Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

let-memory-heap-fuel-on-the-altar-of-praiseWe are at the beginning of a new year, 2017, and at the beginning of a new sermon series: “Praise and Worship!” In my spirit I sense we will be on this topic for a while as we usher in 2017 on the best foundation we could ever lay down! The Bible is really one complete inspired Word of God to show us how to worship. God created us for communion. He created us to worship Him.

The book of Psalm has many verses referring to praise and worship. I love the heart of the writers in this book. They speak out how they are feeling; good or bad, and allow you to see their human side. Then they pour out their praise to God for Who He is.

Psalm 9:1 – 20 NLT

Psalm 9:1 – 2 NLT

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

 

“I will praise…” This phrase is stating what someone will do. It is a declaration

The word Praise is translated: H3034

ידה

yâdâh

yaw-daw’

literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); – cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving). Strongs Hebrew and Greek Lexicon

It is a hand extended out to revere or worship God. When someone extends a hand, like a hand shake, they are saying: “I accept you.” “I make a covenant with you” (shaking hands in agreement). One may say that the hand is an extension of the heart. Praise should come naturally to a believer.

“I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart…” The heart joins in with the praising, it can’t help it. “With all my heart…” expresses the psalmist’s deep devotion and commitment. This is what is called in the New Testament “making melody in the heart,” or “singing with grace in the heart.”

Eph. 5:19 NLT

Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

It is not mere mental singing, but vocal singing, the heart joining in; for the word here used for praise is to confess, to speak out, to declare openly the praises of God in the public congregation, as David elsewhere determines to do.

Psa 111:1 NLT

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart

as I meet with his godly people.

Our whole heart should be engaged in every part of divine service and worship, whether in preaching or in hearing, or in prayer, or in singing of praise. Sometimes our hearts are far from God in worship and divided between God and what is going on in this world. That is why we need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist in

Psalm 86:11 NLT

Teach me your ways, O Lord,

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

so that I may honor you.

Lord teach us to praise and worship You with all of our heart, not just lip service, or quickly spoken and then forgotten.

There is a new song by Kalley Heiligenthal that speaks of God’s praise to be ever on our lips:

Ever Be

(Kalley Heiligenthal)

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold

Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old

Your love is enduring through the winter rain

And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful you have been

faithful you will be

you pledge yourself to me and its why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan

Your kindness makes us whole

And you shoulder our weakness

 and your strength becomes our own

Now you’re making me like you

Clothing me in white

Bringing beauty from ashes

For You will have Your bride

free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame

and known by her true name and that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

And that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

We should always be ready to praise the Lord with our lips with thankful hearts for Who God is! He will be praised even if you don’t praise Him. He can command the rocks to cry out His glory. No way is a rock going to take my job of praising God for ever and ever.

“I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” “I will tell…” This is stating that all the stories of all that God has done from generation to generation will be spoken from the praiser’s lips. If they are not remembered, a generation might easily depart from the Lord. We have to tell. We have to declare the good works of the Lord.

Having trouble getting your praise on? Remind yourself who God is and what He has done in your life. Remind yourself of His promises in His Word! Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise. Once you get the fire lit, it is easy to keep it going by thanking God of all the marvelous things he has done in your life.

“I will be filled with joy because of You…” King James version states; “I will be glad and rejoice in thee..” Gladness and rejoicing is joy manifested!

Glad is translated: “brighten up, gleesome, chirp, joy, make merriment. The word rejoice means: “ to jump for joy, that is, exult: – be joyful, rejoice, triumph.”

Whoot Whoot! We are to be filled with God’s joy because of all the marvelous things God has done for us. We are to allow Joy to be manifested in us to the point of jumping up and down and rejoicing in praise to His mighty works!!!

“I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” The psalmist often connects joy with praises, as one leads to the other!

The word praises is translated differently here then it was in the previous verse. Praises in the Hebrew is:

“H2167

זמר

zâmar

zaw-mar’

A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

It shows it is more then a thought or a suggestion. It is stating I will sing, I will play my instrument, I will use my voice in praise to declare God’s name and lift Him to the highest of heights, to the glory of his name, his being, and perfections, as displayed in his marvelous works, and in the revelation of his word, and especially in His Son; and under the character of the “most high” God, the supreme Being over all creatures, angels and men.

Psa 7:17 NLT

I will thank the LORD because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

I love “I will” statements from the Bible. It shows stability. Again, it is a declaration stating I will do this no matter what comes my way! Saying or singing these statement out loud does something in your spirit. It becomes a solid foundation that you can rely on when trouble comes.

