Tag Archives: live well

How thankful are you?


Luke tells the story in the 17th chapter of his gospel about ten men who had leprosy. In those days, leprosy was not only a disfiguring and painful disease, it was also a mark on the person’s life that was treated not with medicine or compassion but with disdain.  It led to alienation and separation from others.


Luke describes these men as calling out to Jesus, “Master, have pity on us!” They had to call from a distance. Because they were considered “unclean” they were forbidden to come close. Jesus sent them away saying, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were healed. One of the ten came back and threw himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking him. He was not a fellow countryman with Jesus; he was an outcast Samaritan. But the other nine did not return to give thanks. The Jesus explained to the man, rise and go; your faith has made you well.”  (V 19)


Maybe where you’re sitting today makes this a difficult story. The man’s faith made him well. It cured him of a disabling disease. Perhaps you’re thinking, “What about my faith? Why does healing not come to me?” We all need healing. Some of us seek healing from physical pain. Others seek to be emotionally well. Some experience relationship scars that are still painful to bear even after the passing of many years. (Time does NOT heal all wounds.)  Some of us need to be healed of the feeling that we have no worth or purpose. If we were to be healed from any of these disabling conditions, surely we’d give thanks, right? Surely, our lives would be completely transformed and we’d rush to tell others, right?


The truth is, there is a healing that we may have forgotten. It happened so long ago, that we take it for granted. We were sick with the compulsion to follow our own selfish ways, sick from choosing sin over virtue, a type of death over really living. So we came to Jesus and asked forgiveness. And he made us well, completely well. He cleansed us, healed us, and made us new. If you received nothing else in life – not fame, nor fortune, nor friends, nor physical healing from pain and suffering, nor other “favors” –  wouldn’t this spiritual healing and restoration to fellowship with God still lead you to give endless thanks every single day?


We’ve been healed in a miraculous way. Once disfigured by our self-isolation from God, we have now been cleansed and restored into his joy. We’re reminded that nothing can separate us now from his love; not pain, nor poverty, nor loneliness, or depression, not grief, nor a lowly position in life. We’ve been healed from ourselves and are no longer separated from God. He makes us literally new creations. Your faith has made you well in a sense that you may have forgotten.


Give thanks and live well!


The rest of the story



Sometimes the work of God in our lives is a mystery. In my journey through AML, I recall feeling that His grace did not dispel the pain. But it did give me assurance to bear it a little longer, one day or moment at a time with certainty that God’s Word remained true despite how I felt or experienced it.


What are we to say about the part of our story that is filled with seemingly hopeless and unbearable trials? Only that they add to a long history of faithful warriors fighting seemingly unbeatable odds. Our singular expectation is to stand firm in God’s protective armor, faithful and courageous, prayerful, and mindful of God’s blessings in the face of turmoil. Even so, the testimony of strong warriors and faithful servants have not always gained them access to the promises they sought. For example:


“There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with US would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:35b-40


The passage that follows points to US…and our leg of the faith relay which somehow completes theirs:


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3


So it seems that our journey of faith through all kinds of trials is necessarily linked to the completion of the race of the faith heroes of all history. You and Moses, Gideon, David. It seems that we are presently completing the chapters in the REST of the story that will be told in heaven for all time. Perhaps in ways unknown to us, our most difficult chapters of our story are also influencing the story of others who will be encouraged to press on and continue their race. It is evidence that Jesus’ suffering for us was not in vain, and that His grace continues to strengthen so we will not lose heart.


Live well, until you reach the end of . . . the rest of the story.



Life purpose

I’ve always thought that kids ask some of the best life questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life? You probably asked these questions too. Unfortunately, important questions tend to get buried in the process of going to school, getting a job, getting married, buying a house and car, having children, pursuing hobbies. We lose sight of the great questions in pursuit of other lesser things.


If you paid big bucks for a life coach to tell you how to live well, they would undoubtedly ask you about your life purpose. And they would counsel you to begin each morning with a reaffirmation of that purpose and the intentional pursuit of goals to achieve it. They would say to not waste the most precious resource you have, your life. Christian Missionary and Alliance president John Stumbo puts it this way:   “Together we have one chance at this thing called making use of our life to serve the Lord who called us . . . this has given me a sense, a greater sense of purpose, of destiny, of urgency. Not in a panicky, fearful, dread kind of way. No, no, no. But with this sense of calling that the God who spoke that mountain into the universe and can speak my life into heaven’s gates at any moment has left me here and left you here for this moment in human history for us to live out this call of God upon our lives, and to do so not empowered by our own strength but to be a people who are dependent upon the Spirit.   We don’t want to go through life making our own decisions, following our own whims, slaves to our old nature, throwing religious masks of pseudo-holiness over lustful, greedy, impatient hearts. No. We don’t want to just play church or be religious; we want to be Spirit-led, Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed people.”   The bible says we will spend a short time in this life – maybe 70, 80, 90 years – and then an everlasting eternity somewhere else, based on how we responded to the invitation of Jesus here and now. Doesn’t it make sense to ‘wake up’ to this reality every day and live intentionally toward that goal instead of wasting away our life? What will matter most – on earth and for eternity – when your life is at its end? Spend some time to think about your life purpose and what in your life you want to change to reflect this. If you have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, ask him to guide you.