Friday, February 2, 2018

Keeping Thankfulness Before Us

I was listening to a young man read Psalm 138 before services started at Bethel Church, and he ended the scripture reading by saying, "Let's keep thankfulness before us".  I immediately saw in my mind people walking forward and right out in front of them was thankfulness leading the way "sitting in a zippy little golf type cart"!  It made me laugh.  Thankfulness was leading the way and making it possible for people to follow Thankfulnesswith joyful faces.

Putting aside that unusual visual, this reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20.   All the armies were coming against Jehoshaphat and his army, and he knew they were no match for the others, so he asked God for help.  The Lord told Jehoshaphat not to be afraid because He would fight the battle.  Johoshaphat, king of Judah, sent out his singers first, just ahead of the soldiers.  They were to sing songs of praise, leading the soldiers into battle.  The songs of praise, of thankfulness, were more than enough, because the other tribes all began warring with each other and by the time Jehoshaphat and his army got to the battle field, everyone was dead.  His people were led by praise into victory.  They kept thankfulness before them!

I can't tell you the number of times God has highlighted praise to me in a circumstance or struggle.  Praise is a great weapon of warfare, and the enemy hates it when we praise our God.  Thankfulness brings our focus right back on to our Lord.  It leads the way for our own victories, whether, spiritual, physical or emtional.  Spirit, soul, or body.

In 2 Timothy Paul talks about us being given a Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind to replace the spirit of fear.  Maybe there is a Spirit of Thankfulness for us too.  Thankfulness can lead the way through tough seasons into seasons of blessing.  Thankfulness is KEY to spiritual warfare and to peace within.  Maybe Thankfulness is what unveils to us our victory.

Ann Voskamp has certainly changed her life one step at a time by writing down one thing at a time that she was thankful for.  She went from being a woman terrified to leave her home to a world renown speaker and author who is changing the world for others in places like Africa and Haiti.  All because she put thankfulness ahead of fear and found peace and victory over the enemy.  I love that!

Psalm 138 says, "I thank you Lord and will with all the passion of my heart!  I worship you in the presence of angels, Heavens mighty ones will hear my voice as I sing my loving praise to you!" (The Passion Translation)

My dear friend Linny Saunders has shared her own story of childhood abuse that lead to fear controlling her life.  She struggled with being alone for any amount of time, often having panic control her life.  And then God set her on a journey, and fear took a backseat in her life.  She is co-director of the International Voice of the Orphan, and flies to Africa a couple of times a year to work with her daughter and family at The Gem Foundation,  leaving her husband and family home. She still has 9 children at home, many with special needs. She is also an author and speaker, and I have been on the receiving end of her continual thankfulness to her Lord.  It centers her.

Keeping thankfulness before us shifts the atmosphere around us.  Keeping thankfulness before us keeps our eyes on Jesus,  guides us on the right path, and defeats that which comes against us and those we love. Keeping thankfulness before us brings us into His Presence.  It is a place where we can say as David did in the Psalms, "I sing my loving praise to You."  In His Presence, in thankfulness.

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