Yesterday, I shared one why and one how to when it comes to thanking and praising God. We learned that God is to be passionately thanked and incessantly praised for who He is and what He has done, regardless of our circumstances. Fluctuating circumstances, good or bad, should hardly determine whether or not we give thanks and praise to God.
Today, I want to give you another why and another how to from Psalm 100 that will help you base your thanks giving on something much more solid – who He is and what He has done for us.
Psalm 100:1-3 NKJV 1Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 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.
Why #2 (What He has done) – We thank and praise God because He chose us
Notice that simple phrase in verse 3, “We are His people.” That’s right, He chose us. Maybe it seems odd to say “I am chosen,” but if we let it, the reality of this truth can sink deep down inside of us and bring a great deal of comfort, stability and identity. We (followers of Jesus) are the chosen ones of God. This isn’t a point of pride but rather one of humility. It’s a great privilege to be chosen. We didn’t deserve to be but God did it anyway.
Think about that for just a moment. God chose you. He picked you. He found you when you weren’t looking for Him; at your lowest point (see Romans 5:8). You were lost in your sinfulness, sitting in darkness and blind to your need for a Savior. He gave you right standing with Himself. Cleared your rap sheet. Gave you a new start. Let these verses sink deeply into your spirit.
Romans 8:29-30 NLT 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn* among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
God is the Great Pursuer
I recently saw a tweet that said, “God found you. He is the great pursuer. You don’t find God. He’s not lost.” Wow. When I share my story of turning to Jesus, people will often say, “I’m so glad you found religion.” People think I found God, but in reality, He found me. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” So Father God draws us to Jesus and we in turn go and find others. Author and pastor Perry Noble often says, “Found people find people.” Once we are found, we join God’s mission to find lost people. He uses us to share the gospel with others. Just like you heard the gospel from someone, God now wants to send you on mission to be the bearer of good news. Jesus came to seek and save lost people – a group to which you once belonged (see Luke 19:10).
How To #2 (action) – We thank and praise God with happy service
Psalm 100 states, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Serving the One who saved your life from wrath and destruction (the due penalty for our sin) should be easy. We get to partner with God and join His kingdom work. We work from God; out of a heart of gratitude for what He has done.
So here is the question/action for today: are you happily serving the Lord? Are you using the gifts He has given you to advance His cause and mission. That service can take many different forms but lets also remember that the most important work is sharing the gospel and God’s love with lost people. After all, Jesus said the greatest command is to love God and to love people (see Mark 12:29-31). If you’ve experienced God’s love in a transforming way, you will love Him back and you will love lost people just as He has loved you!
If you are reading this and you are not a follower of Jesus, maybe you are saying, “Wait a minute. Are you telling me I’m lost? Who are you to tell me I’m lost?” That’s exactly what I’m telling you. I don’t say it in arrogance or to exclude you, but rather as a person who has been in your shoes (I was once lost until He found me) and who desires to see that same transforming love fill you as well. If you want to find out more about becoming a follower of Jesus, read here.
Remember what we learned yesterday. Thanks and praise is an action. So take action today – join God’s mission to seek and save the lost. Reach out to a friend. Make that phone call. Sit down for coffee. Offer to pray for people. Share the gospel. Invite a friend to church. Be that true friend that someone needs. The greatest thing you can do for someone is to introduce him or her to the One who changed your life.
Secondarily, if you are not involved in serving God in and through a local church, get involved. Don’t wait. Do it today. This is one of the ways we offer thanks and praise to God – by happily serving him!
Today, take one step with one person to be a light for Christ.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 6:44). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.