Summary: Reasons to Rejoice (at Thanksgiving season)
This coming Thursday, all across America we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. It is a day to express appreciation for all the things we are thankful for. What are people thankful for? Smoke alarms, they let you know when the turkey is done. Automatic dishwashers, they make it possible to get out of kitchen before the family is ready to eat again. Children who put away their toys, they are such a joy, you hate to return them back to their parents. Teenagers, they give you an opportunity to learn another language.
On a more serious note, our text is about ten lepers who approached Jesus to request healing for their leprosy. Jesus gave them specific instructions to follow. When they followed His instructions, they were all healed! Only one of the ten came back to express appreciation to Jesus for what He did for the leper. Only one of the ten was thankful. Do you have an "attitude of gratitude" towards Jesus for all He has done for you? I would like to consider seven reasons God has given us to be thankful and rejoice.
Psalms 119:162 says, "I rejoice at thy word, as one that finds great treasure". Reason Number One: REJOICE IF YOU OWN A BIBLE! The Bible is a treasure of great value! We learn about the existence of God by creation, but to learn the mind and character of God, it takes a Holy Bible! The Bible is the ONLY THING that stands between us and foolish idolatry! For 100s of years (pre-1500AD) it was illegal for common people to own a Bible written in the common language. In the late 1400s there was a new invention that would change the world forever, the printing press! William Tyndale (1494-1536), was a preacher of righteousness. But he died an early death at the age of 42. Why? He was burned at the stake. His crime? He was working underground to translate the Latin Bible into the English language of the common people so EVERYONE could read the Bible for themselves! For this noble deed, he was arrested, jailed, and burned at the stake for heresy. Getting the Holy Bible into the language of the common people was not easy, nor cheap!
Psalms 97:1 says, "The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice". Reason Number Two: REJOICE BECAUSE GOD IS IN CONTROL!
There is a new movie out, called '2012'. It's about the total destruction of the world by flood in the year, 2012! In 1993, Harold Camping released a book entitled, 1994. It predicted the destruction of the world in 1994. It cost about $25. In the year 1995, after it proved to be a false prediction, you could buy the book for about 25 cents. And then there is the supposed threat of Global Warming, etc. These doomsday predictions can be very unsettling UNLESS you have something to give comfort in midst of it! Matthew 24:35,36 tells us that "Heaven and earth shall pass away...but of that day and hour knoweth no man" We can take great comfort in knowing God is still in control! He will end the earth in HIS time and on HIS terms. For that we can be thankful.
Luke 12:6,7 says, "five sparrows are sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows". REJOICE BECAUSE YOU ARE VALUED BY GOD!
Why are we much more valuable than sparrows? Because WE are the only creatures God made 'in His image'. Ever since man's godly nature was tarnished by sin, God's been working with mankind to restore us to godliness! Romans 8:28 says, "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord". Now, check out the context! Romans 8:29,30 (Message) "God decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. We see the original and intended shape of our lives in him (Jesus). After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun". (Awesome!) From the moment sin entered each of our lives, God has been working in our lives to restore us to the pristine glory of having 'godliness' stamped in our soul. God uses many events in our lives to bring His plan to fruition, BECAUSE He values us, BECAUSE we were created in His image! The song is really true, "He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth, and Jupiter and mars. How loving, and patient He must be, cause He's still working on me.