Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Are You Whole? (Luke 16-17)

Scripture reading – Luke 16-17

Today’s Scripture reading, Luke 16-17, continues with two additional parables taught by Jesus:  The Unfaithful Servant (16:1-13), and The Rich Man and Lazarus (16:19-31). The latter is believed by some to not fall into the category of a parable because it uses a man’s proper name, “Lazarus.”

Four Spiritual Principles (guidelines) For Living in a Sin Cursed World (Luke 17:1-10)

In Luke 17, Jesus moved from employing parables in His teaching, to teaching His disciples specific spiritual principles. The first principle was a warning: Offend “one of these little ones” (meaning, to discourage or lead one to sin), and you invoke God’s wrath (17:1-2).

A second principle was a command for addressing offences: When offences arise, which is inevitable, don’t give place to bitterness. Rather, go to the one who has offended you, “rebuke him,” meaning to address his sin (17:3), and be ready to forgive (17:4).

The essential of faith, was the third principle, and can be summed up in this: “Faith as [i.e. or as small as]a grain of mustard seed,” is powerful (17:5-6).

The fourth principle was in the matter of obeying God: As a servant is duty bound to serve his master (17:7-9), so is a believer who serves the LORD (17:10). We have no cause or grounds for pride or boasting, for when we have served the LORD faithfully, “we have done that which was our duty to do” (17:10).

Gratitude: A Blessed Attitude (Luke 17:11-19)

With His appointment of the Cross before Him, Jesus, passed “through the midst of Samaria and Galilee,” setting His face to go up to Jerusalem (17:11). As He traveled with His disciples, Jesus encountered ten lepers who appealed to Him from afar, “Master, have mercy on us” (17:12-13).

Jesus commanded the lepers, “Go shew yourselves unto the priests,” and as they went on their way, “they were cleansed” (17:14). Ten men had been healed, but only one “turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (17:15-16).

Notice the phrase, “he was a Samaritan” (17:16).

“Misery loves company,” is a trite saying that might have described the unity of the lepers when they were ten in number. However, though they had all experienced the blessed miracle of healing and the wholeness that only Christ could give, only one, a Samaritan expressed sincere gratitude.

The Samaritan, however, had known a life of rejection in Israel. He had borne not only the scars of leprosy, but the scorn of Jews who looked upon his lineage with disdain. He demonstrated a humility of one who had known rejection, and he was profoundly aware that he was the object of God’s grace.

Jesus asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (17:17); “18There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (17:18).

Why a “stranger?” He was a Samaritan. Unlike the nine ungrateful men who had been healed of leprosy, he was a “stranger” from God’s covenant promises with Israel. He felt his unworthiness, and was sensitive to His need. He had been transformed, not merely physically, but spiritually.

Jesus commanded the Samaritan, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (17:19). He was whole! Not only having been delivered from leprosy, but delivered from the curse of sin, by his faith in Jesus Christ!

Friend, are you “whole?” Not merely physically, but spiritually whole. You can be, by simply turning from sin, putting your faith in Jesus Christ, and receiving Him as your Savior.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Psalm 21:1-6 – A Prayer of Thanksgiving

thanksgivingPsalm 21:1-6 – “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2  Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3  For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. 4  He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. 5  His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. 6  For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.”

Assured their king was a man of prayer who feared, revered and sought the wisdom of the LORD, Israel had prayed in Psalm 20 that God would bless their king as he led the armies of Israel into battle.  Even before the battle, the people planned to celebrate the victory, confident God had heard and would answer the prayers of their king (Psalm 20:5).

Today’s devotional is a prayer of thanksgiving and celebration that followed the king’s victory over the enemies of God’s people.  In a broader sense, Psalm 21 is also a Messianic psalm that looks past the king to the triumph of His LORD, the Messiah, Christ the King.

God's salvationPsalm 21:1-2 – “The king shall joy [rejoice; be glad] in thy [the LORD’s] strength [might; power], O LORD [Jehovah; Eternal God]; and in thy salvation [victory; deliverance] how greatly [exceeding; abundant] shall he [the king] rejoice [be glad; joyful; delight]! 2  Thou [LORD] hast given [put; deliver] him [the king] his heart’s [mind; understanding] desire [delight; longing; satisfaction], and hast not withholden [kept back; denied] the request [desire] of his lips. Selah.

Verses 1-2 record the prayers of affirmation and thanksgiving that the LORD had not only heard, but also answered the prayer of the king giving him “his heart’s desire” (21:1b).  Solomon, David’s son and successor to the throne of Israel, would write his affirmation of this truth in these words:  Trust [lean on, be confident] in the LORD [Jehovah, Eternal, Self-existent] with all thine heart [mind, emotions, will]; and lean not [don’t rely, rest, trust] unto thine own understanding [knowledge]. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

David had affirmed the blessings of the LORD on the man who makes the laws and commandments of the LORD the perpetual subject of his thoughts and meditations in Psalm 1:1-3.  In Psalm 21:3-6 we see the fruition of that promise.

Psalm 21:3-4 – “For thou [Lord] preventest [anticipate; meet; go before] him [the king] with the blessings [prosperity] of goodness [prosperity]: thou settest [appoint; put; fix] a crown of pure gold on his [king’s] head. 4  He asked [enquire; desire] life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days [lit. long life] for ever [perpetual; everlasting; eternal] and ever [perpetuity; duration; continuing].

The king’s victory was not because he was a brilliant strategist or a great warrior (which we know from reading the life of David he was both), but because the LORD had blessed the king in response to his prayers and in accord with His providences.  God had prospered the king’s plans and given him victory (20:3).  David had asked for life and the LORD not only preserved his life, but also blessed him with “length of days” (20:4).

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

Psalm 21:5-6 – “ His [the king’s] glory [honor; splendor] is great [high; bigger] in thy salvation [help; deliverance]: honour [glory; splendor; majesty] and majesty [glory; honor; beauty] hast thou laid [bestow; placed] upon him. 6  For thou hast made [set; regard; appoint] him most blessed for ever [perpetuity; duration; continuing]: thou [LORD] hast made [made to rejoice] him [the king] exceeding glad [joyfulness; rejoice] with thy countenance [face; presence].”

What ever praises might be heaped upon the king by the people, the nation and the king were not to forget that it was the LORD who gave the king victory over his enemies and blessed Israel.

Dear friend, this brief devotional is a reminder you and I should be thankful to God and humbled by whatever honors might be bestowed upon us.  If you have opportunity to hear the thunder of applause and the praise of men for achievements you have wrought, remember it is the LORD Who preserved you (20:5a), blessed you (20:5b), and is the source of your joy!  Take a few moments, bow your head and thank the Lord for His salvation, Word and promises.

I close with this assurance, O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” (Psalm 84:12).

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith