Just recently coming through the Thanksgiving holiday it is easy to be mindful of the goodness of God. We are reminded of the blessings God has bestowed upon us over the previous year. I don’t know about your local church but here at Liberty we have an annual praise dinner and this year we listened to testimonies of God’s goodness from our people. We heard stories of how God worked in the life of one of our college students; directing them to ministry. We heard of God’s healing power in the life of a man that was losing blood faster than they could put it in him with little to no chance of survival. We heard the praises of a mother for her new born child they never thought would come. And those were only the praises we heard in front of the record crowd that had gathered; there were numerous other praises that rang out from table to table as we reflected on God and His goodness. The question was raised however if God had not done all these seemingly impossible things would He still be good?
Of course, we know that God is good all the time. In the past I have talked about His immutability, His never-ending love, His sovereignty, His infinitude, His wisdom, and other attributes for us to wonder at; but although He is great in all these things we need to be constantly reminded that what we are dealing with is a good God. God can be loved and trusted because He is good. It is so hard to explain the goodness of God in a blog but when we look at His goodness we see that it boils down to basically three moral attributes; His holiness, His righteousness, and His justice. Let’s wonder at these characteristics of God that make Him truly good.
There are so many ways to describe God’s goodness. I have tried to help us think on these three qualities that really encompass so many other attributes as a jumping off point. Prayerfully when we think of the goodness of God we remember His holiness, righteousness, and justice and we desire to emulate Him in these areas. I encourage you today to spend some time alone wondering at the goodness of God!
What brings you the most joy as a believer in God? His mercy? His love? Perhaps His justice? In a world that changes so rapidly, we all need a constant that we can be fixed on. The Lord is an anchor in the storms of our life. It brings me great joy to know that the Lord of my life is never changing.
All of His attributes we have wondered at over the past year will never end. His love never fails, He is sovereign in all things, His wisdom is matchless, God will never leave me nor forsake me, He has no beginning or end, and His compassion surpasses all! We should all be amazed at His immutability. Let’s look at 3 verses that remind us that our God does not change.
Like my most recent blog concerning God’s infinitude, when I look
at the sovereignty of God, this attribute can be just as mind
boggling. God rules the universe with total control and supreme
power. He is free from anything or anyone externally exerting
control over Him. He is free to do what He knows is best at all
times. For some of us, this is a hard concept to grasp. We believe
we are in control. In some way this is true. We do have a volitional
will that God has granted us to make choices, and God holds us
responsible for our choices. But make no mistake about it. God is
in control of everything that happens.
Many times in our lives we suffer, and when we do, we can often
think poorly about God’s decision-making. When we look around
at the world, we see tremendous devastation every day. It seems
like mass chaos at times. Just looking at the news headlines, we
see world leaders come and go daily, we see billions in poverty,
and we see relationships torn apart for no apparent reason. After
seeing these things, you would tend to conclude that God is good
sometimes and He is cruel other times.
As Christians, our words can sound shallow when we simply say
that God is sovereign; this is all for the best. But in all reality, that is
so true. As humans, we want a God that is manageable, but that is
simply not our call. God does not need our permission for
anything. We cannot ever fully explain this with our human
thinking, but scripture is very clear. Isaiah 45:6-7 says this: That
people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that
there is none besides me; I am the Lord and there is no other. I form
light and create darkness; I make well-being and I create calamity; I
am the Lord who does all things.
The Lord has put all the evidence out there for us to see and know
that He rules over all things. In this scripture, we see the nation of
Israel that is questioning God’s plan for them, and God has sent the
prophet Isaiah to set them straight. As we look at verse 7, it is hard
for us to see that an all-powerful God who no doubt loves us does
not keep us from suffering. As a matter of fact, not only does He
not keep us from it, He creates it! Ugh, what a proverbial punch in
the gut. That fact is so difficult for us as Christ followers to
understand. I know that I often feel as if I have to defend God
when bad things happen. This is where I remember the words of
R.C. Sproul when he says, “God does not need me.” And He
definitely does not need me to defend Him. The mystery for us is
that God has created a world in which we have the ability to
For example, in Joshua 24:15, Joshua calls upon Israel to choose
this day whom you will serve. Yet we have an Adonai Yahweh that
has unlimited control over the universe. The only answer I can
come up with is the answer that scripture gives. Romans 8:28 says,
And we know that all things work for good to them that love God, to
them who are called according to his purpose. I trust that when
difficulty comes, I will come out more like my Savior Jesus Christ if
I am willing to face these troubles in submission to my sovereign
As I continue my blog series to wonder at who God is, I can’t help but think this is where I should have started. God is infinite and has no limits. While this may be a doctrine that impacts all of the others, it is definitely the hardest for us as humans to wrap our brain around. We are infinite beings for sure, yet we were created. We had a beginning. God had no beginning and has no end.
