October 23

Psalms 100:2, 4-5 (NIV) 2Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Our worship should be a joyful event. The LORD desires that we worship with gladness. That does not mean that we will never be downcast or troubled, but when we come to worship Him, to turn our eyes from the world to our great God, it should fill our hearts with joy. There is an answer to the world's condition. That should be our joyful song of worship.

As they entered the gates of the Temple, they were to enter with thanksgiving. Even in the worst of personal or national situations, God has still blessed you with life, breath, and so many good things. We might compare entering the gates of the Temple to prayer. When we come, we need to come thanking God for His goodness in our lives, before we present our burdens. They were to enter the courts of the LORD with praise. When we come together in our churches or in united prayer, praise should always be the first thing from our lips. If we could see in the spirit, we would see our blessings far outweigh our troubles. In case we didn't get the point, the psalmist repeats the theme, "give thanks to him and praise His name."

Then he tells us why. The LORD is good. It is not the LORD who has brought evil into your life. If it is chastening from the LORD, it is for your eternal good. Only good comes from His hands to his children. That is because His love endures forever. You may have turned from Him, ignored His love, broken His heart, but His love endures forever. In every generation, He is faithful. That is why you should come to Him with praise, with joy and gladness. If He was in the least bit different, or changed, you might have reason to be gloomy, but He is the LORD. He never changes. That is something to be joyful about.

Remember: You can count on His love! Come to Him with a thankful heart of praise today!

October 23

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NIV) 16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not put out the Spirit's fire;

Several times in the letters of the New Testament, the author gives a list of present, active, imperative commands. The verb tense in Greek tells us that each of these instructions is something we must do now. Right now and always we are to be joyful. It is a fruit of the Spirit. Joy does not mean that we are happy. How could you weep with those that weep and be happy? Joy is something much deeper than your present emotional state. It is the sense that comes when you believe that all is in the hands of your loving Father. Joy in difficult circumstances is a powerful testimony to the reality of your faith.

The next instruction is to pray continually. People often ask how this is possible. If you mean to isolate yourself and speak out loud to God without stopping, it is impossible. If it means to walk in constant heart to heart communion with God; it is the life of the Christian. Jesus should be our closest friend with Whom we share the moments of each day. A constant sharing with Him and listening to His voice will keep you walking in the Spirit.

God's will for us is that we give thanks in every circumstance. Everyone knows this is impossible without a radical commitment to walk by faith and not by sight. How can we thank God for loss and pain? It is only possible when we trust that He will work out everything for good. Giving thanks changes our perspective and cuts short the damage that the enemy intends.

The commands go on, but the last one for today is to not quench the Spirit's fire. The Spirit of God will cause you to share His passion for certain needs you come in contact with. Don't squelch that. Don't harden your heart to His leading. Go with it. He is encouraging you to step out and meet that need in His power. The reason we throw water on that fire is that we know it will cost us. Worrying about the cost is a carnal perspective. The godly perspective is that it is an opportunity to be an instrument of God, pleasing His heart, and laying up treasure in heaven.

Remember: Be joyful; pray always; give thanks; yield to the Spirit.