Praying Like Jesus #7


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Jesus Prayed With A Thankful Heart

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (KJV) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. [16] Rejoice evermore. [17] Pray without ceasing. [18] In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

In the news today I read how the FDA just announced approval for a new severe depression drug. The article went on to note that over 16 million Americans suffer from depression. That amazes me. I do not want to be patronizing, but as a retired Airman I have travelled to many of the countries around the world. I’ve been in Japan, Germany, Korea, Egypt, the Phillipines, Thailand, and England to name a few. In America we have unprecedented freedoms, freedoms that other countries dream of having. Though it is expensive we have access to the finest medical care in the world. We have absolute freedom to worship where ever we want to worship. In Egypt we had to post guards around our tents during our Sunday Chaplain services lest a local Muslim find out we were worshiping the Lord and attack us. Yes, that’s the truth. I have noticed poverty in other countries, and poverty in the United States. Yet in the United States even our poor are many times overweight. That’s not the case in other countries. I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of children in other countries with skeletal arms and legs and puffed up, worm filled bellies. I have yet to see ANYONE in America in that condition. Not even the sojourning homeless we see periodically at the entrance to the mall and the Walmart.

We are blessed in this country. We are blessed beyond measure by God, though many barely acknowledge His awesome Presence!

It is certain that depression can be attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain, but much more comes from ingratitude. When the human appetite is filled to overflowing and we neglect that the bounty came from a gracious and faithful Creator, then any perceived lack becomes an opportunity for depression and murmuring. Scott Hubbard of Desiring God Ministries wrote:

“When Paul says that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17), he really means enjoy. God’s ocean of gifts is meant for swimming. … But the simple pleasures of earth are never completely safe in the hands of sinners — even redeemed ones. Without care, we feast on the abundance of God’s house and forget that it is his house. We eat and eat, and gradually neglect the host. Eyes lower from heaven to earth. Spiritual senses dull. “Desires for other things” begin to choke the word (Mark 4:19). In moments like these, it is one of God’s severe mercies to deal with us as he dealt with Israel, and to send us into the wilderness.”

The Father Gave The Son Many Wilderness Experiences

It is significant that before Jesus began His ministry of Grace and healing
that He was “Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1)

Jesus’ Life Did Not Begin With Blessing,
But With Things That Looked Like Cursing.

Jesus was born in a stable, and laid as a baby in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Jesus spent His first few years on this earth as a fugitive. Before Jesus ever began ministering – while He was still in diapers – King Herod wanted to kill Him. The Angel of God told Joseph “take the young Child and His mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13). Many people suffer depression because of the suffering of their childhood. I understand. I’ve been there. But if any should be depressed, it should have been Jesus. When His ministry began He was constantly hounded by Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. Jesus was sought out and pursued by the sick and diseased once it was discovered that He has the power to heal. Jesus was sent to this earth to preach the Gospel. The Gospel has the power to bless! Jesus said:

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because HE HATH JesusReadingScriptureANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

People Pursued Jesus For The Wrong Reasons. He Came To Preach The Gospel, But Humanity Focused On His Miracles.

It is God’s Gospel that lifts up the Poor, the broken hearted, the captives, and the blind. It is the Gospel that focuses us on the Coming of our Lord. It is the Gospel that is the most important thing in the world. The Gospel teaches that God loves us so much that He sacrificed the much for us. Yet throughout His ministry people chased after Jesus not for the eternal blessing of the Gospel, but for temporal healings. Often Jesus told people when He healed them:

Don’t tell anyone Who healed you!
(see Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; Luke 5:14)

Why? Because humanity chased after Jesus for the wrong reason. After Jesus fed the five thousand plus people with five small loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:17ff) the next day He was approached by a huge crowd looking for another free meal. Jesus refused to feed them, saying:

John 6:26-29 (KJV) … Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. [27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? [29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Jesus came preaching the Gospel, but many ignored the Gospel while seeking temporal blessings. If anyone should have been depressed it should have been Jesus. Yet Jesus was never depressed.

Jesus Was Always Thankful

As Jesus preached the Gospel and was ignored and even persecuted He maintained a thankful heart. We read:

Matthew 11:20-24 (KJV) Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, BECAUSE THEY REPENTED NOT: [21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Many preachers – myself included – could become depressed at the wholesale faithlessness of the people around them. But Jesus was not depressed. At the end of upbraiding these cities for a failure to repent Jesus prayed:

Matthew 11:25-26 (KJV) … I THANK THEE, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. [26] Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Jesus recognized the Sovereignty of God and praised the Father though it seemed like His ministry was fruitless. Jesus did what God tells us to do. Instead of worrying or feeling inadequate or threatened Jesus thanked the Father. He did as the Scripture commands:

1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: [7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

He was confident of the love of God the Father, and confident of God’s power to handle whatever might come His way. Jesus prayed with a thankful heart. Jesus thanked God though rarely was He thanked.

Of The Thousands Of People That Jesus Healed During His Ministry, Very Few Ever Thanked Jesus For What He Did.

