What Happens When We Don’t Give Thanks?
March 18, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #536.
When we give thanks to God, we are responding to His sovereignty with love and trust in His goodness. What then does our ingratitude say to our Father?
(Carole) You know, the Lord has so taken care of me since He took Don home four years ago, and I sit here sometimes in this house and I am still in awe over His provision. And He has given me such gratitude for many practical, very practical things. But Martha came into the office yesterday, and I was telling her just a little bit about where I was. We prayed, and she saw that I was ungrateful.
(Martha) The Lord stopped me and said, “Wait.” I knew He wanted to speak to me. So, He said Carole had a block toward Him. And I said, “What is it?” And He said, “She is not thankful.” Now, that was a shock, because Carole is so grateful to me all the time, pours out gratitude to me and John and to the Lord about Don. I’ve never, ever seen her as one who’s not thankful. But what she saw was she was not thankful for what God had given her. She always sees herself lacking.
(Carole) And lacking spiritually. So, when I go to Him, I’m always in a funk, because I’m always not measuring up in my own view. And so, I see myself as the half filled glass, wanting, not having enough, not ever being enough, not ever being able to get enough water. And when Martha prayed, I’ve got to tell you, it was a transformation. It was a… “The Word of God is sharp and active as every two edged sword, piercing asunder soul and spirit and dividing the intents of my heart.” That was a poor translation, but anyway, that was a Carole translation. (chuckles) And it just pierced me, because what I saw was here God has given me everything, and I live before Him like I have very little. When I go to pray, I don’t go praying, believing and thankful that He hears me. I go hoping He hears me, and hoping He might do something. I don’t go in, I don’t enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts praise knowing that He is there, that He is listening, and that He wants to answer my prayer more than I want it answered, and He has everything available to Him to answer it.
(Martha) And see, we see Carole as spiritually brilliant. And goodness, when she got this yesterday, she was pouring out wisdom and insight, amazing insight into what gratitude will do. But because she wasn’t thankful for what she did have, she was blocking God’s way to pour more to her.
(Carole) Because I wasn’t thankful for what I did have, I didn’t have it.
(Carole) I just didn’t have it, because I was not thankful for what I have. And so, I did not operate in it. I did not experience the riches of His provision, because I was not thankful for what He gave me. I didn’t believe it. And one of the things we saw yesterday, Martha, was that thanksgiving is faith. Faith is thanksgiving. That being thankful and saying, “Oh, thank You, Lord, that You have heard this prayer. Thank You, Lord, that You have provided. You have the provision.” That is faith, because it’s already… I already have it. I’m thanking Him for something I already have, even if I don’t see it. I said to someone today, “Ok, I’m done. I am done with not believing the prayers that I have prayed for my children, because I have prayed for my children according to God’s will.” He has not only given me the prayer, the prayers are throughout scripture, and I stand on those prayers, and I proclaim those prayers, and I’m done with not giving Him thanks for doing what I have asked Him to do according to His very own will. And if that means looking at a journey that I may or may not approve of—Carole, I’m talking about Carole not approving—that I may or may not approve of because it’s not, it doesn’t look spiritual enough. It looks secular, whatever, or it looks like there is absolutely nothing being done, or it looks worse than that, like they’re going further down hill than going uphill. I’m done, and I am going to praise Him, because that is what He has asked us to do. That is honoring Him and respecting Him and glorifying Him, and saying, “You are God, and I believe You are going to do, that You are going…” No, no, no. “You are doing what You have promised to do.”
(Martha) Over and over again He sent me to, when I would have a situation, He would say Psalm 50. And I would say, “I know what it is. Ok, I know what it is.” It’s 14 and 15. “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.” Now sacrifice means that you give something that’s costly. So, when you have a situation in your life that you don’t like or some small to large, if you say, “Thank You,” to God in that situation when it doesn’t look like He’s ruling and reigning. It doesn’t look like He’s there, but you say— thank Him for it. It says in 1st Thessalonians, “Give thanks for every, in every circumstance for it.” And so you give a sacrifice; when you don’t feel it, it is an act of your will, which is what our dear friend did. She went against her feelings, her will. She went against her mind, and said, “Thank You.” And He says, “fulfill your vows to the Most High.” I wonder if it would be impossible if we don’t say thanks, if we don’t give thanksgiving to fulfill our vows to Him. How can we obey if we don’t believe that He’s so good, that everything that happens is good? You’re right, Carole, thanksgiving is faith. Then He says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble.” We’re plowing the ground with “Thank You’s” so that in the day of trouble we pray, and He will answer, and He will move. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” So, the thanksgiving begins a process spiritually from heaven to earth, from God to you just by saying thanks when you don’t want to. He said in the, Jesus said in the Beatitudes, “Resist not the evil men do to you.” And that is the most difficult thing for human nature to do, to not resist, even if you resist just in your heart, to violently resist what you don’t like. So, this is the solution to that. If you thank God in every circumstance, then you are skipping over that resistance. You are exercising faith, you are speaking faith. And so, you don’t have the disaster that could come if you resist it. If you resist evil, it will get you. If you say, “Thank You, God,” for this circumstance… It’s a story, remember years ago, Prison to Praise, by Merlin Carothers. My husband gave out many copies of that book to prisoners. He (Carothers) discovered it as a Chaplin in the Army. And the whole book is very simple. It’s about stories where in difficult situations including one officer, whose wife was mentally ill. He said to him, “Give thanks to God for it.” And, of course, it was the most unusual counseling from any minister that you could imagine. And then he tells the story of how that turned out well. So, it is, it’s the basis of our response to God. It’s the very core of how we respond to God. Do we honor Him? He is God.
