Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

21 Worship with Thanksgiving – Part 2

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Psalm 100

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100 is not just a call to worship but a call to remember who and why we worship because as people our tendency is to forget and we need a reminder. The first verse says that it is addressed to “all the earth,” and the last verse says that it includes “all generations.” When we look at this Psalm we need to see that God had us in mind. This message of thanksgiving is so deep and wide that it encompasses and applies to every person in every era in every stage of life. This thanksgiving psalm reminds us of five thanksgiving commands.

  • Shout

It means to “shout with the force of a trumpet blast,” Our Thanksgiving should be heard, from the depths of our being we proclaim our praise. The idea here is that praise can’t be contained, what God has done should be shared, unleashed because it can’t be keep inside any more. What the 100th Psalm does is that it emphasizes the foundation for our thanks, the Lord. Our tendency and the real danger is determining our thanksgiving on the basis of how much we have. “Do I have enough turkey to gorge myself sufficiently? Is my money secure? Am I healthy?” As a result we let these things determine out thankfulness. Yet after a quick scan in vs. 1 you’ll find the name of the Lord. In vs. 2 you’ll find the name of the Lord. In vs. 3 you’ll find the name of the Lord. In vs. 4 it says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving.” And in vs. 5 you’ll find the name of the Lord. The basis of our thanksgiving is the Lord.

  • Serve

It doesn’t say “serve the church or the pastor or the people it says, “serve the Lord.” The Bible teaches that if we witness on behalf of the Lord, if we feed the hungry, if we clothe the naked, if we do the work of the Lord, whatever it might be, we are serving the Lord. I’m not sure that we grasp the truth that the one we are really serving is the Savior. Often we serve out of obligation, fear, guilt or to be in the spotlight and draw attention to ourselves. But the Psalmist says, “In whatever you do, serve the Lord with gladness.”

  • Sing

Come before him with joyful songs, have you noticed that in these first three commands, God reveals that He wants us not only to sing but to smile and be happy. “Shout with joy, serve with gladness, and come with joyful songs.” Take a moment and look in the mirror, what does your life reflect, a smile or a scowl?

  • Be Secure

“Know that the Lord is God, it is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” So often we base things on and respond by how we feel but God wants us to be secure and to know. He is our maker, the one who formed us inside and out and we are created in His image. The truth is that God made you the way He wanted you to be, have you given Him thanks for who you are? We are not just created we are also called into a relationship with God, we are His and we can belong. The problem is that most of us want to be shepherds, not sheep. “It’s not any fun being sheep,” we say so we go searching for the still waters on our own. We trust self when it comes to our safety, so we seek our own security and we invariably end up lost and separated. Submitting to the reality of being a sheep means I don’t have to try to be the shepherd. Today God is saying, “You be the sheep, let me be the shepherd, and I will lead you beside the still waters and the secure pastures, just let me lead.”

  • Seek

In the O.T. the temple symbolized the presence of God and whenever the people came to the temple and entered the courtyards they were seeking God. Now that temple no longer exists, but often the place where we meet to worship God is called a “sanctuary,” indicating that God is there. The truth is that God is everywhere, He is with you as you drive on the highway, at work and play, He is with you every moment of your life. This is the source of our thanksgiving, but what if God began to treat us like we so often treat Him? What if God met our needs to the same extent that we gave Him our lives? What if we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when God sent the rain? What if God stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others? What if God took away His message because we wouldn’t listen to His messenger? What if He wouldn’t bless us today because we didn’t thank Him yesterday? What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call to serve? What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn’t follow Him today? Yet each day we have the privilege to shout, serve, sing, to be sheep and to seek the shepherd. This Thanksgiving will you take your Thanks and give?

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