Leon Fontaine - The Effect of Thankfulness
Faith is something that transcends all the covenants in the Bible. We've got the new covenant. We've got the old covenant. We have separate covenants that God made with different men. But in every case, faith was an issue. What they believed. They trusted God. They believed God. And they believed Him to do greater and to go beyond and to live a life that was out there victorious for Him. David whenever he would be in a situation, he would always give thanks in all three times zones or in all three tenses. He would thank God for what he's done. He would thank God for what he is doing. And he would thank God for what he is about to do. And in that we have a recipe for great faith. If you're in the middle of a situation right now and you're believing God for a miracle. You need to replay what He did for you. What He's done for you.
Someone's going, "Well, you know, I just can't think of much, pastor". We'll start at salvation. You dirty rotten good for nothing sinner like we all were. Have you forgotten that He chose you? That you chose Him? That He washed you clean. He adopted you in to His family. He made you righteous. He gave you His grace. He said, "Come on! I'm gonna help you out. I'm never gonna leave you. I'm never gonna forsake you". Can you at least grab salvation and go, "I'm born again! I'm in the king's family. I'm with God". Go somewhere, but you've gotta began to thank Him for what He has done. Being thankful is looking at the positive. It's learning to grab your focus and move your focus to something that's going good. Do you know, how easy it is to refer to the pain in your life?
You know pain is an interesting thing. There's an entire 15 years study that came out of Australia where medical doctors have been studying pain. And the stuff that has come out of this study is mind blowing. As they found out that pain doesn't' come from your tissue damage. Pain doesn't come from your bent back. Pain doesn't come from a broken arm. Pain comes from your brain which decides pain and how much. It decides in every situation how much pain you get. And we keep thinking, "Well, it's coming from our body somewhere". And so they found out that your brain does brain loops. If a certain movement brought incredible pain every time you go there. It, your brain will just loop it and it will think you've always got pain. They are curing people with painful backs, people who have chronic pain.
And literally a session or two they're getting them to completely rewired their brain which is so believable because they have to get them to believe that this pain has no right there. They're finding people with amputations and they still have pain in that hand but it's amputated. Because we thought, maybe they're feeling their spirit, but the spirit doesn't feel pain. And their brain is something doing brain loops back to when the head pain in that hand, and the hands not even there. And they'll go through a certain little thing, that I forgot how they put a camera on. They looked at themselves in the mirror and also the brain goes, and it no longer feels any pain.
So it's amazing how that God's wired your brain to need to be renewed. That's why you gotta renew your mind with God's Word or your brain's gonna continue to brain loops for all your failures, your losses, your unhappiness, your pain, your heartache, you know, your failures. They just keep looping around your life and just like dealing with pain we tend to live. And we are attracted to what brings pain in our life. They've proven for example, that if you put your shoe on and there's a tack in your shoe. You gotta go, "Oh". And the more you focus on it, the more that tack hurts. But if you walk outside, say you're out in the country. And you put your boot on and someone put three tacks in your shoe. And three tacks, boom! It penetrates your foot.
But there's a bear attacking you at the same time. Your brain is so smart it ignores all the pain of a tack. You won't even feel it while you run through, for your life because of the bear. Your brain interprets that the bear is a greater attack than three little tacks in your shoe. But if there is no bear and there is no greater attack. You'll sit there, and you could be hobbling back to the house. Dear, help me out here because and-, I don't know. Maybe I'm reading this in study because it's got me all wired up. But I begin to realize how much the Bible talks about this. That renew your mind to truths or your brain will always go to the pain. It will always go to the painful things in our life. And they'll always focus on how bad it is, and how awful it is, and how no one treats you good, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And we can't live that way.
Being thankful is an on-purpose focus on what is good. Being thankful is grabbing your attention and putting it on what has God done in my life. And then it replays what He's done. And then it comes into now and it thanks Him for what He's done in the middle of doing right now even if that miracle hasn't happened. And then it looks to the future and it begins to thank Him in advance. God is great. God's gonna see me through, nothing's gonna stop me, no weapon, and you begin to declare and prophesy to the future. Give Jesus a hand, amen. There's a verse in the Bible in Timothy that's a real wake-up call for faith. And it says, "Fight! Other people. No. Fight! The devil. No. Fight! God. No. Fight cancer! No. It's very clear. Fight the good fight of faith.
