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Sunday, October 30, 2016

"One of the Most Powerful Weapons: Gratitude" Randy Walter, Berlin, MD

http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=16875


An Atmosphere for Increase
"Gratitude creates an atmosphere for increase," the Lord said to Barbara and me. We realized this is not only a financial principle but a mighty spiritual weapon.
One of the most practical examples occurred when we were vacationing. After a "free night" in a fancy new hotel, the next place we stayed was old and not as nice. Barbara started to grumble about the room, and the Lord said, "If you complain, I'll have to take your blessings away." Those words stuck with us all day. We tried not to complain, knowing He was teaching us a principle for the rest of our lives.
That evening, tired and hungry after a lot of walking, we got really annoyed when nine drunk men were seated near us in a restaurant. They were boisterous and profane, looking for trouble. I knew I couldn't say anything to them without starting a fight. People in the dining room visibly cowered. These men were ruining everyone's dinner.
Barbara recalled, "I complained in my heart and prayed that someone would make them leave. Then I remembered what I was told that morning. Adjusting my attitude as we finished our meal, I realized that the Lord loved these rough, tough men. I asked Him to bless them, and love welled up in my heart. So I asked Him to help me bless them. Gratitude was needed for God's love to work through me."
I watched as Barbara's response went from resentment to resolve, and I covered her in prayer as she calmly walked to their table. Standing over them like a school principal, she said, "Gentlemen, Jesus loves you and I'm going to pray for you. Let us take hands." She pointed sternly at the only man who resisted, and they all held hands. She said a brief prayer, thanking God for them and asking His blessings on their families and their work. She ended with a cheerful "God bless you." The men fell into stunned silence, as did everyone else in the restaurant. The whole atmosphere shifted.
All eyes were on us as we left. Once outside, we burst into laughter when we realized what God had done. His love for these men produced gratitude in us – the strategic weapon that restored peace.
Our Weapons - Criticism or Gratitude?
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." 
How is gratitude a weapon? The Lord told us:
"The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses fear to capture hearts. He uses lies to capture land. Gratitude prevents him. Gratitude actually takes territory from the enemy. Thus, gratitude is a weapon in spiritual warfare."
The weapons we use are either from God or from the enemy. When we use the enemy's weapons of fear, hatred, criticism, complaining, judging and taking offense, we let him steal our identity, kill our hope and destroy our future. 
Criticism is a form of complaining and the opposite of gratitude. It is a tactic from our adversary to disrupt unity. The Lord explained:
"Being critical is an attempt to be justified. For people steeped in that spirit, it is very difficult to understand that critical words are accusations and curses. It is even more difficult for that person to recognize it as exalting himself at another's expense. 
"If asked, the critical person would not want that same standard applied to him. Yet Scripture says that as you judge, you will be judged. 
"Think of all the people it's easy to criticize – your spouse, children, neighbors, pastor and leaders. What if you saw yourself speaking vile curses over all those people? Wouldn't that take away your sense of justification? 
"When Paul called himself chief among sinners, it was not false modesty. He had learned how exalting himself over others by thinking he was always right (he was trained that way before his conversion) leads to death. He thought he was judging heretics when he was actually judging Jesus Himself. Once Paul was free of that critical spirit, he learned how to bless and curse not."
Last Days Doom and Gloom
Even though we live in perilous times, the best is yet to come. However, much last days negativity is being circulated by many people, including Christians. The Internet has become a growth medium for fear. Giving into a mind-set of doom and gloom plays into the enemy's plan to incapacitate us with fear and dread of the future. We can't let temporal facts cloud our understanding of eternal truth. Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28). He explained to us:
"By imagining worst case scenarios, you make things worse than they are. When you tell these things to other people, you instill fear. That is not of Me. Fear is the chief tactic of the enemy. When you use his methods, you promote his cause.
"It is the immature to assume fear can be a tool for righteousness. The tool I give to My servants is love, and you need to use it to draw people to Me. It only takes a little doom and gloom for people not to take you seriously. There is enough of that in the world, and you don't want to be identified with it. 
"Worldly people are starved for love... Only when love cares for a man's soul does he feel accepted and at peace. The lack of peace in the world today speaks of the lack of love. I want My children to change that.
"You will not win the world with your logic, you will win the world with love. There is no logic that can explain My love. So let joy infiltrate your hearts, peace dictate your thoughts and love craft your words."


