We Can Praise God and Give Thanks

For November 30, 2019
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when He encountered ten men who were lepers.1

Because of the contagious nature of their condition, and that they were regarded as a health risk, the men remained isolated from the public. Scripture is silent about their individual family situations, and of how long they had been suffering. However, the Bible does tell us that when Jesus arrived, all of them stood at a distance yelling for His attention and assistance: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

While looking at them intently, Jesus told the ten men to go show themselves to the priests. As they went their way to the priests, they were completely healed of their leprosy, and their skin was cleared and restored.

Luke 17:15-19 (NLT) tells what happens next:

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

No one can tell whether the nine others felt entitled as if they “deserved” God’s special attention and assistance. Yet the fact remains, only one of the ten lepers returned to Jesus to thank Him.

Only one would return to praise God and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His wonderful intervention in his life. Truly, the man took to heart that he was a recipient of God’s loving kindness and tender mercy as demonstrated in the restoring of his health and well-being. He also understood that his life was now transformed from isolation to community—now having the opportunity to resume connections with family, friends, and loved ones.

Ultimately, he came to experience a loving, caring, living, personal, God who anxiously desires to intervene positively in our lives for (His glory and) our benefit.

Many of us today seem a bit shortsighted because we take the Lord’s blessings for granted. For example, we tend to forget how we are privileged to live in a country where we can freely worship, express our opinions without censorship, and travel where we want when we want without restrictions so that we can share a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends

Even more, we can thank God for sending us His Son to die for our sins, and to be raised for our justification. And we can thank the Lord for His Spirit, who is our “security deposit” towards our glorious, eternal, Heavenly home He prepared for all of us who love His appearing as 2 Timothy 4:8 teaches us.

During this time of reflection and celebration, let us praise God by giving thanks for His loving kindness and tender mercies.  What a Wonderful Savior!

 

Thanks to God Who Gives Us the Victory Today

For November 30, 2018
Imagine living in a world with no pain, sorrow, or disease and where all your wants, needs, and desires are satisfied. In this blessed state of perfect innocence, peace, tranquility, and safety, you thrive in the company of loving companions with the freedom to do anything you want.

This was how it was in the beginning, when God created this world and our ancestors Adam and Eve. He placed them in the Garden of Eden with everything they could ever want or need. Eternal bliss was theirs as long as they obeyed one command: do not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (See: Genesis 2:17)

The moment they ate the fruit, spiritual and physical death happened just as God warned. Physical death came over time, but spiritual death came at once, as the entire world became sin-contaminated. (See: Genesis 3:6–19, Romans 5:12)

Ours is a segregated society in many respects. Not only do class and race divide us. Many face strong public resistance after completing their prison sentences as well. Nevertheless, have you ever considered that God has the right to be choosy about whom He fellowships with? In other words, God has every right to enforce a “no strangers allowed” policy towards everyone who is offensive to Him—including you and me.

To make matters worse, with all the technology, self-help, and other resources we have at our disposal, we can do nothing to correct our nature externally. Daily we watch the tragic futility of those who seek remedies through wealth, sports notoriety, political power, corporate achievement, social status, academia, technology, and medicine.

Our failures remind us that, although we are morally and spiritually unfit to occupy a glorious heaven forever, we are well suited to occupy a tormenting hell forever. Our sin-contaminated internal nature prompts us to commit evil deeds and makes us “sinners” before our holy God.

God could have solved our sin problem by programming us to obey Him like robots, but He wanted us to love Him freely and surrender to Him willingly. God could have created loopholes and exemptions in His perfect Law to accommodate our sin problem, but then He would have made Himself less than holy by sacrificing His perfection for our imperfection.

God chose the most effective remedy instead. He became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ so that He could pay the price for our sin Himself as the Apostle John writes in John 1:14 (NIV),

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Our human works cannot earn God’s gift of grace. Only by our simple faith in Jesus’ perfect works can we have our sins forgiven and become non-offensive to God.

Once we come to Him by faith, we can also experience an inner spiritual transformation as His Spirit inhabits and empowers us to love, serve, and obey Him faithfully and victoriously each day until He returns for us, as promised in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (NIV),

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

What a wonderful Savior!