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Humility Week: (Moses)

“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)” (Numbers 12:3)

We’re digging into the big idea of humility this week and starting with a verse so humble the whole thing is in parenthesis. It is an aside to let us know, apparently, why Moses wasn’t defending himself when his siblings were disrespecting him.

And while Moses didn’t feel the need to stick up for himself, God did. He zapped Miriam with leprosy for a week for smack-talking against Moses’ God-given authority.

It’s hard to imagine a trophy for the “World’s Most Humble Guy.” It feels better to tuck it in-between a couple of modest punctuation marks. We don’t tend to give out awards for humility, but we do respect humble people — especially humble leaders.

And as we’ll see this week, you cannot be the person God intends you to be without humility. You can’t be wise. You can’t be like Jesus. And you won’t be on the waiting list to be “lifted up” by God. We need humility. Come back tomorrow.

Think: Before we dig in this week, think about how you would define the worlds “pride” and “humility.” Can pride be good? Can you be too humble? What does humility cost?

Pray: Ask God to help you to be great at being humble in a way that pleases Him.

Do: Read Number 12:1-16 to get the whole story about how — and why — God exalted humble Moses when he was getting dissed by Aaron and Miriam.

Baby Jesus in I.C.U

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Thanks for What: Just Sing Already

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

Do you like to sing? I don’t always dig it. For one thing, Im not very good. I don’t really enjoy the sound of my own warbling. I’d much rather listen to you (unless you’re just as awful as me).

Also, after mumbling my way through a bunch of songs in every worship service since they let me out of the nursery, I suddenly wondered one day, “Why in the world do we do this? What a weird thing, now that I think about it. Couldn’t we do something else for 20 minutes?” Then I read this verse.

Oh.

And in the process of trying to get over myself (and trying to sing right out loud without caring what you think), I discovered that saying thanks in a song really helped me to express to God how thankful I felt in a way that words by themselves can’t quite accomplish. Apparently, that’s exactly what God wants me to do.

Think: Do you like singing, in general? Do you like singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together with other Christians? Does singing like that help you to feel more grateful to God?

Pray: Ask God to help you to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to Him?

Do: Remember this verse the next time you have a chance to participate in singing with a group of fellow Christians.

Thanks for What: Real Faith

“Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’ ” (Luke 17:19)

For faith to make any real difference in our lives,it requires at least two things.

First, our faith has to be aimed at something trustworthy. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s the easiest thing to miss. Very few things humans believe in offer serious power — and Jesus alone offers supernatural power over life and death.

Faith isn’t enough on it’s own to make anyone well if it’s faith in ourselves or faith in religion or faith in science or drugs or guru’s. The lepers’ faith made him well because he trusted in Jesus.

Second, our faith has to be for real. The leper was convinced Jesus had the power to heal him, but he didn’t think his faith meant that Jesus was required to heal him. In other words, He trusted in Jesus’ power even if Jesus did not choose to use that power to miraculously reverse his leprosy.

But Jesus did. No wonder the ex-leper was so thankful.

Think: What are some of the things you are tempted to trust to help you instead of God? Do you have a hard time believing God is trustworthy when He chooses not to use His power in the way you want Him to?

Pray: Thank God for your faith in Jesus through which He forgave your sins and made you well forever.

Do: Notice this week how people talk about trusting in God, science, religion, or themselves.

A Sweet Advent Calendar

Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’, especially of something extremely important. For Christians, it is the period of 4 weeks leading up to Christmas day where they celebrate the arrival of the God man – Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago! It’s also a time to look forward with expectation to when Jesus will return again.
The [...]

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Thanks for What: Close the Distance

“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ ” (Luke 17:17-18)

Before they were healed of their leprosy, the ten could not get close to Jesus. The law required lepers to stay at a distance because their disease was so contagious. They had to yell their request to Him.

But then Jesus healed them and removed the barrier of disease between Him and them. Still, just one of them took advantage of his newfound freedom to move close to the Son of God. Only one of them shouted his praise to God and threw Himself at Jesus’ feet.

It should break our hearts a little to hear Jesus ask, “Where are the other nine?” Partly, it makes us sad because we can see ourselves in their ungrateful sandals running away from Jesus after receiving the gift of a brand new clean life in Him.

Thanksgiving is one of the best ways of moving closer to God. And James wrote that every time we move closer to God, He moves closer to us. Why not use the freedom you’ve been given as a Christian to throw yourself at the feet of the Savior in gratitude for being cleansed from your sin and made brand new forever?

Think: What are some reasons we would not want to be closer to God? Does trying to keep Him at a distance ever lead to anything good in our lives? Does it ever make you sad when you realize you’ve been moving away from Him instead of moving closer?

