God Is So Good

18 11 2008

sea-storm-cloudsI’m sure just the title of this post got you humming the song.  “God is so good.  God is so good.  God is so good. He’s so good to me.”  I sung that as a kid like many of you if you grew up even close to a church.  I must admit though that I sang it without putting a  whole lot of thought into it.  While reading and meditating on some Scripture in 2 Chronicles I took notice of something.  When the priest were bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the temple for the very first time they were singing a song.  It was a song that would drive some people nuts in our churches today.  They call them 7-11 songs…seven words that we sing eleven times.  They dont like some of the new worship choruses that are sung today.  Well the song they sang is found in:  2 Chronicles 5:13 (ESV)  and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,”  After Solomon prayed and dedicated the temple they sang it again in 2 Chronicles 7:3.

I think that is something that Satan wants you and I to forget as Christians.  He wants us to doubt the goodness of God and the fact that God has a steadfast love for us.  Now let me stop and give a disclaimer.  This steadfast love that is mentioned here is God’s covenant love that He has for his children.  This is a promise for the children of God.  Dear child of God I believe that Satan wants you to doubt God’s goodness especially when suffering comes.  Satan’s very first attack in the garden was an attack on God’s goodness.  He wants us to believe that God is duping us.  I believe he especially whispers it in our ear whenever the road that we are on is paved with suffering.

That fact that you and I suffer does not change the fact at all that our God is good.  Not at all.  In fact what we find is that God even in our deepest time of suffering is still good and yes, He is being good to us.  Honestly folks we don’t want God to be fair with us.  We want mercy and grace and everyday that we exist is filled with just that.  All of God’s actions are filled with His goodness towards us.  All of them.  I think of that hymn that says:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Now please don’t just read those words above just think how cute those words are.  It is so filled with truth…truth that we need to hear and believe.  Take courage in that cloud that is over you right now.  It may seem like a terrible storm is big in mercy and evevntually will rain blessing upon your head.  Probably my most favorite line in that song is “Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.”  Every action of God is so filled with His goodness.  He is at work to make it good in you.  God maybe breaking you right now.  He may be burning off the impurities in your life.  He is doing good to you.  Never ever let Satan tell you any different.

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My Hero

15 11 2008

img003She didn’t do anything but just go in and teach her class.  That is all that she does and because she does that former students want to come back and just hang with her.  That is all that she does but she does it consistently without fail.  She does it when she feels sick.  She does it when he pressures of being a mom and a wife is more than one can handle.  That is what she does.   And this past week it got her put on a list.  Not just anykind of list.  She got placed on some girl’s “hit list”.  A list which wishes harm to someone.

Someobody told her that she must have really been getting on her #$@ for that to happen.  Nope.  All she did was teach her class and maintain order in her class room.

After she made the list she didn’t go to the police and press charges.  She didn’t call the press and complain.  She didn’t have a case of victimization.  She just went back and taught another day because she loves her students.

She is my hero because of the consistent example that she sets for me in her career.  She is the most awesome teacher that I know.  But this week she stepped up in my world because after making this “list” all she did was go back and teach another day…and another.  She has handled herself with such dignity that I couldn’t help but take notice.  I just want you all to know that I love her and that she is my hero.

She is my hero for many other reasons but this blog doesn’t have enough memory for me to type them.  Plus I’ve got a Sunday School lesson to study for.





GOD IS IN THE HOUSE

8 11 2008

I totally recognize that my blog is not typical.  I mostly use it to place my devotional thoughts that come to me in my quiet time.  In some ways it becomes my journal.  I don’t talk a lot about politics on here nor do I speak of crazy drivers who cut me off.  I mainly just want to talk about God and what He is doing in my life.  I know and realize that may not be what you want to discuss.  I tend to get more comments when I put pictures about my family or tell a story about how I nearly died on an appointment.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my family and right under God they are the most precious part of my life.  But when I speak about God on here very few comment.  I see too that my blog doesn’t make it on everyone’s blogroll and that is cool.  Not everyone makes mine either.  I’m trying to be careful who my blog connects to so that my witness and testimony is protected.  You are free to blog about whatever you want.  It is your blog.  This is mine.  But I don’t want it to be about me on here but God. 

God has a way of making us feel uncomfortable doeesn’t He?  I mean we love to talk about the grace and love of God but when it comes to his holiness, his justice, or his wrath he shut up.  We say, “Well that is not how I perceive God to be.”  Well that is how He perceives Himself to be.  That is the God of the Bible.  Ligon Duncan once said, “There is the God that is and the God that we want and the two are not the same.”  He went on to say, “There is the God that is and the God that we underline in the Bible and the two are not the same.”  Hey guys we don’t get to choose characteristics of God.  We don’t get to pull God down on our level.  He just won’t do it.

This morning I got up and prayed.  I went down into my study to think about my sermon tomorrow but before I did, I wanted to spend a little time thinking on the Scriptures myself.  Today I read 2 Chronicles 5.  Solomon has built the temple and is now bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the temple.  On top of the Ark was a place known as the mercy seat.  The mercy seat was considered the throne of God and when Moses met with God his presence would be known on this seat.  The Ark was special.  Very special.  The one thing that hit me was this:  2 Chronicles 5:6 (ESV)  And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.  Why were they sacrificing so many sheep and oxen?  They knew that they were a sinful people.  They knew that they needed a sin covering beause God was coming to the temple.  They recognized the holiness of God and when they compared their sinfulness to their holiness they knew something had to be done.  So they sacrificed all of these sheep and oxen so that these animals could stand between them and this holy God.  They recognized just how holy God is.  Do you?