No matter what… I will sing praise to the name of the LORD!!!

Are you holding back any part of your heart from God? God wants to pour His Spirit into ALL of your heart, not a portion.

I pray you enter into God’s presence as you praise Him daily.

 

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com 

 

ThanksLiving – Living A Life Of Praise

Hebrews 13:15 (Amplified Bible)

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

A simpler translation is found in the Contemporary English Version:

Hebrews 13:15 (CEV)

“Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus.”

As a Christian, we should always live a life of praise and thanksgiving. Being a seeker of God it is not only a privilege but also our responsibility.

Worship and praise is the purest form of prayer because it focuses our minds and souls entirely away from ourselves and on to Him. What it communicates is pure love, devotion, reverence, appreciation, and thankfulness to God. It’s exalting God for who He is. It’s communicating our longing for Him. It’s drawing close to Him for the sake of being close. When we worship God, we are the closest to him we will ever be. That’s because praise welcomes His presence in our midst.

Praise is a declaration of who God is and what He’s going to do!

Praise is something that comes from within us… “I will praise God even in the midst of the storm.”

Praise is something that comes from without us… “I don’t feel like praising God, but I will because His word commands me to and I know He is worthy.”

Praise goes beyond our emotions and feelings and walks in obedience.

Obedience shows that we love God.

John 14:21 (NKJV)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Praise is a beautiful thing

Psalm 33:1 (NKJV)

“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.”

It is a beautiful thing to see people praise God. I was a Worship Pastor for over 32 years. It thrilled me to bring people to the throne of God in praise and worship. It was a zone that I new I was created to do. Seeing people praise God fueled my spirit. When we would worship corporately, and un-abandoned, I never wanted to leave. It was a beautiful thing.

What does praise do?

-It pleases God’s heart.

-It gives God much pleasure.

-It takes our focus off of ourselves.

-It is a great weapon against the enemy.

How is praise brought forth?

  1. The Spoken word 

We declare with our words who God is in our life, even when we don’t see the answer, God has all the answers.

-Speaking out loud who God is in a given situation helps you remember and also gets it into your spirit.

-It is heard in heaven, on earth, and in hell.

-It is a Decree! “I thank you God for healing me…..”

“I praise You Lord for being the God who sees me and You see me right now in the midst of my pain and trial!”

“I give You praise, Lord, for having a plan for my life and a hope and a future!”

We have to remind our selves what God can and will do in us.

2.  Our Singing/songs

Psa 40:3  

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” 

Psa 149:1

“Hallelujah! Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly.” 

Isa 42:10

“Sing a new song to the LORD; sing His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea with all that fills it, you islands with your inhabitants.” 

Singing songs of praise is a release. It is a time of action towards God to lift Him high. It frees our spirit to soar higher to new heights.

3.  Our Actions – Shout, Crying out how great God is. Corporate shouts of praise does a body good! Kneeling in humility or laying prostrate before God is showing praise. Obey God’s word is action because we want to please God’s heart.

4.  Our Thoughts/heart/soul – what we think and plan in our hearts

Psa 28:7

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song.” 

Psa 103:1  

“My soul, praise the LORD, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.” 

Psa 103:22

“Praise the LORD, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise the LORD!” 

Sometimes we forget to praise God. Sometimes we forget how Good God is. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of both.

We are the only ones who can control the battle in our minds of any negative thoughts we may have about ourselves and our situation.

David reminded himself….

Psa 42:5  (MSG)

“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God– soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” 

Praise and worship turns our focus to where it should be! We think about ourselves or things concerning us 24/7, surely we can live a life of praise and love on God as a lifestyle.

Praise should be such a part of our vocabulary that it spills out constantly.

I find myself constantly saying under my breath, “Thank you Jesus.” “I love you.” “Have Your way!” “You are so good.”

Praise will lift our spirits out of the mundane, out of the trial, out of depression.

ThanksLiving – Living a Life Of Praise

1. When I am troubled by Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Critical speech just cannot come out of a worshiper’s lips. Praise and critical speech

should not come from the same source. I prefer to give God praise then to criticize Him

or his creation (people or myself).

Whenever we express our love for God through praise and worship, we open up the channel through which His love flows into our heart. We invite His presence to come into our lives in a powerful way that, in the process, breaks down the strongholds of negative emotions. That is the hidden power of praising God.

Stormie Omartian

Negative emotions are never God’s will for you. Praise and worship is one of your greatest weapons against them. This is ThanksLiving.

