Father

John 16: 25, 27

But (I) will tell you plainly of the Father . . . for the Father Himself loves you.

Have you ever wondered why God, chooses to be called “Father?” I mean, He is Lord High King, God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Why does He call Himself Father to a bunch of rag a muffin humans? He could choose any title or name imaginable yet He chose to be a Father. Why does He ask us to love Him rather than just to serve Him?

That is an amazing question, isn’t it and an interesting perspective. I think it highlights that, above all else, God is love. He wanted a family to spend His love on. Love requires someone to share it with. Love demands acts of kindness and goodness. Wouldn’t those be a bit lost on servants? No matter how good God treated a servant, they could never rise above that station. They could never receive His intimacy. A servant doesn’t crawl up in the Father’s lap and take a nap. God wanted children He could dote on and spoil. He chose to have kids instead of slaves.

I think this question tells us more about God than many of the questions we might ask. It explains why He does many of the things He does and even how He feels. Ultimately, His desire is that all people join His family and let Him save and bless them. He is a good God and above all else He loves us. That is truly amazing and wonderful. Fill yourself with that good news today.

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Goodness

Psalm 83: 16- 18

Fill their faces with dishonor, that they may seek Your name, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, and let them be humiliated and perish, that they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

This is a very human sentiment. In fact, I would wager most of us have had this same feeling at one time or another. Sometimes we might feel these emotions towards our foes. At other times, perhaps, it is the thought we have towards the unsaved critics of our Lord. In either instance, it is a perfectly natural human reaction. It may even sound righteous. It is not, however, the evangelistic plan of our Father. Nor is it the way He deals with antagonists.

God said that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55: 8) and this is one of the ways we see our differences. That is not to say, however, that our ways cannot mirror His. We must see His ways first, though, before we can model them. That is one of the ways that I pray the Word of the Day serves you, illuminating God’s thoughts and ways. As we peruse the Bible, or even the verses from the Word of the Day, we get to know Yahweh better because He is revealed in the pages of the book. The more we look at the scriptures the more we see how Father approaches situations.

Today’s passage brings to my mind the goodness of God. Though I might pray a sentiment like Asaph’s our Father would not react the same way. He is full of love and reacts from a position of love. He is chagrined by those who fail to include themselves in His love. He wants them to know peace, love and wholeness. Rather than shaming them forever, allowing them to be humiliated and to perish, He sent His son to save them. He sacrificed His son for the very people who wanted to obliterate Israel from the face of the earth and even from memory. Love is a crazy thing, isn’t it? It makes large demands, one of which is unfailing compassion.

I like this verse because it forces me to think about God’s approach to the world and His ultimate goodness. And, it is good to meditate on God’s goodness. The more we think about how God responds with goodness, the more we understand His position in all things. Meditating on His nature brings understanding at a very deep level. The more we meditate on how God thinks and acts, the more automatic those responses become in our lives. Our meditation on God plants the seeds of His ways in our hearts so that we begin to react as He does. That is the stuff of transformation. If you want to be like God, ponder His ways. Soon, those seeds will begin to produce a harvest and you will be more and more like Yahweh and living in the fullness of His peace.

Judgment Rendered

Psalm 76: 8 – 9            GW

From heaven you announced a verdict. The earth was fearful and silent when you rose to judge, O God, when you rose to save every oppressed person on earth. Selah.

There is so much confusion surrounding God’s judgment. Well, today you can bask in the good news because when God arose to render His judgment, it was to save every person on earth. Selah!

If you say anything about God’s judgment, most people are as described in this verse, fearful. When God arose to give His judgment, the world held its breath. There was complete silence in fearful anticipation of His wrath. It seems generations of people have misunderstood God. He is always good. He is benevolent and kind. Therefore, when He stood to give His judgment it was so that He could save every person on earth. He was compelled by love and compassion, not anger.

We think God is angry because of our own guilt feelings. We transfer our feelings of unworthiness onto Him so that, in our eyes, the only logical response a Holy God can have is vengeance and wrathful indignation. That, however, is a human perspective born of brokenness and guilt. God’s perspective is completely different. He looks through the eyes of love. He is motivated towards actions which help us. We know we don’t deserve His goodness, so we don’t look for it. Further, we recharacterize His kindness into something which is coherent with our feelings about ourselves. None the less, God is good. He is nothing but good. He is only good and every act of His is good and for our well-being. That is why he pronounced judgment, so that He could be good to us, so that he could save us.

