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Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels We Have Heard on High


Angels we have heard on high, Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains.

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be, Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see, Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid, Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!


“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”


1 Timothy 3:16


All scriptures quoted are from the King James Version or The Message.


One fine day, sometime after the creative days had ended, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel and Raguel, the Archangels of heaven, gathered around the pinnacle of a high mountain and became deeply engaged in conversation.

“So, what did you think of the news?”


“I am astonished! What greater display of power and genius could possibly surpass the creation of the universe?”

“True. We were like the morning stars singing and shouting together!”

“And why not? The sun, moon and stars! Just like that, he spoke them into existence!”

“Majestic mountains like this!”

“I love the crashing waves of the oceans best.”

“But the magnificent canyons! Breathtaking!”

“You are forgetting about the mighty waterfalls! Why, their noise equals the sounds of thunder—which is amazing too. And the mist settles down so peacefully.”

“My brothers. Don’t you find the long grass of the plains stretching for miles and waving in the wind the most peaceful? I could spend millenniums there, just drinking it all in.”

“I am sorry, but the life forms fascinate me the most. The gazelle, the cheetah, the horses!”

“The peacock! The eagle!”

“Not to mention the mosquito and the fly!”


“Surely, all of you jest. Nothing you have cited in all of our Lord’s creation exceeds humankind. How deeply he condescended. How tenderly he sculpted out the features. And I held my breath when he breathed into him the breath of life.”

“The very first living soul!”

“Yes, Michael, that was the crowning achievement. But, we can be grateful for at least one thing.”

“What is that, Raphael?”

“He created man a little lower than the angels!”

Again, they all broke out into laughter.

“But we digress. What about the news? What did you think…?”

Just then a voice rang out, breaking in on their meeting. “Michael! Gabriel!”

“We will finish this conversation later.”



The Lord Most High inhabited an enormous throne, high and lifted up. Some might say he hovered over it and indeed, it was difficult to describe how he existed. All the angels knew that he had no certain dwelling place, that he was omnipresent. But, for their benefit, he assumed a localized presence, like a theophany, a form that took on many different appearances—indefinable, yet unmistakably God. His shekinah glory was a mesmerizing mixture of brilliant rays of light, swirling mists and shimmering clouds.

The exquisite aroma of incense hung heavy in the atmosphere. In the background, a heavenly host gifted with beautiful voices sang anthems of adoration. Another corps of angels called the seraphs flew around the throne, engaged in their ceaseless work of praising and worshipping the Lord Most High.

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts!” one cried to the other. “The whole earth is full of his glory!”

Thousands of parading angels crowded the vast throne room. Coming and going; listening and responding; singing and worshipping; dispatched and debriefed, it was a beehive of activity. They were kept continuously occupied by the wishes and instructions of the occupant of the throne, watching over children, comforting widows, delivering messages, interpreting dreams, entering into the mysterious realms of dreams and visions to give guidance and encouragement to humans, and executing judgment.

With the greatest of reverence, the summoned angels entered into the courtroom and bowed down.

“Michael, Gabriel!”

“Yes, Most High God?”

“I’ve been in an extended meeting with Abraham, my servant whom I called out of Ur of the Chaldees. I am sending you on a very special mission into the wicked cities of the plains, Sodom and Gomorrah.”

“But, Lord, have you not determined to rain down fire and brimstone on these cities. Their sin has long come up before you as a stench in your nostrils.”

A hint of sadness fell across the face of God. “I know.” The Lord then raised his hand. “Abraham’s nephew Lot sits in the city gate. For Abraham’s sake, I want Lot saved from the judgment—and, his wife and daughters. You will go and lead Lot and his family out and spare them from the fire. You will be attacked. Use whatever power you must to handle the situation, but save Lot alive.”

The angels glanced at each other with puzzlement in their eyes.

“I know what you’re thinking. Lot deserves the punishment because he rebelled against Abraham, his uncle, and chose to live in Sodom and Gomorrah.”

The Lord then leaned toward them and spoke firmly, yet softly. “Lot found grace in my eyes.”

“Like Noah?”

“Yes, like Noah.”

“We’re on our way.”

Outside the gates, Gabriel whispered to Michael, “I’m afraid I don’t understand that much about grace. Maybe we’ll learn more about it some day.”

