“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 endures forever,
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
Psalm 100:4-5 NIV
Some things just go together. Things like turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, hot rolls and butter, and pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Sitting down to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner certainly stimulates our taste buds into action. Be honest, if you are like me you want to wear your most comfortable pants or dress to this gala! Most of us have been waiting all year with wild anticipation for this dinner where all of our favorite, traditional foods will compliment each other in such a way that we will eat until we enter that state of feeling “stuffed”. At our house we always hope that everything will settle enough so that later in the evening we will have enough room in our tummy to have a turkey sandwich and just one more slice of pie! Gluttony, pure gluttony! Sometimes Thanksgiving seems to be a little too much about food. The fact is there are other things that should, without a doubt, be considered on this special American holiday. Things like our faith, freedom, family, and friends.
Another example of things that go together well is thanksgiving and praise. I have been in the company of many people who are indeed thankful for what they have but they seem to be completely void of praise to the One who is their supplier. They think that they are fortunate to have good health and that they are lucky to have met their soul mate. They think only their efforts have lined their bank account. They believe themselves to be their own provider.
As Believers, we do not believe in luck. We believe that God is Sovereign and has a plan for our life. Yes, we know that we are fortunate to have the things we enjoy, but we know that it is the hand of God that has equipped us with intelligence to do our work, and has given us the gifts and abilities to succeed in our jobs. If we happen to be among those who God has blessed with good health we give him thanks and praise. We believe that when we trust God and ask him for direction, it is God who brings our spouse into our life and blesses us with that special one who he has sent to be our helpmate.
The truth is, all that we own, all that we are, all of the spiritual benefits we are privileged to enjoy, all of creation, and every breath we take comes from our Creator, our Savior, our Sustainer. Our God is an awesome God. That is why those who follow Jesus Christ give thanks and praise to our Almighty God. That is why on Thanksgiving and every other day of our lives we are to “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 endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NIV
We enter his gates not just when we go to church but every day during our time of prayer. God invites us into his courts every single day. He craves our praise and desires to see our thankful heart. The fact that God desires our gratitude and praise may seem that God is interested only in himself. This is simply not true. God never demands our thanksgiving and praise but he always deserves it! Why? Because he is good and his love endures forever. God deserves our thanksgiving and praise because he is faithful. Not only to us, but he promises to be faithful to all generations of believers in the future. God has promised to provide for the needs of his children. However, God is not a wishing well. Those things that come from the hand of God that are above and beyond our needs are additional blessings that he chooses to give us. We can ask God for anything but the bottom line is, he knows what is best for us and so we trust him to answer our request in a manner that is in line with our best interest. Gifts should not be ordered. They should always be graciously received.
It is God who blesses both the godly and the ungodly. We all receive from the same hand. Sometimes this seems extremely unfair. The truth is, God loves all of us and he uses his provisions and blessings as a tool to point all mankind to himself. It is his desire that someday those who pay him no mind will eventually see how much he loves them, through his provision. Narcissistic ideas of accomplishments are void of both thanksgiving and praise. Some people are thankful but it is so noticeable that they speak without praise. Thanksgiving without praise is somehow empty. It is only a follower of Jesus Christ, who gives both thanksgiving and praise. The object of our thanksgiving and praise is none other than our God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and his precious Holy Spirit that lives within us.
- Do you see how beautifully thanksgiving and praise go together?
- Most of us are thankful, but how are you doing on your praise?
- Will you purpose in your heart to enter the gates and courts of God everyday with a thankful heart and words of praise?
- Will you make a conscious effort to offer up to God both gratitude and praise as you prepare for Thanksgiving?
Forgive me when my words and actions seem to mirror that I am ungrateful. Forgive me when I enter your gates and courts with only requests and then leave without offering even one word of praise. Thank you and Praise you God because your love endures forever. Even when I fail, still your love endures forever. Thank you and Praise you God because you are good all the time. Forgive me when I begin to think that just because I am going through a difficult time that you have ceased being good. I thank you and praise you God that you are forever faithful. Even when I am unfaithful, you still remain the same faithful God. You always pursue me, you always provide for me, and you are always waiting for me to enter your courts. Only an awesome God like you is deserving of my thanksgiving and praise.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.