Giving Thanks

 “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” Luke 17:12-19, KJV

Jesus misses our giving of thanks. We have so much to be thankful for, not just for today, but for everyday. No matter what our circumstance or situation, we have so much to be thankful for.

Think about it…

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Sunday Quotes

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Corrie Ten Boom

“Faith, mighty faith the promise sees and rests on that alone: Laughs at impossibilities, And says it shall be done.” Charles Wesley

“Remember it is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases. The greater the difficulties, the easier for faith; as long as there remain certain natural prospects, faith does not get on even as easily as where natural prospects fail.” George Mueller

“Real true faith is man’s weakness leaning on God’s strength.” D.L. Moody

“Faith is believing in advance what can only be understood in reverse.” Chuck Swindoll

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Are You that Fool?

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1, KJV

The time is coming when all men shall stand before God and give an account for their lives. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The ancient man approached God (or even gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the rolls are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock.”1

Modern man has put God on trial, when, point in fact, it is man who is on trial. When one is accused it seems to me one would want the best lawyer (or advocate) one could obtain. Accordingly, God has provided an Advocate, Jesus Christ His Son, for all who call upon him. Or, one could stand before God and represent himself.

It is said that the man who has himself for lawyer has a fool for a client. The question is, “Are you that fool?”

1. C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, Essays on Theology and Ethics, page 11

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Thoughts on Darkness, by F.B. Meyer

“What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light” Matthew 10:27, KJV

“Our Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement has drawn the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate life, where some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and disappointment.

Then He tells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and infinite; He causes the eye which has become dazzled by the glare of earth to behold the heavenly constellations; and the ear to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth’s strident cries.

But such revelations always imply a corresponding responsibility– ‘that speak ye in the light–that proclaim upon the housetops.’

We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learned.

This gives a new meaning to suffering, the saddest element in which is often its apparent aimlessness. ‘How useless I am!’ ‘What am I doing for the betterment of men?’ ‘Wherefore this waste of the precious spikenard of my soul?’

Such are the desperate laments of the sufferer. But God has a purpose in it all. He has withdrawn His child to the higher altitudes of fellowship, that he may hear God speaking face to face, and bear the message to his fellows at the mountain foot.

Were the forty days wasted that Moses spent on the Mount, or the period spent at Horeb by Elijah, or the years spent in Arabia by Paul?

There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valley of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food.

Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the Psalmist, ‘Thou art near, O God.’”

F.B. Meyer

“Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in the shadows of life.”

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“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35, KJV)

Oddly enough, forgiveness is something all Christians struggle with. If we are honest we can admit that this is true. And it is also true, that some sins have more of an impact than others.

If you steal $5 from my desk, shame on you. If you burn my house down, well that is another matter, isn’t it

Many try to interpret parables by examining every word, often looking for meanings that aren’t really there. Remember, the parables of Jesus Christ are earthly examples of a Heavenly principle. And in this case, the principle of the parable is simple: Forgiveness. So let’s be careful not to read into it more than is there.

In this case the principle characters are two men and how they react to each other. One owed his King 200 talents. At the time, the average day’s wage way about a penny and it would take the average person about 20 years to earn one talent. When the King began to collect his debts, he called him to account. In Texas we say, “He told him how the cow ate the cabbage.” (You have to be from Texas). He pleaded with the King to give him time to pay back the debt. Moved with compassion, the King forgave the debt.

Then, that man went out looking for those who owed him money and found one who owed him 200 pennies. He demanded the money from the man, and when the man could not pay, he took him to court and had him case into the debtors prison.

When the King found out, he chided the man for not showing the same forgiveness and compassion the King showed. So the King had him case into debtors prison also.

Then Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Forgiveness is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it. Forgiveness in many cases is impossible. The man whose wife was murdered, the wife whose child was molested. The husband who committed adultery. These are all examples of sins against us that are impossible to forgive. Impossible within ourselves, but not impossible with help from God.

If one has really seen the depth of his sin and depravity, if he has truly been driven to the depth of despair over the awfulness of his sins, and truly received forgiveness from God, that man is a changed person. Samuel, when anointing Saul as the first King over Israel said to Saul:

“And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” (1 Samuel 10:6, KJV)

It is glorious to see the Holy Spirit transform lives. I have seen men so violent, having been convicted of multiple crimes and spending years in prisons, change into gentle, loving men – giant teddy bears if you will – all by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When a person truly acknowledges and confesses his or her sins before God and asks for forgiveness, like the King in the parable, the King forgives all their debt of sin. I like that! All the guilt and shame, forgiven! Wow!

That person and that person alone can truly forgive another. But when you see so often, the person who has been forgiven a load of sin and guilt speak of being unwilling to forgive others you wonder, were they really being honest when they were before the King? Or where they just wanting to get out of the consequences of their sin?

This is what Jesus meant when He said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Now do Christians struggle with forgiveness? Unfortunately, yes. I am guilty as charged. You would think it wouldn’t be true. But alas, it is. Listen to what Paul wrote to Christians:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, KJV)

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13, KJV)

Why does Paul write words like this to Christians? Because we so often are unwilling to forgive. Paul said of love:

“It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV)

Oh how men like to keep a record of wrongs done to them. But when Jesus forgave us, he tore up the records of wrongs against you and I.

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:13, KJV)

Only those who have truly experienced forgiveness can forgive others. And that is the point of this parable. Think about it…

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Part of the fall…

“…Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee…” Genesis 3:18, KJV

Ragweed is extremely high today. All of us are ill with watery eyes and running noses. That darn Adam.

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Blaise Pascal…

His was a short, sick, spectacular life. He died before reaching 40, yet not before leaving an enduring mark. Blaise Pascal, born in France in 1623, was educated in Paris and started making contributions to geometry, physics, and mathematics at age 16. His fame and wealth accumulated quickly, as did his religious inclinations. In January, 1646 his father fell and broke his leg. His nurses were devout Catholics, and Pascal, after extended conversations with them, began taking his Catholic faith seriously. His reputation in the Paris scientific community grew by leaps, and the more he studied nature the more evidence he saw of the Creator. On November 23, 1654, while reading John 17, he personally encountered Jesus Christ and jotted his impressions on a parchment: “From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past twelve, FIRE! God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars. Certitude. Feelings. Joy. Peace. This is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God, and the one whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.”

Pascal sewed the paper inside his coat lining and often in moments of temptation slipped his hand over it to press its message into his heart. His life changed, and he began giving much of his money to the poor. His scientific studies, world famous to this day, became second to his spiritual pursuits.

His books display great craftsmanship of words, and even the infidel Voltaire remarked that Pascal’s writings were the first work of genius to appear in France. He became France’s Shakespeare, its Dante, its Plato, its Euclid. He designed the world’s first calculator, the first “bus” service, and paved the way for the invention of the barometer and the theories of probability.

As his health failed, Pascal wanted to leave behind a final work, a defense of the Christian faith, challenging atheists and agnostics with the evidences for Christianity. He began making notes, but his headaches worsened. He died, leaving nearly 1,000 fragments which were soon assembled into one of the classics of Christian literature, the Pensées.

Morgan, R. J. 2000, c1997. On this day : 365 amazing and inspiring stories about saints, martyrs & heroes (electronic ed.). Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville

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