THANK GOD FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; 
Praise Him, all creatures here below; 
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host: 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

                God remains good and deserves our continual praise of thanksgiving even with the current state of affairs in our present fallen world. It’s easy to lose sight of who God is when the world’s focus is so set on praising and extoling humanity (the creature) instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:19-29). “Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful” (Rom. 1:21).

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8)

                God stands alone and apart from mankind (and all His other created beings) as He is incorruptible (Rom. 1:23), righteous (Psalm 119:142, 160, 145:17), cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18), cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13), and the list goes on. Since God is the source and embodiment of good, all good things flow from Him (as the above doxology says). James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” The word ‘lights’ means underived (not from something else) and absolute (the opposite of darkness) and so used specifically of God (John 1:4-5, 8:12, 1 John 1:5). “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). The entrance of God’s words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple and illuminates and guides ones way (Psalm 119:130, 105). Through God’s word one receives understanding and learns to hate every false way (Psalm 119:104). The word used for goodness in the Bible is many times synonymous with ‘grace’ or ‘lovingkindness’. The Bible reveals a kind, benevolent God who is tenderhearted, full of mercy, and slow to anger (Psalm 103:8, 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2). Because God is purely good and righteous, evil cannot dwell with Him nor can He take pleasure in lawlessness (Psalm 5:4).

                Our Creator has made clear the boundaries that He’s set for mankind but has also allowed men and women the capacity to choose (either to obey His good word and stay within His boundaries or not). The angelic beings must have been allowed free will as well (Jude 6, Gen. 6:2, Rev. 12:9). Lucifer (Satan) proved that angelic beings could become corrupted. It was Satan’s pride of his beauty that corrupted his wisdom and he became the ‘father of lies’ (Ezek. 28:17, Isaiah 14:12-14, 1 John 3:8, John 8:44).  Mankind also revealed its corruptibility after the first created man and woman chose to disobey God’s words and heed Satan’s lies (one being the desire to be gods themselves) (Gen. 3, Rom. 5:12-19).

                It’s only when one comes to terms with their sinful nature as well as their lost and helpless condition that they can truly embrace the greatness and goodness of God (Rom. 5:6-11, Eph. 4:22).

In the Bible, there are many examples of this: the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14), David (2 Sam. 12:1-13), and Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 6:1-5).  Even the suffering and patient Job came to the realization of who he was in comparison to almighty God and so learned the great lesson that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (Job 42:5-6, 10, 12). We too can find God’s amazing grace and goodness when we come with empty hands and a broken, contrite spirit (Isaiah 57:15, 66:2). “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Prov. 16:6).

“In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

                “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 4:4-9).

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15, Eph. 1:6-7).

                                Mankind has so much to be grateful for at the hand of God. The 107th Psalm is a great template for us today. This Psalm begins the fifth and final portion of the Psalms relating to the book of Deuteronomy (*see below note), which extols “God’s word the only good”. Its opening verse is, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”  The following phrase is repeated four times in this Psalm, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (with testament of why in between vs. 8, 15, 21, 31).  The Psalm ends appropriately with “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord” (vs. 43). In order to observe these things one must see that God’s word is the only good, and pursue and meditate on it habitually and continuously (with thanksgiving) (Psalm 1:1-3).   

Laura

                                *The Psalms correspond with the first five books of the Old Testament (The Pentateuch). Book One: Genesis corresponds with Psalms 1-41 and concerns Man; Book Two: Exodus corresponds with Psalms 42-72 and concerns Israel as a nation; Book Three: Leviticus corresponds with Psalms 73-89 and concerns The Sanctuary; Book Four: Numbers corresponds with Psalms 90-106 and concerns Israel and the nations of the earth; Book Five: Deuteronomy corresponds with Psalms 107-150 and concerns God and His Word. The counsel of God re: His word shows that all blessings for man (book 1), all blessings for Israel (book 2), and all blessings for the earth and the nations (book 4) are bound up with living on the words of God (book 5) (Deut. 8:3). Disobedience to God’s words is the source of man’s sorrow (book 1), Israel’s dispersion (book 2), the Sanctuary’s ruin (book 3), and earth’s miseries (book 4). To study this interesting aspect of the Scriptures further, see The Companion Bible notes by E.W. Bullinger that precede the book of Psalms and are prior to each section of the five groupings.

