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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Even in the Worst Times, God Is Good

In review of Psalm 16:1-2 it says, “Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you’” (NCV).

Today's passage is from Psalm 16, where David speaks of the joys and benefits of a life lived in companionship with God. I too enjoy these benefits now and eternally. In the passage David says, Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for my refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.”

Although it’s true not everything that happens in my life is good, that doesn’t mean God is not good, and it doesn’t mean God is not pouring his goodness into my life. God can take the bad and bring good out of it. Even in the worst times, God has a good purpose, a good plan, and a good reason.

Psalm 16:1-2 says, “Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you’” (NCV).

Today I am encouraged to pray and talk to God about his goodness? Say, “God, you are so good. I could never deserve your goodness. I’m sorry that I have often forgotten or doubted your goodness. Forgive me for ungratefulness and prideful self-centeredness. I am nothing without you. Like David, I would despair if I didn’t know your goodness. Open my eyes to see how good you really are, and let it transform my life.

“God, my soul needs restoring. I don’t always think right. I don’t always choose right. I don’t always feel right. I need you to restore my damaged soul, my mind, my soul, and my emotions. As I continue learning about your goodness, I trust that my sins have been forgiven because I’ve come to you and said I need a Savior. I’m going to release the people who have hurt me and pray a prayer of blessing over them. I’m going to team up with you and ask you to help me with the load I’m carrying.”

This morning I thank you Lord for answering my prayer and request for assistance on my tape identification, data destruction situation I was facing yesterday. It’s not complete, but I do thank you for helping direct me and my resources to better clarity and a plan. Today, I really do want to team up with you and obtain your help with the workload I’m carrying. I pray that you help guide me in discussions of resources and resource allocation. Allow me to not be defensive and protective but to clearly layout what is out there and have someone assist with the resource allocation discussions. I also pray for your wisdom and guidance in all the others tasks I oversee, the team I lead and my interactions with others. I also pray for your guidance and encouragement with the steps I’m taking in Financial Peace University. These are all steps to help me become a better steward of that which you have provided me. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Learn To Replace Worry with Worship

In review of Matthew 6:25 it says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (NIV).

Matthew 6:25
So my counsel is: Don’t worry about things—food, drink, and clothes. For I already have life and a body—and they are far more important than what to eat and wear.

Because of the ill effects of worry, Jesus tells me not to worry about those needs that God promises to supply. Worry (1) damages my health, (2) disrupts my productivity, (3) negatively affects the way I treat others, and (4) reduces my ability to trust in God. There is a difference between worry and genuine concern, worry immobilizes, but concern move me to action.

I’m reminded this morning that God is the source of everything I need to live. He is the Good Shepherd who feeds, leads, and meets my needs. I don’t have to look anywhere else. I don’t have to look to the government, my spouse, my individual retirement account, my finances, my Social Security, or even my job.

If I’m going to put my security in something, I need to put it in something that can never be taken from me. I can lose my health. I can lose my job. I can lose my looks. I can lose my family. I can lose my life. I can lose my mind. I can even lose my way.

God, however, is never lost. And there is nothing I need that God can’t supply. Philippians 4:19 says, “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (ESV).

So why do I worry? I’m reminded that It is the direct result of forgetting that God is good all the time. I can pray, or I can panic. If I’m not praying, I’m panicking. I can worry, or I can worship. If I’m not worshiping, I’m worrying. When I invite worship in the front door, worry goes out the back door.

Today’s verse reminds me, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV).

Clearly, God doesn’t want me worrying about anything. Yet it’s hard for me to stop the worry habit. Seems it’s just in my nature!

The best place for me to start is prayer. Once I’ve recognized how worry keeps me from the goodness of God and I’ve decided that I don’t want it to get the best of me, I can take things to God in prayer instead.

Bottom Line:
Don't worry about anything, God values me and will provide what I need.

What this means to me:
I need to turn any form of worry into prayer. Look above, for God cares deeply about me and will take care of all of my needs.

