The Oceans Retreat Centre building is rather thirsty for paint so we’ve gotten to know the manager, Deb at the paint store, rather well.
“Pastor Tim how are things today?” smiled Deb.
My response was “Hectic!” A good South African term which means busy or out of control.
Deb could see I wasn’t feeling very pastoral, as we fellowship at the same church. She continued “let me show you something.”
She pulled out a journal with a list of 20 praise and thanksgiving items listed. She said she has to! Deb went on to share that some years back she went through an extremely dark season of loss and grief. So many people she loved in a short time passed away and the shock shattered her heart and paralyzed her emotionally. The pain kept her imprisoned with little hope to find freedom from the despair.
Deb was challenged in a grief support group to start each day with 20 things she was thankful for. As she heeded this advice and daily practiced thankfulness heavens light broke through the stronghold of darkness. “First on my list is always faith,” she pointed out, “It was only through the gift of faith in Jesus and His love for me that I’m here today.” It was in Deb’s thanksgiving to Jesus for His love and daily blessings that the battle was won.
Early the next morning I was reminded of Deb’s powerful testimony as I battled my own racing thoughts of what appeared like another “hectic day” brought on a heavy sigh. But before my mind could race to far down the freeway of stress-I picked up my journal and jotted down all the things I was thankful to Abba Father for. Before I knew it I ended up with 21 blessings and the presence of shalom replaced the sigh and set the tone for a blessed day.
The Biblical truth of the transforming power of thanksgiving flows like a mighty river through the core of Scripture. Thanksgiving is not always easy, it takes an obedient faith, especially when times are dark. But when Abba’s children choose gratitude even in the midst of grief His grace will flow in supernatural ways.
One of my favorite Biblical stories of this truth is found in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat is faced with 3 warring countries rapidly descending upon Judah. In the natural there is no way to defeat the onslaught from happening. But the King called the people together for prayer to seek Divine intervention.
The Word of the LORD came back to them and said;
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld,” (vs. 15,20).
And as a declaration of their faith Jehoshaphat appointed the choir to lead the army into battle and they sang Psalm 136:
“Give thanks to the LORD for His love endures forever!”
And as the people began to sing and praise the LORD the enemies began to fight against themselves and destroyed one another, thus bringing victory to His singing children.
How thankful I am for Deb and the needed reminder of the supernatural power of Thanksgiving. As she challenged me I would like to challenge you to start your day with a thanksgiving list and watch the Father take care of your enemy whatever that may be.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ’s Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17