Bill Johnson teaches on the power of thanksgiving and how it is a surprising, yet key weapon in spiritual warfare. Scripture tells us to give thanks in everything – not that we should be thankful for the challenges that come our way, but to be thankful in every moment, knowing that God is working all things together for our good. Thanksgiving sanctifies, and moves a situation out of the enemy’s hand in and into God’s. Stewarding a thankful heart reestablishes our trust in God’s sovereignty, and is one of the most profound weapons God has given us in our arsenal. Subscribe for weekly videos:

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Scripture References: Romans 8: 28 Psalm 100 John 6: 11, 23 1 Corinthians 11 1 Timothy 4: 1-5 Originally shared at Bethel Church, Redding California, on August 13, 2023. Bill Johnson is a fifth-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. He is senior leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and is passionate about seeing Revival and God’s Kingdom established and revealed in the lives of individuals, families, communities, and nations. Bill’s teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven, hosting the Presence, and the renewed mind has helped thousands around the world to step into their true identity in Christ, God given purpose, and walk in a supernatural lifestyle displaying both purity and power. #BillJohnson #BethelChurch #Thanksgiving #Thankful

but the costly times

of thanks

there’s loss there’s the bad report you

immerse it in Grace

I thank you because you’re bigger than


that’s what thankfulness does

it captures our moments what seems to be

the random parts of our life that could

easily work against us I don’t believe

it all we’re ever supposed to be

thankful for evil itself but I cannot

afford to live impressed by the devil’s




good morning still morning

good morning good morning a couple weeks


I was in Alaska

with uh

four of my grandsons took him fishing

for salmon

and those salmon they pretended like

they didn’t want to sacrifice their

lives to sustain Revival but I knew they

did I knew they did and so we captured

the opportunity and have been

celebrating Jehovah Jireh ever since

and we honestly had such an amazing time

we’ve flew in these little Cub Plains

you know

five of us and flew landed on a beach

and fished you know

saw Grizzlies had a Grizzly come about

30 yards away that was

very entertaining


yeah yeah and the door flew open on the

plane when my youngest uh grandson on

the trip Cruise

said he thought he was going to die he

was he was in the seat next to the open

door so I had to do a little repair on

that door but uh thank you Jesus for

seat belts so you always wear seat belts

so we we did well

I’m sure you weren’t praying for us but

you know you would have had you known

and uh and I’m thankful I I got home and

and uh

my mother-in-law my wife’s mom was her

health was declining very rapidly

and so I got to uh

uh last I think it was Monday night got

to go and spend the night with family

around her bed and

and she lived through the night through

the next day and and I returned the next

night and happened to be there when uh

when she stepped into Glory

and you know um

hard moments hard moments are often

times your most important moments

and you don’t want to you don’t want to

miss an opportunity to get exposed to


it’s uh it’s a gift it’s a gift from God

and so we we spent the time together as

a family I remember I think it was the

night before she’s in a in a coma and

and I went over to uh hugger goodbyes

going back to the house after spending

the night there and and so I went up to

her and just hugged her as soon as I did

she went oh she just began to worship

again she just she uh she was she is

this worse she’s really worshiping now

but she was she practiced for a long

time before she got before she got home

and uh it was it was really quite quite

amazing so I got home uh in the wee

hours after she uh stepped him to

Eternity I laid down for a couple hours

to get some sleep and then got up and

went to jury duty

thank you

and I experienced something I never

experienced before

having a marshall wake you up in the

jury room because you fell asleep


so I asked how could they have known I

was asleep

only because the travail in

intercessions I was making I’m sure

oh the oh

in Weaverville I was marriage counseling

I fell asleep

they never listened to me anyway so it’s

all right

that one that one made sense

I don’t think they ever noticed

I’m serious I actually fell asleep while

we’re we’re conversing and uh and I

realized I’d been sleeping I woke up and

they were just still talking so

seemed like it all worked good to me so

oh where was I all right good morning

nice to see you glad you showed up


I haven’t done an extended fast for over

a year I uh the spring of last year I

did a long one

and I mentioned only because that’s

really the only time I watched the food

