In his book Good News for Great Days,
Dr. Hawkins gives some very interesting
He asks us to imagine the whole earth’s
population reduced to 1000 people, all
residing in one city.
Viewed in this way, our blessedness
stands in stark contrast to the majority in the world.
Out of the 1,000 people, only 46 would be Americans.
The other 954 would represent the rest of the world.
Although they are such a small segment, 50% of all
the city’s income would be received by the 46.
Those 46 people would have an average life expectancy
of 75 years. The rest would live to be about 40 years old.
The 46 representing Americans would eat 70% more than
their daily food requirement, but 80% of the 954 others would
NEVER get a balanced meal.
“As a matter of fact,” says Dr. Hawkins, “the kitchen [garbage]
disposals of the 46 people would eat better than 80 % of the
city” (p. 214).
How we ought to thank our God! How we ought to pray
for our nation! How generous we ought to be toward
those who have so little!
In Luke 17:11-19 is found the well known story of Jesus healing ten lepers. This is a beautiful story in a setting of hopelessness and despair. Leprosy is contracted through close proximity to those who are infected. In Bible times, lepers were required to stay outside the camp of Israel. They lived lonely, poverty-stricken lives, waiting for death to deliver them.
The disease strikes the nervous system and appears on the skin as a white spot. As time goes on the leper loses all feeling in his body. As a result, when cut or burned he never feels any pain. Infections result and in time the leper loses parts of his body as it wastes away with infections.
Leprosy is a picture of sin. All of us are sinners and we are all under the curse of sin, which is death. As leprosy alienates the victim from others, so sin alienates us from God and from one another. That alienation is described in Ephesians 2:12-13 and 4:17-19
As lepers are made unclean by the disease, so sin makes us unclean and defiled. Read the description of this in Isaiah 1:4-6, 64:6 and Romans 1:21-32
Leviticus 13 instructed the priests in identifying the disease. Leviticus 14 gave the Levitical priests detailed instructions for the ceremonial cleansing of a leper who has been healed.
Three lepers are identified in the Old Testament, though there were many more.
Miriam, Moses’ older sister, was stricken with leprosy for her rebellion against Moses’ leadership. The story of her rebellion and resulting leprosy are recorded in Number 12:1-15. The story ends with Moses praying for her and God answering his prayers by healing her.
King Uzziah of Judah also contracted leprosy when he attempted to usurp the role of priest. The story is told in II Chronicles 26. He was never healed, but died a leper.
The third story is perhaps the most well known story of leprosy in the Bible. It is found in II Kings 5. Read this very interesting story of Naaman, the Syrian Captain who contracted the disease. Elisha the prophet instructed him to dip himself in the Jordan River seven times and be healed. Read of how he almost missed his healing because of pride. He finally obeyed the prophet and came up from the water the seventh time with not a trace of leprosy.
In the New Testament Gospels we read of lepers whom Jesus healed and cleansed. In Luke 5 we learn of a leper who came to Jesus for healing. Jesus touched him and he was immediately healed and went to the priest for ceremonial cleansing.
In Luke 17 we have the story of ten lepers coming to Jesus for healing. Nine were Jews and one was a Samaritan. Jews who were carried away by the Assyrians in 722 BC and intermarried with them were known as Samaritans. The Jews discriminated against them as an inferior race of people.
When Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem to be crucified, passed through Samaria, He was confronted by these ten lepers who begged for Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus “was moved with compassion” as was the case throughout the Gospels whenever He met needy people, whether physically needy or spiritually needy. The Bible says “He came to seek and to save the lost.”
This time, instead of touching the lepers, as He did in the story in Luke 5, He simply spoke to the lepers. He said to them, “Go, show yourselves unto the priest.” The lepers understood that this was something that only healed lepers were to do. Go and let the priests examine you for any trace of leprosy and if healed, pronounce you ceremonially clean.
All ten lepers immediately turned around and in faith that they would be healed, started walking to the priests. Immediately, they were aware that all trace of leprosy was gone. They were totally healed of the disease.
Nine of those lepers, evidently all Jews, continued their journey to the priests, no doubt rejoicing that they were healed. The tenth, a despised Samaritan, immediately turned around in his tracks and returned to Jesus, falling down on his face at His feet. I’m sure you know what He did. He cried with a loud voice, giving thanks to Jesus, whom He was convinced was God in human flesh. The Bible says, “He gave thanks to God.”
