FOCUS: Entering His courts with praise
The other day I happened to turn on the TV in the afternoon to check my settings to record the fifth game of the World Series. On screen was one of the several “reality” shows depicting a courtroom dispute between two people. Each side presented their case. The TV Judge listened, commented and asked questions before making a decision. I wondered how these folks get on TV to air out their problems. One thing I observed, these people certainly did not come into this Judge’s presence with thanksgiving nor entered the court with praise.
Psalms 100 was an excellent place to begin a sermon series directed at thankfulness. Pastor Ed commented our thankfulness towards God manifests itself in seven ways. One aspect was our attitude as we walk onto the GateWay campus for our corporate time of worship. Are we coming into the presence of God with a thankful heart and with a mind set on praise? This made me think is this the only time we enter His courts and come into His presence?
I wondered how different court TV would be if the antagonists entered with thanksgiving and praise. I am sure it would not be the “entertaining” programming that was being sought by the TV producers. It seems the audience who subscribes to this type of programming thrives on the acrimony, name calling, inane actions and sad conduct of people. What if the people initially entered into whatever dispute or situation causing the court case with thanksgiving and praise. I am confident it would have not found its way on to TV.
I wonder how each of our encounters during our normal day would be if we entered each situation as if we were entering into the presence of God and His court. Would we enter with thanksgiving and praise or could it be the start of a case that could wind up on Court TV? My attitude and actions toward people are radically different when I am full of thanksgiving and praise to Jesus. I think my wife and children were very happy when dad would be full of praise to God.
I wonder if we got out of bed each day with thanksgiving and praise what impact it would have for the rest of the day. Years ago I heard Pastor Jack Hanford at a Promise Keepers event at the LA Coliseum give a simple process using the word PRAISE. This can take as little as a minute. I did this for a while but stopped. I think I will take it up again and see what difference it makes. Try this each morning first thing as you get out of bed. P - present your heart to God; R - raise your hands to the heavens; A - acknowledge God; I - invoke His name (say His name out loud); S - sing a song of praise (a simple chorus will do); E - then enter your day.
As Christ-followers this is our reality. Psalm 139 reads in part, “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me . . . . Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” We are continually in the presence of God. Therefore, wherever I am, whomever I am in connection with, whatever circumstance I may be found, or whichever way I go, I walk into His court and in His presence. Let us sing out in actions, Psalms 100. I would do and be so much better, if out of my gratefulness and appreciation I walked in His presence with thankfulness and praise.