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BE INSPIRED: Bizarrely Blessed My journey along a new path...

Thanking God in advance

JO’s sermon tonight:
We all have dreams and goals that God’s placed in our heart, things we’re believing for, situations we’re praying to turn around.  these promises start off like seeds, they don’t come to pass overnight, there’s always a period of waiting involved;  from the time we pray until the time we see it come to fulfillment, that’s called the trial of our faith, this is when many people get discouraged and give up, they start believing the negative thoughts, it’s never going to happen, it’s taking too long; now that seed is lying dormant, it’s still alive, it still has potential, but you have to do your part and start watering the seed. the way you water it is by thanking God in advance.  you can’t wait until you receive the promise, you have to thank God that the answer is on the way.  maybe you’re struggling in your health, the medical report doesn’t look good, don’t talk about how you feel, say, “Father, thank you that I’m healthy, strong, with long life you are satisfying me.”  that’s not just being positive, that’s watering the seed;  in your finances maybe you’re struggling, business is slow, all through the day, “Father, thank you that whatever I touch prospers and succeeds, I’m coming out of debt, thank you that Your favor surrounds me like a shield.”  when you thank God in advance for the answer, it not only waters the seed, but that strengthens your own faith

Romans 4:20 (AMP)

20 No unbelief or distrust made him [Abraham] waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God
when you give God praise it gives you strength, when you thank God in advance for the answer, that’s what keeps you encouraged, you’re not going to stay strong in faith by complaining, you’re not going to stay determined if you’re talking about how bad it is;  switch over into praise;  “business may be slow, but Lord I want to thank you that you  prosper me even in a desert,” praise makes you strong, keeps you moving forward, so often we think “I’ll give God praise after the problem turns around, I’ll thank God after I see the solution.” if you don’t thank God in advance, you won’t have the strength you need to wait for the promise.  what keeps us strong is getting up in the morning and saying, “thank you that my dreams are coming to pass, that this problems’s turning around, that you’re bigger than this obstacle”;  when you give God praise, God gives you strength to keep believing that what He promised will come to pass.  all through the day, negative thoughts will come to try to get us to abort our dreams;  every time you’re tempted to worry, let that be a reminder to thank God that the answer is on the way;  when the thought comes saying, “you’re never going to get well,” instead of worrying, turn it around, “Father, thank You You are restoring health back unto me”;  when you do that, you’re getting stronger, your faith is being built up.  the thought says, “you’ve made too many mistakes, God will never help you, there’s nothing good in your future,” turn it around, “Father, thank you that your mercy is bigger than any mistake I’ve made, that the path of the righteous gets brighter, that my best days are still out in front of me”;  when you give God praise, God gives you strength to keep believing;  God wants to bring the promise to pass, but He’s looking for people that will thank him before the walls fall down, before the healing comes, before the legal situation turns around
The mistake we make so often is when these thoughts of worry come, and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to change, we start begging God, “God please help me.” begging doesn’t get God’s attention.  once you pray, and ask God to bring the promise to pass, to heal you, to restore a relationship, from then on you don’t need to ask God one more time, He heard you the very first time***.  every time you think about it, you should thank God that the answer is on the way.  some people ask God for the same thing the same way year after year;  the right approach, instead of asking for the same thing the same way year after year, is switch over into praise, “Lord, I believe you heard me the first time, and I want to thank you”;  Abraham prayed once and spent the rest of the time thanking God.  Jesus went out of his way to  heal people many times, but he ignored a woman who was begging him to heal her daughter;  when she started praising and worshipping him he helped her****;  what begging won’t do, praising will do;  don’t be a beggar, be a believer, once you pray, switch over into praise;  none of this year after year, “God, please, heal me, God, I’m just begging you” no, zip that up, all through the day, “Father, thank you that I’m healthy, my business is blessed, promotion is coming.”
my daughter asked if I’ll get her a car when she gets her driver’s license, and I promised I would;  since I have given her my word, she has not asked me one time to buy her that car, she is totally convinced that I’ll do what I said, so much so that she talks about that car as if it’s already hers, she has no doubt that car is coming;  but how would I feel as a father, if she came up every day  and kept begging me for the car, it’d make me feel bad, I would say, “Don’t you believe what I said?  you don’t have to keep asking me, you certainly don’t have to beg me, just believe that I’ll do what I said.”  this is how God must feel when we ask Him again and again for the same thing.  when we beg Him, God says, “don’t you trust Me, don’t you have the confidence that I will do what I promised?”  when my daughter goes around talking about that car, dreaming about what color it’s gonna be, exited about what’s in her future, that brings a smile to my face;  from time to time she’ll thank me for that car that is to come, tell me how much she loves me, how proud she is to be my daughter;  when she does that I think, do you want 1 car or do you want 2?  thanking does a whole lot more than begging.  when you’re constantly giving God thanks, telling Him much you love Him, how great He is, how proud you are to be His child, that causes God to want to go out of His way to be good to you; but if we go around thinking, “Oh man, life’s hard, God, can’t you see I’m struggling, God, I’m asking you, I’m begging you God, just help me get through this,” that doesn’t get God’s attention, praise gets his attention, thanking Him in advance for the answer, acting like it’s on the way, that’s what brings promises to pass
one time Daniel prayed and asked God to help him;  day after day went by, nothing got better, it looked like that God didn’t hear his prayer, but on the 21st day:

