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Luke 17:11, 14-Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

He didn’t have to go that way. Pure and simple. While the path Jesus took towards Jerusalem was the quickest, it was also the way less traveled by self-respecting Jews. First of all, staying as far away from Samaria was always preferred. They were ‘half-breeds’, arrogant and, well, they not only had a sin problem, they worshiped God in the wrong way. Along with that, the path leading along the border of Samaria and Galilee was a robbery waiting to happen. Thieves and other scoundrels lurked along the way in wait of prey.

Still, he went and scripture implies that he went slowly, visiting each town and village along the way and healing people as usual. Most Jews hurried through the small country of Samaria, not Jesus. As he approached on small village a group of lepers called out to Him. Again, he could have ignored their calls. Lepers were by nature smelly, grotesque looking people and to come near one would make you at best ceremonially unclean. At worst you could ‘catch the disease and be worse off.

He didn’t have to respond. Lepers were outcasts of society. Tradition taught, at that time, that leprosy came upon a person as a punishment for sin. There was nothing physically, emotionally or spiritually appealing the group of ten men that approached Jesus that day. Nothing that would have moved the average person to intervene. But Jesus was no average person!

What was it that moved Him to act? Maybe it was the realization of the emotional trauma these men were in. Maybe it was the prayers their families had offered up on their behalf. Maybe he was looking for some way to show his power over leprosy. Or maybe it was love. It was the compassionate cry of broken people that drove him that day to heal those men.

That’s why I’m expressing gratitude today. I’ve never had leprosy, but I know what it’s like to be rejected. I’ve never been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, but I was born with a birth defect that will eventually kill me, I’m human.

I’m fortunate this Thanksgiving Season to have family and friends that love me and encourage me on the way, some of whom have stood by me through some pretty dark years, as a matter of fact. While I am thankful for those people, the person I’m most thankful for is Jesus Christ. Jesus saw me at my worst, but still believed in me enough to search me out and forgive me.  Like the lepers, Jesus sought me out when I was beaten, bruised and rejected.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, may I never weary of praising you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me. Thank you for reaching out to me when I was at my worst and giving me your best. Your love has freed me from the restraints that kept me in bondage and I praise you. Amen.


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

The United States of America will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day on November 22. Originally this day was set aside as a day in which our nation would pause to give thanks to the Creator God of the universe, the Great and Mighty Jehovah for the blessings brought to our nation.

Since that proclamation given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Thanksgiving day has become less of a religious holiday by many and more a time for feasting and shopping and football.

Over the next couple days ‘Built with Grace’ invites you to reflect on the true reasons for Thanksgiving based on Luke 17:11-19.

Give thanks to the Lord!


As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Luke 17:12-13

In Jesus’ day, leprosy was a terrible disease. While it is treatable today, during Biblical times it was a slow moving and eventually fatal disease. Small skin lesions would begin to eat away at fingers, toes and facial features and in later stages destroy the nervous system and lead to death.

While the physical disease was horrific, it may have been the emotional and spiritual part of the disease that was more painful to endure. Since there was no cure for leprosy and it was considered highly contagious. When a person was diagnosed with leprosy they were sent away from society so that the people would be spared. The leper was required to let his hair grow long, wear torn clothes, cover he lower part of his face and call out “Unclean! Unclean!” when a person without leprosy approached.

Often lepers would live alone or in colonies just outside the city wall. Imagine being a spouse or a child and only get to see your father from a distance. Imagine the emotional heartache and the financial burden that would be placed on the family because ‘daddy can’t live at home anymore.’

But it gets worse! Not only did society reject and isolate the leper, the church did too! Leprosy was considered a symbol of sin. Therefore if a person got leprosy it was assumed that the person (and perhaps the family) had sin in their lives. As a result, the family of a leper was under just as much suspicion as the leper when it came to sin.

When the ten lepers in Luke 17 saw Jesus they approached him as far as was appropriate and begged for mercy. They knew their need for healing and they had no doubt heard about this itinerant preacher who healed people everywhere he went.

The lesson each of us can learn from the ten lepers is that we all have a tremendous need for Jesus. We all have sin in our lives that keep us from a relationship with God. We all have a fatal disease called ‘being human’ that will eventually lead to death. The death rate among humans is 100%.

The advantage we have over the lepers is that we can hide most of our sin if we choose. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, pornography, anger/abuse and other ‘diseases of the soul’ have done quite well at covering up the secret lives they live. However, God sees through the façade. He isn’t fooled by religious activity or many words of assurance. Like the leper, our private lives are wide open to God.

I’m thankful today that I don’t have to hide behind all sorts of masks and disguises. I’m thankful that Jesus sees my faults as clearly as he saw the leperous sores on the men he came across that day and accepts me as I am with all my faults.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus like the leper, I have a disease. I can hide it from others but I know I can’t hide if from you. Thank you that even though you know my weakness, you love me just the same. Thank you that because of your forgiveness I don’t have to call out “Unclean! Unclean!” Amen


Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

“Don’t worry!” Two little words that are so easy to say, an action that is so hard, sometimes impossible to do. Sometimes people will tell us ‘don’t worry’ when they have no idea how much pain we are in. Sometimes people will say ‘don’t worry’ and make us feel like our worrying is some terrible sin that questions God’s desire or ability to intervene.

Sometimes we worry about things that don’t matter. Sometimes worry cripples our ability to think clearly or to act wisely. Sometimes we worry about things that are way beyond our control, which frankly, is a waste of time because it doesn’t change anything.

Paul wrote these words of advice to the church in Philippi. This was the small town where Paul and Silas were put in prison for preaching about Jesus. It was cold, dark, damp and no doubt smelly because ancient prisons had no ‘official’ bathroom facilities or showers.

In the midst of all this Paul and Silas sang praises to God! Then an earthquake hit and Paul and Silas were not only set free but had opportunity to lead the jail keeper and his entire family to Jesus. In the midst of calamity and injustice and danger and fear, Paul practiced what he preached!

There is on little phrase in these verses that gives much hope and relief, “pray about everything”. This little phrase reminds us that there is nothing too small to bring to our Heavenly Father. When we were growing up and exploring life we’d bring the smallest leaf, stones and sticks and all sorts of other things to our parents in excitement of what we’d found. In the same way we can come to our Father.

There is nothing to overwhelming to bring to the Father as well. It may be overwhelming to us because we don’t know the facts, we don’t know the future and we see no solution. But our Father in Heaven knows the facts, the solution and how it will all work out in the end.

Sometimes we worry because the situation we are in is a result of our own doing. We are afraid that God will say, “That’s it. That’s the last straw. How many times have I told you not to do that? Well, not this time buster. You are on your own this time.” God will never, ever abandon us. We fail. We fall. We rebel. But we can always come home to the Father for forgiveness.

Spend time today talking with God. Tell him all your concerns, big, small, and insignificant. Ask forgiveness for the things you need forgiveness for and believe you are forgiven. And most of all focus you mind on that fact that God loves you. Spend time thinking of all the blessings He’s bestowed upon you. When we tell Him all our struggles He will work to bring us peace beyond belief.

PRAYER: Holy Father, I thank You today for your love and forgiveness. I praise you for the fact that although you are creator and sustainer of the entire universe you aren’t too big or powerful or important to kneel beside me as a small child with a scuffed knee. There is nothing I can do to separate me from your love. Help me to give all my worries to you today. Amen.

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