Tag Archives: goodness of God

How to Handle Snakes

A small child found a snake in some tall grass. It was lying still, quiet in the sun. The child didn’t know anything about snakes, and he was very interested in seeing one so very close up. He decided to pick it up and look it over. Now, this particular snake was not poisonous, but when the child picked it up, it immediately bit him and then slithered out of his grasp and away across the grassy field. The child screamed. His daddy was close by and came to him. The child kept screaming and screaming and his daddy could not even hold him. “It bit me! It bit ME!” the child screamed, as he writhed and kicked and turned red from anger and hurt. “I HATE it!” His daddy could do nothing for him in that rebellious state. Finally, after several minutes, the child wore out from screaming and then his daddy took him in his arms and examined the bite mark, which had not even broken the skin, and then he quietly carried the child to their house. They sat down in a rocking chair on the porch, and the daddy rocked and rocked the child until he was calm. Then they just sat there together, the father holding the son, resting together.

The next day, the daddy took the child to a book store and they bought a book about all the creatures who live in grass and pond and ground. Each day they studied the book until the little boy understood the ways of small creatures, and how they protect themselves. He learned about being safe around wild things. He learned that it is always safest to ask his daddy first before picking up something he does not know about yet. And he learned many other things as well, for after they read together, the daddy would speak to him about many other things, teaching him his own wisdom.

No matter where we go in this world, we will find snakes in the grass. Some will be poisonous, and some harmless. Before we pick one up, we should know how to handle it so that it is not afraid and does not bite.

Have you listened to your Heavenly Father today, learning his wisdom? Are you able to discern the manner of creature you see in the grass upon which you walk?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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The Cry of Your Heart

Is there trouble in your life? Are you seeking God’s mind on the matter, or are you just fighting your way through the experience?

Present day culture is so raddled with evil and desperation, it can be very difficult to choose to go to God for answers to a problem.  The problem and its impossibility of a good outcome focus our attention on the problem. God wants our attention focused on Him. We don’t think He is going to do anything right away, so we don’t want to look at him.

Consider a small child who has accidentally spilled water on the carpet. Over and over, the child has been told not to carry food or liquids across the carpet. The child doesn’t see why that applies to water because water dries clear. So he fills his little cup and focuses on walking carefully across the carpet. Suddenly the water spills.  It just happens. He wonders if the water will dry up before his mom sees it. What he doesn’t know is that the water has seeped through to the floor underneath and will cause harm to the floor.

Often we have a problem because we do something but don’t know all the facts of a matter and can’t predict the end result if we run into difficulties. We assume we can get by and things will work out even if we spill the water. Remember that God knows all end results and has put boundaries in place to help us avoid the ripple effect of a problem.

Okay, so water has been spilled and dried up without anyone being the wiser – we think. Then six months down the road, there is a creak in the floorboard under the carpet where we spilled the water. We take a look at the spot and see it isn’t real bad and shrug it off. We didn’t realize that all the while that board was moist, fleas got in there and made a nest. Next summer, when the weather becomes hot, those fleas come up through the now rotted board and right up through the carpet and start causing a very big problem. Everyone who walks through the room is affected and not just ourselves.

We spend all our time for days and weeks trying to get rid of the million tiny problems that are a result of one spill of water. We can’t eliminate the fleas; they reproduce too fast, and we become sick from the bites they lavish on us.

Finally, we cry out to the Lord in extreme agony. He hears. He knows. He takes us step by step through the process of redemption as many times as we need to get free. Because we are sick from a million bites, He heals us and removes that torment so we can focus on Him again. Then He reminds us that when we know what to do and don’t do it, it is sin. He leads us to repentance. He washes us clean. He shows us how to replace the rotten floor and seals the cracks. He sets us upright on our feet and puts a light in front of us so we can’t miss the way again. God hears your cry and heals your heart. Always. He never fails.

Now stop carrying water across the carpet.

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OMG and Relationship With God

How do we know we have fellowship with God? When do we know we are okay with him and not off on the sidelines somehere?  When can we be sure and more sure of God’s active power and glory in our lives?

Everyone wants a relationship with God. He is real, he is the creator, and he made us in his image so that whether we admit it or not, we want to know him.  You have heard the expression, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  If you will look around you and listen, you will always hear people who never give God any credit saying, “Oh, God!” as the first thing out of their mouths when trouble strikes. Maybe you are one of those people.

Do you flippantly write and text “OMG” all over the place? Do you know that God hears that and takes it with its full meaning, that you are either calling him or blaspheming him? God is real, and he knows even how many hairs are on your head. Think of this: suppose your name is John. Suddenly there is a whole culture of people using your name as an expletive or slang expression. You can hear each one, everytime it happens. Millions of people saying or texting, “Oh My John” millions of times a day. Yet they aren’t paying any attention to YOU, the person they are using to express whatever it is they are expressing. You can’t really help them, and most of the time, it’s meaningless anyway. Yet you keep hearing it and hearing it and hearing it. Do you have a relationship with these people? No.

