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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Power of Thanksgiving



I remember once being asked to share the word of God in a prayer meeting many years ago and I was led to the scriptures in Phil 4:6-7. As I was meditating upon the verses, understanding began to flow into my mind.

Philippians 4:6-7 (New King James Version)

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


As flesh and blood (including God's righteous people), we always encounter different kinds of problems in this life. (Psalm 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.) The way we respond when we are faced with afflictions is the measuring yardstick of our spiritual growth from the spirit realm's perspective. Man may judge from the externals but God searches the depths of our hearts.

There are 2 opposing forces at work and we have a choice to align ourselves to either force: light or darkness. When we spend our time, effort and energy on things that produce anxiety, we become entangled and burdened with unnecessary "weight" as a result. Living and walking in the spirit - is "light" living. But, succumbing to the cares and pleasures of the world would cause us to be "weight-ened down". Hebrews 12:1 tells us to "lay aside every weight". Hence, we can choose to increase in our spiritual activities of prayer and supplication, etc. resulting in keeping ourselves in the flow of the Spirit or alternatively, we can choose to increase in the fleshly activities of worry, lust, complaints, backbiting, etc. resulting in being bogged down with guilt, shame, strife and loss of direction in life.

And the little powerful key that will unlock the breakthrough in times when we do not know what to do is the phrase "with thanksgiving". Thanksgiving will give the extra boost in our spiritual momentum as we seek to find our breakthrough in the Lord.

Many at times, we become blinded by the many circumstances that we fail to see the goodness of God. And we question what can we give thanks for? As we begin to give thanks for the "small" things in our lives, God will begin to work on behalf of us on the "bigger" things.

I came across the following short article which speaks powerfully on the power of thanksgiving. Be blessed.

THE KEY TO BREAKTHROUGH - by JONATHAN WELTON

Jesus said that "from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Mt 12:34)." As I have been listening to believers all over the country, I have heard hearts overflowing with words of fear, stress, and anxiety. Many believers have been hit hard by the change in the American economy. I have been asking the Lord about it and He has been emphasizing one word to me, "thanksgiving." Not the holiday, but the attitude of the heart.

Much of the talk from believers contradicts our name. We are called "believers," not "complainers". Complaining fills the void of prayer. We do not complain about what we are praying about. For example, if I am praying for my spouse for an hour a day, when I step out of my prayer closet I am not going to begin to complain about my spouse. If you are complaining about something, chances are good that you are not praying about it.

I saw a vision of a Christian being squeezed by a vise and the Lord said, "When life squeezes us like a grape, Jesus should pour out of us because we are meant to abide in Him." God is calling us to release thanksgiving when we are squeezed!

Complaining is the exact opposite of thanksgiving. The Bible tells us to "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess 5:18). Notice that it says, "in" not "for" all circumstances. We are not to give thanks "for" all circumstances because not everything is from God. If you are sick, don't give thanks for your sickness, because it is not from God, but thanksgiving in (or in spite of) your sickness. In Ephesians 5:20, God does instruct us to give thanks "for" all things, but the greek word Huper is the root of the word "for" in this passage, which means "above," "beyond" or "over." We are meant to give thanks above, beyond, and over our circumstances.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, (John 11:41) or multiplied the loaves (John 6:11), He didn't give thanks for His situation, He gave thanks in His situation. You don't have to be thankful for your situation, but you do need to be thankful in it. This will release the anointing of God to overcome your situation.

The prophet Daniel was known for giving thanks to the Lord three times a day

(Daniel 6:10). What we learn from his life is that when you operate in thanksgiving, the lions of the enemy don't have the right to chomp on you. Or who can forget Jonah? When he complained about his assignment to prophesy over Nineveh and ran from God, he was swallowed by a giant fish. If you look at what Jonah did inside of the fish, it says in Jonah 2:9 that he sang a song of thanksgiving. In the very next verse, the fish spit Jonah out on the dry land. The principle is this: if complaining got you into the situation, thanksgiving is the key to get you out.

We need to be a people of prayer so that when life squeezes us, a heart of thanksgiving will pour out. According to James 4:2, "we have not, because we ask not." If we need the Lord to move in our life, it is time to return to a heart of prayer with thanksgiving.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:6-7).

If you desire to see spiritual breakthrough in your family, finances, physical body, relationships, or any other area, it is time to begin applying thanksgiving in your prayers. Thanksgiving is a powerful force in the spirit realm, and it is a season where God is emphasizing the release of this force in the earth.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What a friend we have in Jesus

What precious and timeless truth the author expounded in this beautiful hymn. Indeed, it is a revelation of how we can experience heaven on earth - through the garden of prayer.

In the garden of prayer, where I can pour out my heart before the One who loves me like no other. A heart to heart talk with my Saviour. For there's no burden too heavy He cannot bear and there's no sin too great He cannot pardon.

He's the Almighty Creator who created all creation yet He comes to me with His undivided attention when I whisper a prayer to Him.

My Jesus, how could I be so slow to hear You? When the noise of this world subsides within me, I hear You beckoning me to the garden of prayer amidst a harsh surrounding of thorns and briers. Little did I realize these thorns and briers carry your sweet voice of love wooing me to my Saviour's arms of love.

Delay no more, O my soul,
Into His garden we will go,
Many secrets will He unfold,
As we commune on paths laden with gold.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.