Sept 9, '10 12:29 PM
By Regner Capener
‘Mornin’ Everybody! Are ya awake yet? Got that first cup of coffee poured? Good!
We’ve talked many times in these Coffee Breaks about our granddaughter, Jessica, and her unusual sensitivity to the things of God ever since she was knee-high to a grasshopper.
Jessica went to the camp meeting and conference in Red Deer with us this year. She almost went last year, but bailed at the last minute. Now eight years old, this was a very new experience for her. She’s been exposed, of course, to the realm of the supernatural in being around us and has experienced many things in the Lord, her young years notwithstanding.
Each year during Frontline Ministries’ conferences, they have ministry for the youth directed by a couple from Saskatchewan. When the time of worship concludes during the main gathering, the youth head out to another room (these conferences have been held at the Capri Hotel and Convention Center in Red Deer) where they receive ministry designed to expose them to the realm of the Holy Spirit. The couple in charge seek to help the kids come to know the supernatural as just “natural” in Christ Jesus.
The children are taught the importance of speaking in tongues, laying on of hands, ministering healing and deliverance and so forth. There is scarcely a time when they gather that there are not supernatural demonstrations and manifestations of the presence of the Lord. Many photographs have been taken in these meetings when a mist has appeared in their midst and there has been a tangible presence of the glory of the Lord; and angelic appearances take place frequently.
As I noted, Jessica has been exposed to a lot being around us and has seen a lot, but this was a new realm for her. The second night of the gathering around 10:00 or 10:30, Della went to check on Jessica expecting to pick her up and take her home. She found her lying on the floor “slain in the Spirit” (to use a common descriptor) and oblivious to her surroundings entirely. Della wasn’t sure if this was real or a “copy-cat” thing because other kids were also in a similar state so she waited and watched.
After some period of time had elapsed, Jessie finally opened her eyes and slowly got to her feet. When she saw Della she said, “Grandma, the Holy Spirit put me to sleep.” Della asked her what happened and she answered excitedly, “We flew up to a place where there were three angels. I got to dance with them and be an angel, too!” Della then asked her what they were dancing to, and Jessica said that they were praising and worshiping the Lord.
It was a very real and personal experience for Jessica, and one that she will remember for a lifetime. In the days that followed when she saw people falling under the power of God and being laid out prostrate on the floor during worship she decided she wanted to stay with us because we (Della and I both experienced this) were “experiencing.” That was her way of expressing what she was seeing. My “feather” event wowed her as much as it did the rest of us.
On with our discussion.
THE RELEASE OF AUTHORITY THROUGH THANKSGIVING
Let’s go back to a scripture that we discussed in our previous study.
I John 5:14-17: 14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
OK? Do you see it? Our prayer for that brother (or sister) whom we see (or know about) in the midst of a sin MUST come with thanksgiving.
Authority is released when we pray and offer up thanksgiving at the same time. Our thanksgiving to Father is our declaration of faith in the Covenant we have with Him through Jesus Christ.
The authority released is that which is needed to accomplish that which we put before Father.
Consider this: Jesus almost ALWAYS offered up thanks to Father whenever He made a request. Take a quick look at a few examples.
Matthew 15:36-37: 36And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.
John 6:11-13: 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Matthew 26:27-28: 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
John 11:41-43: 41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Each time Jesus expressed thanks to Father He did so as a confession of faith, knowing that His prayer or request was heard, knowing that His request was what Father would have done were He standing there physically.
EXPRESSING THANKS COMES WITH KNOWING FATHER'S WILL
When Jesus gave thanks before breaking the bread and the fishes to feed the multitudes He wasn’t hoping for a miracle of multiplication. He was acting on Father’s heart’s desire knowing the loaves and fishes would multiply to more than meet the needs of those hungry people.
When Jesus took the Cup and gave thanks before giving it to the disciples, He knew with certainty that He was offering them His very life-force. He knew absolutely that He had taken death from the Cup.
Consider Jesus’ statement to the disciples as He offered them the Cup:
Matthew 26:29: 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
Jesus could not drink of the Cup He was offering because — by virtue of His having offered thanks to Father beforehand — He had already taken death out of it. His course was set. He was headed for the Cross.