In summary, I don't need to worry about anything, I already have everything I need. So Jesus tells me not to worry. Worry immobilizes, but concern move me to action. Worry is also a direct result of me forgetting that God is good all the time. The best place for me to start is prayer. Don't worry about anything, God values me and will provide what I need.

Today’s verse reminds me of a problem I have at work with data on tapes, the ability to find what’s needed, what needs to be removed and how to handle a large amount of confusing mess on how it is organized. Because of the timing associated with this, I have to admit that I started to worry about it and how I would handle it. However, I’m reminded that I need not worry, but take this to God in prayer, for he will supply what I need. So Father, I lift this situation up to you, ask you for our guidance and clarity on how to handle and work with my team on this. I accept that I may not have an immediate solution to meet the deadline, but will rely upon you for how I should handle and communicate updates on the status of this activity. I also pray this morning Father for your continued guidance and wisdom in handling other projects, leading my team and interacting with others. This I ask through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hope Is Anticipating God’s Goodness

In review of Psalm 27:13-14 it says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD” (NASB).

Today’s passage is Psalm 27:13-14, in it David say, I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Waiting for God is not easy. Often it seems that he isn't answering my prayers or doesn't understand the urgency of the situation. However that kind of thinking implies that God is not in control or is not fair. But God is worth waiting for. Lamentations 3:24-26 calls for me to hope in and wait for the Lord because often God uses times of waiting to refresh, renew, or teach me. Make good use of the waiting times by discovering what God may be trying to teach through them.

I’m reminded again that God has only good plans for my life. He does not have bad plans for me, he never has and he never will. Yet I can easily miss God’s plan for my life because I’m not trusting God. Instead, I decide to follow my own plan, and in the end, that leads to hopelessness and pessimism.

The more I understand God’s goodness, the more hopeful I’m going to be because hope is anticipating God’s goodness. The only reason I have hope is because God is good. If God is not a good God, there is no rational reason for hope.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I’d see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:13-14 NASB).

Everything God does for me, through me, to me, and in me, he does because he is a good God. God’s goodness in my life isn’t based on how good I am. It’s based on God’s character, not mine.

Everybody needs God’s goodness. Everybody wants God’s goodness. But we have to understand and believe it to experience it. In his goodness, he blesses us with sustenance and balance, resilience and guidance, confidence and assurance, influence and abundance, benevolence and inheritance. He makes it all available to his children because of his grace and his good character.

Bottom Line:
Hope Is Anticipating God’s Goodness

What this means to me:
Everything God does for me is because he is good. Even in times of waiting he has a purpose.

This morning Father I want to thank you for a rapid recovery from whatever I had Sunday night. I must remember that your are good all the time. Because I love you and follow your Son, you work all things for my benefit. I pray and ask you for your guidance and wisdom in what I do, how I lead and how I interact with others. Help me to think clearly today, organize my work and put together plans to accomplish them. I ask this through your Son Jesus name, amen!

Monday, February 25, 2019

What Happens When I Forget God’s Goodness?

In review of 1 Corinthians 4:7 it says, “What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (TLB).

Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 4:7. It reminds me of my natural tendencies. It says who made me superior to others? Didn't God give me everything I have? Well, then, how can I boast, as if what I have were not a gift?

I need to make sure that my deepest loyalties are to Christ and no one else including myself. There is no room for boasting. No one has more status than another.

Trusting in God’s goodness helps me face life’s struggles. So, what happens when I forget God’s goodness? When I forget God’s goodness, I start claiming credit for things God has done.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who had been very successful but didn’t give God any of the credit. This man thought he built his wealth all by himself. God says to him, “You fool. Tonight you’re going to die, and I’m going to give everything you’ve amassed to somebody else who will appreciate it and express their gratitude to me.” That’s a sober warning!

Prideful ingratitude is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it’s the source of all my sins. When I stop being grateful to God, I get into trouble: “Yes, [people] knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21 NLT).

