Encouragement 05-11-04


May 11, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Goodness of God
Susanne Scheppmann, Proverbs 31 Speaker
Key verse:
Psalm 100:5, For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV)


"Be good!" we tell our children. What exactly does that mean to us? (Usually it infers not embarrassing us.) The problem with the term "good" results from the fact that each of us has our own definition and expectations of what makes something good. For example, I love asparagus, but my children considered it a tortuous punishment if I make them taste it. For someone who loves to exercise, a personal trainer would top the list in blessings; I would rather have the flu.
Do you see what I mean about goodness, my friend?  The term "goodness" is subjective to us.  However, it is imperative that we believe in the goodness of God in our lives in order for us to begin to trust him in all the details of our seemingly scrambled lives.
The Bible illustrates to us the goodness and greatness of the God we serve.  Psalm 136 begins with "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever."  The primary reason we know God is good, is that his love for us is never ending.  There is nothing we can do that will make him stop loving us.  The Message Bible says, "None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (Romans 8:37-39)."  The ultimate proof of God's goodness rests on the foundation of his never-ending love for us.
Psalm 136 continues to list examples of God's goodness.  He does great wonders!  He created the beauty of our skies and splendor of the earth.  He strung the sun, the moon, and the stars in the heavens.  He remembers us in our lowly position. He provides for all his creatures, including you and me. 
As children of God, we ought to appreciate his goodness and provision in our lives.  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children's (Luke 18:16 Living).  Today as you ponder God's goodness and his greatness, humbly recall the first lines in the familiar mealtime blessing of childhood:  "God is good.  God is great."  Will you become a thankful child of God trusting in his goodness and greatness?
My prayer for today:
Father God, even when my life circumstances seem out of control, help me to realize that you are good and that your love for me endures forever.  Help me to realize and be thankful for your goodness to me each day.

Application steps:
Take a few minutes today and list in a notebook areas in your life where God has revealed his goodness and greatness.  Example: family, home, career, pets, washing machine, refrigerator.  In the coming week, each day add five more items of God' provision in your life where you can say, "God is good, God is great!"  Then take a moment to thank him for his goodness in your life.

Reflection points:  
In what areas of my life do I doubt God's goodness?
Do I truly believe that nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus?
What areas of my life do I take God's goodness and greatness for granted?
Do I claim responsibility for the good things in my life and blame God when life becomes hard?
How can I promote the truth of God's faithfulness in my life to others?
Power verses
Psalm 31:19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. (NIV)
Psalm 116:7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. (NIV) 
Psalm 116:12 How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? (NIV) 
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (NIV) 
Ephesians 3:17-19 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. (Living)  
Additional resources
Intimate Moments with God by Sharon Jaynes and others
Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland
A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Originally published Tuesday, 11 May 2004.