Tag Archives: goodness

Job 37-39; Psalm 103; Revelation 21

We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty;

but even though he is just and righteous,

he does not destroy us.

No wonder people everywhere fear him.

All who are wise show him reverence.”

Job 37:23-24

Elihu spoke correctly. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I cannot fully imagine the complete power of God. A friend of mine once said that even if God showed every one of us in the world a new facet of who He is every day, He’d still only show us the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

That, in and of itself, is mind blowing. And then on top of His righteousness, the depth of His character, personality, abilities, etc. is His love, grace, mercy, and goodness. He is a good Father, a merciful God. He is the Beginning and the End. He gives me life and calls me His own.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:5-7

Though I am undeserving, He loves me with an everlasting love. He gives me everything I need and surprises me with more of my desires. He is full of forgiveness. He heals me, protects me, and gives me His strength. He redeems my life daily, liberating me, and allowing me to walk in truth and freedom.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

Let all that I am praise the lord;

may I never forget the good things he does for me.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

He redeems me from death

and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

He fills my life with good things.

My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Ps 103: 1-5

In the day to day hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget all of the good things God has done for me. It is easy to get lost in the mundane tasks and the chaos of busyness. It is easy to lose focus on what matters and let God slip into the background.

As David knew, the way to remember, to regain focus is to praise the Lord; to worship His name with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being. And, as I praise Him, I create a memorial to His glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me, showing me mercy, and giving me gifts of grace. Help me to remember the good things you’ve done for me. Help me to make praise more and more a part of my daily life so I focus on Your truth rather than my circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie,

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Job, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Revelation

Ezekiel 13-15; Hebrews 11:20-40

Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of Faith chapter because it contains a list of names and actions of Biblical heroes who believed in the promises of God.  When I read that lineup, I feel insignificant and inadequate as a witness for God.  Even as recent as this weekend was a reminder of my inability to seize the opportunity to bring the love of Christ to a hurting sister.  I spent too much time trying to be smart.

For it has been my habit to commit myself to the study of mental health, diagnosing problems and recommending treatment. Others have noticed and have said that I am knowledgeable in this area.  In my heart of hearts I must admit, however, that to depend on my paltry understanding of the complexity of the mind is foolish. I’ve learned to pay attention through observation and listening to how desperate, how hopeless, or how sad a person finds oneself. I’ve practiced skills and theoretical interventions and techniques to ameliorate varying degrees of mental suffering, yet I am all too aware that I am in danger of hearing  the Lord say, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing,” (Ezekiel 13:3). As I read this passage in Scripture, I recognize that God is speaking to those who would lean on their own understanding without consulting His good counsel or listening for His will to be done.  What would lead me to behave in this way since I know where to find God’s word?  (I have one Bible in the kitchen, one in the living room, one in the car – no pun intended.)

This question has come to me often, with a longing to make sense of this living by faith, the unseen belief in the promises of God. Maybe a barrier to believing is reading that one line about those who made the list in the Hall of Faith, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect,” (Hebrews 11:39, 40). That is a hard saying in that what I believe may not be made evident to me because the promises of God are not exclusive. He knows the bigger picture and the many lost souls who stand to gain the most from the faithfulness of a few.

Another barrier to believing is my fear that things will get worse before they get better; that is, that my prayers may bring down the wrath of God to promote healing. Though I desire to see God’s will be done, I fear His methods.  There it is in black and white; my fears exposed. The “what if?” So even more than believing in the promises of God is the need to trust in the goodness of God’s promises.  For I also have read these words in Ezekiel 14:23 “Then they will comfort you when you see their conduct and actions, for you will know that I have not done in vain whatever I did to it,” declares the Lord God.

It would seem that to have faith in the unseen is to believe in the goodness of the One who is faithful to fulfill all His promises. Lord increase our faith!

