I’ve recently gone through some of the highlights my beautiful wife and I experienced last year, as well as the lessons 2021 taught, helped, and reminded us. If you’re interested in what I unpacked there, please Click Here. But in planning for this new year there is one thought I would like to unpack with you in two parts:
The goodness of God, but more specifically why it’s important to understand the goodness of God.
To backtrack a bit, last month we celebrated Christmas. And I think there is no greater gesture of God’s goodness than sending Jesus to this earth and ultimitally to the cross for you and me.
It’s one thing to be good to someone while they’re good to you, especially when your relationship is going well. It’s a totally different story to be good to someone when you’re not close to them, you might not even like them.
That’s exactly what God did. This verse says, “… while we were still sinners.” We were far away from God, but He was still good to us.
Do you know why? Because that’s who He is. God is good.
Here’s some great news. Not only is God good, but He wants to be good to you and to me.
My beautiful wife and I don’t have kids, but when I look at some of our friends and family members who are fathers, how they want to be good to their children. They not only want to bless them, but they want to see them succeed and excel in everything they do.
If they, as earthly fathers, want to be good to their children, then how much more our heavenly father? He wants to bless us and be good to us! Jeremia 29 even says He’s got good plans for us. To bless us, to prosper us and not to harm us. Romans 8 tells us that if God gave Jesus for us, how much more will He give all things to us.
We’ve got to meditate on it and remind ourselves that, that’s the God that we serve. Scripture makes it clear that we serve a God that wants to be good to us!
How good has God already been to you?
I realise that a lot of the time we’re focused on what we don’t have, instead of being focused on what we already have.
Let me say to you. The fact that you got out of bed this morning, means God has added another day to your life. That’s His goodness. If you woke up with at least one person (a loved one) in the home. That’s His goodness. If you had something to eat, that’s God’s goodness. You’re reading my blog on some kind of device. Even that is God’s goodness upon your life.
The goodness of God is all around us. It’s time that we open our eyes and start thanking God for it.
JAMES 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Whoa James! We’re not supposed to have trouble!? We’re Christians now!
Hang on James! I’ve just told you I belong to the Lord; I shouldn’t be sick at all!
Where do you get that? All I’m pointing out is that no Christian is immune to difficulty, hardships and pain. We all go through those things. Just because you’ve given your life to Jesus doesn’t mean that He now raps you in bubble wrap and says, “Alright, nothing bad will happen to you.” Scripture doesn’t say that.
What God does promise is that He will be with us every step of the way.
ISAIAH 43:2 – When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Notice how it keeps on saying: When you go through. Because sometimes you and I are going to go through difficulties. As much as we want to go around it, and God You know, can’t You prevent this in my life?
God says, “I’m going to take you through that, but I’m going through it with you.”
Remember the children of Israel, when they faced the red sea?
They had to go through the red sea.
What about Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, when they faced the fiery furnace?
They had to go through that.
And Daniel in the lion’s den? He had to go through that.
Maybe you’re facing cancer at the moment, or a retrenchment. Or something unfair has happened. And you may have to go through that thing, but God has promised to go through it with you.
PSALM 23:4 – Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…
The key is that God is with us.
MARK 10:27 – Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.
PSALM 60:12 – With God on our side we will win; He will defeat our enemies.
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through at the moment. What matters is that God goes through it with you.
Be patient and trust the process. If God was good in your past, He will be good in your future. Don’t worry about the year ahead, because scripture says He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.
Notice how this isn’t stored up for everybody. It’s stored up for God’s children. Those who fear Him. To fear God doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him.
Well then what does it mean to fear the Lord? According to scripture it means:
To hate evil.
There came a point in my life (and I’m sure yours as well) where I said I’m done with sinning and messing around, and I decided to serve the Lord and put Him first in all areas of my life. The bible refers to that as the fear of the Lord i.e. to hate evil. To steer clear from that.
So why is it important to understand the goodness of God?
It raises our expectation. If we don’t expect God to be good to us this year, we’re just going to be like taking it as it comes, without a real vision for our lives.
