Be the One in Ten

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I love Easter and Christmas, but there’s just something about Thanksgiving that tops all that. I like the time of year; I like the fact that it’s food-focused (can I get an AMEN?!); I like that it provides a reminder to stop life and pay attention to our blessings; I like that it’s simply about getting together with friends and family, with no gift-buying pressure or the tarnish of retail take-over.

Most of all, though, I like how Thanksgiving is so in line with God’s Word. Gratitude, a grateful heart, thanksgiving, praise…all of these are such emphasized, repetitive concepts throughout the Bible, and this time of year forces us more into these mindsets and heart-itudes than we might normally experience.

A few months ago during a church sermon, I heard a Bible story mentioned that I didn’t remember ever hearing before. I checked into it after I got home, and sure enough, I don’t really recall having ever heard it. It aligns perfectly, however, with the Thanksgiving holiday, so I saved it for us to discuss at this oh-so-timely occasion. (You are welcome.)

The story is from Luke 17 and can be found in verses 11-19. It’s a quick read, and I encourage you to read it yourself. I’ll wait……………………………………………………See! So easy, this Bible reading thing. Just in case you didn’t just read it yourself (for shame!), let me give you a brief rundown.

As this particular story begins, Jesus and His followers are on their way to Jerusalem, passing between Samaria and Galilee. Upon arriving at a village there, Jesus is approached by ten lepers, all crying out to Him for help and healing from their horrible, painful, ostracizing disease. In verse 14, we see Jesus acknowledge them and their affliction immediately, instantly instructing them and healing them. But it’s really on the next verses, 15-19, that I want us to spend our time.

After the lepers have begun to depart from Jesus, having been made clean, verses 15-16(a) state, “Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice. And he fell prostrated at Jesus’s feet, thanking Him [over and over].” Let’s make sure we get this: there were 10 lepers, 10 souls in need of Jesus’s attention. Ten people were answered by Jesus, being made well after crying out to Him. One of them turned back to Jesus to acknowledge what He’d done for him. One. Just in case that’s tricky math, that means NINE people whose lives were forever blessed, whose health was fully restored, whose prayers were answered by the Son of God went on their way without so much as a glance back or a quick wave. Don’t think for a second that this behavior went unnoticed by Jesus.

“Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this [man]?” (vs. 17-18)

Y’all, it hurts my heart to recognize this truth, but I am so often one of those nine. The number of times I’ve prayed a serious, heart-felt prayer and gotten it answered, only to forget to turn back around and give Jesus His due praise is innumerable. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to be one of those nine. I want to be the one in ten who can’t move forward with my new blessing until I’ve appropriately praised the One from whom all blessings flow! And you know what else I want to learn from the only former leper who showed his gratitude? I don’t want to do it quietly, either. Like it says in verse 15, I want to show God my praise, to offer Him my sincere thanks with a LOUD voice! Yes, He appreciates and acknowledges my quiet offerings of thanksgiving. He recognizes my whispered prayers of praise. But that’s not good enough for me. I want to be so humbled by His presence in my life, so gracious for His help or His healing or His guidance that I just can’t keep quiet about it. I want to be vocally thankful for all that God does in my life! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!! I want my heart to overflow so abundantly with thanksgiving to my loving, compassionate God that I absolutely cannot keep silent about it.

Also, like our healed friend, I want to WORSHIP the Jesus who is so actively a part of my life and my needs. This man, so full of gratitude for what Jesus did for him, fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus in full surrender and worship, thanking Him over and over (vs 16). If you can’t imagine physically lying prostrate while worshiping Jesus, surely our hearts can be positioned in such a way. Friends, let us first and foremost reach out to Jesus with our needs and our afflictions. Let us pray for and expect His healing hand upon our lives. And when that happens, because it most certainly will, let us shout His name from the rooftops! Let us tell our friends and our family of the wonderful works He’s done in our lives. Instead of posting on social media about what color socks we chose for today (insert HARD eye roll here), let us share the ways in which God is working in our lives. Let us use any and every outlet at our disposal to exalt His name so that others can see our thankfulness and witness the God we just cannot stop bragging about.

I pray that each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I encourage you to take just a few minutes and spend them with Jesus, thanking Him for all He’s done for you. But don’t stop there. Spend some time and thank Him for all He’s going to do, too. If your “leprosy” hasn’t been healed yet, go ahead and thank Him anyway, making it clear that you trust Jesus and know He’s got it covered. If you’re like me, you want to make this heart-itude of thanksgiving something that’s not seasonal. I want to wake up each morning giving thanks to God for who He is (not just what He’s done for me). I want to reignite my joy for the life He’s given me before my feet ever hit the ground in the morning. I want to be so full of thankfulness over being a child of God that I have to do a little happy dance so that I don’t explode. I want to be the one in ten.

