When I first arrived at the church at Oakleigh there was a very large sign on the wall of the church with the first part of Psalm 100:4 on it. It says:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
It is a great reminder to us, and something we don’t always do so well at. Whenever we come to God, not only when we come to Church or to gather with the people of God, but in the morning when we get up and pray, or as we walk down the street and our thoughts turn to someone or something that needs our prayer, we should begin by giving thanks to God.
The first thing we do, when we consciously come into the presence of God, is to give thanks, and the second thing we do is to bring Him praise. In 2 Chronicles 31 we are reading the story of King Hezekiah who is seeking to turn the hearts of the people back to serving The Lord, and there we read:
Hezekiah then organized the priests and Levites into divisions to offer the burnt offerings and peace offerings, and to worship and give thanks and praise to the Lord at the gates of the Temple. (2 Chronicles 31:2)
To worship and to give thanks and to praise the Lord. This is an offering that we bring to the Lord.
Maybe we need to put Psalm 100 back up outside the front door of our church. Maybe we need to pin it up around our homes. Maybe we need to memorise these beautiful words. Can I encourage you, on Sunday when you gather for worship, and today when you put time aside to pray, begin with thanksgiving. I know that many of us have troubles that weigh us down, but none of them are greater than the Eternal Life in Christ that we have been given and have reason to be thankful for. And none of those trials are unknown to our Heavenly Father, nor too big for Him.
Read these words, read them slowly, meditate on them, and let them bring you into the presence of our Loving Father, who like anyone, loves to hear the words ‘Thank you, I love You, You are so good to me.’
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.