channel is when I’m on an extended fast

because it gives me hope

it helps me have a sense of anticipation

that my life is not over

and there will be food yet again

and and so I I watch I watch the Food

Channel I watch it religiously when I’m



and I do mean that religiously I I watch

a number of things and I download

recipes that they give it’s the only

time I do that but I I told you before

the last I did a 40-day fast years ago

I’ve only done one once but I did a

40-day fast years ago and uh and during

the 40 days I bought 29 cookbooks

and if you’ve ever bought if you’ve ever

bought anything on you know you you buy

something and then it says

people who bought that cookbook also

bought these

and I I’m not into words I’m into

pictures pictures tell me and so I look

at the pictures and I go well I see why

they bought that one look at that that’s

I I’m I need to eat that and I need to

eat that and so I I bought cookbooks I

bought the last time I fasted so I had

double so my daughter inherited from my

uh I forgot I just forgot because I I

don’t use them

it’s the worst part I’ve I I’ve never

admitted this before I’ve not cooked one

thing out of any of those cookies


they are there to inspire me

they have pictures I become inspired

on the Food Channel

on the food channel is the show that

this morning I found out has a name it’s

called chopped

and in that on that particular show they

put random ingredients together

like random and and the and the chefs

that are competing they don’t know

what’s there

and so then they lift the veil or

whatever and there’s all these

ingredients you know they’ve got spicy

mustard and sardines and cauliflower and

you know all things that aren’t related

at all and they put them together and

they say this is your challenge and and

these guys are Masters at cooking and so

they take these random ingredients and

they make some exotic you know enjoyable


and Romans 8 says


buy cookbooks when you fast that’s what

it says

Romans 8 says that he causes all things

to work together for good for those who

love God

called according to his purpose

all the all the ingredients the

ingredients you wouldn’t have shopped or

bought all the ingredients of your life

that you never signed up for

all the stuff that you regret

all the ingredients as well as the good

things here yes your faith the

breakthroughs but then there’s all the

other stuff

the Master Chef is able to take this

hodgepodge of ingredients and create a


and that’s his Covenant with you that’s

his Covenant with me

because that is true

the greater the reality

let me rephrase that

the greater our awareness of that truth

of that reality

the greater are bent to be thankful in


ignorance in that one area of God’s


causes us to trust ourselves over him

the absence of thankfulness is


the absence of thankfulness is


thankfulness is one of the most profound

weapons that God has given us in our


and I hope to take you through a number

of verses just to show you some some

Concepts on why God is building in US

to be a thankful people and I think

probably most everybody in the room

would say I’m a thankful person that

you’re a thankful person

our problem is is that we cultivate a

thankful heart over all these things we

acknowledge God’s in charge he’s the one

who provided the job he he uh you know

gave me this child he whatever it might

be we have our list of things

but we almost all have something over

here that we’re not thankful for

and we justify it because it’s the work

of the enemy something bad happened in

my life this or that and so we have a

special category for things hoping that

God will just vindicate us not realizing

that being thankful

he said in everything give thanks he

didn’t say in almost everything give


neither did he say just do your best you

know I’m rooting for you just do your

best just hang in there do your best he

didn’t say that he said in everything

give thanks in everything

so here’s this glaring problem this

conflict this disappointment this

whatever it might be this is here and

I’m cultivating thankfulness here but

I’m unwilling to deal with this very


that haunts me what’s the problem

any area of my life

in which I am unable or unwilling to

give thanks for

that area will have a measure of

influence and control over my life

and not for good

it will it will have a voice

where it shouldn’t have a voice God why

is this constantly tormenting me because

you’ve not buried it in thankfulness

why is this thing constantly there it

doesn’t ever go away because

you’ve chosen not to express trust in

this one thing we pray the problem but

we but we don’t often give thanks for

the effect it’s having on the recipe

if we could see Romans 8 28 more clearly

I think we’d be much quicker to give



the IRS audit

the bad medical report

the loss

of this employment or whatever it might

be the stuff that goes on in all of our


he doesn’t ever tell us to be thankful

for evil