Dear Lord, thank You. Thank You for who You are. Thank You that as Your child, I have the privilege of bringing my afflictions to You and that because of the blood of Jesus, I can boldly expect Your deliverance and healing. Father, help me to spend my life trying to outdo Your graciousness with my thanksgiving. Help me never to see Your movement in my life or recognize Your answer to prayer without vocally thanking and praising You for it. I love you, Jesus, and I am so incredibly thankful to be Yours. In Jesus’s mighty name I pray. Amen.

I Will Walk In Freedom

Happy 4th of July, everybody! I know you guys are all super busy, so I promise I’ll make this short and sweet. WHO JUST CLAPPED?!

I owe you guys a gigantic THANK YOU! A couple of weeks ago, just before Father’s Day, The Samaritan Woman blog had her very first birthday. There are no words (ironic indeed) to explain how grateful I am to those of you who have read even half a paragraph of what I’ve written. Blogging this past year has taught me about God in a way that I didn’t expect. He’s broadened my understanding of His character and His heart in such an expansive way, and because you’ve shared in this with me, I just wanted to thank you. I want to especially thank those of you who have read every single post, and if you aren’t related to me by blood or law and you still read every post, you get an even bigger thanks! This has been such an incredible blessing to me, and you guys are all so wonderful. I don’t feel God pressing me to stop the blog at this time, so I’ll just keeping reading and studying and sharing with you, if that’s okay. Thank you for being receptive to straight-forward truth that isn’t always very comfortable or pretty. Thank you for sharing the posts on social media so that others can read scripture, maybe for the very first time. Thank you for sharing the posts with your families. It still absolutely blows my mind that even one person would spend his/her time reading something I write, and I pray that God helps me to continue to find messages to share that are useful to you and relevant to what you’re going through. I am forever grateful for this blog experience, and that gratitude extends to each of you (all 5 of you) as well. 🙂   Just…thank you. Truly. From the bottom of my heart.

And while we’re on this topic of thanks, I’d like to take a second to thank any of you who might be reading this who serve, have served, or whose spouse serves in the military. You guys are beyond-words incredible, and you do what those of us living in the freedom you provide cannot do: you make it happen. I would like to take a moment before closing and simply pray over you and your families:

Dear Lord, thank you so very, very much for our military personnel and their families. Father, I ask that You provide Your mighty, mighty hand of protection over each of those serving our country, and I ask that You also protect their families back home in the wake of their absence. God, we lift them before You, asking a special blessing on them for the sacrifice they each make on our behalf. Thank you that You have personally selected each person and his/her family to do exactly what they’re doing, that You have a plan in place. We pray Jeremiah 29:11 directly over them, Father, that no harm would come to them and that You would deliver abundant blessings over each and every military family. We are so very grateful for the freedom to worship and live as we choose, and we take this moment to thank You and all branches of our armed services for that precious privilege. It’s in Jesus’s name that we pray. Amen.

And one last thing. Y’all, we know who is ultimately responsible for our freedom: Jesus. During this holiday, while we’re celebrating with our friends and family, let us take a moment to be grateful not only for the freedom that comes from being blessed to live as a citizen of the United States of America, but let’s intentionally lift a praise to the good Lord whose death set us free from the bondage that comes with being human. There are so many fabulous scriptures (constantly re-amazed at the gloriousness of the Word!) regarding the freedom that is provided for those of us who recognize Jesus Christ as our Savior. I encourage you to simply Google “Bible verses about freedom” and read those promises for yourself. But until you get the chance to do that, let me leave you with a few of those that really stood out to me. May we all take a moment to pause, recognize ALL of our freedoms, those provided by our military and our country AND those provided by our Savior. God bless you all. Thank you all so very, very much. Happy 4th of July, and may God continue to bless America (the land of the free and the undeserving)!

Psalm 118:5–In my distress, I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.

Psalm 119:45– I will walk in freedom…

John 8:32–You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:36– So if the Son sets you free, you will really be free.

Galatians 5:1– So Christ has truly set us free.

2 Corinthians 3:17– Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

1 Peter 2:16-17– Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat EVERYONE you meet with dignity.     (Emphasis mine)

Broken-hearted Thankfulness

I know, I know. You’re busy. You have a house to clean, children to entertain, food to buy and prep and cook. You have presents to purchase (for the holiday that’s not even here yet) and Black Friday deals to procure. As Thanksgiving arrives, you will undoubtedly have, both figuratively and literally, a lot on your plate (you see what I did there?!). But setting aside all the hurry and worry for just a second won’t kill you. So go ahead, take just a second to read something that, perhaps, might just help you enjoy your Thanksgiving a tiny bit more.