In other words, there is a fight that you can win. You see, there is no good fight unless you can win it. I never tell fights I lost. I would tell a fight I win. It's a good fight when you win. And the Bible says, "Fight the good fight of faith". Why is it we get stuck in our world, stuck in our ability, stuck with our mind, stuck with our -, And we don't realize that the fight of faith is a spiritual fight. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of fortress and strongholds is getting your heart, your mind in agreement. That I'm going through and I'm taking this thing on and I'm gonna win. But the enemy has a way of just-, It's tough out there Leon to make a business work. I'm telling you, it's tough.
You know, you just pastor, so it's like you don't have any understanding about this, but it's a tough world out there. I'm telling you. And that, you know, you probably have some kind of blessing on your marriage so everything's fine. But I'm telling you, it's rough out there on our marriages. It's work. I'm telling you with our marriages. Yeah, you know, I'm telling you raising kids in today's world. I don't know if I wanna bring any more kids in today's world. You see how bad it is and I mean, we got cellphones are of the devil. You can get stuff on there that's bad. Oh, I mean, the iPads and what's all on the internet. And you just -, nonstop focus on every problem in their life and everything is going down. It's going to hell in a handbasket. Do you know how bad it is out there? If I can't change that person when in conversation, I don't talk to them anymore. I have enough problem with my focus on the negative without having to deal with their focus on the negative.
You know what I'm saying? And I'm gonna hang with people. I don't hang with chicken littles. I hang with eagles. I wanna hang with people that can lookout on the horizon and see the victory, not some chicken with their head in the green complaining about all this going down. You need to decide. I'm gonna fight the good fight of faith and today's thanksgiving. But we have often not realized how powerful it is to be thankful. When you find a thankful person, you have found a person who is strong in faith. You found a person that you can share your problems and your heartaches with. That's not a problem. The Bible says, weep with those who weep. So I'm not saying you have to walk around here and never have a problem. No, no. I'm just saying that when they get done hugging your face and holding you and crying with you because of the heartache and the hurt and the lost. They ought to say, "Come with me. Let me help you get going back again. Let me help you back on path. Let me help you back on the right direction. Let me help you get back to the right attitude, the right heart. Let me help you to rise up and look at life".
People who are unthankful are cynical. And it's hard to hang with a cynical person because nothing you say gets through cynicism. I believe cynicism is the last step of a discourage, demonically oppressed person. By oppression I don't mean possession. I just mean the enemy comes in and just tries to get them down. And they get disappointed in somebody, something, life, wife, husband, kids, health, pastor, church, whatever! They get disappointed, then they get discouraged. And they go from discourage through a couple steps until they get cynical. And cynical is that pain in the butt Christian that-, It's an arrogant pride that says they know the future. They know the outcome. They've tried everything you think you're gonna do. And those kinds of people I avoid like the plague.
I don't know how many people told me, Springs Church would never make it here. I don't how many told me, why do you pick up a TV channel? I don't know how many told me, why you gonna go two sites? How many people told me, it's not gonna work. How many people, I mean, I've had more chicken littles in my life than you can imagine. And I just made a decision and I wanna surround myself with people who gonna fight by my side. The mighty men and women of God who gonna say, "We can do it! We can go take that mountain". The lazy man says, "There's a lion on the streets so I guess, we're gonna die". They look at the impossible. They look at all that's going wrong and they just give in.
In 1 Samuel 17, David is talking to King Saul, and King Saul is this cynical guy already. None of his champions will fight Goliath. Goliath is screaming out in the valley. This is the fight they gotta fight and David says to Saul because he asked him, "What you gonna do against a giant"? You little shepherd boy kind of attitude, you know. And David says, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep. And when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock. I went out after it and I struck it and I delivered the lamb from its mouth. And when it rose against me, I cut it by its beard". Oh, good for you. You caught a lion by his beard. Great way to catch a lion. I cut it by its beard and I struck it and I killed it. You're sure but he's killed a lion and a bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be the one just like them.