I remember staring up at the night sky as a child and asking myself, where does this stop? We can only see so much of the known universe with our human eyes. We can see about 6,000 stars with the naked eye, which is compared to 10-15 billion light years worth of stars that the Hubble Space telescope can see. I would explain that in miles, but there are too many zeros needed for a 500-word blog! Either way it is extremely mind boggling to ponder God’s infinitude. This staggers even the most mature Christian minds. And since God is infinite, everything else about Him must be infinite.
Romans 11:36 says, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Everything begins and ends with God. He is the amen. The question is, do we believe that? Does it ever frustrate you that you don’t know all that God knows? In the Holman New Testament Commentary, it says, “In truth, no one can make a claim on God for anything since no one except God owns anything. As one contemporary preacher once said, We are change in God’s pocket for Him to spend as He pleases.” This is what makes God God. The creatures must remain dependent on the Creator. We owe everything we have to our Creator.
So what do you give someone who owns everything? This is something I struggle with here on earth as well! Every year at this time around Father’s Day, I attempt to find the best gift for my earthly father, but if you know my dad, if he wants something, he just goes out and gets it. So the question is, what do you get a man who has everything? As a side note, somehow my sisters always seem to find something amazing, but I, on the other hand, end up getting him a lame gift card. At the end of the day, I believe he just wants us kids to recognize him and honor him.
So how do you acknowledge and honor the infinite God of the universe? The one who formed you in your mother’s womb, the one who hung the stars, the one who sustains the universe? We must worship Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. And we must recognize His mercy, which He demonstrated by offering His Son Jesus Christ so that all who believed might be saved. After all, His riches are unsearchable. All God’s truths, all His blessings, all that He is and has we are unworthy to share. Let us be humble and honest with ourselves -- there is nothing that God needs that we can offer. He is the Great I Am!
“What comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A.W. Tozer said this in his book The Knowledge of the Holy. So my question to you today is what comes to your mind when you think about God? There are so many amazing attributes of God that could come to mind. Lately, for me when I think about God it has been His wisdom that has caused me to stop in amazement and wonder. So what is wisdom? We throw that word around a lot in our Christian circles don’t we? According to Webster’s Dictionary, wisdom is knowledge of what is true and right coupled with just judgment as to action. While that is a pretty good definition I really like how Alistair Begg defines wisdom. He says wisdom is, “knowing how to live God’s way in God’s world.”
There are always areas in our life that we need to learn and grow. Wisdom is just one such area, but think about this, God does not need to increase in wisdom. Complete wisdom is found only in Him. Knowing what to do and how to act all the time is something that only He can do. We have all encountered many circumstances in life that we look back on and say, man I wish I would have known that before it happened. In many cases it would have changed the way we handle situations. In certain areas of our life these are situations that build over years and years.
Job 9:4 says, “His wisdom is profound, and His power is vast.”Imagine not only being omnipotent but couple that with omniscience and you have the divine character of God. This should not only fill us with wonder but it should also help us to put our complete faith and trust in the only being in the universe with such attributes. God’s wisdom is always busy and it never fails. Even at times when we think He is not paying attention He knows what we need. In times of sorrow, despair, depression, shame, or guilt He knows what the answer is. Many of us try to figure God out and we continue to frustrate ourselves. We can’t know everything because we are not God. In the book “Knowing God” by JI Packer he gives a perfect example. As we read in 1 John 4 the scripture says that God is love. We take that to mean that we are going to live a trouble free life. And hence that if we have any pain or suffering in our life then that indicates either God’s wisdom, power or both has failed. We then conclude that either God does not care or He does not exist. This of course is a mistake. It was never God’s intention to keep a fallen world happy.
In God’s infinite wisdom He did not say we would be without troubled times. His goal was always to have those who belong to Him love Him and praise Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. We are to bring Him glory always in everything we do. If you are a child of God today I challenge you to wonder in His wisdom. He has a plan for you, He has every detail worked out, I am basking in that truth today and prayerfully I will bask in it tomorrow even if it hurts!
It amazes me how unfaithful the human race can be. We go through life fluttering from one thing to the next. We put our faith in a thousand different things every week. Our culture is conditioning us to be ok with change if for no other reason than change itself.