Before we get into the meat of the discussion (look at all these genius food-related metaphors!), take a second to read the section below. Thanks!


Thankful: (adj) feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

Hebrews 13:15, “Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.”


Despite one of these being taken from a secular dictionary and the other coming straight from the Bible, they have much in common. Let’s start with the verse in Hebrew. Many of us aren’t hearing for the first time this concept of being thankful to God at all times and in all circumstances. If you’re like me, you’ve read verses like this before, and after realizing it’s another verse telling you to do something you know you’re currently not doing very well, you sort of mumble “Sorry, God, I’ll do better,” and move on to the next verse. Don’t get me wrong, I think the type of attitude and mindset described in this verse is the key to living the kind of life that God intends for us. However, I don’t think the first part is the most important within this verse. I want us to really stop and look at the intentional reference to this mindset as “a sacrifice of praise.” A sacrifice. By definition, a sacrifice is something you choose to do, something that costs you something to carry out, but it’s something you do anyway because you believe it to be the right thing. Y’all, we cannot sit around waiting until our mood allows us to praise God, waiting until we feel like praising God. We must adopt a mindset that, no matter what we have going on, we are going to glorify the name of Jesus.

Notice the idea that thankfulness (like joy…see previous blog post!) is not a “when you feel like it” thing according to the dictionary definition either. Yes, there are many, many times in our lives when we feel deeply, deeply grateful, but there are many others when we don’t. Being thankful, according to Webster, might be a feeling you feel, but it might also be a decision you make to express gratitude.

I don’t know what you’re going through, I don’t know what you’ve been through, and I don’t know what you’ve lost this year. I do know, however, that the examples set for us in the Bible show people at their weakest, facing their greatest adversity, and coming through it successfully–blessed abundantly!–because they chose to praise God through each miserable step. Even when the devil is trying his best to help me remember every single upset in my life, I want to keep this song in my heart: I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His courts with praise. I will say this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. I want to value my relationship with my Heavenly Father enough that I purposefully use my time to simply be in His presence. To say thank you. To worship Him. I want to be so undone by His generosity that I have nothing but my love and my overwhelming, broken-hearted thankfulness to offer Him.

God is teaching me that for His children to live with Him in their hearts and minds all day each day isn’t convenient. It’s not natural for us, and it’s not easy. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s even uneventful sometimes. And because I’m a sinner by nature, it’s sacrificial. John 4:24 says that “God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).” Guys, just being thankful when it’s easy, just praising God for His innate goodness on Sunday mornings, that’s not enough. That’s nowhere near making a sacrifice of praise. It should be the first item on our “To Do” lists EVERY SINGLE DAY, not just when a holiday forces us to do it: “Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord…” (Psalm 29:2).

In my Bible reading this morning, the children of God were called “blessed.” Because I use an Amplified version of the Bible, it gave me deeper insight into what this term meant when applied to Christians. Blessed people = people who are happy, to be envied, spiritually prosperous, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions. With all my heart, I want this description to apply to me. Spiritually prosperous? Yes, please! Possessing life-joy? Absolutely! (I love that term, by the way…life-joy) Being joyful and satisfied regardless of what my outward condition is simply because I have a God who loves me enough to favor me and who rescued me from my sinful nature out of the goodness of His own heart? One million times yes! We serve an AMAZINGLY good God, y’all. He’s FOR us. He LOVES you. No matter what your heart feels like during this Thanksgiving holiday and the Christmas season to follow, be thankful. Choose to offer that wonderful God you serve your sacrifice of praise. You can never out-give God. Whatever it costs you to choose to set aside your sorrows and your worries and your upsets to white-knuckle your praise to God, DO IT. You will be repaid so very, very richly.

(Before the closing prayer, I’d like to take a minute and let you guys know how beyond-words thankful I am for you. I feel like I’d so often like to offer you an apology for the quality that you get here, but you don’t seem to mind. I will never be able to express my gratitude for your time and your feedback. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, thank you for sticking around. God is teaching me SOOO MUCH through you, and I’m forever grateful to Him and you. Big hugs to you all, and may everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving.)

Dear Lord, thank you so much. Thank you for every single thing in my life that you so continually provide. Father, I love you, and I ask that you help me to a more worshipful and grateful attitude regardless of my outward condition. In Psalm 25:12 it states that the person who worships You “shall dwell at ease,” and Father, this is what I want for my life. Please teach me to lay aside myself so that I can choose to offer You the sacrifice of praise that You so greatly deserve. Lord, I am incredibly thankful to be Your child. In Jesus’s name. Amen.