An Attitude of Gratitude: Psalm 100

August 9, 2018

 An Attitude of Gratitude: Psalm 100

 

Things for Which to be Thankful…Author Unknown:

 

•Trains, cars, and airplanes that allow us to travel great distances to share Thanksgiving with our loved-ones.

•The spouse who complains when dinner is not on time, because they are home with me, not with someone else.

•The teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means they are at home and not on the streets.

•The mess to clean up after a party because it means I  have been surrounded by loved-ones.

•The taxes I pay because it means that I have a job.

•The clothes that fit a little too snug because it  means I have more than enough to eat.

•A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning  and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

•My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

•The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

•Getting too many E-Mails bogs me down but at least I know I  have friends who are thinking of me.

•All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

 

And then there’s the story of the woman who said, “I’m thankful for the fire alarm because it let’s me know when the turkey is done, and I’m thankful for automatic dishwashers so can get my kitchen cleaned up before the family comes in for after-dinner snacks.”

 

We need to have an Attitude of Gratitude!

 

We make all kinds of lists don’t we? Grocery lists, drug sore lists, New Year’s Resolutions, Christmas lists, but how many of us think to write a list of all the things for which we are thankful? Our list would probably include some major things like, long life, health, home, family, friends, and our nation and its leaders.

 

But don’t forget to list your spiritual blessings:

 

I’m Thankful for my Salvation. I am so grateful that God reached down into a little rental home in Downey, California and listened to a poor, hopeless, alcoholic atheist, that’s when I bowed my knees and my heart for the very first time in my life and asked Jesus Christ to be my LORD. I am so thankful that He saved me, called me into His ministry.

 

I’m Thankful for the Church. What a blessing it is to gather together with other children of God, for fellowship and to hear the Word of God. Hebrews 10:25 admonishes believers, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

 

I’m Thankful for Worship. But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple” (Psalm 5:7). “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6). “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Bring an offering and come before Him; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and in holy array” (1 Chronicles 16: 29).

 

I’m Thankful for Prayer. What a joy it is knowing what it’s like to go before an Almighty God, and place all of your cares, burdens, and thoughts before His feet.  What a privilege it is and how thankful I am that we can have this opportunity. “Thank you LORD, You allow us, yes you encourage us to come before You to ask you for anything.  You love us.  You sent your Son to die for us.  And You tell us that we may bring our needs and requests to You. And Your Word says that we are to make our petitions (needs and requests) known before You.  Thank you that You care about us, and love us so much that You want to answer our prayers. After all, Your Word says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

 

I’m Thankful for God’s Word. “Our sufficiency is  from God…” 1 Corinthians 3:5). “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (1 Corinthians 9:8). “Every Word of God is pure; He is a Shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:5). “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

 

Man has no power to save himself. James assures us that: “God…of His own will brought us forth by the Word of Truth” (James 1:18).  “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

 

I’m thankful for our Nation and our Freedom. Has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that handful of people from the Mayflower. They had no homes, and no government agency to help them build homes. They had no means of transportation but their legs. Their only food came from the sea and the forest, and they had to get for themselves. They had no money, and no place to spend it if they had any. They had no amusements except what they made for themselves, no means of communication with their relatives thousands of miles away, across the ocean, no Social Security and no Medicare. Sadly, they made seven times more graves than huts. And yet they set aside a day for giving thanksgiving to a gracious God.

 

But anyone one who would dare to call them underprivileged would probably have ended up in stocks. They had four of the greatest human assets: 1) Initiative. 2) Courage. 3) A willingness to work. 4) and a boundless faith in God. They had an Attitude of Gratitude!

 

Our Forefathers had a boundless faith in Almighty God. That sounds a little strange today. We are living in a time when powerful forces in our country are trying to strip us of every reminder that the very foundation of our great nation is built on the conviction that we are, “One Nation Under God.”

 

Our Declaration of Independence proclaims, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

 

In 1789, President George Washington made a Public Proclamation:

 

“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

 

Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, next to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.”

 

He had an Attitude of Gratitude!

 

This month our nation pauses once again to give thanks to God for His blessings on our nation. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people He has chosen as his own” (Psalm 33:12). “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

 

It seems that 21st Century Americans can only determine our Thanksgiving on how much we have. Do I have enough turkey and stuffing to sufficiently stuff myself? Is my money in the bank secure? Is my health going to get bad? “What if,” are our favorite two words. And we let material things determine whether or not we are thankful. And these things could change at any time. They may rust out, burn up, drift away, be lost in a flood, or someone may steal them. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

 

A Primary Sunday School teacher asked her class if anyone could quote the 23rd Psalm. A little girl named Debbie raised her hand. She was only six years old. So the teacher tried again, “Can anyone quote the 23rd Psalm?” Little Debbie was the only student with a raised hand. So the teacher said, “Debbie, are you sure you can you quote the 23rd Psalm?” Debbie said, “Yes ma’am!” She stands and declares in a very loud voice, “The LORD’s my Shepherd, that’s all I want.”

