31 Days of Thanksgiving (Does it actually save you?)

When I first heard that Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts 

was staying on the New York Time’s bestseller list, I thought:

Really?

A book on something as elementary as giving thanks? 

But this book has helped so many believers recover the practice of thankfulness, including me. It is much deeper than just practicing gratitude.

When Ann studied the passage on The Ten Lepers, she was ready to skim, explaining:

I read the passage, one I remember from the musty basement of the Knox Presbyterian Church Sunday school. I think I know this one. Jesus restores ten lepers to wholeness. And only one returns to offer any thanks. I remember the moral too, Mrs. Morrison and her glossy red lipstick: “How often do you remember to say thanks?” Yes, I think I know this one. I skim.

 

Indeed, part of the lesson of The Ten Lepers is to be thankful.

But then Ann saw something she hadn’t seen before in the final verse, when only one of ten returned to thank Jesus, Jesus said,

Rise and go you way; your faith has made you well. 

(Luke 17:19)

Ann wrote:

Wait, I trace back. Hadn’t Jesus already completely healed him?” Ann found the Greek word “sozo,” translated, means salvation. …the saving to the full, whole life. Jesus counts thanksgiving as integral in a faith that saves. We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.

I want to discuss this with this amazing group. I remember receiving a letter from a woman in leadership who decided against studying Idol Lies because I quoted Ann, and she found her book heretical, believing Ann was preaching salvation through thanksgiving. I feel confident that Ann’s statement, “We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks” is evidence that Ann is talking about being saved more fully from the power rather than the penalty of sin.

This week you will hear Sinclair Ferguson preach on this passage. He too believes only the thankful leper was saved — which is fascinating — though he comes at the passage a bit differently.

We should have an interesting week.

We should ponder this question:

Though I realize this discussion could go wrong, I don’t think it will. I feel this group is a gift from God, and that we truly can be iron sharpening iron to one another.

If we pray, He can give us one mind in Him.

Last week you were at your best — giving links, thoughts, hymns, and listening to one another. If you missed Nila’s link to Eugene Peterson’s funeral, go back and get it. And I loved Renee’s chart of familiar hymns based on psalms. I am always looking for friends of depth, and it is such a gift to have you, right here. How I thank God for you. So let’s tackle together what God is teaching us through the Ten Lepers. There’s only one right answer, and that is what God intended, so let’s see if we can find it together.

And we will examine this question prayerfully:

 Does the giving of thanks actually save us?

 

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

2. Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is?

3. For what are you thankful on this Sabbath day?

Monday: Preparing for Luke’s Passage on The Ten Lepers

Luke shows how Gentiles can come into the Kingdom, and Darrell Bock says Luke is particularly significant in showing how those on the outside can come in: women, the poor, the Gentiles. There are more “women’s stories” in Luke than in any other gospel, as well as many stories of “ragamuffins,” Brennan Manning’s term, becoming whole. 

 

 

The following is from John Macdonald, a pastor with Canada Outreach Ministries:

THREE THINGS ABOUT LEPROSY

First, in the Bible, leprosy is broader than what is now called Hansen’s Disease. It describes a host of skin disorders, and is often translated as “infectious skin disease.”

Second, lepers are ‘unclean’ and isolated from society (Leviticus 13-14). They were the living dead (Numbers 12:12; Job 18:13).

Third, the only incidents of ‘leprosy’ being cured involved the direct intervention of God. Two examples in the OT are the healing of Miriam, the sister of Moses, (Numbers 12:9-15) and Naaman, the Syrian general (2 Kings 5:1-14). In the NT Jesus heals several lepers (Mark 1:1:40-45; Luke 17:11-19).

 

I (Dee) can see how leprosy is a good picture of us before Christ touches us: unclean, separated, and “the living dead.” Only a miracle can save us.

4. Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead?” Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace.

 

5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, and made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power.

Tuesday: What Does the Passage Say? Fact Gathering.

I have loved this song for a long time and find it interesting it was written by Catholic nuns who work with the least of these. What I love in this particular rendition is the picture of the man leaping because of a miracle. Watch it and share your thoughts.

 

 

6. Comments on the above?

 

7. Do you have a memory of when you were saved from the penalty of sin? If so, share, and give thanks.

8. Read Luke 17:11-19

A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13.

B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request?

C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14? And how does this require faith?

D. What happened to them as they journeyed?

E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16.

F. What question does Jesus ask in verse 17-18?

G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19?

Wednesday: How To Avoid Mis-interpreting Scripture

Recently I counseled a young woman who is distressed because her parents, who once seemed so grounded in Scripture, have been swept up into false teaching. She asked, “They are so sure that this new teaching is the truth and that they were wrong before. How can we know for sure what’s true and what is not?”

This is such an important question, and one of the main reasons I wanted to write this book.

I told her: “We need to take Paul’s warning to Timothy to heart, about ‘rightly handling the Word of truth’ [2 Timothy 2:15]. The word handling in the Greek is orthotomeo, an engineering term that refers to keeping things straight, aligned—small pieces must fit into the unified whole. God doesn’t disagree with Himself. Any doctrine you embrace must fit into the unified themes of the Bible. The reason, for example, that we don’t believe that something must be added to our faith to save us, as your parents now do, is that the whole theme of the Bible is that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to make the vilest sinner clean. The reason we don’t believe that Jesus is just a great teacher—as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Christian Scientists do—is that the whole theme of the Bible is that He is very God of very God.”

I went on to explain that when a verse doesn’t seem to fit into the unified whole, it is only an apparent contradiction. Either God will make it clear when we see Him face to face, or light will be given to you as you hold it up the unified themes of the Bible.

For example, in Galatians 5:19–21, Paul gives a list of sins and closes with “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” This, out of context, could lead some to think that if they don’t do such things, they will automatically go to heaven. But this interpretation cannot be correct because the unified theme of the whole Bible and of Galatians itself says we are saved only by faith in Christ, not by our actions or inactions.

9. With this in mind, do you think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally.

 

10. Do you think the act of giving thanks can be an evidence of salvation? If so, can you give an illustration from life or scriptural support? 

 

The Lord has given me a new friend at pickleball this year — whom I will call Martha. She came to our Christmas Tea last year and was intrigued. This year I invited her to Bible study. She asked me how much homework there was because she was busy. Wanting her so to come, I minimized it, saying: “I think you could do it in 15 minutes a day.” (I so wanted her just to come!)

Then Twila leaned forward and said, more accurately, “You will get as much out of it as you put into it.”

Martha started coming, and it soon became clear God was wooing her. She had many questions and was really digging into her homework, even when she couldn’t make the meetings due to traveling to help a daughter. Now she has such a heart of thanksgiving. We went out to lunch and she wept. We laughed at her initial response of “How much homework will I have to do?” I will never ever get over the power of God is taking a person who does not seem to have life into one vibrant with life. And indeed, the evidence to me of her salvation is her great thankfulness. She is like the man leaping in the song above. She has been seized by the power of a great affection!

But having said that, though I do not think (nor do I think Ann VosKamp thinks) that giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin, it does indeed seem to rescue us from grumbling, from discontentment, from negativity — all evidences of the chains of sin. I do think thankfulness can rescue a child of God from the power of sin, but I’m open to being shown otherwise!  

11. Read Philippians 4:6-7

A. What command and what promise are given here?

B. Do you think that this passage promises a release from the chains of worry through faith and thanksgiving? Why or why not?

C. What are your worried about right now you could turn over to the Lord with prayer and thanksgiving?

12. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18

     A. What command is given here?

     B. What is the difference between giving thanks for circumstances and in circumstances?

     C. Do you think that obeying this command could release a power to overcome despair? Why or

why not?

