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Jesus walked the road from Samaria to Jerusalem, a road known to be treacherous with bandits. As He was going into the village, ten lepers met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When Jesus saw them, He said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” They were healed on their way to the temple. One of the men who was healed, a Samaritan, returned praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the others? Has no one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:13-19)

Leprosy is very contagious, and during the time of Jesus, the lepers had to live outside the community. They could not be close to anyone, even their own family. They could not hold their children or teach them or sing with them. These ten lepers were rescued from isolation in a moment–their lives given back to them. Why didn’t the other nine show gratitude?


What about you? Do you show thankfulness when you are blessed or do you go on your way as most of the men in the story did? The Thanksgiving holiday is a reminder for us to show thankfulness for all God has done for us. Make it a time of rejoicing: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:4-6).


O Lord, our Lord, all we have comes from you. Thank you for loving us and blessing us. Help us to show others the compassion and generosity you have shown to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The World Needs a Rescue

A lawyer asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered the question with a question. “What does the law say?” The lawyer said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus agreed with him. Then the lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus responded with a story about a Jewish man who traveled on a rocky path through the mountains from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. They stripped him, beat him up and left him for dead. A priest walked by the injured man on the other side of the road. A Levite also walked by the injured man, but a Samaritan came by and took pity on him. He bandaged up his wounds pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his donkey and took him to an inn where he took care of him. The next day he gave two denarii to the innkeeper and said, “Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have” (Luke 10:35).

Jesus asked the lawyer, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The lawyer said, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”


I have been convicted about busyness in my life, and like the priest or Levite, I would probably be too busy, too committed to stop and help anyone, something of which I’ve had to ask God to forgive me. There is more to this story than meets the eye. It’s called a parable. Compared to the Garden of Eden, Jerusalem was a place where man met with God and Jericho was the cursed area outside the garden. The world today is like the man who fell among thieves and needs our help. The world needs Jesus who is not only able to rescue us from drowning; He teaches us to swim. This gives greater depth to the situation of the man who fell among thieves. Mankind needs to know about the amazing love of Jesus. Helping others in trouble is a good way to initiate a discussion that will lead to their need of a Savior. Who will tell them? I hope you will answer as Isaiah did when God asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).


Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Jesus and His amazing love. Create in our hearts a willingness and availability to serve others by recognizing opportunities to share your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Heavenly Minded

Heaven is the hope of every believer, but heaven probably has as many definitions as there are believers. At creation, however, God made everything with eternity in mind. It is a real place. I imagine the Garden of Eden with beautiful skies, waterfalls, flowers and trees. The Bible describes the New Jerusalem as a precious jewel. The wall is made of jasper, and the city of pure gold as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone: jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, ruby, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, turquoise, and amethyst. The streets are of pure gold as pure as transparent glass. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God'” (Revelation 21:3-4).


Too many Christians are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good, but if Heaven is our hope and it is a real place, shouldn’t we live to glorify God on earth as we would in eternity? Whatever we do for God will last forever. It will have an affect on people before and after we are gone from earth and will continue to be part of God’s plan in Heaven. Randy Alcorn said in his book HEAVEN that man’s creativity and technological advancement will not be lost in Heaven. The God who gave people creativity surely won’t take it back, will he? The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

So how should we live? Although God is interested in our work, He is more interested in how we live. He calls us to be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and live our lives with love, light and wisdom (Ephesians 5:1-2). This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).

So, since Jesus gave us all He had, His life, let us give our lives to Him in response by loving each other.


Heavenly Father, help us to be more like Jesus–to love as He does and to show compassion as He does. Fill us with your Spirit to fulfill your plan on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Do You Want to get Well?

Jesus healing the lame or crippled man

Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem is a pool that is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Jesus saw a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. He asked, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)

Wouldn’t it be apparent that the man would want to be well, to be able to walk and go wherever he wanted? Yet, for thirty-eight long years his income was from begging. Did he wonder how he would make a living if he were healed? Yet, he answered Jesus, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7).

Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” The man was cured instantly, and he picked up his mat and walked.


It seems to me that the man waited by the pool for many years, hoping that someone would help him. He was helpless and his situation was hopeless. Jesus wanted the man to look to Him and no one else, and when he did, he was healed.

Friend, have you felt helpless and without hope? I have. At one time I wanted to give up. I cried out to God and said I didn’t want to go on anymore. My life was a failure. Too many bad decisions led me into great loneliness and despair. As soon as I admitted to God I wanted to give up on life, I heard the Spirit speak to my heart. “Could you make it if I stay with you?” “Well, I guess,” I said, and as quickly as the invalid man was cured, I experienced God’s amazing love. For a brief moment I took my eyes off my situation. Even though my cry to God was desperate, He responded with His mercy. What reprieve! What blessing!


