Today’s Readings:  click here  –  Psalm 100; Isaiah 40:1-11; Revelation 22:1-9       (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)

As we approach this coming week of Thanksgiving, and given what 2020 has brought us thus far, searching our hearts for giving thanks might just be more difficult than we thought possible.  Psalm 100 is ‘A Psalm of Thanksgiving’, so appropriate and fitting for this coming week. This is an invitation to enter into the presence of God joyfully and His faithfulness is for us now just as it was and is to come.  David brings to mind that we are to acknowledge that the Lord is God, our creator.  How do we do that?  We shout our praises, bear witness to his authority in all the land and within our lives in accordance to his unfaltering guidance and we give thanks and praise for His unending and faithful love for us. He is worthy of our worship and praise, with heartfelt thanksgiving as we witness and claim his almighty goodness.

In the Isaiah passage today, there were many years yet to come of trouble and exile before the fall of Jerusalem, and God tells Isaiah to be gentle and tender and to comfort His people of Jerusalem as the seeds of comfort take root in the soil of adversity.  In a sense, that is a pretty fitting counsel for us today in this futile year we’re wrapped up in and our lives seem to be falling apart. We ask God for His comfort, love and protection as we go through hard times. His comfort gives us strength to endure each fragment of what we are facing, and this comfort is found in His word, His presence, and His people. This is comfort at its finest. Jesus is our great shepherd, gently tending to our every need.  Both Psalm 100 and the Isaiah passage uses the word SHOUT over and over. The message here is that we are to make noise, raise the rooftops, shake the walls, and let God’s glory and goodness be known  to all through our actions and praises.

Revelation flows through each chapter staging the scene, setting the foundation and preparing us for our eternal life when Jesus comes again. Metaphors and truths are widely used, restated and repeated so that we are certain to get the point and stay on task. Here, the river represents our eternal life. The tree symbolizes the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The importance of worship is spoken here to John by the Angel.  Worship is the first step toward a meaningful bond and a deep desire to know God through a personal relationship with His Son Jesus. Scripture promises us, that when we trust and believe in Him, He draws near and His spirit is within us and our needs are satisfied.  This continues with confessing our sins and choosing to live a faithful life according to God’s laws and plan for us. Jesus is our living example, our hope.   As a Christian,  we are to do our best to be more like Him in every way. To mirror His life and actions is what changes us.  Thus, the world will see less of us and more of Him and to produce a gnawing sense and desire to seek His goodness.

Here are a few songs for your spiritual listening pleasure and meditation:

‘Your Love Awakens Me’ by Phil Wickham

‘Shout It Out’ by Vertical Church Band

‘This Is How We Know’ by Matt Redman   

Lord, I come to you with praises of thanksgiving. You satisfy my every need. You are with me through every mountain of joy and every valley of heartache.  I am so thankful for your example of a life of faith that binds me closer to you and my Heavenly Father.  May the reflection I see in the mirror be that of you, to guide and lead me every day. I pray this and so much more, with shouts of praises to you!  AMEN.