Jesus answering said, “Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? There are not found to give glory to God, but this stranger.” (this outcast Samaritan). Then Jesus declared, “Your faith has made you whole.” The Greek word translated whole is SOZO. That word is translated SALVATION throughout the New Testament. Yes, the Samaritan was not only healed of His leprosy, but because of His faith in Jesus as the Son of God, He was saved from his sins. What a day of celebration for this stranger to Israel! While the nine continued on their journey to the priests for ceremonial cleansing, this poor Samaritan received heart cleansing from all his sins, along with his healing from leprosy.
By the way, can you imagine the chagrin of the Jewish priests as they examined these lepers and found them to be totally healed of leprosy and as they learned that Jesus had done it? Most of the priests and the Pharisees were enemies of Jesus and would soon be conniving to have Jesus crucified; but these priests were reluctant witnesses of Jesus healing power and of His deity.
As it was in Jesus day, so it is today. The masses of people, immersed in their ceremonialism and religion, see no need for Jesus as their Saviour. They reject Jesus as God, believing that, at best, He was only a great teacher and prophet. They continue on in their sins facing a Christless eternity in Hell. A few fall on their faces before Jesus and thank Him for dying on the cross for them, rising again to save them from their sins. Where are you today? Are you wrapped up in your ceremony and religion, ignoring Christ who died to save you? Or are you on your face before Jesus with the despised Samaritan, hearing Jesus say to you, “Your faith has made you whole. Your faith has saved you!” Jesus’ death and resurrection saves you. Your faith simply takes hold of that salvation and makes it yours.
I’m so glad that at the age of nine I received by faith this wonderful good news that Jesus died for my sins. I received Him that night and He saved me instantly and now for over sixty-six years I have had the joy of walking and talking with Jesus as my Lord and best Friend. I urge you to receive Him by faith this moment.
Pray this from your heart, “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, unworthy of your mercy. I believe that you died and rose again to save me from my sins. This moment, I receive you as my personal Saviour. Change me by your supernatural power. Cause me to hate my sins and turn from them and give me a heart to read and obey Your Word and do Your will. Lead me to a Church where the Bible is faithfully taught. I want to grow in the knowledge of God and be what you want me to be. Thank you, Dear God, for saving me.”
Thanksgiving is NOT a popular theme. Certainly not thanksgiving to God!
We’re living in the last days before Christ returns.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” II Tim. 3:1-5
Evidence of Unthankfulness
School kids are taught that Thanksgiving came about as a result of the Pilgrims thanking the Indians for what they had done for them. Forgotten is the fact that the Pilgrims met with the Indians to thank God for His provision and protection. Forgotten is the fact that when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, they thanked God for a safe voyage to this new land..
Bowing the head and closing the eyes and giving thanks to God for food is considered an oddity, especially when it is done in public.
Seldom does anyone ever write a thank you note anymore for gifts given. We are told, “It’s just not the custom today”
Unthankfulness is the first step down the road of depravity.
Unthankfulness is a serious and gross sin. Romans 1:21-32 describes this road of depravity and it all start with unthankfulness to God. An unthankful person becomes vain in his thinking and his heart and mind are darkened. Beware if you are not thankful that God made you a man or a woman. Your unthankfulness will lead to sin and depravity.
Thanksgiving is a choice.
The only alternative to being thankful is to be bitter and complaining over our lot in life. I choose to be thankful because I know God is sovereign and good. I choose to be thankful and praise Him, for only then can I glorify Him. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me” Psalm 50:23
Thanksgiving can be a sacrifice.
Sometimes offering thanksgiving to God when you don’t feel like it is a sacrifice. “By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Thanksgiving is a normal response to salvation.
When one receives Christ and is saved, thanksgiving is the most normal response to God for His gracious Gift. One of the first prayers that ought to come from a new Christian is, “Thank you, God, for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus to die for my sins and save me. Thank you for Your gift of eternal life.” Not only do we thank Him, but the normal response is to present our lives to God as a living sacrifice, ready to do His will. Romans 12:1-2
Have a blessed thanksgiving each day of your life.
For Christians, Thanksgiving means more than just turkey and football. Most of us have a vague notion that this holiday began when the Pilgrims invited their Indian neighbors to dinner to thank God for his provisions. But there really is much more to the story.
The Atlantic crossing in the fall of 1620 had been an extremely difficult journey for the Pilgrims. For two months, 102 people were wedged into what was called the “’tween decks”—the cargo space of the boat, which only had about five-and-a-half feet of headroom. No one was allowed above deck because of the terrible storms. This was no pleasure trip, but only one person died during the voyage.
The Pilgrims had comforted themselves by singing the Psalms, but this “noise” irritated one of the ship’s paid crewmembers. He told the Pilgrims he was looking forward to throwing some of their corpses overboard after they succumbed to the illnesses that were routine on such voyages. But as it turned out, this crewmember himself was the only person on the voyage to become sick and be thrown overboard. God providentially protected His people.