O Lord, help us to change our focus from our circumstances to you. Help us to experience your presence and trust you with all that concerns us. Thank you for your promise that you will never leave or forsake us. We rely on your help and healing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Mystery of the Magi

January 6 is the day during the year when we commemorate the visit of the Magi to Mary, Joseph and Jesus in Bethlehem. The Bible says in Matthew 2 that they came from the East–probably not as far east as China, but more like Babylon or Persia, modern day Iraq or Iran.

They are believed to be astrologers since they followed a star that led them to Bethlehem where Mary and Joseph lived following the birth of Jesus. Was the star part of a natural phenomenon or a miraculous event? It’s a mystery.

Another mystery is in the gifts the Magi gave to Jesus: Gold for a King, frankincense for a Priest, and Myrrh for a Savior. Did they know that the newborn king would be all these in one person?


Who is Jesus to you? King? Priest? Savior? Teacher? Comforter? Counselor? Friend? Although Jesus lived on earth only thirty-three years, He changed the world more than any one person ever has or ever will. His great love penetrates hearts and restores souls. His great act of forgiveness on the cross paves the way for us to have a relationship with a living God.

To answer my own question, Jesus his all those to me and more. He gives my life meaning and purpose. Hope has displaced despair. I have peace instead of anxiety and new mercies every day instead of feelings of apathy. Friend, all these are available to you through the amazing love of God. Seek Him. You will find Him. He promised that.


Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the gift of Jesus, His amazing love and forgiveness. I pray for my friends who have not experienced your love–that you would make them aware of your presence in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Swaddling Cloths

Live Christmas nativity scene in an old barn – Reenactment play with authentic costumes. The baby is a (property released) doll.

Both Mary and Joseph were of the house and lineage of David so they both had to go to Bethlehem, the City of David to enroll in the census. “And while they were there, the time came for Mary to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7).

The shepherds in Bethlehem were of the priestly order, so many of the lambs born under their care were sacrificial lambs (one-year-old perfect male lambs). At birth they wrapped the baby lambs in swaddling cloths, which were from the temple–old priestly garments cut for this purpose. Then the lambs were laid in a manger, which was made out of stone, not wood, and protected the little lambs.


Jesus, the Lamb of God, was wrapped in swaddling cloths, strips of priestly garments, and laid in a stone manger. God protected Him at birth. And when Herod ordered the death of baby boys under the age of two, God also protected Him when He told Mary and Joseph to go to Egypt until after the death of Herod. Jesus is our High Priest and has been since He left Heaven and came to earth as a baby. The Son of God humbled Himself to be born as a baby. He grew in stature and maturity and knew the sin and circumstances we face. That is why He can be our compassionate advocate to the Father, merciful and forgiving. He promised He would always be with us, never to leave or forsake us. What comfort that is to a dark and dying world!


Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son, born as a baby and a Priest, Savior and King. Help us to believe things we cannot understand and help us to become more like Jesus. In His great name, we pray, Amen.

High Places

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How many of you go to the mountains to escape the chaos of the cities in the valley? Many retreats and conferences are set in lovely mountain locations. Jesus took Peter, James and John to the top of Mount Hermon where they witnessed Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. Our mountaintop experiences may not hold the significance of Mount Hermon, but we still want to linger there. Jesus led His three friends back into the valley where they faced a desperate father. The man had taken his demon possessed son to the other disciples, but they could not deliver the boy. Jesus had compassion on the father and healed his son. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t help the boy, and He told them this kind of sickness required prayer and fasting (Mark 9:14-23). Perhaps mountaintop experiences are not only for escapes, but they are meant to empower us to do wonderful things in ministry. Jesus said we would do even greater things than He. Only with His strength working in us!

Man has always had an attraction to high places. In ancient Israel, people walked away from the Holy God and worshipped man-made idols–Molech, the cow god; Asherah poles; and Ishtar, the fertility god. They did this on the high places and under every spreading tree (2 Kings 16:4).

Man’s attraction to high places extended into their building projects. They built the Tower of Babel in the plain of Shinar, not to give glory to God, but to make a name for themselves. The same spirit of pride has infiltrated the building of skyscrapers over the whole earth. While building tall buildings is not evil, in and of itself, we have to evaluate the intent. After Israel was defeated, her inhabitants said, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars” (Isaiah 9:10). These are not the words of self-evaluation for why they experienced defeat or repentance for their sin, but these are words of defiance–defiance to enemies and to God.


