Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving
Jesus invited ten men to a worship service. They didn’t have to drive or get a ride - Jesus just showed up where they were. Imagine that! Being in the physical presence of our Savior. And this wasn’t just any worship service. Ten men were invited, all ten were suffering from a debilitating illness, and all ten men were healed. Wow! Wouldn’t you want to be there?
But sadly, only one experienced true worship. Only one fell at the feet of Jesus and then rose to dance with joy. Ten left, thrilled to be healed, but only one returned to experience deeper levels of being in the presence of Jesus Christ. What brought him back? Gratitude. He came back to say thank you to God, the Creator, the Healer, the Giver of all good gifts. Jesus’ response is amazement at how few received the totality of His offer.
One of them, when he realized that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:15–20
Worship always begins by faith. And becomes a life-changing force in every area and moment of our lives through thanksgiving. My friends, nothing will change our attitudes, our relationships, or our response to circumstances like thanksgiving. Gratitude is when you respond in humility for all you have received, for all that Christ has already done, and is the very best way to approach the whole of our lives.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to be thankful in all things. . In one of David’s most beautiful psalms of worship, he tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, but it’s no accident that He includes the powerful phrase “Enter His gates with thanksgiving”!
Psalm 100 shows just how entwined thanksgiving and worship are.
‘Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge 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.’
David’s words are packed with his heart and spirit. They become so powerful that we can almost feel exactly what he is going through, even his pain.
O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage.
Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of Your unfailing love.
When Daniel learned that men were plotting evil against him, “he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10 NIV). “Just as he had done before . . .” They wanted to kill him! That’s not the time to be thankful, is it? Circumstances didn’t matter to Daniel - thanksgiving was part of his life. Is it any wonder he came out of the lions’ den unscratched?
For the dead do not remember you.
Who can praise you from the grave?
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
His bones ache. His heart is sick. He has nearly passed out and can barely see what is right in front of him through his river of tears. But even as he pleads with God to rescue him, he shows his true heart of gratitude when he asks, “Who can thank you from the grave?” (see NKJV).
Even facing death, even filled with pain, even when life wasn’t following the exact plan he had in mind, even when feeling sorry for himself, David’s heart still resounded with thanksgiving. Is it any wonder he was such a wonderful leader of worship? He knew his relationship with God was not based on circum-stance, but based on the goodness of God.
Paul puts it so simply and beautifully when he tells us: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 NIV). Eugene Peterson translates this in The Message: “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”
Remember today to Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving…. In ALL circumstances. No matter what. All the time. By grace.