It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Taking a good look at them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was cleaned, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” Luke 17: 11-19 (Message)
Prayer: Almighty and merciful God, your bountiful goodness fills all creation. Keep us safe from all that may hurt us, that, whole and well in body and spirit, we may with grateful hearts accomplish all that you would have us do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
“Beloved, you must build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith; you must pray in the Holy Spirit; you must keep yourselves in the love of God; while you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which will bring you life eternal.” Jude 20-21 (NRSV)
Isn’t it wonderful his faith came from Jesus to the apostles; it came from the apostles to the church; and it comes from the church to us (what a great reason to come to church)? How awesome that the faith which we profess is not just come one’s opinion, it is a revelation which cane from Jesus and was transmitted within His church, always under the care and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, from generation to generation.
This faith is God-given. This very faith has the power to make those who believe it different. One time or another haven’t we all wanted something in our life to be different?
One of the things we do to enhance our faith walk and deepen our relationship with God is to be a person of prayer. As we grow closer to God we realize our dependence on God. Prayer is the acknowledgment of that dependence.
We must be people of prayer because we know that we must test everything by the will of God, and therefore we must take everything to God for His approval. Also we know that of ourselves we can do nothing but with God all things are possible. Therefore, we must take our insufficiency to God’s sufficiency.
Prayer: As we keep ourselves in God’s love and care, we wait with expectation as we experience Christ’s mercy, love, and power; we know that Christ’s purpose for us is to be brought to eternal life the life of God himself. What a way to dare to be different. May we be blessed as we believe and grow different in our Lord. Praise be to God. Amen
“But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (TEV)
Even though my husband and I are both retired, our busy volunteer schedules have us going in opposite directions sometimes. So we schedule getaways that we both enjoy. It is a joy to visit places without interruptions; we travel; take long quiet walks; and converse about things we don’t need to share with others. We fill ourselves with love for each other and pray together.
In Matthew 6:6, Jesus tells his disciples to find a quiet place where they can talk to God by themselves. They should not have interruptions but should have a heart to heart talk with God alone.
Sometimes prayer should be a personal conversation between you and God. He can bring comfort when we confess our most inner selves and sins to God and receive his forgiveness and help. Private prayer can be a special time, a gift, a time to long for, and a conversation about anything and everything. Thank God for that. He is always there 24/7 as our most willing witness who can be trusted with our most private secrets and thoughts.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being there is word and deed no matter what dark thoughts or secrets we reveal to you from our hearts. Thank you for being a patient listener and for forgiving our sins. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen
GIVING YOUR BEST
“As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (TEV)
Some of my friends are already talking about shopping for gifts for Christmas next year. They want to get the best deals or gifts for the family and friends.
Our Heavenly Father also wants the best for us and lavishly gives us His gifts. As we come to Him in prayer, we have confidence that God will give us the best, but the best to Him isn’t always what we asked for or want. He might see danger, or the timing isn’t right, or our judgment is off, so instead of our gift He gives us what we need. God gives us more that we asked for. He gives us a real solution for our needs. His will be done not ours.
As we prayer—we need to ask for God’s solutions to our needs. His gifts are always better. “Father knows best” for us. No matter the gift God will meet all our needs in His time.
Prayer: Lord, teach us how to put you first and ask for your solutions, not our way. Thank you for being there when we ask in your Son, Jesus’ name. Amen
“Come, let us praise the Lord! Let us sing for joy to God, who protects us! Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise. For the Lord is a mighty God…” Psalms 95:1-4 (TEV)
Why do you go to church? Is it because you are conditioned, or to see friends, or to hear the preacher, or to catch up on the latest gossip or for the worship and fellowship.
What is worship? Isn’t it a place where we find a joyful, reverent, comforting place? A place of reflection, silence, confession, a welcome place for all. Isn’t it an expression of our love for God, to know and adore Him and to praise and thank Him with our fellow believers?
Sometimes our feelings in worship aren’t as strong as they should be, however, the more we gather together as worshipping Christians, the joy and love of God will grow. Worshipping together through the scripture readings, the Lord’s Prayer, hymns of praise, the pastoral gospel message and the encouragement of fellow Christians, will strengthen us toward the praise, joy and thanksgiving we have for our Maker. We come together to pray for strength, wisdom and courage to live our lives as God’s people in this world.
Prayer: Precious Lord, “How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Ps 84:1) Be patient with us, Lord, in our human failings and help us to worship you as we ought. Forgive us and renew us, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
A BLESSING FOR EVERYONE
“I make a vow by my own name—the Lord is speaking—that I will richly bless you….All nations will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your descendants—all because you obeyed my command.” Genesis 22: 16-18 (TEV)
In our liturgy there is a part where the pastor say,” The Peace be with you” and the congregation’s response, “And also with you.” At this point the pastor invites us to share the “peace” with others around us. We pass the greeting from one to another.
When I share the “peace” it also reminds me of God’s blessing to Abraham telling him to “pass it on” or to be a blessing to be shared with “all nations of the earth.” The blessing is the gift of Jesus. We received this gift of Jesus and we cannot keep Him for ourselves. Rather than keep Him, we are to share and “Pass on” Jesus to others, our brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, friends—all people of the earth. Through worship, fellowship, service, prayer, and actions we can be a blessing passing Jesus on.
Prayer: Lord, let us know the joy of sharing Jesus with all peoples everywhere that they too may know Him. Amen
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
“I alone am the Lord your God. No other god may share my glory; I will not let idols share my praise.” Isaiah 42:8 (TEV)
Often I am blessed with the opportunity to work with the homeless and the needy. There are so many times when the Foundations Mentoring Program, the quilting and sewing program, the food pantry, or the soup kitchen touch lives. The blessings are two-fold; those receiving and these giving.
Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the blessings and the wonderful things that happen that I might begin to think that I am special in all of this. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Then, as I am in prayer thanking God for helping me in all of these things, I realize something that makes me not so special. Here I am standing in the Holy of Holies, before my holy God, and I am taking away the glory that is rightfully His. God says in Isaiah 42:8, I am the Lord: that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Any attention that I receive rightfully belongs to God.
In the book Crazy Love, Francis Chan says that Martin Luther speaks of living this way: “There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day.” Chan says that we should live following God, and when praying, we must give Him the glory for all, not us.
Prayer: Precious Lord, as we go through our day in prayer, may we praise you Lord for everything that is accomplished, and may we give You the glory for all the blessings received. Praise be to God. Amen