Now think how God feels. He wants a relationship with everyone. He wants to be a loving Father to each and every person on the planet.  His name comes up continuously, yet he is not given any opportunity to respond.

Praise God, he can also read our hearts, and not just our text messages. He can pour his own Spirit into our hearts and help us and comfort us and draw us into relationship with him.

I John 1:6-7 says that we are lying if we say we have a relationship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. Think of this: anyone who is expressing an opinion and says “OMG” is claiming a relationship with God. Otherwise, how could you say God shares your opinion? Yet God says that when you keep going in spiritual darkness, you are lying about that relationship.

Most people who go on in spiritual darkness do so because they think God will make them stop doing some of the things they like to do. Well, that is true. However, God also shows you a better way, and then those things you thought were so important no longer matter.

Doing things that hurt your body, or hurt other people, or are just plain immoral or selfish (and don’t say it’s relative, because in your heart you know better) are things that keep you in spiritual darkness. Your Father God wants to deliver you from darkness and give you a path of light to walk in. God never lies, so you can always have fellowship with him in that manner. I John 1:7, those who are truly lving in the light of God’s presence also have fellowship with each other. Ahhh. So there we find we can have true relationships with other people, too.

How do we get into relationship with God? Through Jesus Christ his Son.

For God SO LOVED THE WORLD that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him will not die but have everlasting life. By agreeing with God and confessing out loud that you have been walking in darkness and that Jesus came to die for you as a sacrifice for your sin, you enter into a right and perfect relationship with God. You can call on him in truth. He loves you and will always hear you, and when your body wears out and dies, he takes you to heaven to always be with him.

Jesus says, “I AM the way, the truth and the life . . . . no one comes to the Father by through Me.”

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Shout With Joy!

For anyone who attended a Sunday School as a child,  you probably memorized Psalm 100:1-2; “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”  Your teacher explained that this meant worshiping God singing out loud cheerfully. Then you went upstairs out of your damp basement classroom and whispered to each other during the church service about so-and-so singing off key, and was that “making a joyful noise,” then giggle, giggle, giggle. Somebody glared at you for making noise in church, so you became quiet. Now you were wondering how anyone could make a joyful noise to worship God when you had to be quiet in church!

Another word for “serve” in verse 2 of the Psalm is “worship.” When we worship Almighty God, we are serving him. This is not to be a secret.  Verse 3 says “Know ye that the LORD, he is God, ” which means everyone knows that God is your LORD, because you aren’t quiet about it. You acknowledge him with your glad worship.

When you are glad, do you keep quiet about it? Doesn’t even your face show that you are full of joy and gladness? Your personal joy in the LORD is a very, very important component in leading others to know him, too. They will not be afraid to come to a God who so obviously makes people glad.

The rest of Psalm 100 gives reasons why we are so joyful in our worship:  1) God made us, and we didn’t make ourselves. 2) We are his people and the sheep of his pasture, i.e., he takes responsibility for us in every way. 3) God is good. 4) God’s mercy and truth last forever.

As you meet with God alone this morning, or go with others to praise and worship him, enter in to worship with thanking the LORD your God for everything, and praise him, blessing his name.  Let the joy of the LORD shine in your voice and on your face, and you will see the glory of the LORD rise upon you.

Don’t “feel” glad, or don’t “feel” in the mood for praise and worship to God? Well, read Psalm 100 for yourself and you will realize that if you just do these things from obedience, whether you feel it or not, you will be serving the living God in the way he wants you to. And he will honor your gift to him by bringing your emotions in line with your spirit. God bless you today as you worship him.

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Emotional Lions In Your Den

There is a story in the Bible of Daniel, prophet of Israel in the courts of King Nebuchudnezzar in Babylon. Daniel has the king’s favor, and has a high position of authority despite being a slave. Daniel’s enemies trick the king into making a law to exclude Daniel. When a decree goes out that the king must be worhsiped, Daniel, who worships God alone, cannot do this, so he is thrown into a den of lions to be killed.  God causes the lions’ mouths to be shut and they do nothing to Daniel. After spending the night with the lions, Daniel is removed and the king causes his enemies and their families to be thrown into the den instead.

We know that Daniel trusted God completely, no matter what the outcome. He would still have been trusting God if the lions had attacked and eaten his body. Daniel knew God, and knew that he had God’s favor, so even if he died, he would still be with God.

Think for a moment about what Daniel might have felt about his situation. It isn’t likely he just calmly, without emotion, walked calmly through these circumstances. What would you feel? Some suggestions of emotional reactions are terror, panic, anger, confusion, even sickness.  The thing to remember is that no matter what he was feeling, Daniel still trusted God. You can review his life prior to that event, and see that trusting God was a habit and practice of Daniel’s. He chose to follow God and did not allow anyone or anything to alter his choice. It is very clear that God greatly honored Daniel throughout his life for his steadfastness.