Consider for a moment what happened after 9/11/2001 on American soil. The Governor of New York made this proclamation from the floor of Ground Zero: “Today, we, the heirs of that revolutionary spirit of defiance, lay this cornerstone.” A beautiful quarried stone was laid as the cornerstone of a building to replace one of the towers. The project faced many problems, and it was finally cancelled (The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn).


O Lord, forgive our nation for its sins of pride, arrogance and defiance. We pray for revival–that our nation will repent and return to You, most Holy God. Empower us to lead in the revival so many will come to know your love and experience eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Feast of Tabernacles

Young Jewish family prays at the Sukkah for the Jewish festival of Sukkot. A Sukkah is a temporary structure where meals are taken for the week.

The Feast of Tabernacles is a Jewish celebration of the harvest. More than that, it is a celebration of God’s faithfulness. Today Jews set up a temporary tabernacle in their own yard, which includes the gathering of three kinds of tree branches: The palm branch: Palm trees grow in the valleys and remind us that God was with the Israelites through the valleys of the wilderness, even the valleys of the shadow of death. The myrtle branch: Myrtle trees grow in the mountains and remind us that God was with the Israelites through the rugged mountain terrain. The willow branch: Willow trees grow along the streams in the desert, a refreshing reminder that God brought springs of water out of rocks. God was faithful to Israel all the time they journeyed through the desert.


If the branches represent God’s faithfulness to His people in the wilderness, what do you think the fruit of the trees represents? The fruit is the end of the journey–The Promised Land. Today The Promised Land reminds us of our hope of Heaven–our joint inheritance with Jesus Christ, God’s only Son.


Thank you, Father God, for your perfect plan to rescue us from slavery to sin, death and the grave. Thank you for your faithfulness in our daily lives–the hope we have in You and being with you forever in the place you are preparing for us in Heaven. Help us to live our lives pleasing to you. We love you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

First Fruits

Painting of Mother Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost, in the Church of Valencia, Spain

The Feast of Shavuot is a celebration of the summer harvest when people gave an offering of their first fruits. After Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, the Apostles gathered for this feast and were alarmed by the sound of a violent wind as tongues of fire appeared over each of them. They began to speak in different languages so all those gathered in Jerusalem at the time could understand God’s message–Parthians, Medes, Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Rome and parts of Libya. What could this mean? Some thought the apostles were drunk, but Peter proclaimed they were not drunk–it was only 9:00 in the morning.

Peter addressed the crowd by affirming what was happening was fulfillment of Scripture: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18). Peter continued to explain the gospel message and three thousand people became believers and were baptized that day. This is known as Pentecost, the birth of the church.


Pentecost happened on the Feast of Shavuot, the first fruits from the summer harvest, and it is God’s first fruits to the church. Think how awesome it was for these people to hear God’s word proclaimed in their own language. Think about three thousand believers making up the early church, the first fruits of the church. Because of their belief, commitment and testimony, we believe today and are saved from the grips of hell.


Thank you, Holy Father, for the apostles who brought about the first fruits of the early church. Thank you for their testimonies and writings, which made it possible for us to believe and have a personal relationship with you. We pray, O Lord, that you continue to send your Spirit on the dark world we live in. People need you and don’t even know it. O Lord, open their eyes and hearts to receive and experience your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Fringe of His Garment

religion image of Prayer Shawl – Tallit and Prayer book jewish religious symbols. Rosh hashanah (jewish New Year holiday), Shabbat and Yom kippur concept.

God set His people apart from the world when He rescued them from slavery in Egypt. After they crossed the Red Sea and traveled into the wilderness, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God” (Numbers 15:38-41).

There were many other Hebrew laws besides the Ten Commandments; one of which made a bleeding woman unclean. That means she could touch no one for fear of making them unclean. However, a woman in Capernaum suffered twelve long years with an issue of bleeding. She had spent all she had on doctors and treatments and was not healed. One day she followed Jesus in a crowd so she might touch the fringe of His garment and be well. “Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ Instantly the woman was healed” (Matthew 9:22).


When the woman touched Jesus’ robe, it did not make Him unclean. It made the woman clean. Do you see the impact of this miracle? We can bring our darkest infirmities to the Lord. He is not afraid to be touched. No, He is touchable. We can come to Jesus, our Lord, with all that concerns us because He cares for us.


O Lord, our Lord, thank you for being touchable, even in our darkest moments. Thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for being available in the dark of night or the light of day. Thank you that you never sleep or slumber. Lord, help us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.