PLEASE PASS THE ‘P’S– GOD’S GOT IT COVERED!

“It is He that sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (Isa. 40:22).            

                The grasshopper can only see what’s in his immediate area. God has a 360°+ perspective.  He’s at work around us always, even when we don’t recognize it. His perspective and way of doing things is so beyond the capacity of our own thinking (Isa. 40:21-31).

                When God tested Abraham to offer up his only beloved son Isaac as a burnt offering, he did so as God directed.  When Isaac asked about the lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham replied (in faith), “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). Abraham called the name of that place “Jehovah-Jireh”, which in Hebrew means “Jehovah will provide” (Gen. 22:1-14). See also: Gen. 22:15-18, Heb. 11:17-19.

                Later in the Scriptures, in the book of Exodus (which in Greek means ‘the way out’), we read of the Israelites’ time in bondage under Egyptian rule. Their lives were hard as they toiled rigorously building the Egyptian’s storehouses and serving them in all manners of the field (Ex. 1:11-14). God was at work even though the Israelites couldn’t see it at the time.  The enemy of the Israelites was raising up and preparing the very man who God would use to set them free (Ex. 2:1-10, 3:1-22, 6:6-8, Heb. 11:23-27).  Through His servant Moses, the plagues, the institution of the Passover, and the parting of the Red sea, God displayed His great purpose, power and provision (Ex. 6:6-8).  The Israelites sang and praised God for what He had done (Ex. 15:1-21). But it was short-lived as they began murmuring against Moses and his brother. They complained how they were stuck in the wilderness wishing that God had let them die in Egypt where at least they didn’t thirst or hunger (Ex. 15:23-24, 16:1-3). But the Lord provided for them again with water and bread from heaven (manna) every morning and quail every evening (Ex. 15:25, 27, 16:4, 8, 13-15).

                We, like the Israelites, have been delivered from an enemy and no longer have to live in bondage to sin and the fear of death (Col. 1:13-14, Eph. 1:7, 2:1-3, 8-9, Hebrews 2:14-15). Yet many of us today, like the Israelites, grumble about our present circumstances or what we lack instead of what God has so graciously provided. We are hesitant to move in faith with our focus upward where God has provided all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14, 19-21, Eph. 1:3, 13-14, Col. 3:1-3). Believers today have access to Living Water (John 4:14), the Bread of Life (John 6:32-33, 35), and a protective spiritual wardrobe (Eph. 6:11-17). Everything that’s needed is found in Christ Jesus (Col. 2:10, 2 Cor. 12:9).  Our praise and thanksgiving to God should not depend on the success of our plans but on God’s nature, enduring love, and faithfulness.

Please Pass the ‘P’s. Though not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, you’ll want to keep this recipe handy.

                (A Prescription of Praise from the apostle Paul’s Perspective in Philippians chapter 4):

· PRAISE God Perpetually (v. 4).

· PRAY with PRAISE to God instead of being PLAGUED with PROBLEMS and you’ll find a PROTECTIVE PEACE from Him in Christ Jesus (v. 6-7).

· PONDER PERSISTENTLY the POSITIVE things that are: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (v. 8).

· Be PATIENT no matter your PROBLEMS and POSSESSIONS, for God has PROVIDED Christ to give you POWER to PRESS on (v. 11-13).

· God will PROVIDE all you need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (v. 19).

                God is our Jehovah Jireh!  PRAISE GOD for PROVIDING all you need to have PEACE in the midst of your life today and for His future PROMISE of a heavenly hope, PERPETUALLY with Him!

                Laura

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Give Thanks to the Lord

In 1647, William Bradford wrote in his famous historical work, Of Plymouth Plantation:
“…Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise.”

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a formal proclamation, passed by an Act of Congress, initiating the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving:

“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy…I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens…it is announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord…It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”