Monday, April 29, 2013

Sure Footed

"Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foot hold." Psalm 73:1-2

I lost it yesterday. What's the use anyway? All the encouragement and all the 'good words' about who God is I had lent to others in their times of trouble seemed to fall flat when applied to my own anguish. "Where was God and why was HE letting this situation continue?" and  "Why wasn't he doing what he said he could do?!" were questions rumbling around in my head. And "WHO KNOWS!" seemed to be the only answer. My once firm footing based on God's promises seemed to be crumbling beneath my feet and I could feel myself stumbling.

One verse seemed to scream out in my soul as I prayed was from Psalm 27. "I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."[13] It was more like-- I DEMAND TO SEE THE GOODNESS IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING!!! NOW!!! But this 'goodness' had not made itself visible in this situation. Turmoil and heartache were in its place taking all my attention. It wasn't until this morning when I took time to actually look at the verse in context with rest of the Psalm that my wobbly legs began to find their balance again.

"The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" are the opening words to this passage. The word 'stronghold' means defense or strength.  Defense itself means to take action against attack or challenge while strength has the idea of endurance and impenetrable structure.  Together we get the picture of a God who as the "stronghold of [our] lives" has what it takes to keep the enemy at bay. My part in all this? Nothing at all.

You see, it says in verse 1, "The LORD is my light and my salvation..."  Not can be.  Not will be if I just ___________. Its says he IS. "When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident." [3-4] Why such confidence?  Because he IS my light and my salvation. I can trust it.

The rest of the Psalm repeats the idea of the Lord's protection by keeping us safe in his dwelling, hiding us in his sacred tent and setting us high upon a rock out of harm's way until we have dominion over the enemies that surround us.

The Psalm does point out that since the Lord IS our salvation and that we can be confident in that fact when trouble comes our heart can say as the writer's, "Seek your [God's] face."[8] We don't have look at the situation. We can look to God and ask to be taught and to be led as we move through it.

I don't know how the current situation in my life will play out but I do know that however the Lord has decided to work it out "I [will] remain confident of this: I will see the goodness in the land of the living."

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" because "He will not let your foot slip...For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations" 
Psalm 27:14; Psalm 121:3; Psalm 100:5

Monday, April 22, 2013

For Goodness Sake

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverence, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:2-8

goodness — the state of being good-- pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, worthy, exemplary, upright, beneficial, having admirable, pleasing qualities

For Goodness Sake.
Danny, the Build Director, teared up as he stood watching his team congratulating the little family on their new home. Handshakes, hugs and comments on the success of the day passed throughout the group and although dinner was waiting back at the ranch, no one wanted to break the moment. It had been a good day.

I am so glad I was there to witness this life changing event for a young mother and her children. But their's were not the only lives that were altered. A team of twenty individuals had answered the call to do something good and this would have a lasting effect on them as well. That is the way of things when you put your faith into action by practicing what is good.

The word goodness in the focus verse in 2 Peter is the Greek word areta and means moral excellence; a virtuous course of thought, feeling or action. This step of  adding goodness to our faith is a strategic one . Now that we have put our faith in God, aligning ourselves with him, Peter says, “Add goodness.” It makes sense that we would follow God in his ways by choosing to act as he does by doing good. It was his own goodness, after all, he has called us out of a life of “corruption...caused by evil desires” and “has given us everything we need for a godly life.”

Romans 12 gives a Goodness Plan for our lives calling us to become “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God...” by being “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” It gives us a way of seeing things differently by thinking and acting in a way that is good. And in this way, we are “not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” That, my friends, points to a major reason to add goodness to our faith-- It overcomes evil. That is something definitely needed when it comes to living a godly life. It also allows us to participate in the divine nature which gives us a deeper knowledge of who God is.

The challenge set before us is to continually choose good in everything we do. We not only will be changed by doing good but it also has a way of affecting others in the most positive way while bringing attention and glory to the Father. So, for His sake choose goodness.

God's definition of doing good--
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me--put into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

”You are the light of the world...let your light shine among others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify the Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Hands of Mercy, Ensenada April 2013