we are thankful that we have a sovereign

God who is able to use what the enemy

intended for evil for our benefit

and it’s the expression of thankfulness

that immerses that which is contaminated

into the grace of God to where God now

uses it for our benefit

in Psalms 100

he says I will enter his Gates

with Thanksgiving in my heart I will

enter his courts

with praise Thanksgiving is all about


I will enter his Gates where’s the

destiny the destiny is the throne room

of God

I will enter his gates with Thanksgiving

our interest course with praise

Thanksgiving is the specific response to

the actions of God the works of God

praise is our response to his Nature’s

character thankfulness is always to

introduce us to an increasing revelation

of his nature

Moses said let me know your ways that I

might know you the revelation of nature

is the invitation for encounter

so when God gives us his protocol

it’s not a a formula that we use to

manipulate God it’s how he functions

it’s almost like this is what the

presence of the Glorious one demands

is his Commandments are not restrictive

they’re not punishments they are always

invitations to life every commandment is

an invitation to Greater experiences in

the Life of Christ

so he gives us this mandate he says

enter is gates with Thanksgiving in his

courts of praise

what’s the result

in before the glory


is an expression of trust that keeps us

conscious of the presence of God


it’s an expression of trust and it keeps

us conscious of him Keeps Us conscious

of the presence of God

one of my favorite uh stories in the

Bible is Moses up on the mountain

with the almighty God face to face

and he comes down

with a direction God has shown him what

he’s supposed to build they’re going to

build this Tabernacle

but when he comes down he sees Israel

playing the Harlot they are an absolute

the most grotesque sin one can imagine

he walks into the middle of that

does all kinds of stuff to restore order

bring them to repentance and then he

builds what God showed him to build and

the key verse for me is this

and Moses built according to what he saw

on the mountain

I think I can say this accurately most

Believers catch a vision on the mountain

and lose sight of it in the midst of a


and Moses succeeded to build what he saw

up there when he got down here

it’s the most challenging thing and what

does thankfulness do thanks the specific

acts of Thanksgiving not just the

attitude of gratefulness which I think

is vital but the specific acts of


connect us to our history and God and

help to heal and restore memories as

it’s supposed to be Embrace because

those memories are what help us to carry

on the Mandate of the Lord and Moses did

according to what he saw on the mountain

it was the memory of that that helped

him to be successful in his most

perilous time


thankfulness is what keeps us connected

to our history and God our history it’s

not just mine it’s our history of God

I want you to look at John chapter six

with me we’ve got a couple verses we’ll

we’ll go through

John chapter six this is where Jesus is

feeding the five thousand

says in verse 11 it says and Jesus Took

the loaves

and when he had given thanks he

distributed them to the disciples

and the disciples to those who are

sitting down

verse 23

other boats came from Tiberius near the

place where they ate bread after the

Lord had given thanks

cannot pay attention here

the Holy Spirit

marked the location so here we’ve got a

location where Jesus there’s the

multiplication of food thousands of

people eat

after Jesus broke bread and gave thanks

the Holy Spirit wanted that place to be

remembered what was it remembered for it

was when Jesus Took loaves broke them

and give thanks what’s the point what

did he what did he have

he had not enough

and he gave thanks holding not enough



the sacrifice of Jesus was in response

to human need but the daily invasions of

God are not according to human need

they’re according to Faith and obedience

and to ignore the protocol of God to

apprehend that which is in our life that

we refuse to give thanks for is for us

to Mark a part of our life we don’t need

his grace in

in the midst of lack

Jesus gives thanks in the midst of lack

and in verse 23 it says what’s that

place go Ah that’s the place where he

took bread and he gave thanks

he gave thanks for what wasn’t enough

First Corinthians 11.

is a good one this is where Paul had

received this Revelation about the

Lord’s Supper

and he was communicating

really the greatest truths we have in

scripture on the subject

here in chapter 11 and First Corinthians

and he said um

he said I received from the Lord that

which I also delivered to you

that the Lord Jesus on the same night in

which he was betrayed

took bread

and when he gave thanks he broke it and

said take and eat

okay what’s the point

on the night

Jesus was betrayed

he took bread and gave thanks

see thankfulness took

in John 6.