The mission did not transpire without a hitch. They arrived at Sodom at sundown and met Lot in the gates. The wickedness of the city was so great that the angels smote the men with blindness. Although they tried to rescue more of Lot’s family, it was no use. The next morning, they had to physically drag Lot, his wife and his two daughters out of the city. “This is the mercy of the Lord that we’re doing this,” Gabriel explained to them.At a safe distance away, they heard the explosions. An unbelievable firestorm fell on the cities, annihilating them in complete destruction. They felt the heat on their backs. Lot and his daughters never looked back. His wife, however, her heart having become deeply rooted in Sodom, turned around to lament her loss. Instantly, she became a pillar of salt.



Before the throne, Gabriel and Michael gave an account of their mission. “We tried to save more, but they mocked us. And we regret what happened to Lot’s wife.”

The Lord spoke. “Those who accept my mercy will be saved. Those who reject it choose their own fate. Well done.”

Later, the two angels were joined by the other archangels and shared with them the details of their mission. Raphael spoke up. “Sodom and Gomorrah? They were blights on God’s creation. This is what I cannot understand about the news we were talking about earlier. Lucifer has so corrupted man that he is hopelessly lost in sin.”

“Lucifer!” cried Jophiel. “I shudder even at the mention of his name. I would never have imagined the depth of his rebellion against God. He has made it the whole purpose of his existence! He must be stopped.”

“In due time, Jophiel,” said Gabriel. “Our Master has a plan.”

“I have never seen the expression on the face of our Lord Most High as I did when he sent us to Sodom and Gomorrah,” said Michael. “He said, ‘Lot found grace in my eyes’ so passionately that it made my heart leap.”

“I can’t help it. I side with Jophiel on this,” said Chamuel. “This is a holy place and the Lord is holy to the utmost. I know he created man, but man fell from grace. How can our Lord Most High permit damaged goods to enter here?”

Gabriel smiled. “That’s the purpose of the news.”

“What? To bring man to heaven? No way!”

“Eventually. But, first, my brother archangel,” Gabriel’s eyes sparkled and he spoke dramatically, “heaven is going down to man!”

An inquisitive look came over Raguel. “Well, we know that there is going to be a baby born in Bethlehem. The way I understand it, somehow the Lord Most High is going to manifest himself…in…human flesh…and…I still cannot bring myself to imagine it.”

“Imagine what?” asked Michael. “That God would become man?”

“Yes! That’s precisely it! How could God who is infinitely greater than us so abase himself to become lower than us? How can God become man and still be God? It is totally unthinkable!”

Uriel broke his silence. “But even before we consider that, how is it even possible? God and man? Why, they are total opposites. They can never go together. It’s like fire and water, or darkness and light!”

“Uriel! I am surprised at you. Surely you remember that God plans to reverse the biological clock on Abraham and Sarah and give them their infant son, Isaac? Will that not be a miracle?”

Uriel rubbed his chin. “Well, I suppose so. Plus, I’m the one scheduled to grab Abraham’s hand before he plunges the knife into Isaac’s heart. Still…”

“Uriel, what do you believe about God? Do you believe that he is omnipotent? Omniscient? Infinite? Perfect? Absolute in all his attributes?”

“Of course, I believe that. And much more besides.”

“Well, what about his grace and mercy?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you believe they are infinite as well?”

“Absolutely! But so is his righteousness!”

“So, then. Do we have a problem?”

Uriel thought about his next statement. “We have a problem, but our Lord Most High is also the greatest problem-solver of all time and eternity. He will find a way.”

“Right,” said Gabriel. “He will find a way. Do not doubt. After all, if he did not possess some mysterious qualities about him, he wouldn’t be God, would he?”

“In the meantime,” said Michael, “we have work to do!”

Some worker angels had to build a ladder that reached from earth to heaven so that a few thousand more angels could be orchestrated to ascend and descend on it. There was a burning bush to prepare, a pillar of fire to ignite, a pillar of cloud to put together, guidance angels to lead Israel, and then an angel to deal with that crazy prophet named Balaam. On and on the assignments went. Gideon’s call, Samson’s mother, Elijah’s meal, thousands of angels had to be outfitted with chariots in array against the enemies of Israel, plus so many more things on God’s agenda.


The centuries slipped by.

