by Peggy Still

I think there are times in every believer’s life that they have felt far from God. Stretched out before us is an empty desert and we find ourselves wondering how we got here. Someone said, “If you’re feeling far from God, just look around and see who moved.” That’s a clever answer, but not a helpful response when we are in a dilemma trying to find our way back to the presence of the Holy One.

Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Giving this scripture a quick read would lead us to assume this means approach our worship time with thanksgiving. What happens when we focus on, “enter into His gates with thanksgiving?”

Picture yourself behind a locked gate, shut out from the presence of God. Then someone hands you a key, you turn the lock and the gate swings open for you to enter. You walk through the gate expressing gratitude for the key. Suddenly you feel the comfort of knowing you are with the heavenly Father once again. What was the key that unlocked the door? Entering with thanksgiving. Walking with a thankful heart unlocks the way to the kingdom of heaven.

What are the barriers that separate us from His presence? It could be bitterness, anger, resentment, despair, self-pity. All of those can cause us to feel alone. But when we turn from our self-imposed barriers and instead acknowledge Him as the source of everything that is good, gratitude begins to fill our hearts.

God wants us to have open access to His peace, joy, and contentment. It is when we use the key of thankfulness to unlock the gates of heaven do we return to the place He wants us to be, in the very presence of His love.


Peggy Still: Peggy currently serves as the Director of Administrative and Client Services for The Fuller Foundation in Pasadena, California. Peggy is a featured speaker in a variety of areas for women including finance, social issues and leadership. She also serves as a consultant to churches and other non-profit organizations in the areas of administration and fund-raising. Married to Mark for 33 years they have one daughter and raised two foster children. Peggy and Mark make their home in Monrovia, California.

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