Thursday-Friday: Sermon by Sinclair Ferguson on The Ten Lepers (Sermon link now fixed – sorry!)

13. Listen to the following and then share your notes and comments.

      When Jesus Got One Out of Ten - Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson

 

 

14. How would you answer the question: “Does giving thanks save us?”

15. What do you think is God’s intended teaching from the story of the ten lepers?

Saturday:

16. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

COMMENTS (104) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?
At first glance, the questions “How are we saved?” and “Does the giving of thanks actually save us?” raise my eyebrows.  But they also make me smile because I can see where this is going.  In a way, I see a parallel to the verses in James that say “faith without works is dead”  and in Matthew/Mark that it isn’t what goes into a person that defiles him but what comes out of him. The Matthew/Mark verses have never made much sense to me!  But the focus this week may help explain those verses, too, especially after last week’s assignment.
2. Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is?
the whole song (Crown Him with Many Crowns).  Each verse described a different aspect of who Jesus is, and this song led to others.  It realigned my thinking so that thankfulness is a result.  I also learned that watching the news impacts my thinking and not usually in a good way.   But when I focus on who He is, “the things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
3. For what are you thankful on this Sabbath day?
a working furnace.  I know this sounds trite, but my furnace didn’t work well in the spring. I procrastinated having it fixed because I thought I might need a new one.  It’s fixed now and I am thankful to Him for providing for me, which automatically leads to thanks for who He is.

(will be gone mid to end of week both this week and next week)

    Reply

    Renee! I did not see your entry until now and am thankful (hah!) that I was not way off in my questioning. A working furnace-yes, thankful for that. I am very cold blooded and a non-working furnace will be a problem for me.

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    Pure Renee. Raising eyebrows, bringing up similar conundrum Scriptures. Loving hymns, thankful for a working furnace. Yes.

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    Renee,

    This is so good!   It realigned my thinking so that thankfulness is a result. 

    That’s what I needed again yesterday – a heart and mind alignment –  so I sat with my guitar and a pile of old songs and sang my way to a better frame of mind and heart.

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Oh Dee.  Though it has been a couple of years since I have been an active blog participant, I do “peek” in now and again.  Reading this morning’s offering my eyes filled with tears – you have hit this one out of the ballpark!!!  Recently my prayers for the beloved unbelievers in my own life have been taking me again and again to the familiar words of Jesus in Mark 8:36 – “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  The Spirit has really gifted you to come at this truth in so many creative, Word saturated ways and I feel certain this will be a profitable and life giving week for all who participate.  :)  As I head out the door for the Worship service I am praying that it will be so.  I don’t have the link before me but I know that one of the songs we will be singing at our service today is “Nothing But Grace”by Chris Sayburn…..WELL worth googling!  Christ the Solid Rock!!!  OH – Pickleball…..I had never heard of it before you shared some fun stories of connection through Pickleball a few years back…..and since our move to a new farm a year ago I found that Pickleball was available only 6 minutes from here…..so…..I too am a “Pickleballer” now – FUN!!  GREAT way to meet and get to know our neighbors!!!  :)

Love to you all!!!

    Reply

    Jackie!!! I came in this morning to see you here. Oh how wonderful it is 😉. Come back for a few weeks? Maybe Dee will lure you with Ann V. this week? Renee is here (yay!) and you two make us think….(not that others don’t). I’m missing Nanci, Diane, Shirley, Liz, Joyce and others too.

     

    Pickle ball? Good for you! I’m tap dancing lately, getting back to my “roots!” You should see the babies; they are so big now! Love you sweet friend!

    Reply

    I second Laura’s Jackie!!! LOL Good to see you here and miss you and those who have not been here awhile. Pickleball. I am not sure MO plays it. LOL

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    Oh Jackie!    It is SO good to “see” and “hear” your here this morning!     Thank you for mentioning this song that I had never heard.  Here’s the link ~  Nothing But Grace, Chris Sayburn:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIHrtKJGgVI

    Reply

    I echo the others joy in “seeing” you again, Jackie!

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    I was so happy to see Renee and Jackie here (a double blessing)! I appreciate the insights and honest sharing from both of you.

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1. What stands out to you from the above, and why? 
 

I don’t mean to be a downer, but I see Ann Voskamp’s name and I kind of go, “ugh.” It’s because I don’t get her writings, not because she asks us to be thankful. She writes with a flare that I don’t understand; it frustrates me and makes me give up.

 

I haven’t been able to keep up very well with the study lately and feel sad about that too.

 

I usually find thanks in things of nature and tangible things like hot water and heat. I am sad for myself that I don’t find much in my life to be thankful for lately. I read a post from someone last week who said something about God being silent for long periods. I have endured the longest period from Him yet, 4 years, and am sad because of that. I wait, but it is hard to think He isn’t giving me answers and why that might be?

 
2. Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is?
 

oh yes! He loves us, He takes us when we aren’t worthy, He is perfect.

 
3. For what are you thankful on this Sabbath day?
 

An orchestration of the next 24 hours that means my husband and I will get time together, just me and him. Thank You Lord for allowing all the pieces to come together for us.

    Reply

    And this is pure Laura. I still can’t quite reconcile a left-brained dancer, but that you are — and we love you so.

    Reply

    Laura, I said the same thing about Ann and her writings. They seem to be too hard for me to decode.

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Sunday:
1.  What stands out to you from the above, and why?
The thought from Ann Voskamp, “the saving to the full, whole life. Jesus counts thanksgiving as integral in a faith that saves. We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.”
I am not sure I understand this statement. I am praying God will illumine my mind as I study The Ten Lepers with this group. Is giving thanks equivalent to works? Is this related to James “faith without works is dead”?
2.  Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is?
“Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless free…ever loveth, never changeth, changeth more.”
God is LOVE. Thank you, Lord that you are LOVE.
3.  For what are you thankful on this Sabbath day?
Looking forward to Sabbath with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We had 2 deaths from among our congregation just this past week. Worship will take on a new meaning for all of us. Our songs are timely for today: Great is thy Faithfulness, Worthy of Worship, Lord, Be Glorified, We bring the sacrifice of praise and Thank You.
A line on the last song says, “Thank you for the way you have saved us, how you loved us…”

    Reply

    Death does open our hearts to discern the difference between the transitory and the eternal. I agree your worship will be meaningful.

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I’m sort of stuck on our study from two weeks ago that highlighted the life and death of Eugene Peterson.   It all touched “close to home” as I stated last week, because Pastor Peterson was raised in and currently lived in the same small town that my husband is from and that we frequently visit.   And I learned last night that my mother in law was in a small prayer group with Eugene Peterson’s mother over 50 years ago.   Sometimes the world is truly small.        Eugene Peterson’s life was marked by humility and gratitude.     In this remarkable recent 18 minute interview with him he tells the interviewer, “I’m just grateful ……… grateful is the word.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaMgIvbXqSk

This is his paraphrase of Colossians 3:15-17 from The Message:    
 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing.   And cultivate thankfulness.   Let the Word of Christ — the Message — have the run of the house.   Give it plenty of room in your lives.  Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.   And sing, sing your hearts out to God!   Let every detail in your lives — words, actions, whatever — be done in the name of the Master, Jesus,   thanking God the Father every step of the way.

    Reply

    I’m glad you are stuck on Peterson, Nila — and yes, great to give us good links.

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Thank You Laura for remembering me.

It’s good to hear from Renee and Jackie!

I’m here every week as a silent reader.

I keep busy caring for Kendra and still suffering with back issues.

I love you all so much!!