The angels were so busy that they didn’t notice the changes that were taking place on earth. But the infinite mind of God saw every detail. He took note of the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire where, under the reign of Caesar Augustus, the world was absent of any major wars. He saw Rome’s currency, the danarius, become standard, the Greek language spread across the empire so that it was either spoken or understood by everyone. He saw the vast transportation system build by Roman engineers that enabled travel across the known world. The fullness of time was rapidly approaching.

One day, the archangels were gathered around the city gates telling of their escapades and haggling over their viewpoints when the familiar voice thundered out.


The others gave him quizzical looks. “Do you think it’s about the news?”

“Be patient,” Gabriel cautioned them. “I’ll let you know. I always do.”

With that, he left. As he entered the throne room, Gabriel sensed something different. The choir was more beautiful. The seraphs cried with greater expression. The brilliance of the throne seemed bathed in brighter rays than ever before. Somehow, Gabriel knew that the moment of destiny had arrived, and he felt thrilled that he was going to have a part to play in it.

“Yes, Lord Most High?”

“The time has come.”

“I am here to do your bidding.”

“Listen carefully. There is a maiden, a virgin by the name of Mary, who lives in a city of Galilee called Nazareth. She is a specially prepared vessel for me, but she has no knowledge of what is about to happen to her. You are going to inform her of her role”

“If I may ask, Lord Most High, what will she do?”

“She is going to be the mother of a special baby, the Christ child. Come closer. Here is the plan.”

Barely able to contain his excitement, the Great I Am, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The Lord of Hosts, the Almighty, shared with his archangel the drama of redemption that was about to unfold.

“And, Gabriel. Not a word to your brethren. There will be time.”

“Yes, my Lord Most High. Not a word.”

On his way out, Gabriel avoided the inquiring glances of the other angels. He would explain later.

Years later, Luke penned these words, according to the New Living text:

“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

The months passed. Heaven buzzed with excitement, now fully apprised of the plans of God. Some of the archangels wished for different circumstances of birth, like an ivory palace with marble columns, and furniture made of gold. At the very least, they thought the innkeeper could have given them a room. But, they tried to understand the purpose of Bethlehem and the incarnation. The Lord Most High always knew best.

Peering from behind clouds, the angels watched the caravan slowly make its way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary held tightly to the beast of burden with one hand and to her swollen stomach with the other. An encourager angel ran up to Gabriel to voice his concern. “Mary is in so much pain. Can’t we go down and ease the journey for her on the back of that donkey?”

Gabriel shook his head. “This is the way it has to be. He told me it had to be an authentic experience in every possible way.”

“But he didn’t have to become human to know what it was like to be human, did he?”

Gabriel’s eyes burned holes in the angel’s heart. “This is only his birth. You have much more to see than this. It is not for the faint of heart. Now, make sure the choir is ready for the shepherds.”

“Yes, Sir.”



Gabriel had a greater concern. He had to grow accustomed to the fact that the headquarters of the Godhead had changed. He knew that the substance of the divine nature was eternal and that God was everywhere present at the same time, but as far back as he could remember, heaven had been his throne and earth his footstool. Now, something profoundly different had taken place and he wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. His thoughts ran wild. “Who will be in charge of heaven? Will we be able to see him? Will we recognize him in human form?” Immediately, he felt foolish. “His manifestation may change, but he will always be the same.”

“Oh, Mary, Mary”, he breathed to himself. “Do you have any idea who is growing in your womb? The one I call the Lord Most High is about to be your infant son.”

For those used to the time table of eternity, events happened fast. Arrive in Bethlehem. Search for a room. Settle down in an animal stable.

And then, the greatest moment in both human and divine history happened in the most unlikely of places, to the most unlikely of people.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

“You deserved so much more,” Gabriel thought as he sped toward the fields where the shepherds watched their flocks by night. He saw them gathered together, warding off the evening chill. “I hope these poor shepherds will recognize the significance of what has happened tonight.”

“Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

Gabriel looked around for the angelic chorus. Right on cue. Never had he heard them sound more…well, angelic… than this holy night.

“Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

Then, as quickly as they came, the heavenly host vanished from the sky. The shepherds looked stunned. Out of their sight, Gabriel waited to see what would happen. He listened intently as they talked it over.

“Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Gabriel smiled contentedly. Mission accomplished. Oh, yes, there was more to do. They had a star to attend to, a security guard to detach to protect the Oriental magi, and the odious King Herod to deal with. Michael would take care of those details. Gabriel had one more specific thing to confirm.

