A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I can tell you that usually it is an adjective or an attribute. So many think of God as a disciplinarian in the sky waiting for us to mess up so He can send us to hell. I don’t believe that description is true. Who would spend everything they have on something, then wait around and hope it fails? God paid for our sins with the death of His Son. That description doesn’t make sense.
One that does, and we rarely discuss, is His kindness. It’s not usually how we choose to describe God, but it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of Him. He is kind to you and me because of how much He loves us. He is constantly doing things for our good, and we hardly give Him credit for it. Today, let’s reflect on God’s kindness and look for the areas where He’s been kind to us. You’ll find that He’s shown you a lot more kindness than He has wrath.
Here’s some Bible verses that discuss His kindness.
1. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:6-8 NLT
2. But You, O GOD, the Lord, show kindness to me, for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness (faithfulness, compassion) is good, O rescue me;
PSALM 109:21 AMP
3. As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.”
2 Corinthians 9:9 GNT
4. As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.
2 Corinthians 6:1 NLT
5. How happy are the people who worship you with songs, who live in the light of your kindness!
Psalm 89:15 GNT
There’s an exercise I do with people to show how our minds jump to conclusions and we assume. We observe a conversation where a lot of things are left open, and then I ask them questions about it. The group doesn’t know that I’m exposing how their brain works. As I ask the questions, they typically make assumptions. I keep asking questions to get as much detail from them as I can to see how much they’ve made up.
I keep asking questions until someone inevitably says, “I don’t know.” I then go back to what was said and ask, “So what do we really know?” I sometimes have to go through it several times before they get it. Most of the answers they give are based on their assumptions and not on what they know. I then like to ask, “How much of your life is based on what you’re assuming versus what you know?” It’s a heavy question that I usually leave several seconds of silence after while they think.
Job was a righteous man in the Bible. He honored God in all he did and even fell down to worship God when he lost his kids and his wealth. As time went on and he was struck with boils, his friends began to question his integrity. In their conversations back and forth, it’s clear that they make many assumptions about his predicament and how God is doing it to Him. They don’t know that Satan is behind the whole thing and is the one tormenting Job.
In Job 19:25, Job makes a great statement. He says, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives” (NLT). We may not know why we go through certain things or why things happen, but we can know that our redeemer lives. We can live with assurance that He is in control and our lives are in His hands. We need to stop our assumptions that God is behind everything bad that happens in our lives. We know that it’s the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. It’s God who brings life. So they next time things happen, don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Go with what you know.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand busy work. I hate being given a task just for the sake of having something to do. I see it as a waste of time rather than a time filler. Nothing truly productive comes from it. I’d rather save my energy, brain power and time doing nothing rather than doing meaningless tasks. Whether it’s at work, home or wherever, we’ve all been given busy work since we were kids.
Sometimes doing things for God feels like busy work. I can’t see the purpose behind doing what He’s asked, so it feels like busy work. Whether it’s busy work or not, I obey because it’s God who is asking. Many times it’s simply to go somewhere, pick someone up, say something to someone, serve at an event or something like it. When I don’t get to see the impact or reason, it can feel like busy work to me.
I was discussing this with one of my pastor friends recently. Then I recalled a couple of events that really I could barely remember doing, but the people I helped acted as if I had saved their life. The “busy work” on my part had a significant meaning to the person God was directing it toward. It was a great reminder that often what we do for God may feel like busy work at times to us, but to others, it’s life changing stuff.
Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 15:58, “Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless” (GNT). If you’re feeling like God has given you a lot of busy work lately, take heart. Nothing you do for Him is useless. It’s not a waste of your time, talents or resources. Often you’re changing lives without even knowing it. God doesn’t give out busy work to keep us occupied. He gives us work that we’re to stay busy at because eternity is at stake.
If you were on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, and you were down to the final question with the Phone a Friend Lifeline left, who would you call? Is there anyone in your life you trust that much when that much pressure is on and so much is at stake? Believe it or not, I imagined that scenario over and over again when the show was popular. Only a couple of people came to mind who had the knowledge and poise to deliver in that moment.
When you think about it, that’s a lot of trust you’re putting in that individual. When everything is on the line, you’re saying, “I trust this person with my future.” You may or may not be able to think of someone off the top of your head. When Satan appeared in Heaven one day, God asked him what he had been doing. He replied, “I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth” (NLT). Then in Job 1:8. God said, “Did you notice my servant Job?”
Satan then accused Job of only trusting God because he had been blessed and was protected by God. He asked, “Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it?” God then allowed Satan to take away everything Job had. God trusted Job in that million dollar moment. When so much was at stake, God looked at him and said, “That’s my guy. I trust him.” And if you’ve read the book of Job, you know that when Satan took everything from him, he fell down and blessed God.
