Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

Pandemic Perspective – Part 62 Thanks Living – Part 1

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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. Despite the many challenges this pandemic has brought we can still be thankful because our thankfulness is tied to the Savior not our situation. 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?  

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