But when we get a glimpse and an understanding of the goodness of God… Man, that changes things!
Suddenly you start expecting more of His goodness in your life.
Notice how it makes reference to those who trust in God. In other words, we have a responsibility to trust for – to expect – that goodness.
Don’t go into this year just casually, blasé, let’s just see what happens. No!
There’s faith, and hope. There’s expectation for more of the goodness of the Lord.
ISAIAH 30:18 – The Lord earnestly waits, looking and longing to be good to you, who expect and look for, and long for His goodness, His favor and His Victory.
Again you see the responsibility to look for and to long for His goodness and favor lies with us.
EPHESIANS 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think…
Well I guess you’re not going to see any of that. Because you see, God meets us at our level of expectation.
Remember the story of the lady in Mark chapter 5? The story of the lady with the issue of blood. She’d been battling with that desease for 12 years!
Have you been battling with something for a long time? Something you’ve been trusting God for, for a long time?
We’ll she’d been battling with it for more than a decade, and she heard about Jesus. Jesus being good to people; the goodness of God. He’d been touching people all over the place, and people getting healed.
Guess what happened when she heard that? It raised her expectation. She was thinking if He did it for them, He can do it for me. So she went out looking for Jesus, and quickly found a crowd, because he was the celebrity of the day – everybody wanted selfies kind of thing you know.
Do you think the size of the crowd bothered her? No! She pressed through the masses until she got to Jesus. And she just reached through and touched Him. That’s all she did!
That moment she touched Him, it triggered something in the spiritual realm, and power flowed from Him into the natural realm, through her arm and into her. It made her well.
But here’s what I want you to see: Jesus didn’t initiate that healing, she did. She had the expectation. She had the faith. She went out and touched Him, believing He could do something good for her.
Listen friends, what I’m trying to do with this post is to stir your faith and expectation. It’s so easy for you and me to look at the past 2 years and to think: You know, we’ve just been through this roller coaster ride, this covid roller coaster has been up and down, we’re probably just going to have more of that. You see, that’s what everybody is thinking. And that’s probably what most people will experience.
My thinking is not like that, my attitude is not like that. My attitude is that God is bigger than Covid! And God can bless me in spite of Covid. I’m excited about this coming year. I don’t know what the year holds, and I don’t know what Covid is going to do, but in spite of all that – God is still in control! And God can still bless me and show me His grace and favor.
Unfortunately our minds are programmed for comfort. To go through life with no dream, no vision, no expectation of God’s goodness. We’re just like taking it as it comes. But the moment you have a dream, the moment there’s some expectation in your heart, everything changes. And that’s where it gives you purpose. Gives you something to aim for, and something to trust God for.
Do you know a dream is sometimes nothing more than just a simple desire of your heart. Maybe a desire to get married, or desire to have a child. Or a desire to get out of debt, or a desire to finish your studies.
It’s not something that consumes you, and something that you absolutely got to have. It’s just the desire of your heart, and let me say to you: There’s nothing wrong with that. God has absolutely no problem with that. It’s not selfish, it’s not unscriptual.
Do you know that scripture says that God will actually give you the desires of your heart, if you seek Him first.
PSALM 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Delight yourself in the Lord simply means to put Him first.
I have found the times in my life where I’ve been a bit lethargic where I’ve lacked energy and passion and enthusiasm. Those were the times where I didn’t have a dream or a vision, or something I was aiming for. Those were the times where I was just going through the motions.
But the moment you have a dream it changes stuff. It gives you purpose, and something to trust God for.
God doesn’t necessarily have to write on the wall to give us a dream or an idea. Sometimes it can be something as simple as waking up in the morning and thinking – What if…
Sometimes God uses those very simple what if moments to move us forward.
Successful people don’t repeatedly stumble upon success and look back upon their lives and think: Wow, how did that happen? I have no idea. No!
They had a dream or a vision or something they were aiming at, and they kept on moving toward that.
So my question to you today is: What is your dream? What is your vision for this coming year?
