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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Tea Time With God!

Psalm 46a

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, through the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, through its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. The word trust is in the scriptures more than one hundred and fifty times, and yet we always have a very difficult time in trusting God with our own lives. We maybe able to tell others to trust in him but we do not take our own advice with the same matter. God is an Awesome God! Who but him could be everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working in our behalf? It does amazes me that one so great as the Almighty would care about all the many little details in our lives but he does. When you ponder these glorious truths, we can feel safe, knowing you are never alone. When you don’t keep these truths before you, you fall back into your default mode; straining and striving as if outcomes were totally up to you and you alone. When you really need to keep God always before you- not just truths about him. It’s so easy for God’s children to confuse knowledge about him with knowing him. The apostle Paul understood this distinction: He wrote needing Power, through God’s Spirit, to grasp how wide, and long and high and deep is His love for all mankind. Knowing God is so much more than an activity of the mind. It is largely a matter of trusting him. Sometimes you are keenly aware of God’s presence, at other times, this awareness is little or even absent. When you feel alone, you need to rely on your trust in trust The “Great I Am” Continue to live and communicate as if he is with you just like a friend or a love one is with you because truly he is. Jesus as promise us in the book of Hebrews 13:5 Never will I leave you or never will I forsake you, and that is a promise he has always kept with all of mankind. So take the time to get to know him and truly trust the Savior of the world Jesus Christ!

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Focus

2 CorinthiansPaul an apostle of Jesus Christ wrote this follow-up letter to the church in Corinth to tell them how pleased he was that the people were sorry for the way they had acted and that they were now trying to live the way God wanted them to. He also defended himself against the accusations being made by false teachers. In chapter 4:13-18 Paul teachers the church back them as well as us of today, the following  words. It is written, “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Through outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  It is never easy for us as humans to keep our focus of God and God alone, it is because we are always being tempted in one way or another, and at times too many people today have become greedy and only think of themselves, they are not worry once they leave this world of what will happen to them next. We feel at times if I have the perfect job I will have a great salary and that will make me happy, when I meet that special someone to share my life that too can bring me happiness, and if I have a bigger house, expensive car, expensive vacations year after year that will bring me a lot of happiness. I am here to tell you that all of them above that I have mention will not, you will continue to have that void within your own heart. We are created by God Almighty in his own imagine look to Genesis 1:26 Then God said’ “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. God knows the journey that each one of his children are on is not an easy one at all, this is the reason we as Christians need to stay focus on studying God’s word, a prayer life, and continue to be in the community of other believers so when trouble comes our way and believe me it always seems to find us, we are able to stand the difficult storms in our lives. So we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and continue to stay focus regardless of the storm we are in, and if you are not sure if you come up against a false teacher, please go to God in prayer so that he will reveal the truth to you always.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

A Gift Called Grace

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Can I ask you a question, if I were to give you a gift all wrap up in pretty paper, and a pretty bow on top of it, would you open it, or would you just stare at it. Chances on you would differently open it and see what kind of gift that was inside. Over the next few posts that I put on here I would like to take the time and talk to you about God’s Grace.  What is grace, it is an undeserved favor or gift, the undeserved forgiveness, kindness, and mercy that God gives us. In the book of Ephesians 2:4-9 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is grace you have been saved through faith-and this is not from yourselves it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.

John Wesley founder of the Methodist movement and early Methodists, grace was the powerful process by which believers came to experience God and know God’s salvation. Wesley believers coming to repentance. He believed grace could lead believers to love God with all of their beings and to love neighbors and the world as they loved themselves. Wesley understood God’s grace as a unified piece, but for teaching he defined grace as having three aspects.

Prevenient Grace is the grace that comes to us even before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go. This is the grace John Wesley believed is lavish and free and available to us all.

 

Grace and Peace to you My Friends

NEW YEAR

new-yearsToday is New Year’s Eve more than eight hours away here in my hometown to the started to a brand New Year. This is a time in our lives in which we can reflect over the past year, or even the past few years in our lives. If you could, would you change anything in your past, I know I would. As we begin to celebrate a New Year, this as well as everyday brand new day is a gift from God. You see yesterday is gone forever we can not go back and change a thing even thro we wish we could, to do over the mistakes we made in our lives would be great, but we can not. Tomorrow well, this is not promise to any of us here on earth. However today which is call P-R-E-S-E-N-T is our gift from God, and as I ask myself what will I do with such a wonderful gift that was given to me just for this one day, you can also ask yourself. The present is a gift from God, and what we do with it will be our gift back to God.

Each day we have hope from God and hope as things unfold in our own lives. As I began to search the scriptures with words of hope I come across many different ones. The first comes from the Old Testament in the book of Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. Another is in the New Testament the book of Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Also Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before is, has entered on our behalf, He has become a high priest forever. God has promise you and me if we seek him with all of our hearts we will find him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. These are words of courage and of hope for me in my own journey each and everyday with our Lord. The baby we celebrated last week in a manager grows up and gives hope to all of his people. Jesus knows all to well how hard it is to live here on earth and their are days too many days that all of us would like to throw the towel in and just to give up. But my friend Jesus doesn’t want any of us to simply to give up with our life, it is all to precious for all.  When your life or even mine gets to hard for us and you wondered to yourself why should I bother, I am telling you this bring all your worries and cares to God himself. He understand your pain, your loneliness, your broken heart, he understands what it is like to be poor ( he was born surrounded with animals in a stable). He knows every sin that you and I have ever committed in our lives and what we will do in the future, and Jesus says to you,  My precious child, I love YOU. I concord death, I have defeated the enemy himself (Satan) and you have hope in me.  Here are some words to a song you can find on YOU Tube by Aaron Shust

I meet with you and my soul sings out, as your word throws doubt far away,

I sing to you and my heart cries, Holy Hallelujah, father, you’re near

My hope is in you Lord, all the day long, I won’t be shaken,

A peace that passes understanding is my song, and I sing my hope is in you Lord.

For me when life seems so difficult and overwhelming songs of Praises to my Lord, my voice lifts up to sing, and then all my troubles seems so far away, as I turn my eyes towards Jesus and I once again have the hope that he has promise to me.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS

GRACE AND PEACE