Were He to have partaken of that Cup prior to the Cross, He would have canceled His own death on the Cross and redemption for the sins of mankind would never have taken place.
Remember how John saw it when he was taken in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day?
Revelation 13:8: 8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus had already accomplished this before the very first words of Creation were uttered. He had become the sacrifice, the Lamb that needed to be offered up as the atonement for the sins of the world.
Were He to drink of that Cup prior to His death and resurrection the Plan set in motion before “the foundation of the world” would have been nullified.
Jesus, therefore, seeing Father’s will and knowing Father’s heart for a family — having agreed with Him and Holy Spirit already — offered up thanks because He was now fulfilling literally and physically the cancellation of the curse that had come upon the human race by Adam’s sin. He was canceling death and restoring eternal life.
The first Adam had failed in his effort to redeem his bride, Eve, when he ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Jesus, as the last Adam, succeeded in redeeming His Bride by NOT partaking of the fruit of the vine UNTIL death was canceled, the curse was erased and the Kingdom of God was now accessible to the human race.
His offering of thanksgiving before distributing the Cup was the demonstrated proof.
THANKSGIVING OPENS UP FATHER'S RESPONSES
Now, let’s shift the nature of this discussion a bit. Take a look for a minute at how the Scripture defines those who are thankless or unthankful.
II Timothy 3:1-8: 1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient parents, unthankful (acharistos: thankless, ungrateful, lacking grace towards others), unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate (adokimos: tested and found unacceptable, unapproved, worthless, rejected) concerning the faith.
There’s more in this passage than we have time for in this discussion, but there are some keys to our understanding of the nature and character of thanksgiving revealed in Paul’s letter.
Notice first of all that Paul characterizes those who are unthankful among this long list of those with defiled and corrupted (the Greek text uses a word which defines spoiled and depraved) minds and souls.
Secondly he characterizes these minds as tested (in the crucible) and found to be worthless — of absolutely no value.
Now obviously there are many characteristics to the mind or soul that is spoiled and depraved but unthankfulness is fifth in a list of twenty. Notice also that key to these negative attributes is the fact that folks who are unthankful have a “form of Godliness” but they deny or reject the miraculous power of God as relevant or accessible.
Why does Paul make this comparison?
It’s pretty simple, really. Being thankful accesses and opens up Father’s responses to us. Thankfulness is part of “Godliness.”
The word “thanks” and “thankfulness” are rooted in the Greek word charis, which means “grace” and “favor.”
Once you begin to grasp the “grace” aspect of thanksgiving it opens up a whole new vista in understanding how important a part thanksgiving plays in our walk with Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ve become partakers of a Covenant with God — a covenant that is absolutely inviolable. God NEVER makes covenants with man that are changeable or that he can back away from keeping. I’ll drop two Greek words on you that are important in understanding this Covenant we have: suntheke and diatheke, and we’ll come back to these when we take up a discussion in our next Coffee Break on the nature of our Covenant with God.
Thanksgiving is the expression of grace, favor, love, worship — and a whole lot more — towards the Lord.
Thanksgiving is the channel of grace between us and the Lord that releases the answers and the manifestation of the miraculous or the supernatural demonstrations of God in our midst.
Folks who make their requests from God with a heart of expectancy, an attitude of “getting” and demanding but have no grace towards the Lord and a genuine expression of thanksgiving often fail to receive that which they request.
Our society today is a thankless society. Technological achievements have made instant gratification possible in many situations. People expect things instantly and gripe when they don’t receive what they expect at a moment’s notice.
The result is that many Christians expect God to answer to them and their demands instantly — at the moment of their request — and when God doesn’t respond exactly at that time, or even at some somewhat delayed moment, they begin to complain, they blame God for their circumstances, they accuse God of not responding according to His Word, and they basically blaspheme Him or rail against Him.
You also have the opposite picture where people simply won’t ask things of God that they genuinely have need of, or that are freely provided within the framework of His Covenant with us simply because they’ve believed the lie of the Enemy that “it just isn’t His Will.”
In our next Coffee Break we’ll take up the nature of God’s Covenant with us, wrapping up our discussion on Thanksgiving and moving on to the final phase of this series: The Key of David.
Blessings on you!
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