    Reply

    Oh Joyce,

    So good to hear from you. Your life is so hard yet you remain trusting. Love to you!

      Reply

      Thank You so much Dee!

    Reply

    Love knowing that you are following along with us Joyce even if you are silent. I remember you in my prayers often.

      Reply

      ♥️ Thinking of you and your mom today Dawn.

      Reply

      Oh Thank you Dawn…your so sweet!

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    Joyce, it is good to see you here. Back issues are hard to deal with. Keeping you in prayer for this and also you care for Kendra.

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Happy Sunday! This week should be a challenging & interesting discussion!

The song I memorized for worship team today has been such a blessing to me. Even tho I’ve been so sad this week & have cried for my mom (who is declining quickly with Alzheimers’), I was so lifted up & filled with thankfulness as I sang my heart out this morning. Such a privilege to help lead worship, & be reminded of the Truth of God’s Word, to be used by the Holy Spirit to minister to others  :) Joy , Joy, Joy!

    Reply

    Jenny,

    I understand some of your sadness with a parent declining with Alzheimers.  Both my mom and dad suffered with Alzheimers and it was heartbreaking.   The Lord knows our deep, unspeakable sorrows.

    I love this ~ even though I’ve been so sad……I was so filled with thankfulness as I sang my heart out this morning.

    Your words here reminded me of something I just read this afternoon from Paul David Tripp’s newly released  book entitled Suffering.   In chapter six on page 99 Paul Tripp says,  “One of the most powerful ways to be encouraged is to encourage…. Who near you needs encouragement?   Who near you has lost their way?   Who is about to forget their identity as children of God and quit doing things that are good for their heart and life?  You are uniquely positioned to help because you have a personal experience of what they are going through.  You can speak into their struggle with sympathy and authenticity.  You know the temptations they are grappling with because you have grappled with them too.   In your weakness, you have powerful things to offer others who are weak.”

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    Jenny, I hear your sadness for your mom….my mom had Alzheimer’s too, and the changes it brings, the deterioration of their mind is very hard to watch, and then you feel for her, too….I used to think how frightening it must be for my mom to not know where she was, the many times I heard her say, “I’m confused”.  I’m so sorry, and I will keep you and your mom in my prayers.

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    Jenny, So ministered by your thankfulness in spite of your sorrow over your Mom’s decline. We are studying dementia this week in the classroom. I have seen several of my older friends deal with the disease. Am thankful for the many resources that is available for us caregivers and I so long for a treatment. Teepa Snow is my go to for compassionate care through the stages.

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Sunday

1.  First, I want to say I thank God for you, Dee!  What stood out to me from the above was Anne’s statement, “we only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.”  When I’m not thankful to God it robs me from having a full life in Christ, which I’m sad to say has been my experience this last week.  Faith isn’t just believing, it’s acting upon that belief.  The leper who was a Samaritan was not only cleansed of his leporsy but his heart was changed.  He knew who had healed him inside and out and he acted upon that by praising and giving thanks.  Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God.  For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him.”

2.  The part of Great Is Thy Faithfulness that helped me thank God for who He is, “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.”  

3.  What I’m thankful for this Sabbath day… in teaching Children’s church this morning we started off with prayer,  taking requests and praises.  The praises outweighed the requests – what joy filled my heart!

    Reply

    Thanks, Sharon.

    I’ve been musing on the leper story in the context of Romans 1 — how not giving thanks leads you down a dark spiral and is evidence of an unregenerate heart. Giving thanks is evidence of a regenerate heart and leads you into an upward spiral of light.

    Will you be spending the holidays in a trailer?

      Reply

      So true about not giving thanks leads one down a dark spiral and is evidence of an unregenerate heart…it makes such a difference on our outlook towards circumstances.

      I smiled when you asked about spending the holidays in the trailer because that’s part of my attitude of thanklessness.  My family jokes about us getting a tiny tree and putting lights on the trailer.  So, in response to your question, yes, but when it gets too cold we stay with my daughter.

      Reply

      Dee and Sharon, I am seeing the light (smile) in terms of what Ann V. said- ”
      the saving to the full, whole life. Jesus counts thanksgiving as integral in a faith that saves. We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.”
      Giving thanks is a natural outflow of a regenerate heart.

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What stands out to me is that you have a subject that you anticipate may cause disagreement, but you are willing to go ahead with it and allow us to teach and learn from one another.

I have been following the studies, but I haven’t been commenting much. I find reading everyone’s comments of thankfulness causes me to rejoice as well.  I am spending my thought time while at work and in my commute finding things to be thankful for. It really has helped to focus on Him and not my surroundings.

On this Sabbath day I am thankful that my brothers, sisters and I were able to come together and find an excellent, affordable adult care place for my mom at the literal last second. Everyone stepped up and did something to contribute to ease the process for my Dad as well as he is struggling with the daunting task of getting their financial affairs settled.

My mom is the first (and only) patient in a lady’s at home care facility and hopefully she will work at her physical therapy and be able to use her prosthetic leg and come home.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS!

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    Dawn,   That is good news about your mom and I am sure a relief to you at this point.

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    That is one of the hardest decisions to make – -so I’m thankful for you too, Dawn.

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    So glad you were able to find a place for your Mom.  Praying that her PT goes well and she keeps a positive attitude.

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    Dear Dawn my heart goes out to u & your mom & dad. Great that u found a good place for your mom! My family are in same position, grappling with needing to put my mom in a care facility for Dementia patients with high needs. Dad is so upset & trying to come to terms with it all, including the finances. So hard, but the Lord is their Shepherd. My mom gets great comfort from her music on Ipod…old hymns & choruses she loves.  My prayer is that my dad will start leaning on the Lord & have a fresh awakening spiritually.

     

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    Praise God for answer to prayers regarding your Mom, Dawn.

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    Praying for that Dawn. Hope your mom can come home soon.

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    Dawn, your mom is in a good place right now where she will get the intensive therapy she needs! Praying she gets the hang of using her new leg and will soon return home.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

I’ve started reading Ann’s book, and so I remember this from her book on the Ten Lepers. I also thought I knew the story well, and that the moral of the story was about giving thanks, so I found Ann’s deeper meaning interesting. In my study I am doing at church by Matt Chandler, he claims that unbelievers can be thankful for good things, but for them, it stops there, because their thanks never goes up to God who is the Giver of all good gifts. So when I read what Ann wrote, I wondered about the other nine lepers who didn’t come back. The one who did….was it because in his heart he believed that Jesus was the Messiah, believed His claims? Did God open his eyes to see something that the other nine missed? I didn’t know that the word that is translated “well” meant anything to do with salvation (in the original Greek). Was his returning to give thanks an expression of something deeper, an expression of faith in the one who had healed him? Ann was observant to catch this – he had already been healed.

 

2. Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is?

 

For the Beauty of the Earth is helping me to thank Him for creating the beauty I see in nature, for the gift of love of family and friends, for the gifts He so freely gives each day.

 

3. For what are you thankful on this Sabbath Day?

 

I was thankful for a beautiful sunny, though cold, day….that my husband, daughter and I were able to get tickets to go see the Broadway show Les Miserables on Sunday afternoon. The deep, spiritual truths in the story are unmistakable as lived out through the character of John Valjean, who so many call “a gift from God” as he intervenes to help them, and even Javert, who unravels because he has no understanding of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. The performance just thrilled my soul; it is such a powerful story.

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    Good reflections, Susan. Yes, that insight from Ann was great. I believe giving thanks to God, as you say, is evidence of the salvation of the soul.

    Wonderful about your family and Les Mis!

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What stands out to you from the above, and why?

