Being Grateful

Luke 17

Non on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us! When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.                                                                                       Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)

From the time we are tiny children, our parents are constantly reminding us to have good manners. When you ask for something, what do your parents always tell you to say? Please. And when you receive something, what are you supposed to say? Thank you. When your parents remind you to say “please” and “thank you” they are helping you to understand thankfulness. Let’s say you receive a gift you really wanted for Christmas or your birthday. You are probably very happy that you have received the gift. But being thankful takes it a step further: you’re not just happy that you HAVE the gift, you are filled with thankfulness to the giver as well. You think of all the giver had to do to make sure you could get the gift. They took the time to go shopping. They paid for it. They wrapped it in pretty paper. And because you are so amazed by the giver’s generosity and love, you freely show your thankfulness by giving them a big hug, or saying “thank you” over and over, or writing a note and sending it in the mail or sending a text.
Today we are going to look at a story in Luke 17 about a time that Jesus gave an amazing gift to ten men. And while all ten of them may have been happy that they received a gift, only one of them chose to show their thankfulness to Jesus. Here we find Jesus on the border of Galilee and Samaria and he was met by a band of ten lepers. We know that the Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, yet with this group of lepers there was at least one with this disease. Yet even through most of them were of the Jewish faith and at least one who was a Samaritan they all had this one thing in common called leprosy. In today’s world leprosy can been controlled with medicine, but in the days of our Lord it was incurable and was a slow growing and painful disease. It is infectious and contagious and as a result lepers were shunned and separated from the community into a leper’s colony. In this parable, Jesus came upon ten lepers who stood off at a distance and raising their voices saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (Verse 13) Jesus responded telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. Under the Law of Moses when a person was cleansed of leprosy there was a ritual they followed which included certain sacrifices and showing themselves to the priests. What Jesus told them to do was in accordance with the law so that when they did they would be given a clean bill of health. The leprosy was a disease which the Jews supposed to be inflicted for the punishment of some particular sin, and to be, more than other diseases, a mark of God’s displeasure; and therefore Christ, who came to take away sin, and turn away wrath, took particular care to cleanse the lepers that fell in his way. The story of Jesus healing the ten lepers in this chapter of Luke appears immediately after a teaching conversation Jesus has with His disciples after one asked Him to “increase our faith.” In this conversation, Jesus indicates that obedience to God is not something extra we do to receive His thanks and rewards. Rather, it is our duty to serve Him, just like it is a servant’s duty to serve his master. Our pride sometimes twists this truth and tells us that we should expect God to thank us for all we do to serve Him. But Jesus teaches here that true faith is total dependence on God and a willingness to unselfishly do His will. This conversation, combined with the story of the ten lepers, puts gratitude in its proper perspective. God is the one deserving of gratitude because of the grace and mercy He freely gives to those of us who do not deserve it. For the benefit of His hearers, Jesus pointed out the fact that He had cleansed all ten lepers; not one out of ten. He made clear to the crowd that He had healed all who had asked for healing and not just this one man who had returned to thank Him. The other nine who had been healed had not returned to give thanks to God in the presence of the One who had healed them. Not all who receive help from God and Jesus choose to thank God and Jesus for the help they have received, but instead go on to live their lives for themselves. Luke does not tell us what the other nine did, because the emphasis is upon the one who went to Jesus with praise and thanksgiving. Perhaps the other nine only wanted physical cleansing, while the Samaritan cried out in his heart for physical, moral, and spiritual cleansing, so Jesus cleansed him immediately and completely. If the other nine had gone on to the priest praising and thanking God for Jesus’ healing them, Jesus would probably have reported this fact in some way to the crowd. As it was, the Samaritan acted in accordance with the writings of Moses and praised God and thanked Jesus (no doubt led by the Holy Spirit). Jesus showed once again that many who were not Jews came to faith in Him and praised the true God, while many who were Jews did not give God the glory that God deserved or recognize Him as the Messiah. In all of our lives, bad things happen from time to time. Sometimes these bad things are consequences for bad choices, but other times bad things happen simply because we live in a sinful world. When God created the world, it was perfect. There was no sickness; there was no death. Everything was beautiful, happy and good. But when sin came into the world, it spoiled everything! There are accidents and cancer and divorce. There are tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, crime and sickness. It is not hard to see how awful sin is!
So because we live in a fallen, sinful world, there are terrible diseases. The disease of leprosy is one of them and this disease is very contagious, this is why the men stayed at a distance from everyone else. No one wanted to be near to anyone who had this disease, so this way they also would not get leprosy. Can you image having this disease yourself and you are unable to be with your family, friends, holding down a job in order to support your family. Yet during this time when someone did get this terrible disease other would believe it was because of a terrible sin that person had committed, so they would think why else did they get leprosy. It sounds like the way people would think in today’s world. When something happens to someone, such as a bad accident, an illness, and even death itself, so many times we think wow that person most of did something wrong to get God so angry, why else would this happen, and yet this is no true at all. There are times things such as disease just happens to even Christians like ourselves, and when we do get sick it is not because of a terrible sin we had committed and that God was angry at us. Yes, we are sinners no doubt, that is why God’s love for all mankind is so great that he sent his son Jesus into this sinful world to die in our place so that we are no longer separate from God because of our sins. So different things good and even bad things do happen to all of us. However, thru all those difficult times in our lives and yes sometimes there are many days or longer when things are going on how do we as Christians get thru them. First thru pray, having a pray life is essential to all of us to get thru those times. We take the time to thank God, yes thank God for trials we may go thru for by going thru those trials will makes us stronger in our relationship with God. In the book of Romans 12:12 Paul tells us Be joyful in hope, patient in afflictions, faithful in prayer. As with the ten lepers, nine of them was so busy to get back to being normal, to get back to their families and friends. They seem to forget one important thing, the one thing that only a foreigner a Samaritan remember to do, and that would be to say Thank you, Praise God for healing him. Does that mean God heals everyone, takes all the pain of the world totally away? No it does not, first off God understand our pain whether it is physical pain, emotional pain, or any other pain, God feels and understands what we are going thru right in that moment. He does promise that when we accept him as our personal Lord and Savior that he will never leave or forsake us, found in Hebrews 13:5, this is why we need to study and be in God’s word to get us thru those times. When we read Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angles, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creations will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. What does this all mean I believe that is saying to us that thru the hardest of times in our own lives, we can have a grateful and thankful heart. God gives us many gifts thru our lives, today is called present, that in itself is enough reason to say “Thank You” God . 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