2. When I have Anxiety, Fear, and Discouragement

We all have experienced anxiety, fear, and discouragement at some point in our lives. What do we do when we are experiencing it?

Much of our anxiety comes from “What if” thoughts.

“What if we don’t have enough money to pay the bills and eat?”

“What if I lose my job?”

“What if terrorists come and try and attack the US again?”

“What if the terrorists come to my neighborhood?”

“What if something bad happens to my children?”

“What if my husband dies, what will I do then?”

“What if my past catches up to me?”

“What if I have cancer?

“What if….

We all have our “What If’s,” the question is what will we do with those thoughts and feelings when they come? But God says to not be anxious about anything; Phil. 4:6 – 8 (Read from NKJV)

For me, I immediately start talking to God and say, “God I thank You that you are bigger then what concerns me!” “You are all powerful, all mighty, all knowing, and You are my hiding place.” “God You are in control of my life.” “I give You praise for Your eye is always upon me.” (Psalm 139) “Please give me strength to handle anything that comes my way.” “Please protect my family.” “Please shelter them from any harm.”

When God tells us to not be anxious bout anything, it’s not the same as someone telling us to “cheer up.” It’s not the same as when something terrible happens and a friend says, “Don’t worry.”

God is not just saying, “Forget about it.” He is giving us the solution. He says we should pray about everything and give praise and thanks to Him. When we do that, He promises to give us His peace that is beyond all comprehension. That means we will have peace even when it doesn’t make sense. That kind of peace will protect our heart and mind.

Praising God is the way to combat all anxiety, and it’s best to do it the moment you sense anxiety over anything. And then continue to praise God until all anxiety leaves.

Whatever your deepest fears are right now, bring every one of them to God. Thank Him that He is greater than any of them.

Fear will lie to you. It will tell you things that are not God’s truth for your life. Fear denies that God’s presence is fully active, and it cancels all hope and faith in God’s power to work in your behalf. But faith, prayer, praise, and the Word of God will conquer every fear. This is ThanksLiving.

3.  When I struggle with doubt

Complaining instead of praising is a sign that we are not grateful to God and doubt His goodness and faithfulness. It shows that we do not believe God is really who He says He is. When we complain, we indicate we don’t trust God and fear He won’t come through for us. We doubt that nothing is impossible with Him. Our lack of faith puts up a barrier between us and Him, and we cut off the avenue by which He can bless us.

Praising God in the midst of times of doubt opens up the avenue by which a fresh infusion of faith comes into our souls. This is ThanksLiving.

Complaining is the opposite of praising! Complaining is really lifting up the enemy. When we praise we lift up God. When we complain we lift up the enemy.

4.  When I don’t see answers to my prayers

When we praise God at the first sign of disappointment and loss of heart, He will open our eyes to the truth and help us see things from a perspective closer to His own.

When we worship God, we open the channel through which God works most powerfully to defeat the enemy on our behalf. We confuse the enemy and weaken him to the point he has to flee.

Even when all hope for our situation seems to be dead, praising God releases His resurrection life to flow in us. This Is ThanksLiving!

5.  When I am attacked by the enemy

Praise is one of the greatest weapons of warfare found in the Bible. We must have a revelation of the power and purpose of praise and worship. As a believer, you should be worshiping and praising with the revelation of what you are doing and understanding its value.

Praise chases the enemy away. The devil hates it when we worship the Lord. It repels him and makes him miserable. It confuses him and makes him weak. It reminds him that he used to be the worship leader in heaven (Isaiah 14) and he blew it! That’s why he will do anything to divert our attention away from worshiping and praising God.

The enemy wants to take our joy away. He wants to make us take our focus off of God and His abilities and transfer our focus onto ourselves and our inabilities. The enemy wants us to feel overwhelmed and out of control. He likes to bring confusion and strife.

All of these things come when we take our focus off of God and onto our situation.

Along with praise, God’s Word and prayer are also mighty to use in battling the enemy.

James 4:7 

“Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

One of the ways we submit to God is by worshiping Him.

One of the ways we resist the enemy is by proclaiming the Lord’s praises. God blesses us with His presence when we worship Him, and in His presence we are kept safe. This is ThanksLiving.

ThanksLiving is a lifestyle of gratitude.

ThanksLiving should be who we are 24/7.

ThanksLiving will propel you to your destiny and help you achieve what you were created for.

