Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Thanksgiving and Heaven

Touching Heaven by Giving Thanks
A devotional by Patrick E. Craig

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, come into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” ~Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

The ancient Hebrews had a very structured set of rules by which they performed their worship in the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon. These rules were given to Moses on Mt. Sinai along with the Ten Commandments. In these instructions for worship,  God was giving the Jews a glimpse into the heavenly realm. 

This is what The Holy Bible tells us about Moses’ meeting with God:

“For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”
~Hebrews 8:4-5 (KJV)

According to my understanding and paraphrase based on my study of the Greek word studies by Wuest Word Studies, what God was saying to Moses was, the pattern I showed you on the mountain – for your earthly worship – is a duplicate of the pattern that happens in the heavenly throne room, when the citizens of heaven worship me.

So the priests knew that if they followed the heavenly instructions they would align themselves with the heavenly realm, and in that way, actually experience the Divine presence. God responded to their faithfulness by revealing Himself to them as a pillar of fire, the Shekinah glory, on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.

The book of Psalms is the liturgy for Temple worship the priests used every day in their tabernacle worship. Step one was exuberant praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4 told the priests, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart, come into His courts with praise.” 

When they followed this instruction, the priests were able to come through the gate of the Tabernacle into his “Courts”—remember that the tabernacle was a copy of the heavenly throne room— and from there, approach the very throne of God (represented on earth by the Mercy Seat) without hindrance. 

Praising and thanking God was the mechanism by which they opened the door into the presence of God. God gave them directions for living and forgave their sins as they stood before the Mercy Seat.

In a modern context God is showing us a way to actually catch a glimpse of the peace and joy that exists in Heaven, and to share that joy – like a down payment on the next life. God knows that the best way for us to deal with our problems is to put our attention somewhere else. And if I am being thankful to God for all the blessings in my life, instead of blaming Him for all the bad things, it’s amazing how the answers to every situation just seem to come, along with real peace.

The Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote these words in 
Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV): “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Paul also exhorted us in this way in
 Hebrews 4:16 (KJV): “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

When we sit down to our Thanksgiving feast this year, let’s remember that giving thanks is the key to his presence and peace in our lives. For it is at his throne that we will find the answer to all our questions and problems. Give thanks.

Author Bio:

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. 

In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles. The first book in the series, The Amish Heiress, a romantic suspense novel, was published by Patrick's company, P&J Publishing, in August of 2015 and remained on the Amazon Top 100 best sellers list in three categories for seven months.

The second book in the series, The Amish Princess, a historical romance novel, was released in December of 2016 and was on Amazon's Hot New Releases for over a month. Harlequin recently purchased the print rights for both books for their Walmart Amish series. Patrick also just released Cracking The Indie Egg—A Recipe For Publishing Your Own Book and it is available in most major digital bookstores.

Patrick and his wife Judy, make their home in Idaho. They have two married children and five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

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