a situation of extreme lack

and turned it into extreme abundance

where they ended up with more than they

started with

in the leftovers

now jesus takes his moment

the most difficult moment where he has

poured himself into 12 people 12 guys

for three and a half years

at the end of which

one has a better idea

and for personal gain sells the right

the access that he has to Jesus

and he betrays

on the night Jesus is betrayed Jesus is

fully aware of what Satan has inspired

Judas to do fully aware of that he takes

the bread he breaks it and what does he

do he gives thanks

see Thanksgiving

sanitizes your touch on the matters of

your life it decontaminates us from


influence remaining flesh influence that

that defiles that which God is doing and

is thankfulness that keeps us in a place

where everything in my life now is

usable by God

because I have I have I’ve cleansed

myself if you will I I don’t know if I’m

using the right language but you can you

can help me out and figure it out I I

I’ve sanitized my own involvement in the

Affairs of my life through thankfulness

toward this now is in the hands of the

Lord to use on my behalf for his glory

and on my behalf and his thankfulness

the transitions that very tool that the

anime intended for evil

perhaps the best example of this is

found in the first Timothy chapter 4.

if you would

look there with me

in light of the last passage of betrayal

what Thanksgiving does with the ACT

specific deliberate acts of expressions

of Thanksgiving

what it does is it is it um

it delivers me from the influence of the

spirit of offense and bitterness

I personally think the two greatest

dilemmas for the body of Christ that

hinder us from maturity is unforgiveness

and uh


disappointment sorry

these two areas are the most crippling

they have the most crippling effects on

the hearts and minds of the people of

God those two things resentment

bitterness and disappointment

and what thankfulness does is it grabs

the moment back even though the Waters

passed under the bridge even though the

disasters happen even though I can’t see

any possible way for God to get Glory

out of this is a part of the recipe

and as a part of the recipe

I am going to give thanks because in the

giving of thanks

I don’t want to say God can’t use it

without my thankfulness it’s just

somehow I get to be a participant when I

yield and acknowledge trust in him over

this challenging and difficult area

I I remember well I’ll get to First

Timothy 4 in a moment

I remember years ago maybe 15 years ago

Benny and I were

eating at The French Laundry

let’s give thanks together

for quality food

and I I remember sitting this first time

we had been there we were there with the

Bob and Cindy Kilpatrick our first time

we were there together and

and uh and they there’s like nine


and they brought up this bowl

of two of the things that I least like

on Earth

they are never to enter these lips

between these lips

I did not like caviar

and did not like oysters

my wife actually not very many know that

she tricked me one day she was in a

cooking class

she had a spoonful of what looked like

blackberry jam

when you are anticipating the sweetness

of blackberry jam and you get a mouthful

of fish eggs it’s not right it’s it’s

not right at all

that Spirit of deception was all over

that moment I’m telling you there was a

sink close by I got rid of it and I had

the same fondness for oysters

so I am now at the French Laundry

and I’m I could take you to the table I

was sitting on I could take you to the

chair I was sitting here

and they brought this bowl of what’s

called oysters and pearls

literally Thomas Keller chef Thomas

Keller’s world famous for this dish

oysters and Pearls oysters and caviar

with this sauce

and I’m looking at oysters I don’t like

you caviar I don’t like you and I don’t

know what the sauce is


I said I’m spending too much money for

this meal to not at least taste it

and so I took a bite

of oysters and pearls

the Angels began to sing

the heavens opened

I could see you know in the Old

Testament where his eyes were brightened

when he had the honey that was me

I was in that moment and I turned to

Benny I said honey I want a chili bowl

full of this stuff this is so good

things I don’t like became my favorite

things when they came under the

influence of the Master Chef


and every one of us have Oysters

and caviar in our life things that we’re

not fond of

but the Master Chef is at work


and with thankfulness

we literally yield interest to the

process where God gets glorified

by the very parts that we regret the


First Timothy chapter 4 verse 1 it says


the spirit expressly says that in latter

times some will depart from the faith

giving heed to deceiving Spirits

doctrines of demons

speaking lies in hypocrisy

having their own conscience seared with

a hot iron

so here’s this last day’s warning of the

power of deception and then he goes into


forbidding to marry

commanding to abstain from foods which