Prayer:

“Lord, I pray you would help me to live a life of ThanksLiving everyday, 24/7. I want to please Your heart and lift Your name on high with my words, thoughts, and actions. May my life of ThanksLiving draw all people to you as I know others look at me and are watching what I do. I thank You Lord for Who You are and I look to you daily for direction for every step I take in life. ~ Amen”

Blessings,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

Praise and Thanksgiving

We are celebrating 30 Days of Thanksgiving this month of November. It is a time to enjoy the blessings of God in our life and to express our praise and worship to God. It is a time of reflecting and appreciating all that God has given and done.

We should always be thankful and cultivate a thankful heart (as per last week’s message “Cultivating a Thankful Heart.”)

There is a powerful chapter in the book of Psalms that will help shed some light on our praise and thanksgiving we should offer.

Psa 100:1-5

(1)  A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

(2)  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

(3)  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

(4)  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

(5)  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

These verses show how we are to enter into God’s presence. It helps us to see that we are to be joyful, glad, with singing. It helps us see that God is god and we are not. He is the one who made us. We are God’s people and the sheep of His pastures. He is our Shepherd. He is our high priest and we enter in to his presence with thanksgiving and praise. We are to bless the Lord with our words and actions. The Lord is good and we need to remind ourselves of His goodness.

We could sit on these verses and look at them individually, but I want to zero in on verse four.

Psalm 100:4

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

Enter into His gates…

We are to enter into life and our relationship with God with thanksgiving. Coming with a thankful heart and offering the sacrifice of praise to Him. It is a privilege to come and worship God. It is an honor to have God in our lives. It’s an honor to know God.

In the Old Testament people were required to come to the temple and offer sacrifices for they sins. They brought their offering to the Priests and the priests would in turn offer their sacrifice to God for the people. Thank God we do not have to do that today because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice who willing went to the cross. That is why the veil was torn. We no longer needed a high priest to offer our sacrifice or petition to God like the priests did. Then, the priests would enter the Holy of holies on behalf of the people. Today, we can enter into God’s presence on our own because of what Christ did for us.

The word enter in the Hebrew means: “To go or come, abide, apply, or attain, be, bring, call, carry, come, depart, or employ” (Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries).

We are to come or employ ourselves into God’s presence with thanksgiving. We are to come and bow before God in worship.

Psalm 95:6

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”

It is coming with a humble and thankful heart. Being thankful is the key to entering God’s presence that’s why Philippians states giving our requests to God “with thanksgiving.”

Php 4:6-7  (KJV)

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis added)

We are to magnify God with our Thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Believe it or not the word “thanksgiving” is a form of worship. Thanksgiving in the original Hebrew means: “With extended hands, to revere in worship.”

Imagine every time you are thankful and expressing that to God you are actually worshipping Him! So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.

Psalm 100:4

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

The word “gates” refers to an outer perimeter of something that is on the inside. Gates in the Hebrew is translated “an opening, door, gate: city, door, gate, or port.”

When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem he also rebuilt the gates too (Nehemiah 3:1 – 32) Some of the gates they repaired were: The Sheep Gate, The Fish Gate, The Old Gate, The Valley Gate, The Refuse Gate, The Fountain Gate, The Water Gate, the Horse Gate, The East Gate, and the Miphkad Gate. Each one of these gates had a meaning and were important to the overall walls of Jerusalem.

Gates signify the outer edge to enter into something more personal or intimate. It allows access. You have to enter through a gate so you can be in more of an intimate setting as you walk through the courts to go into the Holy Of Holies. The same is true when you “enter into His gates with thanksgiving.”  Again, Thanksgiving is the key in entering into God’s presence.

Whether with our families, in public, or in secret we come and give God praise and thanksgiving (worship). It is an honor and privilege to do this.

This verse in Psalms 100:4 refers to public worship. We are to join joyfully in public worship to God. Gates take you from one realm to another. They are there to help and guide you into something new, or something precious.

If you read a verse about a gate being left open this is often referring to being yielded or surrendered to God. It can also mean that the gates are open to receive new converts or people into the house of God, and it shows free access in and out with no hindrances.

Isaiah 60:11

“Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession.”

Isaiah 60:18

“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land. Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.”

God is constantly bringing peace into our borders and because we are His children He watches over our land.

Psalm 100:4

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

“…and His courts with praise…” We are to enter God’s courts with praise. In His court is where He is. It is the beginning stages of truly going into the Holy of Holies in worship. The courts of the Lord can also be His house, or His church.

