Welcome to In Other Words Tuesday. This week's hostess is Deborah from Chocolate and Coffee. The quote she picked is perfect for the upcoming holiday!
Living a life of thanks to God is a reciprocation of the life He has blessed us with. It shows Him how grateful we are to the grace, mercy and love He has extended to us in so many ways, particularly beginning with the death of His Son on the Cross and His resurrection on the third day.
Did you know that a form of the word thank is found the following number of times in each version of the Bible as listed below.
134 times in the KJV
144 times in the NIV
165 times in the NLT
162 times in the ESV
138 times in the NKJV
193 times in the AMP
139 times in the MSG
Obviously, being thankful is important stuff in the Word of God!
Did you know that Jesus actually expects us to be thankful? It's not just a bonus to Him if we happen to remember to praise and thank Him for the blessings He gives us or prayers that He answers. It's an expectation.
"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "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. 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?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." ~ Luke 17:11-19 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)
Christ had taken the time to heal all 10 of these lepers, yet only one returned to thank Him.
The word Greek word for thanked is eucharisteō, which means:
1) to be grateful, feel thankful
2) give thanks
2) give thanks
Christ wanted thanks, not for Himself, but to give praise and glory to God. How sad it must have made Him that this opportunity of thanksgiving and glory to God had been passed up by 9 out of 10 men healed.
Leprosy was, according to http://www.blueletterbible.org/, "2) a most offensive, annoying, dangerous, cutaneous disease, the virus of which generally pervades the whole body, common in Egypt and the East." The stigma of having this dreaded disease that resulted in scaly, rough skin, was awful. Lepers were social outcasts and considered very unclean.
Put yourself in this Samaritan leper's place for a moment. You're traveling from colony to colony, and you hear that Jesus is nearby. You stand, waiting for a glimpse of the One you've heard about all your life. You gather the others around you and say, "Perhaps if we can get His attention, He will have mercy on us. What do you think, friends? Is it worth a shot?" The others around you shoot you down and say, "No, don't bother." To rally the troops, you share with them the story about a woman in your village, the home that you lived in during a life-time ago when you enjoyed life pre-leprosy. You know the one. Remember when Christ had mercy on a sweet Samaritan woman at a well? You remember His gift of Living Water and know His power to heal if He so chooses. The men around you are encouraged and begin to cry out, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" Christ does choose to have pity on you and as you and the others travel, your skin begins to heal. The scales seem to fall off at once and you're so excited! Now, instead of going to find another leper colony to live in, you can go and show yourself to the priest, as Christ directed, and begin living life again. But wait. Part of that life is thanks living! You tell your friends, "Wait! Before we go to the priest, let's go thank Christ for this miraculous healing!" The nine others with you sneer and say they're wasting one precious moment going back. They're on their way to better lives and are moving forward without a backward glance. But you cannot. "Men! We have to go back and thank Him!" "You go back if you want," they say, "but we're heading on into town! Just wait till our families see us!" Breaking away from the group, you head back alone. You have a spring in your step, your skin is back to the olive complexion, clear and bright as it was years ago, but you have to go back and thank Him, the one who healed your body, and possibly your very soul...alone.
Now, what if you were any one of the other nine men who did not return to thank Christ for His healing?
That, my friend, is precisely how to *not* to live a life of Thanks Living.
Let's purpose to always to give thanks to God. In all circumstances, let's find something to thank Him and praise Him for. Admittedly, it's a little easier to thank God in good times than it is in the hard times, but we are commanded to thank Him. He expects it of us. He gave us grace and salvation, after all. Let's not let Him down! During the hardest of the hard times, I have been able to thank Him for being Lord of my life, for the salvation He has given, and that His will is done no matter what.
How can we live a life of thanks living to God, returning thanks in our everyday lives?
T - Tell God often how thankful we are for Him. "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." ~ Psalm 118:1 (NIV)
H - Happily offer our praises to God. "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." ~ Psalm 100:4 (NIV)
A - Acknowledge that all gifts come from Him. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1:17 (NIV)
N - Never pass up an opportunity to thank God for loved ones in your life. "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)
K - Know that God hears our thanks and praise. "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3 (KJV)
S - Seek to constantly praise God. "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." ~ James 5:13 (NIV)
L - Live a life of gratitude to Christ. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
I - Invite others to join us in praise. "Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts." ~ Psalm 105:2 (NIV)
V - Visualize how pleased He is with our thanks. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NIV)
I - Intentionally thank God for others and pray for them to know the Savior you know. "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." ~ Ephesians 1:16-17 (NIV)
N - Never forget to praise Him in the storms of life. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." ~ Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
G - Give thanks to God by guarding our words and motives in acts of service. "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." ~ 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)
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