entering His gates
Our enemy is getting away with a lie. This lie robs us of peace, joy and seeing God move more in our community. Let me say I love our community; the people, their hearts for God, their stories, how we get to serve, and love others together. We moved back almost 5 years ago, and I cannot count how many times I have been blown away by the story of someone’s journey.However, I witness the same scene every Sunday. We start church at 10, with about 20-30 people, and over the next 20-30 minutes, close to 100 people come in. Believe me, I struggle to be on time…all the time, so my words are an observation, not an accusation. I get we’re busy, and I get our pace. Yet, we’re missing something profound. Let’s look at David’s words on how we should worship:
“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 to each generation.” (Psalm 100:3-5)
Our Father has a way. Everything we see in His creation has an order. David, a man after His own heart, tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. When we enter His house thankful, our perspective shifts. Our hearts and minds are reminded of all God has done for us, and His love for us. What comes next is a very natural desire to praise Him.
When we rush in, at some point during the worship set, we miss a powerful opportunity to offer a sacrifice of thanks and praise together. We’ve done this for so long, I think we’ve forgotten the importance of what we do. Our enemy has convinced us it’s just a few songs for people who like to sing, or it’s not really our style, so it’s hard to worship. Yet, it isn’t about us, or our style – it’s about Him! He is worthy of our praise! Before His throne right now, He is being worshipped and praised. If we come intent on offering a sacrifice of thanks and praising Him together, we will see more of Him.
Picture all of us there, thankful and ready to worship, as we walk thru His gates…you know those doors into Murchison’s cafeteria that He provided for us to use every Sunday. Those are as much His gates, as the gates, which led to the Temple in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day. Consider what it means for you to offer a sacrifice of thanks.
“I will fulfill my vows to You, O GOD,
And will offer You a sacrifice of thanks for Your help.
For You have rescued me from death;
You have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in Your Presence, O GOD,
And in Your life-giving light.” (Psalm 56:12-13)
Throughout the Bible, when GOD’s people gathered to worship Him, with a united sense of faith and expectation, He’s responded with His Presence. In each of us, there’s a deep desire to be connected to our Father. We can absolutely experience His Presence alone, at home, in reading His Word, in prayer, and in nature. But, we also experience Him together. That’s the point! Our lives are challenging enough; let’s not miss opportunities to worship our Father together. Our reward is Him; time in His Presence.