Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

1. A expression of gratitude; an acknowledgment expressive of a sense of favor or kindness received; obligation, claim, or desert, or gratitude; - now generally used in the plural.

If ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
- Luke vi. 33.

What great thank, then, if any man, reputed wise and constant, will neither do, nor permit others under his charge to do, that which he approves not, especially in matter of sin?
- Milton.

Thanks, thanks to thee, most worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught.
- Longfellow.

His thanks of his or her own accord; with his or her good will; voluntary.
Full sooth is said that love ne lordship,
Will not, his thanks, have no fellowship.
- Chaucer

OT Yada
1) to give thanks,, laud, praise
2) to confess, confess (the name of God)
3) to confess sin
sometimes translated praise

Ps 107:1 OH, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever

NT eucharisteƍ

1) to be grateful, feel thankful

2) give thanks

1 Cor 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

It is very difficult to express by means of definition or example the full meaning of the idea of giving thanks.  It is more than just speaking the words.  How can words possibly express what I feel inside, the recognition that a gift has been given to me beyond what I deserve.

As I think of what God has done for me it is beyond imagining.  He has first of all given me through Jesus Christ His Son.  He has blessed me with an incredible family, friends, people I work with, neighbors and folks from far away.  I just got a call today from a Pastor in Tanzania. 

I just want to take this opportunity to remind you that you have been blessed beyond measure.  That God has given you life, he has given you love and he has given you others.  As you wake up tomorrow the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.  You can still give thanks.  And then the next day, and then the next all year long.   Giving thanks brings blessings to us as we are reminding ourselves what we have to be thankful for.

So remember to give thanks.  Oh!  Before I forget thanks for reading this.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking for the Truth

I have discovered that absolutely everyone believes they have found the truth or are seeking to know the truth of what are lives are all about.  It's sort of the haves and the have nots.  Some believe the truth is what ever you believe the truth is.  Some believe that the truth is embodied in the wisdom of a special person.   In our polite society it is not acceptable to discuss some one's faith, their belief in a certain truth.  This in itself is a statement of belief.  The belief that what you believe is private and should not be shared with others.   Unless that person is someone in religious authority, though we are seeing a breakdown even there. 

In the passage we are looking at the questions that arise are what is truth, what is faith and how do we practice it.  In this setting public debate is not feared.

Luke 5:29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

In the previous post we already discussed Levi's reason for a celebration.  What we will see next is the reaction of the Pharisees to this event.  Please see my entry on who the pharisees are. Short and Sweet.
As the religious leaders for the Jews they felt that they were compelled to condemn Jesus on his hanging out with tax collectors and sinners.   They believed that they were stand ins for God.  They took the truth of the Old Testament and interpreted according to man's wisdom.  Their focus was on the rules and not the blessings and compassion of God.  God is both justice and love. 

Jesus didn't respond with "Hey!! these folks are cool", "Chill" or "My relationship with God makes it OK to hang out with who ever I want".   He acknowledged that the folks he was hanging out with were sinners, they were sick and needed healing.  Jesus doesn't propose the possibility of something to consider as truth.  He states boldly that "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance".   Some would equate Jesus to other religious teachers like Mohamed, Buddha, Gandhi, etc..  Again a tendency to make truth relative.   This might make us feel good and fair.  But when we do that we are taking God's son and making him less than who he is.  He is the Son of God.  He speaks the only truth.  He is the only truth.

We have a choice we can believe anything we want to make up, we can believe in the truth of a man, we can believe the truth of organized religion or we can believe the truth that God has revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you are seeking the truth, if you are seeking a savior?  Then I want you right now to close your eyes in a prayer.  This is all I want you to say in that prayer:

"Jesus, are you calling me?  Are you calling me to repentance? I want to follow you.  I am a sinner and I believe you are the Son of God and that you died for me"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Celebrate!!

We are going to spend several entries on this passage because there are so many important messages here about who Jesus is, who we are and the whole viewpoint of religion.

Luke 5:29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”


Lets just look as verse 29.  Levi has been called by Jesus and he has left everything behind to follow him. Levi's decision to follow Jesus became a celebration.  Was it a banquet for Levi, was it a banquet for his friends or was it meant to make the Pharisees mad (which it did)?  Primarily it was none of these things.  We need to see that in this verse the banquet was for Jesus. 

Levi is proclaiming that Jesus has done a great thing in his life and he wants to honor him with a banquet.   Remember the last time?  Levi left his old desires, his old goals and his old behaviors behind.  Why would giving up who he was be a cause for celebration for the person who asked him to do that?

We can pretend that our life without Jesus is fun, exciting and full filling.  But in reality it is not.   You might be familiar with the quote from Henry David Thoreau: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."  Though this was not a plea from Thoreau to urge folks to follow Jesus.  I believe it is an accurate depiction of what is really inside of those who hold back from following Jesus.


Levi experienced the true joy and peace from giving up his life and now following the only true savior, Jesus Christ.  The banquet is for Jesus, but the celebration extends to all of Levi's friends.  He wants them to know who Jesus is.  This is the same compulsion for all Christians.  Just to be clear I don't get a notch on my belt when I tell others about Jesus, instead I have the joy of revealing what God has done in my life.  I have the joy of sharing something that can change your life.

So if you have decided to follow Jesus, celebrate!!  If you haven't then please examine your life of separation from God.  See my first blog entry to know what you can do to follow Jesus.

http://searchforsavior.blogspot.com/2008/03/simple-answers.html