Uniquely, this season of many deaths coupled with the celebration of new life in Christ has unearthed the message we most need to hear. Instead of gathering to offer our praises, we are being kept to ourselves to discover our personal needs.
In the three sermons I heard yesterday, repentance was the subject of each of these, a basic message that has been hidden for decades.
When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. Acts 11:18
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,” Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?Romans 2:4-8
I add to this post the third message I heard from Luke 13:1-5 — a message we need to hear and to answer.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
Do you ever dream of winning the lottery? I would not know what to do with the money that is at stake. Even now, at the ridiculous $300,000,000, those who buy a chance to win have no idea how they would spend the money. A few may think they would do good and help others, but how many suddenly became wealthy and were so mesmerized they could not even plan what to do.
Even as some who are wealthy in temporal things waste what they have, some rich in spiritual abundance lack wisdom to use what we have. As God’s children, we must be taught to recognize the inheritance we have in Jesus Christ. We have to see the enormous wealth of eternal things and bring to our Father the interest He has invested in us. We must study and show ourselves approved to receive more. We must be fruitful and multiply.
As these have been my thoughts concerning what it means to be fruitful, I am learning more and more that the gifted life of God’s children is intentional. He does not expect us to waste what He gives.
Jesus gave His life, intentionally, to save His people, to deliver us from our wasteful lives, and to make us a productive vine in His vineyard. He is sanctifying His people through His Spirit, bringing His church to serve Him in the world today.
Following are references to the riches of His glory, His grace, His mercy, His goodness, His wisdom and knowledge.
“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Romans 9:23
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18
“the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:27
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Ephesians 1:7
“But God, who is richin mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Ephesians 2:4
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4
For the last two months, He has been working in my mind and heart, to bring me to see how I am to intentionally be a living sacrifice for Him. As a result, I am spending less time on the computer and more time in His Word and prayer. It has been a blessing to be part of the WordPress Christian community since January of 2011, but I am no longer able to read and comment on everyone’s blog every day.
My blogging will be sporadic, and only as the Lord gives me specific things to share. My main intention is to be Jerry’s caregiver. My primary writing will continue to be through our books. Please pray that we will be fruitful as He, in Christ, blesses us all with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).
As God’s children, we are rich in faith and good works
“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world richin faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” James 2:5
“That they do good, that they be richin good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;” 1 Timothy 6:18
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for loving us; by your mercy, grace, and goodness, supplying all our needs, and making us partakers of your glory. Forgive us for wasting the inheritance of your many blessings. Teach us and enable us through the wisdom and knowledge of you, to know the riches that are ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord and to share what you give with others. In His precious name, we pray. Amen.
Just when I think I have a grasp on who God is, I lose it.
When I rest in what I think I know of Him, I become weary.
If I depend on words that I have learned of His kingdom and glory, I soon realize that like Peter, on the mount of transfiguration, there is nothing I can do for Him.
In a staggering momentum I try to keep up with His thoughts and ways, until the years of providence show me there is no holding, resting, or keeping up with Jehovah, the God who created and maintains the heavens and the earth. Words cannot convey the magnitude of His being and working. Knowledge is only the beckoning that draws us to Him, so that we can live in wonder and awe of His magnificent glory as God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind.
Even with all that His Word says, we can never get our hearts and minds around His inexhaustible goodness.
His Goodness in the Old Testament
Strong’s concordance for goodness in Hebrew translates:
2617a chased ~ lovingkindness
2896b tob ~ a good thing, benefit, welfare
2898 tub ~ good things, goods Think of a tub overflowing with all that our heavenly Father desires to give His children ~ better still, our languishing in His goodness.
When we study Psalm 107, we see that of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, not many knew Him, yet He continued to bless them and provide for them.
In His goodness, He gave instructions; through His law, He promised blessings and curses similar to those He gave Adam and Eve, but written so that there would be no doubt as to their meanings and consequences. In rebellion, without His counsel, they were afflicted; he therefore brought down their heart with labour; they fell and there was none to help (vs. 12).