(Carole) It’s the foundation. That’s it.
(Martha) That’s right.
(Carole) It’s absolutely the foundation. And I’m seeing that like I’ve never seen it before. I’ve never, I’ve never viewed it as I’m seeing, miraculously seeing before. And it opens the door to every possibility, every possibility and promise that God has. It opens the door to it.
(Martha) And it closes the door if we don’t do it. That’s what’s so shocking. That this in Psalm 50, “I will deliver you and you will honor Me.” That is God’s response to our response. We have a response to God. It doesn’t matter if we don’t like what’s happened, or we are bruised and hurt and wounded and ravaged by it. If we say, “Thank You,” it opens the door for God to resolve all of it. So then, if we don’t say “Thank You, then we’re stuck in it, and can be stuck in it for years.
(Carole) And when we don’t, I’m thinking of this because it’s so detrimental to God’s will, to God’s purpose, but when I refuse to give thanks because things are rough or things are not going according to my plan, I can be the very one responsible for it not going according to His plan. I can be the very stumbling block in the way of God performing what He wants to perform. Whereas thanksgiving would open the door wide to His provision. And I’m thinking of something very, very practical. Today is an example, and I don’t need to go into a whole lot, except that I was thinking about a person, and I thought, “Oh, that person is…” It was a very negative thought. And I’m not saying that it hasn’t been true, but to dwell on that becomes a curse, and it becomes a curse to that person. And it becomes an expectation for them to be something that I see they’re not. And it paralyzes them to be who God created them the to be.
(Martha) So what does that thought do to you? It blocks your being a source of Christ.
(Carole) It blocks my being a source of Christ, and it blocks the very prayer that I’ve prayed. It stops, it stops the fulfillment of God’s promise in its tracks, because I am ungrateful for what God has given, even in the situation where it concerns someone else around me.
(Carole) I can choose either to curse the situation or to bless the situation. I bless the situation by giving thanks.
(Carole) That’s how I bless it, I believe. Primarily, is I give God thanks, because this is about Him. My thanks is because of Who He is. My thanks is because of what He does. My thanks isn’t about me. It isn’t about what I can do. It isn’t about what George over there can do or Ethel can do over. It’s about Who God is, and God is faithful to His Word. And when I give thanks, I’m saying, “Amen and So Be It!” to the Faithful One, Who has promised. God wants the salvation of my children and grandchildren a whole lot more than I do. He has prepared everything. I can either get in the way of that…
(Carole) by cursing and moaning and grumbling and going down that spiral in Romans 1 to degradation and to iniquity, or I can thank Him for His desire for my children. I can thank Him for the salvation that He wants more than I do, and I can be the very vehicle through whom He can work, just by manifesting Himself.
(Martha) And I’m seeing too, Carole, I think it was in the scripture at one of the scriptures about gratitude. It says, “Don’t quench the Spirit.” So, what you just described when I do that, I’m quenching the move of the Spirit on me and on them. It’s death.
(Martha) Thanksgiving is life, and rejection is death. You either reject your situation or you thank God for it. And the outcome, then, is what you just said. You’re responsible for the outcome of that. We have that much power in this simple, simple response to God.
(Carole) That puts me in fear and trembling. It puts me in the fear of God.
(Carole) Because I am that responsible, and I will be held and be accountable to that level of responsibility. And it’s so simple.
(Martha). Yes. That’s what’s so beautiful about it. That’s why I said to this group, “You will be amazed how simple it is to have your life straight before God. You won’t believe how simple.”
What Happens When We Don’t Give Thanks? – Episode #537 – Shulamite Podcast
When we give thanks to God, even for the truly painful times and situations, we are responding to His sovereignty with love and trust. What then does our ingratitude communicate to our Father? What happens when we’re ungrateful for all He’s done?