This is the Lord's Day! A day of celebration, of singing, rejoicing, shouting and exalting the Name above all names. It is not a day to rush into his presence and out again. It is not a day to allow the stresses, worries, and fears to overtake us. It is not a day to get caught up on our homework, housework, or to watch a bunch of sinful acts as entertainment. Today has been given to us to gather together, to celebrate Jesus. We have to celebrate, not because we are forced to but because we are absolutely convinced of his overwhelming love for us and we want to respond.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)
That is how we should be entering today, and every day, but especially today as we gather. If we want to celebrate Jesus we have to come together with thankful hearts. That is going to be hard to do if you are yelling at people this morning, if you are mad at someone, if you are tired, if you are holding on to hurt and pain. Maybe you have your reasons. Perhaps your feelings of anger are justified but those who are convinced of Jesus' love find it impossible to hold on to these things. Once we have truly experienced the love of God we are compelled to love others in the same way so that our hearts are filled with thanksgiving.
If you are finding it hard to "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise" today I want you to consider something from three simple verses in Psalm 118. If you meditate on these verses and are willing to let go of everything for Jesus, you will find his peace restored in you. I am convinced that if you allow that peace to be restored he will lead you to green pastures and beside quiet waters so that you will indeed be brimming with thanksgiving and praise:
In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free. (Psalm 118:5)
You are not a slave to these things in your life. You are not a victim. You are not powerless over them. These are lies. You do have a choice because the power of Jesus Christ has set you free. He told us that who he sets free are free indeed. So you are free to allow these things to fall away from you. You are free to forgive. You are free to let it all go, and I mean all of it. As soon as you realize this truth you will gain incredible power over every situation in your life. You will no longer be a victim and you will discover that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
Sound familiar to you at all? Jesus told us not to let our hearts be troubled, to trust him. He told us the world would hate us but not to worry about it because he has overcome the world. John told us that we too are overcomers because the One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Think about this. What can anyone do to separate you from the love of Jesus? Nothing. What is the greatest thing ever? Love. Who is love? God. So what can anyone really do to you? Nothing. The Word tells us that perfect love drives away fear, so allow his love to overwhelm you again and all these things will fall away.
The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. (Psalm 118:7)
If only we could live in this truth we would never allow our "enemies" to take us captive. God told us that he would never leave us or forsake us. Jesus told us that he would be with us until the end of this age. It is not even a simple matter of him being with us. The Word tells us that we have died to ourselves and have risen in Jesus. In Jesus! We dwell in him. In turn he is in us, because of the Spirit of God who dwells in us. Sounds like we are pretty well covered here. We are never alone. We are never without God. He is not a spirit that floats around in the room, coming and going like some kind of ghost. He has taken up residence in us and has promised never to leave. He has given us victory over everything that tries to destroy us, even over our emotions.
So that fight you had with your spouse this morning, you are bigger than that. Apologize, forgive, love and allow God's peace to enter in. That argument you had with your teen, let it go. They are young. They will learn. Instead forgive them and love them. Gain victory over that things. That disease you have, you have power and authority over that thing. Command it to leave you alone and then let go of it. Do not take ownership of it, let it go. Allow the peace of the Lord to enter in. You are an overcomer in whatever you are facing because of his love for you.
Now that we have that established there is only one thing to do: Praise The Lord! Allow gratitude for all that he is and all that he has done to fill you to overflowing with praises to our God. We worship from the overflow of our thankful hearts. If your heart is empty of thanksgiving then t is not really worship that you are offering up. Don't gather together with empty hearts but go convinced of all the goodness of the Lord and let the praises resound.
You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you. (Psalm 118:28)
Give Jesus a shout out. Let him know that he is your God, Saviour and Lord. You are my God Jesus! You are mine! And I am so thankful that you have chosen to love me. Thank you for your love, your unfailing love. Your love is so great it makes everything else look so small, so I let it all go. There is nothing worth holding on to, not compared to your love. I will give you thanks today Jesus from the overflow of my thankful heart.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:29)