VIDEO Always Thankful, Thankful For Everything,

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

We often hear people say, “The devil is in the details.” They don’t mean anything theological by that—they simply mean that bad things can happen if we don’t read the fine print, ask the right questions, and check every detail. There is something theological about this statement though: “God is in the details”—especially the details of His divinely-inspired Word.

For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul writes the word “in” instead of the word “for”: “In everything give thanks.” What would the difference be? If we were told to give thanks “for” everything, it could include thanking God for tragedies and disasters in which death and destruction reigned. But “in” everything—even in the midst of tragedies and disasters—we can thank God that He is in the midst of the storm with us. We can thank Him that He will use all things—good and bad, hard and easy—for good to those who love God and are “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

What are you “in” today? Regardless of where you are and what you are experiencing, give thanks “in everything” as a way to acknowledge God’s presence.

God’s giving deserves our thanksgiving.  Unknown

Thankful For Everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Carefully Crafted

Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people. Ephesians 4:11–12

In a YouTube video, Alan Glustoff, a cheese farmer in Goshen, New York, described his process for aging cheese, a process that adds to a cheese’s flavor and texture. Before it can be sent out to a market, each block of cheese remains on a shelf in an underground cave for six to twelve months. In this humid environment the cheese is carefully tended. “We do our best to give it the right environment to thrive . . . [and] to develop to its truest potential,” Glustoff explained.

Glustoff’s passion for developing the potential of the cheese he produces reminded me of God’s passion for developing the “truest potential” of His children so they will become fruitful and mature. In Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul describes the people involved in this process: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (v. 11). People with these gifts help to stimulate the growth of each believer as well as to encourage acts of service (the “works” mentioned in verse 12). The goal is that we “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13).

Spiritual growth comes about through the power of the Holy Spirit as we submit to His maturing process. As we follow the guidance of the people He places in our lives, we become more effective as He sends us out to serve.

By: Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

Who has been most influential to your spiritual growth? In what ways have you been challenged to grow? How can you encourage the growth of someone else?

Loving God, I’m grateful for the tender way You help me to grow.

Clinging to God’s Promises

Luke 24:13-49

The Bible is a gold mine of promises for believers. During any season, but especially in hard times, God’s promises provide an anchor for our soul. They give us hope and enable us to be courageous and bold when facing challenges.

But many individuals do not rely on God’s assurances. There are two reasons for this. First, some people are unaware of His promises. Second, others simply do not believe them to be true. A lot of believers can quote Scripture, but when they face a daunting trial—like a job loss or frightening diagnosis—their confidence wavers and doubt prevails.

If we are unaware of all that Scripture promises, we can’t make ourselves believe. But the more we learn and pray and talk with God, the stronger our faith grows, and this is a gift from almighty God. Luke 24 documents two times that people came face to face with Jesus Christ but failed to recognize Him. He had to open their spiritual eyes before they could truly see. The same is true of us: Faith is impossible without the Holy Spirit.

Jesus gives believers assurance of protection, hope, eternal security, counsel, and guidance in the Scriptures. Do you trust Him?

As you read Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to point out applicable promises for your life. Study, memorize, meditate on, and claim these truths. Then, when trials arise, you’ll have an anchor to keep you steady. Divine promises won’t necessarily take away the pain of difficult circumstances, but the God who has promised to be with you can be trusted to do all He says He’ll do.

Heed Five Commands

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

In our text and the succeeding two verses, five commands are given to the believer striving to live a godly life. Let us look briefly at each one.

Gird up the loins of your mind: Using the long, flowing robes worn by most people in Greek societies as a word picture, Peter commands us to gird up our minds just as such a robe needed to be gathered up in preparation for strenuous activity. We need to discipline our minds for action.

Be sober: A drunken person has a disoriented mind, lacks self-control, and is not alert to his surroundings. We are commanded to maintain a calm and thoughtful state of mind, in full control of all our actions.

Hope to the end, or “patiently fix your hope”: We must recognize that He is in control and patiently wait for Him. The focus of our expectation is His grace, which we presently experience but which will be fully granted us at His return.

Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance (v. 14): This phrase is translated “be not conformed” in Romans 12:2 and commands us not to adopt the world’s lifestyle and thought patterns, especially our “former lusts,” that enslaved us before our conversion.

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy (v. 15): God is first and foremost a holy God, and we are called to “fashion” ourselves after Him. Complete holiness is out of our reach this side of glory, but it should be our goal.

All five are commands indeed, but commands three and five are in an emphatic position in the Greek, and these two hold the key to success in the others. Only by patiently fixing our hope on Him and His grace can we successfully strive for His holiness. JDM

A Cleansed Conscience

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

—Hebrews 10:22

What a relief to find the writer to the Hebrews encouraging us to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Hebrews 10:22).

A sprinkled conscience—surely this is a gracious thing for men and women in the world to know!

One of the most relieving, enriching, wholesome, wondrous things we can know is that sudden sense of the lifting of the burden as the conscience goes free—God giving freedom to that conscience which has been evil, diseased and protesting.

Peter wrote about this and called it “the answer of a good conscience toward God, [saves us] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

This is the kind of conversion I believe in—when your sins are cleansed and forgiven through the blood of the Lamb, you will know it!…

A transaction has taken place within the human spirit. The heart suddenly knows itself clean and the burden lifts from the mind and there is a true sense that heaven is pleased and God is smiling and the sins are gone.   EFE065-066

Lord, I fall on my face before You in heartfelt worship. Amen.


He saith unto them, Follow me…

He saith unto them, Follow me… and they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.—Matthew 4:19, 20.


Jesus calls us, o’er the tumult

Of our life’s wild, restless sea,

Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,

Saying, “Christian, follow me,”

As of old St. Andrew heard it

By the Galilean lake,

Turned from home, and toil, and kindred,

Leaving all for His dear sake.

Cecil F. Alexander.


The will of God will be done; but, oh, the unspeakable loss for us if we have missed our opportunity of doing it!

Brooke Foss Westcott.


God, who calleth us, Himself gives us the-strength to obey His call. He who is with us now to call us, will be ever present with us; in all whereto He calleth us. All in His purpose and love, every degree of grace and glory, lies wrapped up in His next call. All eternity of bliss and the love of God will, through His grace, forecoming, accompanying, following, lie in one strong, earnest, undivided, giving of thy whole self to God, to do in thee, through thee, with thee, His gracious loving will.

Edward B. Pusey.


God Is On the Front Line With Us

“The Lord, he is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8

In the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the Lord Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?

Nor is the Lord before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the Lord of hosts is with us!

Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.

Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the Lord of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory.


VIDEO What Ever Happened to Thanksgiving?

Depictions of the Pilgrims who founded our country often include someone kneeling and praying, giving thanks to God. But in today’s world, we often find ourselves rushing through the holiday season, neglecting to set aside consistent time to celebrate God’s goodness, love, and mercy.

In this sermon, Dr. Stanley reminds us that genuine thanksgiving and praise to God should be a part of everyone’s life—not only as a single day of giving thanks, but consistently throughout the year. Salvation is the greatest gift believers have received and should continually motivate us to a lifestyle of gratitude.

So, Where Are The Nine?

LUKE 17:11-19
11  While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.
12  As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;
13  and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14  When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.
15  Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,
16  and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.
17  Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they?
18  “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”
19  And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
20  Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
21  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”


Jesus was traveling along the border between Galilee and Samaria.

  • Galilee was Jewish;
  • Samaritans, who were despised by the Jews, lived in Samaria.
  • We don’t know exactly where they were — Jesus was near the border.
  • This explains why a Samaritan was in the group of lepers.


Leprosy’s a terrible disease — a person’s skin begins to rot and fall off.  Many lepers lose fingers and toes.  It’s very painful and stinks. (pictures)

A person with leprosy is covered with ugly, pussy sores.

Leprosy was a common disease in Jesus’ time — there are parts of the world today where people have leprosy — India, China, Japan, parts of Africa, the West Indies and South America.

Leprosy’s very contagious. It’s easy to “catch” leprosy.

  • Just touching someone with leprosy or touching something he’s touched could give the disease.
  • Lepers had to live outside the community.