Our God is faithful; He is unchanging. The author of Deuteronomy says, “Know therefore that your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” The book of Deuteronomy is all about remembering. The key Hebrew word “zawkar,” meaning “remember,” is used 18 times. Even the meaning of the word “Deuteronomy” means “second law” or “second giving of the law.” In other words, God did not change. He reminds His people over and over in the New and Old Testaments of who He is.
So, who is He?
Today, in the cold and snowy Indiana winter, there is sunshine because God is faithful. In the turmoil of a culture that kills and hates one another, God is merciful. I wonder at God’s faithfulness in this very moment! But I know, Lord, I need you. Help me continue to be amazed at who You are and how much You love me.
God is with us. Whatever you may be going through today, do not forget that truth. I can only imagine what the disciples were thinking when Jesus told them He had to go away. I would have to think they felt abandoned to a certain extent, maybe even rejected. When people walk in and out of your life, it is human nature to feel alone or forsaken. We will search for answers everywhere but where we should. Karl Barth once said, “When we are at our wits’ end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us that answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?” In other words, do not rely on yourself, especially when hard times come. Look to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Do not lose heart.
As Christians, we should live fearless; but instead, we agonize over every little detail. The problem is, we cannot always see God’s big picture. We are so focused on what is right in front of us that we forget that He is sovereign in all things. God has seen the beginning and the end. Or in His case, the never beginning and the never ending! Jesus did not leave us to live our Christian lives in our own power. In John 16, Jesus says, “… it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” What a promise! He is sending the Holy Spirit to us so that we will be comforted. And He is not only coming to bring comfort to a weary soul, but to bring power. The Holy Spirit comes to shatter the thought that we can do it on our own. Let me give you 3 reasons we should wonder at His presence…
1. It was absolutely necessary. Those things that often seem terrible in your lives are actually good for us. Jesus always knows what is best for us though we may not see it at the time. The amazing thing about God is He graciously overrules our foolish decisions because He knows what is good for us. And when I say “good for us,” that doesn’t always line up with the world’s definition of success.
2. We are to carry on Christ’s interests here on earth. He has empowered us to teach. The Holy Spirit will convict or convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Matthew Henry says it like this: “He will lay open the wound, and then apply healing medicines.” The Spirit will always help us demonstrate what is right. He is the great teacher. The Holy Spirit is not some supernatural force living in the clouds above us. He comes to us, and through us, He carries out His
ministry in the world.
3. There will be suffering for those who stand up for Christ. Throughout history, Christians have suffered. The religious people who thought they were doing God’s work murdered the early Christians. We would
surely go astray if it were not for the Holy Spirit’s presence in us.
I wonder at the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. He is always with me -- guiding me and teaching me. I am not always perfectly yielded to Him, but He is faithful. I could not live this Christian life without Him, and Jesus knew that. So let us move forward with passion towards the things of God. Knowing that He is with me, I can endure struggles, times of discouragement, and anything else Satan tries to throw at me.
The most compassionate man to walk on the face of the earth was Jesus Christ. I have the perfect example yet still fall woefully short. I can be indifferent about many things and people in this life. We can be so consumed with ourselves that we miss those who are hurting all around us. Jesus did not have an apathetic bone in His body. Matthew 9:36 says, “He was moved with compassion on them.” Christ understands our suffering and he cares about our afflictions. He did not hide his human emotions at this point. Instead, Jesus showed great passion for the struggle of sinners.
We see countless instances in scripture where Jesus shows his colossal compassion. He had compassion on the sick (Matt. 14:14), He had compassion on the hungry (Matt. 15:32), He had compassion on those who were lost (Mark 6:34), He had compassion on those who were tempted (Heb. 4:15), and on and on we could go. As believers, we understand that God is not prone to mood swings. He is immutable or unchanging. Yet Christ, in His humanity, was moved sometimes to tears (Luke 19:41).
This is a picture of how concerned we should be with those around us who are helpless and harassed in our lives. What is your level of compassion on those we may deem wicked in our neighborhoods? Pastor R.T. Stringer once said, “The compassion we have (or don’t have) toward wicked people is an indication of what we truly believe about the Gospel.” You and I were once sheep without a shepherd. We were the wicked until Christ came to show unending compassion on us.
So now what shall we do? Do we see a harvest around us? In verse 37, Christ says, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few.” We should be planning for the harvest. As Jesus walked amid the crowded towns and villages of Galilee, His shepherd nature kicked in. Christ was willing to give it His all for the flock.
