“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations”- (Psalm 1004-5, NIV)
In almost all monarchial states, whenever delegations are being ushered into the royal court, there are often greeted with trumpets blowing and an advance person singing praise to His or Her Majesty. The reason behind is that by the time one gets to meet the King or Queen, in person, such is already in the mood to receive the guest. Pleased, His Majesty gladly opens up to His visitors.
This is exactly what we are here being advised in our leading verse, that where we are entering into the presence of our heavenly Father, let us start with thanksgiving and praise. As one writer once observed we don’t enter into the presence of mere mortals, but a God who is the Father of all creations. If, earthly kings and queens, are worthy of this treat; then, how about the living God!
However, an important point is that we do this not as a hypocritical gesture, quite common in royal circles, where people blow trumpets to His majesty as a guise to seduce him award them a favour. In fact, in royal courts, praise singers have a tendency to overdo it, or compete in their adulation of His majesty. Theirs is often empty praise.
For Christians, our praise and thanksgiving must be genuine. When we look back at our lives we are indeed most grateful for all the good things God has done for us. How could we not, aware of His protection from close brushes with death. How could we not, looking back at all the blessings in this life!
So, today, maybe one of those, when looking back at all Jehovah has done in your life, you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. As Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom”
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven earth, today I come into your presence with thanksgiving and praise, for you have been so good to me, and I am thankful, and give you praise, all this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!