Adding to the Gospel..so good that we are going “here”. Seems to be rampant. I have seen a very dear friend of mine for over 20 years, who I knew as a new believer, turn to the word faith movement. I assumed she knew better for we were close. I am trying to help a new friend see the lies she is believing about that movement although I am not sure He is leading in the way I am doing it so I need to repent for a thought came to mind that others who hear might think I believe what she does-yikes.

Over a decade ago another couple I was so close to started studying with a guy online who used a completely different form of Greek and re-translated scripture. Slowly they were leading people in our church the wrong way embracing from the O.T. that they could forfeit their inheritance in Christ via their obedience. In the past 10 years they have gone so far as to denying Jesus deity.

What is it that could make us who are so solid for 20-30 years add to the Gospel turning our eyes to ourselves? It scares me about my own sin nature! Maybe it is our pride and idolatry? Lies do happen slowly and deceptively over time.

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    Good observations, Rebecca — to never be proud about where we stand but wary of false teaching. It is a mystery to me how this happens.

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    Rebecca, what is the word faith movement?

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      Yes, Rebecca. What is faith movement?

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      The word faith movement in a nutshell is “name it-claim it” or it is also dubbed as “prosperity gospel”. So for example, you ask God that your daughter will have a safe baby delivery-and trust God will make it happen, if it doesn’t then you didn’t have enough faith. It can be having a good day, or material things, or physical healing. Basically God becomes a genie in a bottle and when things don’t go the way you think they should your faith isn’t solid enough, or you don’t believe God is powerful enough. It is like when Jesus talks about wolves in sheep’s clothing..they can teach some truth but it is wrapped in falsehood. Hence, I so want my friend to see Jesus in the Song and am praying God would do a miracle in her heart as she reads Dee’s book, and am praying He gives me wisdom and if he has and I am not yielding that He would help me see that.

       

      Back in the day before children, God gave me plenty of time to study false religions and then I realized knowing about them is good but helping those who are trapped in them is better..God helped me with my aunt and grandma who were steeped into Christian Science..Grandma didn’t turn but I think my aunt did later..but that is another story for another day! I don’t want to continue to rabbit trail. :)

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    Thank you, Rebecca for sharing about your friends. I feel it is so important to stay close to God and to His Word and to be prayerful about new “ideas” or “religion” that comes my way. We humbly ask you Lord to keep us from idolatry.

      Reply

      Yes Bing..I agree that Idolatry, especially control, plays a huge part in embracing false religions. I agree with Bing Lord, keep us from Idolatry and help us in our intimacy with you for there is where your life springs from us and helps us to discern.

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4. Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead?” Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace. 

I didn’t understand that living for Him was my purpose; I still (humanly) forget. I get caught up in earthly issues and before I know it I am sinning; too much work, exercise, eating, etc. I am separated from His goodness. Dear Lord thank You for reminding me to come back to You when I stray. I’m sorry that I forget; that I am “too busy” for You. Please forgive me for that. Amen.

 
5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, and made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power.
 

I know so much more about God’s plans for us; I realize why my life matters to him. When I focus on Jesus I am truly a joyful person. When I focus on my life experiences I am sad and life is hopeless.

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Monday

4 & 5.

I came to Christ at a young age.  I know I was unclean and separated from God, but really didn’t come to understand that till I was older.  I realized that even being His child, sin puts a wedge in our relationship.  I became clean the day my Dad led me to the Lord and I put my faith in Jesus Christ.  I am thankful that even when I’m not always faithful, God is.  I’m thankful that He gives us do-overs.  I’m thankful for His forgiveness.  One of my favorite verses is Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.  Yet not I but Christ lives in me.  The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”

I’m thankful to the Lord for using my Dad in bringing me to Him so many years ago.  Im thankful that it’s engraved in my memory and I know that I know I’m a child of the King!

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1.    Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead?” Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace.
I was struck by the notes from Darrell Bock: Luke is particularly significant in showing how those on the outside can come in: women, the poor, the Gentiles. If I was alive then, I will fall under that category, a woman, poor and a Gentile.
Before Christ, I was depending on my works (all my righteousness are as filthy rags) to get me to Heaven and acceptable to God. My happiness was based on my performance and people’s approval (I was idolatrous). I was alive physically but at times wasting away inside depending on my performance and approval of others.
Thank you, Lord for your mercy and grace. I do not deserve it but you chose me as one of yours. Thank you that I can call you, Father. That you have done a miracle in my life.
             

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    Bing, I appreciate what you wrote about women, the poor, the Gentiles.  After I thought about the song about the 10 lepers, I started thinking about “what about the women?”  Good reminder to look at Scripture!

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Sunday:
 
1. What stands out to you from the above, and why? – Our ladies bible study at church did a study on Ann’s book and unfortunately I did not get anything out of it at that time. It was too flowery for the time of life I was in and I could not think deep to find what she was getting too. My life then had many people sick and dying of cancer, a very rough time for me, that I couldn’t find the good in anything really. I will have to pull the book out again and try reading it to see if I can find the true meaning of thankfulness. I did go back and read Luke 17.11-19 and I see that as the 10 walked away from Jesus and toward the priests they were healed. Could that last line mean that the foreigner was finally free to see the goodness of the Lord and had accepted Him as Lord? How true it is, that those who don’t have are truly thankful what the littlest of things but those of us who have or have had Jesus in our lives are in a rut and take his goodness for granted.
 
2. Last week many of you learned a hymn or praise song by heart. Was there anything in that music that helped you thank Him for who He is? – I have been really trying to listen and not just hear the music or sermons around me to really hear the deep down message. I started this from the one blog you did a few weeks ago Dee, I’m not sure which one it was, but we were to find God in the things around us I think.
 
3. For what are you thankful on this Sabbath day? – I’m thankful for my church family, my biological family and my friends. That I can hear the Word of God and grow from it and not have to hide the fact that I am a Christian.
 

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4. Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead?” Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace. – I was a pretty good person growing up. I didn’t smoke or do drugs. I was nice to people, but I did go out on the weekends to dance clubs and drink but never did I get drunk. I did some things that were pretty stupid and paid the consequences for and have since repented from them so I am free of them now and the enemy can no longer hold them over my head. Lord I am thankful for your grace and mercy and for still wanting someone like me in your family. To think what I did in the past, did not stop you from loving me. I am truly grateful for your unconditional love.
 
5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, and made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power. – I now want to listen to nothing but Christian music or sermons, not that other music isn’t a gift from God and I at times will still listen. I am more aware of what I’m doing and how it would make Jesus feel since he is now Lord of my life. I try every day to not leave him outside because of things I may choose to do. If he doesn’t want to come in, than I don’t need to be doing it.
 

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6. Comments on the above? – This song is fun, it would be easy to learn and keep in my mind to help me remember to be thankful. I love the one leaping, like he has realized that he is invincible because he has been healed by the Lord. His leaping from one ledge to the other is like his transformation, that he doesn’t have to live in the past. He can grow and move forward to a life with the Lord

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t

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4. Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead?” Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace.

For as long as I can remember I was very deceitful, I was secretly proud of how easily I could make up lies and people would believe me. I was a poor kid in a rich school district and stole anything that I thought I could get away with. I drank, smoked, did drugs even as young as elementary school. I first met my husband when we both were picked up by a church bus that when around the neighborhoods taking kids to Sunday school. The reason we hung out together was because we both were part of a group that would leave church to go buy cigarettes at the corner store. When I reconnected with a former friend from when I was younger through Facebook the first thing she said is “Oh my gosh you’re still alive. I thought you’d be dead by 40.” 
I have nothing, but thanks to give to God for the change in my life He pulled me out of the mire for no reason at all. It was nothing I could have done in my own power. He has blessed me beyond measure!

