Life of Thanksgiving - Taking Thanksgiving Home

Last week we looked at the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17 and how a Life of Thanksgiving starts at the feet of Jesus. Jesus tells the Samaritan leper to “rise and go.” This New Life that is given in our participating in the Resurrection through the Holy Spirit begins with being face down at the feet of Jesus. Take time to give thanks to Jesus and intentionally place yourself at his feet. Here are three disciplines to help bring you to the feet of Jesus:

  1. Begin each day in prayer simply thanking God for who he has created you to be in Jesus Christ. You are His Child. His Son. His Daughter. He is very pleased with you!
  2. Sit down and write out your blessings from each day. Count them. Thank God for them.
  3. Pray continually what is called the “Breath Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart” which is, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Breath in and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God” which places him on his rightful throne. Breath out and say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner” which places you in your rightful position at his feet. Sit and breathe that prayer. Do it throughout the day to where when you recognize your breath you are then brought to the foot of the throne.

This week we are looking at one of my favorite stories, Mark 5:1-20. To get a more complete picture of what Mark is doing in this section, read Mark 4:35-5:43. Jesus encounters three forces that are completely out of our control: Nature, Spiritual Powers, and Death. There is a question of who Jesus is at the end of the calming of the storm, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” There is a call to faith in the midst of fear. Faith is the belief that God is working in and through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1 defines it as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We all have things we are afraid of, things that motivate us negatively. What are some areas of your life that are out of your control where your faith needs to be strengthened?

I love the beautiful imagery Mark gives in 4:35-41, where the Creator God manifested in the Flesh stands amidst his broken creation that has given way to chaos and speaks order into it like he did in Genesis 1. “Quiet! Be still!” He commands it. He speaks to it. He is re-creating and subduing nature. We see the Kingdom of God breaking into this chaotic creation and speaking order into it. When Adam and Eve reached for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they were telling God that they themselves can determine what is good and what is evil. Every time we try to play god and not let God be God, we send the God’s ordered creation into chaos. What areas of your life to do you need to let go of and let God speak order into it?

When Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side” in 4:35, Jesus proposes that they go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee…to Gentile country. This is enemy territory. On the way into enemy territory, they go through a storm, which he stills. They dock the boat at a cemetery, next to a field of pigs. Is there anything here that stands out odd to you?

Jesus gets out of the boat and a bleeding, naked, crazy man runs up and throws himself at the feet of Jesus. Place yourself in the sandals of one of the apostles who are still in the boat watching. You just saw Jesus speak to nature and bring order to it and now a naked demon-possessed man who lives in a cemetery throws himself at the feet of Jesus and shouts at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” Jesus again speaks order into this man’s life calling the demon to come out.

Read 5:14-17. Why did they plead with Jesus to leave their region? What does that say about the power of Jesus and how terrifying it is? Whatever is going on inside of Jesus has this man, whom everyone knows was crazy demon possessed, seated calmly with his clothes on and in his right mind. When people end up at the feet of Jesus they move from chaos to peace. What areas of your life need to be placed at the feet of Jesus?

Look at the comparison between the stories of Demon possession in Mark 1 and 5. The first takes place on sacred soil in a sacred place (The Synagogue) and the other in an unclean land and an unclean place (Gentile country, in a cemetery, next to a field of pigs). Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus silencing the demons who called out his identity. Jesus does not allow this man who had a legion of demons to go with him. Instead he sends him home with a message, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Jesus has crossed over to the land of the Gentiles and sends this man as the first apostle to the Gentiles (Apostle – “One who is sent”).

He goes to the Decapolis, the Ten Cities, who formed a defense league in the first century to protect themselves and they had a strong trading agreement. He came to the feet of Jesus in utter chaos and Jesus spoke peace and order into his life. He then gave him that message to take home. The man then went home and told everyone of the peace that came into his life because of Jesus. What areas of your life need to find peace at the feet of Jesus? What areas has Jesus brought peace? How do you share that testimony of peace with others?

1 Peter 3:15-16 – “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

What message do you have for the hope that people see in you? In what ways is your hope visible to others?

From the feet of Jesus you take peace home with you and everywhere you go.