 

If you have the LORD, what more do you need? And yet, even some who know the LORD have the audacity to complain about what they don’t have!

 

•If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and place to sleep...you are richer than seventy-five percent of the world.

 

•If you have money in the bank, cash in your wallet or even spare change in a dish someplace...you are among the top eight percent of the Earth's wealthiest people.

 

•If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more fortunate than the million people who will not survive the week.

 

•If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the suffering of starvation...you are ahead of five-hundred million people in the world.

 

•If you can attend a worship service, or any other Christian-related meeting, without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death...you are fortunate. Billions of people in the world cannot.

 

So it's not hard for us to count our blessings, is it?

 

Most of us could quickly and easily jot down a rather lengthy list, including thanks for family and friends, food, clothing, cars, homes, pets, jobs, toys, health, freedom, church...and so on. So, what does God say? “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything” (Philippians 4:11-13).

 

“A grateful heart sees each day is a gift. Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have. I attended a banquet recently in which a wounded soldier was presented with the gift of a free house. He nearly fell over with gratitude. He bounded onto the stage with his one good leg and threw both arms around the presenter. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” He hugged the guitar player in the band and the big woman on the front row. He thanked the waiter, the other soldiers, and then the presenter again. Before the night was over, he thanked me! And I didn’t do anything. Shouldn’t we be equally grateful? Jesus is building a house for us, “There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” John 14:2-4, The Message). Our deed of ownership is every bit as certain as that of the soldier. What’s more, Jesus cured our leprosy. Sin cankered our souls and benumbed our senses. Yet the Man on the path told us we were healed, and, lo and behold, we were!” (Max Lucado).

 

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday. It doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday or anniversary. It is simply a day set aside to express our nation’s thanks to our nation’s God.

 

Psalm 100, “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has 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 to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”

 

Psalm 100 was written for God’s chosen people, Israel. He is saying to them ”When you come into the Promised Land and settle into your warm homes, and you have plenty to eat, do not forget Me! I led you out of the wilderness into a land flowing milk and honey. But God realizes that His people need a reminder. And I’m afraid that we Americans need one too! Perhaps God had us in mind when He wrote this Psalm! Notice how it is addressed: “All the earth.”

 

Also notice that the word LORD, ADONAI, meaning, “Owner, or Master” is found four times in these five verses. GOD, is ELOHIM,, Creator God.

 

Seven Thanksgiving Commands in Psalm 100:

 

1. Make a Joyful Shout to the LORD.

 

“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.” It is a shout to the LORD that comes from the very depths of our souls. Maybe you’ve been healed. Perhaps God solved a difficult problem for you. Maybe he has given you the direction that has been stressing you. Maybe He has provided a great blessing through answered prayer. When you realize that these blessings come from His gracious hand. You just can’t help but shout from the depths of your soul. God has been so good to you that you just can’t keep it inside, so you shout out your joy to the LORD!

 

2. Serve the LORD with Gladness.

 

Joshua said, “But as for me and my house, we will SERVE the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). We show  that we love God by serving. Paul referred to himself as a “slave.” The  Greek word for slave is “Doulos,” One who gives himself up to another's will. Listen to Paul, “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;  not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as BONDSERVANTS of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:5-7). “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to SERVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12).

 

Why do we, “Serve the LORD  with gladness”? Listen to Jesus, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

 

3. Come Before His Presence with Singing.

 

The Bible contains over four-hundred references to singing and fifty direct commands to sing. One of the fruits of being filled with the Spirit is, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:19). Part of our Spirit filled teaching ministry is singing, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16)).

 

God loves singing…Loud singing! Psalm 1:1, I the King James Version says, “Make a joyful NOISE unto the LORD. “…I burst out in songs of thanksgiving” (Psalm 28:7). “The Lord your God in your midst. The Mighty One will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Jesus sang hymns with his disciples. After they had observed the last communion, “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).

 

Singing praises should be the joy of our Christian life. Listen to the Psalmist:

 

•Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

 

•Psalm 40:3, “He has put a new song in my mouth, praise unto our God; many shall see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”

 

•Psalm 69:30, “Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor Him with thanksgiving.”

 

•Psalm 95:2 “Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.”

 

•Psalm 96:1, “O, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth.”

 

•Psalm 98:1, “O sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand, and His holy arm, have gained Him the victory.”

 

•Psalm 104:33, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise God to my last breath!”

 

•Psalm 107:22, “Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.”

 

4. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…

 

God took every bone, and every joint, welded them together with sinews and muscles, covered them with flesh, and gave us eyes to see, ears to hear, a voice with which to speak, and brains that think. He made us inside and out, just the way He wanted us. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14).

