It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for November, 2016

Giving Thanks Before We Receive is Faith

Faith believes God’s Word is true and the ultimate act of faith is giving thanks to God for what was promised even before we have received it. In the world system we are taught to give thanks when we receive something from someone, whether it is a complement, help or a gift. We are trained to wait and sometimes anxiously in anticipation until we obtain the promise and then express our thanksgiving.

In God’s kingdom, in the realm of His people, we are instructed to give thanks when we receive the promise of God. Thus displaying with the very act of thanksgiving, the certainty of our belief and faith that we have what was promised. Though we may not have received it in this natural state yet and though it has not arrived in our possession, we believe God has answered our prayer and that it is coming so we give God glory with thanksgiving for what we have asked.

John 11: 41b-42 And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Jesus started His prayer with giving God thanks for having heard His prayer before and for always hearing Him. Jesus was praying again not a prayer of vain repetition of saying the same thing over and over but a prayer for the benefit of the people so they would believe. Though Lazarus was still dead at that moment Jesus thanked God for hearing Him knowing God would perform His promise. Many may say Jesus is the Son of God and could do anything and that is right but Jesus limited Himself as a man operating under the knowledge of God’s truth and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same things we as sons of God have access to, God’s truth and the Holy Spirit.

We can truly give thanks in everything when we see everything in the light of God’s word, truth and promises. He will never leave us or forsake us and in every problem or trial God has provided a way of escape that will be for our good and bring Him glory. If we truly believe this and trust God we can give thanks in hard situations by the power of the Holy Spirit with expectation to see how the Lord will settle the issue. Not to say things we are experiencing are not hard, difficult and possibly overwhelming at the moment, but giving thanks to God in the midst of our hardship helps move us from self-focus and self-serving to faith in the hope God will do a great thing in this situation.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

It did not say it was joy when we go through life struggles and trials but we can consider and reckon it to be part of a larger process that in the end will produce faith and patience in our lives which is pleasing to God. When we are able to remove our self from the equation, our wants, our desires, our preferences, then it is easier to let go of the pain and wait on the greater good and glory of God. It is when we hold on to our desire to enjoy and be with what we have lost, that we cannot free ourselves to enjoy the present and be full of hope for our future.

When we put self on the throne of our lives, problems are hard to overcome because our needs, yearnings and cravings become so magnified that we lose sight of the things God is doing in our lives. It is only when God is seated on the throne of our lives, high and lifted up that He is exalted above all else and is magnified larger than our painful situation. It is then we are able to press through the pain and difficulties and walk in expectation, waiting to see the glory of the Lord to come as a result of that condition.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We know these situations did not take God by surprise and what we are going through is the will of God for us at the moment. More importantly how we act and display our faith in God in the midst of those circumstances will testify who God is in our lives.

Gratitude is giving thanks to God for what we have received. Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God for what we want to receive in our future. This is a true display of our faith. Faith believes God has heard our request though it is not seen it in the natural God has made provision for it spiritually and we can wait with expectation for it to manifest itself in the present. We believe our request has transpired in the spiritual kingdom of God and we are now waiting to see how the Lord will settle the matter in the physical realm.

The Spirit of Thanksgiving is a Spirit of Gratitude

To have a spirit of thanksgiving is to keep ever before us a sense of appreciation and gratefulness for the lives we were given and the things we are experiencing, which displays the love of God to a dark world. The lives we have and the things we suffer may seem hard and not what we wanted, or may seem to be an impossible life to live. It is our perspective that is off course because we allow our values and our philosophies of life to teach us to see our lives through our culture and how it relates to self. Thus we become self-centered and self-focused when in reality we should have a spirit of gratitude knowing God sits on the throne of our lives.

It is only when we see our lives through the lens of God that we can truly be grateful and rejoice with thanksgiving in everything. We must understand that we are an eternal spirit that came from God. We have a Divine purpose to let the light of God shine through us in every dark place in which we find ourselves. God has created us to be more than conquerors and to be victorious in every situation. If we focus only on the adversity, hardship and misfortune of the darkness, we will fail to let the light in us represent God in that situation. It is only in presence of opposition we can see the victor; it is in darkness that we can see a clear light. We experience God and bring Him pleasure when we are able to show and display a spirit of gratitude in dark places because we display a trust in God’s nature; His Faithfulness we can trust.

A newborn has no recollection of the life he had in his mother’s womb. Just as many of us live ignorant to the life and purpose the spirit of God has in us to destine us to live victorious over our circumstances for His glory. A child is fed, nourished and he develops a sense of self from his family and culture. We who are adopted into the family of God must be fed and develop our sense of Divine purpose through our Father Who is in us and speaks through us to a dark world.

