Posted in Blog posts

Be Thankful!

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Protocol:

  • The customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic formality, precedence, and etiquette (Dictionary.com)
  • The forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state

Or

  • A code of correct conduct (The Free Dictionary)

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When Queen Esther walked into the king’s presence without being summoned, she breached the protocol of Persia’s royal court. Doing so, could very well incur the penalty of death. Aware of this, she declared with boldness and determination “…if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16 NKJ).

Fast forward to today’s world, with particular focus on the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, and we discover that an archaic code of conduct still operates within the Royal circle. So when it comes to greeting members of the British Monarchy, the media have been quick to report breaches of protocol by individuals who touch the Queen, or other members of the royal household, in what is deemed to be over-familiar ways. At best, it is seen as a faux pas, at worst, a lack of respect. So bystanders were amazed when the Queen herself dispensed with royal etiquette and placed an arm around the US First Lady, Michelle Obama, at a Buckingham Palace reception.

Did you know there is a protocol for entering into God’s Holy presence?

When instituting the laws of sacrifice, thanksgiving and worship, God gave the Children of Israel a set of rules for approaching him. If breached, the penalty was instant death (see Leviticus 10:1-3 NKJ). Later, when Jesus was crucified at Calvary, his death brought an end to the fear and trepidation associated with God’s presence. Dispensing with protocol (only an appointed priest could enter into his presence), God tore the temple veil from top to bottom, granting unprecedented access into the Holy of Holies, into His royal throne room (Mark 15:37-38 NKJ).

Psalm 100:4 highlights the protocol for entering into our Heavenly Father’s presence. Over 2,000 years later, I believe this instruction is just as valid today.  We are commanded to:

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

And into His courts with praise.

Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

We are being asked to come into God’s Holy presence with grateful thanks for what He has done. We are being asked to acknowledge and appreciate Him for who he is.

In Psalm 107, the psalmist complains no less than four times about the common tendency of mortals to take God’s goodness for granted (see verses 8, 15, 21 and 31). Unfortunately, it would seem that just as it was in the days of antiquity, so ingratitude to God features as a failing of our modern times.

Now, if people fail to thank me for a gift I’ve given, or a good deed done, it offends me. I’m pretty sure that you are no different. Well, if we, as fallible humans, appreciate common courtesies and recognition of our benevolent acts, then how much more our Heavenly Father, who is unstinting in his unconditional love, care and provision? In fact, we know from the laws set out in Leviticus that acknowledging his goodness and expressing gratitude to him was something He expected from the Children of Israel (see Leviticus 7:11-15).

The thanksgiving (or peace) offering was a free will sacrifice (Leviticus 19:5). In other words, although God expected his chosen people to be thankful to him, it would be their choice whether or not they actually expressed this. After all, nobody wants to be on the receiving end of token appreciation, or enforced thanks.

Which brings me to the point of self-examination. If we are honest, whether in our private or public devotions, there are times when we do not always feel thankful, or overflowing with gladness and gratitude. We may be feeling bewildered by circumstances, devastated by broken dreams, frozen with fear. And so we become preoccupied with protecting, or licking our internal wounds.

It is at such times that the offering of joyful thanks and praise to our Father God becomes a sacrifice – something that costs us mentally and emotionally – yet something that God highly prizes. At times like these, we need to resist our pain and swallow our disappointments, in order to “bless the Lord at all times” and allow genuine praise to flow continually from our mouths (Psalm 34:1 NKJ).

Do you regularly offer thanks to the Lord? Do you frequently express sincere appreciation and gratitude to him?

Hebrew 13:15 (NKJ) exhorts: “…let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.” During Biblical times, sacrifices had to be the very best you could offer. Anything less was considered an insult to God (see Malachi 1:6-8, 13-14). In today’s context, as worshippers, even though there may be periods where we are depressed, disappointed or disillusioned, this cannot and does not justify us offering lacklustre praise to the Lord.

