasure” (v. 3). However, if you humble yourself and submit your life to God, then your requests will be made from right motivations.

Next, James says to “resist the Devil, and he will flee from you”

(v. 7). Satan may be hindering your requests from coming to pass, even though God has granted them. When Daniel prayed, his prayer was actually answered from the first day, but Satan hindered it from coming to pass for twenty-one days (Daniel 10:12-13).

After you humble yourself and resist the devil, you will be able to “draw close to God, and God will draw close to you” (James 4:8). God loves you and is waiting for you to draw near through the gate of the Lord!


They must wear linen turbans and linen undergarments. They must not wear anything that would cause them to perspire. – Ezekiel 44:18

Serving the Lord is to be “no sweat”! God would not allow His servants who came before Him and ministered to Him to be in a sweating, fretful state of mind or body. We often think that serving God should tax our bodies, strain our relationships, bankrupt our finances, and cost us our sleep. Instead, Jesus said, “My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:30).

Peter said that we are to be joyful, even though we may have to go through many trials (1 Peter 1:6). Can you imagine rejoicing when you feel like weeping? Peter continued by telling us that we can be “happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (v. 8), even in the midst of a trial.

The psalmist expounds the third note in the heavenly chord of today’s reading: “If you will help me, I will run to follow your commands” (Psalm 119:32). Run? “Only children run,” you may say. Not so! Rejoice in God and run to Him with your worries and cares. The Christian life, though it can be difficult, should be “no sweat”!

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