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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 15

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Luke 17:15-16, “Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

Ten men were healed of leprosy. Ten men were made whole and cleansed of a disease that at the time knew no cure, yet of the ten, only one returned glorifying God with a loud voice, and falling down at the feet of Christ giving Him thanks.

If we look at the situation strictly from a percentage point of view, we realize that just ten percent of those who had received a priceless gift from the hand of God, took the time to return to Him and thank Him for what He had done.

The word of God also points out that the man who returned to thank Jesus was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews, considered to be a heretical sect, and an unclean people as far as the Jews were concerned. Yet here he was, this man despised, this man considered unclean, realizing what Jesus had done for him and glorifying God with a loud voice.

If you do a kindness to a stranger, and you do the selfsame kindness to one of your children, chances are the stranger will thank you for your kindness, even profusely, while your children will wrinkle their noses, shrug their shoulders and move on as though nothing happened.

The lessons, implications, and deeper meanings concerning the fact that only the Samaritan returned to thank Christ are numerous, but try as I might to go into the rest of them, I keep returning to the idea that it is shameful and even sinful for us as children of God to take our Father for granted.

Acknowledge what you have received from the hand of God, know in your heart that you could not have achieved it or amassed it on your own, and be thankful for those things which come from Him.

I love seeing the fire and enthusiasm of the newly saved. While the first love still burns bright in their heart, while they still remember what they once were and what Jesus transformed them into, their singular desire is to serve Him, and bring glory and thanks to His name. Such individuals are not concerned with decorum, they do not wonder whether or not they are making a scene, or if people are watching, they fall on their faces at Christ’s feet and thank Him.

Chances are Jesus was not alone. Chances are also good that in the least, His disciples were with Him. Yet when this leper returned to Christ, healed and whole, he didn’t care that someone was watching, or that someone might judge him for his actions, He glorified God in a loud voice, and fell on His face at Christ’s feet, giving Him thanks.

When was the last time we were that thankful? When was the last time we lay aside pretense, and image, and stopped wondering what people would think of us, and just fell at His feet and thanked Him for all that He has done?

Tragically in many a life, thanklessness has become a habitual pattern. We come before God with our petitions, He is faithful to answer, then once He has answered, we are reticent in bringing Him our thanks.

Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Just in case we forgot His many benefits, just in case we forgot the unquantifiable blessings God bestows upon us daily, the psalmist reminds us what some of these benefits are. From having our iniquities forgiven, to having our diseases healed, to having our lives redeemed from destruction, to being crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies, to having our mouths satisfied with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s, the reasons we must bless the name of the Lord are numerous indeed.

It’s not as though we have no reason to bring prayers of thanks before God. It’s not as though there is nothing to be thankful for. If we omit prayers of thanks from our prayer life, it is because we are ungrateful children, who do not realize all the benefits of God, and all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Ten men cried out for mercy, one man returned to thank Christ for the mercy He had shown him. As much as I try to move this teaching along, this fact keeps popping into my mind. One out of ten men had the wherewithal, the appreciation, the thankful heart, to return to Jesus and thank Him for what He had done.

The majority will always be indifferent toward the blessings of God. The majority will always take what God does for them and through them for granted. Do not be in the majority! If even today those who are thankful toward God are one out of ten, be that one out of ten who acknowledges the presence of God in their life, who acknowledges the blessings of God in their life, and acts accordingly, with gratitude and thankfulness of heart.

Just as the righteous will always be a minority, those with thankful hearts who fall at Christ’s feet glorifying God, will likewise always be a minority. It is far easier to assume that we were entitled to something, that we deserved something, or that we achieved something on our own merit, than it is to humble ourselves and thank God, but each time we forget, each time we refuse to thank Him for all His benefits, His heart grows sad.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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