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

“YES!” Gabriel exclaimed as he took to the wind. “They got the name right!”


Thirty three and a half years passed.

It was a strange time for the angels. Not only did they take their orders from the One High and Lifted Up, they ministered to him because of his human frailty. On the pinnacle of the temple, forty days of fasting and temptations by Satan left him weakened. Besides that, the routine tasks of angels, like missions and messages and humans to care for, kept them busy. But the archangels knew that a greater mission lay ahead. They also knew that, although they could help, this mission belonged to the Lord Most High alone. Often, they remonstrated with him, telling him that they would be willing to give themselves freely for him. To no avail. He and he alone was qualified to perform the mission. Bethlehem was the beginning. Now the end was in sight. To this end was he born.

Daniel, the prophet, had warned them that the Messiah would be cut off, but not for himself. It was a mission of grace. The time was nigh at hand.

The week of destiny began in Gethsemane. “How quickly these humans age!” the ministering angels thought as they drew close to the human form of Jesus. Under the severe strain of intercessory prayer, he grew weak again, sweating what seemed like great drops of blood. The angels rushed to his side and strengthened him. Now, refreshed and fully committed to his mission, he roused his disciples from their sleep and told them that the one who would betray him was near.

The words were barely out of his mouth when Judas (the one from the Twelve) showed up, and with him a gang from the high priests and religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had worked out a sign with them: “The one I kiss, that’s the one—seize him.” He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, “How are you, Rabbi?” and kissed him.

Jesus said, “Friend, why this charade?”

Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up. One of those with Jesus pulled his sword and, taking a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant, cut off his ear.

Michael and Gabriel, their muscles tensed and ready, drew their own swords, awaiting only the command of the Lord Most High.

Jesus said, “Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords. Don’t you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready?

The angels anticipated their chance to wage a long-awaited warfare. “Yes! Here we are, Master! Bid us come and fight!”

Jesus ignored them. But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?”

The angels quietly, and with great reluctance, sheathed their swords. They fought off a sense of shame that they had failed the Lord Most High. All they could do was watch.

They watched the arrest and mock trials.

They watched the mob slap him and spit on him.

They watched the soldiers scourge him with bullwhips.

They watched him stumble and fall beneath the load of the cross.

They cringed as spikes were pounded deep into his hands and feet.

They looked on in horror as this beaten, bloodied body, chosen by the Lord Most High, drew its last breath and died.

Furious over his treatment, thousands of angels grabbed the earth and shook it. Two of them took hold of the top of the veil in the temple and tore it in two. Pandemonium reigned over the city.

And then, muted screams, mournful wails, and silence.

Afterwards, the priests and religious hierarchy gloated in their deviousness, Roman troops high-fived each other, and average citizens went about their business oblivious to the event of the ages. For the disciples, numbness and disbelief fell over them like a funeral shroud.

But the angels were just about to get busy again.


Early Sunday morning, before the sun chased the darkness from the sky, and before the women’s footsteps were heard on the path to the sepulcher, Gabriel and Michael sprang into action. Like lightening, they descended from heaven, causing the earth to quake once again. They proceeded to roll back the stone that secured the entrance to the tomb and weighed hundreds of pounds as though it were cheap plaster. The armed guards shook with fear and passed out at the sight. Gabriel then spoke to the women.

“Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Days later, his earthly mission in the flesh now over, the Lord Most High stood at Bethany, surrounded, not by angels but by human believers. Up until this moment, he stood as a promise. Now, he glowed with the joy of a promise fulfilled. He spoke forcefully to the audience. “As it was written, I was sent to suffer for your sakes and to die. But I was also destined to triumph over death so that you could repent and your sins could be remitted. All of you saw these things happen. Now, go back to Jerusalem and wait for my Spirit to come and dwell in you.”

When he finished with these last words, he lifted up his hands and disappeared in a cloud into the heavens. The band of disciples stayed where they were, staring in wonderment at the sight, trying to absorb what they had just seen and heard. The Lord Most High had instructed Gabriel and Michael on their response. Their white robes glistening, they spoke to the people.

“You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”

And so, the church age was born. The angels were busier than ever, freeing the preachers from prison, guiding evangelists like Philip to hungry hearts, appearing in dreams and visions to give instructions, sending the judgment of God upon the enemies of the church, confirming the call of God to the Apostles, and rejoicing over every sinner who repented. They became totally engrossed in ministering to the needs of believers, the people who now bore the title of The Redeemed.

