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October 1, 2008

Thanks Giving

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
(Psalm 100)

Football fans are different.  70,000 rabid  uninhibited fans jumping out of their seats loudly showing support for their team is a different feeling, a different acoustic, a different atmosphere than any other sport.  Crowded into a stadium there’s a mass hysteria that responds to what’s taking place on the field.

SHOUT joyfully to the Lord.” is an invitation to loud uninhibited worship of God.  There are times when we need to meditate and be still and know that God is God.  But, this is not one of them. 

Serve the LORD with gladnesshas the idea of physically serving God while worshipping Him.  Something like putting our whole body into action while worshipping God.

Joyfully singing” realizes the presence of God in the midst of our praise.  Brett Farve walking into worship on Sunday would certainly get our attention.  God Almighty, creator and sustainer of everything that’s anything, shows up for worship every Sunday.

“LORD” (capitalized above) is the Hebrew word “Yahweh” which describes God as the One true and only God who always has been, always is, and always will be.  God who is holy, absolute, unchangeable, sovereign in responsibility and authority over everything.

If our focus is on ourselves we will expect that God should do for us rather than being amazed that He does anything for us all.  Consider the awesome reality that we are His sheep.  It is amazing that He has even placed us in His field.

Each month I receive the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter.  Month after month, account after account, of brothers and sisters in Jesus who today are suffering and dying simply because they refuse to deny Jesus.  Brothers and sisters in Jesus who continue to give thanks to God.

What we go through may not be as extreme as the persecuted church.  But its real.

Psalm 100 says, Enter His gates with thanksgiving…  WHY?

Whatever we go through we know that, “the LORD is good.”  God takes care of His own.  He sustains us,  preserves us, renews and refreshes us.  Leads us through life gently and carefully.  Even in suffering and death, we’re never alone.

God’s lovingkindness is everlasting.  His love is personal, based on an intimate knowledge of who we are and our specific needs and concerns.  His love is sacrificial, whatever the cost, even to the point of His own suffering and death.  And, He never runs out of it.  We can’t exhaust God’s love for us.

God’s “faithfulness is to all generations.”  That means that the promises He makes in the Bible don’t come with a warranty period.  They don’t expire on the day before we need them.  God is always faithful.  He’s absolutely dependable to do what He says He will do. 

Psalm 100 reminds us that we are the LORD’s.  The chosen creation of the sovereign God.  We are sheep in His pasture.  He is forever good, loving, and faithful towards us.  Psalm 100 gives us powerful reasons for sheep to shout with joy.   

This edition of The Connection urges us to “GIVE THANKS.”  God, because of Who He is and by His actions towards us, deserves our thanks giving.  May it be said of us that God’s fans are different.  They are unlike the fans of any other god.

In gratitude may we give ourselves, without inhibition, totally to God.