The problem with the self-made man is that he doesn’t worship his maker. You may be thinking, Wait a minute; I built this business with my bare hands. But who gave you your hands? I thought up the business plan totally by myself. But who gave you your mind? I worked for where I got today by the sweat of my brow. But who gave you the ability to work so hard?

What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).

Everything I have in life—the ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to eat, my freedom, my thoughts—I owe to God. I would not take my next breath if it weren’t for the goodness of God. I wouldn’t exist if God hadn’t made me to love me.

Ingratitude is actually one of the roots of atheism; when I’m ungrateful, I start dismissing or even denying what God has done. And that’s just a short step from denying that God even exists.

Yet the truth is I don’t even have to know a lot of the Bible to know a lot about God. All you have to do is walk outside. The Bible says it like this: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).

When I start to doubt the goodness of God, just take a step outside the door and look around!

Bottom Line:
Who says you are better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift?

What this means to me:
I should never forget that everything I have comes from God. It’s not me, but what God has given me the ability to do. There is no reason to boast about myself.

This morning Father I pray for healing for my upset / queasy stomach. I’m feeling better this morning, but still ask for your healing. Father I also pray for you wisdom and guidance in handling my day, my leadership and my interactions with others. I pray these things through your Son Jesus Christ’s name, amen!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Looking for Provision in All the Wrong Places

In review of Psalm 23, it says, The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (NIV).

Psalm 23 explains the ways God wants to show his goodness in my life. All of these benefits are available to me not because I’m good, but because God is good. When I truly understand God’s goodness as revealed in Psalm 23, it will strengthen my faith. I will be able to say:

God will meet all my needs; there’s no reason to worry.
God will help me rest and find peace.
God will refresh and replenish me when I am drained.
God will guide me to make right decisions.
God will be with me on my dark and fearful days.
God will protect me and keep me safe.
God will support me, even if I am surrounded by conflict.
God will give me his favor.
God will fill me with more blessing than I can imagine.
God will secure my future and take me to heaven one day.

When Jesus came to Earth and died for my sins on the cross, he opened the door for me to receive all the benefits of God’s goodness. That’s why we call it Good Friday. It was good for you and me! Good Friday certainly wasn’t good for Jesus. It was painful. It was torture. He willingly said, “No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will” (John 10:18 GNT). Sending the Messiah to die for me is the ultimate expression of God’s goodness.

Jesus said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11 NLT).

Everybody needs what God has to offer. But am I looking for it in all the wrong places? Many (and sometimes myself) expect those 10 needs to be met by their careers, bank accounts, friendships, romantic relationships, children, or family. God is saying to me, “No, I’m it. I’m the source of all goodness for my life.”

The biggest cause of stress in my life is the lack of focusing on God’s goodness. When I choose to trust in God’s goodness, I’ll be able to face my struggles with hope and renewed faith.

Bottom Line:
God is the source of all provision.

What this means to me:
When it comes to meeting my needs, I will trust in God’s goodness to me. I will be able to face any struggles with hope and renewed faith.

In summary, with the Lord as my shepherd there is nothing I lack. Psalm 23 explains the ways God wants to show his goodness to me. These are benefits available to me, not because I'm good, but because God is good. God promises to meet all my needs, there is not reason for me to worry. He will help me rest, he will refresh/replenish me, guide and be with me. He will protect and support me. I will find his favor and he will bless me with more than I can imagine. God secures my future and will let me live with him in heaven one day. Jesus is the one who opened the door for me. It was God's ultimate expression of his goodness. With what God has to offer, I do not need to look anywhere else. He is the source of all goodness in my life.

Father, I believe that I do look for provision in places other than you. I count on myself or what I have way too much. Today, I will relax in knowing that you are my source of provision. I pray this morning that you provide me with your guidance and wisdom in handling my tasks, leading others, and my interaction with them. I ask this through your Son Jesus Christ’s name, amen!

My Lasting Identity Comes from God’s Family

in review of Ephesians 2:19 this morning I read, “You are members of God’s very own family . . . and you belong in God’s household with ev...