Posts Tagged ‘goodness of god’

Reflecting on the goodness of God on a special day

August 11, 2021
Here is quotation that I use as the motto for every writing class I teach and a statement I apply each day of my life.

As an adjunct professor of English currently starting a new semester at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC, I share a weekly email devotional with my students. A new semester started today, August 11, 2021, which turns out to be an especially significant day for me. Not only is today, the first day of classes where I teach, but it is also the 47th anniversary of my ordination to the Christian ministry and the 5th birthday of my grandson, Kingston Edward Simkins. All these events intersect in a glorious display of the Providence of God. I am posting this email devotional that represents my life and my ministry.

The devotional opens with a quotation attributed to Saint Jerome:

Good, better, best
Never let it rest
Until your good is better
And your better is best

Professional athletes, such as Tim Duncan and others, use this motto in an athletic context, but we can apply the statement in an academic context as well.

In discussing this inspirational quote, let us look for a moment at the adjective “good” which is derived from “God” who alone is good. Indeed, Jesus Christ said, “There is none good but the Father.” Good is an adjective, and an adjective has a comparative form and a superlative form. When you compare two objects, one is said to be better than the other. If you compare three or more items, one is selected as the best of the group. With God, however, there is no comparative or superlative. No, God has not seen “better” days, and God does not have the “best” day He’s had in a long time in comparison to others. With God every day is a “Good News Day” because “God is good.” Period! Because God is good, “. . . all things work together for the good, to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28—my favorite verse in the whole Bible) So no matter how bad the situation may appear to be, it will work together for the good.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.”
“For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever.”

To further illustrate the truths of the opening quote, take a look at the video excerpt from “Facing the Giants.” Here we have a coach asking one of his players to “him his best.” That’s really all that anyone can ask of another person. Even so, as the facilitator of this class, that’s all I’m asking of you.


As we strive to apply this inspirational quote to every aspect of our lives, there should be an underlying motivation: that we want to express to God our gratitude for all that He has done for us through Christ Jesus, His Son, the least that we can do is give him our best. Like the coach in “Facing the Giants” that’s all that God is asking of us. This should be our response: “Giving My Best to You, Lord.” as offered by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

2017: Unlimited goodness, unlimited favor

January 2, 2017

Isaiah 43--19

As the New Year unfolds beginning with Sunday, January 1, we examine a Quote of the Day related to prospects for 2017, a statement from Pastor Marcus Gill:

“2017 will be a year of unlimited goodness and unlimited favor.”

As we reflect upon these two concepts in light of the coming year, lyrics from two original songs come to mind: one proclaims the goodness of God and asks a question; the other speaks of the subsequent favor of God flowing from His goodness:

The Goodness of the Father

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance,

and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God

leads you to repentance?

Romans 4:2 (NKJV)

Don’t you know the goodness of God leads us to repentance?

He has cancelled the curse and commuted our sentence.

By His gift of love and grace, Christ has taken our place

And redeemed us from the hand of the enemy.

Open your eyes and you will see

His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering.

Yes, the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance.

Don’t you know the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance?

 

O how good, He’s so good, beyond compare,

Exquisite and rare; He’s so good.

O how good, He’s so good,

Come join with me: O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Yes, the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance.

Don’t you know the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance?

 

From his goodness flows his favor,

O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

He has promised goodness to his servants;

He has clothed us with salvation.

Let us rejoice in goodness, and declare that only the Lord, our God, is good.

Yes, the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance.

Don’t you know the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance?

Out of God our Father’s limitless goodness flows boundless favor. In a previous entry, we noted that the word “favor” has also been translated “grace.” God extends His grace, His undeserved favor toward His people. The lyrics to the following song describe God’s super-abounding favor:

Favor upon Favor

Favor, favor, favor upon favor,

Favor, favor, favor upon favor

Unprecedented favor, unparalleled favor,

Flowing from the fullness of the Father,

Is falling without measure upon the Body of Christ.

 

Where we work there is favor

Where we live there is favor

Where we meet there is favor

Up and down each street there is favor

Where we pray there is favor

Where we play there is favor

Every day there is favor

In every way there is favor

Where we learn there is favor

Everywhere we turn, there is favor

Here and there and everywhere

There is the overflowing favor

Never-ceasing, ever-increasing favor.

There is favor, favor, favor upon favor,

Favor, favor, favor upon favor.

Let us savor each golden moment of the favor of God.

 

Favor, favor, favor upon favor,

Favor, favor, favor upon favor

Unprecedented favor, unparalleled favor,

Flowing from the fullness of the Father,

Is falling without measure upon the Body of Christ.

As we think about the New Year and what it holds in store for us, we are also reminded of who God is and what He alone can do. A passage of scripture associated with the New Year comes from the Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19:

16 This is what the Lord says,

He who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters,
“Do not remember the former things,
Or ponder the things of the past.
19 
“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even put a road in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

The Message Bible put it this way:

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.

Each New Year represents a new beginning, as God reminds us once again that He makes all things new.  In thinking about a new beginning or a fresh start, this poem comes to mind:

All Things New

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth;

shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness,

and rivers in the desert.

 Isaiah 43:19

Behold, I am the Lord God who makes all things new.

Trust me and you will see. You will never be the same.

As you look to me, it is no secret what I can do.

 

I am God–I do not lie, I am faithful and true.

Almighty, God of the impossible is my name.

Behold, I am the Lord God who makes all things new.

