Why We Should Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving.  It’s a day set aside for us to give thanks to God for his many blessings.  When I think of this holiday, I am reminded of a Bible story from Luke 17.

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when He heard ten lepers calling out to him from a distance.  In that day, people with leprosy were basically cast out of regular society because they were very contagious.  Because of this, when these men saw Jesus, they didn’t approach Him but instead called out to Him from a distance, “Jesus!  Master!  Have mercy on us!”

The Bible says that Jesus simply looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  The lepers obeyed Jesus and as they made their way to find the priests, they were completely healed of their leprosy.  One of the men, when he realized that he was healed, ran back to Jesus, shouting praises to God, and fell at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for his healing.  As the man was still kneeling, Jesus asked him, “Didn’t I heal ten men?  Where are the other nine?”

Here’s one lesson we can learn from this story:  When the ten lepers cried out to Jesus, they had to do so from a distance because they weren’t allowed to approach anyone because of their leprosy.  However, when they were all healed, only this one man ran back to thank Jesus.  In doing so, he was the only one of the ten who was able to come close enough to throw himself at Jesus’ feet.  So basically, the one who gave thanks was the only one who was able to touch Jesus.  You see, there can be extreme benefits in expressing our gratitude to the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  Remember to give thanks.

The Truth Is, Truth or Dare is the Place To Be

Congratulations to the teenagers of the Des1re Youth Ministry of Celebration Church for their first night of their Truth or Dare outreach event.  The drum-line, games, flying basketball dunkers, dancers, actors, speakers, and video were all amazingly put together for an incredible life-changing night.  The lines of teens waiting to pray with people at the end was undeniable evidence that God was seriously at work through the efforts of these young people.

I had lots of opportunities to be in productions when I was in Jr. High and High School.  I also had the chance to help with lots of Christian Outreach events as a teenager.  However, it wasn’t until much later that I was able to participate in anything close to the same magnitude as what these young people accomplished tonight with their first production of Truth or Dare.  I’m so proud of them all.

If you are connected to a teenager in the New Orleans area, do them a favor and take them to Truth or Dare on Saturday evening.

Truth or Dare is being held at the Crescent City Christian School Gymnasium at 7 PM Saturday Evening.  Tickets are $5.00.  For more information, see http://www.desireyouth.com

One of the Worst elections in History

It was one of the most controversial elections in American history.  Negative campaigning had reached an all time high.  The Incumbent, having grown increasingly unpopular in his previous four years as President, had been labeled as a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant.  His opponent, who had tried to work in the President’s administration, was accused of being a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

The entourage of the opposing candidate accused the President of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”  Hardly flattering.  As a rebuttal, the President’s representatives released statements that his opponent was a “mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a mulatto father.”  This infuriated the President’s opponent so much that he hired a hatchet man named to spread damaging information about the President.  This employee’s information about the Commander in Chief spread so quickly and was considered so insidious that the man later served jailed time for slander.

In the end, Thomas Jefferson defeated President John Adams in the election of 1800.  Thomas Jefferson served two terms as president.  He and John Adams eventually put their differences behind them, and wrote a series of friendly letters for the last decade of their lives. They both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.’

Everything You Need

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul couldn’t understand what was happening to him.  Three times, he had asked the Lord to alleviate a negative situation in his life.  God answered Paul’s prayers, but in an unexpected way.  The Lord chose to not dissolve Paul’s problem.  Instead, He assured Paul that His grace was sufficient for him, even during difficult times.

God’s grace enables us to continue no matter what circumstance we may encounter.  If everyone turns against us, it will still be there to strengthen us.  His grace is never inadequate.  It will never run dry.  It never spoils.  It has no expiration date.  It is never depleted.  It never fails.  His grace, without any merit of our own that would cause Him to act so incredibly favorably toward us is certainly adequate for our own needs.  It is more than we deserve.  It is more than enough to accomplish more than we could ever imagine.

Lord, thank You for Your grace!  It is more than sufficient for me. 

Building a Testimony

What should we say then?  Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?  Absolutely not!  How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Romans 6:1-2

I had a friend in college named Billy.  He was a friendly guy who was studying to be a pastor.  He was the type of guy that everyone wanted to be around.  Even as a young man, I could see the hand of God on him, guiding him toward an awesome future.  However, Billy had some sinful habits that were keeping him from having a stronger relationship with the Lord.

Late one night, I heard a loud noise in the dorm hallway and ran out to see what had happened.  There was Billy, intoxicated, lying on the floor next to the large trashcan he had just knocked over.  I reached down to help, but he waved me off.  After a moment, he finally managed to get to his feet.  Glancing my way, he said, “Don’t judge me, man!  God will always forgive all my sins.  I’m just building a testimony.”

Lord, help us to never take Your grace for granted.  Help us to always strive to live holy lives, totally dedicated to You.

Why You Deserve More Than What You’re Getting

For God loved the world in this way:  He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  John 3:16-17 HCSB

Every so often, I look at my life and think, “You know, I deserve a lot better than this!”  Then, in my state of arrogance, I pray, “Hey, God.  It’s me.  Been working hard here, serving diligently, doing what You wanted.  Isn’t it about time I saw some benefits coming my way?”

But then I do a reality check and remember who I am and what I have done and who He is and what He has done.  Honestly, I really don’t want Him to give me what I deserve.

In Romans 6:23, Paul writes, for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Fortunately, God doesn’t want to condemn us.  He doesn’t want to give us what we deserve.  Instead, He’s offered us grace.

Lord, thank You for Your grace.  It’s so much better than what we deserve.