But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. ~ Jonah 2:9
Jonah was given a specific task from God – go to Nineveh and give the people there a word from God. But Jonah was afraid to go and ran away from the Lord. We know from Sunday school what happened next. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and found himself in an adult sized time-out.
While in the fish, Jonah prayed. He acknowledged his distress, and then he gave thanks. “When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord. And my earnest prayer went to you in your holy Temple. With the voice of thanksgiving I will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” ~ Jonah 2:9
After Jonah’s prayer the Lord ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did.
Jonah was released from the trap he was in after he gave thanks. So many times we wait until we are out of an unpleasant situation to give thanks. We tell ourselves we will be happy and thankful once we have closure from a situation. But freedom comes by giving thanks in the moment. The release from any trap we are in begins the moment we give thanks.
Giving thanks glorifies God.
Giving thanks changes your perception of people.
Giving thanks changes your perception of your circumstances.
You cannot stay trapped in a negative situation if you choose to be thankful. Negativity and darkness cannot be in the same room as gratitude, and they suddenly flee once thanksgiving is brought into a situation.
It was thanksgiving that released Paul from the prison he was in. “Around midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to the Lord – and the other prisoners were listening – suddenly there was a great earthquake; the prison was shaken to its foundations, all the doors flew open – and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” ~ Acts 16:25,26
The chain of every prisoner fell off. When you are chained with guilt, bitterness, frustration, worry, envy, gluttony, or grief every link will suddenly fall to the ground when you start thanking God for who He is, what He has given you, and what He can help you through. The doors of freedom from darkness will fly open and you will see things in a new light.
Let the peace of Christ be present in your hearts and lives. Always be thankful. Remember what you have learned from Jesus, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; sing praise to the Lord with thankful hearts. ~ Colossians 3:14-16
~ Cooking Up Faith
*We are studying scriptures on Grace & Gratitude this month. Click here for the Scripture Writing Plan and all devotionals for this study.