 

5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, and made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power.

    Reply

    5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, and made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power.

    I am a whole different person. God has made me a person who wants to give rather than steal, one who wants to speak the truth instead of lie, who has compassion for those who are down and out. He has given me a tender heart toward children especially those who act out.
    I am no longer in bondage to sin and I recognize the giver of all of this and it is only by His grace and through His power that I was saved from the path of destruction that I was on.

     

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    Dawn,   Thank you for your beautiful vulnerability and transparency here about how the Lord met you and transformed you.   Your gratitude is so evident.   Bless you.

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    Wow, Dawn — what a testimony!!!

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6. Comments on the above?
 

Wow, so I have really never thought about this story at all; especially the thanks part. Crazy. Who wants to talk about lepers? Here’s a question: what did the man who came back receive in addition to his cleansing? Didn’t all receive the cleansing? He was just the thankful one?

7. Do you have a memory of when you were saved from the penalty of sin? If so, share, and give thanks.
 

hmmm….well I suppose yes, but I won’t really know until I am in front of Jesus; face to face, right? I have asked forgiveness and not repeated the sin. I have voted with only the people who believe in life (not pro-choice; or at least that’s what they say), I have collected money to support groups who defend life, and I encouraged my daughter to have her babies, not kill them. I am now raising them. You can guess, and I have told this here before. I had an abortion when I was 18 😔. I like to think that Grace and Cooper are my blessing from God.

 
8. Read Luke 17:11-19
A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13. 
 

The lepers (at a distance) cried out to Jesus as He entered the city. They were from either Galilee or Samaria.

 
B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request? 
 

They called Him “Master,” and they asked for mercy.

 
C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14? And how does this require faith? 
 

He said yo go to the priest and show themselves. It required faith because these people were to be excluded from the society because they might infect others. The priest would be upset that they were leaving their assigned area and might punish them (?).

 
D. What happened to them as they journeyed? 
 

They were cleansed!

 
E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16. 
 

It was the Samaritan who turned back, and he was so grateful he was praising God.

 
F. What question does Jesus ask in verse 17-18? 
 

We’re not 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine?

 
G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19?
 

Jesus tells him to arise and go his way; that his faith has made him well.

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Tuesday

6.  I really enjoyed the song, Ten Lepers, and can see why you love it so.  The man leaping and below is “Nothing is impossible with God.”  I liked the picture of the baby and the line, “Christ restored the ones defiled, gave them the flesh of a newborn child.”  And also “Hope returned and pain relieved.  Do you ever give thanks for a gift received?”
My grandfather, a missionary to the Congo, would go to a leprosy colony outside of the village with my grandmother.  She took care of their physical needs as he attended to their spiritual needs.  Because of their love and compassion for these people and sharing the gospel message, they had a hope, a hope that one day they would be whole.

7.  Do I have a memory of when I was saved from the penalty of sin?  I really don’t, although I’m sure there were many times.  Maybe I don’t understand the question??

8.  

A.  The scene in verses 11-13 is Jesus entering a village on the boarder between Galilee and Samaria and ten men with leoprosy stood at a distance.

B.  They called him Jesus, Master and their request was “have mercy on us!”

C.  He tells them in verse 14, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  This required faith in that they were obedient, acting upon what they were told to do and also believing they would be healed as there would be no reason to go to a priest if they weren’t.

D.  They were cleansed of their leprosy as they journeyed.

E.  The leper in verses 15-16, the one who returned was a Samaritan…when he saw he was healed went back to Jesus shouting “Praise God!”  Fell to the ground at His feet thanking Him for what He’d done.

F.  Jesus asked him in verses 17-18, “Where are the other nine?  Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

G.  Jesus tells him in verse 19 to stand up and go, your faith has healed you.

 

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7. Do you have a memory of when you were saved from the penalty of sin? If so, share, and give thanks. – For me I’m grateful that He saved me from me. Since I accepted Jesus into my life, I’m trying everyday to walk the path he has set before me. Though I don’t succeed everyday, I know that he still loves me unconditionally and will help along the way.
 
8. Read Luke 17:11-19
 
A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13. – Jesus was walking through the town and the lepers saw him from a distance and yelled out to him to have mercy on them.
 
B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request? – They called him Master and wanted him to have mercy on them.
 
C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14?  – He told them to go show themselves to the priests.   And how does this require faith? – Being unclean and probably everyone looking at you and passing judgement on you as you walked and followed the instruction of Jesus. They would have to have faith to get through the ridicule, but wanted to be clean so bad they were willing to do what it took.
 
D. What happened to them as they journeyed? – As they walked they became clean.
 
E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16.  The Samaritan came back and thanked Jesus.
 
F. What question does Jesus ask in verse 17-18? – He asked “weren’t ten cleansed, where are the nine and why did the foreigner just come back to give thanks.
 
G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19? – He told him, “rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.”
 

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6. Comments on the above? A good reminder that there are many things big and small to give thanks to God for.

8. Read Luke 17:11-19

A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13. Jesus is traveling between Samaria and Galilee when He is met by 10 lepers who call out to Him.

B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request?They called Him master and asked for mercy.

C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14? And how does this require faith? Show themselves to the priest. They still had leprosy, they weren’t allowed in the town or in the presence of the priests or clean people. They had to have faith to even start to walk into the town (which they did without question)

D. What happened to them as they journeyed? They were healed as they walked.

E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16.He was a Samaritan.

F. What question does Jesus ask in verse 17-18? ”
“Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”NASB

G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19? ”
And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith [literally=has saved you]has made you well.” NASB

I like how it was a foreigner who returned to give thanks, which leads me to assume that the rest were Jews. It foretells how the Gentiles will be saved. Also it was interesting that all of them were healed, but only one was saved because of his thankfulness expressed in giving glory to God and falling at Jesus’ feet. Blessings fall on both the saved and the unsaved, but the saved are thankful and acknowledge the gift and the giver.

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4 & 5.  Ok, I can explain the Scripture side of this — but I do struggle with this in a testimony sense.  Most of my messed up life was as a Christian!  Once upon a time I read something about explaining the Gospel for those who have been believers since youth & I kinda sorta had it down several years ago, but right now I am drawing a blank.  However, I can proclaim how God draws me to Himself daily, that He has made me whole/clean in Him, and that He accepts me when I am desperate and desperately horrible, and He transforms me — especially through tough times.  I am Soooo thankful for His faithfulness.

Aaaggghhh…. somebody tell me what to say/write!!

6. Comments on the above?   Oh, I LIKE that song, partly because it’s catchy and fun.  The chorus summarizes the parts that stand out to me:   The lepers were unclean and had NOWHERE TO GO.  Makes me think of Peter (and me) ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” 

 And I’m thinking about the question at the beginning of this study.  All ten of the men were cleansed even though only one returned to give thanks.   I wonder if thankfulness is related to fulness of salvation/growth, but then why did one person return immediately??  Did he grow up quickly?  I don’t get the impression that the other nine were “fake healed.”  But then, I haven’t looked at the passage closely yet.  Maybe it means that not everyone (believers included) recognizes both their desperation and God’s grace.  Or maybe it’s about misplaced focus?  e.g., Once I was miserable; now I feel good so I get back to doing whatever I do in life and forget about the One who gave me life in the first place ??

 

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    “Once I was miserable; now I feel good so I get back to doing whatever I do in life and forget about the One who gave me life in the first place ??”

    I think you hit on something there, Renee.

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    Renee, I can relate to the “messed up life….as a Christian”. I can be “desperate and desperately horrible”, too.