God is supremely faithful. When we choose Him, He will move heaven and earth to keep us in the center of His will.  God is all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful. He knows we cannot do anything His way, which is perfect, without His help, so He sent Jesus Christ to pay for the sin in us that prevents us from doing things His way. Then when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus as our payment for sin, God places His own Spirit in us so that we have His power and desire to do right.

Being overcome by emotion, such as fear or anger, is not a sin. God made us in His image, and He is very emotional. When we hold on to the emotion instead of holding on to God, then that emotion has taken His place in our circumstances, and then we are sinning, because the emotion is replacing God in us.

We can trust God to save us from our emotions so that we can see His will clearly and remain on track. Daniel surrendered himself to God, and God shut the lions mouths so that Daniel was not killed. Also consider that when Daniel appealed to God and the lions mouths were shut, Daniel no longer had any reason to be afraid of what he was experiencing.

When you are confronted by some circumstance, such as trouble at work, false witnesses, sickness, etc., submit to God and He will lift you up. You may spend a night in the lions’ den, but you will always, always be rescued when you trust God. The rescue will bring to bear the mind of Christ is you, and if the circumstance must continue, you will be able to endure it.

Reject letting emotions be in control; choose to trust God.

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Dependency Issues

Have you ever been the caregiver for either a young child or an elderly adult? Take a moment and remember how much time this responsibility required. Did you become a slave of this person’s need for attention? Yes, you are remembering how hard it was sometimes to even leave the room! Your entire personal schedule, including meals and hygiene, got wrapped around this other person’s life. More than this, you were constantly barraged with questions and comments. You might try to sit down and read a book, for example, and you were immediately discerned to be “not busy.”  In the other person’s eyes, that meant you were at their disposal completely. You begin to feel like commanding your time and attention is an obsession, and you can’t escape it.

People are made to be with other people. Because our earth-born nature is totally selfish, the people who look to us for help can go way overboard. 

When we are born from above, believing Jesus Christ to be our Savior and following Him, we look to Him for everything instead of to other people. Think about this: there is no “too much” in going to God for everything. We can never go overboard in looking to Him for every need. His time and attention is totally ours. Our Lord is focused on us! He knows how many hairs are on our heads – consider that our hair is always falling out and changing, so He must really be paying attention. 

Right now, God is watching us and enjoying His job! He longs for us to seek Him out, and He is never off trying to catch a break. He never needs to leave us alone to go take a shower. He has all the time He made to listen, give, help. The Lord is my shepherd, says Psalm 23:1 – our 24-hour caregiver. He is filled with light and truth and will likewise fill us. His gaze is always on us. If we get confused or wander away,  He can see all things and lead us back to Himself, and we do not fear being alone. Our amazing God!

Praise the Lord!

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Repentance and God’s Goodness

Have you ever read all the way through Psalm 119? Throughout this Psalm, we are exhorted to love God’s Word and obey His commands. When we do this, we experience God’s intense goodness. 

Since God is good all the time, why is obedience required to experience it? Well, for many facets of God’s goodness, obeying him is not a requirement. He causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust alike, does He not? Crops grow in season for everyone, do they not? A person who has zero knowledge of God may enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon or a summer sky filled with clouds. However, when you know God and obey His decress, the rain is more filled with goodness, the crops are tastier, the Grand Canyon has great meaning of what the flood in Noah’s time portended, and summer clouds can give you a deep thrill of Christ ascending into the heavens after His resurrection. 

When you know God and obey His commands, everything in this segment of living is so much MORE than you could expect without God.

The doorway to experiencing the fulness of God’s goodness is repentance. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God died to pay the penalty for our sin. When we trust Christ for His rescue and commit to Him the He is Lord, the door has swung open and we enter new life and the Kingdom of God. To repent means to turn away from the old life embroiled in sin and then we joyfully walk through the doorway to Christ’s Kingdom. Sin and evil and fear and a treacherous road are on one side of the door. On the Kingdom side, there is peace. Obeying God’s commands keeps us from trying to revisit the old road, outside the Kingdom. Once a child of the King, always a child of the King – but you know you are capable of sneaking off to see where you’ve been before you knew Him. 

God’s goodness is so wonderful, it is hard to understand why some people keep trekking back over the roads they traveled before they were saved. Here is understanding: staying in God’s Word and learning His commands and sticking to them is the key to staying on the right road. Make even a small effort to stick to God’s plan and He makes the big effort to keep you safely in it. His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. He is so good! He is available ALL THE TIME to keep us safe.

Not sure? A word for you – ask the Lord. He will help you read and understand His Word and make His goodness clear to you. It will be immediate, so start reading.

This is an open door. There is no portcullis, no moat, no crossbar, and no guards. Christ is the Door. Walk into His arms and feel His goodness enfolding you.

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