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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Prayer and Praise

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Praise, the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.                                                                                                       Praise the Lord.                          Psalm 150

Some people only cry out to God when they want something. Their short greeting is quickly followed by a request. We know the minute we hear a certain voice during our prayer time we put up the boundaries and expect a yes or no from God right away. After we think we have the answer that we want or even think we never receive one, we then don’t have anytime for God. When we approach God, are we guilty of being like those others, hi God its me, “here is what I need from you. The privilege of even approaching God’s throne with our requests is granted to us at great cost to our Savior Jesus Christ. The least we can do is open our prayers with worship and praise to the “Great I Am” Adore Him. Thank Him, Praise Him. Let your mind focus on His greatness. Then bring your request humbly to Him. He will be honored and glorified by you.

Jesus is the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate His presence, just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshipping Jesus requires the engagement of your entire being, something you can delight in and yet somehow resist. If you want to learn how to celebrate Jesus more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in His peaceful presence. As you relax in His everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. Jesus is indeed the rock-solid foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in the “Great I Am” 

Jesus very presence radiates joy in vast, unmeasured fullness. When you praise Him, your joy increases, as does your awareness of His Holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but he can see your heart. That is where the ultimate celebration of Jesus takes place in all of his children, inside the heart. Even through he knows all of your concerns, and what weighs heavy upon your heart, Praise Him always even through your pain.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Trust Him!

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?                Psalm 56:3-4

Trust Jesus and don’t be afraid, for he is your strength and song. Imagine what it means to have him as your strength. God spoke the universe into existence; God’s power is absolutely unlimited! Human weakness, consecrated to him, is like a magnet, drawing ever so near to him. Remember fear can block the flow of God’s strength into you. Instead of trying to fight your fears, concentrate on trusting him. When you relate to Jesus in confident trust, there is no limit to how much he can strengthen you. Remember that Jesus is your song. He wants you to share his joy, living in conscious awareness of his presence. Rejoice as your journey together towards heaven, join him in singing his song. 

Rejoice and be thankful! As you walk with Jesus through your day, practice trusting and thanking him all along the way. Trust in the channel through which his peace flows into you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances. Jesus does his greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts. Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking him continually.  As you continue to study the scriptures look to the letter to Philippi which is call the book of Philippians 4:4-6 ( New Testament) in which the Apostle Paul tells us the following: Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do  not be anxious about anything, but in  every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

I Will Testify Your Love

Isaiah 54.pngThough the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet God’s unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor his covenant of peace be removed. Nothing on earth seems enduring or immovable as huge, majestic mountains. When you stand on their heights breathing in the glorious air, you can almost smell eternity. Yet God’s love and peace are even more enduring than the greatest mountain on earth!

Think deeply of God’s unfailing love. One of the meanings of “unfailing” is inexhaustible. No matter how needy you are or how many times you fail him, his supply of love for you will never run low. Another meaning of “unfailing” is constant. God does not love you more on days when you perform well, nor do he love you less when you fail miserably. God’s love is more persistent, invariable, and steadfast than you can comprehend. Open your heart to received this gift in full measure.

 

I come to your Holy sanctuary, as I bend down on my knees my Lord, to ashamed at first  to look upon your face for great and worthy of my Praise are you. As I begin to center myself on your Holiness the world around me becomes dim, and I don’t see or hear anything but long to hear your voice upon my heart. My tears of joy run downs my face as I lift up my eyes upon your face with all of it’s glory, so much for me to understand or comprehend, as I seek your face. My soul Praise the Lord all my life, I will praise the Lord all my life, and tells others his love for all of his children. I will shout it from the mountain top for all to hear and I will continue to testify his love. I will not put my trust in any human being who simply cannot save me from my sins. How good it is to sing praises to you God, how pleasant and fitting to praise you.

