“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Ps. 100:4
Invitations Provide Opportunity
Once while in Kenya I was invited to speak to a group of pastors. This was a particularly busy trip for I was speaking on average three times a day in different locations and traveling several hours between locations. I would rise early spend several hours with the Lord then be taken to a meeting in the morning. I would spend a couple of hours ministering, eat with the people then get in the car and drive for a couple of hours and do it again and usually a third time as well.
The pastors were well aware of my busy schedule, but in Kenya time does not have the power it does here in the US and usually that is good. The Kenyans will worship for hours after walking long distances and God is faithful to show up in great power in their meetings. But, on this occasion it was different. The pastor had been told how important it was for me to get to my next location and therefore time was very short. After sharing this, the pastor stood up and spoke for an hour and a half before getting around to inviting me to speak.
Never Compete with The King
While I sat waiting before each ministering session God would usually show me what I was to speak on. I spent my time worshipping and studying His word and then He would give me a prophetic picture of their condition and usually a scriptural passage as I waited and then I would minister. At this service, the Lord whispered something unusual in my ear as it was clear this pastor was trying to compete with the guest speaker from America. The Lord whispered to me you must always recognize when a king is in your midst. Never speak out of turn before the king for the king may choose to withhold the blessing He had planned to give you. Then the Lord told me when this pastor invites you to speak, stand up honor the pastors and bless them, but do not give them the word I planned for them. Instead, kindly remove yourself and go to your next meeting, don’t even eat with them.
As Americans, we don’t realize how much of an offense this would be to those leaders. My team begged me to reconsider and to stay at least to eat with them. They all understood how offensive this pastor was, but they also knew there was over 200 pastors waiting to receive a word from the Lord.
When We Cherise The Lord’s Presence We Receive the Kings Reward
I didn’t see myself as the king I believe the Lord was giving a picture of himself and how important it is for us to recognize His presence and when we invite Him we need to allow Him to speak to us and guide us so we can receive all that He has for us. I cherished His word to me as royal protocol for honoring Him.
It’s interesting that King David understood this protocol and he writes in Psalms 100:3 that we first need to understand who the Lord is and that it is He who has made us. That we are His sheep not the other way around. We live in His pastures and only when we recognize this then he says, so when you come into His presence do it with thanksgiving and when you step into His courts make sure you do it with praise!
He is teaching us royal protocol. When you come to God do you do it with a song on your lips? With praise in your heart and thanksgiving upon your tongue? If not, you may fail to get everything the King had intended to give you.
Thanksgiving Occurs Inside of Us Long Before We Consume Turkey
As we come together for Thanksgiving this week we will no doubt celebrate the turkey and the desserts as well as the family that gathers around us. Most of us will even take the time to offer a prayer of thanksgiving as we should rightfully do, but let me remind you that thanksgiving begins well before the prayer is ever offered and the food is ever consumed. Thanksgiving occurs when we recognize who has made us and whose pastures we live in. When we do this a song should erupt from our lips and a shout of praise from our mouths. This leads us into His courts of thanksgiving where we have liberty to enjoy all of His benefits including that blessed turkey.
One last note, after I left those pastors and went to my next stop the pastor there had a much smaller crowd. Probably only about 50 people in attendance, but interestingly God had told him in advance that a king was coming to speak to them. He had purchased the attire for a king of their tribe. When I arrived, he dressed me in them and stood me before them and anointed me a King of their tribe. I was undone by this act for no one knew what the Lord had told me at the previous meeting and it was a difficult challenge for me to obey the Lord in that situation, but this act showed me that God had a blessing for me if I would recognize Him in my midst and speak only what He told me.
When we truly recognize the King in our midst, we are filled with praise and thanksgiving and He is free to give us all that He has for us.