Psalm 84:2

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

I don’t know about you but I long to be with God constantly everyday. When we give God praise and thanksgiving we are giving ourselves access through His gate to come and be with him in His courts.

Praise is a powerful weapon. Praising God can release any fear, anxiety, or insecurity we may have. There is power in Praise. Especially when we praise God in hard circumstances.

I can think of Kim, who just lost her Dad this week. I was talking to her on the phone the day her Dad went to heaven and shared; “We can praise God in this storm!” She said she thought of that song earlier that day and was doing just that.

Video:  “Praise You In This Storm

I am thankful when it is sunny and when there is a storm. Praising God in the middle of a hardship is truly a sacrifice of praise. God is worthy when things are going good and when we struggle. Praising God gets our mind off of ourselves and onto the One who can calm us down. ~ Pastor Kris Belfils

We will become what we worship. The more we worship God, the more we become like Him.

The more we worship God the more we get to know Him. If you ever wanted to know God more, give Him praise! If ever you wanted to go deeper in God, worship and adore Him and He will take you farther than you have ever dreamed.

This is where I am right now. This is what I’m experiencing. I want more of Him so I worship Him. I am captivated by His presence. I just want to stay there. As I do, God imparts new revelations of Himself to me.

Every time we praise God for who He is and all that He has done, it unleashes His life-changing power in our lives.

Lets meditate on Psalm 100 during this Thanksgiving season and all year through.

Psa 100:1-5

(1)  A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

(2)  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

(3)  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

(4)  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

(5)  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

God is the strength of our life and He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

Cultivating A Thankful Heart

Eph. 5:20 

“Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Read Luke 17:11 – 19

Leprosy is a physically debilitating disease. You lose limbs and it deforms your body. Faces are unrecognizable. Often you lose fingers, hands, arms, and legs. It can affect your nerves and respiratory system too. Without proper treatment you will die from it. It is highly contagious and is easily transferred. That is why in the Bible, all lepers were ordered to stay outside the city to keep the rest of the population safe.

People were outcasts if they had leprosy. No interaction with their families or friends. The colony of lepers were their only social interaction.

How many of those ex-lepers do you think felt glad to be free from leprosy as they walked away from Jesus, completely healed of their incurable, disgusting, socially isolating disease? There’s no question about it—all ten did. But how many came back, threw themselves at Jesus’ feet, and thanked him, and was made whole by their gratitude?

Just one.

They all received the outward cure; only one received a spiritual blessing:  wholeness (verse 19).

Luke 17:19

“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Just like the lepers we can receive a healing too, yet the one leper knew what it was like to be made whole.

The nine thought they were whole. At least they were not suffering like they use to. Their skin healed up, and I believe their deformities from the leprosy were also healed. Yet, the nine had no idea what it really was like to be totally and completely whole.

How can one be completely whole without the Master’s touch? We cannot. We cannot be whole on our own; we need a Savior to make us whole.

The one who came back to thank Jesus was thankful, humble, and broken all at the same time. He shouted praises to Jesus and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet. This was brokenness in action.

Leprosy is progressive, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes.

Ten lepers were healed of leprosy, but only one was healed of spiritual leprosy. Why didn’t the others go back and show their thankfulness?

Was it because of…

►Pride?

►Self-centeredness?

Were they too self-centered wanting to go back to their families, their jobs, and their lives? How quickly they forgot the hardship they endured before their healing.

How simple it would have been to go and thank Jesus, the One who healed them of their disease and deformities.

Why did the one go back and thank Jesus?

►He was truly thankful and wanted to show his gratefulness.

►He recognized who Jesus was and he couldn’t help but show it outwardly

Do you think he knew he would be healed from his spiritual leprosy just by saying and showing his thankfulness? No, but what an awesome benefit for a thankful heart.

Cultivating a thankful heart is imperative to our spiritual life.

Another example is the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Mark 5:25 – 34

“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” 

She was an outcast by this time, as women, who were on their monthly, were sent out of the city for the week because they were considered “unclean.” She constantly bled. She constantly was unclean. She was an outcast, and I am sure was scorned by society. How do you think she felt? I believe she felt insecure. She felt she had no value or future. All her hope was gone. Yet she pressed in, through the crowd, and touched someone. This act alone was forbidden by anyone who was bleeding. She didn’t care. She went against society and the law to receive her healing. The woman was broken and fell at Jesus’ feet.

She also received an extra blessing of being made whole. I believe this was not only a physical healing, but an emotional and spiritual healing as well.