First of all, let us be moved by the needs of those around us like Jesus was. Stand up and stand out for the hurting and forgotten. God has sovereignly placed you in the midst of the weary and scattered for a reason. He has given you gifts to fulfill your role in the body of Christ. Don’t look away from them, move toward the desperate and downtrodden. Furthermore, pray for others to be moved with compassion. This is one way we can participate in the fulfillment of God’s strategy. Finally, wonder at God’s great compassion He had on you and me. Don’t ever let that truth diminish in your mind. We are truly a blessed people: we love and serve an amazingly compassionate God!
The last few months have been a whirlwind for me. As many of you know, the Lord has called me into full-time vocational ministry. God has blessed me with many new opportunities. One of the most precious ministries to me comes along every Tuesday morning. Here at Liberty we call it Morning Manna. About 10 to 15 men have breakfast together, share testimonies, and reflect on the Word of God. This is a great time of fellowship. During these early mornings, we have had many laughs but also have shed some tears with one another. But in all things, we have prayed.
One of the hardest things in day-to-day ministry is hearing from those who are suffering in their lives. It may be an emotional hurt or a physical pain. Either way it is tough to see a friend go through these tough battles. On the other hand, I can truly say one of the most beautiful things I see is suffering in the lives of believers. This truth became apparent to me as I ate breakfast with fellow brothers in Christ during our weekly Morning Manna this past Tuesday. I realized that we, as spiritual individuals, need each other. And other than Christ himself, the thing that binds us together is prayer. Story after story of answered prayer poured out as we sat together. These are stories of changed hearts, changed minds, and ultimately changed souls.
This past Sunday we were blessed to have Christian dramatist Doug Whitley here at our local church. From the outset, you could tell that he was not here to entertain. He brought to life great men of God such as D.L. Moody, George Mueller, and Charles Spurgeon. These men, while great evangelists and theologians, were also great men of prayer. It dawned on me that for as long as I can remember, men have been praying for radical change in their lives and in the lives of others. That need is no different today than it was 200 years ago for these great men of the faith.
Recently I have been reading the book by Albert Mohler called The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down. This book is a thoughtful and illuminating reflection on Matthew 6:9-13, where the Lord’s Prayer is found. In this book, Mohler says “the Lord’s Prayer is the shortest prayer in the Bible, but it takes us a lifetime to learn.” If we could take the time and study this prayer, we would be astonished by how God uses prayer in our lives to grow our faith; to grow us closer together; and most importantly, to grow us closer to Himself. Don’t waste another day without authentic prayer in your life. Sometime soon I encourage you to look deeply at the Lord’s Prayer. You will find many soul satisfying truths as you digest these verses. It only takes twenty seconds to read, but I promise it will be a lifetime of blessing. If you are going to wonder in anything today, wonder in the magnificent privilege of prayer.
This week I want to praise God for His eternal love. I am overwhelmed by God’s concern for me this morning. Even on a Monday morning when the hot water heater goes out, He loves me. To think that the one who hung the stars in the heavens knows my name and cares about my life is unfathomable. No matter how eloquent or poetic I could possibly write, no matter how loud I could shout from the rooftops, and no matter how deep theologically I could preach from the pulpit, I could never put into words how much God loves us. In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan says this: “A wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him.” I stand in wonder today.
I stand in wonder of God’s beautiful, amazing, transforming, never-ending, and, most of all, sacrificial love. Our feelings come and go, but God’s love for us will never wax nor wane. Psalm 136 tells us to give thanks because His steadfast love endures forever. In this Psalm, we are called to praise because He is merciful, because He is good, and because of creation itself. If you know Christ, you know that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. He predestined us to adoption as sons. Love was and is the divine motive for His electing purpose. If you know God, it is because He loves you and His love never changes. It never fluctuates.
Why does our love fluctuate? Are we too busy? Do we get spiritual amnesia? I think we get so caught up in the things of this life that we forget what God has done for us. We should rejoice in that He is immune to the human failing of forgetfulness. He is beyond space and time. Again, God never changes. Not only is His love steadfast, but it is also pure, it is true, and it is sacrificial. We are not deserving of this sacrificial love.
In Romans 5, Paul says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were in a sad condition, and we couldn’t help ourselves out of that condition. Not only were we helpless, but we were also ungodly. Christ died for us because we were in need of a savior that was holy. God has demonstrated on the cross an unparalleled instance of sacrificial love.
Every day I want to know His love more. Every day I am in awe of the fruits of this sacrificial love. The love he demonstrated in His death. Immediately upon our believing, we are put in a state of justification and reconciliation. Knowing ourselves as much as we do, how can we not be amazed with these gifts? Live a life of redemption every day. Always remember God’s love!