THIS

Today’s reading is Luke 17 and Psalm 65.

Luke 17 contains messages around temptation to sin, increasing faith, unworthy servants, and the coming of the Kingdom of God, but we will focus our time on the story of Jesus helping 10 lepers from Luke 17:11-19.

In this story, Jesus heals 10 lepers when they yell and ask for help from a distance, but only 1 comes back to thank and praise him. At first read, it’s easy to be judgmental, and think “how could they not come back and say thanks!?” It’s also easy to condemn members of the crowd yelling “Crucify Him!” when he’s on trial with Pilot.  After reflection, I realize when I take Jesus name in vain it’s just the same as someone yelling these words. When I don’t thank Him for answered prayers or completely forget about it a few days later, am I any different than the 9 lepers who didn’t come back to show their gratitude? It’s so easy to quickly forget about the answered prayer for a negative test for cancer, a successful surgery, a new job, retention of your job amidst downsizing, a new home, or a significant other you’ve been asking God for. How quickly do we forget these things!  I’m guilty of forgetting these things within days, hours, and even minutes! What about the answered prayers we don’t even realize occurred? For example, we pray for safety and then get really upset when spill coffee on the way to work and have to go back home in anger to change clothes causing us to be late to our first meeting. We had no idea this situation kept us from getting into a car accident.

Our leadership team, thanks to my brother in Christ Josh Waite’s idea, starts our weekly meetings by “going B.I.G.” That stands for “Begin In Gratitude.” We reflect and tell everyone one thing we are thankful for. When you focus on what you are thankful to God for, the stress and problems are minimalized. I’ve heard it said you can’t feel stress and anxiety at the same time. When we focus on and thank God for what we have and what He’s given us, we don’t get stressed and mad about what we don’t have.

Some might ask how they are supposed to be thankful when they just lost their job or a loved one? Well…it’s hard. But, maybe this will help you find your true calling or give you an opportunity to move closer to, or spend more time with, family. How about giving praise that you had that loved one in your life for the amount of time you did or even at all for that matter? When you praise God when things are good and when they don’t seem to be good, it changes your whole perspective and happiness. You see the world through an entirely different lens. Psalm 65 highlights offering praises as well.

As we go into next week, let’s go “B.I.G!” Let’s remember, thank, and praise Him for the big answered prayers we asked for, for the ones we don’t realize were answered, and for the things we didn’t even request. He gave it all to us. Most importantly, let’s thank him for sending his Son Jesus to take the punishment that should have been ours on the cross. For that, we should always and forever be thankful to Him for the opportunity He gave us to become one with Him and have eternal life! He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Thank God for all I missed because it lead me here to This…”

Counting Steps

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 6; 1 Timothy 3; Daniel 10; Psalm 119:1–24

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Psalm 119:1

Good Morning Everyone, let’s put on our Fitbit for God and look at our daily steps.  These devices can count our steps and can also check our heart-rate.  It can tell us where we have gone and guide us to where we want to go.  With the touch of a button this information is shared with you and others if you would like.  As Christians, having God’s word available is like a press of a button allowing you to navigate every step towards an eternity with Him.  This Fitbit helps us stay on track with our faith and training for growth.  So let’s push the button in the start of Psalm 119 and see where we are at as we count our steps.

Step: Psalm 119:1 Blameless and Walking in the Law of the Lord – stay righteous Proverbs 11:20

Step: Psalm 119:2  Keep His testimonies – love and serve Deuteronomy 11:13

Step:  Seek with a Whole Heart – 100% all the time Psalm 139:23

Step: Psalm 119:4 Precepts keep diligently – focus and be intentional about his commandments Deuteronomy 4:13

Step: Psalm 119:6 Eyes fixed on Commandments – Ephesians 1:18

Step: Psalm 119:7 Praise Him – He deserves it all for all he has done and will do Psalm 33:1

So as you take steps today push the button to take a pulse on each step, each interaction, each hour spent, each conversation, each thought, each prayer. Allow God through His word guard you, teach you, focus your heart, and open your eyes to all that he has in store for us. Go ahead take the next step. God is with you always!

Giving Thanks

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture
Will give thee thanks for ever:
We will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
– Psalm 79:13

I really enjoy how Psalm 79 closes. After a long list of cries to our LORD the Psalmist ends with Praise. It reminded me of the reference to Isaiah 54:1 from our reading in Galatians 4 verse 27 that I had just read.

For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. – Galatians 4:27

This reference to Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, reads an encouragement to Sarah and a reminder to us all that even if things do not seem to be going according to what we think is best, our God is good and His promises are true. All we need to do is remember and believe, trust in Him and praise His name!

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79