 

 

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Jesus Appears to His Disciples

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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Received the Holy Spirit.                             John 20:19-22

On the first day of the week, the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples. They were heartbroken, in low spirits, and afraid of the Roman authorities. The disciples must have been overjoyed at Jesus’ appearance. Amid their indescribable heartache, the living Jesus appeared to comfort them in their sorrow. His appearance also coincided with a time when the disciples lived in great fear. They didn’t want the godless world to witness their raw grief and sorrow for the loss of their beloved Master.

Jesus appeared when His disciples were at a point where deep sense of despair threatened to overwhelm them. There were countless questions in their hearts that cried out for answers: Why? Why did He have to suffer so? Why did He have to die so brutally? And in the meantime doubt was eating away their hearts. But now, with Jesus there, everything was good again. “peace be with you!” There are times in each of our lives when we are threatened by despair and doubt, but in the presence of Jesus there is rest and peace. The disciples were together when Jesus appeared to them. It is comforting when like-minded people are together to share their sorrow or doubt. It is called the fellowship of believers. Christ comforts them with the words, “Peace be with you.”

The words of Donald Bloesch: Our peace and confidence are to be found not in our empirical holiness, not in our progress toward perfection but in the alien righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers our sinfulness and alone makes us acceptable before a holy God.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

 

Romans 6.pngIn the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer every part of yourselves to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.      Romans 6:11-14

