“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalms 100:4 (KJV)
Since the big Thursday that is Thanksgiving Day is on top of us, I wanted to turn our stomachs from the turkey and our focus from the football and instead fix our minds and hearts on the term Thanksgiving. In our country Thanksgiving has been observed as a national holiday for close to four centuries. It’s an annual holiday discernible by religious observances and a traditional dinner in which the main menu feature is turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 and is held in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. While it is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, I petition you to turn this year’s Thanksgiving into a platform for praise! With this in mind, I invite you to transition with me from the holiday to our Holy God because it is to Him alone that we give thanks, honor and glory! Amen!
The dictionary defines thanksgiving as an act of giving thanks or an expression of gratitude. I am sure that those who know God as our Father and our Savior have a life-long list of blessings and challenges for which we can thank God. Wait, challenges? Yes, that’s right. We are called to give thanks for everything according to the scriptures. This is not an attempt to force an over-the-top optimistic mindset but instead to recognize the loving care of an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Lord.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
We should faithfully and forever be fixed in an attitude of gratitude towards our God because He is our Father! How our Holy God holds you and me close to his heart (not heaven) so that we can experience heaven here on earth through Holy Spirit-inspired, kingdom living far exceeds the thoughts and the imaginations of man. What a precious and powerful privilege that we possess to be His people! The word privilege is defined as a unique and special advantage, permission, right, honor or pleasure. In Psalms 100:1-5 you will discover seven privileges for which we can be thankful.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)
- We are privileged to be able to praise God.
You and I have the permission, pleasure and right to praise the Most High God. Jehovah, the self-existing and eternal God does not need you or your religion. Nor does He need your politics, culture, traditions, thoughts or feelings in order for Him to be relevant, recognized or respected. The bottom line is that we are blessed to be able to know Him and praised Him as our God.
- We are privileged to serve Him.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:23 (KJV)
The scriptures encourage us to serve the Lord with joy, enthusiasm and with all our heart. It is this attitude that conveys that we recognize the blessing of being counted as the Lord’s child and are honored to do His will.
- We are privileged that He made us to enjoy and be in His presence.
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 (KJV)
In the Old Testament only the appointed priest could approach God to pray and intercede for the people. By faith, we have immediate and automatic access to the Almighty, a privilege that blesses us with fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
- We are privileged to know Him personally.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (KJV)
“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24a (KJV)
The Lord our God is not absent or distant from His people but a loving Father who desires to have an intimate relationship with His children. We enjoy the access and position afforded to one who is blessed to be associated with the God of the Universe!
- We are privileged to be His people.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been chosen of God to accomplish His will in this world. In contrast to many people today who are struggling with an identity crisis, looking to man’s standards for their value and worth, we serve a God who has given us a position and purpose by being selected by Him to do His will.
- We are privileged to worship Him.
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 (KJV)
What a privilege it is to serve and worship the one, true Living God! We do not worship a God made of hands or an idol of our own making. Instead, we serve the living God who is capable of doing all things!
- We are privileged to enjoy His mercy and truth forever.
“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth.” Psalm 138:2a (KJV)
“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” Proverbs 16:6 (KJV)
It is through the Lord’s mercy and truth that we are transformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ so that we can enjoy an abundant life and victory through Him (John 10:10).
So as we gather with family and friends for food and fellowship this Thanksgiving let God be gloried as you give Him gratitude for all that He has done. Leave your table with thanksgiving and praise for the privileges afforded to you by the Almighty God.
God, thanks for giving!
For the Glory of God,