Daniel 10:12-13 (NLT)

12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way.
the first day you prayed God heard you, the first time you asked God set the miracle into motion, the very first day the answer was on the way, that’s why you don’t have to keep praying about the same thing, begging God, asking again and again, the answer is already on the way, the promise is already in motion, the breakthrough is already en route, the right person is already in your future, the victory is already up ahead of you.  you prayed about it, now switch over into praise, start thanking God that it’s coming, start thanking Him in advance, for the healing, restoration, promotion, vindication, dream, it’s headed your way.  Jesus thanked God for the answer before it came, and said about Lazarus:

John 11:41 (NIV)

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
if Jesus thought it was important enough to thank God before the answer came, then we should certainly get in the habit of not only asking, making our requests known, but let’s take it one step further and start thanking God for the answer even when we don’t see any sign of it happening.
this is what faith is all about, you can’t just look at it with your natural eyes;  some of you have situations that look dead, your health, finances, a relationship, a dream, your mind tells you it’s impossible, no use even believing, but would you dare be as bold as Jesus, and say, “Father, I want to thank you in advance that you have a resurrection coming, God I know you can bring things back to life, you have the final say. I may not see a way, but I want to thank you in advance, that every promise you’ve spoken over me will come to pass.”  you may be in a drought today, don’t complain about it, don’t keep begging God to change it, don’t ask again and again for the same thing, switch over into praise.  every time you’re tempted to worry, get discouraged, complain, you gotta dig your heels in and say, “Father, thank you for the rain that’s coming, thank you for the healing, favor, restoration.  Lord, I want to thank You, not for just for a little bit, not for barely get by, but thank You for the abundance that You have in store”;  you may not see anything happen for a week, month, year, or for many many years, the question is, what are you made of?  anybody can quit, anybody can get discouraged and give up, but here’s the key, as you keep thanking God your faith is getting stronger, if you’ll keep thanking him in advance ,you won’t get discouraged even though you don’t see anything happening;  sometimes it is difficult, you may not feel like doing it, but:

Jeremiah 33:11 (KJV)

11 …  and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
if you will offer up the sacrifice of praise, that means if you’ll do the right thing when it’s hard, then God will cause the captivity of the land to be reversed and the fortunes to be restored. if you’ll thank God in advance even when you don’t see anything good happening, if you’ll offer up that sacrifice of praise, then 2 things are going to take place:  God is going to reverse negative situations and He’s going to restore what should have been yours.  this doesn’t happen by complaining or begging, it happens when you get up in the morning and say, “I don’t see how this could ever change, but Lord I want to thank You that the answer is on the way, healing is coming, the problem’s turning around.” if you live like that, you might as well get ready, God is going to reverse and restore;  He’s going to reverse finances that were going down, a bad medical report, legal situation, restore what should have been yours, the years you’ve lost because somebody did you wrong, an unfair situation, He’s going to restore a relationship, a dream, it’s gonna happen because of your praise, because you’re thanking God in advance.  don’t lose your praise, the battle may be tough, but keep praising, people do you wrong, keep praising, as long as you have praise coming out of your mouth, then it’s not over, God won’t let a praiser be defeated, don’t lose your praise

