In times when we feel crushed under the weight of a dark cloud of everything seemingly turning against us, we feel stuck with nowhere to turn, yet we still have the power of choices left. Although totally counter-intuitive to our situation, there is a way to activate Heaven’s forces to tear open the darkness around us and set us free to hope and run again.
Have you ever caught yourself feeling emotionally and physically totally drained, overwhelmed by the pressure of really needing something, or even wanting something, but can’t have it, …. by forever seemingly having to go without when your heart is yearning for more, …. or by somehow feeling ignored and taken for granted by those around you, no matter how much you give or do, …. or by fighting one exhausting battle after another, often multiple attacks seemingly being the norm, when all you seem to do is binding the devil and his demons at every turn?
If your answer is, ‘Yes!’ then I am talking to the right person.
The Apostle Paul was quite candid in the way he felt in some of his hair-raising situations:
“We want you to to be aware of the difficulties we experienced in the province of Asia. Our stress was so great that we felt we culd snap at any time; actually, it would have been easier to die. It was as though we were under a death sentence and had no power to overtun it. Having reached our limits and beyond, we could only trust in God. And god freed us to live, He continues to free us, and we believe He will free us in the future.” (2 Corinthians 1: 8-10 from “The Heart of Paul” Ben Campbell Johnson)
What was Paul’s key? How was he able to ‘push’ through? I believe he gave us his secret when he admonished, (Eph. 5:20), or, ‘ give thanks to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’“in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess.5:18).
Let’s have a look at the dynamics of being thankful. The word ‘thankful’ gives us a clue: full of thanks, and therein is the key: we are full rather than empty.
You see, if we are not full and content first, then things will only complicate life, and it’ll create even more problems.
You heard it said, that one cannot pour out of an empty cup, yet we attempt to do this all the time. The trouble is that when we come from a space need and not having and we look at our unfulfilled need and lack, then, when we attempt to give to others, we’re actually not giving but taking! It is a subtle form of manipulation and it brings about an expectation that is birthed out of premeditated resentment – resenting that we won’t get what we expect, or hope, wish, desire that should be ours (Ha! …. even when we don’t admit it to ourselves consciously).
If, however, we come from a space of gratitude, that in the moment of ‘right now’, in this very moment in time in our life, all our needs for living and being have been taken care of, and we really are full of thanks, yet joyfully desiring more, we are now operating in the realm of exceeding abundance that will attract more above all that we ask or think.
I believe that the Apostle Paul understood this principle that we can only have more, if what we already have causes us to be ‘full’ with gratitude, rather than mouthing ‘thanks’ to God as a formula in order to get what we want. Thus he wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6)
So, then, what are we to do if nothing but lack stares into our face? I challenge you to look at your life with open eyes. If we are willing to enjoy and appreciate the small and even simple, seemingly insignificant things in life, we open ourselves up to truly humbling riches, an abundance that already exists in our lives we so easily take for granted. From that space we can now attract more and greater, and giving out of that abundance truly blesses others.
What do I mean by attract more? You see it’s a case of positioning our heart in relationship with God at all times, in all circumstances.
When things are tough, rejoicing, praying and thanksgiving are all acts of our will and really require faith. By faith we use our will to focus on God’s promise; by faith we focus on what He has already provided, even when it seems difficult to remember one answered prayer, by sheer determination find something, never mind how little and on the face of things irrelevant, and begin thanking and praising Him.
This action puts us in agreement with God and His will for us. That agreement is what attracts the strength and reality of Heaven into our lives and circumstances. We literally thus operate in what Jesus taught in the so called “Lord’s Prayer”: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Thus heaven’s reality becomes earth’s reality. Thanksgiving agrees with heaven by acknowledging the truth that our lives are a gift from God, and that He is sovereign over all.
Psalm 100:4 says that we “enter into His gates with thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving opens the doors for the manifest presence of God. It fuses us with His purpose for us right in the midst of our circumstances and disconnects us from the purpose of the enemy we might be experiencing. Thanksgiving and praise causes our focus to be on Him so that our awareness shifts from earthly reality to heavenly reality – which we must do in order to release the strength of Heaven onto our circumstances.
“Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying ans singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). Well, you know the story in the Book of Acts, when Paul and Silas, beaten, severely abused, imprisoned in totally inhumane conditions, in their worst ‘midnight hour’ they chose to worship God and give Him thanks and praise Him. What happened was quite remarkable, God sent a mighty earthquake and bust open their prison.
This is not really surprising if we take to heart what the Psalmist declared, “God inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalms 22:3) No demon in hell can stand in the presence of God. Praise,worship and thanksgiving attracts the power presence of God himself and the angelic host!
“…. whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Mat 18:18
If you’ve been busy binding things on earth, forbidding things to operate on earth which is contrary to what’s going on in heaven, then you need to practice more to loose what’s going on in heaven into the earth realm, loose the forces of heaven, the angelic activities, our Father’s provisions into our life and into the lives of those we’re praying for. How? What’s the key?
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care – all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all – on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:6,7 Amp.)
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Let me leave you with a quote from Melody Beattie:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
© Copyright Angelika Regina Heimann – inStrengths Ministries - The Journey of Intimacy, 2008. All Rights Reserved