The heart of worship is surrender. Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. Surrender evokes the unpleasant imagines of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. In today’s world we are taught early in our lives to never give up, or never give in. so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is every thing (like in sports), surrendering is just unthinkable. We would rather talk about winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering than yielding, submitting, obeying and surrendering. But to surrendering to God is the heart of worship. It is the natural response to God’s amazing love and mercy. WE give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love, “because he first loved us”. True worship bringing God pleasure–happens when you give yourselves completely to God.  Offering yourselves to God is what worship is all about. This act of personal surrender is called many things, consecration, making Jesus your Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, God wants all of you, not just part of you, he wants all of you. Everybody eventually surrenders to something or someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to dear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego. You were designed to worship God, and if you fail to worship him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this. So give it all to God, your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid, nothing under his control can ever be out of control. Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything. I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Brokenness

Isaiah 54-1.pngI know that some of you as you are reading these words that I have written, you are feeling broken within your heart. There are so many reasons that through out our lives that we feel this way, and one way is when you put your trust in someone or something instead of God and I too am guilt of this one. Too many times you open yourselves to trust another thinking that they have your best interest for you that you will not get hurt and somehow in the end we truly do .And when we do get disappointed or crush inside I know that all I want to do is run away to never be found again. I truly want to give up and not go forward why because as humans we are afraid of being hurt over and over again.  As I was going thru the different scriptures that I have highlight I come across these words from the book of Isaiah 54: 10 Through the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Once I read these words than read them again, I cry out to the Lord why Lord what have I done to be hurt in this way once again. My heart knows that through my brokenness I can draw closer to God. I am able to open up to him and simply pour out my heart knowing that he does understand my pain. His compassion for me is overflowing, and when I do open myself up to the Risen Lord his peace will fill my spirit that transcends understanding. I need to stop trying to figure everything out on my own. Instead, I need to lean on him, letting my head rest on his shoulders, and while I am resting I need to know that he will be watching over me and all that concerns me. I need to continue to trust in the Master in the depths of my being where he lives in union with me. Jesus healing work in me is most effective when I am trusting him. As I read these words more than once from Isaiah I need to remember how he has compassion for me. No matter how desperate my circumstances can be, the one thing I can always count on is Jesus unfailing love for me.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Does God Heal Everyone?

Luke 17.pngNow on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us! When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him-and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.”                                                                         Luke 17:11-19

Anyone who knows me and my family personally knows that I have a daughter who is chronically ill with more than one autoimmune disease. It amazes me every time that someone tells her the reason that she is not heal it is because she doesn’t have enough faith or doesn’t have any. When you come to know her you realize that she is a Christian woman who’s faith is very strong and loves the Lord with all of her heart, and she loves serving God anyway possible. Even as a young child Victoria’s faith was amazingly strong that some thought that I made her read scriptures and made her memorize them each and everyday. That is far from the truth of it all, as her mom I raised her in a Christian home and shared with her daily how much God loves her simply because she is his child. She always loved going to church and being involved and it never surprise me to this day that before she begins her day or even ends her day she spends her time alone with God. Having a strong faith base being chronically ill allows anyone to deal with all the trial and tribulations going thru so much pain. Yes she does go thru times of being angry for always being sick and having to go to doctors, test, being admitted into a hospital and being on chemo and when she goes thru those times I simply tell her, Victoria God didn’t give you “For God didn’t give us a power of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) But I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13) She is a child of God who walks humbly with her God, and she also runs two Bible study for woman who are chronically ill like herself, this is how God uses her. Someone once told me as long as you have the willing heart God can and will use you for his Glory. The human body is something for the here and now, we all need to fix our hearts on heavenly things. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. A song that she and many learn in Sunday School of Vacation Bible School. It truly doesn’t matter if to the rest of the world she is different because of being sick what truly matters to God is your heart. It is a shame when someone looks different that the rest of the world makes fun of someone who is handicap in someway because to God it truly doesn’t matter at all, and believe me you don’t need to see a shrink. We as Christians do not have all the answers in this world, what matters if for us to Trust God and draw close to him for when you do and have that close walk it will not matter what others may think of you. If others judge Jesus when he walk the earth so long ago we too will be judge just as he was.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.                                          Hebrews 12:2

My daughter has written and published three books so far another in the works a devotion and prayer journal. She will graduate next May with a BA degree in Christian counseling with a 3.8 GPA from Liberty University then onto her masters, she is also currently working with her service dog name Abby, so you see for anyone who is chronically ill or handicap God has a purpose for your life you were created by God for a reason.

