Thanksgiving – Fine-tuning the Focus

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 (NLT)

Last night I joined several hundred other individuals from my church to praise God and celebrate what he has been doing in our lives as we completed a 10 week study where we learned to see ourselves as we were before we came to Christ and then take a look at how God is rewriting our story as we learn to follow him. The praise was wonderful. But we were primarily praising God for what he’s done.  Me-centered worship.

Psalm 100 is a daily call to acknowledge and praise God in God-centered worship. This is a psalm about being thankful for who God is. A call to come before God and acknowledge who he is and offer him praise because he is God. We embrace his “godness” all that power and love and mercy that we did nothing to earn and honestly, can never do enough to earn. An invitation to come before God, in the place he dwells and just say I see who you are, I see who I am, and I am compelled to thank you and praise you. Not for stuff, not for blessings, but because of who you are. The only response I can possibly offer when I see who God is, just pure praise and thanksgiving.

This invitation into His presence is an honor. The place God dwells today is in his people, so we just have to cry out our praise, we need to offer this praise to God, it’s how we are created. This is not just an assignment for the fourth Thursday in November; it’s a daily call to go before God and offer thanks and praise. It’s what we were built to do my friend. It is a call to refocus regularly. To see God for God and to see me as I really am.

As we prepare to celebrate the day we call Thanksgiving with feasting and family time, I plan to enjoy every moment. There is nothing wrong with spending a day with beloved family! And I adore being surrounded by mine. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a feast. But I must remember that Thanksgiving is a daily need that I have to go before God, acknowledge who he is and offer my praise and thanksgiving.

Let’s Think This Through

What benefits does thankfulness bring into our lives?

Do you look forward to celebrating God with praise and thanksgiving?

Think about the joy you find as you spend time enjoying your family on Thanksgiving or any other day of celebration. Do you see any parallels with the time you spend before God?

Father, I come before you and just bow low in acknowledgment of who you are. All your love, your grace, your creative power and your willingness to pour it out onto the human race. I am humbled, and I know that I can’t even wrap this human brain around all you are.

I offer my praise because you are worthy of it. I offer my love because you have shown me how to love. And I want to stay in your presence for a few moments and soak in who you are.

I ask your forgiveness for my failure to spend more time praising you for who you are. I know I tend to focus on what you have done for me and how you love me. While this is good, teach me to also spend time every day just seeing you for who you truly are. Teach me to worship with a God-centered focus.

 

Author: Loretta Gjeltema

Encouraging women to thrive as they engage with God's word.

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