Pray: Ask God to help you to recognize the good He has done for you and to respond by moving closer to Him in praise and thanksgiving.

Do: Notice this weekend how intentionally telling God thanks for the good in your life makes you feel closer to Him.

Thanks for What: Just Makes Sense

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:15-16)

Happy Thanksgiving from PlanetWisdom! We are so grateful for every one of you that comes to a conference or stops by this web site. When we hear stories about how God is working in your lives — or how you have responded to Him by making wise choices — we try to remember to thank Him. It wouldn’t make sense not to; that’s what we’ve asked Him for.

Ten percent of the lepers Jesus healed that day felt the same way. The other ninety percent rushed to the priests to get declared clean and get back to everything in their lives leprosy had stolen from them. Who can blame them for rushing? Who can blame them for being excited? But 9 out of 10 of them — and about the same percentage of us, most of the time — missed the most logical response to getting exactly what they had asked God for.

They didn’t take the time to say thanks. Did they think the healing might go away if they went back to Jesus? Did they think God didn’t care about hearing their thanks? Were they just that ungrateful? Whatever the reason, it was a foolish, short-sighted choice. Put another way: Telling God thanks for good things is always the right choice. Every time.

The Samaritan got it. For him, the gratitude was loud, physical (he got his body down on the ground), and humble. And that makes perfect sense.

Think: What keeps you from feeling grateful for the good things God does for you? What keeps you from saying thanks to Him when it’s not Thanksgiving weekend? Would it make sense to thank Him louder or lower or more often?

Pray: Thank God today for all the good gifts you can think of — and don’t be afraid to get loud or bow low while you’re doing it.

Do: Listen this weekend for the kinds of things other people say they are thankful for to get ideas for what else you can say thanks for, too.

Buy Nothing Day 2009

Christmas 2009 is just around the corner and so is Black Friday. What is Black Friday you might ask? That’s a great question!
Black Friday is the largest shopping day in the U.S.A.! It’s the first Friday after the American Thanksgiving holiday and is considered to be the start of the holiday shopping period. Retailers have [...]

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Thanks for What: The Power

“When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14)

One of the things that awed people about Jesus’ miracles was that He didn’t “do” anything. “Miracle workers,” priests, prophets, and magicians throughout history have performed elaborate rituals, uttered magic words, chanted, danced, hurt themselves, killed people, and did everything they could to impress their gods or put on a show in an attempt to do the impossible.

Jesus mostly just made a silent decision in response to someone believing in Him — and the impossible happened. So instead of raising His hands or yelling or putting on some Harry Potter glasses and waving a stick at the lepers, Jesus just told them to go see the priests to confirm their healing and get permission to return to their homes and families.

And on the way to the temple, they discovered the leprosy was gone. Just like that.

No matter what problems we look to God for help with, we can be absolutely sure that He has the power to fix them any way He likes — and every good thing in our lives, every fixed thing, every hopeful thing, every functioning thing, every impossible thing — is because He did it without even breaking a sweat.

Think: Do you believe God is powerful enough to do whatever He wants to do for you without even trying hard? Do you believe that every good thing in your life is something He gave to you using His limitless power because He loves you?

Pray: Thank God for His limitless power to make people well.

Do: Make a quick list of 10 good things in your life that your powerful God has given to you because He loves you.

Thanks for What: The Prayer

“They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ ” (Luke 17:12-13)

What a mental image this passage paints: Jesus walks into a Middle Eastern borderland village. Ten men are grouped together at shouting distance from Him, waiting, wrapped in bandages and slowly disintegrating from leprosy. Do they look pitiful? Dangerous? Afraid?

Due to their contagion, they can’t let Jesus get too close. By law, they must warn Him off, but they also desperately need Him. They know who He is. Maybe they heard the Healer was coming their way. They call to Him by name — “Jesus!” — by rank — “Master!” — and then they shout their request — “Have pity on us!”

We were the same, weren’t we? Ravaged by sin. Separated from God. Destined for hard life followed by hopeless death. We were desperate, and Jesus was our only hope. God loved us in our rags, in our weakness, in our sin, and sent His Son.

We called Him by name: “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” We called Him by rank: “You are Lord over heaven and earth.” And we stated our belief: “You were perfectly clean, and you became sin for me. You died in my place on the cross and were raised to life again on the third day. In faith, I accept the free gift of being made clean, of abundant and eternal life in you.”

Thank you, Jesus.

Think: Are you more grossed out by the idea of leprosy or your own sin? Which is more destructive? Which is easier to cure?

Pray: Thank God for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that made it possible for you to be made clean from your sin and live forever in heaven with Him.

Do: If you’re a Christian, think of someone you could talk to this Thanksgiving weekend about your story of being made clean from your sin by God’s grace through your faith in Jesus.

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