Two millenniums passed by.


The familiar voice rang out again. “Archangels!”

The seven leaders of the angelic hosts immediately appeared before the Lord Most High. “Yes, our Lord?”

“Have all preparations been made?”

“All is ready, Lord Most High.”

“The white robes?”


“The crowns?”


“The banquet hall?”


“The feast?”


“The twenty-four seats for the Elders?”


“The books?”


“And…what about the trumpet? Is it ready, Gabriel?”

“Cleaned, polished and ready to go, my Lord Most High.”

“Well, put that trumpet to your lips and blow, Gabriel! It is time for the church, my Bride, to come home!”

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Heaven vibrated with joy and excitement as the marriage supper of the Lamb took place. Much more would happen before the ceaseless ages of eternity began to roll. Jacob’s trouble—or the great tribulation—was ahead, with the vials, trumpets and seals dispensing worldwide judgment and calamities upon unbelievers. The thousand years of peace with Jesus reigning as the Prince of Peace was on schedule. And then, at long last, Lucifer, the son of the morning, with all of his minions, would be cast forever into the bottomless pit. God’s loyal angels had looked forward to this day since the beginning of time.


When all of God’s plans had unfolded, he called his faithful angels around him.

“Have I been good to you?” he asked.

“Why, Lord Most High! Of course! There was never a question…”

“Have I revealed all my plans to you?”

“Yes, Lord Most High. You have entrusted us with all of your secrets.”

“I just wanted to be sure, because now, I must ask you to step aside.”

“Step aside?” The archangels were dumfounded.

“We don’t understand, our Lord. We continue to be loyal to you.”

“I know. I created you to be loyal. I created you to serve me, to praise me, to do my bidding. I never had to save you. I never had to die for you. I never had to cleanse you. You have always been pure and free from sin.

“But these…” He pointed to the thousands of believers who filled the streets of glory. “These are my redeemed. I loved them so much that I took upon the form of a man like them. I became a servant. I suffered and died in the most painful and dishonorable way possible. I died as the sinless for the sinful, as the innocent for the guilty, as the perfect Lamb of God to buy back what Satan stole from me.”

“You have read what John wrote in his prophecies.

“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God.”

“The people John saw and heard were not angels. They were the redeemed. The prodigals. The ones I brought back from death and hell. You angels were never in danger of hell fire. These people, these souls, were saved out of the fire, purchased by my blood!

“So, now, the songs of the redeemed will be the choir of heaven! When they had no glorified bodies, when they suffered temptations and trials and persecutions and attacks, they loved me. They loved me out of choice, not design.

“And so, the epoch of grace, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the very purpose for which I designed my glory from the beginning has been fulfilled!”

“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”









The Power of Thanksgiving

Most of of think of thanksgiving as a courteous, nice thing to do. It has more to do with public relations, rather than an absolute requirement.

  • We classify it as proper protocol.
  • When people don’t express gratitude, we think they are only being uncouth.
  • When people forget to say thanks, we accuse them only of thoughtlessness.
  • When we study the scripture, however, a far different profile emerges.
  • Thanksgiving actually turns out to be a fundamental spiritual principle.
  • True thanksgiving opens the door to deep spiritual healing and experience.

Luke 17:12-19

12 And as he 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.

15 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.

17 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.


There are three words that describe what happened to the leper.

  • Cleansed: katharizo=purified
  • Healed: iomai=healed, cured
  • Whole: sozo=saved, preserved, do well, be whole

There are instances in the Bible where people were blessed, healed and touched, but not made whole.

Luke 6:35

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Mark 8:21-25

21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

John 6:10-12

10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

John 6:25-29

25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

26 Jesus answered them and said, 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.

What are the steps to wholeness?

Luke 17:12-19

Prayer of desparation

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

  • Those who do not pray should not expect answers to prayer.
  • Prayers that move God are effectual and fervent.


14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests.

Jesus could have declared them clean because he was a high priest after the Order of Melchezidek. Instead, he sent them to the high priest for evidence of their healing. Why? First of all, it would legitimize their healing to all the people who did not yet recognize Jesus. Second, and more important, if the High Priest declared them clean, it meant that the High Priest would have been forced to recognize the power of Jesus to heal leprosy.