Then, they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses (6,13,19,28).
Four times in this Psalm, we read of their rebellion, crying out to God, and His saving them. Each of these is followed by the same statement.
“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (8,15,21,31).
We must be grateful that His goodness does not depend on us, but only on Him. We do not know of His goodness except through our needs, and in those needs He pours out an abundance of His goodness to us, never-ending because He is always good.
His goodness is a facet of His glory; what we cannot see visibly, we see spiritually in His provisions to us as His children, both physical and spiritual.
In Exodus 34:6, Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him,
“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”
He promises His goodness to those who fear and trust in Him (Psalm 31:19).
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:5
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23:6
His Goodness in the New Testament
Goodness in Greek translates:
2570 kilos ~ beautiful, good
19 agathosune ~ virtue, beneficence
In Romans 2:4, we read that His goodness leads us to repentance.
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Goodness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit, the nature and disposition of Christ, working in and through us by His Spirit. Goodness is related to God’s love, the first of the fruit listed in Galatians 5:22.
His desire for us is that we bear His image, a work that only He can reveal through the power of His Holy Spirit in us. We can read and believe that we are His children through a spiritual birth, but we can never on our own bring this to pass. Read and try, as we might, we soon learn that all of life is a mystery that can never be explained here and now. In faith, we continue to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, while He is doing His Holy work in us.
“He is bountiful and gracious, ready to do them good, and He is the felicitating end, or the blessedness of the soul. The goodness of God to His creatures, according to different respects to them, has its different and various appellations. As it is freely bestowed, it is grace; as it respects them as needy, it is bounty; as it respects them in misery, it is mercy and compassion; as it respects them as provoking, so it is patience; as it intends their good, it is love; as it answers both their necessities and capacities, it is all-sufficiency. All these–His bounty, mercy, compassion, patience, love, and all- sufficiency–are, in a word, His goodness; and goodness calls for love.” HEAVEN OPENED ~ The Riches of God’s Covenant Richard Alleine
Our eternal God and heavenly Father; we thank you for this great goodness revealed to us and in us by your Holy Spirit. We praise you for the overwhelming love revealed in and through Jesus Christ, your Son. Let us not settle for less that the goodness you promise, even though it is more than we can comprehend, We long for, pray and wait for you to work it in us. Let us not lose our hope in Christ, nor grow weary, but keep us close and grow us in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.
Grace, and grace alone,
could save a wretch like me.
I could not die for my own sins.
Christ had to die for me.
A thousand deaths would not atone
for my eternity; Christ’s blood, and His alone, bought my sanctity.
His light, and His alone,
shined deep within my soul.
The darkness of my heart
was readily exposed. His Word, and His alone,
could speak new life in me.
My sin is great, but greater still,
His grace has set me free.
His love, and His alone,
drew me to His Son;
In covenant with Him,
to be His very own. In goodness, and in His alone,
He brought me to repent,
To turn, to trust, to follow Jesus,
whom He had sent.
His power, and His alone,
gives life beyond my dreams;
Life in Christ, the life of grace,
according to His means. His glory, and His alone,
suffices as an end.
His purpose in heaven and on earth,
for Him; for me. Amen.
(This poem is the result of waking this morning around 5:00, hearing the steady refreshing rain that has been needful for so long. The next thing that came to mind was God’s grace, and after a few minutes I got up and began to write. Following are the Biblical references that apply. I pray that those who read may use one or both to discover and refresh your heart in the truth of God’s grace and His glory.)
In February, Jerry and I were waiting in the podiatrist’s exam room for him to have his foot x-rayed. So as to encourage him, I said, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
His response was, “Are you sure it is not a locomotive?”
I said, gently, “Yes, I am sure.”
There was no definite meaning, nor explanation for my words, just sharing the spirit of God’s grace as we have experienced His presence through all our difficulties in the past.
The nurse wheeled him out, leaving me alone with my own thoughts in the cold, tiny room.
The still, small voice to which I have become accustomed in quiet times, asked, “Am I your God?’
Humbly, I answered, “Yes, Lord.”
