Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Importance of Giving Thanks

I would like to share with all of you a short testimony about just how important giving thanks is and how it can truly unlock the blessings of God in our lives.

One of the biggest struggles in my life has been finances. Every time I have had money it has always found some ingenious way to disappear. Most of the time when I have had a good, well paying job, something has happened where I have had to resign - usually a change in circumstances such as God calling me to move to another city or sometimes unfortunately for health reasons. I would then typically go through long periods with either no income at all or very little where whatever money I had stored up in my savings would be slowly eaten away at until it was nearly gone. I am good with handling money, I am not an excessive spender by nature (mainly due to my Scottish blood!). Someone told me towards the end of my time in Tauranga that they felt that the problem was due to spiritual curses over my life, but  I didn't believe them at the time.

A few weeks after being in Hamilton, I was at a meeting and the speaker prophesied that "there was someone in the audience who had been suffering under a curse of poverty, but God wants to set you free and bless you with finances". These words struck me right at the core of my being, I knew that the speaker was speaking about me. With tears in my eyes I approached him at the end of the meeting and he prayed for me against the curse of poverty over my life. He said that the time of poverty was now over and that blessings would begin to come forth. I realized that my friend in Tauranga was right and I now began to look forward to a time of financial blessing and breakthrough.

When I received this word, I had absolutely no income at all at the time. A few weeks later I was able to start getting a student allowance for my internship I am doing with the church. This paid some money but not much. I then felt that God was calling me to give a specific amount  to bless my church financially out of what I was receiving from my allowance. All the while I was applying for part time jobs to do while I was interning and none of them have worked out. I was having a conversation with the 2IC pastor at my church and he spoke a word into my life about the importance of giving thanks for what God has given you now, instead of complaining about what you may perceive as lack, because this was how the Israelites moved forward in the spiritual wilderness - by praising God and giving Him thanks for what He had provided them with instead of complaining about what they felt that they were entitled to.

I began to put this into practice. I was certainly not living in financial prosperity at the time but I decided to praise God and give Him thanks anyway for what I did have coming in. This began to develop faith in my life and it helped develop a more positive outlook and sense of feeling about my current financial circumstances. I kept getting turned down for jobs and though I found this frustrating I continued to praise God and give Him thanks. The frustration of not being able to find a job did begin to get to me - especially as my savings from the job I was doing in Tauranga got lower and lower due to necessary bills and expenses. But it wasn't the familiar frustration of old - it was what I would like to call "faith based frustration." I would say to God "Your Word was given to me that the time of poverty was now over yet I'm not seeing it. Why not?" It was a frustration that was taking God at His word and asking why what He had promised hadn't come to pass. Yet despite how I was feeling I continued to speak out thanksgiving for what I was receiving and I continued to give in faith, though my savings continued to dwindle and more bills were coming on the horizon.

Over the last few days everything changed - I was blessed unexpectedly with a large financial blessing that I did not see coming. This blessing is enough to cover my bills and put some money in the bank for savings and I will still have some left over afterwards. I was amazed and blown away by God's goodness and thrilled to see His Word come to pass in my life. God told me several months back that I had a few things to learn before I could be financially blessed and I believe that one of those things was about learning to give thanks for what I had at the time as this would unlock bigger things for the future. I believe that God has responded to my giving thanks and being obedient through giving with this financial blessing. Without giving and acting in faith I doubt I would have received this blessing.

Finally, friends - learn to be thankful for what you have. An attitude of gratitude is an attitude of faith and trust in God's goodness and provision. If God has spoken to you about big things for the future that you haven't seen happen yet - start to give thanks! Not only for what He has said He will do in the future, but for what He's doing for you right now.

I hope this has been an encouragement to someone. Take care and God bless.

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