Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rejoicing Increases Faith by Graham Cooke

Thanksgiving creates blessing. Continuous rejoicing opens us up to increase. Life is about possibilities not negatives. Jesus said, “All things are possible, only believe” (Mark 9:23).

Thanksgiving has a creative power to produce good. It is good for us to rejoice. It creates energy, enthusiasm and strength. We are expanded on the inside. Our eyes are bright, watchful for blessing, increase and favor. Goodness is drawn to us as we lift up Jesus in our hearts. We make ourselves attractive to favor and blessing. We are able to look at life and circumstances differently, therefore we see the good in everything.

Exercise produces endorphins which can escalate our sense of wellbeing making us fitter, sharper and more alive in ourselves. Rejoicing increases faith which is the spiritual equivalent of endorphins. Faith increases our focus and readiness to see God in everything and lean into Him. When we give thanks our ability to trust and believe increases dramatically, because praise produces power  Rejoicing overcomes any inherent negativity and aligns our heart with the continuity of favor.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  The will God is always linked to His nature. All our main experiences of life, good or bad, should be connected to thanksgiving and rejoicing. When we rejoice as a lifestyle then life is less of a roller coaster. It flows. It is more stable and even. We experience more rest, more peace, more joyfulness and our capacity to believe cannot be diminished by events.

When we refuse thanksgiving as a lifestyle then we ensure that our lives are unprotected from doubt, fear and unbelief. We are susceptible to any negative from any source or direction. We can be brought low by people, circumstances and enemy activity. We are assailable; a sitting duck for all that is detrimental to life, faith and happiness. People can be so fearful that they become pessimistic. We can have an outlook on life that is so counteractive to simple trust that we can become cynical towards those who want to believe God for something.

Rejoicing is linked to God’s nature. He is good. His lovingkindness endures forever. Thanksgiving empowers us to rest in an attribute of God’s nature. What is God showing you about Himself at this time?  Rejoice in that! Give thanks for who He is towards you. When I was learning peace and rest as a lifestyle attribute, all my rejoicing flowed in and out of those virtues. I was so restful, I lost the ability to worry. Rejoicing increased my peace and thoroughly diminished my anxiety.  On difficult days I began to discern goodness around me. In adversity I saw favor standing over me. Whatever attribute God is declaring to you will be increased in you by thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is like a heat seeking missile. It hones in on a certain signature. It is drawn to connect with goodness, favor and faith. If that is true in one of a kind circumstances then it must have a greater power in multiple situations. My contention is that a lifestyle of rejoicing not only increases the power of favor over our circumstances; it also attracts favor to us from the future. We are present/future people because we are filled with the Spirit who discloses that which is to come [John 16:13]. It is absolutely possible for us to occupy a place in faith that increases our awareness of future possibilities in the heart of God towards us. “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope” [Jeremiah 29:11].

Thanksgiving keeps us present to the moment with God and increases our expectation of the future. It creates a space around us that negativity cannot penetrate. In this context our prayer life is empowered. We pray in faith not desperation. There is nothing wrong in prayerful desperation, if that is where you are and all you have. However, it is the prayer of faith that produces life and health [James 5:15]. If prayer is surrounded by celebration [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18] then the will of God has to become abundantly clear, no matter what is happening around us. Confusion is simply not possible when we have a lifestyle of thanksgiving and rejoicing.

We are a people of identity and destiny, founded in Christ within, the expectation of glory. Our lives are always governed by something or someone. In Christ rejoicing increases His Presence within. In Christ, thanksgiving expands His power and influence upon all our situations. Our ability to discern God’s will and pray through it is dramatically expanded through thanksgiving. Rejoicing is a way of life. Without it, we are diminished in stature, power and enjoyment of God.

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