Your Life Changes When You Give Thanks
March 12, 2017
When we give thanks, miracles happen. Our lives are transformed! In gratitude, we find a path through pain and suffering and out into the Light at last.
(Martha) I just finished Sunday a series on prayer (Experiencing the Depths of the Lord’s Prayer, The Power of Prayer) that’s really not finished. But there were twelve sessions [total] plus one just on prayer. So, at the end of it, when I’m going to take a couple of months off, I said to everybody, “Ok, now, I’m going to give you the secret of life, the secret of the Christian life, the meaning of life, and it’s just going to be so simple. You won’t believe how simple it is to live this life.” And so, I took them to Romans 1, starting with 18. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because,” and you’ll have to listen carefully. If this is familiar, you need to hear it new. If it’s not familiar, you need to hear it really big, because it’s the essence of walking with God.
The wrath of God has been revealed “because that which is known about God is evident within them,” It’s in mankind. There’s a book called Eternity in Their Hearts, and it’s the story of missionaries that have gone all over the world to remote tribes, who have never heard the name of Jesus, and there always is the knowledge, the inward knowledge that there is a God, and that He requires blood. Isn’t that incredible? Knowing God is within us, and I always say, “Let an atheist have a problem, and he’ll say, ‘Oh, God.”‘ We say, “Oh, God” with a blessing and we say, “Oh, God” with a shock and we say, “Oh, God” with something good. So, it’s within us. And even those… My brother-in-law asked me one time, “Yes, but what about those who’ve never heard the name of Jesus?” And I took him in Romans to show him that God says the law is in a person, and everyone will be judged based on whether they adhere to the knowledge they have of the right or wrong. So, God has made evident inside of us that He exists. “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,” three things. “His invisible attributes, His nature, His eternal power and His divine nature have been clearly seen by everybody.” I’m inserting that. “Being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.” The Amplified is rich. I won’t read it all, but Romans 1 starting with 18, verse 20 in the Amplified says, “For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made by Him, His handiwork.” That means the creative world, nature, the heavens and the earth.
“So men are without excuse, all together without any defense or justification.” God has revealed Himself through nature, through the heavens. If you sat very long before the stars in the heavens, you would be overwhelmed at the size of this universe, and you would have to know that there’s a God. Verse 21, “Because they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give thanks.” Two things. We know Him, we recognize Him, every person. That wouldn’t be fair of God if that were not so. He’s made Himself visible. And so, everybody’s without excuse. So, we know and recognize God, but there’re two things that are the response to that, that we do not give. We do not honor Him as God and glorify Him as God, and we don’t give Him thanks.
But happens there, if you don’t give thanks to God and you don’t know that you know that you know Him, you go down a spiral that begins first with a foolish reasoning in the mind. It goes from there to idolatry on down in moral impurity until at the end you get in verse 29, “they are filled, permeated and saturated with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping, covetous greed and malice, full of envy, jealousy, murder.” Ok, so what’s behind murder? What is a murderer’s problem? They did not acknowledge that God is God and give Him thanks. From the smallest sin to the largest sin, that is the failure of responding to God as He is. So, what I said was, down at the bottom of your life the issue is acknowledging that He is God and giving thanks. This is the central verse that commands us to give thanks. It’s 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Thank God in everything, no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus, the Revealer and Mediator of that will.” Thank God, give thanks to God in everything no matter what happens, no matter what the circumstances are. That’s not real easy to do, because we are not thankful. We are not grateful. We don’t see that everything, we don’t believe that everything that happens is “for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” It’s just not a natural response for most of us.
There’s a dear friend in our midst that we’ve known for years, and she’s had some very unfortunate, difficult, most horrible things happen, and circumstances to her and in her life. And she, of course, suffered greatly under it, and suffered a great deal of anguish and resistance to it; all the things that you would feel if you were terribly wronged and betrayed. And she got hold of a book. I don’t know the name of it. I think it could be something called, A Thousand Thanks? And it was not a Christian book, but it just advocated being thankful for everything. And so, she began a discipline in her life. Her discipline was every night she would write down things she was thankful for. She kept a journal of thanksgiving, and her life began to be transformed. Her very essence began to be transformed. She’s been such an inspiration to me and such a living example of the magic, the power, the transformation that can come from just saying thank you. Someone said to her today, “It’s not magic to say thank you.” She said, “Oh, but it is.” It has been magic in her life, the only magic probably that you can make yourself. But her story has so impacted me and so many other people, because literally she has become a different person. And we’ve seen that that is the case. When you say thank you… Give thanks for two days and by the third day you’ll be another person.
(Carole) I have just been so amazed at this dear friend, because I did watch that dark, dark night of the soul and difficulty that she went through. But somewhere she made a decision not to stay there. And God put something in her hand to bring her to the place where He wanted her to be. God did that. And it is the journey that our God has chosen for her. It’s not necessarily the journey that I would like, and go, “That’s not very ‘spiritual.” But it is the journey that God chose for her and is absolutely transforming not only her life but the lives of those very important people around her.
(Martha) The children.
(Carole) Her children are just visibly and observably transformed by what is going on in her life. This morning she said that her prayer was that the Lord would bring her to a place where she would live only from a place of true gratitude. And I’ve seen that. I’ve seen when things will get negative in her life, she will stop and say, “I’ve got to stop. I’ve got to get away. I’ve got to go work on gratitude.” Now, she knows that the gratitude does not come from her, and she has to ask for it. But I have watched that discipline that the Lord has worked in her life to bring her to the place of such deliverance from the bondage of that bitterness. Oh, my. And anybody, anybody in those circumstances could and probably would be very, very bitter. Would be, unless the Lord came in and dealt with it, and dealt with it along those lines.
Your Life Changes When You Give Thanks – Episode #536 – Shulamite Podcast
Even if you think you already know everything there is to know about Romans 1, you need this podcast. When we give thanks, miracles happen. Our lives are transformed! In gratitude, we find a path through pain and suffering and out into the Light at last.