“Then, trust Me.”
As simple as that, without audible conversation, I knew that however long this new episode would last, the Lord was assuring me of His presence and power with us.
Six Months Later We have waited, as in times past, for healing, not only for treatment for the diabetic ulcer that podiatrists started in February, but for tests and an eventual stent for an aneurysm in his leg in April, to allow blood flow to the foot. Added to this was another wound from that incision
In July this wound closed after treatment with a wound vac. The same treatment did not work for the foot. This was their last resort after trying provadine, skin grafts, collagen, and foot baths. So, they sent us to the wound healing center thirty minutes away.
In this first visit last week, they took a culture that showed MRSA, a staph infection, for which they prescribed clindamycin. Yesterday, for our second visit, we were encouraged with the wound half the size as last week. The wound specialist believes this to be the reason for lack of healing, assuring us of complete healing soon.
At the outset of this sore, the primary care physician prescribed two rounds of antibiotics, but he, nor the podiatrist did a culture. There were no visible signs of infection while under the care of the podiatrist.
We are not resentful that they did not do a culture, but glad that it was done last week, believing that all things are revealed and healed in God’s timing.
Hidden Infection This all reminds me of how things can be hidden. Just as we all carry the infection of sin within us, not knowing that we need healing, it manifests itself in different ways. Relationships are broken, families are torn apart, life can be emotionally and physically unhealthy because of hidden sin.
It is when we come to the only one who can do a culture for us that we know our sin, and accept the prescription, believing that He is able to bring total healing.
Jesus Christ came to earth as the Great Physician over 2000 years ago, He was, and still is, our breakthrough.
Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for all things; for Christ, your Son, whom you sent to reveal our sin and to heal broken lives. We thank you for wisdom given to men to solve physical problems and to provide healing, believing that all healing is from you, for your glory and for the purpose of our serving you, living in praise and thanksgiving for your mercy, your grace, your goodness and power in our hearts and lives. Thank you for the encouragement that Jerry might soon be able to wear his prosthesis, and that we will be able to worship with your people again. We ask for your healing for others who are ill, in need of physical and spiritual healing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
During the past twenty years that Jerry and I have lived here in Buford, Georgia we have been caregivers for four of our grandchildren, and four and a half years we cared for my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. Only a month after her death, in 2006, Jerry had emergency bypass surgery on his leg because of a blood clot. Then, a month later, due to the failure of the bypass to produce blood flow, his leg had to be amputated.
That was ten years ago, during which time we spent three years waiting for healing; then had a third surgery to remove the graft that was put in during the first surgery.
There has been much to write during the past twenty-five years about God’s grace and goodness to us.
The overflow of His grace has not ceased, nor slowed, but continues for His glory and our joy. We have learned to see all of life under the mighty hand of God, our Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and to look with anticipation to all that He has planned for us. From our secluded habitat, He continues to teach us and has basically made us a three-legged sermon to others, through the media of blogging and just recently, the publication of our books.
We venture no further from home than to buy the things that we need weekly, and to attend church services on the Lord’s Day. Our home located on a short cul-de-sac street has become a haven, somewhat like the lagoon in the image of the header of this blog. We are content living in this little inlet, from which we are able to broadcast the news of what the Lord continues to reveal to us.
God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory is a spring where we live. From here there is an ocean, which image is a background for this blog, and the connection to our website, Father and Family Books. There we are, through faith and prayer and our books, proclaiming the legacy of God’s kingdom, that the truth of His kingdom may spread to the end of the earth, even as Jesus spoke these words in Acts 1:8 to His disciples. With technology, God gives us the means of reaching as far as He has planned for His work through us.
Ninety percent of profit from sales of our books will be donated to missions and charity.
As a reader and child of God, you have the opportunity to share His legacy with your prayers and your purchases. Please join us in this venture for His kingdom.
Father, I pray that you will bring others to see and share this work for your glory. Open hearts to engage with others of your family and Christian writers who are spreading the good news of life in Christ and the reality of your kingdom here on earth. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.