God created to be received with


by those who believe and know the truth

for every creature of God is good and

nothing is to be refused if it is

received with Thanksgiving

for it is Sanctified by the word of God

and prayer now think with me through

this situation what is the warning the

warning is of The Perils of the last day

and literally the spirit of deception

that is trying to draw people into

collapse of Faith a place of moral

spiritual failure

he warns about some of the things that

people will believe that will dissuade

and and and cause people to deter from

their Simplicity of faith in Christ

and he mentions food

and somehow he takes this most natural

element of food

and he says if you receive it well

thanks I’m going to put it in my terms

my word so that I can illustrate my


you receive

this that the enemy

put in front of you

through the deceiving Spirits for the

collapse of your faith when you receive

this with thankfulness that thing that

was the tool to be used against you now

becomes a tool that is for you

it’s it’s almost it’s I this is the way

I see it it’s like now God is Sovereign

he can do whatever he wants so I I don’t

I don’t feel that we somehow limit or

restrict him he’s Sovereign God but he

has protocol

is very specific processes in which he

wants to perform and they become more

challenging the older you get in Christ


you’ve got a lot of leeway when you

first come to Jesus

and he tightens the screws the further

we walk with him it’s not punishment

it’s because he’s wanting to release

greater glory and that greater glory

requires a more refined and specific

intentional obedience


there’s a sanctifying effect of


Sanctified cleansing effect

it decontaminates my own heart and its

attachment to different parts of life

I remember

a number of years ago we had a

a single mom who who was down to her

last four dollars and later heard the


down to her last four dollars and she

thought well I’ll just come on Sunday

morning and I’ll get a coffee at Hebrews


and uh and then just see what the Lord

does you know

so she got here and was ready to get her

her Hebrews



let’s be honest Glory

and uh and she felt no I’m just going to

skip it I’ll just put it in the offering

so she took what was huge to her

that what it was insignificant in the

measure of the entire offering

and it was her sacrifice see

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a

sacrifice and it’s not a sacrifice if it

doesn’t cost me

if I have a thousand dollars in my

pocket and I give away ten dollars it

wasn’t a sacrifice I won’t even miss it

but for the gal who’s got four dollars

in her pocket

she decides to put that in the offering

that’s everything

what she didn’t know is that was

Father’s Day

and on Father’s Day we like to honor

single moms

and having just placed

her last four dollars in the offering

I had single moms stand up and we

blessed them

she overwhelmingly walked out of the

place with over four hundred dollars

that morning

with this piece of this poor cashier


now let’s be honest if it worked that

way all the time we’d have God the slot

machine going every week here’s four

more preaching

what the Lord does is he gives you that

breakthrough at the beginning of your

journey that you are required to

remember for the remainder of your

journey because you’ll have 10 more of

those situations following in which

there is no quick Deliverance

the experience is not for us to figure

him out

the experience is for us to endear our

hearts to the one who always has a

solution in every situation I get to

figure out the process and go on this

relational journey to see his

breakthrough come once again

and in this situation it’s thankfulness

it’s the specific Act of Thanksgiving

for the very thing I least like in my


it’s that act of thankfulness

that delivers me

it delivers me

I’ve had more challenging situations in

the last

six eight months that I’ve had any time

of my life I’m preaching this to me this

is the result of me saying all right

what can I do what should I do what must

I do

to fully place every aspect of my life

under under the grace and tenderness of

the Lord I don’t want anything standing

out because I ignored it because I

missed my chance because I I just I

wasn’t feeling it

you know there’s something about


in the Old Testament Nehemiah in chapter

chapter 12. it says that he appointed

two great choirs of Thanksgiving

it actually all this started after David

became king they started appointing

Thanksgiving choirs which means what

you’re assigned to give thanks don’t

wait till you feel it

you’re not required to feel it you’re

required to give it

where if if it’s supposed to be a

sacrifice when is it the greater


when your your favorite team just won

or you got a raise at work or you’re

finally able to buy that house all

important times to give thanks

unless your team was playing against one

of my teams

all important times to give thanks

but the costly times

of thanks