So ask yourself – have I been, or am I guilty of auto pilot praise?

In this dispensation of grace, what a privilege we believers have been given that we can come without prior appointment, without the need of a third party, into God’s holy presence and in the knowledge that we are both acceptable and welcome.

What a blessing that we can step into our awesome God’s throne room without fear, without guilt and without an inferiority complex, knowing we are worthy because of the precious blood of his Son Jesus.

What a prestigious honour we’ve been granted, to be able to have an audience with the Holy One, with the Most High God, appeal to him for our needs, intercede on behalf of others and share our desires, dreams or problems, knowing that instead of incurring his wrath, He will place his loving arms around us.

On that note, let me close with the following:

I will extol you, my God, O King;

And I will bless your name forever and ever (Psalm 145:1)

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,

And let us exalt His name together (Psalm 34:3).

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Author:

First and foremost, I am a committed follower of Christ and as long as God’s breath remains in me, I aim to live a purpose-driven life. Like most aspiring writers, I love reading and the creative buzz of word-weaving. I’d like to consider myself as a word-artist. I’m fascinated by and admire the way skilled writers use words to craft stories, to educate, to positively influence and inspire others. I aspire to do the same. Having long-cherished a desire to vacate my prior position as once-in-a-blue-moon writer and join the ranks of published authors (albeit self-published), I’m working towards becoming a prolific writer, whose words are feted, followed and feasted upon by fans and word connoisseurs. Confession time – I used to be the queen of procrastination but have lately abdicated my throne. Unfortunately, my former subjects just won’t let me go (please pray for me!). I’m also a recovering perfectionist. Shush! Tell no one! Words are powerful! They have the potential to impart life or orchestrate death. And so my heart's desire is for the ultimate Creator and Wordsmith to use my writing gift for his glory, to infuse my words with his anointing, love and power. As a blogger, I write to encourage and inspire both myself and others—to maximise our potential and live our best lives.

22 thoughts on “Be Thankful!

    1. Thank you Kenzelsfire. I really enjoy writing my posts. I see the Holy Spirit as my creative partner and collaborator and loved how he helped me to craft this particular one. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sis, I thank you for the honour of being nominated for this award. I hope you will not feel offended but I wish to decline. Obviously it is immaterial now, but I have no idea what “apron the link up” means.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shell. Lovely to hear from you and hope you are settling down after your move.
      I am so happy you enjoyed reading it and appreciate the compliment.
      It is absolutely amazing that God invites us, accepts us and even longs for us to fellowship with him. Such an honour!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award . You can check out my blog for the rules of accepting the award nomination http://amanpan.com/2015/11/01/btw-its-halloween/ http://amanpan.com/2015/11/01/btw-its-halloween/
    I am bending the rules a bit. The Liebster award is for those that have less than 200 followers. Since, it is difficult to determine the number of followers on some sites and you were nominated, it is still a show of appreciation. There is no obligation to accept or address an award.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sis,
      That is really kind of you to nominate me for this reward and I do feel honoured. Just for your info I do not have over 200 followers. The figure you see on my site relates to “hits”.
      I hope you will not feel offended but I have decided to decline.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dawn,
    How lovely to hear from you. Thanks for your comment and for starting this discussion.
    Yes, I agree with you. We don’t want to lose the familiarity with God that a close and strong relationship with him as our Father brings, nor do we want to become over-familiar to the extent that we take his goodness for granted, fail to reverence and honour him as Almighty God or respect his Son, Jesus, as the King of kings and Lord of lords!
    Bless you and have a victorious day 🙂

    Like

  3. Our American culture has lost something beneficial in our over-familiarity and lack of courtesy and respect. It is a perspective that infects our approach to God as well, Not that I can’t be familiar with Him, but must still retain the courtesy and respect understanding the relationship (that He initiated and paid for.) Thanks for the reminder that there are proper ways to approach our Father, and the more difficult it may be, the greater prize it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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