Recently, my husband and I had an important function to attend that involved our oldest son and his wife. As much as we wanted to be there for our loved ones, we were concerned about severe weather conditions that were headed our way at the time. A storm of hurricane proportions was working its way up the east coast, and our forecast said there was a 100% chance that it would be right on top of us at the exact time that we needed to be on the road. I began earnestly praying that the Lord would intervene and keep our weather calm and clear, so that we could travel in safety. When the weather that evening exceeded our highest expectations, I was quick to give God all the thanks, praise, and glory. But my husband began chiding me, saying that it was just a coincidence, and there was never a real threat to begin with.
This experience reminded me of the account in Acts 12, where the apostle Peter was imprisoned and destined to be executed. Scripture says that a group of believers gathered together and began earnestly praying for him. Though Peter was heavily guarded, the Lord enabled him to escape by sending an angel to deliver him. The first place that Peter went was the house where these believers were united in prayer on his behalf. When he knocked on their door, and a servant girl recognized his voice, she got so excited that she neglected to let him in. When she told the praying believers that Peter was at the door, they promptly told her, "You're out of your mind." (v.15) Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking, and when they finally opened the door and saw him, "They were amazed." (v.16) Can you just picture this scenario? God's people are crying out for His divine intervention, and when their answer is right on their doorstep, they don't even believe or recognize it? How many times are we guilty of doing the very same thing?
The Bible says: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers." (Philippians 4:6 TLB) I must say that I have gotten very good at praying about anything and everything, and because of that, I witness the Lord's involvement in my life on a daily basis, in small matters as well as big ones. But I have to confess that I don't always remember to thank Him for all the times He intervenes on my behalf. And thanking God for answered prayer is essential, because it reminds us that we are dependent upon Him, that He is the Source of all good things, and that He deserves all the glory. It's offensive to the Lord when we rationalize or reason away His blessings, because it robs Him of the glory He so richly deserves. He says in His Word: "I will not yield My glory to another." (Is 48:11 NIV) This is a stern warning to those who would habitually give themselves or others credit for God's gracious gifts.
Psalm 50:15 (NKJV) says: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me." The New Living Translation says, "You will give Me glory." The Lord invites us to come to Him with our problems, because He wants to demonstrate His power and love on our behalf. This is a wonderful promise for us to claim in faith when we're in need, but we mustn't neglect to keep our part of the bargain, when God is gracious enough to keep His. As we call upon Him for help, and He answers us, we must remember to give Him all the glory, as well as all the thanks and praise. I believe that one reason why I have seen my percentage of answered prayer increase over the years, is because I've gotten better and better at giving God all the glory He deserves, and I am careful not to reason away His blessings.
If you want to stop the flow of God's blessings in your life, failing to give Him glory and honor for His gifts is a good way to do it. I pray the Lord will sink this message down deep into your heart, so that you may begin to experience an unhindered flow--even an overflow--of His very best blessings!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I called upon You in prayer, and neglected to thank and praise You for the answers. Help me to never rationalize or reason away Your gracious gifts. Thank You that as I am quick to give You the glory, Your blessings will chase me down and overtake me!
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