When I Give Thanks, My Prison Walls Fall
May 21, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #545.
Are we stuck in prison when we refuse to give thanks? What freedom waits for my forgiveness and gratitude? John’s amazing revelation ministers to the Body.
(John) Without giving the exact situation, there has been a person that we were involved with that did us much wrong. So, I was sitting there, and I was cooking dinner, and a light bulb just went off. And I just wrote this, “Thank You for this person, for it is impossible for me not to be blessed, because I am His. Everything He allows is my blessing. Again, it is impossible for me to be His and not be blessed. This person is my blessing, because I am His. They brought something regardless of their motive to bless my life, and I thank God for it.”
(Jennifer) Ok, here is what just went off in my head hearing you talk about this, John. You know, it is one thing to read – I’ll use Joseph as my example – it’s one thing to read about the life of Joseph and, you know, I can look at it and say, “Well, I haven’t been sold into slavery. I wasn’t managing a household and then, you know, framed for sexy time that I didn’t have, you know? Kicked out and thrown in prison and, you know.” But what I realize as you’re sitting there and talking about that, John, is there’s more than one kind of prison. And there’s a very straightforward prison and then there are prisons that we don’t see as our prisons. And the situation that you’re talking about was in many respects a prison for us in a lot of ways. But I didn’t see it like that at the time, and I didn’t see that these things in my life that come and are almost haunting, they’re just, they so overwhelm me and batter me. And I don’t view them as the preparation. I don’t know how I see them, but when I’m in it, it’s very hard to get any sort of perspective whatsoever. But when you were just now talking, I thought, “Oh, my goodness,” you know, if someone was writing the story of this, that would absolutely, you know, fit into a years long, you know, situation that was intensely tormenting, in different ways for different people but nonetheless tormenting, pretty consistently. And I just, I don’t know. I just all of a sudden had this picture of my life as something a little bit more than what I think it is. I view it as kind of a, I don’t know, a succession of petty western first world problems. That’s how I would tend to describe my life, disrespectfully, which I have no right to do, because He gave it to me. And He could have put me and had me born in the mountain reaches of Mongolia in a sod hut, and He didn’t. And so, I don’t have the right to have a problem with that any more than anybody else does. But it just, John, it just gave me hope for the things that I’m stuck in and that feels like couldn’t possibly have any real eternal value, you know? It feels like I’m stuck in the mud, because I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I can’t overcome as quickly as I should be able to overcome. And didn’t Joseph float through this, you know, totally serene and very Zen-like? Because, you know, there’s never a section in there where it shows Joseph, you know, punching through a wall in a room and saying, “Are you kidding me??!!” You know. But that, I don’t know what his life looked like, and I don’t know how he dealt with these things, and what that was, but I’m grateful. I’m grateful to know that my life is more than what I think it is. (laughs)
(Martha) We know that. I’m thinking of someone that was one of the first people that really troubled me and tortured me and lots of pain and suffering and injustice. And one day as I was praying, the Lord said, “She is one of the greatest blessings of your life.” And I could hardly believe that, because I was suffering so under it. I wasn’t familiar with how He can make things be good for you. But it truly was. I got an education through her and a preparation. And in the end led her to the Lord. So, so much of what He sends to us is to teach us His wisdom, and to teach us how to overcome. So, I think the hardest lesson we have to learn is that He chastens those He loves and scourges those He’s interested in.
(John) Ok, so then this is a secret behind Joseph’s life. Interesting that you bring him up. This is a secret behind his life; the names of his sons. It says that Manasseh – the meaning is, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” And then Ephraim, his name’s meaning would be, “God made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” So, there’s no way that this man wasn’t thanking God and believing in His sovereignty. There’s no, absolutely no way. And it didn’t come in the precious, little, sweet way we would like in our precious moments gospel. It came through hardship. It came through trials. And so, for me to thank God for this person and to refuse to believe that it would not be the blessing that it is, because it is. I have faith right now that – and I haven’t had it. Believe me, it’s been very costly. So, I’ve not been here, but I am here now that I’m saying, “This is my blessing. Because I am His, it is impossible for it not to be my blessing.” They brought the blessing of God to me regardless of their motivation.