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8. Read Luke 17:11-19
A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13.  When Jesus was going between Samaria and Galilee, he met 10 lepers “who stood at a distance” at the edge of a village.
B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request?  They called Him Master and asked Him to have mercy on them.
C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14? And how does this require faith?   “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  Well, my first thought probably would have been “Yeah, right! You know what those priests said/did before? They couldn’t or didn’t help me.”  They likely were at the edge of the village because they weren’t welcomed by people in the village, including the priests.  It took faith — and  nerve — to go to priests when they couldn’t understand WHY.
D. What happened to them as they journeyed?  They were cleansed.
E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16.  He was loudly praising God, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and was a Samaritan.
F. What question does Jesus ask in verse 17-18?  Where are the other 9?  Why was the outsider the only one to return?
G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19?  “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Hmm…. does “well” mean something different than “cleansed?”  Were the others only partially well? Or is Jesus affirming the cleansing that the Samaritan experienced when he went with the others to the priests?

9. With this in mind, do you think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally.

Nope.  Like those lepers, we are in no condition to save ourselves.  Ephesians 2:1-10 is what pops into my head first.  Romans 3:19-31 (especially verses 23-24)

 

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4. Before Christ, how were you “unclean, separated, and the living dead”? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for His mercy and grace.

 

The frightening thing for me is that, looking back at my life, I didn’t know that I was these things. We did not attend church as a family when I was young. I only went sometimes with my grandma. I believed there was a God. When I was in high school and college, I began attending a small Methodist church near my parents’ home. This is truly sickening to me now, but here’s an example of how deceived I was: I would borrow my sister’s dress; it was white with tiny blue flowers and lace trim. (This was the 80’s) I would wear lace-trimmed ankle socks and shoes that had ribbons that laced up. I would go to church and imagine how the sunlight coming through the stained glass windows shone on my golden hair. I surely looked the part, but in reality, I lied, I shoplifted petty things like make-up with my friends at Woolworths, I was self-absorbed….I could go on, but I won’t. The minister of that church even visited my mom and me in our home….I realized later that I never heard the gospel. He never asked about my relationship with God. I even took Communion when it was offered. Later when I met my husband and we were engaged and had to go through pre-marital counseling at the Catholic church, we were asked a question in a group setting about how do you think God sees you? I wrote that I think He see me as a “pretty good person”….yes, I’ve made “mistakes, but I think He understands.”

So for God to show mercy to me, a truly dead soul who never heard the Good News from anyone….I wonder if anyone ever prayed for me? I thank Him for drawing me to Himself, for opening my eyes and heart to the truth.

 

5. In what ways have you become clean, brought into the circle, made alive? Be specific if you can and then give thanks for that power.

 

First, He cleansed me from all my sin. The day I confessed my sins to Him, imagining if I was at the foot of the Cross and wondering what He would say to someone like me, what I heard in my mind was, “Now do you see how much I love you?” What kind of love is this, Lord? I don’t understand how You could love me, but I thank You for loving me. Through being a mother and then later, helping my aging parents, I learned to be more giving and helpful rather than selfish and to be a “taker”, though I still can have a selfish bent. I wouldn’t steal anything now; if I get out to my car and realize there’s an item in my cart that I forgot to put up on the belt, I go back in and pay for it.

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6. Comments on the above?

 

Yes, that was a lighthearted song with a powerful message! At the end he sang that God gives us good gifts every day….ugh, and I can get in a mindset right when I get up in the morning that “it’s gonna be a bad day”. I think that I can behave like the nine lepers who went on their way – after He cleansed them and gave them the skin of a newborn baby. I recoil to think, How could they do that….not say thank you? But I can be the same way. I have pondered that tendency in myself often and I feel convicted of a sense of entitlement.

 

7. Do you have a memory of when you were saved from the penalty of sin? If so, share, and give thanks.

 

I think I answered this in my above post….I was in a Bible study and learning about the gospel for the first time and, following my teacher’s instructions, I made a (quite extensive) list on several pieces of paper of all the sins I could remember, asking God to bring to mind those I had forgotten. Then I knelt in my bedroom (my kids were out in the backyard playing) and one by one, asked Him to forgive these sins. Some of them were pretty awful, and I would open my eyes and look over my shoulder to make sure one of my kids didn’t come in to overhear. I imagined that I was at the Cross, looking up at Jesus who had to die for these things that I did, and what would He say to me? I knew what I would say to me, and it wouldn’t be nice. But in my mind, I heard, “Now do you see how much I love You?” Lord, thank You….somehow I have been having a hard time to find assurance that You really do love me, to experience Your love. But I know those words came from You, because they weren’t the words I would have said. Please help me to get back to that place.

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    Susan, I LOVE this image of you praying:

    I imagined that I was at the Cross, looking up at Jesus who had to die for these things that I did, and what would He say to me? 

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9. With this in mind, do you think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally.
 
I don’t even understand this question…..

10. Do you think the act of giving thanks can be an evidence of salvation? If so, can you give an illustration from life or scriptural support? 
 

Both of these questions confound me….I don’t know is my answer, but I think it’s a cop-out. I thought that we were saved by our belief in Jesus?

 

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/jhn.3.14-15.esv

 

But here is scripture that answers question 10:

 

“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭19:8-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/luk.19.8-10.esv

 

Zacchaeus is saved because he gives away his money.

 

How about the criminal on the cross next to Jesus, who asks Jesus to remember him in His Kingdom? Does his thankfulness for Jesus or his belief in Jesus save him from both his sin and salvation?

 

“And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:42-43‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/luk.23.42-43.esv

 

So, I leave this very thoughtful (painfully so) discussion with a question….

 

Does being thankful mean you must believe first? So, the two go hand in hand?  In other words you can’t be thankful if you don’t believe in Jesus right?  Or, you can be thankful but to what or whom?

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    LOVE LAURA. Right, we are saved by faith alone.

    interesting thought about to whom are we thankful!

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Laura,I do not remember who said what I am about to share but I think it answers part of  your question: Those who are obedient truly believe. The Psalmist tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.  Followers of Jesus can direct thanksgiving to Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider. Nonbelievers who are grateful don’t know who to thank and quite frankly many people I have encountered are ungrateful.  Maybe my answer isn’t exactly what you had in mind but I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

I’ve been following along this week silently. Everyone always shares thought-provoking questions and answers which encourage me. As the verse Dee shared says, “Find friends who inspire growth…” and here on this blog I have such friends. I am not who I use to be. My heart is consistently being transformed. I confess sometimes I feel my words are inadequate because I don’t seem to be as eloquent in speech as some here are but that’s just my thinking. Maybe my feelings are a byproduct from the years I suffered emotional and psychological abuse. I know I am loved and always welcomed here.

Renee, you shared Matthew 15:11 doesn’t make sense to you. I hope you don’t mind if I share what I learned when I taught Senior Adult ladies in Sunday School. The secret to understanding that verse is you have to get into the mind of a Pharisee. They believed, because they kept every commandment, all 613 of them and some they added on, they were the holy ones of God. They were the poster boys for Obsessive Cleanliness Disorder. Then Jesus begins his ministry and to the average Jew Jesus was radically different. Jesus wasn’t concerned with the external. Jesus cared for the internal-the ‘soul diseases”. The Pharisees should have recognized Jesus was the long awaited Messiah for they were the religious leaders who studied and taught God’s Word to the people. But no…the Pharisees were more concerned with losing power over the people. It’s the evil inside of our hearts that defiles us. As a follower of Jesus if I use words to tear down instead of build up that’s not good. What’s in my heart comes out of my mouth. (I need to preach this lesson more to myself than anyone else)

 

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    GOOD THOUGHTS FROM TAMMY

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Wednesday

9.  No, I do not think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin.  Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God.  Not of works lest any man should boast.”  If we’re saved by the act of thanks it would be our work, not by grace through faith.

