Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 100. (MsgB)
A Thanksgiving Psalm.
On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into His presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make Him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank Him. Worship Him.
Have you ever noticed?
So many times in this life, it seems as though we Christians get separated from God.
I start the day off with Him right there beside me. Out the door I go, with Jesus walking beside me. The Holy Spirit is in my shirt pocket and I’m good to go.
But then…it happens.
I get kinda caught up in my day. I have this thing to do. And that.
Then before you know it, I look up and suddenly God has disappeared! Poof. Like magic, the presence of the Almighty has up and left.
Did He step out for a smoke? No wait. This is the twenty-first century. People, and most certainly, holy deities don’t smoke anymore.
Did God get called away for an important job?
Duh. How could anything be more important than me?
Oh, I know.
God had to take a phone call. He’ll be right back.
But then it happens. Several hours later. Still no God.
No Jesus whispering to me over dinner. No Holy Spirit tucking me in for the night.
Yikes. Where’s God? Did I say something to offend Him? Did that off-color joke I told my co-workers really piss Him off? Maybe that selfish act of grabbing for the last piece of pizza at dinner got Him steamed?
So now what?
Several days go by. Sometimes weeks. Where’s God?
Life starts to feel like one of those Where’s Waldo? books I used to read with my kids. Each page of my life becomes cluttered with all kinds of stuff. But where’s God? I know He’s there somewhere. But where?
It’s at times like this; I need to turn to Psalm 100. The Thanksgiving Psalm.
The first good point about this song stuck away in the middle of my Bible is that it’s short. Really short.
Secondly, it gets right to the point. No flowery poetry. No kick the butts of my enemy. Just a quick, solid reminder that on the days when God goes missing, here’s the magic bullet that can solve my aloneness.
Two Simple Steps to Finding My Way Back Into God’s Presence.
Step One. Sing.
The psalmist says to sing my heart out to God. Not just a little hum. No little whimper of a tune. No piddly-littly kiddie song. But a solid burst of out-of-this-world praise. Kinda like the title tune from Oklahoma. Big. Boisterous. A ‘who-cares-who-hears-me’ kind of song.
Yeah, I know it’s embarrassing at first, but once you start, you’ll be OK. I mean, this is God we’re looking for here. Come on, man, belt it out!
Step Two. Say Thank You.
Oh yeah, I know it’s hard. Especially when you can’t find anything right now to be thankful for. But, as I see it, when you and I can’t seem to find anything to thank God for; quite honestly, we’re really not looking all that hard!
Thank Him for life. Thank Him for air. Thank Him for dogs (if you’re a dog lover). Thank Him for cats, if you’re of that persuasion. For heaven’s sake, just thank Him for being God!
So that’s it. The two secret passwords for getting yourself back into God’s presence.
I suggest you try it out the next time God shows up missing in your life. Ahh…you gotta excuse me now, I have to go do some serious singing and some heavy-duty thanks giving.
My prayer. Father, I’m sorry that I make such a big deal out of the times I feel so distant from You. Thank You for the reminder in Psalm 100 that all I need to do when I feel isolated from You is to 1) sing my heart out to You, and 2) become one who gives You my sincere thanks. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So why do I make my Christian life so complicated? Why do I feel I have to do a vast array of spiritual gymnastics in order to get back in touch with God when I feel distant from Him? What might it look like for me to simply become a singing giver of thanks?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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