GPS (11.25 - 11.29)
Monday, November 25: ‘Shout To The Lord’ (PSALM 100:1-3)
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” -Psalm 100:1-3
Psalm 100 is just 5 verses long but contains two calls to worship. This first call to worship would have acted as a processional to the temple and worship service. This would have likely been sung by a choir outside of the Temple and would have called others to come to the Temple to worship. The knowledge that the Lord is God, Creator, and Shepherd of His people, Israel, would be necessary to worshipping the Lord properly. Verse 3 declares all of this about the Lord and helps to remind people going to worship that they should be going to worship full of joyful praise, gladness, and singing.
Reading this reminds me not only of the need to remain joyful for who the Lord is but also and especially for what the Lord has done. God has blessed me and my family many times over, yet I dare to complain to Him that it is not enough. This passage reminds me of the error of my ways and how selfish I am being with that mentality.
God has done great things and it is time for us to respond, to ‘shout for joy to the Lord” for the great things that He has done.
Shout to the Lord all the Earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name
I sing for joy at the work of Your hand
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You
Tuesday, November 26: ‘He Has Made Me Glad’ (PSALM 100:4-5)
“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 100:4-5
These two verses act as the second call to worship and would have been sung by the choir just before the coming worshipers would enter the gates of the temple. Following a knowledge that the Lord is God, Creator, and Shepherd of Israel, it was essential that worship contained thanksgiving, praise, prayer, and further knowledge of God’s character. The Lord’s attributes of goodness, love, and faithfulness are to be recognized by worshipers in any period of time, including today.
Any time I hear the words, “I will enter” my mind automatically goes to that old gospel song, He Has Made Me Glad which can be found in our little black worship books called The Faith We Sing. This is a song which my home church’s pastor liked so much that I learned it and remembered it without ever knowing where to find it in the worship books because we sang it so often. It took until I was in my late 20s before I was able to understand why we sang it so often. This hymn, based off the last two verses of Psalm 100, is so rich in its understanding of what it is to be thankful and how we are to enter into a time of worship. If we are entering into a time of worship with any other thoughts or feelings toward God then we are not entering worship as much as a griping session or a sensed obligation to be there. Let us come before Him today, with real thanksgiving, and let us rejoice!
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter His courts with praise
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for He has made me glad
Wednesday, November 27: ‘Way Maker’ (EXODUS 15:1-18)
“The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name." -Exodus 15:2-3
Not all psalms are found in the book of Psalms, there are several others scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments. This is one of my favorites and it reminds me of a great truth — that my God is a Way Maker.
This psalm is the song that Moses sang after God lead His people across the Red Sea, delivering them from 400 years of slavery and oppression. The people had come to a point when they had accepted that there was no way forward for them, no way to deliverance, freedom, salvation. And it’s in that place that God shows up (see Exodus 3—14).
How often do we come to points in our lives—in difficult family situation, in our professional struggles, in the face of an overwhelming diagnosis, when our spiritual journeys hit a dead end—when we simply feel as though there’s no way forward, there’s no hope or deliverance in sight. It’s in these moments that we need to remember that these are the circumstances God steps into, this is where God intervenes, this is where God reminds us of His faithfulness and His love for us. When it seems there is no way, God makes a way. When the world says ‘no way’ we say ‘Yahweh’.
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, Light in the darkness
My God that is who you are
Where there is no way, You make a way
Where no one else can reach us, You find us
Praise the Lord, our mighty warrior — Praise the Lord, the glorious One
By His hand we stand in victory — By His Name we overcome
Thursday, November 28: ‘I’ll Give Thanks’ (PSALM 136 & 1 THESS. 5:16-18)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." -Psalm 136:1
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Today, we simply invite you to give thanks. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if it’s hard to find a reason, no matter your circumstances or situation, give thanks to God today. Read Psalm 136 in its entirety (take a few moments right now). This psalm is a reminder for the people of Israel (and us) of all that God has done for them, for all the reasons they (and we) have to give thanks. And the refrain “His love endures forever” stands a continuous reminder that all that God has done, is doing, and will do, He does out of His immeasurable love for us.
Even when we’re at our lowest, when we’re at our breaking point, we remember that there is a God who loves us, who gave Himself for us and we give thanks. No matter our current circumstances, no matter how far we feel things have spun out of control, the truth remains the same, that God loves us so much that He gave us the greatest gift, the gift of His Son.
And so, today God, regardless of our surroundings or the situations we find ourselves in, we give You thanks. For the immeasurable ways You have blessed us and demonstrated Your love towards us. We give You thanks for the gift of Your Son.
So I'll give thanks to God
When I don't have enough
'Cause He's more than enough
And He knows what I need
Friday, November 29: ‘Say So’/‘Shout…’ (PSALM 107:1-3, 8, 15, 21)
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!” -Psalm 107:1-3, 8, 15, 21
The Biblical book Psalms is traditionally broken down into 5 sections or books and each of the 5 books emphasizes a different aspect of our relationship with God and particularly his God is present in our lives. Psalms 1 through 41, which make up the first book, emphasize how God is beside us. The second book consists of Psalms 42 through 72 and here attention is given to how God goes before us. The third book (Psalms 73–89) reminds us that God is all around us. The fourth book (Psalms 90–106) focuses on how God is above us. In the fifth and final book (Psalms 107–150), the spotlight is on how the God is among us.
How fitting it is for us to celebrate and give thanks that God is among us! Especially today, as we begin to transition from this season of Thanksgiving and prepare for the start of Advent in just two days, a season that centers on the promise of “Emmanuel - which means ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23). Psalm 107 calls the people the people of God to give thanks and to declare the redemption they have received from the God who has been with them in and through every time of trouble. The refrain that is found in vs. 8, 15, and 21 is a response to the God who has faithfully been present when His people were wandering in the wilderness, when they were lost in darkness, and when they were stuck in their rebellion.
Today and everyday, let us give thanks to the God who is always present in every circumstance. Let us the declare the redemption we have found in the One who walks with us through every time of trouble. He was, and is, and will always be our Emmanuel — God with us.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so — Let the redeemed of the Lord say so
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so — Say so, say so, say so, say so
I am redeemed, I am redeemed — I am redeemed, I am redeemed
Shout to the north and the south — Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all — Lord of heaven and earth