THANKSGIVING

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THANKSGIVING CAN RAISE THE DEAD!

…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…John 11:41–42

After Jesus had said these words, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And the man who had been dead for four days came out of his tomb!

This is one of the greatest miracles that Jesus performed. Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus raised him to life. Wouldn’t you agree that death is indeed an extreme problem? Having no money in the bank, being sick and losing your job, bad as they are, are not as bad as being dead!

But what I want you to see is this: If Jesus, in the most extreme of problems, shows us that the solution is still, “Father, I thank You,” then how much more should we thank God in the midst of the less serious problems we face. If thanksgiving can raise the dead, then let us give thanks in spite of the negative circumstances and we will see victory.

Unfortunately, we tend to do the opposite—murmur and complain. But murmuring and complaining only magnify the problem. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is the language of faith which pleases God. I am not saying that we give thanks for the problems we have. No, we thank God that He is our answer and that He has already given every blessing to us. (Ephesians 1:3)

“But Pastor, what I have is so little.”

My friend, thank God for the little you have and it will multiply. Jesus thanked His Father for the five barley loaves and two small fish, a little boy’s lunch, and they were multiplied to feed more than 5,000 people with 12 baskets full of leftovers!

(John 6:8–13) And notice that when the Holy Spirit talked about this event again, He specifically mentioned the Lord giving thanks—“the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks”. (John 6:23) The Holy Spirit seemed to be more pleased with the act of giving thanks than the miracle of multiplication or the 12 baskets full of leftovers.

Beloved, the more you thank God, the more you please Him. What little you have will be multiplied and whatever is dead in your life will be raised to life!

Thought For The Day

Thanksgiving is the language of faith which pleases God and causes miracles to manifest in your life.

SEEING THE HAND OF GOD IN IT …

‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ Matthew 26:50 NCV

Jesus looked at Judas in Gethsemane and said, ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ It’s hard to imagine the Lord calling Judas His ‘friend’. Judas was indeed a disciple and therefore a friend, which made his betrayal all the more sinister. But Jesus knew that God brings good from bad situations (Romans 8:28), even the betrayal of a friend. How? He saw another force at work: ‘This is…the time when darkness rules.’ (Luke 22:53 NCV) Judas wasn’t acting alone—and neither are our attackers. Paul says, ‘Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.’ (Ephesians 6:12 NCV) Those who attack and betray us are influenced by a fallen world and a sinful nature. While they’re accountable for what they do, they’re also living under deception. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Jesus knew His Father’s purposes would be achieved through Judas, and realising this helps us deal with those who hurt us. Even though Judas didn’t understand the bigger picture, God used his actions to fulfil Christ’s destiny. Of the 98 words Christ spoke at His arrest, 30 were about the purpose of God. ‘It must happen this way to bring about what the Scriptures say…“All these things have happened so that it will come about as the prophets wrote.”’ (Matthew 26:54–56 NCV) Jesus understood that His immediate struggle was part of a greater plan and saw the hand of God at work in it. If you pay attention, you’ll see His hand at work in your struggle too.

MAGNIFY THE LORD

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. – Psalm 34:3

When we give thanks to the Lord—when we praise and worship Him—we are magnifying Him. Why is this important?

It’s because often, when we are beset by challenges, we tend to dwell on them so much until they grow into huge, hairy monsters in our minds! We give them so much weight that we forget that the Lord is far bigger than all the problems in the universe put together.

That’s why we need to magnify the Lord (make Him big in our consciousness) instead. As we give weight to His presence and His love for us, our mountains become small. As we give weight to His power to dissolve problems and obstacles in our lives, what those problems and obstacles can do to us become insignificant in the light of what the Lord can and will do for us!

So beloved, if you have a sickness, magnify the Lord your healer. If you are suffering financial lack, magnify the Lord your provider. Whatever fears you have of your mountains will dissolve in His presence, and you’ll find His divine wisdom, strength and grace to overcome them supernaturally!

CHOOSE TO LOVE…

John 18:23 “Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”

God’s kind of love is not self-serving or self-seeking. Agape love will cause a person to lay down his life for another (Jn. 15:13), because he has literally forgotten himself. Many times when heros are asked why they put themselves in jeopardy to save someone else, they reply that they didn’t even think about themselves. All they thought of was the danger to the other person. That’s God’s kind of love.

God’s type of love involves emotions many times, but it is not an emotion. It is an act of the will. We can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it and we can always conduct ourselves in a godly manner, when we feel God’s kind of love. God’s kind of love is a choice.

God’s kind of love is also the antidote to selfishness and pride. We cannot conquer self by focusing on self. The only way to win over self is to fall in love with God more than with ourself. It is in discovering God’s love that we lose self love.

Jesus didn’t feel some emotional sensation when He chose to die for us, but that was the greatest demonstration of God’s kind of love that the world has ever seen. He made a choice in spite of His emotions. Because He was consumed with God’s love, He acted properly, even when His emotions didn’t agree.

Jesus is the ultimate example of God’s kind of love.

GOD WHISPERS “FISH”

From now on you will catch men. —Luke 5:10

A number of years ago our sons and I enjoyed some days together drifting and fishing the Madison River in Montana with two fishing guides who also served as our boatmen.

The guide I drew was a man who had lived on the river all his life and knew where the big trout held. He was a quiet man who spoke scarcely two dozen words in all the time he was with us, but his few words enlivened my days.

We were fishing with small flies in choppy water. My eyesight was not what it once was, and I was missing most of the takes. My guide—who was also a soul of patience—began to alert me by murmuring “fish” when he saw a trout rising under the fly. When I heard his cue, I lifted the tip of my rod and . . . voilà! A trout on the end of my line!

I’ve often thought of that guide and Jesus’ declaration to His fishermen-disciples, “From now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). There are great opportunities that come our way every day—people circling around us, searching for that elusive “something” for which their souls crave—occasions to show the love of Christ and speak of the hope that is in us. These are opportunities we might miss if not alerted.
May the Great Angler, who knows every heart, whisper “fish” in our ears and may we have ears to hear.

All through this day, O Lord, let me touch as many lives as possible for You—through the words I speak, the prayers I breathe, the letters I write, and the life I live.

When the Spirit prompts, take action.

SEIZE THE PRESENT …

‘The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’ Jonah 3:1 NIV

We spend too much of our lives in the junkyard of regret. We focus on what might have been, could have been and should have been. Maybe we think that by replaying it enough we can change the outcome. But we can’t. The only thing you can control is what you do in the present. The more you replay yesterday, the further you get from today’s opportunities. And the further you move from today’s opportunities, the tougher the road back becomes. Opportunities never look as good coming as they do going. And they wait for no one, so you need to be attentive and grab them. They come in many forms, and they can come from any direction. But one thing’s for certain: they can be seen and seized only in the present. Whatever has happened in your life, has happened. And since you can’t undo it no matter how hard you try, wipe the slate clean and go on to what’s next. We all make mistakes. Jonah’s mistake caused a storm that threatened the lives of everybody around him, and ended up taking him all the way to the bottom. But that’s not the end of his story: ‘From inside the fish Jonah prayed to…God…And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’ (Jonah 2:1;2:10–3:1 NIV) He’s a God of second chances—and third, fourth, and fifth ones too! ‘They are new every morning.’ (Lamentations 3:23 NIV) Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called ‘the present’. So repent of the past, seize the present and start living again!

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