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The Gateway to God

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Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

In Psalm 100:4 God's Word directs us to enter the gates with thanksgiving. Once inside the gates, we're not too far from the Throne Room – the place of intercession. Thanksgiving, we might say then, is a DOOR OPENER which leads eventually to intercession.

Have you ever noticed what thanksgiving does to you? Try it some day when you can't seem to get into a spirit of prayer. Shower the Lord with your thanks – thanking Him for all the circumstances in your life: your health, your food, your home, your friends, and even some of the circumstances you may not like so much. Observe how quickly a spirit of prayer comes over you. Thanksgiving is an effective transition from the mundane, everyday world into the place of prayer. We might say it OPENS THE DOOR TO PRAYER.

Thanksgiving OPENS THE DOOR OF THE MIND to prayer.

When the enemy assails your mind with negative thoughts, and you find yourself recalling the regrets and mistakes of the past like a tape that keeps going round and round in your mind, you can shatter Satan's strategy by deliberately thanking God for all things. This very act will refresh your mind, lift your spirit, and fill you with hope because of the great God in your life.

Try it in the morning, even before you get out of bed. Thank Him for the good night, His protection and care while you slept, a new day, the sunshine (or rain, depending on where you live), that cup of coffee you will soon be sipping. Thanksgiving first thing in the morning will put your mind in gear for a day which will include meaningful prayer.

Thanksgiving OPENS THE HEART TO TRUST.

When everything is going wrong you can turn your doubts and anxieties into trust by pausing right in the midst of your troubles to shower God with your thanks. "But", you say, "how can I thank God for things I don't like? Wouldn't that be phony? And besides, God is good. Surely bad things do not come from His hand." – Wait a minute! The apostle Paul, who had been in prison, flogged, received forty lashes five times from the Jew's, stoned, three times beaten with rods and shipwrecked, etc., etc. (II Cor. 11:23-27), is the one who said, "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph.5:20)

You see, thanking God, even for the reversals of life, demonstrates our trust in the God who has allowed those reversals to come. We don't have to feel thankful in order to give thanks. It can be an outward expression of faith in "Him who doeth all things well". Job didn't feel good about his losses, but he demonstrated his trust in God by saying, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21) His trusting attitude in the midst of trouble has been called Job's "eternal yea". He demonstrates it again when he said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15) Thanksgiving is a way of saying yes to life. It will open the heart to trust God in the midst of all of life's circumstances.

Thanksgiving OPENS (RELEASES) THE WILL.

When we open ourselves to the will of God by saying, "Thank You, Lord," tension is released; we are set free. It is at this point that we can effectively lift our requests to God according to Philippians 4:6,7 – "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends human understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

A weak brother could complain about his weakness; a poor sister could grumble because she has so little. They could kneel to pray with all their troubles bearing down upon them. But let that weak brother and that poor sister try entering the place of prayer by way of the gates of thanksgiving. An altogether different story would unfold. As they would lift their requests with thanksgiving, God's peace would heal their troubled minds and bring hope to their seeking hearts. Perhaps the progression of thought in Henry Smith's scriptural song, Give Thanks, throws a little light on what God could do in the lives of people who would learn to effectively thank Him in all circumstances and for all things:

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now, let the weak say, "I am strong,"
Let the poor say, "I am rich"
Because of what the Lord has done for us;

Give thanks.

Well may we follow the admonition of Paul in I Thessalonians 5:18 – "Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

So you wish that God would answer your prayers? Enter by the DOOR OF THANKSGIVING. But your mind is barraged with troublesome thoughts? Thanksgiving will OPEN THE DOOR OF YOUR MIND. Your faith is almost nil right now; you just can't trust God? Try thanking Him; it will OPEN YOUR HEART TO TRUST. You can't seem to yield to His will; you are full of resistance? Thank Him. It will OPEN YOUR WILL to His.

Thanksgiving is easy, and it yields enormous dividends. Start thanking God now for everything you can see this very minute. Then open wide the gates of thanksgiving and let your heartfelt thanks arise without restraint to the One who is altogether worthy. It will clear your mind, relax your tensions, and lift your spirit. Then get ready for the One who sits upon the Throne to open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out such a blessing that you cannot contain it.

- Rhoda Winger
 
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Amens sister! Good stuff!

1 Thessalonians 5:16:
Always be joyful; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
 
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