In these two examples, neither of them knew they needed to be spiritually whole; they just had a need to go to Jesus. Jesus is the only One who can make us whole. When He touches us we are healed. This alone should bring thankfulness out of your heart.

Cultivate a thankful heart

There are several steps in cultivating a thankful heart. Before we look at those steps, lets look at the word: “Cultivate” for a minute.

The word “cultivate” from the Dictionary means:

1. Prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.

• break up (soil) in preparation for sowing or planting.

• raise or grow (plants), esp. on a large scale for commercial purposes.

• Biology grow or maintain (living cells or tissue) in culture.

2. Try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill): he cultivated an air of indifference.

• try to win the friendship or favor of (someone): it helps if you go out of your way to cultivate the local people.

•apply oneself to improving or developing (one’s mind or manners).

World English Dictionary

  1. To till and prepare (land or soil) for the growth of crops
  2. To plant, tend, harvest, or improve (plants) by labour and skill
  3. To break up (land or soil) with a cultivator or hoe
  4. To improve or foster (the mind, body, etc) as by study, education, or labour
  5. To give special attention to: to cultivate a friendship ; to cultivate a hobby
  6. To give or bring culture to (a person, society, etc); civilize

This shows us that we need to be constantly tilling and working our hearts to grow thankfulness. It doesn’t come naturally. We really are born selfish. We have to teach ourselves to share and be nice to others. To cultivate a thankful heart takes work, yet it should spring from deep within when it comes to being thankful for all God has done in our lives.

Steps to cultivate a thankful heart:

1. We have to focus on the good and not the bad. 

Far too often we humans only see the bad in our life. We have to open our eyes to the bigger picture. God has blessed us with many blessings. Even for the fact of you breathing is enough to be thankful for. Still there’s more! Take a look in your life. Refuse to look at all the bad. Take inventory of all the blessings and good. I know you can do this. Remind yourself of all the good: Family, home, food, vehicle, health, relationships, freedom, and so much more are reasons to be thankful.

Romans 1:21 (GW)

“They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness.” 

We have to praise and thank God for being who He is. It keeps our focus on the good and not the bad. This verse expresses that they didn’t praise and thank God but that their thoughts were pointless, misguided and plunged into darkness.

There is much good in your life if you would just choose to see it!

2.  We have to learn to praise God in the middle of the storm!

It is easy to be thankful when all is well in your world. Praise comes easily when you are on a spiritual high. It is when we walk in the middle of a storm, or a valley that our true character comes out.

Being thankful to God even when things are not so good shows a sign of maturity. We as adults know life has its ups and downs. We also know seasons change. Learn to be thankful in the winter as well as the summer season of your life.

Ecc. 3:1 (NKJV)

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Being thankful is not denying the circumstance, it is trusting God in the middle of the battle knowing He is with you and is always victorious!

~ Pastor Kris Belfils

3.  We have to look for ways to help or bless others.

Getting our focus off of ourselves and onto others is one of the best ways I have found to help me to be thankful. We can get so self-absorbed we can’t even see our neighbor is hurting. Helping others forces us to look away from ourselves. It immediately shows us we don’t have it so bad, as others may have a harder struggle then we do.

Being self-absorbed shows immaturity. We are not being like Jesus, who gave His very life for us. What if Jesus was self-absorbed, where would we be right now? Lost!

1 Peter 3:8  (GW)

“Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble.”

John 13:34  (GNB)

“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” 

4.  We have to open our hearts to receive from God.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive something from God? Why do we toil and struggle to figure things out on our own? Maybe it is because we feel we are not worthy? Maybe its human reasoning? Maybe it is pride?

John 3:16 (Amplified)

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”

It takes faith to receive this verse as truth! If you receive this verse, you have to receive the entire Bible and all that it says about you. God loves you with an everlasting love. You are deeply cherished.

Jer 31:3  

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” 

Knowing we are deeply loved brings thankfulness. 24/7, 365 days a year is how much you are cherished and loved. God chose to create you! He chose to breath life into you! You are His favorite. Makes me giggle inside to think about that! It brings a sense of belonging and purpose. It brings a heart of thankfulness.

5.  We have to cultivate a thankful heart! 

There is always something in your life to be thankful for. Choose to focus on the good. Choose to praise and thank God even when the storms come.

Helping people and being compassionate is being like Jesus, and opening our hearts to receive from God daily will help us to grow in Christ and spread His love to others.

Being thankful is the only way to live. God has done so much for each of us. Let’s quickly give Him the thanks and praise He deserves.

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com