If you will always look at God through this lens, you will see Him clearly and come to know Him as He is.

Good God!

Psalm 73: 1       TPT

No one can deny it—God is really good to Israel and to all those with pure hearts. But I nearly missed seeing it for myself.

I have just returned from an Impact Ministry conference with Dr. Jim Richards. It was a special weekend with a special acknowledgement of Jim’s sister, Pat Richards. I am sure as time goes on, more and more will filter through my mind about what I learned. The takeaway that I loved most, though, was this statement from Dr. Richards, “God is good, and only good.” That is the point of this scripture, that God is good. And let’s get this part right – who is Israel? Well, that would be you. You have been made a royal heir according to your ingrafting into the family of God. However, some of us have nearly missed understanding about God’s goodness.

I’ve been teaching on the goodness of God for a long time, but the way Jim phrased that really resonated with me. We often hear, “God is good all the time” but it seems people don’t believe that. Perhaps we’ve heard it so many times that we have ceased to actually hear it with our brains. It amazes me how often Christians talk about the bad things God has given them. They will even praise God for it and tell you how it made them stronger. That comes from a misunderstanding of God but more particularly of Romans 8: 28 which teaches us that although bad things happen, God will take them and turn them for good. I call it the “Lemonade Scripture” because it basically says that God will take lemons and make lemonade. Because good comes out of a situation, does not mean, though, that God created the situation. That is very poor logic and just wrong. God is a good and benevolent God. He is good ALL the time and He is only good. He is never bad.

John 10: 10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Of course, these words were spoken by Jesus. If you understand, and even memorize, this verse, you will understand a great deal of the Bible and you will have a solid personal theology. First, you have to understand who the thief is. Jesus spent most of this chapter explaining the difference between a good shepherd and a bad one. He identifies himself and the Heavenly Father as good. They care for the sheep. The bad shepherd is, of course, the devil. We need to get this settled in our hearts and minds. You can imagine how funny the devil finds it when he sends bad into the world and our benevolent, good and gracious Father gets the blame for it.

Settle this once and for all in your heart and you will understand much about life and the world. When you see good, that is your Father because He is good and only good. Heaven doesn’t have any bad for Him to give you. There is no cancer in heaven. There is no hunger. There is only good in heaven. Our Father is only good, therefore always good. Don’t let this be a point of confusion for you any longer. Satan doesn’t bless you, he only curses. Goodness is of the Father. He is the source of all goodness in the earth. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Therefore, if you see theft, death or destruction, you should be able to identify the author. The devil is a corrupter of good. He twists and perverts. He steals whatever is good and turns it inside out. There is no goodness in him.

Your Father knows how to give good gifts to His children, and He knows how to care for the sheep. He is the good shepherd for He is good and only good.

Goodness

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

The Lord is good. That doesn’t sound like a huge revelation perhaps, but you might be surprised how many Christians have not come to that conclusion yet. He is good and He does good. He is not bad, and He does not do bad things to us. He is full to overflowing with goodness and He rains His goodness on us.

He is also a strong fortress in our day of need. What does it mean that He is a stronghold? It means that you can run to Him and he will be your strength, answer and protection. You can rely on Him to be your safe place when trouble heads in your direction.

What’s more, He becomes intimately familiar with those who trust Him and take refuge in Him. He wants to be your hiding place. He wants you to lean on Him when the pressure is on rather than relying on your own resources. You can come out of a bad situation as the victor and also closer to God. That alone makes it a victory. The more you get to know Him, the more you spend time with Him the more he will be able to share His wisdom and other good gifts with you. He is a good God and all of that goodness is stored up just for you.

Cheer, Treasure & Sweetness

Psalm 19: 9 – 10             Passion

Every one of the Lord’s commands is right; following them brings cheer. Nothing he says ever needs to be changed. The rarest treasures of life are found in his truth. That’s why I prize God’s word like others prize the finest gold. Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words.

