Saturday, August 29, 2015

God is Good

Graphic from Scott Wendall
Ephesians 1:3 in the Message version says it this way:

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him.

I appreciate what John Mac Arthur says about this verse:

"The Greek word translated "blessed" is eulogetos, from which we derive the English word eulogy. It means to "speak well of someone." Paul begins verse 3 by saying that God is good. In fact, Jesus says in Matthew 19 that "there is none good but one, that is God" (v. 17). And God is good whether we perceive Him to be or not."

I read through Ephesians 1:3-14 this morning and thought I'd go through that whole passage. Then I started re-reading and can't get past this third verse. I want to spend some time today thinking on what the Bible has to say about God being good; what that means, what it means to me, and how it can impact how I live.

I want to look at some other places in the Bible that I'm told God is good:

* From the very beginning of the Bible I see God and his creative actions described in Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, & 25 as good.

* 1 Timothy 4:4 speaks to the fact that both God and all He creates are good.

Psalm 119:68 tells me that God's very nature is good.

* Psalm 33:5  tells me that God is so good that the earth is filled with His goodness.

* Lamentations 3:19-33 is one of my favorite scripture passages. The 25th verse especially speaks to the fact that God is good to those who seek after Him.  Good  is who God is.

 * Repeatedly in the Psalms we're told as God's followers to give thanks to God because He is good.  To cite a few of these scriptures there's  Psalm 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, & 136:1

* Psalm 25:8-11 tells me that God in His goodness will instruct me in how to live well

* James 1:16-18 makes it clear that every good gift is from God

What does it mean that God is good?

I appreciate how Richard L.Strauss explains it:

 "First of all, God Himself is good; that is, He is everything that God should be—the ideal person, the sum     total of all perfection. There are no defects or contradictions in Him, and nothing can be added to His nature  to make Him any better. He is excellence to an infinite degree, possessing every desirable quality, and  therefore of inestimable value. God is good. Because God is Himself the highest and greatest good, He is  also the source and fountain of all other good."

God is the standard for Good.

What does it mean to me that God is good?

I want a good life. The fact that God is good; that He creates good things, shows me how to live in goodness, and gives good gifts - it all makes me want God.  I want to learn about Him.  I want to know Him. I want to think about Him.  I want to seek after Him. I want live my life in obedience to Him.

Today I'm thinking on 2 simple things the fact that God is good means to me:

1. God's goodness provides me with a standard of what is good

There are messages all around me as to what is good and how I can obtain "the good life". Ethics in the workplace are sometimes transitory.  But God is unchanging (Numbers 23:19-20, Psalm 102:25-27, Hebrews 3:18, 1 Timothy 1:18).  As I learn about Him and how He functions, how He works in people's lives, what He calls me to - this shows me what is truly good.  This shows me where my life focus needs to be.

2. Remembering God's goodness keeps me encouraged.

Although the earth is filled with God's goodness, planet earth is fallen (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 15:12-20). Life is not perfect. Stuff happens and sometimes my life is difficult.  I do things that I don't want to do.  I mess up and I'm disappointed in myself. I see people I know and care about encounter painful circumstances and events.  I see tragedies on the news and in the world around me.

I could become discouraged.

One way to keep from discouragement is to think on God's goodness.

I appreciate these thoughts from John Piper:

"when Marshall came to speak to the Wheaton alumni a few years ago down at Wheaton and told this story, he said, at the end of his talk, summing it all up, “Life is hard and God is good. Life is hard and God is good.” That is the meaning of Lamentations. That is the meaning of Job. You might say that is the meaning of the Bible. Life is hard and God is good. And many of you are right in the midst of proving it to be so now. At least if you would trust him, if I could persuade you this morning that God is trustworthy in it, and if you held on to it, you would discover that life is hard and God is good."

How does the fact that God is good affect my life?

Two ways I want God's goodness affects my daily life:

1. I want to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:8, Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:15-17, Philippians 4:6-8, 2 Corinthians 9:15).

A huge part of being thankful is choosing to focus on all the good things God's given me instead of focusing on the negative things around me.

I benefit from Joel Osteen's thoughts on choosing to be thankful:

"Choose today to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart and have an attitude of gratitude toward the Lord. Even if you have things that are upsetting you, take a step of faith and begin to thank God for his goodness in your life. Thank Him for working behind the scenes on  your behalf. As you do, you will walk forward into the life of blessing He has in store for you!"

2. I want to show God my gratitude for His goodness by giving to others.

 Vince Gerhardy makes this great point:

"The thinking of the world is that everything is mine to keep and mine to use in whatever way I choose. When God is put at the center, we realize that everything is his and he gives it to us to use not just for ourselves but for the care of others, the work of the church. As God has given to us, we start giving to others - the best way to show our gratitude.".

Oh Father, I thank You that You are a good God.  Help me to live my life in gratitude.  May my heart and lips overflow with gratitude to You throughout the day.  May I continually see ways I can give to others every day.  May I extend Your goodness to others.

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