1 Samuel 17:1  (NIV)

17 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah.
Judah means praise.  the enemy, when you first get up you’ll hear his threats, you’re not gonna make it, you don’t have the $, your health is not good; the last thing you hear before you go to bed, it’s not gonna work out, too much is coming against you.  when you’re in a valley, fear will try to occupy that valley, in the morning, anxiety will try to come into that valley, at night before you go to bed, stress, doubt, intimidation, will try to keep you up at night; know this, that valley doesn’t belong to the enemy, it belongs to praise, now you gotta take your valley back.  all through the day when the thoughts come saying it’s not gonna work out, the problem’s never going to turn around, don’t dwell on that, don’t let that occupy that valley, turn up your  praise, “Father, thank You that You’re still on the throne, bigger than this obstacle, fighting my battles, the answer is already on the way.”  when you learn to give God praise in the valley, you will defeat every giant.  doesn’t matter how big that obstacle is, you and God are a majority, He will always cause you to triumph.
any of us can give God praise when wey’re on the mountaintop, that’s easy when everything’s going our way, but it takes a person of great faith to say “God, nothing is going my way, I don’t feel well, I’m tired,  these people are doing me wrong, I could easily be discouraged, I could easily complain, but I know this valley belong to praise, so, God, I want to thank You that I’m coming out, that You’re restoring and reversing, that things are changing in my favor,” you do that, and you won't stay in the valley, praise causes God to go to work, breaks chains that are holding us back, opens up supernatural doors, causes things to fall into place.  some of you have prayed about the situation long enough, you gotta switch over into praise, get up every morning, “Father, thank you that my dreams are coming to pass, healing is coming, promotion is on its way.”  that’s what’s going to keep you strong, not begging, not praying again and again.  the first day you prayed God heard it, and set the miracle into motion, it’s already on the way.  as you keep giving God praise, He’s going to keep giving you strength to believe.  sometimes it’s difficult, you may be in that valley, but don’t you dare let fear occupy that valley, don’t let intimidation in that valley, don’t let doubt and complaining come into your valley, that valley belongs to praise, and if you’ll dig your heels in, and offer up that sacrifice of praise, God promises He’s going to reverse and restore.  you’ll see the dream come to pass, the drought will come to an end, you will see the abundance of joy, abundance in your health, abundance in your finances, the abundance of God’s goodness

***  This is, of course, contrary to what he said in his sermon on “Reminding God” from  6-27-11:
“JO says stay in faith and keep reminding Him every day, that the Bible says “keep not silent, give Him no rest ’til it comes to pass.”  That when you put God in remembrance of His promises, this allows Him to bring them to pass, so use shameless persistence, “present your case before God, make your arguments, bring forth your proof.””
Now, granted, begging and asking are different things, and not begging is a valid instruction…  but asking once and believing that God heard you and thus not asking again is simply not compatible with “give Him no rest ’til it comes to pass.”  And, if you’re thinking about something constantly but deliberately holding back when you want to ask, what have you gained when God can read your mind?
****  JO is incorrect about begging to cause Jesus to refuse to heal:

Mark 5:22-24 (NRS)

22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
There may be more than one story of Jesus first refusing to help a woman and then eventually helping her, but I could only find one. I’ve chosen to post a link to a discussion of the incident rather than the quote because Jesus speaks to the woman in a way that needs explaining for modern ears.  The point for the purposes of this post is that Jesus at first held back from helping the woman, NOT because she was begging, but because he and the disciples were supposed to be on a break, and because she was not a Jew (remember that he and all those with him were Jews, and he was a messiah specifically for the Jews).
Again, JO’s point about trusting God and not being a beggar is still a valid one, but clearly begging at least once when you’re in great distress is fine, and asking repeatedly when God already knows you’re thinking about it repeatedly is likely fine too…  AS LONG AS your attitude is that He WILL provide, not that you have to badger Him into providing by asking many times.  And DO offer thanks and praise every day, for no matter what else is going on He clearly deserves that from each of us.
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