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Psalm 68, 69; Romans 3

So, what if, in the course of doing that, some of those Jews abandoned their post? God didn’t abandon them. Do you think their faithlessness cancels out his faithfulness? Not on your life! Depend on it: God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Romans 3:3-4a (MSG)

If some Jews were not faithful to him, will that stop God from doing what he promised? No! God will continue to be true even when every person is false. Romans 3:3-4a (NCV)

What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar… Romans 3:3-4a (ESV)

I think about God’s faithfulness often, especially when I am feeling alone. In the Word, it reminds me that God will never leave me nor forsake me. He will be consistently in my life staying true to His promises for the world as a whole and true to the promises He has made specifically to me.

What I love about this verse, is that it speaks directly to God’s unswerving, never-changing character. It reminds me that He will always be reliable. He can always be trusted and believed. He will always carry out the things that He says. He will uphold His side of covenant, whether or not I am successful at keeping mine.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…Romans 3:23-24

Throughout the history of Israel, men and women alike have abandoned God through sin; they have turned their backs on His goodness, His righteousness to follow their own lusts and impulses. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, turned away and sought pleasure in his sin. But, in spite of his sin, God still chose him, used his blood-line to the change the world forever through Jesus Christ, fulfilling His promise that one from the house of David would always sit on the throne, and offering the gift of grace and salvation for all who believe.

One of the places that I have been struggling is the day to day aspects of disciplining my children. I try so hard to be a demonstration of God’s faithfulness to my girls. But, over and over, I fall into sin, quickly becoming impatient, getting frustrated, and losing my temper. I feel like I have failed, until I grasp that God remains faithful. Even though I didn’t quite get it correct, He is right there beside me moving me back to a place of love, helping me through the toughest moments, strengthening me and giving me more self-control.

What I am realizing, is when my daughters see me in the process, even though they may not fully understand what they are seeing yet, they are witnesses to God’s faithfulness in my life. And, I am able to show them that even when they do something wrong or make a bad choice they see faithfulness in my actions toward them. They will come to understand that just like God, I will not quit, I will not let go, I will hold tight to them and be steadfast in my love.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being true to Your Word, Your promises. Thank You for being unswerving in Your love for me. Help me to be a better demonstration of Your faithfulness to my children, so that they will seek You, seek Your goodness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Romans

1 Chronicles 11-13; John 9:1-23

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7

I have been blessed to have witnessed and been a part of a host of miraculous healings, both in the United States and in India. Some of them were observable healings, like large, visible tumors shrinking to nothing, blinded eyes clearing, the lengthening of limbs to heal lopsided gaits, and restoration of life in dying bodies. Some of the healings were physical, yet internal, later confirmed by doctors, like cancer vanishing, clots melting back into the blood stream, heart failure reversing, and women considered barren baring children. Some of them were psychological healings, certified over time, like people with mental disorders returning to their families fully functional and others given freedom from demonic possession.

It is amazing when a miracle occurs, when a life is restored to normal functioning, or sometimes even better. And, it is an honor to be used by my heavenly Father as an instrument in several of these testimonies.

I will admit, when I am asked to pray for people, I often wonder what their back stories are. What happened in their lives to bring them to this point? Is their problem a consequence for sin in their lives? Is it a result of holding onto unforgiveness? Or is it an opportunity for them (and me) to press into God?

The story of the man blind from birth helps me remember that ultimately the circumstances are less important than the demonstration of God’s glory. God desires to show Himself to the world in every way that He can and will use all situations to reach hearts. And, what I have been learning throughout the past few years is that God is able to reveal who He is whether what we call a miracle happens or not. God uses everything that happens in our lives to draw us closer to Him.

One testimony of this is of my Aunt Lynn. Around five years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer; her prognosis was grim. After fighting the disease, through prayer and chemo and radiation, she succumbed a week after the birth of my first born. Her life was a miracle and a testament to God’s goodness, despite the fact that she was not healed on this side of heaven.

During this trial, rather than asking ‘why’, she focused her trust on God. She pressed into Him for peace, for grace, for strength. She drew closer to Him, nestling her head in the comfort and safety of His arms. She showed the world around her the righteousness of God and how truly beautiful relationship with Christ can be when we rely on Him. God was displayed through her experience.

