Thursday, September 26, 2013

Talk Tuesday-Remember To Give Thanks

Many of us can testify to the faithfulness of the LORD, especially when we are in the valley of suffering. It is here that we are able to experience GOD's unfailing love in a very unique and powerful way. When the season of affliction ends, prayer is answered and we are back on level ground, do we remember to return and give thanks? The story of then Ten Lepers in Luke 17:11-19 tells of ten men who were healed, yet only one of them, a Samaritan, returns to give praise and thanks to Jesus.

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

This is an interesting story. Where did the other nine go? Why was the foreigner the only one to return to Jesus with thanksgiving and praise in his mouth?

Today, in my quiet time, I meditated on Psalm 106. The Psalmist opens up with, “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare His praise?” Psalm 106:1-2. Yet the rest of Psalm 106 sadly recounts the forgetful, idolatrous, apathetic, and rebellious response of the people to the GOD who worked miraculous deeds on their behalf. I was reminded to GIVE THANKS at all times, putting GOD first, even as my feet begin to settle on level ground.

“FATHER help us by the power of your HOLY SPIRIT to recall to mind your goodness, faithfulness and enduring love, as we go about our daily lives. May we constantly walk in a stance of thanksgiving and praise, bringing glory to Your Son JESUS CHRIST, in whose name we make this prayer. Amen.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Talk Tuesday-Welcome To Jesus!

Today we live in what can be called an 'i-Culture'. We speak of our right to the pursuit of happiness. We often hear people refer to 'karma' in response to someone getting their 'just due'. The phrase, 'I'm a good person' has become commonplace. It is even popular for it to be said, 'I am a god' and that prayers uttered to ' the universe' will yield the answers we desire. The Apostle Paul writes, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen,” Romans 1:25. If we are so good, then what is sin? Can we be sinless/good?

The New Testament is written in the language of the Old Testament; it is the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament. Did you know that there are 613 Mizvot (Commandments) in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible)? If even one of these Commandments is broken, sin is committed. Wow! So how can I be a good person when in the secrecy of my heart and my home I 'accidentally' and deliberately say and do things that hurt others and offend God in the pursuit of my own happiness? God made provision for our sin. The Book of Leviticus speaks of the Sacrificial System, in which the blood of animals is shed for the remission of our sins, but it is not permanent, it is constantly needed. The culmination of this is the Day of Atonement, Leviticus 16 (known today as Yom Kippur), where atonement is made for the entire community and it's living space, because SIN CONTAMINATES even our very surroundings. “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life,” Leviticus 17:11.

So what about the blood in today's i-Culture? The Apostle Paul, who is described as 'a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees' (Acts 23:6), who 'studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law' (Acts 22:3) boldly proclaims:

“21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23.

Welcome to JESUS!