there’s loss

thank you

there’s the bad report

you immerse it in Grace

I thank you because you’re bigger than


I know that you will work this into the


you’ve done it before you took things I

despised and you made them my favorite


oysters and pearls

that’s what thankfulness does

it captures our moments it captures what

seems to be the random parts of our life

that could easily work against us

but when we grab hold of what God

intended for good

yeah I don’t believe at all we’re ever

supposed to be thankful for evil itself


I can’t celebrate the devil’s work

but I I also I cannot afford to live

impressed by the devil’s work in other

words living in reaction to what he has

said or what he has done it’s got to be

according to his promises

my encouragement to you today is to be

very intentional and deliberate

and and and you don’t have to feel it

see in the Kingdom emotions the

emotional realm is trained through


in the Kingdom the emotional World our

internal world is actually trained

through obedience

in the natural before he came to Christ

you did what you felt like doing

but it’s the it’s a backwards way to

live in the kingdom and the kingdom you

do because it’s right and it trains you

what and how to feel and actually

heightens your sensitivities to be more


you okay

when I was thinking about today I was

actually I was wanting to talk about a

number of different virtues and but I

couldn’t shake this one this one


I speak again next week maybe we’ll go

on to some more we’ll see but

I feel like I feel like

the most surprised weapon of all

maybe equal to God sending choirs out

into battle before the army that was an

unexpected strategy

well so is thankfulness in the midst of

your worst situation

it’s an unexpected


nothing is outside the reach of my


all right once you stand it’s probably




because thankfulness

is is so profoundly

I just remembered

an experience with my

mother-in-law when she was dying

before she went into a coma

she would just spontaneously come up

with things and the family sitting there

writing them down because some of them

were brilliant and some were just


you know when you’re in between two

worlds you tend to

you know

and she wanted to say profound and she

wanted to say the word happy

and instead of saying either she said


profaby so we’ve coined that as a family

that is now our latest expression how

you doing I’m pro-fappy I’m Prof happy

I’m profoundly happy


don’t be surprised if you see t-shirts

with my family right I’m Prof happy I’m

Prof happy

the profound impact of thankfulness

is that it transforms every situation

that we become thankful for and what it

does is it connects us with hope

it connects us to Hope

because thankfulness it comes back to

the nature of God the Covenant of God

what is covenant he is made with is his

promise all things work together all the

parts of the recipe he’s going to use in

a way that he’s exalted and we’re

strengthened just promise with us

and thankfulness itself restores hope

where we have little hope

so let me pray for you

father I ask that you would help us

again as a family

with this an unusual Grace a profound

happy a Prof happy


to uh to embrace

the surprising things of life

and to yield them to you with


we do acknowledge your good

we do acknowledge

you know the unwillingness for me to be

unwilling to give thanks

is for me to actually trust in me above


and things have never turned out well in

my life what I’ve trusted in me instead

of him

so God I pray for that realization to

rest upon us as a church body for the

glory of God and give special Grace

throughout this day to look at the most

challenging parts of our life and to

honestly celebrate with expressions of


your goodness I pray this in Jesus name

amen amen

I want to give opportunity I could ask

everyone to hold your place please

because it will help this moment

you still owe me a minute 48 seconds so

don’t move


there’s always a chance that there can

be people in the room

that have never been what the Bible

calls born again there’s never been that

experience The Encounter of receiving

Christ by faith

being forgiven of sin

Having the Holy Spirit come into your

life and change you from the inside out

it’s never been your experience

but you’re here today know that you got

set up by God

and you’d be willing to say Bill I don’t

want to leave the building until I know

I have found peace with God if that’s

you then I want you just boldly

courageously put a hand up right where

you are because we want to pray for you

and celebrate this uh this next phase

this next part of your life pretend real

quickly if that’s you

okay I’m going to assume you’re all in

we’ve got a banner we’re going to have

people down here ministering to people

please find your way down in a moment to

do that I would like to ask Ministry

team to come quickly everyone else

please hold your place I’m going to get

to the back door who’s coming up oh the

queen herself is coming up