Gratitude Unlocks a Hidden Blessing
May 14, 2017
When we’ve truly suffered, it can be very hard to obey and thank God for that. But when we do, our gratitude unlocks a hidden blessing all too easy to miss!
(John) Well, back to March, we had started a series of podcasts starting with #536. We went all the way through to #540, and it was about thanksgiving and about giving thanks. And after that we went into the will of God, but as a group we have really been on giving thanks. It’s just been kind of an underlying theme that’s been kind of with our life. And, Martha, you had the revelation out of Romans One about thanks, and then last night I had a pretty important revelation that kind of shocked me when I said it, and I was real excited about it. So, I wanted you to start with the Romans, and then I’ll go into what I saw last night.
(Martha) John and I had been talking about, seeing some things about pride and how utterly insidious pride is and how that is the essence of Satan’s nature. And the Lord said to me in that, “Go to Romans One. Go back to Romans One.” I’ve been in this passage for many years. It was a passage that has been a life passage for me. But I tend to start it at verse 19 of chapter 1, but it should begin at 18. The section is unbelief and its consequences. And it says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Then the following verses show you how that’s done, and that it does incur the wrath of God. So, then it says, “Because that which is known about God is evident within them…” Isn’t that interesting, within them? “For God has made it evident to them.” All of us in crisis, whether they’re believers or not will say, “Oh, God!” “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood by through what has been made or created so they are without excuse.” Humanity is without excuse. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.” And this is what hit me like never before. Pride is deadly. It is subtle and insidious, and you said a few minutes ago, “Pride is self-sufficiency.” Is that what you said?
(Martha) Because Satan tempted Adam and Eve to think they could be self-sufficient without God. So that self-sufficiency, which we admire in humanity, that is the suppression of the truth that I need God. But it occurred to me it’s kind of an epiphany. If you have a life of thanksgiving for all things, you avoid the pitfall of pride. Because it says, “Because they didn’t give thanks…” here’s what happened to them. “They did not honor Him as God or give thanks,” which means sovereignty and gratitude, “But they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.” They went into darkness simply by refusing to be thankful. Oooo it’s awful. The Amplified says, “His eternal power and divinity,” the two things about God that have been clearly seen. “So men are without excuse, altogether without any defense or justification.” We can never say we really didn’t know that He was God, “Because when they knew and recognized them as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking with vain,” which is pride, “imaginings, foolish reasoning and stupid speculations, and their senseless minds were darkened,” and it ends in mental illness and immorality. Actually it says agreeing with murder. We have a whole nation now that condones murder and so forth, because they’re not thankful. We have a generation of ingratitude. And it’s… I’ve been discussing a little bit with someone the Hebrew thought. And one of the basic Hebrew thoughts that we as American Christians, modern Christianity does not have is the sovereignty of God. In Lamentations it says we receive the good from God. Shall we not also receive the evil from His mouth? (Lamentations 3:38, Job 2:10) Both things come. And that’s a basic Hebrew tenet that saved Daniel from the lions, Joseph from death, and Job. Those men understood that mindset that God is God. Whatever comes to you has to come through His hands. And that’s very difficult for somehow the western mind to believe, but it’s all over the scripture. If you know the scripture, you know that God is sovereign. So, to sum it up, what I saw was if you operate in gratitude, you do not go to pride, and presumption and futility and vanity and delusion and foolishness simply by being thankful. Ingratitude is what gets us to pride. I suppose you could say Adam and Eve had that problem. They were ungrateful for what they had and decided they needed more. So, it’s really like an inoculation against the foolishness of pride, the delusion, deception of pride. It’s so simple. God’s ways for us are so simple if we’d just listen.
(John) So, their snare was ingratitude? Wow! Wow!
(Martha) Carole said, “Wow is right!” I think too one thing that we touched on at some point was unforgiveness is such – it’s ingratitude. Unforgiveness is actually ingratitude. So, unforgiveness would qualify you to fall into the deception of pride as well.
(John) What a perfect segue. So, last night I was just kind of praying about a situation. Without giving the exact situation, there has been a person that we were involved with that did us much wrong. And so, it will come back and evidence of it or…
(Martha) Repercussions are still going on.
(John) Repercussions, yeah. It’s been there and I’m… You know, it’ll be in my face. And, you know, it just kind of stirs it all right back up, you know? And then you’re angry again. And so, I was sitting there, and I was cooking dinner, and a light bulb just went off. And I just wrote this. I said, “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.” So, I literally, I saw completely that it literally is—It is utterly impossible for me to be His and not have everything that happens be some form of blessing. It may not appear to it… She’s (Martha) got a wiggling finger. I love it.
(Martha) I’m going to prove it to you. “All things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.” And to receive that good, I think you have to first realize that it’s God. They didn’t honor Him as God. God’s behind everything.
(John) There you go with sovereignty. Umhmm.
(Martha) Sovereignty. And so, then to thank Him for it is to be open to receive the good. I know one thing. I know that on our end of that situation we loved, we honored, we endured. And so, we didn’t…
(John) We didn’t return in kind.
(Martha) We didn’t return evil for evil.
(John) Right. But that is incredibly encouraging to me to know that I am that safe, because I’m His. It’s doesn’t even matter the motive. Because I am His and because He allowed it, it is my blessing. But do think that you have to go through… It can be a diminishment of you. It can be a curse upon you. It can be all those things if you don’t go into gratitude and thanks, if you don’t see Him as God.
(Martha) And forgiveness.
(John) Yeah, absolutely.
(Martha) Forgiveness is receiving it…
(Martha) As from Him.
(John) But if you will go and span the gap, and you will thank Him for it, then you are blessed. It is your blessing. It is literally His giving you a blessing. And I saw something today that if this person hadn’t done this, actually, I wouldn’t be writing as much as I am right now. I wouldn’t be writing the blog. We wouldn’t even have GetAlongWithGod.com. That was a bi-product of several decisions that were being made. And so, literally you had prayed. You had prayed that I start writing, and you were really praying that my mind would be really very clear and everything like that. And all that was answered through this. So, literally not only was it a blessing, it was the answer to your prayer. So, you’d have to go through the whole entire thing and say… Ok, and I don’t get to tell God how He answers my prayers. I don’t get to say, “Ok, I want You to do it A, B C,” because He may do it, you know, some totally different way. And He did with this. He answered your prayer. There’s, you know, there’s another situation with someone that you prayed for that their entire life is changed. But they came through trial and testing and illness, but because of that they’re glorious. So, not only was your prayer answered, and it came through that way. I want to be in the place of gratitude, because I want to get the blessing that was brought to me through this person.
(Martha) Well, and too, “Blessed are you when all men persecute you and say evil things against you for My name’s sake, for great is your reward in heaven.” And we don’t dance and celebrate much over being persecuted, but I was being persecuted 22 years ago when you were first here. This person was horrible, and you would say, “Martha, she’s paying your price.” And I would say, “What does that mean?” And you meant actually that God was using her to form me in character and spirituality. He was using her to chasten me, and she was actually a blessing. You had that insight.
(John) She would have been the answer to your prayers to be His and completely His.
(Martha) Yeah. Umhmm.
(John) So, He was answering. So she literally…
(Martha) She was the answer.
(John) She was the answer, and she was your blessing.
(John) There will be an eternal reward for what she wrought through your life.
(Martha) Ummm, ummm, ummm.
Gratitude Unlocks a Hidden Blessing – Episode #545 – Shulamite Podcast
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When we’ve truly suffered at someone else’s hands, it can be very hard to obey and thank God for that. But when we do, our gratitude unlocks a hidden blessing all too easy to miss!