Thursday, October 18, 2007

Replace The Spirit of Grumbling With The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Greetings worshippers!
Trust that the subject about "Thanksgiving" has been challenging you to establish this very important habit as part of your lifestyle as a worshipper. I feel led to repeat this post about Grumbling versus Thanksgiving ....
Have you ever stepped outside your door on a beautiful clear sunny day, taken a deep breath of fresh air, and thanked God for His wonderful creation? But what if the next morning is grey and rainy? Does it automatically make you feel a little depressed as you look out of the window? Maybe you don't say it loud, but how do you feel? Are you in the habit of thanking God only for what you want? Or are you in the habit of grumbling just a little when things does not go the way you like?
So what is wrong with a little complaining? What difference does it make? It does make all the difference in the world. Everything depends on how we respond to the little things in life. A marriage counselor will tell you that a marriage usually breaks up over little things. A small misunderstanding can start a war. Little things mean a lot, because this is the level where we live, down at the nitty-gritty of our atttude at breakfast table, or in the long checkout line at the supermarket.
A complaint is the opposite of trust; a murmur against your wife when she burns your toast is the opposite of a loving acceptance. The dictionary defines a complaint as an accusation. By complaining and grumbling you are actually accusing God of mismanaging the details of your life. The attitute of thanksgiving and praise releases the power of God into our lives, but the attitude of murmuring and complaining blocks that power.
For forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and every time something went wrong, they complained bitterly and wanted to go back to the land of Eygpt. Why did it take them forty years to cover less than two hundred miles? Even with women and children and cattles, they could have covered the distance in a few weeks. They were delayed because they murmured and refuse to trust that God would keep His promise to take care of their every need. In 1 Corinthians 10:10-11, the apostle Paul was speaking about the behaviour of the Israelite in their wanderings from Eygpt to the Promised Land ... "And do not grumble, some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us ..."
(Extract from Power In Praise by Merlin R. Carothers)
To be a WORSHIPPER, we need to begin DISCIPLINING our lives daily with the spirit of thanksgiving. This is easier said than done because most of us would agree that we are habitual grumblers. We grumble when we miss the bus to work and when we have to work late. We complain when the car would not start or when we hit a red light or are caught in a traffic jam. Even at meal time, we unconsciously complain about the food and the poor service provided by the restaurant. The list is endless ... but let us take heed that unless we overcome this deadly habit of grumbling, complaining and murmuring, it will rob us of the blessings and joy of the Lord. "IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD" (1 Thessalonian 5:18). The simple application of this biblical truth covers EVERY situations and circumstances in our lives.The benefits of a thankful heart are many ... by giving thanks:
1) We are in His divine will and itself will lead us out of the wilderness experience and into a victorious walk with the Lord
2) We have immediate access to enter into His gates (His presence) and in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 100:4, 16:11)
3) The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
No wonder the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4 commanded us to "Rejoice in the Lord always!" and in Colossians 3:17 that "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks ..."

Unbelief - Faith / Trust
Defeat - Victory
Distress - Joy
In The Wilderness - In His Will
Spiritual Degradation - Spiritual Transformation

Make a point today to "DISCIPLINE" your life to give thanks and count it all joy even in diverse circumstances (James 1:2) ... for ALL THINGS work together for good (Romans 8:28)

TPWC @ copyright

Sunday, October 07, 2007


In my previous post, I explained that thanksgiving should naturally leading to rejoicing when we follow James' instruction to "count it all joy." As we count up all that God has done, we shouldn't stop at merely thanking God. In every one of the acts of God is a revelation of His nature. And we see God's nature - His extravagance, joy, love, faithfulness, goodness, and power - the only sensible response is to PRAISE HIM. Praise and rejoicing are two sides of the same coin, as we see in Psalm 9:2 : "I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." It's hard to praise effectively without rejoicing, without bringing our body, soul, and spirit into an expression of celebration. We can't rejoice without having a reason, and that reason is God's nature, revealed in His relationship with us, that we declare in our praises. When God says to "rejoice always," the implication is that we are to establish PRAISE AS A LIFESTYLE.

The praise that flows from thanksgiving is described in Hebrews 13:15 as a "sacrifice." This verse gives us a guideline for what kind of activities genuinely qualify as praise. First of all, PRAISE SHOULD CAUSE US SOMETHING. Only then is it a proper response to the God who has given us costly gift of His own Son. When I forced myself to rejoice in those nights alone in the sanctuary, I was offering God my time, my focus, and my comfort. I was stepping beyond what was convenient and beyond all the pressures of my circumstances. That is what made the act of praise a costly expression. Secondly, a sacrifice of praise should always require FAITH because it's impossible to please Him apart from faith. Hebrews 11:4 explains that it was "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ...."

It certainly requires faith to rejoice when that's the last thing you feel like doing or seems to make sense in the face of your present circumstances. It doesn't take much faith to hang your head and sing "Thou Art Worthy" when you're really just thinking, "I am worthless!" Truely rejoicing in Him requires that you stand on the truth that you are already accepted by Him where you are. Rejoicing requires you to acknowledge that His goodness and faithfulness are more real than your present difficulty. It especially requires you to agree that your life is not really about you!

Only the rejoicing that requires you to agree with God's perspective on your situation is the sacrifice of praise that pleases Him and has the power to transform you. It is the expression of faith. Sometimes that rejoicing is what David describes in Psalm 2:11 : "rejoice with trembling." In other words, you don't have to feel full of faith to rejoice - you just have to do it.

While the nature of praise and thanksgiving is different, they should always go together, because they sequential steps toward strenthening ourselves in His manifest presence. Psalm 100:4 says we "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." This verse is a road map into the presence of God. Thus, our goal should be to sustain thanks and praise until our whole being is alive to His presence.But we also have to remember in that moment that the focus doesn't change from ministering to God to our getting what we need.

Thanksgiving and praise are tools to strengthen ourselves not because they help us get something from the Lord, but because they reconnect us to our primary purpose - TO MINISTER TO HIM IN WORSHIP. They bring us into His presence; and TRUE WORSHIP is something that only happens in that place of communion with His presence. In worship, the sacrifice is no longer physical expression or verbal declarations. We are the sacrifice. Fire always falls on a sacrifice. And when we are the sacrifice, we cannot help but be changed.

An extract from - Strengthen Yourself In The Lord by Bill Johnson