Following God’s commands brings cheer. Could it be, then, that is the reason He gave them to us. If you accept the premise that Yahweh is a loving God, or to go further, that He is love, then wouldn’t it follow that the direction, instruction and commands He gives us are for our good? Do we really believe that God is emotionally damaged? Many people have not come to the conclusion that His directions are meant to keep us from harm and lead us to paths of prosperity. If they are not meant for our good then are we hypothesizing that He is tyrannical, that the only reason He commands us is to subjugate us? Is He really that emotional infantile and injured that He has to dominate and suppress us? If we do not believe that God commandments are given to us for our good, then there has to be another reason and the only conclusion I see is that He is an oppressor. So, which is it? If we conclude that God is good, then we must accept that He is good all of the time and that everything He does is motivated by love. Then the question becomes, if we accept that God is good all of the time and that all He does is motivated by love, then why do we resist His instruction? Why do some of us believe Him to be a harsh and cruel task master? Why don’t we seek Him day and night? He is seeking us day and night. His words, instructions and yes, even commandments, are meant to bless us. They are absolute truth. They do not need alteration because every word He speaks or has ever spoken is right. That is one of the reasons they always cheer our hearts. There is no error so they always lead us in right paths.

I do value His word, as I know you do. This translation says the rarest treasures of life are found in His truth. That is a full statement. His truth is the ultimate divining rod. His truth leads us to the gold mine, the diamond find. The most rare prize which exists can be found in His Word. “That is why I prize God’s word like others prize the finest gold.” Don’t get me wrong. I like gold and diamonds but they ultimately pale compared to God’s wisdom. Further, I believe the way to them is through His direction. All the good things in this life and the life we will live beyond the earth are in Him. That is why the next sentence in this passage is, “Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words.” This statement is a conclusion to the previous thoughts. Living in His words, seeking His living Words – two ideas, one great passion. This is a life well-lived, to seek the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength and all our passion.

I love watching your life change as you increasingly seek the Lord, His words and His ways. In them is the life, not just simple existence, but a life worth living, a life which is full. Don’t just take up space on the planet. Live to the fullest. Seek the Father zealously. Prize His words. Give the Word great value and weight in your life. Take God at His word and hold Him to it. He can handle it and you are going to see even more change. 2019 is almost upon us. Let’s begin to determine what we want for the new year. I want more blessing for you. I want you blessed in the day and in the night, coming in and going out, blessed in the city and blessed in the country. I resolve to press in with my study so that I can be used more powerfully by our Lord and God to insinuate more of His blessing into every Word of the Day and ultimately, into your life. Be blessed.

His Ways

Psalm 145: 17

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.

I like this Psalm, as many of you do, and I have several passages highlighted. As I read it today, I kept coming back to this verse. I imagine that for most of us there is no revelation in this verse. We expect God to be righteous and at a minimum we want to believe He is kind in all His deeds. Still, I find value in reviewing this verse for two reasons. First, it is good to be reminded of His goodness. Second, when we ponder this verse, it grows in our understanding.

God is good, all His ways are righteous. That means God isn’t out there performing badness. Isn’t that good news? He bring righteousness to everything. That means that everything we invite Him into enjoys that same quality of righteousness. When He comes to our event, He brings with Him everything that is good. The only way He knows how to be is right; doing right, being righteous. All His interactions with each of us are filled with righteousness. God will always do right by you.

Mediation on this verse leads us to examine each word. The word “all” captures my attention. I am especially taken by God’s kindness in “all” His deed. What does that mean if you rephrase it? Every single act of God is kind. Now if you are a person who believes in the Bible, that can have a major impact on your theology. If everything God does, every act, is an act of kindness, then He never does an unkind thing to anyone. That necessarily means that He did not blow out my knee even though some people told me He did. It means He never gave anyone cancer. He never, ever, in all the millennia, did an unkind thing. Everything He has ever done has been kind.

Soak that in. He didn’t allow you to get fired from your job so that you would learn to seek Him. He didn’t break you so He could make you. His way of making you, actually, is to love you into the version of you that He sees when He looks at you. He loves you and only wants the best for you because His kindness extends to the way He thinks of you and the plans He has for you. Every thought He has towards you is kind.

As we expound on the little words in a verse, they expand our understanding and our insight. Thinking our way through these kinds of verses illuminates the very nature of God. Then, as we begin to appreciate His inherent goodness, we grow in our trust in Him. Soon, the entire dynamic of one’s relationship with Him is altered for the good and forever.

Take your time with this little verse and let the Father’s kindness infiltrate your life.