Column by Sumter Pastor Joey Durham: Declare thanksgiving for the House of God


Thank you for allowing me to minister to your heart with our devotion today, which is titled, "Entering God's Gates with Thanksgiving." My Scripture text is Psalm 100:1-5 where we see, "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (KJV)

This familiar Psalm actually contains seven commands that should not be avoided if we are to experience the Thanksgiving that will be the blessing to us that God desires it to be. Please notice with me these important commands from God. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." As the Old Testament people of God entered their Temple, they were commanded to do so with thanksgiving, and to this day, one of the besetting sins and failures of God's people is a lack of thanksgiving to God.

In verse 4, the Scripture declares that we are to enter His gates in a particular way, and there are several "gates" that we could consider today that should be entered with thanksgiving, but allow me to name a couple of them. First, I see the "gate of God's heart." In Psalm 66:16, we read these inspired words, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." (KJV) There is a basic principle of truth that has touched every person on this earth, and that truth is that God is and has been good to everyone. Even the person who curses God and uses His name in vain, the very breath they breathe, the beating of their heart and the ability to think and reason is a gift from the heart of God. But please notice that the Psalmist declares, "Let me tell you what God has done for my soul!" David thanked and blessed the name of God for the salvation of his soul, which is the greatest gift to man from the heart of God!

Also, I want to consider the "gate of God's House." In Psalm 122:1, David declares, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (KJV) Let me say that "gladness for God's House" and "Thanksgiving" are identical twins! Gloominess for God's House and thanksgiving are incompatible. Obligation to God's House and thanksgiving don't reside in the same heart. David was declaring his "thanksgiving" for the House of God, and we should as well. From Barbara and I and also our church family at the Open Bible Baptist Church, we wish everyone a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Dr. Joey Durham is pastor at Open Bible Baptist Church at 180 Old Manning Road in Sumter. You can contact Pastor Durham at or call the church office at (803) 481-9315.