See, he has defied the armies of the living God. When he's in the midst of going after something new, he goes back, and he replays the miracle God has already done for him. How many miracles has God done for you in your life? What miracle did you to keep your marriage together? I know you think you're that good, but you're not. God kept your marriage together. And when you went through that stuff and you go, "Oh, thank You, Jesus. Wow, look at the new love that's her". Thank Him. Thank Him for that miracle that when He healed your child. Thank Him for that financial. Maybe you've already forgotten about when your job wasn't going the way it is and also God gave you. And you got up and you were so excited just a few years ago about this new career path. Why have you forgotten what God has done?
God is so intent, His intension is so strong to remember the past. That every time He did a miracle for His kids, He would say build an altar right here. Put a pile of rocks right there. Everybody bring a rock and heat that thing up. So that your kids forget you forgetting your miracles. He wants your kids to remember your miracles. Every time they walk by the river there's a pile of rocks that's gonna show we crossed that Jordan river on dry ground. And put a pile of rocks over there and sacrifice them. Let them know every time you walk by the city he took the walls down. All through the Old Testament they would build these altars and they would thank God. It was an offering of thanksgiving. But they wanted the pile of rocks left there so that their kids would see and remember what God has done.
I don't know how many times my dad sat me down and told me what it was like to be 15 years of age laying in a bed gasping for every breath and just go, And he said, "Leon, I was so full of fear. I didn't know Jesus. I didn't give my life to Christ. And I lay there, and the fear was so brutal. It was almost as bad as choking and I choked for every breath. And when God and my grandma brought me to that healing rally and I gave my life to Jesus. First God healed him. Man, He just healed him. He got up and walked out of there from bedridden". And he says, "My lungs and my heart was healed from rheumatic fever and I could breathe again". He said, "I'm so in love with God". When he tells that story, that's a part of my history. And when I wanna tell people about why I'm doing what I'm doing, it's because what God did in his life. He was intent on showing me. This is what God did for me. This is what God did for my life.
If you don't give your kids a right history. They'll develop their own. If you don't share with what God's did for your marriage, what God did for you. I've told my kids how when they were in the womb and every one of them the doctor said there's something wrong with this baby. I was freaking out more than Sally. I remember laying hands on her tummy every night saying the doctor I'm not accepting his words. This baby is gonna be born healthy, whole, in Jesus' name. And every one of them defied the doctor and his determination on their birth and here they are. And they go back, and we've told everyone of them. You need to know, when you were in the womb they said this about you. But me and mom, we stood in faith and you're here and you're healthy and, you know. And I just let them and that's what we're thankful about.
You want your kids to begin to be thankful. You want them to look back and say, "Hey, this is what God did for my parents. This is what He's done for my grandparents. This is what He did for our health. This is what He did for our finances, look at God's hand on our home". The more you learn to focus on the good things, the more those good things get attracted to your life. And the more you focus on the pain and the problem and the frustration and the unhappiness. You cynical thing you break free, and get up and verbally thank God. It's interesting listening to David. He goes out and kids Goliath. And Goliath's got a few words to say. He says, "Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks"? And the Philistine cursed David by his Gods. And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me. I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field".
Now, you see, the problem with that little voice talking in the back of your head that calls you a loser. That you're gonna die. That you're gonna go bankrupt. You're gonna lose your marriage, your home, your family. Everybody thinks you suck. Everyone doesn't like you. Whatever voice is coming at your head, you need to speak back at the level its speaking to you. Listen to David. But David said to the Philistine, "You come with me with a sword, and a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you," And he didn't say, "With a slingshot". He didn't say, "I'm gonna twirl this little rope and kill you". He said, "I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you defied".
What are you saying when you start talking about your problems? Well, Father, I thank You that cancer's coming at me. But, you know, we're hoping and we're praying. No. But I'm coming back with the name of the God of host. Jesus is His name and He died on the cross and He took this and He's gonna heal my body. I'm gonna walk up and see Christmas. I'm gonna walk up and I'm gonna go see my kids and my grandkids weddings and my grandkids marriages. I'm gonna teach them to proclaim and to serve Jesus Christ. You begin to thank Him for what He's done, thank Him for what He's doing, and declare and be thankful for what the future's gonna -, This is the language of faith. And if you don't develop this language and focus on this language, you'll just be another statistic.
