The following devotion is taken from In the Secret Place: A Pilgrimage Through the Psalms by Jerry Rankin. I thought that this was an especially good reminder for this Thanksgiving week. BTW – Jerry Rankin is a past president of the International Mission Board of the SBC. That doesn’t make him cooler than the rest of us, but he did have a really cool job in God’s world!
Access to God’s Presence
Key Verse: Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)
How does one comment on this beautiful and familiar hymn of praise? It is one of the first passages of Scripture I recall learning in Vacation Bible School and one I could quote if awakened in the middle of the night. My father would always read it at Thanksgiving dinner each year. God delights in our giving praise to Him. He is blessed by a thankful heart. It is sad that we are usually so preoccupied with our problems, disappointments and daily challenges that we engage in a personal pity party and come to God only to express our needs and requests. Even our service in time-consuming church activities or personal ministry is often out of a sense of obligation rather than with gladness of heart. This is a valuable reminder of how we are to approach God and come into His presence, not just in our quiet time of personal devotion but in a conscious awareness of a relationship with Him throughout the day.
One cannot avoid the image of God enthroned in a palace in splendor and majesty that is beyond our comprehension. How do we gain access to the Lord, surrounded by ministering angels and saints who have gone before? The password that opens the gates is thanksgiving, and praise transports us into His courts! As we are told in Psalm 22:3, God inhabits the praises of His people. We are to come before Him . . .
• with worship,
• with gladness,
• with joyful singing,
• with thanksgiving, and
• with praise.
He is worthy of our thanksgiving and praise simply because He is God. It is also in acknowledgement that He is the One who made us, and we owe total submission and gratitude to the One who has given us life and made us what we are. As His people we are as sheep, totally dependent on His provision, protection, and guidance. We are also drawn to Him in worship because . . .
• He is good,
• His love endures forever, and
• His faithfulness is unending, to all generations.
Finally, we are to realize that God desires for all the earth to come into His presence. He is worthy of worship and praise and has extended His loving-kindness that the peoples of every land would come before Him, knowing that He made them and that He is the Lord over all the earth.
Prayer: Lord, You made me and created me to serve You and to bless Your holy name. I pray that I might come into Your presence daily with thanksgiving and a heart of praise. You are worthy of all praise because You are good, and Your love is unending.