Who is this Lord in which I seek all the days of my life. The Lord builds up Jerusalem, he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power, his understanding has no limits. The Lord sustains the humble but cast wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

 

You had chosen me my Lord long before I had decided to follow you all the days of my life, and you never gave up on me. When others decided to forsake me and give up on me, you stood right by my side and your love never fail me. How can I remain silent any longer, I cannot Lord, for others need to know about your great love that you have for all of your children.  You who are brokenhearted, you who are lonely, the dying ones, the ones who have such anger within your soul, the ones who loss all hope in this world, I say Come, Come to the Lord and bow down before His throne, His love for you is and will always be unshakable for his children, for He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

1 Samuel 16.pngI will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.           Psalm 57:9-11

The Lord does look at the things people look at. People look at the things at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.                            1 Samuel 16:7

Worshipping God is something Christians do each and every Sunday or many of us do it every chance we do get to Praise the Lord. However, are we truly worshipping God is Spirit and in Truth. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.  ( John 4:24), but are we doing what we are called to do, or are we just going through the motions. It seems that most Sundays we as Christians are too busy with the fellowship of one another, and at times of the latest gossip that we are not centering ourselves with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And by doing this we never realize that we are short changing our Creator as well as us when we do not worship God in Spirit and Truth.

God is the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate His presence, just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshipping God requires the engagement of your entire being, something you will delight in and yet somehow you may resist.

If you want to learn how to celebrate God more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in God’s peaceful presence. Think of these words from the book of Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know That I am God.”  As you relax in His everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. God is indeed the rock-solid foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Him.

God’s very presence radiates Joy deep within our soul, unmeasured fullness. When you praise God, your joy increases, as does your awareness of His Holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but God sees within our heart. This is where the ultimate celebration of God’s presence takes places.

Just empty your mind and think of nothing else but your loving Savior Jesus Christ.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=here+i+am+to+worship

Comfort One Another

2 Corinthians 1.pngPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in your patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so we also share in our comfort.                            2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Often, shortly after we have been through a difficult situation in our own life, we have found comfort, we meet someone who has to handle a similar situation. It is God who leads us to these people because the comfort that we offer is sincere and they know that we have wrestled with a similar experience ourselves.

In this letter in Corinthians from the Apostle Paul, Paul praises God for using the church of Corinth to “give the same comfort God has given us” What would it take for you to proclaim God as your helper and Deliverer? What would it take for you to look to God alone for the solution to your problems? When you find yourselves or an acquaintance in a difficult situation, approach God’s throne of grace in prayer. Declare boldly to God that you trust in Him alone to deliver you.

In prayer and with gratitude, consider all the ways in which God has comforted you in times of affliction and tell God that you are willing to let Him use you to bring comfort to others.

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the comfort you have given me in the past as well as the comfort you will give to me in the future, help me to comfort others in return.

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

God Is Always Near

Psalm 75We, give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For your wondrous works declare that Your Name is Near.                                                   Psalm 75:1

Don’t ever forget that God is near to you! At times He performs mighty miracles to remind us joust how close He is. But there are many times when we are not so consciously aware of His mighty and righteousness. This prayer address this problem directly. If we feel tempted to question whether God is even aware of our problems, we should begin to praise Him for his might. We should also remind ourselves that God is close to us and we should think of all the times that we have seen His power at work in the world. (the sun, clouds, stars, a newborn baby etc. ) God promised to bring justice to this world, but in His time. While we wait for God to act, we should keep praising him.

When we experience problems in life, it is often extremely difficult to wait on the Lord. The Israelites who were under the yoke of the Roman Empire felt exactly like that. They couldn’t wait for the Messiah to come. After centuries of waiting their hope was fulfilled in the baby who was born in Bethlehem. All that they had to do was wait for His perfect timing.

Whatever situation you might find yourself in today, think of one thing God has done for you recently, and sincerely thank Him for it. Praise Him because He is always near to you and rest assured that you will receive an answer to your prayers.

Jesus Christ is God’s everything for man’s total need  (Richard Halverson)