By Toni Ford
The holiday season is upon us, and although our holidays might look a bit different this year due to COVID-19, it is my prayer that we would not allow our circumstances to keep us from having a thankful heart.
Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite, so I am excited to begin this holiday season with Thanksgiving. Some of the things I love about this holiday is watching the leaves change colors, the brisk air arriving causing a temperature change, and most of all, the simplicity of a time of family and friends gathering around the table for great food, laughter and meaningful conversations.
When I think of Thanksgiving, I immediately think of Psalm 100, often referred to as the “Psalm of Thanksgiving,” or “Thank-offering.” According to Leviticus 7:12, a “thank-offering” was presented when God had answered specific prayers or given a great deliverance. Worshipers would recite, sing or chant this psalm as part of their praise to God. This year, more than ever, I see the importance for us as believers to praise and thank our God, even though we may still be waiting for a great deliverance to take place in our own lives and around the world. Even in the midst of our present circumstances, we still have so much to be thankful for and remembering these things and coming to the Lord with a grateful heart ushers in a joyful heart.
If I were to summarize Psalm 100, I would say it is a psalm of action and acknowledgement. Within the first couple of verses, we see what our actions should look like as we come before the Lord with thankfulness.
Psalm 100: 1-2 says, “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, with singing with joy!” Here we read the actions and the directives associated with these actions.
Shout with joy to the Lord. When was the last time we shouted with joy to the Lord?
Worship the Lord with gladness. When we worship the Lord, we are focusing on all that He represents, and that can only lead to a thankful and glad heart.
Come before him. He blesses, speaks and reveals, but the first action is that we come.
Sing with joy. Regardless of whether we are musical or can carry a tune, all the Lord cares about is that we sing with joy!
Psalm 100: 3-5 explains what we are to acknowledge: “Know that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 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.”
Know that the Lord is God. To acknowledge the Lord as God means we are placing Him, honoring Him and recognizing Him our Lord to be above all other people or things in this world.
We are his, his people, the sheep of his pasture. There is no one else I would rather belong to or no other pasture I would rather be in, than our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Lord is good. This is His very core – goodness, which means no evil can exist with our Lord.
His unfailing love continues forever. What comfort to know that His love is unfailing and forever. His love for us never changes!
His faithfulness continues to each generation. What mercy our Lord has towards all of us. Even when we don’t deserve His faithfulness, He still remains faithful, not just to my generation but to the generations before and after me.
As we participate in these actions towards our Lord and acknowledge these truths about who He is, we can’t help but have a thankful heart.
Lord, today we come first with a thankful heart for who You are and for all the many ways You have protected and blessed us, even when You were not obligated to do so. We give to You all the things that way heavy on our hearts, and we trust You with those things. Today we shout, we sing, we come, and we worship You as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We love you, King Jesus!
If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!