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The Hebrew word for the Jewish people is Yehudim. It means praise, thanksgiving and worship. A Jewish existence is that of praise and worship, thankful for all they have. How then did the name, Jew, become a profane term or a curse word? Because of sin–our own selfish, self-centered choices to live for ourselves and not God.

Jesus’ life as King of the Jews is a perfect example of Yehudim–praise, thanksgiving and worship. Yet, He was hated, persecuted and finally crucified. The sign over His head on the cross said, “King of the Jews,” and that is what He was/is. Jesus lived and taught what it is like to live for God. He lived a life of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus’ life was that of praise and worship. Even in death on the cross He glorified the Father in Heaven. His resurrection was an act of giving and faithfulness.


Jesus was not destroyed by all the evil attempts on His life. He overcame evil with good. He blessed those who cursed Him. He even died for their forgiveness. If this is how Jesus lived, believers are called to live by His example. We are to be Yehudim–praising and worshiping God, thankful for all we have.


Thank you Father God for Jesus. Help us to live our lives by His example and teaching. Empower us with your strength and boldness to stand firm in this dark world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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It’s that holiday time of year when we gather with family and friends around a table of delicious food to celebrate a Thanksgiving feast. The early pilgrims shared the blessings of harvest, as the Israelites do during the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s a time we show our thankfulness to God, for His faithfulness to provide for us. How wonderful it would be to have a thankful heart all year! Do you agree? However, life happens. We busy ourselves with work or having fun. Sometimes loss, suffering or hard times cloud our thankful spirits.

I’d like to tell you a story from the Bible. When Jesus entered a city, ten lepers met him. They cried from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” You see, their skin disease was very contagious and made them outcasts. They could not live in town, in their own homes, or with their families. They could not hug or be hugged. Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As the lepers went towards the temple, they were cleansed. Only one man came back to say, “Thank you.” He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and praised Him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give thanks but this foreigner?” Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).


Have you ever given a gift that didn’t seem appreciated? You spent precious time searching for just the right thing, something you thought would be perfect. Maybe you spent a little extra money on it. Yet, it didn’t get the approval or “thank you” you expected. It happens too often. How much better it would be if we, like the cleansed leper, showed a thankful heart. It would bless the giver as we’ll as the receiver.


Holy Lord, teach us to be more thoughtful, more giving, more thankful. Teach us to be more like Jesus, and to forgive people who seem less than thankful for our gifts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.