When Jesus was in this world, He healed 10 lepers of leprosy (a deadly disease that effects the skin) but out of the 10 only 1 leper came to Him and said thank you (Luke 17:11-19)
“My brothers and sisters, we ask for many things from the Lord, many times we thought something was impossible, and He made it possible and many times we thought that this was our last night on earth but He extended our life-line because of His grace upon our lives” shared evangelist Robert Wilson when he preached at Faith Oasis Fellowship on the 19th of September 2015.
People forget to be grateful mainly because they think that most of the things that happen in their lives, or at least most of the mundane things in their lives whether good or bad, happen due of their conscious choices, decisions and intentions that they make. It is only in extraordinary turnarounds after intense prayer like a miraculous cure of a very sick child suffering from an incurable illness that one would think of paying gratitude to God. There are many blessings so close that we seem to look right past them.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
We can give thanks in spite of our circumstances because of who God is and what He has done for us. According to the Bible, Isaiah’s gratefulness was looking forward to the day when God would turn things around and restore His chosen people to their land. We can choose to be grateful, independent of our circumstances. It is an attitude of the heart expressed through our voices, perhaps written down with our pens, but more importantly evidenced in our lives.
An unexpected request that turned into a Blessing.
With that Robert began to share his testimony of God’s grace in his life when he was 16 years old. “I recall how my pastor would often travel abroad. One day, he was supposed to come back so that he could take over the service on Sunday and so I went to my pastor’s house. I went there because I wanted to be the first to collect the gift that he would bring when returning from his travels,” he said.
To his surprise he was told his pastor couldn’t make it back and that he had to preach that Sunday. Robert was at utter lost for words. The pastor had specifically told his wife the day before that Robert was to preach. That day, Robert went home confused but he was told to pray so that God would give him a message to share. He did just that but he did not receive any message though he prayed for hours. Then all of a sudden while praying, he noticed a cassette on the table of a great preacher. Robert listened to it while praying and was convinced that this was the Word to be shared.
However, that Sunday morning as he stood at the platform and as he looked out into the crowd, he literally forgot everything he was to share. In order to break away from that moment of awkwardness, he diverted the situation and asked everyone to pray; as they continuously sang and kept on doing so for some time; Robert felt his heart open up to God.
“I began to cry and say “This is not the place that I’m supposed to stand, this is your place. Please Jesus come to the platform! Please! Miraculously, I saw Jesus in the crowd and as He smiled at me He opened up his hand and lifted it towards me. With that, the Holy Spirit filled me, I opened up the Bible and I began to preach,” he added.
When he finished preaching the Holy Spirit told him to call for the altar call, and Robert did just that. “When I called for the altar call, the whole Church came to the front!” he shared. He added, “Do you know why I am sharing this message? Because the same Jesus who did that is the same Jesus yesterday today and forever.
“My brothers and sisters when you pray and you ask for something, you must first think about where this healing, blessing, or victory comes from? Without knowing, you can pray and pray, and you will not be able to receive it.” shared Robert. We are called to make a difference in the lives of people around us and in the world. “You are not called to survive, you are called to conquer!” he strongly emphasized.
When Fear sank in but the Lord set him Straight.
Robert then began to share another testimony of when he was on an airplane that was headed to Australia. “It was a boring flight, as there was no screen so I turned and began conversing with an old lady that sat beside me” shared Robert. It was a mere two minutes into their conversation, when the cabin crew suddenly announced shocking news that the flight engine had failed! One could only imagine everyone’s horror upon hearing such news.
“The spirit of fear came into the flight and everybody began to scream when they knew the plane was going to crash” he said. Robert spoke to the Lord with a loud voice, asking why?! “I thought when I served the Lord, at my end day I would have a grand funeral. This is not the way Lord!” he cried out. Then the Holy Spirit intervened, and told Robert to stop praying a stupid prayer, and reminded him that he has authority because of Jesus Christ; he was told to go in the front and speak of God’s authority and light. As Robert went to the front and stood there, he began singing praises to the Lord, the onlookers on flight thought he was a fool. Nevertheless, he continued worshiping and he continued doing so until everyone realized that the flight had miraculously made a smooth landing in Sydney.
Everyone was astonished; the pilot himself did not have the words to explain what had happened, all he could say was that it felt as if a hand was holding the plane up. As the people got out of the flight the media frantically approached the passengers and began interviewing them. When it came to Robert’s turn, he told them that it was through the power of God that they were saved; that is why he stood up in front confidently singing praises. When the surrounding people heard that, they asked to be prayed. “I began praying for each person, even the immigration officers,” he shared. As he walked out, the Lord said to Robert “Wherever you will go I will make your name greater!”
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.(Proverbs 18:21)
The testimonies above show us that our thoughts and actions of gratitude and praise to the Almighty can actually trigger physiological changes that have a positive effect on our physical selves and most importantly our spiritual selves. It can also make a change in the world around us as well as indirectly affect the people surrounding us.
“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” (Albert Schweitzer)
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Kim Yung CM