And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.


15 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,

Worship=shawchaw (prostrate oneself, bow down)

Gen 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

Gen 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

1 Sam 25:41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.


giving him thanks: and


he was a Samaritan.

17 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.


What did the leper who came back communicate with Jesus?

  • You have changed my life for the better.
  • I could not have had this healing without you.
  • I am forever indebted to you.
  • You did not just restore my health for my purposes; you did it for your own purposes.

What is it that the simple act of sincere thanksgiving does to God?

The nine who did not return to give thanks grabbed whatever blessings and advantages they could get from Jesus and ran. They wanted to be healed to get on with their lives, to pursue their own interests. They either had no concept of God’s purpose or they were totally self-indulgent. Whatever they received, they felt like it was a deserved benefit.

It is possible to have enough faith in God to receive miracles and blessings from him. This does not necessarily lead on to true discipleship.

Wholeness requires an attitude of thanksgiving towards God.

  • Wholeness is a release of pain.
  • Wholeness neutralizes long-standing dysfunctional effects.
  • Wholeness makes one comfortable with who they are and what they have.

The most important truth to embrace is your relationship with God supercedes your relationship with yourself, your family, your friends, your acquaintences, your past, or any other person or thing that can be named.

2 Cor 12:7-10

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.





Thanksgiving Psalm

PSALM 66: A Psalm of Thanksgiving

The community of faith praises God joyfully (66:1–12). And the psalmist, representing the individual believer, commits himself to praise God and pray to Him (vv. 13–20).

Key concepts. Worship Psalms 140-145. Praise Psalms 140-145. Temple Solomon’s Temple. Fear of God Proverbs 1-4. Sin Psalm 51.

“You … tested us” (66:8–12). When we can see God’s hand in our pain and praise Him for our suffering, we are becoming mature.

“I will” (66:13). The first 12 verses speak of “we.” Here the psalm shifts to “I.” When each individual is moved to heartfelt worship the church honors God.


Much of what we read in Psalm 66 governs our words.

We have done this all of our lives.

  • Pledge of allegiance
  • National anthem
  • Multiplication tables
  • Poems

What is the point of telling us what to say?

  • It fixes the subject in our minds.
  • It guards against variation or counterfeit.
  • It serves as a highway with guardrails for our minds.
  • It keeps us from wandering in the thought wilderness.
  • What is the point of giving thanksgiving and praise to God?
  • It guards against depression and negativism.
  • It preserves a spirit of humility and gratitude.
  • It pleases God.
  • It keep the communication channel with God on a right basis.



Is Thanksgiving Next?

turkey_thanksgiving.jpg On November 13, 2003 , exactly two weeks before Thanksgiving, Alabama Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, Roy Moore was turned out of office. The judicial panel that removed him cited Justice Moore’s insistence on acknowledging God in his courtroom as the reason he had to go. They did not say he was a religious bigot. They did not say he twisted the law to suit his religious views. They simply said that he acknowledged God. That was unacceptable to them.

In his defense, Justice Moore said that the prayer offered before each judicial session was itself an acknowledgement of God. The oath taken by persons elected to public office as they lay their hands upon the Bible was an acknowledgement of God. The entire basis of our declaration of independence and the constitution of our government was the acknowledgment of God. Therefore, to serve as a judicial officer in the State of Alabama , Justice Moore contended that the acknowledgment of God was required.

If the new standard of qualification to serve in the government of the United States is the refusal that God exists, we are all in trouble. It’s hard to tell where these disturbing developments will take us, but, if they follow the trend, we will become a totally secular state. That means that Thanksgiving will no longer be recognized as a national holiday. Christmas will likely lose its status as well. Gone will be prayer in the halls of Congress, “In God We Trust” from our coinage, “under God” from our pledge of allegiance, the white crosses from thousands of military graves, and all mention of God in public documents or shrines. The Bible says that the nation that forgets God will be turned into hell. What will happen to a nation that does not just forget God, but deliberately and methodically expunges all traces of God from its official life? Those who seek to dismantle the Christian underpinnings of this great country must remember that our very freedoms were not the discovered outside the Bible, but are the very outgrowth of Biblical principles.

Here is the first Thanksgiving Proclamation, issued June 20, 1676 . “The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God’s Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.”

