Luke 17: 15 (NIV) "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' "
My heart is tender this week.
An assignment for my ladies Bible study had me write a timeline of my life marking significant events and watershed moments of joy and heartache in hopes of seeing God's hand weaved throughout. It was a lengthy process to chart but this visual reminds me of where I've been and where God has been. My life reveals His abundant love, forgiveness and grace. This timeline also gives me hope as I anticipate my future with Him.
Because of this assignment I have found myself reverently worshiping His Majesty. My gratefulness is expressed as I am near the brink of tears almost non-stop. God's powerful hand has been evident in my life. Despite my sin, failures and wounds, God has faithfully carried me.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, can we find any other "thing" to be more grateful for than God's redemptive work in our lives? I think not.
The story in Luke 17:11-19 regarding the ten lepers intrigues me. It baffles me how only one man in ten came back to Jesus praising Him and thanking Him for his miraculous healing.
Those with leprosy were defiled and therefore required to separate themselves from society. If people approached them the diseased had to yell, "Unclean! Unclean!" as long as the contagious infection remained.
The ten lepers encountered Jesus on His way to Jerusalem and sought His pity. Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests; the custom of the Law. As the lepers went their way, they were cleansed.
The text reveals that only one man returned to Christ, fell prostrate at His feet, praised and gave thanks. He was a Samaritan; a social outcast despised by the Jews. The other nine were well aware of their healing, they simply chose not to express gratitude to Christ.
While the other nine received external healing, perhaps it was this one lone man who received the true internal healing and spiritual blessing Christ extended. Earlier in verse 14 it says Jesus cleansed them, meaning the lepers were pronounced clean in a levitical sense. Verse 19 tells us that the Samaritan was made whole because of his faith. The word for "whole" means to save or rescue.
Aw . . . how humbled I am when I consider the wretched wickedness of my own depravity. God brought healing to my spiritual leprosy. The sin in my life separated me from God's grace. When I recognized my sinfulness and cried out to Him, "Unclean!" He had compassion on my soul and purified me from my sin.
Christ redeemed me initially and continues to rescue me from brokenness. For years I lived in bondage to an eating disorder and wore insecurity like a comfortable blanket. Later God delivered me from the pit of despair as I grieved my mother's death.
Christ broke the chains of bondage to bring healing to my soul through these experiences. I'm so thankful to walk in the victory and power of Christ's resurrection. The same power that conquered death lives in me!
The trials I have endured and the growth I have experienced has been a direct result of Christ's redemptive work in my life. I praise Him for changing my heart, pruning my pride, and delivering me from the clutches of sin. My gratefulness stems from the stark realization that I am a hopeless mess without Jesus Christ.
With my face in the dust, my humbled heart clings to His feet . Thank you Jesus, thank you. May I never be like the other nine.
Make a list of all the ways God has brought healing and restoration to your life.
Look for opportunities to show gratitude even when your circumstances test you.
When is it difficult for you to offer appreciation toward God?
When is it more natural for you to express gratitude toward God?
When was the last time you threw yourself at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him for His redemptive work in your life?
Heart Changing Word:
Psalms 106:1 (NIV) "Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
2 Corinthians 4:10 "We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. "
Ephesians 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."
Ephesians 1:19-20a "And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead."
Colossians 2:7 "Continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Hebrews 12:28 "Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."
Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.
What a timely reminder that is, especially with Thanksgiving coming up. I found that my faith grows when I look back over my life and see God's hand and His provision. How amazing that He is faithful even when we are not.ReplyDelete
Just as you said, it makes us confident of our future. He is GOOD!
Susan, You are so right; our past is a blessed reminder of God's faithfulness. Praise Him indeed! As you said, "He is GOOD"-- ALL THE TIME!! Love, Hester :)ReplyDelete
Hester, Excellent! Love your wording and phrasing. In my top five favorite Hester Heart posts! loving & missing you!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Lisa, Your encouragement lifts my spirit. Praise His Holy Name!! Love to you, Hester :)ReplyDelete
Hester, I totally agree with Susan! When I look over my life and see where I have come from and how God has given me a hope and a future, I am in complete awe. Completely humbled and forever thankful for His love & provision in my life.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your words, friend, and for letting God use you to reach so many women. You are such a blessing!!!
Heather, Bless your heart. Thank you for your comment and encouraging words. Praise Him indeed. I love to hear others share about His abundant love in their lives too. God is sooo amazing! You are a blessing too friend, Love, HesterReplyDelete
Sarah said in an email:ReplyDelete
"This just brought me right to tears! The children were in the other room and heard me bawling earlier today while I read it! Oh Hester, what a humbling reminder of the thanks we owe to Him who saved us, paid our debt and loves us when we are so undeserving. I just squeezed my kids extra tight tonight and gave a long prayer of thanks to God for blessing me with them to hold."
Thank you so much!!!! I have been so blessed by this, there are no words!
I especially loved the last sentence about being a hopeless mess without Jesus. Amen to that! This is a wonderful message this week with wonderful timing. Thank you for sharing your life and your tender heart with us.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment. Realizing where we would be without Him brings humility to our lives. I appreciate you very much. All glory to Him!
Love you! Hester
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Shannon, I want to thank you for your comment. (I know you deleted it and I understand). Please know forgiveness is hard for a reason and I know the Lord has taught me much humility through it. Even when we are wronged our reaction and response gives us opportunity to "get even" or demonstrate Christ's love. I love you sweet sister, You are in my heart today. Love, Hester :)ReplyDelete