Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations (Psalm 100 New King James Version).
As I meditate on this Psalm, I believe this is a picture of what God desires for His church. There is power when gathered together in corporate praise and worship. This is a time when the Holy Spirit begins to flow, when God moves and speaks. People and hearts are changed when gathered with the assembly, singing praises and worshiping the Lord. Healings take place, miracles happen, souls are saved. During this time when the church is gathered together and united in worship and praise, hearts are prepared to hear the word of God, hearts are receptive to the correction of the Spirit, while ears and eyes become opened. When we shout to the Lord, we are letting God know that the inhibitions we placed on ourselves have been removed for His sake. When we come before His presence with singing, we are singing for an audience of One. When we enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise, we place all our trust into His hands.
As pet owners, my family and I are a kind of shepherd. When we come home after a period of absence from the house, our pets come to greet us. Our dogs are very excited and vocal to see us, and our cats will rub themselves around our ankles in greeting. They are expressing their joy and thanksgiving in knowing we have come home; they trust us to feed them, to take care of them and to love them. When we gather together as a corporate body, we need to express our joy and adoration of God to God! We shouldn’t have to be told when to stand, when to sit, when to clap. Corporate praise and worship time is practice for heaven. If we can’t express our feelings for God when we are with the Body of Christ, how will we be able to express them in heaven? Who cares what our neighbor thinks if we raise our hands or sing loudly and off key, we are not doing it to impress him/her, we are doing it in submission to God; to receive what He has for US and to bless His name. Just imagine what God could do if when we gathered together, even for one Sunday and just offered Him praise and worship as a corporate body. Imagine the healings and miracles He would bring when those that were sick came to the front of the assembly and were anointed with oil and prayed over while the assembly offered thanks and praise!
Church, it’s time to take seriously the things of heaven. It will be our ever after home, and if we can’t bring ourselves to effectively praise and worship the Lord with gladness and thanksgiving here on earth, we are going to have a hard time doing it in heaven.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this blessing of another day. Father may You bless our comings, goings and interactions this day by reminding us to continue to walk in the fruit of the Spirit. May our feet tread joyfully upon the path that Your word illuminates for us, may be continue to be steadfast and strong in our faith. May Your strength and grace cover us as we face moments of temptations and may we have discernment to find Your options for withstanding those temptations. Father, we love You, we worship You, we praise You. Your name is great and You are greatly to be praised! All day long, we praise and bless Your name. All day long, we lift You up and exalt You. Father, forgive us for becoming statues during our church services. Forgive us for not surrendering our hearts totally to You and placing fleshly rules on our corporate gatherings because we feel that we know better than You sometimes. Father, may there be altar calls and requests for those to come to know Jesus in every church. Father, may every gathering begin with a shout to You from the assembly, may all people lift their hands in adoration and submission to You. May all come before Your presence with singing regardless of the sound of their voices, we know that what we hear with our human ears may not be what You hear. May our worship and praise be a sweet aroma to You. Father, may the definition that man has given to reverence be redefined according to Your dictionary. May stoic and stony hearts soften to joyful and glad hearts. Lord Jesus, we long to see heavenly miracles when we are gathered together, show each local church what is missing; raise up the watchman, the prophets to bring Your word to the shepherds You have appointed. Father, for such a time as this, may Your watchman and prophets purify themselves and may Your shepherds begin to feel a sense of expectancy and quickness in their spirits in anticipation of the word You are sending. Prepare the local churches, Lord, for a move of Your Spirit and for a revival. Father, may Your servants not become so concerned with programs, agendas and scripts and become concerned with the hearts that are gathered together. We bow low in worship to You, Father, and we raise our hands up high in praise and adoration. All glory and honor are Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: If you are feeling a disturbance in your spirit about how your church does church, perhaps God is stirring you be the agent of change and to speak to your church leaders. It’s time to take the emphasis off how church is done and put the emphasis back on God and what He’s doing; it’s time to press in as a corporate body and gather together exalting His name, preaching His word, bowing before His throne. Get before the Lord and ask Him what He desires for you to do.
Additional Scriptures: Psalm 22:22-26; Psalm 40:9-10; Psalm 89:6-8; Psalm 107:32; Hebrews 12:22-24; Mark 16: 14-18; James 5:13-15
If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence…? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now (Keith Green)!