When the hot water supply in our home began getting sporadic, my husband Joe and I knew that it was time to replace our electric hot water heater. It had been 13 years since Joe had installed our old water heater, so we weren't too surprised when we began having problems with it. The first thing I did was to pray that the Lord would provide us with the best unit at the best price. I had seen God lead us to extraordinary bargains before, so I asked Him to help us find a new water heater for the same price we paid for our old one. When Joe began researching new units, he discovered that they had doubled in price in the last 13 years. I told the Lord that I believed that He could still provide us with an exceptional deal. That's when Joe discovered an excellent new water heater that was half the price of the other new ones, and only a few dollars more than our old one. We had to special order our new heater because of the dimensions we needed. This meant that we would have to wait a few weeks for it to be delivered. During that time, our hot water supply diminished more and more every day, and I earnestly prayed that the Lord would not let it run out before the arrival of our new water heater. When the delivery was delayed even more than originally expected, I began thanking and praising God that we would not have to take any cold showers while we waited. The Lord graciously answered my prayers by making sure that we had at least lukewarm water right up until the time Joe was able to install our new hot water heater.
After this experience, the Lord revealed to me that one of the reasons that our hot water supply didn't quit on us, was because I had been in the habit of thanking and praising Him for it on a regular basis. Almost every time I take a shower, I try to remember to express my appreciation to God for hot water. I began doing this in recent years when He began teaching me that being grateful invites divine intervention and protection. As I thought about this, the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Psalm 50:23 (NLT), where God says, "Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God." In this case, when the Lord says "salvation," He is referring to His saving acts on behalf of His devoted ones. You see, when we take our blessings for granted, we are at risk of losing them. We have to remember that the enemy of our souls, Satan, is always working to rob us of the good things of God. Jesus made this clear when He said that the devil "comes only to steal, kill, and destroy". (John 10:10) Expressing gratitude to God is actually a very powerful form of spiritual warfare. When we give repeated thanks to the Lord for the blessings He bestows, we actually form a hedge of protection around them, and we prepare the way for God to act on our behalf when they are threatened.
The NIV translation of this verse states, "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:23 NIV) Our thanks and praise actually "prepare the way" for God to show Himself strong on our behalf when trouble comes. But we can't expect the same results when we haven't been in the habit of having an attitude of gratitude for our provision and blessings. If we are constantly grumbling because we don't have everything we want or need, then we are leaving the door open for the devil and his dark forces to plunder what we do have. Perhaps the car you have now is a sorry piece of machinery, and you desperately want a new one. Instead of complaining about it, thank God that you have it, and make your thanks sincere. Go ahead and pray for a new car if you need one, but do it with a grateful heart, and not a bitter or resentful one. By doing this, you are "preparing the way" for God to act on your behalf at the best possible time for you.
I guarantee that if you get into the habit of being thankful for what you have, the Lord will give you more and more to be thankful for. I encourage you to give thanks for the loved ones in your life, for your job, your house, your neighborhood, and your community. Give thanks for your car, your devices, appliances, utilities, and services. They might not be everything you want them to be, but in those cases, when you thank God for them, you really are offering a "sacrifice" of praise. As Scripture instructs us: "Therefore by [Jesus] let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV) No matter what you are going through right now, I urge you to begin expressing your gratitude to the Lord for all of the good in your life. When you do, you will be creating a hedge of protection, and preparing the way for God to act mightily on your behalf in the days to come!
Prayer: Lord, right now, I would like to thank and praise You for all of the blessings I enjoy every day. Forgive me for the times I have taken them for granted, and give me a new awareness of all the good in my life. Teach me how to lift my heart and voice to You in sincere gratitude each day. Remind me that doing this makes it difficult for the devil and his dark forces to steal from me. Thank You that as I give You Your heart's desires in this area, I will experience more blessings to express my gratitude for!
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