A little-known fact about the Mayflower is that this ship normally carried a cargo of wine; and the wine spillage from previous voyages had soaked the beams, acting as a disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease.
During one terrible storm, the main beam of the mast cracked. Death was certain if this beam could not be repaired. At that moment, the whole Pilgrim adventure could very easily have ended on the bottom of the Atlantic. But, providentially, one of the Pilgrims had brought along a large iron screw for a printing press. That screw was used to repair the beam, saving the ship and all on board.
After sixty-six days at sea, land was sighted off what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But that was not where the Pilgrims wanted to be. They had intended to establish their new colony in the northern parts of Virginia (which then extended to the Hudson River in modern-day New York), but two factors interrupted their plans. The winds had blown them off course, but they also learned that some other Englishmen who wanted to settle in the same northern part of Virginia had bribed the crew to land them somewhere else.
Once again God was in charge and the Pilgrims were right where God wanted them to be. Had they actually landed near the Hudson River, they would have most certainly been attacked by hostile Indians. Instead, there were no Indians on Cape Cod when the Pilgrims made landfall there.
Many years before some local Indians had captured a Frenchman on a fishing expedition in that region. Just as he was about to be killed, the Frenchman told the Indians that God would be angry with them, would destroy them all, and would replace them with another nation. The Indians boastfully told him that his God could never kill them. However, when the Pilgrims landed in that same region, the land had already been cleared and the fields had already been cultivated, but those Indians who had prepared the land had nearly all died of the plague a year or two earlier.
Despite this provision of safety from hostile Indians, the Pilgrims barely survived their first winter on the Cape. Only four families escaped without burying at least one family member. but God was still faithful.
In the spring of 1621, He sent Squanto to them, an Indian who could speak their own language and who offered to teach them how to survive in this strange new land. Squanto was one of the few Indians from that area who had not died of the plague.
He had been captured as a young man and taken to England as a slave. During that time he mastered the English language; and then had been freed and returned to his native territory shortly before the Pilgrims arrived.
Probably the most important thing Squanto taught the Pilgrims was how to plant the Indians’ winter staple crop—corn. The Pilgrims thanked God for this wonderful helper, but they also shared with Squanto the most valuable treasure they had brought with them from England—the Gospel. Squanto died within a year or two after coming to the aid of the Pilgrims, but before his death he prayed that he might go to be with their God in Heaven.
Other Indians whom Squanto had introduced to the Pilgrims were also impressed with their God. During the summer of 1621, when it appeared the year’s corn harvest would not survive a severe drought, the Pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer. By the end of the day, it was raining. The rain saved the corn, which miraculously sprang back to life.
One of the Indians who observed this miracle remarked that their God must be a very great God because when the Indians pow-wowed for rain, it always rained so hard that the corn stalks were broken down. But they noticed that the Pilgrim’s God had sent a very gentle rain that did not damage the corn harvest. It was that same miraculous corn harvest that provided the grain for the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving meal with their Indian friends and helpers.
Today, many of our public school children are taught that we celebrate Thanksgiving because the Pilgrims were thanking their Indian neighbors for helping them; but the evidence of history shows that on that first Thanksgiving Day the thanks of both Pilgrims and Indians went to God for His great goodness toward them all.
But the story does not end there.Even though the Pilgrims hosted the first Thanksgiving dinner in America, the holiday itself actually has its origins almost 170 years later, after the Revolutionary War had been won and our American Constitution had been adopted.
In 1789, Congress approved the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. Congress then “recommended a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” to thankGod for blessing America. President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as the first national day of prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord. Another 75 years later, after the Civil War ended, President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as a day to acknowledge “the gracious gifts of the Most High God” bestowed upon America.
Every president did the same until 1941 when Congress officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Now that you know the true story, this Thanksgiving make sure that your children learn it too. Let us all join with generations of Americans before us in giving thanks to God for blessing our country.
by Attorney David C. Gibbs Jr.
March 30, 1863 By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation. Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation:
And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.
And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863
I have lots to be thankful for this year, both in my personal life and in our national life. I also have some things I could be complaining about, but I choose not to complain. Thanksgiving is a choice. The only alternative to being thankful is to be bitter and complaining over our lot in life. I choose to be thankful because I know God is sovereign and good. I choose to be thankful and praise Him for only then can I glorify Him. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me.” Psalm 50:23
Sometimes offering thanksgiving to God when you don’t feel like it is a sacrifice. “By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. … for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16
Will we be grateful or complain? It’s our choice!