Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His--His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations. (Psalm 100)(HCSB)
Have you ever felt that your worship seemed to be blocked somehow? Like you were trying to praise God but there was some kind of barrier up? I know that there have been times when I couldn't seem to sense the Lord's presence as much as at other worship moments. I was reading through Psalm 1oo the other day and it hit me that much of the time we may be struggling with our worship because we're trying to "enter His courts with praise" when we haven't even passed through "His gates" yet.
What do I mean? Look at what verse 4 says again-- Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Many times we may fall short in our worship because we aren't entering in with thanksgiving, with a thankful heart. We're sincerely trying to worship Him and praise Him in His courts, but we can't because we've been held back at the gates due to our lack of thankfulness and thanksgiving! I decided to title this entry "Enter His Gates With What?" because so many times we act like we've never seen that word before. It's as if we say, "Thanksgiving? Isn't that just the holiday on a Thursday in late November? What in the world could the psalmist be talking about?" We have so much to be thankful for, but it seems that our culture has raised us up in such a way that we're never satisfied. We're all looking out for number one, and we don't have time to acknowledge what God has done for us. We need to stop and realize how blessed we are, and take the time to express our thanks to our loving God. Let's take a quick glance at a few scriptures in the (HCSB) translation that speak of thanks and thanksgiving.
- giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:20)
- Give thanks to the Lord (1 Chron. 16:8, 34)
- Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. (Psalm 136:1)
- But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Cor. 15:57)
- Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18)
- Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2)
- I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17)
- through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)
It's clear that God means for His people to be thankful and to live our lives with thankful hearts. So I want to encourage all of you to clothe yourself with thankfulness and thanksgiving when coming to church or when attending some worship event. Think about the great things that your loving Father God has done for you in your life---like your salvation, forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, adopting you into His royal family, making you heirs with Christ, giving you eternal life, sending the Holy Spirit to guide you and comfort you---and then you can pass through His gates and truly enter into His courts and praise Him!