Advent 2014 – Week 1 Day 1

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! ~ Psalm 100:4
When you look at various objects – buildings, landscapes, cars, planes, roads, cityscapes, holiday decorations – do you ever think, "Who created that?" We are often so caught up in the object’s beauty or its grandeur, its ugliness or how out of place it looks, that we do not think about who created it. We quickly see the outside and cast judgment without looking deeper to its creator: What was the intent in creating this? What does the creator see when looking upon the creation? It is the same scenario when we look no further than the external for our own justification. We look to see if we have the perfect house, the perfect tree, and the perfect setting for the holidays. We may not think about who created us and what he has to say about his creation. But you see, he not only created us, he made us in his image. He bought us with a price and gave us purpose for our lives. Our Creator has much invested in us, and he has much to say about how we view ourselves as well. As we begin to celebrate Advent, the coming of the Kingdom, and as we wait in tension, let’s look to God first for the picture of ourselves. You will see as we study the word together that you can enter this season with thankfulness, because it is not about how you look, how you act, how you are. It is about how God acted, how God created you, how God knew you from before the foundations of the world. He formed you in your mother's womb, and bought you with the blood of Jesus. You have much to be thankful for. If we all start with this – that God created us, knows us, and loves us unconditionally – we will be a thankful people in this season. Psalm 100 is a song of praise to the Lord. It is a song of thanksgiving because of what God has done. You can turn to this psalm during the busyness of this season to be reminded of God's love for you. It is a psalm with a promise as well, a promise that the Lord’s faithfulness will continue through all generations. Your children, your family, your friends may not remember Christmas gifts for long, but they will remember that you were thankful and that you acted differently because the Lord had changed you. They will remember that you celebrated Advent as the coming of the Kingdom, and the anticipation you shared was felt by all. They will remember the love you showed because of the love of your Creator. We pray that God will give us thankful hearts, and will show us his goodness and his plan from the beginning of time and from the beginning of our lives. We ask, Lord, that our thankfulness to you and our focus on you will touch those around us this season.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.! ~ Psalm 100:1-5