When you close your eyes, can you visualize that? Or are you seeing all the problems, all the reasons why it can’t happen?
Whenever we have a dream or a vision that we’re working toward, of course there will be some obstacles along the way. It’s part of that.
We’ve got to remind ourselves that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine.
You need to start seeing the end result. Don’t worry about all the problems, all the challenges and obstacles. Yes, they’re there and we’re not only going to overcome that, but God is going to help us overcome that!
Where do you want to be by the end of the year or whenever that is. Start getting that picture on the inside.
It’s got to take root on the inside, before it’s going to take root on the outside.
If we serve a good God, who wants to be good to us, then our responsibility is to raise our level of expectation. I think God would say to you and me today: Dare to dream bigger, dare to think bigger, dare to aim higher. I can do exceedingly, abundantly above what you can ask or think.
PSALM 107:9 – For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
If there’s no longing, and there’s no hunger – there’s no expectation. Then I guess God can’t satisfy that.
I really believe God can and wants to do great things in our lives, but we’ve got to start making room for him.
If you can’t see yourself getting out of bed and being a blessing to other people and helping them, then you probably never will.
If you can’t see a neighbour, a friend or a family member getting saved and serving God alongside of you, you probably never will.
If you can’t see yourself praying for people, laying your hands on them and seeing God’s power work through you, I guess you probably never will.
If we want to start seeing God do amazing things in our lives, we need to raise our level of expectation.
All I’m trying to do with this article is just to remind you of the goodness of God. Because God is good, He wants to be good to us, and so the responsibility on our behalf is to start trusting God for that. Start expecting more of His favor. Expect more blessings and breakthroughs. Expect fresh new ideas and creativity.
In other words, expect more of God’s goodness in your life this coming year.
Let me just give you a bit of a reminder on killing ANTs – Automatic Negative Thoughts. I touched on it when I unpacked why I want to stay in South Africa.
It’s very easy for our brains to sabotage us and to discourage us with thoughts that go into the wrong direction. Just look at all the negative things happening in the world today.
Whenever your thoughts go into this direction, re-direct your thoughts into the opposite direction.
Why does rhe Bible say that? Because it’s so easy for our thoughts to start drifting in the wrong direction.
Where are your thoughts at the moment?
Is it in a positive direction, trusting God where there is faith? Or is it in a negative direction, where there is fear and failure?
When you find your thoughts going in the wrong direction, start killing ants.
I’m sure some of you are asking, so what about when you don’t have positive or negative thoughts? It’s just sitting here in the middle somewhere – I don’t have any negative thoughts, but I’m definitely not trusting God. I don’t want to be disappointed. It’s like your thoughts are in neutral.
The fact is that God can’t take you forward, if your faith is in neutral. You’ve got to put your faith in gear. You have to give God something to work with.
You say well what if I trust God and nothing happens. I say to you well what if you trust God and something does happen. Your expectation is your faith at work. When you trust God, you are releasing your faith which He uses to go to work with on our behalf. That’s why Jesus said, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” Another translation says: Have what your faith expects.
Go into this year expecting favor and the goodness of God. Faith is not ignoring the reality. Faith is recognizing that God’s power supersedes the reality.
What I’m asking you today is to recognise the goodness of God. And that He wants to be good to you and me.
Don’t make the mistake of aiming too low this coming year. God has got goodness stored up for us. The Bible says that God has got good plans for us. To bless and to prosper us.
It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. Let’s rise up and say Lord, I’m looking and longing for Your goodness, and Your favour, and Your victory.
Father God, thank you so much that we can come to You today. Thank you so much for your love that you’ve just poured out onto us. We just don’t seem to understand it; it doesn’t make sense that you love us so much. We want to thank you for that today.
We want to thank you Lord for the goodness upon our lives, for sending Jesus, and then Lord thank you for saving me. Thank you that I can be called your child, that I belong to you. And that my future is secure, because I know You hold my future in Your hand. Thank you Lord that scripture says that you’ve got goodness and mercy stored up for us. And we want to be able to say with the psalmist, with David, surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen