Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

31 Thanks Living

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Psalm 100:1-5

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

The 100th Psalm was written to God’s people, the Israelites, reminding them of the basis for their Thanksgiving. The foundation for thanks is the Father. One of the real dangers is determining our thanksgiving on the basis of how much we have. It’s not what we have but who we have; the real riches are our relationship with the Redeemer. This is what the 100th Psalm emphasizes, in verse 1 we find the “name of the Lord.” In verse 2 and 3 we find the “name of the Lord.” In verse 4 it says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving,” and in verse 5 we find the “name of the Lord.” The basis for their thanksgiving is the Lord. But it is not just for them, look at who it is addressed too, the first verse says that it is addressed to “all the earth,” and the last verse says that it includes “all generations.” This message of thanksgiving is so deep and wide that it encompasses every person in every era in every stage of life, throughout all of time. This is an immense invitation for us to base out thanksgiving on a firm foundation. We need this reminder to not only be thankful but to base our thankfulness on Him because everything else will change, the only thing we have for sure is our relationship with the Lord. It’s here that we see not only the invitation to come but five calls to thanksgiving. The first starts with a shout, verse 1 says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.” The word shout here is the picture of a trumpet blast; it’s that shout of joy to the Lord that comes from the very depths of our being. We are not to be timid in our thanksgiving, are you holding back and holding it in or are you being bold?  In bible times trumpets were often blow to announce the arrival of the King and we should not be afraid to proclaim His power to all people. Are you proclaiming His praise from the depths of your being? Not only are we to joyfully shout but the second call says we are to, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” It doesn’t say serve the church or the organization, or even the preacher it says to serve the Savior.  The Word of God reminds us that when we witness on His behalf, when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit people in prison, or whatever we do we are to be serving the Lord. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus said, “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Why do you serve and who do you serve? Often we serve out of obligation; our motive is compulsion instead of Christ. We serve out of a feeling of fear, or we are goaded by guilt, sometimes we serve because of self, because we want to receive the recognition. We like the attention and the applause but the Psalmist says, “In whatever you do, serve the Lord with gladness.” Do we really grasp the motive for ministry, it should be the Master, is what is moving you guilt or God?  Not only are we to Shout and serve but we are also called to sing.  Some of us struggle to sing, from a worldly perspective our singing might stink, but Psalm 98:4 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” These first three calls make it clear that God wants our journey to be one of joy. Yet how often do we reflect grumpiness instead of gladness? How many of us are serving and singing with scowls, because we have lost our joy in Jesus? When we make it about rules instead of relationship one of the first things that gets jettison is joy. Our service sours and instead of shouts of joy there is a chorus of complaining. Are you shouting in joy or are you just shouting? Many of us are just making a lot of noise, creating a commotion, not bringing Him praise. Are you shouting, serving and singing with joy, are you making it about Jesus?  The fourth call is for us to “Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” God made us, inside and out, and He made you the way He wanted you to be, that means we are significant and special because God doesn’t make junk. A group of students was asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes: 1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids. 2. Taj Mahal. 3. Grand Canyon. 4. Panama Canal. 5. The Empire State Building. 6. St. Peter’s Basilica. 7. China’s Great Wall. While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn’t turned in her paper yet, so she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.” The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are: 1. TO SEE. 2. TO TASTE. 3. TO TOUCH. 4. TO HEAR.” She hesitated a little, and then added, “5. TO FEEL. 6. TO LAUGH. 7. AND TO LOVE.” The rest of the room sat in stunned silence. Those things we overlook as simple and ordinary are truly wondrous. The truth is you are not trash, careless thrown together, no you have been lovingly crafted by the creators hand. Not only did He make us but He is still making us. God wants to deal with out defects and the scars of sin. Not only were we created in His image but we were created to reflect Him but sin has distorted and deflected that. God wants to work in and on our attitudes and actions so that we reflect His righteousness. Not only is He our maker but second “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” The problem is that most of us want to be shepherds, not sheep, but we don’t know where the still waters and green pastures are. So in our search for satisfaction we invariably end up sin, stuck in the far country. Are you submitting to His leadership, have you surrendered to the shepherd? What is guidance your life is it God, or are you trying to call the shots yourself? Why don’t we experience rest and rejuvenation, because we won’t let Him lead. The last call is to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” In the Old Testament the temple symbolized the presence of God. When His people entered through the gates they knew that they had come into His presence. Their focus was on the Father, we are called to come in wonder and in worship of the one who made the whole world. God is not confined to a temple He is everywhere; He is with you on the highways and the byways of this life, in every moment of your life. We have a God who cares and compassionately comes alongside us, who wants to walk with us through the wins as well as the wounds.  Yet what if God started to treat us like we so often treat Him? What if God met our needs to the same extent that we responded to His rule and give Him control our lives? What if God stopped loving & caring for us because we failed to love & care for others? What if God took away His message because we refused to listen to His messenger? What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call for service? What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we did refused to follow Him today? Are you thankful for the faithfulness of the Father? Are you joyfully shouting, serving, singing and saying thank you to Jesus?

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