"Well, Leon, it's kind of embarrassing having you talked to me like this". That's not my problem. You need to make a decision. Have we all had losses? Yes. Well, Leon, I have lost. I've lost loved, people. I've lost finances. I've lost money. I've lost situation. We've all know what it's like on this world. Things come at us. And there's battle that you might lose here and there. But we're not losing this war. We're not gonna just roll over and go, "Well, there's a lion in the street. I guess I'm gonna die". No, let's get up and fight the good fight of faith. Which is thanking Him, praising Him. Getting our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame.
And He's here with you to give you a great life. He became poor that you could be rich. He was sick, so you could be whole and healthy. Read the Word. There's so much to believe Him for. He doesn't say, "I'm coming at you with my slingshot". He says, "I'm coming at you with the name of the Lord host". You've got God on your side. Why do we forget that? Why we go, and he says. Then he goes, "The God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand. I'm gonna strike you and take your head. And this day I'll give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the field, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with the sword and the spear, for the battle is the Lord's".
He is saying right here. It doesn't matter if my spearmanship is less than yours or I don't even have a spear. It doesn't matter you got a better armor. I don't even have an armor. It doesn't matter you got an armor bearer in. I got nobody you can see, because I got the Lord the host on my side. It doesn't matter the tool that's in my hand or the brilliance that I'm lacking. He's on my side and He's gonna take me through. And your mind is going to give, but you don't have enough business fact. That you don't have enough fund. You don't have this. You don't have that. Really? Is all that stuff gonna help you? You rather have that than God?
When you go through Psalms and you read all the things that David does. He was a guy that continually thank Him. Continually! It's all through the Word. Psalm 34:1-4, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth". We used to sing this one. "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear thereof and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord". To magnify something is to make it bigger. Cameras have a magnifier on them. They can zoom in and magnify the good things or they can magnify the bad things. Can you get any closer? Who's on the camera? See if you can find the zit anywhere. There are cameras so good. Man, at a hundred yards you can find a pucker in the eyes. And if you want, you can zoom right in on every problem in your life and just be fixed on the problems. And you can get good at describing your problem.
This is not just a zit. This is not just any zit. I want you -, and you can just go on explaining your problem. That this is not just any financial problem. No, no. You don't understand, before you pray for me, every company that's in my area is going down. There's no company that's make -, You don't understand my-, I don't need to understand how great your problem is. You've magnified your problem to such a degree that it's greater than your God. You've magnified the financial problem. You've magnified the sickness problem. You've magnified the issues in your life. You've magnified your marriage issues, your kids' issues. You've magnified them so big because that's all you've focused on. And focus is what gets bigger on the inside of you.
What you focus on, you give power over your life. When you magnify God, no wonder David said over and over and over, "Oh, magnify the Lord". Why? Because there was no God that he could see right now, his problem is so big. That's all that's staring your face this 11-foot giant. What do you do when there's an 11-foot giant staring you in the face with armor on, with spears, and swords. And you're walking out there in a pair of trunks. Well, little person five stones. Well, it's probably good time to magnify God. Well, don't you think he'd feel a little foolish? Most people who use their faith are told by somebody, somewhere, sometime, you're foolish.
You know, July 17th the first week that I became the pastor. Sally and I came here to Springs Church, July 17th, 1994. 1994 July first week, I'm speaking at a camp. And it's a bunch of Winnipeg people there. While I'm there as a young new senior pastor, seven pastors decided they would just spend some prayer time with me. Just pray for me because they were pastors in Winnipeg and they wanted to bless me. Yeah, sure. I just kind of stood in the middle seven pastors got around me. They began to pray over me. Then the oldest in the group began to prophesy over me and say that I've made a mistake in accepting the senior pastor of this church. That's not what you wanna hear. Then he goes on to say, "Thou sayeth the Lord, this church will not grow. But it will be a learning experience for you and the next church that you take, that church will grow". Man, I can't wait for this next church, whatever that is.
You know, people, they get focused on the negative. They even think they're hearing from God for you. They had someone speak to you like a Job's comforters. Well, you know, you go to that church. That church? Isn't that prosperity and healing church? And you kind of go, "Well, maybe you should find one that teaches poverty and sickness. Maybe that will help you more". There is always gonna be a fight to stay in faith. There is always gonna be a fight. My dad always said, "Any dead fish can float downstream. But it takes a strong fish to swim against the current".