Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 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. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5 (ESV)
Who said Sunday morning was easy? I mean breakfast isn't even finished and you are already stressed out! Your pre-school son refuses to get dressed, insisting on wearing pajamas to church. Your grade-school daughter can only find one shoe and the baby just spit-up all over her dress. Everyone is finally dressed and out the door and on the way to church: the kids are fighting, the baby is crying and you just realized you didn't bring anything for the potluck after the service. As you pull into your normal space, you tell everyone to put on their smiles and walk in calmly. You greet everyone with the standard, "Hello! How are you? Doing fine." But, inside your head, you're screaming, "Is this really the way it is suppose to be?"
Sound typical or bring back memories? Psalm 100:4 says to enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise, but how often do we do that when we go to church? What value are we placing on corporate worship when we fake it? Friend, there is joy to be found! When we truly seek to worship God, by placing our focus and attention on Him, we can experience the joy the of the Lord that is our strength - to admire His power, to praise His goodness, to rejoice in His mercy. We do this through prayer, song and hearing His word proclaimed in our church gatherings and we encourage one another in the body of Christ to stand strong in Christ. So the challenge is, how can we change our patterns and habits to make corporate worship joyful for our families? We must plan ahead and remember that our focus is "the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever..."