Yesappa , Thank You for Your healing power and Your goodness to Your children. Thank you for the miracles that You do on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for using the circumstances that the enemy has meant for evil, to accomplish Your purposes. Thank You for drawing me close to You during trials and holding onto me in the midst of less than pleasant circumstances. Thank You for showing me how beautiful you are and for helping me show the world Your face. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

This is a song that my Aunt sang before her death. Though this version is not her performance, the song speaks to my heart about God’s goodness and how I can show His beauty to the world.

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2 Chronicles 19, 20; Revelation 8; Zechariah 4; John 7

…The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle, it is God’s…You won’t need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places, and you will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord is with you…” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 (NCV)

Sometimes I have a difficult time keeping my focus on God. The busyness of life, the day-to-day hustle of caring for my husband, kids, house, ministry, etc., swiftly steals my attention. I soon find myself in crisis mode, overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list and exhausted by nonstop tasks.

Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right.” John 7:24 (NCV)

While concentrating on what things look like and how they feel, it is easy to forget that things aren’t always what they seem. The Lord is moving behind the scenes even when I am unaware of what is happening. He is maneuvering things into place, suggesting solutions, offering wisdom, providing for my needs, whispering peace to my spirit, and giving me strength to stand.

…‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. Zechariah 4:6 (NCV)

In the midst of the struggle to balance everything, when I choose to worship the Lord rather than wallow in my misery, the Lord gives me His strength to do all things. The battle becomes the Lord’s, when my praises flow.

For me, singing is the quickest way for me to enter into God’s tangible presence. Worshipping the Lord takes me from a place of putting the spotlight on myself and on my problems to keeping my heart centered on Him. It opens my spirit to receive His ministry to my heart. It calms my mind to allow me to hear His truth for my life and His wisdom for my situation. It helps me taste and see that He is good. It reminds me that He is faithful all the time.

Jehoshaphat bowed facedown on the ground. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down before the Lord and worshiped him. Then some Levites from the Kohathite and Korahite people stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voices…

Jehoshaphat listened to the people’s advice. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord, to praise him because he is holy and wonderful. As they marched in front of the army, they said, “Thank the Lord, because his love continues forever.”

As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes for the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom who had come to attack Judah. And they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:18-19, 21-22 (NCV)

The people of Judah and Jerusalem made the choice to worship the Lord. They chose to put their focus on the God of Israel, instead of the enemy that they faced. They praised Him with loud voices. A handpicked worship team actually went into the battle ahead of the warriors to sing praises to the Lord and to offer gratitude for His continuous love. And as a result, their enemy was easily defeated by God.

On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” John 7:37-38 (NCV)

When I send praises up to God before going into my battles, He defeats my enemies too. When I believe in Him, trust in His goodness, I am filled with living water, my thirst for Him quenched. Gratitude flows from my heart and turns to joy. Despite the craziness of the day, I am strengthened. He gives me my piece of peace and shows me the path to take. His love casts out my anxiousness, my fear, and I am encouraged.

Yesappa, Praise the Lord, O my Soul and let all that’s within me praise His name. I will not die, I will live and I will tell of the works of the Lord, sing of His wonders. He’s a great God. I get to love You through, whatever comes. What a privilege. Oh how sweet it is. Nothing’s going to take Your praise out of my mouth as long as I shall live.* In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Lyrics from the song “Praise the Lord” by Kristene Meuller

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, John, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation, Zechariah

2 Kings 3; 2 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 7; Psalms 114, 115

But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NCV)

God is absolute in the performance His actions. He is always true to His promises. His affections are constant. He can always be trusted and believed because He is always reliable. He always adheres to the truth, always upholds His standard. He is the ultimate picture of faithfulness.

And in that faithfulness to His people, He promises strength and protection. He can be trusted completely to be there in times of struggle, in times of need. And this has held true since the beginning of time, holds true today, and will hold true until the end of days.