Over 300 years later, this same nation denies the even the right to acknowledge God, not to mention condoning the depth of religious fervor spelled out in this proclamation. Thanksgiving may very well be on our endangered species list. A secular nation cannot continue to observe Thanksgiving while asserting that there is no God to thank.

Let us be clear. As believers, we begin with the acknowledgment of God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. Acknowledgement begets thanksgiving. Thanksgiving produces submission. Submission leads to obedience. Obedience aligns us with the divine will. These steps may be easily seen in a study of the scriptures. If we reverse the order, however, we will unravel the very cords that bind us together with all of our rights, privileges and freedoms. Our forefathers, fresh the the land of religious oppression and persecution, knew that true freedom flows from God himself. We must not forget these principles today.


Christmas Opportunities

gift.jpg The Christmas celebration has been the subject of some controversy over the years. The day, the title and the trappings have often been challenged on a number of grounds. The United Pentecostal Church International does not exalt December twenty-fifth as a High Holy Day. Churches and individuals make the day whatever they want it to be. Some go in for elaborate decorations and celebrations. Some keep it simple. Others do not recognize it at all, believing it to be a pagan holiday.

But long, involved debates about Christmas have never served us well. It is true that it suffers from over-commercialization. Society’s expectations of Christmas gifts and parties have become burdensome to many. Nevertheless, we have to recognize that Christmas, perhaps the most popular holiday in the world, turns the spotlight on the birth of Jesus. Wisdom often dictates that we follow a path that lies outside the normal range of choices. “He that winneth souls is wise.” If we can set aside our misgivings about the day long enough, marvelous opportunities to touch the lives of countless people present themselves to us. Here are a few:

Family gatherings. Many new converts disdain family get-togethers because of the drinking, foul language and immorality that invariably shows up. Some dread the arguments that often break out between relatives. Yet, Jesus deliberately visited in the house of sinners to be a beacon in a dark place. He knew that he had to enter into their society—-without partaking of their sins—-in order to have an impact on them. When you go, I advise you to do the following: Swallow your pride, smile through offensive insults, reach out to a hurting, lonely cousin or in-law, talk to everyone, and make sure you are remembered for something good. This is your opportunity to deliver a powerful, positive message by how you act, not by preaching. On the other hand, if you withdraw and express judgmentalism and disgust, that’s how you will be remembered. Leave before it gets too bad, but not before you have expressed the joy and happiness that is in your heart.

Gift-giving. Before you opt out of the gift-giving scene, consider the opportunity it affords you to establish a witness. The gift of a Bible, a book by a Christian author, a Christian tape or CD or some other Christian related gift may open a door to a person’s soul. Even if it doesn’t, you haven’t done any harm. It’s just another way to plant a seed.

Christmas cards and letters. Yes, it is a chore. Keeping any relationship alive takes work. Maybe the task will seem lighter if you try sending a distinctively Christian card. Better yet, write a little letter about the difference Jesus made in your life this year. If you include enough personal information in it, and not make it an impersonal sermon, it will get read.

Pictures. People will look at pictures, and they send wonderful messages. If you want the message to center on Christ, put a Bible in it, or have it taken with your church in the background. Your smile gives a silent testimony about Jesus.

Friendliness and cheer. The Christmas season gives all of us an opportunity to manifest a kind and charitable spirit that honors Christ. Call somebody that you haven’t talked to for a long time. Visit a neighbor and take along a pie or plate of cookies. Participate in a volunteer program. Do something that tells the world that love rules your heart.

Incarnation messages. Oneness believers are especially blessed by the miracle at Bethlehem because we recognize Jesus as deity robed in humanity. As a pastor, I welcome Christmas time as an opportunity to preach about the true identity of Christ. This centerpiece of the Apostles doctrine deserves to be heralded throughout the year, but especially in this season.

The Holy Ghost baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost represents God’s greatest gift to the believer. Christmas time, while much attention is drawn to gifts, becomes an ideal occasion to focus on the Pentecostal experience. It’s not what gift you can give, but the gift that God alone can give that changes a person’s life. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Christmas may be laden with tradition and imprisoned in pressure-packed circumstances. The way you line up on the issues remains your personal concern. But keep your eye open for times to share the good news. Don’t allow the extraordinary opportunities that Christmas affords to reach out to souls, most of whom don’t know or care about such difficulties, pass you by.