I was sitting in the very upper row of the University of Illinois arena with 18,000 people and I was completely blown away by what God was doing. This was the first time I had traveled to a major city outside of California, the first large conference I had ever been to, and the first time I had really allowed God to lead me to praise him outside what I knew at church. People from all over the country and overseas had gathered for a giant missions conference (Urbana) and we were now praising our Savior together. 18,000 voices lifted up, I never had experienced anything quite like that up to that point in my life. I was in awe and could not help but lift up my voice and praise God.

In verse 2 the pilgrims had just entered the gates of Jerusalem, there would have been hoping, it would have been beautiful, the songs they sang along the way would have carried them to feel joy and relief as they reached God’s city of peace. They would have noticed the massive walls and how impressive they would have been (verse 3) in contrast to the hills and valleys they just traveled through. They would have noticed a city-bound together over a king and more importantly their Lord. It would have been a moment where awe probably took their voice or breath away for a moment and all they could do would be give thanks to the Lord for just being there (verse 4).

Giving thanks to God for what he has done in our lives (salvation, hope, peace, guidance, etc…), praising him for who he is (creator, savior, sustainer), change things internally and externally for us. We do not have to travel to a far-off place since God’s Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 6:19), we just have to turn to Jesus. The journey for the pilgrims limited the distractions of everyday life, travelling to the conference allowed me a little separation from my normal routines, and we have the chance daily to set aside all else to praise the God who sent his son out of love for us. We can set down our phones, we can set aside the worries of the day, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us, so we can find a way to praise God along the journey.

Take a few moments right now to give thanks and praise. What are one or two things you can thank God for? Go ahead and do it! Pick your favorite hymn or song and sing to Jesus.

Pastor Jeremy
Family Pastor

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