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A Thanksgiving Devotional

Psalm 100

 

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

1: Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.

2:  Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

3:  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.

4:  Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

5:  For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB)

 

It’s amazing how things stick with you from your childhood. When I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of Psalm 100. When I was in the 2nd grade, we had to memorize Psalm 100 for a PTA program. So, I always equate the two.

This Psalm is a “feel good” Psalm. We read it and we “feel good”. But, when we examine it – when we meditate on it, it has so much more to say.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a very “logically minded” person – I want to know how things work, and why they are done. When my Mother wrote out her recipes for chicken ‘n dumplins and stack cake, I not only wanted the ingredients for the dish – I wanted to know why things were done the way they were. I’m the same way with scripture – it’s not enough for me to know that things are done; or how they’re done – I want to know why! This Psalm not only teaches us to give thanks – but how – and why.

The Psalm is divided into 2 sections: verses 1-3 and verses 4-5. In the first section we must come before the Lord. Verses 1-3a tell us how.

  • Verse 1: First of all we must “shout” (or “Make a joyful noise” as the KJV puts it.)
  • Who is to do this? “All the earth” (or “All ye lands.” KJV)

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2a):

  • “Serve the Lord”

How?

  • “With Gladness!”

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2b):

  • “Come before Him.”

How?

  • “With joyful singing.”

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 3a):

  • “Know” – acknowledge – “that The Lord, He is God;”

Why do these things? Because He is our Creator (verse 3b):

  • “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;”

And (verse 3c):

  • “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

So what does that really mean?

First – He is God (verse 3a)

Second – He is creator (verse 3b)

Third – He is owner (verse 3c)

Verses 4-5 tell us that not only are we to come before the Lord – but that we may; that we are allowed to come into His very presence! Again, we have what and how to do this, as well as why.

First we are to “enter His gates” – to come just inside the gate of the gardens of the palace.

How?

  • “With thanksgiving,” literally, with a thank offering.

And

  • We are to enter “His courts” – the actual grounds of the gardens.

How?

  • “With praise!” We are to extol and praise our God as we enter.

And

  • We must “Bless His name.” The Hebrew word for name is “Shem” which means a person’s character or authority – in other words – their very essence!

 

Think of it this way. We can come to the Palace, come through the door, come into the yard and come right up to His name – His very being! Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because Jesus (our Great High Priest) has triumphantly entered the realm of Heaven, we are allowed to not only come into the throne room, but we can come boldly! That’s not arrogantly – but with confidence – because Jesus is there!

And why are we allowed to do this? Verse 5: “For the Lord is good!” (Remember Jesus said, “There is none good but God.” Mark 10:18)

How is His goodness evidenced?

  • His lovingkindness (“His mercy” KJV), His hesed is everlasting. Ever-lasting; it lasts forever, through all of eternity.
  • And His faithfulness (“His truth endures” KJV) to all generations.

From the time of the Psalmist – to the time of the Saviour – to the time of the Church – to the day of His return, you can count on the Faithfulness of God.

And that is why we must thank Him!

Epilogue

Although I had most of these notes in my Bible, I actually wrote this meditation one day while sitting in the Target parking lot waiting for a dentist appointment. When I pulled out from the parking lot a song came on the radio that melted my heart. The song was, “The Wonder of it All”.

“O the wonder of it all, that God loves me…”

Tears came to my eyes along with the affirmation – “Yes! The wonder of it all, that God loves even me…”

May you have a glorious Thanksgiving!

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I’m taking a break from the “Hand to the Plow and Pray” book for the holidays. For the Thanksgiving season, I’ve got a few devotionals and prayers I’ve written over the years. Feel free to use any of these in your gatherings.

This poem was written in 1976 – wow – 40 years ago… I hope you enjoy it.

 

Modern-Day Pilgrim

To the Modern-Day Pilgrim

the feast isn’t hard.

Forget the musket

“Where’s my MasterCard?”

 

Things are better

than they used to be.

For the Modern-Day Pilgrim

in this land of the free.

 

There’s no need to call in

his Indian friends.

“I gave at the office!”

He loudly contends.

 

He feels that all

he has, he deserves.

No need to be humble

“It’s hard work,” he concurs,

“That got me where I am today.

“Let others work

and make their own way.”

 

But Modern-Day Pilgrim

where is your prayer?

I get the feeling

that it’s lost somewhere

between the Thanksgiving Dinner

and the football game,

Somehow dear pilgrim

it’s just not the same…

 

Betty J. Newman ©1976

 

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Plow Points:

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Thanksgiving or Happygiving?

The scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are replete with examples of thanksgiving. Just to share a few: 

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

2 Corinthians 9:12 For the ministry of this service [the offering] is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. (Italics added)

The one thing they all have in common is this: Thanks is given unto God. Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV) tells us that it is “the LORD your God… who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (and I think we would all agree that “wealth” means far more than money). It is God Who gives us the ability to do anything we do.

However

When I hear the secular world and non-believers talk about Thanksgiving I have to wonder – to whom do they give thanks? If they don’t believe in God; if they don’t believe in His divine sovereignty, could it be that they are not really giving thanks at all – but giving “happy” instead?

The word “happy” is derived from the middle English word “hap” which means “one’s luck or lot.” The word “happy” and “happenstance” have the same origin signifying that happiness is based on circumstances; Noah Webster (1828 Dictionary of American English) adds, “To be in any degree happy, we must be free from pain both of body and of mind; to be very happy, we must be in the enjoyment of lively sensations of pleasure, either of body or mind.”

In other words, “If things are going well, I am happy.”

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is internal and is dependant on the heart. Let us today (and everyday) “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His lovingkindness [His hesed] is everlasting.” Psalm 107:1. And who says so? “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!” Psalm 107:2a. 

Prayer: Gracious and loving God, may we lift to You our thanksgiving, only and always because You are God. It is You Who has made us, and not we ourselves, and all that we have; all that we are comes from You. Praise Your Holy Name! Amen.

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Psalm 100

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

1: Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.

2:  Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

3:  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.

4:  Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

5:  For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB)

 

It’s amazing how things stick with you from your childhood. When I think of Thanksgiving, I always think of Psalm 100. When I was in the 2nd grade, we had to memorize Psalm 100 for a PTA program. So, I always equate the two.

This Psalm is a “feel good” Psalm. We read it and we “feel good”. But, when we examine it – when we meditate on it, it has so much more to say.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a very “logically minded” person – I want to know how things work, and why they are done. When my Mother wrote out her recipes for chicken ‘n dumplins and stack cake, I not only wanted the ingredients for the dish – I wanted to know why things were done the way they were. I’m the same way with scripture – it’s not enough for me to know that things are done; or how they’re done – I want to know why! This Psalm not only teaches us to give thanks – but how – and why.

The Psalm is divided into 2 sections: verses 1-3 and verses 4-5. In the first section we must come before the Lord. Verses 1-3a tell us how.

  • Verse 1: First of all we must “shout” (or “Make a joyful noise” as the KJV puts it.)
  • Who is to do this? “All the earth” (or “All ye lands.” KJV)

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2a):

  • “Serve the Lord”

How?

  • “With Gladness!”

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 2b):

  • “Come before Him.”

How?

  • “With joyful singing.” 

Everyone and every bit of creation is to (verse 3a):

  • “Know” – acknowledge – “that The Lord, He is God;”

 

Why do these things? Because (verse 3b):

  • “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;”

And (verse 3c):

  • “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

So what does that really mean?

            First – He is God (verse 3a)

            Second – He is creator (verse 3b)

            Third – He is owner (verse 3c)

 

Verses 4-5 tell us that not only are we to come before the Lord – but that we can; that we are allowed to come into His very presence! Again, we have what and how to do this, as well as why.

First we are to “enter His gates” – to come just inside the gate of the gardens of the palace.

How?

  • “With thanksgiving,” literally, with a thank offering.

And

  • We are to enter “His courts” – the actual grounds of the gardens.

How?

  • “With praise!” We are to extol and praise our God as we enter.

And

  • We must “Bless His name.” The Hebrew word for name is “Shem” which means a person’s character or authority – in other words – their very essence!

Think of it this way. We can come to the Palace, come through the door, come into the yard and come right up to His name – His very being! Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because Jesus (our Great High Priest) has triumphantly entered the realm of Heaven, we are allowed to not only come into the throne room, but we can come boldly! That’s not arrogantly – but with confidence – because Jesus is there!

And why are we allowed to do this? Verse 5: “For the Lord is good!” (Remember Jesus said, “There is none good but God.” Mark 10:18)

How is His goodness evidenced?

  • His lovingkindness (“His mercy” KJV), His hesed is everlasting. Ever-lasting; it lasts forever, through all of eternity.
  • And His faithfulness (“His truth endures” KJV) to all generations.

From the time of the Psalmist – to the time of the Saviour – to the time of the Church – to the day of His return, you can count on the Faithfulness of God.

And that is why we must thank Him!

 

Epilogue

Although I had most of these notes in my Bible, I actually wrote this meditation one day while sitting in the Target parking lot waiting for a dentist appointment. When I pulled out from the parking lot a song came on the radio that melted my heart. The song was, “The Wonder of it All”.

“O the wonder of it all, that God loves me…”

Tears came to my eyes along with the affirmation – “Yes! The wonder of it all, that God loves even me…”

May you have a glorious Thanksgiving!

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