Give Thanks Until You Become Thanks

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I love Graham Cooke’s teachings! He made this statement today in a podcast (see http://www.brilliantperspectives.com): Give thanks until you become thanks!

I read it and wondered, “how on earth do you become thanks?” I listened to a short audio he had available on this subject. By the time I got to the end of this short explanation, the anxiety I’d been feeling was already shifting.

I’m not sure what’s been happening lately in my life but anxiety has been following me around. I do fine for some days. But there are those other days. Anxious. Worried. Fretful. What on earth Lord?

I love that Cooke says that the Lord always gives you an upgrade. He’s not into shifting you downward. Ever. No, our Lord is all about us advancing, making our way from glory to glory.

Webster’s dictionary defines glory as: Brightness; luster; splendor; magnificence; Praise ascribed in adoration; honor; praise; fame; renown; celebrity; The felicity of heaven prepared for the children of God; celestial bliss.

I see nothing there that speaks of darkness or sadness or demotions! No, our God, our Father in heaven is for us and, by His own Word, He is better than any earthly father in that He loves us and He loves to give us good gifts.

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:9-13 (ESV)

It doesn’t matter that perhaps your own experience with your earthly father was anything but positive. This God of ours, this God who proclaims He is our Father, that He adopted us, grafted us onto His vine of life, is all about us advancing into the more of all He is. He seated us in heavenly places, next to His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s no small statement. If I’m seated in heavenly places with Jesus, my Savior, then that somehow, miraculously, positions me there, with Jesus and my Father, God. And if I’m there, then this that I’m feeling must shift to His will!

Anxiety, go! Frustration, worry, fretting, go! You have no right here, messing with me! I’m with my Father, my Savior and Holy Spirit. Thank you God! Thank you that you have made a way of provision, a way of escape to any and all of my challenges. How do I know that? His Word…

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

So, what is the way of escape today Lord? Praise and thanksgiving! As Graham Cooke said, “give thanks until you become thanks. Speak it out loud. Speak it back to God; He loves to hear His Word spoken back to Him.”  Graham said one more thing that caught my attention. He said, “giving thanks is an act of your will, not of your emotions.” When I choose to worship Him and give thanks for all He’s done for me, I bring myself into alignment with His nature, for He is worship, He is thanksgiving. Aligning. Right. There.

OK Lord, I’m doing it. I’m exercising my will and I’m deciding to give thanks…out loud.

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV)

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Psalm 7:17 (ESV)

 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 (ESV)

 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Psalm 33:2 (ESV)

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12 (ESV)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

 Because,

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

 Continue here, giving Him thanks for all He’s done in your life. Name as many things as you can think of. Name them all…

Are you getting it? Are you becoming thankful? I am. I want to be a thank you to my Father in heaven. I want to be known as His kid who thanks Him for all He has done in me, through me, and for me. Give thanks until you become thanks! I will Lord, and I am. Thankful. For all You do, for who You are, for loving me as You always do, regardless of my performance or my shortcomings or yes, even my anxiety. Oh God, I love you!

I invite you to share your thoughts on thanksgiving, on being thanks. I pray this has helped you today…

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I Am Choosing…

imageThere are just too many choices!  I can go to an agency and ask questions.  I’m good at that sort of thing.  But when you don’t really know where to go in the first place, everything gets instantly complicated.

I called one place.  Got a machine.  If you want…, press one.  If you want…, press two.  On it went, all the way through choice nine.  “If I knew what I wanted for crying out loud, I would just tell you but you have to answer the phone first!” I wanted to scream at no one in particular.  I finally pressed one of the choices.  “Please leave a message and someone will call you as soon as we can!”  Right.  That was yesterday.  Am I counting on them calling me back?  Not so much.

I saw a post yesterday morning.  It stated in part, “stress is a choice”.  That caught my attention.  Stress is a choice.  At first something in me bristled.  “How can that be?  I didn’t ask for all this.  I didn’t cause the stress I’m feeling at this moment.”  And, for a short time, I continued in my fretting about all the stressful issues on my plate.  But that post just kept niggling at me and I found myself really pondering it, whether it could be truth or not.

Last night we watched a DVD by Graham Cooke.  My mind had difficulty staying with what he was saying in the beginning.  But then, as the video played on, I began to take notice of his theme.  While he certainly wasn’t addressing my issues, he was addressing the truth of the Word and that’s when my ears began to hear.  I began scribbling notes as the ah-ha’s of his words settled over me.  By the end of the video, I felt like someone had come to me and wrapped a very warm blanket around my shoulders.  My loving Savior was attending to my frazzled nerves.

There was one thing in particular that stood out and ministered to me.  “Our current circumstance is the ideal soil for our next breakthrough,” said Pastor Cooke.  Was this it, the defining moment of all the stresses I’m currently facing?  I could suddenly see truth.  While the enemy of my soul wanted me to become tormented in the situations at hand, my loving Papa has other ideas.  The Lord’s provision for me is one based on His love for me.