I wonder if God would trust me in that moment. Would He trust you? Is our faith based on who God is or is it based on the blessings in our lives? It’s easy to serve God when the blessings are flowing and things are easy. Would we have the same response as Job if we lost everything? Would we be able to drop to our knees and praise Him no matter what? It’s a tough question, but one that must be asked. What would be your response in that million dollar moment?
I know it’s politically incorrect to say this, but as a kid, I used to watch “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Roscoe P. Coltrane was one of my favorites in the show. He always made me laugh. I loved it when the Dukes would speed past him and he would turn on his police lights to chase them. Inevitably he would get on the CB and radio back to Boss Hogg. He would tell him he’s after the Duke boys and utter his famous catch phrase, “I’m in hot pursuit!” That show is where I learned what it meant to be in pursuit of something.
Believe it or not, all of us are in pursuit of things in our lives. Some of us are in pursuit of riches. They’re always looking for a way to make money. Some are in pursuit of love. They need that affirmation of another individual on this planet and we desperately seek it. Others are in pursuit of fame. They leave everything behind in order to make a name for themselves. There are even some who pursue perfection. Whether it’s in sports, work or other areas of life, they want to be perfect at it.
The question is what are you in hot pursuit of? Will it matter for eternity? King Solomon had a thing or two to say about pursuing things. In Proverbs 21:21 he said, “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor” (NLT). There’s always an end result to our pursuits. Sometimes, they result in good things, and other times we get things that we weren’t expecting. Here, he tells us that we’ll get good things if we will pursue righteousness and unfailing love.
In Matthew 6, Jesus told us to pursue His Kingdom first and His righteousness, and all these other things we desire will be given to us. Is what you’re pursuing for His glory or yours? If we’re seeking things that lift Him up, we are guaranteed good things. Before we get into hot pursuit of things in this life, we need to first think about all the other things we’ll get by pursuing that. For me, I like the idea of finding life, righteousness and honor. I want to be in pursuit of His righteousness and unfailing love.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Recently, I went to lunch with several coworkers from different departments in my company. When they suggested an expensive place to eat, I hesitated at first. They said, “What’s the matter?” Then one remembered and said, “Oh yeah. Your department doesn’t budget for food like ours does.” I replied, “I have to think about dinner. I don’t want to spend all my per diem on lunch.” Someone replied, “Come on, poor kid. We’ll figure something out.”
I haven’t been the “poor boy” at the table since I was a kid. All these emotions came running back to me. I remembered what it was like as a kid to be at the mercy of whoever had invited me to eat. I was taught to see what they were thinking of ordering so I could order something less expensive. There were a lot of lessons I learned being the poor kid at the table. Lessons that helped shape who I am today.
One thing it taught me was humility. When you’re the one who is depending on someone else, you learn all about humility. You don’t get what you want, you get what they allow you to have. It’s when we can afford to get what we want that we forget about humility. We forget how to depend on someone else. We forget how to depend on God. We tell Him, “I can do this,” and we save Him for bigger things in our life. That’s usually when we start to treat Him like a genie.
God never wanted to be a genie and He doesn’t want us to save Him just for the big things in our lives. He wants us to know what it’s like to trust Him for everything. He wants us to know what it truly means to walk by faith. The problem is that walking by faith is scary after you’ve adjusted to a life of walking by sight. We can return to that place of trust if we are willing to be the poor kid at the table once again.
I don’t carry a key to my own home. There is almost always someone home so it isn’t necessary. The problem is that recently I was hanging with a friend, and when they dropped me off, it was one of those rare times that the house was empty. I checked all the doors and windows, but they were locked. I walked around the house a few times, but couldn’t get in. It was about thirty minutes before anyone got home who had a key and let me in. It was hot outside and all I wanted was to get inside, sit in the air conditioning and have an ice cold glass of water.
Many times I have that same feeling of being locked out of God’s presence and goodness. I want to be in it, but I can’t seem to find the door or a window to get in it. I know God’s desire is for me to spend time in His presence, but some times it just seems to elude me. It’s like I’m locked out and all I want is to just be in it and to enjoy all the goodness that He has to offer. Do you ever feel that way? Ever wonder what the key is?
In Psalm 34:9, the Psalmist wrote, “Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness” (MSG). Worship is the key. The problem is that many of us only associate worship with music, but the truth is that worship is more than a slow song. In the original meaning of the word, it means to submit yourself. In plain English, it means that you and I have to live a life of putting God first.
The key to opening the door to all God’s goodness is not in singing a song to Him, but in living a life of submission to God. It’s not just what we do on Sunday morning at church, but rather how we live the rest of the week. If we want access, we’ve got to give Him more than one day a week. Worshipping God is an incredible thing that keeps God on the throne of our lives.when He is at the center of who we are and why we live, the doors to His goodness and presence will remain unlocked.