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Faith

2 Corinthians 5.jpgDuring this difficult time for many in the path of another hurricane these words from the Apostle Paul in the book of 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith and not by sight.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.                                                 Hebrews 12:2

Jesus’ light shines on you continually, whether you are aware of it or not. During the night, your thoughts can be ones of afraid, nervousness, doubt, and fear. Although you may feel as if you are in complete darkness remember that you are never alone, Jesus is with you thru the night, and thru those times that fear reaches out to you and simply grab a whole of you, remember he does understand what you are feeling at that very moment. Jesus loves for you never and I mean never fails you. You need the light of his everlasting present more than you need the light of the new day. When the way before you is very dark you can still trust him to guide you. Walking by faith is akin to using radar to discern the way you should go. Instead of trying to see through the clouds of uncertainty up ahead, fix your eyes on the Master. He can show you a way forward when there appears to be none. Moreover, as you strive to stay in communication through your prayers, your soul begins to open up to Jesus. Even in the midst of your fear, struggles his loving presence can fill your soul with warm delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father:

We know that you are the “Great I AM” the Alpha & Omega of all things, I ask for you to be everyone and anyone who maybe in the midst of this horrible storm approaching our land. I ask you the give them your peace, not as the world gives, but only you can give to each and everyone of your children.

In Christ Name I Pray

Amen
Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Being A Witness for Christ

Acts 1.jpgThe book of Acts continues the history of Jesus’ followers in the period after Jesus’ ascension. Peter and Paul soon emerged as leaders of the rapidly growing church, which flourished and spread despite, and sometimes because of persecution of Jewish leaders and Roman authorities. These followers of Jesus at this time didn’t look like a leader did they, they never had an high school education and never went to college, which in fact never exist at that time. However, in spite of their short comings they seem to have God still use each of them to do mighty work for his kingdom. If we take a moment to think about it where were these same disciples on the night Jesus was be trade. When Jesus was in the garden to pray to God for strength they were asleep, after he was arrested they all seem to disappeared. Peter that night be trade his friend, his master not just once but three times, and when he was crucified where did most of these men go to, where they at the foot of the cross as Jesus was dying. After dying on the cross his body was laid in the tomb and for awhile the disciples all were in hiding. But six weeks later their lives all change in the upper room on Pentecost, as the Holy Spirt came upon all of Jesus disciples and other followers as well, their lives would never be the same. The same thing goes for us, once we accepted Jesus into our own lives we begin to change, and we too will never be the same again. As Max Lucado tells us in his book “Out Live Your Life”

You hillbillies will be my witness, You uneducated and simple folk will be my witness, You who once called me crazy, who shouted at me in the boat doubted me in the Upper Room.  You temperamental, parochial net casters and tax collectors, You will be my witness. You will spearhead a movement that will explode like a just-opened fire hydrant of Jerusalem and spill into the ends of the earth, into the streets of Paris, the districts of Rome, and the ports of Athens, Istanbul, Shanghai, and Buenos Aires. You will be a part of something so mighty, controversial, and head spinning that two millennia from now a middle-age redheaded author riding in the exit row of a flight from Boston to Dallas will type this question on his laptop?

Does Jesus still do it?

Does he use simple folks like you and me to change the world? We suffer from such ordinariness and my answer besides what is written in this book by Max Lucado, is yes Jesus still does use ordinary simply folks like us to share the good news of the Gospel. As long as you and I have the willing heart to serve Christ he will use us, to tell other about the “Great I Am” To tell all that their is nothing that you or I could ever do so horrible that is love cannot penetrate it.  Just open up to the book of Romans 8:38-39 to read the following words, by Paul the Apostle: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. When we come to know this kind of love we want to shout it from the mountain top and pass it on to all and I mean all who will listen, and my friend some will and some won’t listen to what you need to share with them, but that is okay we simply plant the seed of God’s love into their hearts and we allow God to do what God does best allow it to take root and grow. The words to a hymn that I have personally sung many times by Dan Schutte: Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night, I will go, Lord, if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart. Beautiful words, God has been calling in the night, are you willing to witness to others what he has done and how much he loves you and all of his children, I am willing to go as he leads me down the road. Will you?

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends