Enter His Courts with Praise

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Psalms 100:4

Many times we come before the presence of God in the wrong way. Psalms 100:4 gives us the perfect formula to approach Him: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. This biblical verse indicates the three things we must take into account when approaching God: thanksgiving, praise and blessing His name. Any other way to reach His presence other than this would not be to His predilection.

God will be more willing to listen to us if we thank Him for what He has already given us, we praise Him for who He is and we bless His holy name. There are many people in the world, including some who call themselves Christians, who get up every day without thanking God, but rather complaining about everything. If we do not appreciate the infinite mercy of God towards us, we do little to praise Him. The same thanksgiving is another way of praising and recognizing His work of love towards us.

When we visit someone’s house, we usually do not knock on the door to make demands on the owner of the house when he opens us, but first we salute and usually praise what we see upon entering. In the same way we must do with God and praise must begin from the moment we step on His courts. Every prayer and every meeting in which the name of God will be invoked will be more pleasing to Him if we initiate it with praise.

If we want to learn to do the things of God in a way that is pleasing to Him, we should scrutinize in Scripture what that form is. Says Ruth Ward Heflin: “The church has long tried to do God’s work with the methods of the world. We have tried to do God’s work with the methods of man. We have tried to do God’s work with our own understanding. But, when we do God’s work in God’s way, we get the results of God.”

Let us learn the lesson that Psalms 100:4 brings us: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. And starting today, let’s start each of our prayers thanking God for everything He has given us, for what He has done for us and for what He will do. Let us be thankful for salvation and remember the holiness, the majesty, the dignity of God, among many other things, to render praise to Him.

His name is holy, and He must be blessed every time we come before Him. The model prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ taught us begins as it says Matthew 6:9: Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. This model of prayer goes according to Psalms 100:4 because it blesses the name of the Lord, which is also, like thanksgiving, another way of praising Him.

Let’s make praise of God a way of life and not merely a Sunday preamble to the sermon we are going to hear. The presence of our Heavenly Father will manifest gloriously when we enter His courts with praise. In this way we are demonstrating that we seek Him for who He is, not for what He can give us. God bless you.

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Being Thankful

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

It is unfortunate that many people do not appreciate the things they receive or give thanks. It seems that we live this life believing that everything that comes into our hands is part of the package and not an undeserved concession. Colossians 3:15 is one of several Bible verses that tell us to be thankful. Many of the things we have and use every day cost us money; but others, apparently we get them for free. However, be it one or the other, the word thanks should come out of our lips all the time.

In the many years that I have lived in the territory of the United States of America, the party that more caught my attention was Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day is a traditional celebration of the United States celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Generally in this celebration they gather around a table family and friends to share a banquet. Although religious in origin, today it is considered as a secular holiday.

Thanksgiving Day has its origins in a mix of European and Aboriginal traditions. In Europe, festivals were held before and after harvest cycles to thank for a good harvest, and to celebrate after the hard work with the rest of the community. The Native Americans also celebrated the end of the harvest. When Europeans arrived at what would be America for the first time, they carried their own traditions from their continent, celebrating the end of their journey, peace and good harvest.

In the United States, the modern tradition of Thanksgiving has its origins in 1621, at a celebration in Plymouth, in the present state of Massachusetts. The feast in 1621 was celebrated in thanksgiving for a good harvest. In later years, tradition continued with civilian leaders such as Governor William Bradford. Since at first the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the natives of the Wampanoag tribe helped the pilgrims by giving them seeds and teaching them how to fish.

Thanksgiving was officially proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. In 1941, Thanksgiving was officially declared by the United States Congress on a public holiday, to be held on the fourth Thursday of November. That is why every year on Thanksgiving, Americans thank Almighty God for all His blessings and mercies throughout the year.

For many Latin Americans living in the United States, Thanksgiving is just an American party in which turkey is eaten. It is time for us to take the example of the true origin of this feast. Giving thanks to God for every blessing should be a way of life. Every day there is reason to thank our Heavenly Father, who supplies all of our needs. But not only that, just wake up every day, have health, a roof and a family, we must be prompted to pronounce when we wake up the word thank you! God bless you.

A Grateful Heart

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

These days, many people overlook thanksgiving. There are people who believe that good things they receive are well deserved and, therefore, do not feel obliged to thank anyone. Others are so selfish that they just want their welfare no matter who they run over. According to what the Apostle Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, who do such things are violating God’s will.

When I moved to the United States, I was extremely impressed with the celebration of Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. I was impressed to see the solemnity of that day and as people gathered in homes to share a meal and thank God for all the blessings received during the year will soon be over.

I have been very involved with this national holiday of my adopted country. In 2006, for the first time since I moved to the United States, I spent the day outside the country. My wife and I traveled to her native Peru, where we celebrate Thanksgiving with relatives in the same way that takes place in North America. On that day we share with those present on the occasion to celebrate a special day to thank God and motivate them to continue to do so.

However, in recent years, I have seen, unfortunately, it has lost the spirit of the celebration of Thanksgiving in the America. With the emergence of Black Friday, just next day after Thanksgiving, many people are more concerned in taking advantage of special to shop than stop thanking God for all the good they received.

What is happening in the world that people no longer are grateful? In the 24th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord gives the signs of the end times. Matthew 24:12 says: And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Whoever loves is grateful, but the lack of love is expressed with the lack of a grateful heart. Children do not thank their parents for giving life rather they believe their parents only have obligations to them. Spouses not thank each other for acts of service that manifest. And worst of all is that we give thanks to God for anything, because we believe that He is under our service for everything we crave.

When we repeat the Lord’s Prayer we say to God that His will be done. However, we refuse to make the will of God of giving thanks in all circumstances. Thousands of people die every day. Those who woke up healthy have a good reason to thank God for it. Many people in many parts of the world lack a roof or food, we have that, we should thank God every day for food, house and health, among many things we take for granted. Let live it with a grateful heart. God bless you.