God instructed Israel:

Leviticus 13:46 (NASB) “He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

If Marty found she had leprosy, she couldn’t be in here with us, she’d have to leave the building and even leave Sun Valley!

She couldn’t hug me or our children or grandchildren, because they might get the disease.                                                                                                                                      .

– Wouldn’t that be sad?!

Leprosy wasn’t just bad for a person’s body — it was terrible for them to enjoy friends and family — they had to live alone.  (No Thanksgiving!)

Lepers got so lonely they’d find other lepers to live with.                                                            .

– That’s why these ten men were together. They all had leprosy, and  weren‘t allowed to be a part of their family or community.

In some parts of the world today, groups of lepers live together in “leper colonies.”

Beth Moore wanted to visit a leper colony but couldn’t make herself go in because of the horrible sights and smell of rotting flesh.

People with leprosy had to stay away from well people and warn them not come near.


That’s why these ten lepers were standing at a distance, outside the city, and crying out to Jesus for mercy.

.   – They called Jesus Master — they knew He was a healer and He could do.

.   – They didn’t approach Jesus because of the crowd following Him.


God told Israel how to deal with leprosy (Lev. 13).

  • Anyone diagnosed with leprosy had be examined by a priest. (Lev 13:2-3).


If the diagnosis was positive — Leviticus 13:45 (NASB) “As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’


He’d remain unclean as long as he had the disease.

  • He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp” ( 13:45-46).


The leper was considered utterly unclean — physically and spiritually.

Jews thought God used leprosy as punishment for a particular sin, and was far worse than any other disease — a mark of God’s anger.

Leprosy was an automatic death sentence — if you had leprosy you were doomed.                                                                          .   – Only 3 people were healed of leprosy in the O.T.:  Moses (Exodus 4:6),             .     Miriam, and Naaman — they were cured by God.

Because people believed God inflicted leprosy for sins people with leprosy were despised and weren’t allowed to live in any community with their own people.

They were removed from society so they wouldn’t defile or infect anyone.

The Jewish Talmud instructed lepers to stay about 300 feet away from people.

They’d yell “Unclean! Unclean!”  to keep people away.

Lepers lived in colonies with other lepers until they got better or died. This was the only way to stop the spread of leprosy.

Towel hanging on post – Isaiah 64:6

Sometimes relatives left food for them to find.

The Bible tells of another leper in Matthew 8:2-4 (NASB)
2  And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3  Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4  And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Notice Jesus touched him………….It was forbidden to touch a leper.

The lesson:  sin defiles us in the sight of God, but through Christ, we can be healed of the plague of sin that separates us from God.

God hates sin; it’s repulsive to Him.

Sin keeps us from fellowship with God.                                                                                                                       .   – God is Holy and detests all sin — sin will keep us out of His Holy Heaven………

But you can be saved from sin by Grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9)

You can stand in God’s presence knowing you’re accepted into God’s Kingdom and praise Him for the Grace He gives to you.

Another lesson we learn from the leper in Matthew’s Gospel is just like that leper, we can confidently approach Jesus with all our sin and defilement.                                   .   – When we plead for cleansing and forgiveness, He’ll not turn us away.

He forgives our sins and never remembers them against us anymore — Psalm 103:12 — He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. 

Jesus came to save us from something worse than leprosy!                                                        .   – We need to say thanks.

Jesus healed ten lepers, only one returned to thank Jesus!                                                               .   – He got far more than just healing of his body.                                                                 .   – He experienced the salvation of his soul as well!

Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest.

As they turned to do that, the ten lepers noticed their leprosy was gone. They’d been healed!

Their skin changed from being full of sores and disease (show the cloth that is dirty, tattered & torn) to being clean and healthy (put that cloth down & hold up an identical, brand new clean piece.)

                                                                                                                                                   Only One Leper Showed Gratitude!

What happens next — Luke 17:15-19.

When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. The man was a Samaritan.


When Jesus saw the Samaritan, He immediately wondered about the other nine men who had also been healed.


Jesus asked, “Weren’t all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Didn’t anyone else return and give praise to God except this outsider?”

  • Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”


It’s hard to believe only one of the ten came back to thank Him.

  • The other nine men knew they were healed, but they didn’t take the time to say, “Thank you.”

Probably when they saw they were healed, they ran home to their families and friends. After all, they’d been far away from them for some time.

Can you imagine their excitement?                                                                                                                          .   – Think how happy their families were to see them again?

These nine other men were so, so happy to be healed, they didn’t return to Jesus to publicly GIVE THANKS. They didn’t “praise God with a loud voice and throw themselves at His feet” like the leper who did return to thank Jesus.

When Jesus gave His life for you and me, His Blood healed us from a disease much more hideous than leprosy.

  • A disease only God can cure.
  • A disease that will destroy our soul for Eternity……….
  • Sin spoils everything? Sin spoils us too! Like a terrible disease, sin ruins us.


Sin is a great spiritual need that requires healing.

We seem to recognize physical needs better than spiritual needs. When we’re hungry, we eat. When sick, we go to the doctor. When we’re tired, we sleep.

Each of us are plagued with sins like hate, anger, greed, lying, and selfishness.

Just like leprosy destroys the physical body, these sins destroy our souls and need to be healed.

Jesus wants to heal them! He wants us to call to Him for help, just like the ten lepers called to Him for help.

And like the one leper who returned, we should worship, praise, and thank God at all times.

We can do this when we’re alone, but God also wants us to give thanks to Him publicly and with other believers.

The ten lepers in were given a great gift. The problem was, nine of them didn’t receive it with true thankfulness.                                                                                                                                                                      .   – Sure they were happy they’d received the gift of healing, but they didn’t           .     CHOOSE to thank the gift-giver.

  • When Jesus asked, “Where are the other nine?” He was asking, “Why aren’t they giving thanks to God?”

He might ask us the same question: “Why aren’t these people giving Me thanks?”

Jesus has given us the free gift of Salvation. We didn’t have to do anything to earn it.

Even though sin deserves to be punished, Jesus took that punishment for us when He died on the cross.  That’s the biggest, best gift you’ll ever receive!

The problem is, many people accept the free gift of forgiveness and never show their THANKFULNESS to Jesus.

God’s message is clear: we should have a heart filled to overflowing with thanksgiving to God, AND we should tell God and others how thankful we are!

God has done so much for us! He deserves our thanks!

Psalm 107:1-2 — Give thanks to the Lord, because He is good.  His faithful love continues forever.


That’s what we who have been set free by the Lord should say.


Jesus was publicly crucified to heal our sins. We should take time to publicly thank Him for that amazing gift. We should live a life of thankfulness, just like the one leper who returned to give thanks to Jesus.


We should do what Colossians 2:7 tells us: “Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.


This week is Thanksgiving.  Do more than eat a big meal and watch football on TV.





by Bill Woods

The Wages of Sin

Romans 6:21-23

God sent His Son to take our punishment by dying in our place. Unless believers understand this provision, they will doubt their salvation. We can’t be good enough to earn heaven. All are born with a corrupted nature; therefore, we will at times sin, no matter how hard we try not to. The Bible compares our attempts at righteous deeds to filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).

On its own, mankind has but one option with regard to sin: to die in it and spend eternity separated from God. But the Father so loved the world that He chose to punish His Son in our place (John 3:16). It was a severe price to pay. Holy God cannot look upon the squalor of sin, so when Jesus became sin for all mankind, the Father had to turn away (2 Cor. 5:21). The physical suffering of crucifixion was terrible, but nothing compared to Jesus’ wrenching horror when the Father left Him. The devastated Messiah cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34).

Jesus accepted separation from the Father so we wouldn’t have to. When Paul said that the wages of sin was death, he was referring to eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23). As believers, we are saved and forever reconciled with the Lord because of what Jesus has done.

The Savior took our place and accepted humanity’s punishment for sin. He and the Father have done the hard work of salvation so that you and I can live a life of peace, freedom, and hope and never be separated from our Creator. If you believe that Jesus Christ—the Son of God— died for your sins, then you too are saved.