Scripture: "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
2 of Jesus' greatest miracles—feeding thousands of people from a few loaves and fish and raising His friend Lazarus back to life—have 1 word in common. Can you guess what that word is?
1st Miracle: "Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, 'I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.' His disciples answered, 'Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?' 'How many loaves do you have?' Jesus asked. 'Seven,' they replied, 'and a few small fish.' Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied." (Matthew 15:32-37, excerpts)
2nd Miracle: "On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face." (John 11:11, 38-44, excerpts)
Did you notice that both times Jesus said "Thanks" before the miracle? One time it was incredible provision, and another time it was incredible life from death. Now, I bet you can think of places in your life where there is lack or death. It could be in your finances, emotions, or your health. The tendency is to get down and depressed and maybe say "Thank You" if it changes. But God wants us to reverse that order. He actually wants you to say "Thank You" before He provides.
Think of it like this—Imagine 2 children: one has his arms crossed and is looking angrily down at the ground; and the other is looking up at you, smiling, with his arms wide open. Which child, do you think, is ready to receive something? That posture of "Thank You In Advance" is what God loves from you. When you say "Thank you" before you get His answer, you are telling Him just how much you trust Him. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." That means, you are so convinced that God is going to answer you that you are already thanking Him as if you have it.
I believe God wants you to make Thank-You Sandwiches with Him, starting this week. Think of the bread as your thanks and the meat as His answer. You lay one slice of the bread down first, and then comes the meat. And then you put down one more slice of bread to make it a complete sandwich. Thank You-Answer-Thank You...A complete sandwich! Think of it like the question of the chicken or the egg coming first...whichever it is, one thing is for certain: the egg leads to the chicken which leads to more eggs and more chickens. It's just the same with your thanks. One thanks leads to one answer which in turn gives birth to more thanks and so on. So just think of it this way: The more thanks you are giving to God, the more answers you are going to receive. What a wonderful cycle!
Imagine a clear kitchen counter and a full loaf of bread. Now take a piece out for each answered-prayer sandwich you want to start. Maybe there's one sandwich for your health, one for your children, and another for your finances. You can put out as many slices as you want back answers to prayer! I'll start with mine:
Lord, I thank You in advance for:
Now what are yours? Start making answered-prayer sandwiches by laying down the bread of your "Thank You in Advance" in the Comments below! He loves you putting down the first slice and will come to bring the meat as you continue to trust Him! "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek Him." Hebrews 11:6