When we come to the place of realization that God loves us, will never leave or forsake us, then there becomes space for us to break through into His provisions.  What is God’s plan for each of us?  To make us more like Him!  In Genesis 1:26 God says, “Let Us make man in Our image…”  Who is the Us God refers to?  It is He, Jesus and Holy Spirit.  They, the holy three, are having a conversation.  “Jesus, Holy Spirit, how about we make man (which includes both men and women) in Our image.  Let’s make them like us, shall we?”  And that’s exactly what happened.

God is drawn to His only Son in us.  When we receive Christ, He comes to reside in us and it is that residency that attracts God.  It is the divine plan of redemption, that we would become more and more like the One in us.  When you add to this the fact that God tells us that He’s seated us in heavenly places with Christ, we have the makings of that perfect soil for breakthrough Graham Cooke spoke of in the video!

God is for me.  He loves me.  He’s not interested in tormenting me, but He is interested in helping me learn to respond to all situations in the same ways that Jesus did when He was here on this earth as a man.  The Bible tells us that Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing and said only what He heard the Father saying.  That’s the plumb line God works me toward.  Why?  Because He only wants my success, not my downfall.  As I learn to lean into Him more and more, I am better able to discern His plans for my next breakthrough!

I have a long way to go in this process.  But, praise God, I just happened to have in my possession last night a DVD by Graham Cooke that helped me see God’s plan better for this time in my life.  Do I know exactly what to do about all the stresses yet?  Um, not exactly.  But this I do know.  God is for me in this and every tough situation I face.  He has an outcome He hopes I’ll press into Him to find out.  And His outcome will contain a breakthrough for my growth, something I would be so happy to find.

Is stress a choice?  I suspect it is because last night I heard truth and I’m choosing today to not look at all the circumstances.  Instead I’m attempting to lean closer to my Father in order to hear what He’s telling me about this.

Father, I pray You’ll give me ears to hear and eyes to see You more clearly today.  I want Your provision for this circumstance.  This is the ideal soil for a breakthrough Papa.  And boy am I ready for a breakthrough!  Today I’m choosing not stress, but You!

If you can see it, you can be it!

My heart is full today.  I’ve been reading about God’s gifts, particularly the gift of prophecy.  I used to think that prophecy was one of those gifts for special people.  You know, those with a calling on their lives, those having a direct line to God.  Prophecy wasn’t for me because, well, I’m just one of the regular folks who love the Bible and besides, I don’t hear from God all that well.

I’ve been pursuing prophecy for the better part of two years.  I wanted to know about it…you know, inquiring minds and all that.  This quest turned into something I wasn’t quite prepared for: I discovered I can be prophetic!  Not prophetic like I can tell you about your future (not yet anyway), but prophetic in the ways of knowing that I know a truth about God and what that means for myself or others.

So what changed that suddenly I was hearing from God?  Nothing.  Seems I’ve been hearing Him all along, I just hadn’t discerned that the different ways He talked to me fell into the category of prophecy.  To be clear, I am not a prophet, called to the office of.  I am simply a lover of Jesus, willing to be used by Him when a need arises.

I recently read a statement by Graham Cooke.  In his book, “Approaching the Heart of Prophecy”, he said, “If you do not see it, you cannot become it.  Identity must be visualized before it can be realized.”  This statement sent me off on a journey recalling my past attitudes about life.  So many things I’d wanted to do but quickly discounted.  On the other hand there were things I did because I wanted to and couldn’t come up with good enough reasons not to.  That crazy tipping scale of life where we want some things and can’t/won’t pursue them and the other side when we experience victory because we tried!  It’s truly a conundrum.

Graham Cooke challenged me to look, really look for prophecy and all it holds and this is what I’ve learned:
1)  God can use anyone to deliver anything in a moment of need.  Be available.
2)  God speaks to us all in a variety of ways.  Listen.
3)  Prophecy is not always about the future events of our lives; it is often nothing more than encouragement.  Encourage.
4)  Prophecy is often given to me about my life, but more often than not, it’s for others too.  Share.

Someone said, “What’s the best gift?  The one needed at the moment.” If we are willing, if we will listen, if we will be brave enough to speak, God will use you.  Whether the need be prophecy/encouragement, healing, cleansing prayer, words of wisdom, or any of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, He will use you.

In my adapted words, if I can see it, I can be it!  I’ve been looking and I see possibilities.  I’ve begun picturing myself differently and astoundingly, I’m aware that my actions are changing as is my mindset.  I’ve asked for a new vision of the woman God had in mind when He created me.  He’s showing me and I can see her, in ever increasing clarity.

Can you see it?  Can you see who He created you to be?  Ask Him to show you.  You can be it!