It’s November! I LOVE the Fall! In East Africa we really didn’t have any Halloween fun and the leaves didn’t change colors – though the Jacarandas did come to bloom, and I absolutely adore them! We always had Thanksgiving with our teammates and other ex-pats. The last time we celebrated we had a bunch of friends from church come celebrate American Thanksgiving with us and had a blast as we added in some dancing, a variety of Indian food, and henna! These were all fun things, and I enjoyed them in the moment, but I always had a twinge of homesickness during this time of year. One thing I started doing even before I went to Africa was using the month of November for being purposeful in finding things I am thankful for.
Over the last decade I have been aware of how thankfulness and gratefulness are a part of spiritual warfare. I recently read about a battle in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 where the enemies of Jehoshaphat came against God’s people. Instead of calling on the warriors, the Spirit came upon one of the son’s of Zechariah, Jahaziel, who told them that this battle was not theirs to fight. Can you imagine? You are looking at hoards of enemies coming against you and you are told that God said not to fight? They were told the battle was not theirs, but God’s, that they were to stand firm and see the work of the Lord on their behalf.
But here’s the thing. While standing there, Jehoshaphat “bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, and the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.” (Vs. 19)
As they rose early and went out, they did so in worship and thankgiving. Verses 21-22 actually says, “And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.’ And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against [their enemies].” The Lord made their enemies to actually destroy each other while the Israelites sang praises to him.
It’s a bit gruesome in some aspects, I suppose. But we do not have to worry about being on the wrong side – we are also the children of God! One way that all of us can fight spiritually is with our own praise and thanksgiving. Because I believe when we choose to bring praise rather than grumbling and complaints, rather than taking things into our own hands, rather than revenge or hatred – something powerful happens in us and in our very beings. It’s not just a reset of an attitude, it’s the transforming of our heart and mind. All the promises of being a new creature come into play and we see a glimpse of what God sees when he looks at us through the blood of his son.
So friends, would you join me this month? I would love to hear what you are thankful for. Be aware that this means extra battle on some days to push through, because Satan doesn’t want you to be powerful in Christ. He hates us. He is out to devour us and watch us destroy each other. So when we make a commitment to thanksgiving each day, it means there will be days when we can’t see it easily and clearly, and we just want to wallow in self pity and the circumstances surrounding me. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it. As we stand together praising him, imagine the power that can be loosed in this world.