(Martha) That is so powerful.
(John) And so, I can say with Joseph, you know, “God has made me forget all my troubles and my father’s household, and He has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” That is my fruit. He will reap fruit in my life. He will bring blessing and He will bless me in everything. But I have to be grateful, and I have to thank Him.
(Martha) And the Amplified says, “In every circumstance. Give thanks in every circumstance for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Talk about the will of God! That one is. And you have to come to that Hebrew mindset that God really is behind everything and for your good. Our response is either a mountaintop or a crash, because it’s our choice how we respond. And many times by an act of my will I’ve said, “Thank You,” and there was only commitment behind it – certainly no gratitude of feelings. That doesn’t matter.
(Carole) I came across something in my journal from last year. I was looking for something different, but my eyes fell on this article that we read last year that is so powerful. And I was talking to somebody very close to me on the telephone, and she’s gone through a lot of difficult times, but she’s really coming through greatly. But again she’s met with some hard circumstances, and as I’m looking at my journal this is what I saw. It was written by this woman and she says these words, these 5 words are going to change your life. “This thing is from Me,” capital M.
(John) I mean it’s always bizarre, you know, to our rationale and logic that we would give thanks to God for everything. I mean it’s Ephesians 5:20 like you said. “Give thanks for everything.” I mean, you know, that’s not…
(John) But you know, I mean, there’s this one Precious Moment, little placard that says, “Give God thanks for all your blessings.” Well, that’s a little loaded. But if you look at it through this whole lens, everything is your blessing, because you’re His. “It’s impossible not to be blessed.” So, the Precious Moments little thing is right, but it is loaded, because it makes you feel…yeah, yeah, yeah. It makes it feel like, “Oh, my lovely blessings,” you know? “My new car, my new house, my wonderful wife and children, and…”
(Martha) We have the tendency in Christian west to say all bad things are from Satan, automatic just go to warfare, and all good things are from God. And that’s the tree of death, the tree of, “I decide good and evil. I don’t need God to tell me.” So, that’s why difficulties are such a test of what we believe and what we should believe about God, Himself.
(John) And thanking God supersedes it all. That takes you over the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you just say, “I don’t care what it is, I thank You, God, because You’re God and because there’s the impossibility of not being blessed, because I’m Yours.”
(Martha) “Thank You,” is a leap of faith that what you don’t see, you do believe. And remember in the 70’s, the book, Prison to Praise – by who, Carole?
(Carole) Merlin Carothers.
(Martha) Merlin Carothers. That book made a big impact, and he had others that followed that. He sort of began for Christians in the United States saying, “Thank You.”
(John) We just started carrying that book. So we have that…
(John) …at Living Christian Books. Yeah. We have a whole mess of them, because we wanted to carry it.
(Martha) Wow. I didn’t know that. That’s great. I’d love to read it again. He tells some wonderful stories.
(Carole) It’s simple. He tells it, and it’s just so simple.
(Martha) The solution is simple. We can do it by an act of the will.
(John) This whole thing is not an impossibility, because of the repercussions of not doing it and the degradation that comes. That proves to me that God is saying, “You can do this.” And when you don’t it’s going to be horrible, but you can do this, because if He was saying you couldn’t do it, then the spiral of degradation would be so horrible. I mean, it’s mental illness, it’s murder, it’s immorality, it’s idolatry. It’s disgusting.
(Martha) And a reprobate mind.
When I Give Thanks, My Prison Walls Fall – Episode #546 – Shulamite Podcast
“Everything God allows is my blessing, because I am His.” John’s amazing revelation continues to minister to the Body. Can we get stuck in a prison when we refuse to give thanks? What freedom and blessing waits for my forgiveness and gratitude?