This Face Book Page includes devotional thoughts and updates about Ladies Bible Studies I am involved with.
The most recent devotional thought focussed on the first principle or ‘reality’ in Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Bible study, which is the one we have just completed: God is constantly at work all around us:
Could thankfulness be a key to supernatural breakthrough?
Could thankfulness possibly be a key to supernatural break-through and victory? The more I think about it, I believe this is true. I will even go so far as to say that developing a consistent, intentional lifestyle of gratitude will see us give God the opportunity to open doors that otherwise wouldn’t open, and to walk in a supernatural level of peace and victory.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 5:20 says: “Always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, that’s a tough one – I’ve tried to do this, and will continue to try … It’s not easy to be sincere! But 1 Thess 5: 18 says “Give thanks IN all circumstances”, and I CAN do that. Quite easily. SO I will!
Right now my elderly Mum is struggling. She has deteriorated rapidly over the past two weeks, and yesterday it was heartbreaking to see her struggling to walk even a few steps. The pain. Some confusion. I felt tearful and heavy-hearted to see her struggling. That sorrow settled around me like a sodden rain coat for the next few hours. And then I realised how much God has done for her already in her life.
I could spend hours telling you about miracles of healing she has experienced in her body, and miracles of provision, and God working through her to bring life, deliverance and healing for others. I can’t thank God for the pain she is experiencing now, and her great sorrow about being frail and dependant. But, looking back, God has done SO MUCH for her and for me, that I can’t stop thanking Him for what He has already done. And so – I can throw the sodden rain coat of sadness off – spread it out in the sunshine of God’s goodness, where it will dry in a jiffy.
BUT – you may want to say – Yes, we all know that an attitude of gratitude confronts negativity and may lift spirits; we know about happy endorphins and how a ‘cheerful heart does good like a medicine’. We all enjoy being around happy people who keep happy by “counting their blessings” rather than recounting their problems … the glass half-full perspective … but can thankfulness REALLY be a key to SUPERNATURAL breakthroughs?
I believe so. When we give thanks to God for Who He is and What He has done, we align ourselves with all the scriptures that say “give Him glory.” And the scripture I started with says, “Give thanks … for this is the will of God for you.” It’s God’s will for us to live purposefully thankful lives because He knows that being thankful does GOOD for us. Not just here in this world, but “out there” in the supernatural.
Look at Jesus (my favourite example). When He faced impossible situations, He gave thanks. He gave thanks for the one-boy picnic lunch and it became a feast for five thousand. Jesus gave thanks to His Father before commanding Lazarus to come out of the grave. And – when Jesus healed that group of ten lepers, He sent them on their way “cleansed”. When the one (Samaritan) leper returned to say “Thank you” to Him, it is clear He was disappointed for and in those who hadn’t. He said to the ex-leper who came back, “Where are the other nine? Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” I heard one preacher say that he believes that the leper who gave thanks was not only healed and cleansed of the leprosy like the others, but he was made supernaturally whole again – all the disfigurements restored. That resonated with me.
If you think I’ve stretched that a bit far, you may be right… but we DO know for sure that when Paul and Silas sang praises to God in prison, not only did they lift the spirits of all of the prisoners – the natural result – but the prison shook and prisoners were set free! A SUPERNATURAL result of praise in a prison!
Why don’t you join me in asking God to prove this in our lives? I am determined to commit to a lifestyle of intentional thanksgiving. I may struggle to thank God FOR all circumstances, but I have MUCH to thank Him for IN all circumstances. So I am challenging myself to start every day with thanksgiving – and when my mind starts sinking into sadness or anxiety, I am going to bring to mind the many occasions when God has rescued me, provided for me, healed loved ones, shown grace in my weakness. I have MUCH to be grateful for.I have some very “natural” challenges right now, with lots of opportunity to choose to give thanks. I should have some very practical proof that thankfulness to God is a key to supernatural breakthrough to report back on over the next few weeks and months. Let me know how you get on.
It’s been a tough week. We are in quarantine. We lost a dear friend – they both had Covid and she passed away at home during the night. They were alone, and sick, and her husband was doing his best to take care of them both. So – we sat with him and waited for the police and paramedics to come. He doesn’t know how to live without her. They have been in love for over fifty years, since they were both sixteen. We knew he couldn’t sit and wait alone, Covid or no Covid. Right now, although he knows she is with her beloved Lord Jesus, that doesn’t comfort him much. He wants her here, with him, or he wants to be with her – with them.
The friend of friends died tragically this week – an accident, not Covid. Others are facing financial devastation and others divorce.There’s been so much loss these past few months, and we know that many hearts are broken, and many are having to live with an unbearable void – or unbearable pain. No reason to get up in the morning. No incentive to keep going.
And yet, last night, as I was swinging in the precarious hammock between waking and sleeping, I suddenly remembered a miracle of protection and a great rescue from years ago. And I was overwhelmed with gratitude for that rescue – saying “thank You, thank You, thank You!” over and over again. Our son was travelling from Harare to Gweru with three friends. For some reason, very unusually, Ray – with his long legs – chose to join his pregnant wife on the back seat for the journey. So Dels sat in the front passenger seat. For some reason, very unusually, seconds before anyone knew a crash was imminent, Dels, pulled her legs up onto her seat. The vehicle in front turned across their path without signalling. My son’s car was a write-off. The front-passenger side of the car was completely crushed. Dels sustained a back injury and was in hospital for some weeks afterwards. Thank God she recovered fully.There is no doubt – if she hadn’t inexplicably pulled her legs up onto the seat – they would have been totally crushed. If Ray had been sitting in that front seat, there is much doubt that he would ever walk again – and he was a professional sportsman. Whiplash and bruising all round – but the precious unborn baby was unharmed. Years later now, Dels continues to live a full and fulfilling life. (I’m not sure if she experiences any back pain relating to that wreck.)
Those four experienced a miracle. A miracle of survival and protection and healing, against all odds.So – I think you can see why I was overwhelmed with gratitude, last night, when this memory came out of nowhere, saying “Thank You!” over and over again. Is that okay? Is it okay for me to be overwhelmed with gratitude when so many others are overwhelmed with loss? Are those of us who are experiencing plain sailing in pleasant waters allowed to feel joy and contentment when so many people we love are overwhelmed with sorrow? How does compassion work? Can I feel peace and joy when people I know are suffering? Should I?
I have been pondering this, and my conclusion is that we need to celebrate fully the gift of life – and although we will definitely weep with those who weep … how could we help it? … It’s right to enjoy the good times that God gives us and thank Him for mercies we have experienced. Without feeling guilty that others have not. I can’t help thinking that, in this global Covid pandemic, we are going through a kaleidoscope, all-at-once time of weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, babies being born and young and old people dying, loving and hating, gaining and losing … and refraining from embracing!
So, beloved friend, if you have reason to feel grateful and happy today, if something makes you laugh while somewhere someone is weeping – go ahead and enjoy the good moments. ‘Seasons’ of suffering come to all of us – as do seasons of peace and joy. And don’t let someone’s season of suffering sap your joy and your strength in your time of gladness. She needs you to be happy and strong. That will help her to keep going when she is ready to get up again. In the meantime, He will carry her in His grace and help her to get through her dark night of the soul, one moment, one hour, one day at a time. And you will be ready and able to take her hand and lead her into a season of hope again.
Eccl 3: 1-8: To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
Thank you to Gavin Finlayson, who lives in our area, for the stunning photos he shares to encourage us all. This is one of them this week – a yacht in the sunshine in our bay, with wintry snow on the mountains behind. Sunshine and snow. All at once.