10.  Yes, I think giving thanks can be evidence of salvation.  Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship created unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  James 2:18, “A man may say, you have faith and I have works; show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.”  I like this quote from D. James Kennedy…”What is the proper relationship between faith and works?  We are saved by faith and after that, we live our lives in thanksgiving to God by doing His will.”

 

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9. With this in mind, do you think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally. – I do think giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin. If you look at Hebrews 12.28 it says “Therefore, since we ae receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” So if we are receiving his kingdom, sin cannot penetrate through it so the sin in our lives will be washed away and no new sin will be able to come into our lives.
 
 10. Do you think the act of giving thanks can be an evidence of salvation? If so, can you give an illustration from life or scriptural support? – Yes I think it can be evidence of salvation. In 2 Corinthians 2.14 it states…”But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads every where the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” So if we are in Christ, I think we at that point have accepted him into our lives as Lord and Savior. If we didn’t accept him I don’t think we would be in triumphal procession with him. We would be walking aimlessly.  
 

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    Interesting verse from Hebrews. My thought is that the thankfulness follows the receiving rather than proceeds, giving evidence that thankfulness is evidence of salvation rather than causing it. Thoughts?

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      Ok, so meaning that after our salvation would be when we receive his kingdom and sin would be wiped away? And if not a believer we wouldn’t know who to be thanking?

        Yes to the first part, Julie. I think it is possible for people who are not believers to thank the true God but not be in relationship with Him. But not sure about that. When I meditate on Romans 1:21 I ponder what it means when it says “Though they knew God, they neither glorified him As God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” I think when it says “knew God” it means “knew about God” for these people seem to be lost. But I also know many people who give do not have a clear picture of the true God.

        Would love others input on Julie’s question.

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11. Read Philippians 4:6-7 
A. What command and what promise are given here? 

Do not be anxious, but in everything give thanks and you will have peace.

B. Do you think that this passage promises a release from the chains of worry through faith and thanksgiving? Why or why not? 

Yes, because it says you will have peace.

C. What are your worried about right now you could turn over to the Lord with prayer and thanksgiving?

I am worried about my daughter. She is living in her car and it is 12 degrees this morning. She won’t come home because we won’t let her bring her boyfriend. To what would I be thankful for in this situation?

12. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 
     A. What command is given here? 

 Give thanks for this is the will of God.

     B. What is the difference between giving thanks for circumstances and in circumstances?

Being thankful for circumstances means we are grateful for the things that happen around us, and giving thanks in circumstances is being thankful while things are happening directly related to you and your life at the moment, good or bad.

     C. Do you think that obeying this command could release a power to overcome despair? Why or why not? 

Yes, because you are not focusing on your potentially dire circumstances. As C.S. Lewis said focus on Christ and you will find Him and everything else.

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    Laura — so hard to have your daughter sleeping in a car. The command is to pray with thanksgiving, so I will pray that God uses this pain to bring her to her senses, as in the story of the prodigal son, and to thank Him that He loves her, sees her, and is working for her best.

    Thoughts from others?

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    Laura, I just caught this, that you are worried about your daughter because she is living in her car. Any mom would be worried, and yes, I can see how you are struggling to find anything to be thankful for in this situation. I’m looking at the verse right now….”but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. I’m certainly not a Bible scholar; just my thoughts….I don’t think we have to be thankful for evil, for cancer, for children who are living homeless in their cars….perhaps as you pray for her, you give thanks for the Lord being a God who sees, who cares, who is aware of your pain, who is the only One who can turn her around? Thankful that He can give you strength and endurance to bear this? I am so sorry, Laura….you can be sure that it breaks His heart, too. Praying for you and your daughter.

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      So true and good, Susan.

       

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I am going to need grace for my typing as I AM IN A CAST AFTER FRACTURING MY HAND in pickleball! He’s teaching me empathy.

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    Oh my. So sorry about your hand, Dee.  Praying for healing.  Pickleball is more dangerous than I realized!

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    Oh Dee!!  So sorry…will be praying for a speedy recovery!!

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    Dee, I thought pickleball was an “easy sport”….oh dear! Take good care of that hand….keep it elevated when you can! Praying for healing!

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    Oh my goodness. Prayers for you to have a quick healing. I wondered if I had missed an email about your traveling.

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    Oh Dee, so sorry about your hand!! Grace, grace, grace!  xxx

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    I’m sorry to hear of your injury Dee! I hope you aren’t in a lot of pain? Take care of yourself!

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8. Read Luke 17:11-19

 

A. Describe the scene in verses 11-13.

 

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, traveling along the border between Samaria and Galilee. He was entering a village when ten men who had leprosy met Him; they stayed at a distance and called out to Jesus, asking Him to have pity on them.

 

B. What did they call Jesus and what was their request?

 

They must have known who He was because they called Him by His name, Jesus, and also Master….they asked Him to have pity on them.

 

C. What does Jesus tell them to do in verse 14? And how does this require faith?

 

Jesus tells the men to go and show themselves to the priests….I am thinking they were to go to the city of Jerusalem, to the Temple? It took faith for them to start walking where He told them to go….He didn’t say anything about being healed, He didn’t touch them, it doesn’t say they were healed instantly at that moment.

 

D. What happened to them as they journeyed?

 

Their leprosy went away as they went.

 

E. Describe the one who returned in verses 15-16.

 

This one, when he saw that he was healed, turned around and came back, and he was praising God loudly. When he saw Jesus, he fell on the ground at His feet and thanked Him.

 

F. What question does Jesus ask in verses 17-18?

 

Where are the other nine men….weren’t all ten cleansed? Is this foreigner the only one who returned to say thanks?

 

G. What does Jesus tell him in verse 19?

 

Jesus tells the thankful man that his faith has made him well.

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9. With this in mind, do you think the act of giving thanks can save us from the penalty of sin? Why or why not? Support your answer scripturally.

 

Oh gee….I see others are wrestling with this one, and so am I. Initially, I would say no, an act of thanksgiving cannot save us from the penalty of sin, but….thankfulness often accompanies the very moment when a person sees the truth for the first time, that they are a sinner, hopelessly separated from God, yet He has provided a way for forgiveness and to have a relationship with Him. Going back to the ten lepers, all ten could have returned and said thank you, and then gone on their way. Just the act of going back and saying thank you doesn’t necessarily mean that they would have believed that Jesus was the Messiah or that they were placing their faith in Him; saying thanks can just be an act of politeness. The Scriptures make it clear that we are saved by grace through faith alone – and that is a gift from God.

 

10. Do you think the act of giving thanks can be an evidence of salvation? If so, can you give an illustration from life or scriptural support?

 

Yes, I believe that being thankful should be evident in the lift of the believer (though I’m thinking about that chapter in Mere Christianity in which he talked about why isn’t Mrs. So-and-So who is the Christian as nice as the guy who is not….and each one had their upbringing, personality, etc…) Even Christians can get on the wrong track of complaining, whining, and ingratitude.  But, going back to the ten lepers, I have to wonder if something didn’t “click” in the mind and heart of the one who came back, and it would’ve been God who put the two-and-two together for this man to see it….to fall at Jesus’ feet was an act of worship, and why would he worship a mere man? Perhaps his heart was quickened – as the spots of leprosy were disappearing, his heart was swelling inside and he knew, he believed, and he went back to the One who had rescued him.