 

Some thought it was over, but I am by no means through.

I cover and restore to remove all guilt and shame.

As you look to me, it is no secret what I can do.

 

Never forget what I have already brought you through.

You have a divine purpose; your life is not a game.

Behold, I am the Lord God who makes all things new.

 

In me you overcome—I am Lord of the breakthrough

Who offers boundless promises that you can now claim.

As you look to me, it is no secret what I can do.

 

Trust me, obey and see what I have in store for you.

With your life you will make known my goodness and proclaim:

Behold, I am the Lord God who makes all things new.

As you look to me, it is no secret what I can do.

As we embark further into the New Year, we will undoubtedly encounter challenges and difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve on our own. The Bible reminds us of God’s unlimited goodness and unlimited favor that reflect His power and strength to turn a seemingly impossible situation into a triumphant victory.

We conclude our comments with this song of encouragement from Israel Houghton. As the New Year unfolds, we are not looking back but moving ahead; indeed, we are “Moving Forward”:

Tasting the goodness of God

March 20, 2015

Thwe Verse of the Day makes reference to the "milk of the Word" which believers should desire.

The Verse of the Day makes reference to the “milk of the Word” which believers should desire, as new born babes.

The Verse of the Day for March 20,  2015 comes from 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The last phrase of the verse brings to mind that the essence of God is goodness. He is the embodiment of all that is good. The following blog entry which has been revised and re-posted takes a good look at the “goodness of the Lord.”

Psalm 33:4-5(KJV) makes this declaration:

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Without question, the goodness of God surrounds us and sustains us every day. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. God’s goodness toward us is expressed in Jesus Christ, who acknowledged that there is no one good except the Father. The very essence of God is goodness which this song makes known:

The Goodness of the Father

For the goodness of the Father leads us to repentance,

From his goodness flows his favor,

O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

He has promised goodness to his servants,

He has clothed us with salvation.

Let us rejoice in goodness, and declare that only the Lord, our God, is good.

O how good, He’s so good, beyond compare,

Exquisite and rare, He’s so good.

O how good, He’s so good,

Come join with me: O, taste and see that the Lord is good.

As I completed the poem I also recalled the lyrics to an original song that I composed when I coordinated a summer children’s summer program ten years ago and used music as a means of memorizing scripture. In this case, Psalm 34:8:

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Here is the song:

Oh, Taste and See

Chorus:

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

Verse 1

Partake of the Word of God,

Taste and see that it is good.

It will fill you up

More than any kind of food.

(Chorus)

Verse 2

Partake of the Word of God,

Let it richly dwell within.

It will help you grow.

It’s better than a vitamin.

(Chorus)

Verse 3

Partake of the Word of God,

Read the Word and put God first.

It will feed your soul

And satisfy your thirst.

(Chorus)

Oh, taste and see, see that the Lord is good, so good.

Blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him.

As Christian believers, we give thanks to God for His grace and goodness. With our lips we give praise and bless the Lord and sing of His goodness. One of the most quoted passages from the Old Testament is Psalm 23, one of my favorites that I committed to memory years ago, mentions the goodness of the Lord in the last verse:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The last verse reminds us that goodness, like a rear guard, a powerful “back-up,” follows us throughout our lives. Israel Houghton shares this lively musical reminder of this life-sustaining truth:

Let us pray: Gracious God, our Father. We praise you and acknowledge that the Lord is good and that His mercy endures forever. We have tasted of God’s goodness, and we know that goodness of God draws us unto repentance, and that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. Even now, we are walking in confidence that you are with us and that your grace and mercy go before us, as we endeavor to walk in the steps of the Lord Jesus Christ, who leads us into victory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

What if. . .: Reflecting on God’s Goodness

March 13, 2013

Psalm 124:1 in the New Living Translation opens with a provocative question: "What if. . . "

Psalm 124:1 in the New Living Translation opens with a provocative question: “What if. . . “

This morning I woke up and began my day in grateful praise to God to see another day. I have so much to be thankful for, and as I reflected upon the goodness of God, I thought of Psalm 124 which I read aloud in the New Living Translation. The Psalmist stimulates our thinking with one of those “What if. . .” questions:

Psalm 124

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.                                                                                                                                                Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Verse 1 in the King James Version was the inspiration for this personal poetic expression:

If It Had Not Been for the Lord

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—

 Psalm 124:1

 

If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,

I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.

I shudder to think just where I would be today.

I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,

But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,

My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.

He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:

If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,

But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.

Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand new day,

Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight and pray.

The Lord is my keeper; in Him I confide:

If it had not been for the Lord.

Helen Baylor sings “If it Had Not Been for the Lord on My Side.”

The essence of that message is reinforced with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, who remind me of “The Goodness of the Lord”

The Goodness of the Lord

I conclude this blog entry, as I reflect upon the past 70 years and metaphorically

I Sing in My Garden

Oh, sing unto the LORD a new song!

Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

Proclaim the good news from day to day.

Psalm 96:1-2

 

I sing in my garden and reap the good,

The bounty of living these seventy years.

Each note seems to evoke a stream of tears

That fall, not because of some somber mood

But flow from a heart filled with gratitude.

The folksong of the farmer thrills my ears

Each time plowing, planting or harvest nears.

I compose my song, having understood

Lyrics I did not know when I was young,

When life was uncertain, my song unsure.

Now from my green garden I garner truth.

A song of conviction flows from my tongue.

I am seasoned and strengthened to endure,

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

garden 2