One day Jesus went to the home of a leper He had healed by the name of Simon. You’ll find the story in Luke 7:36-50. As Jesus sat there at Simon’s table a “woman of the city, which was a sinner” came into the house. She took an Alabaster Box of perfume. The Bible says that she:

Luke 7:38 (KJV) … stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

As Simon watched this spectacle he judged both Christ and the fallen woman. Jesus perceived what Simon was thinking. He told Simon:

Luke 7:44-48 (KJV) … Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. [45] Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. [46] My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. [47] Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. [48] And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

It is the thankful and repentant heart that is blessed by Christ. This woman went away from Simon’s house that day with the greatest gift of all. She was saved from her sins and adopted into the Family of God because she was thankful and repentant. The greatest gift God has given us is Himself and His Heaven.

The Thankful Heart Is The Whole Heart

In another of the very few times in Scripture where Christ was thanked is found in Luke 17. The Bible tells us that:

Luke 17:12-14 (KJV) And as {Jesus} entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: [13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, JESUS, MASTER, HAVE MERCY ON US. [14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Now Jesus could have healed these ten men – miserable lepers – immediately if He wanted to do so. Yet God often requires our obedience for our blessing. In the Old Testament God established a Law for Lepers. If a Leper was ever to be considered “clean” then he had to be examined by the priest, who then would offer a sacrifice unto God (see Leviticus 14:2-3). Jesus told the lepers “Go and show yourselves unto the priests”. None were healed until they obeyed His command. So all ten go to the priests and sure enough, praise the Lord, their leprosy was healed.

Luke 17:15-16 (KJV) And ONE of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, [16] And fell down on his face at his feet, GIVING HIM THANKS: and he was a Samaritan.

Only ONE returned to Jesus. Only ONE humbled himself before the Lord and GAVE JESUS THANKS. No one else did. Ten were healed, but only ONE returned to Jesus and thanked Him. Notice what our Lord said:

Luke 17:17-19 (KJV) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? [18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. [19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Ten were cleansed, BUT ONLY ONE WAS MADE WHOLE. Did you get that? Jesus told Him:

Arise, and go thy way: Thy FAITH has
made thee WHOLE

Wholeness is not found in healing of disease, but in reuniting the soul to God through Christ. This is what makes whole – the faith that humbles us and magnifies God by praise!

We should all be thankful to God for His abundant blessings. You may not have a huge bank account. You may have health problems. You may struggle physically. Regardless as to whatever limitations you have, if you have responded to the Gospel of Salvation and belong to the Lord because of Christ, then you should be thankful! God is your Portion, and a glorious eternity your destination. Praise God for His wonderful gifts! God tells those Who are His:

Psalms 50:14-15 (KJV) Offer unto God THANKSGIVING; and pay thy vows unto the most High: [15] And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

It brings glory to God when we thank Him for what He has done, and call upon Him as we belong to Him. God is my Portion, my Father, my Savior, my Rock. Yes there are times when we, like Jesus, are led into the wildernesses of life. Yet Good is faithful. I say again:

God is faithful!
The Lord thy God is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
God is faithful with His Saints (Hosea 11:12)
God is faithful in our call (1 Cdorinthians 1:9)
God is faithful when we are tried (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Our God will never leave nor forsake us (Matthew 28:20)

When worry comes our way, and it will, let us turn that WORRY into PRAYER. Go to your Father in the Name of Christ. The Bible declares that we are to:

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) … {Do not worry} but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

God does not want us to be worried, to fret and be consumed of troubles. When the devil brings a worry your way, take it to the Cross. The Bible tells us FOR EVERYTHING:

and SUPPLICATION (Humility)

…let your requests be made known unto God. The Apostle went on to say:

Philippians 4:8 (KJV) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When we pray with thankful hearts we look UPWARD instead of DOWNWARD. We do as that old song said:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Jesus appreciated all the things that His Father had provided. He tells us not to worry, that God is indeed faithful.

Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV) … {Do not worry} saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? [32] (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. [33] But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We like Jesus need to occupy our minds not with worry, gloom and doom. We do not need to look at what we DON’T have but what we DO have. We have a faithful Father Who knows what we need even before we ask Him. If we focus on doing His Will by promoting His Kingdom Gospel then “all these things shall be added unto you”.

The Cure For Depression? A Thankful Heart

Are you depressed? Then do as God has directed.

Psalms 92:1-5 (KJV) … It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: [2] To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, [3] Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. [4] For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. [5] O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

It is said that “misery loves company”. Do not focus on being miserable, or on your lack. Do as Jesus did and praise the Lord not just on the mountaintop but also in the valley. Jesus thanked the Father for hearing Him

John 11:41 … Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

Praise God that He does hear us. He hears the sinner’s prayer when that sinner repents and calls on the Name of the Lord Jesus. He hears the saint’s prayer when the child that He loves cries out.

Psalms 106:1 (KJV) Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

God’s patience endures. He waits, dear sinner, that you might come to Him by Christ. His mercy endureth. You have been given another day to seek Him and to rest in Him. Have you done so? Oh Beloved, come to Him Who is faithfully calling you.

Psalms 107:1-2 (KJV) O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. [2] Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

Jesus has conquered death, that great enemy of mankind. Jesus has conquered sin and the devil. He has destroyed the enemy. The Father does not ignore us, but listens to us who are His. He always has, and always will. Look upward! If you are not saved, look upward and know that Christ came for you, too. He loves you and gave Himself for you. If you are His Child by faith then look upward. You may be in a valley, but you are not alone.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

May God touch your hearts by His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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