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Reading along but no time yet to write. Blessing on u all ! Great comments  :)

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Thanks to all for your prayers for healing. I’m not the best patient!

Many are injured in pickleball — I’ve had 5 years without injury, and I am much more empathetic. I try to stay away from the aggressive men who may hurt me, but not always easy to do! I am hoping and praying I don’t need surgery! Thank you all.

 

Also — wanted you to be sure to see this golden answer from Susan:

Yes, I believe that being thankful should be evident in the lift of the believer (though I’m thinking about that chapter in Mere Christianity in which he talked about why isn’t Mrs. So-and-So who is the Christian as nice as the guy who is not….and each one had their upbringing, personality, etc…) Even Christians can get on the wrong track of complaining, whining, and ingratitude.  But, going back to the ten lepers, I have to wonder if something didn’t “click” in the mind and heart of the one who came back, and it would’ve been God who put the two-and-two together for this man to see it….to fall at Jesus’ feet was an act of worship, and why would he worship a mere man? Perhaps his heart was quickened – as the spots of leprosy were disappearing, his heart was swelling inside and he knew, he believed, and he went back to the One who had rescued him.

 

 

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The link for the sermon was not working but is now fixed. It is a great sermon so thanks to the silent group who let me know!

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Wednesday

11.  

A.  The command given in Philippians 4:6-7 is “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

The promise given in Philippians 4:6-7 is “His peace with passes all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

B.  I would say this passage promises a release from the chains of worry through faith and thanksgiving.  The evidence of faith is seen through the act of prayer to the true and living God and it must be done with thanksgiving. The result is peace.  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

C.  What I’m worried about right now is our house…how long will it take to be repaired, will the insurance payment cover all the costs and the physical and emotional toll it’s putting on my husband.

12.

A.  The command given in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is “Be thankful in all circumstances…”

B.  The difference beteeen giving thanks for and giving thanks in circumstances…I think from doing this study I’ve seen the importance of continually having a thankful heart.  Being in that mode of intentionally giving thanks will prepare us to be thankful for and in circumstances, because our hearts are in the right place.  I don’t think God expects me to be thankful for what happened to our home, I think he just wants me to keep my focus on Him and be thankful that He is in control, that He sees beyond what I see and that His love will carry me through.  He is growing me up and growing pains is part of it.  How I handle that is my choice.

C.  Yes, I do think that obeying this command could release a power to overcome despair.  What better place to be than in the center of His will – it’s a reminder that we do belong to Him!

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11. Read Philippians 4:6-7

 

A. What command and what promise are given here?

 

The command is not to be anxious about anything, but rather present your requests to God (by prayer, petition, and with thanksgiving). Then, the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind.

 

B. Do you think this passage promises a release from the chains of worry through faith and thanksgiving? Why or why not?

 

It promises the peace of God in the midst of our circumstances. I’m not sure if it takes away our worry permanently? It may be something we have to do over and over again, because even when I’ve prayed about something I’m worried about, I can start focusing on it again. When Paul tells us to pray instead of being anxious, I think he’s telling us that when we get our focus off of our problems and onto God, God is bigger and our problems get into their right perspective, which is smaller than God.

 

C. What are you worried about right now you could turn over to the Lord with prayer and thanksgiving?

 

I worry about my children – their futures, their salvation, that they will get caught up in the temporary things of this world and miss the eternal.

 

12. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

A. What command is given here?

 

To give thanks in all circumstances because this is God’s will for you.

 

B. What is the difference between giving thanks for circumstances and in circumstances?

 

If God provides an unexpected blessing, like a new job opportunity at just the right time, I can give Him thanks for this opportunity. If I’m hospitalized with a serious illness, I am not thanking Him for my illness, but I can thank Him in the midst of it because I can thank Him for all of His attributes, His character….that He is good, He will never leave me, He is gracious, kind, loving, etc….

 

C. Do you think that obeying this command could release a power to overcome despair? Why or why not?

 

Yes, because in my above example of being sick in the hospital, if I just focus on my illness and my circumstances, I will despair….if I choose to focus on God and His character and promises, and thank Him for being who He is and for always being there for me, I allow Him to lift my spirits. I’m thinking of Horatio Spafford who wrote the hymn It is Well With My Soul….when I listen to the words, he isn’t giving thanks that he lost his four daughters at sea, but he’s writing about the fact that his sin was nailed to the Cross and he bears it no more….that Jesus sees what is going on…that one day He will return. This man had every reason to sink into despair, but God surely gave him these words and kept him from sinking.

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So true and good, Susan.

 

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So good for Sharon, living in a trailer after the storm…

 

The difference between giving thanks for and giving thanks in circumstances…I think from doing this study I’ve seen the importance of continually having a thankful heart.  Being in that mode of intentionally giving thanks will prepare us to be thankful for and in circumstances, because our hearts are in the right place.  I don’t think God expects me to be thankful for what happened to our home, I think he just wants me to keep my focus on Him and be thankful that He is in control, that He sees beyond what I see and that His love will carry me through.  He is growing me up and growing pains is part of it.  How I handle that is my choice.

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Dee’s big question this week is “Does the giving of thanks actually save us?”. We already know thanksgiving does not save us from the penalty of sin but I propose the giving of thanks saves us from the power of sin. If someone has already mentioned my idea I’m sorry for sounding redundant but I had a “light bulb” moment and want to share how this applies to me. I have discovered the more consistent I am with expressing gratitude the less I want to focus on the negative relational situations in my life. The woman who was a friend of mine in high school deliberately lied to me and has also done me wrong on two other occasions. I’ve decided to distance myself from her because her actions prove to me she is not a good friend and I already know we could not have a rational conversation if I confronted her. Proverbs 17:27 tells us, “He who has knowledge (God’s Truth) spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” So to sum up what I’ve tried to say is I believe the giving of thanks has saved me from hurting an old friend. I’m choosing not to exact vengeance which in my case would be trying to constructively criticize someone who wouldn’t welcome the conversation.

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14. How would you answer the question: “Does giving thanks save us?” 
 

I think that giving thanks has to be given to someone. It can’t be given to someone unless you believe that that someone has something to do with why you are giving thanks. Sorry that is so circuitous, but that’s the only way I know how to say it. That someone that we give thanks to, Jesus,  is believed in by the person giving thanks.  The thankful person has faith that Jesus is the reason thanks are to be given.  It isn’t an easy answer or question;  I see that it involves two things first, faith with salvation, and then Thanksgiving. The faith aspect includes being saved, so then the thanksgiving is “awarded.” I don’t know if that made any sense!  It’s kind of like what came first the chicken or the egg?
15. What do you think is God’s intended teaching from the story of the ten lepers?
 

I love, love,  love the idea that this story shows the gospel from beginning to end!  I get chills just thinking about that!

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Sorry, I wasn’t able to keep up this week. I got involved with resolving an issue with our teachers association. Indeed, the emphasis on thankfulness this week “saved” me from the power of sin. When overwhelmed and tempted to complain and join the bandwagon of discontent, thankfulness served as an antidote and prevented from getting sucked into grumbling and worrying about the what ifs. On Friday at school, God provided an alone time in my classroom before school started. I thanked God for the time as usually some early comers are there around that time. I thanked God for the opportunity to trust Him with the unknown, told Satan he did not have dominion over my school and over me and thanked God that He is in control. I felt the peace of God. It was just a minute after that that I received an email that I believed was a direct answer to prayer.

The fruit of salvation is a thankful heart. And the reality that no  one could have orchestrated the details leading to the resolution of the issue last week other than God is a testimony of His sovereign rule over the affairs of His elect.

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