I think that most people see God as this passive being who is passive when it comes to us.  They see Him as one who has made this earth for us to play on and it is our job to play hard.  When I read 2 Chronicles 5 that is not the God that I see.  I see a holy God who desires holiness in His people as well.  I see something deeper.  Dear friend you are a sinner.  You know that.  Because you are a sinner this holy God cannot and will not let you into Heaven because He is holy.  He is so holy that He must judge that sin in your life.  You are just like Solomon and the Israelites here.  You need something between you and this holy God.  Well God has sent something better than a lamb or oxen.  He has sent his only begotten son and He has sacrificed Him.  Jesus Christ was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.  Jesus faced my judgment and the wrath of God that I deserved.  Why?  So that I can have a relationship with God and be given Heaven one day.  It is only because I’m resting and believing in Christ that this is possible.  I know that Christ is the only way.

You may say that you are believing Christ too.  Well that is good but let me ask you this?  Is this relationship that you have with Christ changing your life?  Because the Scripture tells us that those whom God saves He gives a new heart…a heart that desires holiness…a heart that is changing us and conforming us into the image of Christ Himself.  Dear Christian if you truly are one.  God desires your holiness more than your happiness.  You see they were making all of these preparations because God was coming to the temple.  In the last verse of that chapter it says that the presence of God was so evident that the priests couldn’t function in the temple.  Dear Christian you are that temple today.  If God is living in your life then He is desiring holiness in you.  Jesus died so that you could be changed.

I’m begging you.  Please don’t be passive when it comes to God.  Please know that you too are sinful.  You need Christ to stand between you and this holy God.  Look to Him.  Trust Him.  Believe in Him.  Cry out to Him.

My name is Johnny Beaver and I approve this message.
 





From My Back Porch…If I Had One

7 11 2008

I took this picture of the view from the rear of my house.  I love the single tree with the tire swing.  I just wanted to share it with all of you.dsc01007

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A Clean Sweep

3 11 2008

I’ve been speaking through the book of Exodus for the last several months.  It has been an awesome study for me.  I just love the Old Testament and I have several really good professors at Reformed Theological Seminary for that.  Ralph Davis always taught me that God was the main character in the Old Testament.  John Currid helped me to see some things in the Old Testament that I never have seen.  In my studies I’ve leaned a lot of Ligon Duncan, who taught me theology and is now the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS.  I owe a lot to all of these men.

We have been studying the plagues of Exodus and are about to come upon the last and most deadly one of them all.  Before it happened God instituted the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  In both He gave very detailed instructions on what to do with both of these ordinances.  God was coming to Egypt in an amazing way in this last plague.  Israel was to be prepared and prepare for his visit much like we prepare for the company of guests in our own homes.  Two things really come out in this Scripture to me.  One, God never wants them to forget that He redeemed them from the slavery of Egypt.  God doesn’t want you and me to forget that He has saved us either.  The second things that pops out at me is that God wanted them to be holy in preparation for his coming.  That is the whole thrust of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  It is clear in the Scripture that leaven represents sin.  Jesus said:  Luke 12:1 (ESV) “In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”  Paul spoke of it:  1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV) “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  Leaven consisted of leftover dough from a batch of bread baking.  They would use it much like ladies use starter today in the making of sour dough bread.  Inside that piece of unused dough would be the makings of what would help make the next batch rise. 

In the Feast of Unleavened bread they were to eat unleavened bread for seven days.  If they ate anything leavened then they were to be cut off from the nation.  God was serious about this.  In order for them to make sure that they didn’t have any leaven in their bread they were to do a thorough cleaning in the house first.  There was to be nothing leaven in the house.

God wanted something even greater in the lives of the Israelites.  He wanted them to remove the sin in their lives.  All of it.  They were to leaven none of it.  They were to make a clean sweep because even the least amount of leaven will spread.  The least little sin will do the same.  Sin has a way of spreading and little sins snowball on us in a hurry.

We have begun a 21 day fast at our church.  Different people are fasting various items.  Some are not eating any kind of meat.  Others are fasting TV.  Some are fasting sweets.  I jokingly told everyone that I was fasting cow tongue and tripe.  I am fasting something in my life right now.  Please pray for me.

What do I want out of this fast? I want a clean sweep.  I want God to remove the little areas of compromise and sin that I have allowed to come into my life.  I desire holiness and I desire a deeper and more committed relationship with my wife during this time.  I believe that God is just as serious about my and your holiness as He was about Israel’s.  So tell me…is there anything that you need to clean up?

I end with a quote from Philip Ryken who has been a tremendous blessing for me in this study:

“Even a small sin is dangerous because, like yeast, it wants to spread. This is why God has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sin. Anyone who thinks that some sins can be tolerated misunderstands the whole meaning of salvation. God delivered us from our bondage so that we would make a clean sweep.

Every believer needs to apply this personally. Is there a sin that you have decided to tolerate? Are you nursing a private grudge or indulging a secret lust? Is there something you have decided that it is all right for you to take, even though it doesn’t actually belong to you? Do you think that worry and impatience are not really sins but just bad habits? Is there some area of your personal life where you have decided that it is okay to be undisciplined?

Perhaps you think that it is only a small sin. Perhaps from time to time you tell yourself that you will start to do something about it once it starts to get out of control. If that is what you are doing, then you are in great spiritual danger because sin is like yeast: Once it gets into your life, it will keep growing and spreading until it corrupts everything. Before that happens, God’s Word has something very simple and very straightforward to say about that sin: “Get rid of it!””

—Preaching the Word