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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Honoring the Goodness of God

Romans 2 : 1 - 5, Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? NKJV
How often do you take the time to recognize the goodness of the Lord in your life? Unfortunately, it's so easy for us to fall into a rut or routine and lose sight of His goodness. However, it is the goodness of God that makes our lives in this world enjoyable and, at times, even tolerable. Whenever life becomes trying or filled with pain, we can be reminded of and long for the days when life was better. Even so, let's learn something very important from this. It is when we recognize that our lives are filled with God's goodness that we most often forget to include Him in it. Further, when we forget God and then our lives take a turn for the worse, pain, and misfortune can grab our attention very quickly.
The purpose of this word today is to bring attention to the value that must be placed by believers on God's presence in our lives. I have heard it said that respect and honor must be earned, not given. However, that isn't the case...especially when it comes to God; we must become humble and give Him both respect and honor because of who He is. Even so, beyond that, God has sacrificed His Son, and Jesus gave His life for us while we were still sinners. Why did God pay such a high price for our soul's salvation? Through this one ACT of love, Jesus displayed the depth of His love for us in order that we might honor and respect God's goodness. Nevertheless, now that we are His people, it is incumbent upon us to honor His presence and not take for granted His goodness.

What exactly does His goodness do for those who have it on their lives? In Psalms 23, we see that goodness will follow those who place their complete trust in the Lord. They will be anointed with oil, which means God's presence will be smeared on their being. They will be filled with His divine nature and with the attributes that will attract overflow into their lives. He will cause them to have protection, provision, and the power to eat in the presence of their enemies. He will give them peace to lie down and nourishment to keep them built up both spiritually and physically.  

Here's a lesson that Israel learned the hard way, and we would be smart to heed the wisdom they gained instead of  making the same mistake. Israel saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. He brought them out of the land of bondage and through the Red Sea. He gave them water from the Rock and fed them with Manna from heaven. Nevertheless, they despised the goodness of the Lord in His sight because they chose to harden their hearts to the voice of God when He spoke to them concerning His commandments. They disdained the goodness of the Lord instead of honoring Him. As a result, they lost His goodness, which had held back sickness and disease. His presence had brought multiplied blessings upon them as the people of God. His presence had also kept the enemies of Israel at bay. One of the last points is probably the most important: When Israel chose to dishonor and rebel against the Lord, and showed contempt for His goodness, they lost His protection. The enemies of Israel took them into captivity because the spiritual protection of Israel was removed.
I really can't do justice in this short devotion on the goodness of God, but if you have breath today, then you have partaken of it already. The Lord isn't asking for much in comparison to what you will receive in return. All that He wants is for us to put Him first and to honor the gift of His goodness in our everyday lives. The goodness of God gives us the protection to live another day in the world,  the ability to fulfill His purpose, and the opportunity to give Him the glory He so richly deserves. Oh how I love Jesus!
Thanking God for His Goodness,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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