Philippians 4:4-7        Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

We can rejoice in every situation and even hard circumstances when we let our response to these concerns be with a spirit of gratitude toward all men, even our adversary. This happens when we recognize Jesus as Lord of this situation and we may have to let go of our selfish wants so His light is seen through us, even in that sad and depressing situation. When our lives are about us being on top, getting what we want and keeping our pride, and when things do not go our way we become worried, concerned and even fearful. But if we can be grateful for the life we do have, and for the things we have already been given, our gratitude will turn our fear to thanksgiving. Our thanksgiving develops into trust and faith in God to do what He has done all the time, defend, provide and protect us.

If we know God is in this situation and He has orchestrated it for our good and His glory, we can walk through the process knowing we will be victorious. Many times it is in these difficult conditions that we stop and talk with God. We will pray, which is just a conversation with God, seeking His direction and plan regarding the state we are in. When we give God thanks for allowing us to represent Him in this hard situation, most times we will see the peace of God rest upon us. Our hearts and minds are protected from fear through our relationship with Jesus in gratitude and thankfulness. This is true faith.

Romans 2: 28-30        And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

This is why we are to give thanks in every situation, because it shows the faith and trust we have in the God we serve. This is the faith that pleases God; it shows trust in Him even in spite of these obstacles we face. Faith will give thanks to God even in a dark place because it knows God is true to His word.

We need to understand the purpose for which we are called is to be changed into the image of Jesus. Jesus came to restore us back into the right relationship, likeness and the family of God. God is our loving Father Who is working all things together in us so we will know Him and we will demonstrate His love in these hard places. We were predestined by God to show His love. We can give thanks because we know we are here with a purpose, called for His good pleasure, justified by the blood of Jesus so God’s glory will be seen in the earth.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ingratitude Is Wicked In The Eyes Of God.

God calls people who are ungrateful, unthankful, complains and mummers, wicked and evil. God had just freed Israel from Egypt and performed mighty miracles, signs and He even destroyed Israel’s enemies without them having to fight, and with all this they were complaining about what they did not have. What an insult to the Almighty God, Jehovah the God of Israel Who brought them out of slavery, gave them riches, silver and gold as they left the land of their captivity and yet they were complaining about what they would eat. This is a strategy of the enemy of God to get the people focused on what they think they want and not be appreciative for the things God has already given.

We are living in a time where people are particularly self-centered, self-focused and self-absorbed to the point they are unable to appreciate what they have. People are constantly looking for the next thing, looking for more and for more of the next thing. We see so much greed in a society that has so much to be thankful for but they are not content with what they have. No matter how much people possess it is never enough, even if they have more than they or their children’s children will ever spend they are not satisfied and envy and desire for more. This need for more has been cultivated by the commercial industry and the drive for more consumes us to the point that we are never satisfied or thankful for what we have.

Numbers 14: 26-28 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: NKJV

We are always wanting more, envying and coveting what others have, is what this culture feeds on. All commercial ads create in us dissatisfaction with what we have and then cultivate a longing, yearning a desire for more or something different. The Bible calls this lust, wanting something that is not ours to the point we will get it at all costs, even at the cost of family, friends or character. This is a strategy of our enemy to have us so focused on what we do not have at the moment to cause us not to appreciate what we do have.

When we complain and grumble about our situation we are complaining and grumbling against God. Sometimes we will start saying things and gripe about our situation and complain about what we do not have and we do not realize this is God’s will for us and we are, in our ignorance, criticizing God. God said He heard the complaints against Him and they have spoken these complaints against Him in His hearing. Sometimes God will give us what we say. It was not the plan He had but your words are stout and hard against Him.

Malachi 3: 13-14a      Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance…

Words are powerful and they are the seed of all things that exist. God created this world with the spoken word in the power of the Holy Spirit. We created in His likeness have the same potential, to create things with our words. God gave authority to man to reign over the earth. So our words can work with God or they can be harsh against God’s plan for our lives.

God has given us principles and laws of nature that reveals the spiritual principles of God and how His kingdom operates on the earth. Seedtime and harvest is one of the greatest principles given to us. Our words are seeds and we can plant what we want to harvest in our future with the words we speak. Most people are ignorant of the power they possess with the spoken word. Their enemy would have them to stay ignorant so to keep them saying destructive things about themselves, their family and to keep them from God’s plan for their future.

The culture we are living in helps develop and shape the way we view and value things. This culture is built on commercialism and with specific intent media, cultivates an attitude and atmosphere of discontentment which leads us to not being thankful for the things we have but constantly looking at others and wanting more. Instead of giving thanks to God for all He has given and praising Him for what He has done we are quick to forget the state we were in, as Israel did when they left Egypt, and we too began to complain about God in His ears.

 Philippians 2:14         Do all things without complaining and disputing,

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

God has given us the remedy to thanklessness, ingratitude, covetousness, for the need of always wanting the biggest, the best and the latest thing and that is to be content with such things we have. Halleluiah! This is a revelation! We can be content, happy with the lot we have, the place God has given us reign. Just as Joseph started out as a slave he changed his circumstances by not allowing bitterness and ingratitude toward God to have a place in his life. It is in this attitude of thanksgiving that allows us to be content and we are able to see the blessing of God and know He is with us and He will never leave us.

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