 

God made me and you! But He’s not satisfied with the unfinished project… So He is still making us. He’s not satisfied with some of our weaknesses: Our depressions, attitudes, temper, giving in to temptation, and habits. “Be patient with me, God’s not through with me yet.”

 

He's still working on me

To make me what I need to be

It took him just a week to make the moon and stars

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars

How loving and patient He must be

'Cause He's still workin' on me

(The Hemphills)

 

God is our maker, we are created in His image; therefore we give Him thanks for who you are.

 

5. We are His People and the Sheep of His Pasture:

 

Allow me to present a syllogism. I learned in debate that a syllogism is a

form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example:

 

All humans are mortal, the major premise. I am a human, the minor premise. Therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion. Here’s another one:

Sheep are dumb animals. Believers are referred to as sheep. Therefore believers are dumb.

 

In one sense, this is correct. To people who have not experienced what it means to be a Christian, Christianity looks dumb. With such incredible statements like: “Love your enemies.” “Pray for those who persecute you.”  “Forgive those who hurt you.” That seems pretty dumb.

 

The truth is, sheep are not all that bright. They are defenseless and a little dense, so they need to be completely cared for. You can’t just put a flock of sheep out in the field and expect them to survive. They are dinner for wolves and other predatory animals. Sheep must have protection. They tend to wander off and must be brought back by the shepherd. They are simple, trusting, and dependent; somewhat like children.

 

Of course, this is a metaphor. Sheep and Christians have much in common

 

“Sheep are friendly and social, enjoying living and growing together in small groups.  They naturally flock together because sheep love sheep.  Christians are gregarious by nature as well.  As such, we are to experience a deep emotional and spiritual relationship with other Christians and with God.  It is in our very nature to demonstrate love and affection one for another.  People might claim they are not overtly affectionate and do not feel comfortable demonstrating love but Christians express love because God is love.  Love is action, not simply an emotion.  Love is our heritage, our DNA as followers of Christ.  It is unacceptable and unnatural to be unloving or unfriendly Christians.  If a sheep appears unfriendly, it is likely caused by an issue such as parasites or disease making them uncomfortable, thus unsociable. Healthy sheep are friendly, attracted to one another, desiring to flock together.  Unfriendly Christians have issues, such as pride, depression, low self esteem to name a few making them uncomfortable thus unsociable.  When they get healthy, they will be friendly, loving, and desire to be with other Christians.” –Julieamarxhausen's Blog

 

We are dependent on our Shepherd to lead us to the green pastures, beside the still waters. And we are dependent on Him to guide us through the valley and the shadow, and to dwell in His house forever. (Psalm 23).

 

6. Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving, And into His Courts with Praise. Be thankful to Him, and Bless His Name.

 

In the Old Testament the Temple symbolized the presence of God. So the people knew that when they  entered the Courtyard, they were coming into the presence of God. “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever’” (Ezekiel 43: 5-7).

 

The Temple no longer exists. God no longer lives in buildings. He lives in every believer. When the Holy Spirit came to empower the infant church on the Day of Pentecost, He came to dwell in every believer. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” ” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

 

7. His Mercy is Everlasting, And His Truth Endures to all Generations:

 

“For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.”  Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Psalm 86:5).

 

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:6-7).

 

Mercy is God’s love in action! John 3:16 tells us, “God so loved,” that speaks of His great love for us, but it goes on to say, “That He gave,” that’s His mercy! He wants to extend His love and mercy to you

 

 

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!

For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!

For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders!

For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who by wisdom made the heavens!

For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who laid out the earth above the waters!

For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who made great lights!

For His mercy endures forever—

The sun to rule by day The moon and stars to rule by night,

For His mercy endures forever”

(Psalm 136:1-9).

 

Psalm 100, Synopsis:

 

•We shout joyfully for our many blessings (Verse 1).

•We serve Him with gladness (Verse 2).

•We sing His praises (Verse 2).

•We recognize that He made us (Verse 30).

•We are His sheep, He is our Shepherd *Verse 3).

•We are His Temple (Verse 4).

•We are the recipients of His mercy, which is His love in action (Verse 5).

 

We are thankful that, “He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve Psalm 103:10).”

 

Final thoughts:

 

•What if God began to treat us like we so often treat Him?

 

•What if God met our needs to the same extent that we serve him?

 

•What if we never saw another flower bloom, because we grumbled when God sent the rain?

•What if God stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

 

•What if God wouldn’t bless us today, because we failed to thank Him yesterday?

 

•What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow, because we didn’t follow Him today?

 

All of Dr. John’s teaching and preaching materials are free for your use, but an acknowledgement would be appreciated: pastorbigjohn@sbcglobal.net

 

Marlena and I support this ministry with our Social Security plus donations from a few of our friends. We need more friends! Will you be a friend to us and God’s word For You? Your financial support of this ministry is much appreciated. You may send your support to God’s Word For You, 25413 Alpha Street, Moreno Valley, CA 92557

 

 

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