Good Reports
Barbara and I recently gave names to our personal gates. Our eye gates we named "Purity"; our mouth gates, "Self-control" (for what goes in and what comes out); and our ear gates, "Good Reports." 
Barbara had been viewing network news for much of the day while working in the kitchen. A subtle spirit of fear drew her to the negative reports – the doom and gloom. Fear was undermining her joy and sabotaging her gratitude.
After realizing how harmful this was, she went on a fast to blur out negativity. We are also very careful to blip out negativism that comes over the Internet. We're not burying our heads in the sand but selecting what we dwell on. This is what Paul said to do:
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true... noble... just... pure... lovely... of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
Prosperity or Poverty in the Spirit?
There is an actual spirit of poverty which hinders gratitude. Poverty is both financial and spiritual in nature. The Lord told us, "Poverty is the absence of a viable relationship with Me." Notice there is a qualifier. "Viable" means "capable of living." 
Poverty takes people's eyes off the Lord and focuses them on themselves. It reduces people to survival mode and makes it hard to think in terms of eternity, and this fosters spiritual ignorance. The Lord told us:
"People with a spirit of poverty are not just at risk for being financially poor. Their outlook on living is destitute. They have resentment and self-doubt. Blaming is a common device to diffuse their pain. Poverty is not only found in their circumstances but their mind-set.
"How do people come to poverty? Those who don't manage their resources well are usually ungrateful, and that's why they suffer loss. All of the pride sins – especially poor stewardship and ingratitude – invite the devourer to take."
Part of Gratitude is Properly Stewarding What We Already Have 
Barbara and I conduct devotions at an area homeless shelter. "Ingratitude and entitlement" has been a stronghold for some of the people there. Those emotions carry with them spirits of abandonment, rejection, self-condemnation, shame and poverty.
The cycle of resentment and self-pity must be broken. Preparing for devotions at the shelter recently, the Lord said to tell the guests:
"Never consider what you lack without reminding yourself of all the blessings you have. That way, you'll always be grateful.
"Gratitude creates an atmosphere for increase. Being grateful for everything is the key. Look at all of the traps gratitude helps you avoid: self-pity, entitlement, resentment, greed, lust and anger are a few. See what a great strategy gratitude is? 
"Gratitude helps you avoid disappointment and indignation. As an active strategy for wellness, it promotes healing. It balances the three parts of your being because it is an act of worship. It leaves little room for fear. Gratitude and contentment are the same thing. They enhance godliness as you set your affection on things above and not things below. That is great gain." 
The Immensity of the Shift
Gratitude means being grateful not only for what God has already done but for what He is about to do. Combining faith with gratitude multiplies the power of this spiritual weapon. Here is how He put it:
"In the same way you cannot be fully prepared for the things to come, you also cannot be fully prepared for the extent of My glory which is about to be revealed. 
"You've been mistaken. You thought you would have to program yourselves to see what I was doing in the midst of terrible things you may witness. I say you are already programmed, and seeing My hand and My glory will not be difficult for you.
"Trusting Me will not be a strategy of last resort; it will come naturally. It won't be hard for you to do the right thing. You will be grateful for all of the training you received through adversity, when you see how easy it is to trust Me and to recognize the fulfillment of My plans and prophecies.
"Because of the immensity of the shift that is about to take place, you will find it easy to temper yourselves. But you will not stand in awe of events; you will stand in awe of Me for revealing these things to My prophets, who shared them through My Word. You will appreciate the shortened time of distress and the saving power of My hand. The things you hoped would be true will materialize as your peace comes from Me. 
"Before all is over, My People will feel like Jesus in the boat, rebuking the storm. They will derive their authority from their identity as members of My household. The world is about to stand in awe of My People, as My People stand in awe of Me." (To Subscribe to the Elijah List go here.)
Randy and Barbara Walter
Shiloh Ministries | Salisbury Revival Prayer Network

Email: shilohministries@comcast.net

Randy and Barbara Walter conduct Shiloh Ministries on Maryland's Eastern Shore, emphasizing intercession and the prophetic, and facilitating seminars and workshops. They have interceded on-site and led prayer journeys at hundreds of locations through their Chesapeake Revival Prayer Network. The Lord has assigned them to pray for awakening, outpouring and cultural transformation. For 25 years, Randy edited a regional Christian newspaper called The Manna. Randy and Barbara have ministered together throughout their 34 years of marriage. They have published their sixth book, Where Do You Hurt? Where Do You Hide?

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