Published November 1, 2019
Every day is provided by the Lord to celebrate Thanksgiving. C.H. Spurgeon commented that "Let us sing the Old Hundredth" was widely quoted in the churches of antiquity. There are at least seven evidences of thankful hearts in Psalm 100.
• Verse 1 says thankful hearts produce a glorious sound to the Lord. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord" — Sing God's praise and thank Him for the Baptist heritage in Kentucky and those servants of God that left a legacy in song. Such Kentuckians as Thomas O. Chisholm who was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Ky., and wrote "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "Living for Jesus" as testaments to God's faithfulness.
• Verse 2 says thankful hearts provide a genuine service. "Serve the Lord with gladness" — Thank God for those that have given themselves to His work in Kentucky. Winning souls and teaching saints how to honor God through a New Testament church is of great value — men like Harold Cathey who led me, my daughter and my sister-in-law to the Lord. After extremely successful pastorates at East Baptist Church in Paducah and Unity Baptist Church in Ashland, Bro. Harold, under Unity's authority, started the largest Baptist church in Uganda, established a college and planted many churches in Uganda and South Sudan.
• Verse 2 continues to say that thankful hearts propagate a glad song. "Come before His presence with singing" — Of all the places in the world we could have been, God found many of us in Kentucky. There is a new song in our hearts as we consider the gracious providence of God.
• Verse 3 says thankful hearts perceive a great shepherd. "Know ye that the Lord He is God" — The Lord has manifested Himself in great things through the Baptists in Kentucky. Baptist history in Kentucky is replete with the evidences of God's blessing. All one must do is take note. Boyce Taylor of First Baptist Church, Murray, produced a model for missions that was used in part for the foundation of the Southern Baptist Convention.
• Verse 4 relates that thankful hearts present a grateful sacrifice. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving" — God is moved by the praise of His people. The sacrifice of praise is not a burden in view of what He has done in Kentucky. Native Americans viewed Kentucky as the "Happy Hunting Ground." As I view the deer, other wildlife and natural beauty of Kentucky from my deck it brings praise for God and anticipation of the unspeakable joy that awaits us.
• Verse 4 also says that thankful hearts praise a generous Sovereign. "Be thankful unto Him" — We not only say we are thankful, we are thankful for our great salvation and the things that accompany it. The J.H. Spencer journal is named for a Kentucky missionary and is intended to report our thankfulness to God for what He has done in the past and prayerfully ask that He be pleased to use us in revealing Christ now and in the future.
• Lastly, verses 4 and 5 state that thankful hearts prize a gracious Savior. "Bless His Name" — May our association and effort be used to the praise of His glory. Thank God for Kentucky!
Donald R. Houston is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Paducah and president of the J.H. Spencer Historical Society.
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