John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
In 1970 a wonderful book was circulating through the body of Christ entitled, Power in Praise, by Merlin Caruthers. This book encouraged believers to trust God for good in spite of how bad things might look, and begin to praise Him anyhow. It made a lasting impression on me as I began to consider the principle of praising God for everything.
Funny isn’t it, how we tend to complain about the one or two things that are wrong, and take for granted the hundreds of things that are right.
If we could only remind ourselves of all the right and good in our lives, we could more easily then look at the one or two things that are wrong and realize that nothing is impossible with God. Perhaps we could focus with faith on God’s ability to turn around everything that seems negative and make it a blessing. Life can indeed go much better when your heart is in the right place.
I endeavored to put that into practice as a relatively young Christian. And it seemed to work for me most of the time. Now, looking back, I realize that it worked all the time. Romans 8:28 is true indeed, “All things work together for good to those who love God.” In the last thirty six years, I have seen the power of praise and its companion, the power of blessing, work over and over again. It surely is the best way for the Christian to approach all the issues of this life.
It requires faith to praise God for the endless difficulties that come along in life, because faith carries you beyond what you are able to see yourself. Faith trusts even when life misfires even with careful planning and scheduling. More than passive and fatalistic trust, real faith causes us to always look to a God who is kind enough and big enough to do something about the mess we are in. We are looking to a loving Father, to Abba, Daddy, who cares enough about each one to cause everything to work out for the better.
When we understand how fundamentally wonderful, loving and caring God is, it becomes much easier to welcome Him into every area of our lives, even the painful and confusing parts. Our faith is what connects heaven to earth. When we expect God will bring good out of adversity, we are going to see blessing come, as long as we stay in faith and keep our hearts right.
I remember listening to Kathryn Kuhlman’s radio program when I was a new Christian. I was a regular listener and wondered why she would always begin her program with the same opening line, “And remember, as long as God is still on His throne and hears and answers prayer; and just so long as your faith in Him is still intact, everything will come out all right.”
There is so much packed into that little opener, isn’t there? Your faith must be in a God’s goodness and His care for you. And your faith must be intact, unmoved, still loving and trusting.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hope is what causes us to continue to trust in the God of love to turn things around for our highest good.
Our dear friend, Dr. Mark Virkler, is a Christian researcher, author and teacher. His research and other university studies have shown that when people are engaged in normal conversation, they are negative 80% of the time. Pondering this amazing statistic, I decided to listen to nearby conversations in elevators, restaurants and other public places. I have satisfied myself that this is really true, and that I need to make some changes, too. People are talking about their hurts, disappointments and injustices.
Christians are no better than the general population. James was right when he wrote, “...No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison. With it we bless God and with it we curse men who are made in the image of God...” (James 3:89)
In Philippians 4:8 Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
All “these things” Paul refers to are positive and not negative. We all agree as Christians, don’t we, that as God’s people, we need to be more positive. But what effect does it have within us? There is much more peace and much less stress, the killer which lies at the root of almost all auto-immune diseases.
But what effect does this have in heaven? In Matthew 16:19 Jesus says, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus said it again in Matthew 18:18, “Whatever you bind on earth, remains bound and tied up. Whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven ... is untied and set free ...”
Why not join the positive people who are untying things on earth by using the authority of your faith and words?
Begin to bless God and trust in His goodness.
It is one thing to trust God and expect Him to turn things around; but it is quite another thing to adopt the same attitude toward other people and begin to expect good things from them. This happens when we determine to bless others.
Did you know that it takes eight positive comments to undo the effect of two negative ones? Because we are negative 80% of the time, we are usually living in reaction, anger or hurt, and the last thing we think about is blessing someone else, even when that someone is right in your own immediate family! We find it much easier to “tell someone off” than we do to speak blessings over people.
I am amazed that many people go to church for their “weekly telling off” from the preacher who, likewise, has not learned the power of blessing others. Entire congregations have been preconditioned to think it was not a good sermon unless they were “told off good.” Yet affirmation is much more motivating than correction all the time.
In the Word of God, we see many forms of blessing. One form is words of kindness, hope and favor being spoken by fathers over their children. Abraham blessed Isaac who blessed Jacob who, in turn, blessed his sons.
What did they know about the power of blessing others? It seems they understood the fact that what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose (bless) on earth will be loosed and blessed in heaven. They understood the authority of a believer who is in right relationship to God. They understood that they were not powerless, but were stewards of God’s mighty power to bless and see circumstances and lives turn around for the better. They also understood their legal rights in heaven and that parents have authority over their children to bless them. God wants to restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and hearts of the children to the fathers. (Malachi 4:6) How? By teaching parents to bless their children and not curse them.
For several years, we have led the families in our church through a teaching series by Craig Hill called “Ancient Paths.” In this course, we learned that we need to speak blessing over our children often but especially at “rites of passage” in their lives such as at birth, starting school, at puberty, at graduation, at marriage and when they become parents, too.
I have witnessed myself the positive impact of blessing, especially on young people who are 13 years of age when they are welcomed into adulthood by the blessing of mom and dad, grandparents and adult friends. No wonder Jewish society cherishes this moment in bar and bat mitzvahs. It is a rite of passage that is deeply affirming and moving for them, anchoring their soul and identities in the love of family and in God.
When Jack Winter came to us in 1983, he taught us about the Father love of God and the importance of blessing. Carol and I drove almost immediately over to visit my dad, who was 75 at the time and rapidly losing his eyesight due to glaucoma. We asked him for a father’s blessing and knelt down in front of him. I still remember his prayer:
“Lord, bless my son and daughter-in-law. Use them for your glory and for your Kingdom. Everything that you called me to do in serving you as an evangelist which I refused give it to them!” He continued on for a very long time pouring out his heart in prayer to the Lord for us.
I am eternally grateful to Jack Winter for introducing us to the message of the Father’s love and urging us to get the blessing of our parents. Something was loosed on Carol and me in the heavens that day. We felt it. It was powerful and moving. We were all in tears with a warm glow of love, acceptance and forgiveness overflowing in our hearts. My earthly father’s blessing remains on us to this day.
Perhaps you need to receive the blessing of your earthly father and mother. Ask for it from grandparents as well. Something will be loosed in heaven for you and you will see it here on earth. Maybe you need to bless your children as well.
I bless all four of our adult children regularly, as well as our five grandchildren. I do it in prayer and in person, on the phone as well as on email. I look forward to the day when they will come and ask me for my blessing over them as well.
So, how about you? Are you a “blesser”? Are you willing to do something about the fact that you are too negative most of the time? When was the last time you spoke blessing over your children, or your parents? When was the last time you blessed your nation, your national leaders and local politicians? Yes, go on and bless them too. It will set them free from the enemy’s grip and bring wisdom and life into their hearts as heaven opens up to them.
By the way, when was the last time you blessed yourself? Think about all the times you ‘curse’ yourself by saying things such as, “Why did you do that, Stupid?” “You’re always forgetting,” “You are always doing that!” It is time now to begin blessing yourself and those around you with life, goodwill, hope and the blessing of God.
Let’s get started being “blessers.”
Start with your children. If you don’t have any, then bless your parents. They may be the very ones that have hurt you the most, but they are also the ones that God used to get you here on earth. They cared for you when you were a helpless little baby, so you can forgive them or begin to forgive them and start to speak blessing over them. Pray for them, that God will indeed open heaven and open hearts. Bless your friends and your pastor.
See? Isn’t life flowing into you? You just learned how to open heaven and loose its blessings in earth.
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Dec, 2006. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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