Only One Returned

“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. Luke 17:11-19

This is a story of simple faith. Ten lepers came to Jesus asking to be healed. They were healed on the way to the priest. In other words, when Jesus told them to go to the priest, they were not yet healed! They had to have faith that what this man said would be true by the time they arrived at the priest

Then only one returned to thank Jesus (a Samaritan, no less), though I’m sure the others had an impressive story to tell. Sadly, they never returned to thank Jesus.

As Christians we have much to thank Jesus for. Take out a piece of paper and just write down your blessings. Then give that list over to God, thanking Him for those blessings. We never want to be accused of not being thankful people.

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No Beauty or Majesty

He had no beauty or majesty that we should be attracted to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him… Isaiah 53:2b

That’s a pretty sobering verse, isn’t it? Hollywood would pass him by, just as the average man or woman on the street would. Were he walking the Earth in human form today, he would be plain and ordinary, dare I say, ugly? Obviously it wasn’t about the externals for God.

Jesus taught that throughout the New Testament. It’s what’s inside that counts. Inside. Inside. Your internal beauty is far more significant than external. Unfortunately, that’s hard for us to hear because we glamorize all the external things: beauty, clothes, positions, connections, degrees, IQs.

We have to be constantly on our guard against this wrong kind of thinking. Next time you see one of those paintings of Jesus on the wall (tanned and bearded), thank God that He probably didn’t look that good. Then thank Him for valuing internal beauty infinitely more than externals.

Internal beauty.

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Pride

“The pride of your heart has deceived you…” Obadiah 1:3

As the passage points out, pride is deceptive. Often you don’t even realize that you have it. Others must point it out to you! Pride ultimately is what doomed Satan and his angels. They thought they were as good as or even better than God.

I think of two brothers I once knew. They was an fifteen years age difference. The younger said to the older, “I don’t need any help” when he was carrying an extremely heavy load inside the house  The older, smiled as he watched his kid brother struggle to accomplish his task. An extra set of hands would have made the load much lighter but the younger boy didn’t want to hear of it. He was going to carry it into the house if it was he last thing he did.

We smile because we’ve seen that kind of interaction between siblings. Why wouldn’t the younger boy accept help? Pride.

Sadly, we say the same thing to God, often without uttering a word. We do things on our own without calling out for God’s input or wisdom or insight. We carry burdens we were never meant to carry.

Now would be a really good time to lift those burdens off and give them over to God. The first step is to admit our pride. It’s a large first step but it will open many other doors.

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All of It

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
Mark 14:41-44

Back in my Air Force days, somebody challenged me directly with this verse. He told me to put my entire paycheck into the offering when it went around during church.

I didn’t make a lot back then so I came up with more excuses than grains of sand at the beach. He just folded his arms and smiled. After I spent the better part of an hour explaining why I couldn’t put in my entire paycheck, I relented. My reaction to his suggestion was evidence that I should do it!!

I remember at the time that it was extremely scary before I did it, but once I put it in, it was wonderfully freeing. While I was still in the Air Force I acted on that challenge several times. I didn’t go hungry or without clothes. In fact, I was probably freer doing that than holding onto the check.

But that was then, twenty years ago. This is now.

What’s changed? Time. Life. Bills. Cares. Family. I had those back then. Fear? Yep, still the same. Fear that the God of the Universe wouldn’t look after me if I put a lot extra into the offering plate?

Pretty silly fear, isn’t it?

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Love Love Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

We all know it as the Love Chapter. We’ve heard countless sermons on love and this was the main chapter. The entire chapter is worthy of a read every time we read just a single verse. Read it before you continue.

Through time, the world can really beat us down, can’t it? We get cynical and skeptical. So, let’s take these verses down to the bare minimum.

Since many a preacher could lay out this chapter much better than me, I’ll suffice to leave you with one important question, a question that can be applied to the nine evidences of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). This question might change the way you think and act every single day.

Do you love others more today than you did a year ago? Do you love others more than you did a month ago? If you do, keep it up, and ask it again next year (or next month).

If you don’t, why not?

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