Time and time again throughout history God has proven His faithfulness to mankind. One example of that demonstration is when the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom went out to fight the Moabites. They began to give up hope when they ran out of supplies, ran out of water. But they called upon the Lord. He spoke to them through Elisha, and gave them instructions to follow in order to win the battle. The Lord was with the kings, and the Moabites were defeated. The miraculous works He accomplished were “easy for the Lord to do” (2 Kings 3:18).

In my vision at night I saw in front of me someone who looked like a human being coming on the clouds in the sky. He came near God, who has been alive forever, and he was led to God. He was given authority, glory, and the strength of a king. People of every tribe, nation, and language will serve him. His rule will last forever, and his kingdom will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 (NCV)

The ultimate example of His faithfulness is Christ’s work on the cross. The greatest act of love, giving all of Himself to reestablish the connection broken by the fall, enables me to be in relationship with Heavenly Father. This humble act, full of grace and mercy, once and for all defeated the enemy of my life and opened the doors of my heart to be filled with His Spirit, with His glory.

You who respect the Lord should trust him;

he is your helper and your protection.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us.

He will bless the family of Israel;

he will bless the family of Aaron.

The Lord will bless those who respect him,

from the smallest to the greatest. Psalm 115:11-13 (NCV)

From even before I was formed in my mother’s womb, God’s faithfulness toward me was ever present. While I was still a sinner, He was unrelenting in His goodness (Romans 5:6-11). As I have believed in Him, He continues to remember me, to bless me abundantly, to strengthen me and protect me. His mercies are new every morning, His grace is sufficient, and His love is everlasting (Lamentations 3:22-24; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:31-39).

Not for our sake, God, no, not for our sake,

but for your name’s sake, show your glory.

Do it on account of your merciful love,

do it on account of your faithful ways.

Do it so none of the nations can say,

“Where now, oh where is their God?” Psalm 115:1-2 (MSG)

Yesappa, Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your steadfastness in my life. Show me Your glory and Your goodness every moment of each day. Give me Your strength, Your grace, Your mercy. Protect me from the assignments of the enemy, replace my fears with Your love and Your peace. Rule my life – my whole heart, my whole mind, my whole being – always, so that I am able to serve You forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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Filed under 2 Kings, 2 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Daniel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Joshua 4; Psalms 129-131; Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

All of us are dirty with sin.

All the right things we have done are like filthy pieces of cloth.

All of us are like dead leaves,

and our sins, like the wind, have carried us away…

But Lord, you are our father.

We are like clay, and you are the potter;

your hands made us all.

Lord, don’t continue to be angry with us;

don’t remember our sins forever.

Please, look at us,

because we are your people. Isaiah 64:6, 8-9 (NCV)

I reflect on God as Father.

He made me. He gave me form. He gave me character. He gave me abilities. He gave me free will.

He gives me the freedom to make choices. And, in spite of the bad choices that I make in my lifetime, He loves me…unconditionally.

I am aware of my sin, small on the worldly continuum, but sin just the same. I am conscious of my mistakes, of my poor decisions. I know that I have sinned and fallen short, yet I will never be forsaken. He meets me where I am. He is with me in the midst of my failings. He is with me in the midst of the consequences.

Lord, if you punished people for all their sins,

no one would be left, Lord.

But you forgive us…

People…put your hope in the Lord

because he is loving

and able to save.

He will save [everyone]

from all their sins. Psalm 130:3-4a, 7-8 (NCV)

I am mindful of His forgiveness and His lack of condemnation. I am awakened to the knowledge that Christ died for me while I was still His enemy, before I even knew His name.

I consider His mercy and grace, a banner of love, an assurance of hope.

I am amazed by His goodness and glory. I am overwhelmed by His affections for me, staggered by His acceptance. I am uplifted by His redemption. I am encouraged by His restoration. I am comforted by His protection and provision.

I am grateful I am His child, His daughter. I am privileged to call Him Father.

 

 

[Everyone] put your hope in the Lord

because he is loving

and able to save. Psalm 130:7 (NCV)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, Joshua, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms