Monday, October 29, 2012

Leper #10

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... Luke 17:15-16 (NIV)

One day, while Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, ten men with leprosy approached Him. In those days, leprosy was deadly. Once the disease had invaded your body, there was no getting well again. Therefore, laws were made that if you had the disease, you could not get close to anyone who was disease-free.

However, when the ten lepers begged Jesus to show them pity, He had compassion on them and healed them. He then told them to go show themselves to the rulers so they could be reinstated into society. As they went on their way, just one of them turned back to thank Jesus.

The other nine continued on their way, not bothering to stop and thank Jesus, even though they had been healed as well. Only this man chose to return to Jesus. He made a conscious decision to stop, turn around, and say thanks. In fact, the Bible says when he came back, he was “praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” (Luke 17:15).

This wasn’t a simple, obligatory thanks. It was the pure joy and gratitude of a man who realized he has been rescued from a hopeless situation. He was transformed from a man who was facing certain death to man who could embrace life.

In a sense, people who place their trust in Jesus for salvation are a lot like the leper. They were facing certain eternal death, but now they have a new lease on life and the hope of heaven.

I want to be like Leper #10. Though his outlook was hopeless, Jesus gave him the wonderful gift of new life, and this former leper turned it into an opportunity to praise God and worship Him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

His Presence

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

About once a year my wife travels to the other side of the country to visit her family for about a week to ten days.  I’m glad that she gets to make this trip but I have to be honest, it’s not always so easy for me.  I really miss her when she’s gone and can’t wait till she returns.  I usually have the date of her return firmly solidified in my mind.   

I always make plans to get a few projects around the house finished during this time; it keeps me busy and helps me not focus on missing her so much.  And we try to talk on the phone each day while she’s away and every conversation is a treasured opportunity.  We have so many ways to keep in touch in our world today and yet nothing can replace the actual presence of someone we love.  Let’s face it; it’s just better when our friends or loved ones are right here with us.

We’re promised in the Bible that we have Jesus’ presence with us until he returns.  Though we can’t see Him we can know that He’s right here with us each day and each hour.  We can talk to Him any time and we can know that someday we will see Him face to face.  What a great celebration that will be.

Psalm 139:7 (NIV)
Where can I go from your Spirit?
  Where can I flee from your presence?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cleansing Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

When my children were little I was cleaning up in the living room one day and realized that someone had drawn on the back of a leather recliner with an ink pen. I asked the children how this happened and each of them looked at me with this innocent questioning look. One of them said, “Dad, I have no idea how this happened. I didn’t do it.” All of my interrogation techniques seemed to meet with failure.

Later on I noticed that one of them seemed rather sullen. I suspected there might be some connection to the artwork on the back of my chair. I asked, “Is there something wrong?” Does this have some connection to the writing on the chair,” I questioned. There was a reluctant nod. I said, “Why don’t you tell me what happened,” and a tearful remorseful and full confession followed.

After my instructions about not writing on furniture there was an embrace accompanied by great sobs. I gave my full forgiveness and the matter had been settled.

It’s like this with God. When we have done something wrong we can confess to Him and He forgives us. It doesn’t matter how great our sin is His Word promises that He completely forgives us. What great relief to know that we can find forgiveness of all our sins in Him.

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NIV)