What’s Good!

Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (NLT).

Now, our definition of good might be different than God’s definition of good. Our definition of good probably is something along the lines of what’s fun, pleasurable, free of pain, and in the moment.

But God’s definition of good may be what is productive, character forming, and eternally focused. There are things we go through that are not enjoyable at the moment, but they’re producing something that is far greater.

We look at the small picture; God looks at the big picture. We look at the here and now; God looks at the by and by.

His will for us is good, even though it might be difficult at times. One day we’ll see that. But until that day, we have to trust the Lord. So present yourself to God. Don’t be conformed to this world.

Jesus’ Name

John 16:23-33

Do you remember the teaching Jesus introduced the night before His death? He told His followers, “Whatever you ask in My namethe Father will give you” (John 15:16 NIV, emphasis added). Praying in the name of Christ declares our: 

Association with the Savior. Our relationship with Jesus allows us to approach the Father. We used to be foreigners, but at salvation, we became God’s children through the redemptive work of the Son of God (Eph. 2:19). The Holy Spirit within us proves we belong to the Father, who listens to the requests of His family. 

Access to the Father. Jesus’ death opened an immediate, unhindered path to the Father’s presence. When the Savior offered Himself as the final priestly sacrifice (Heb. 7:26-28), the temple veil that separated the Holy of Holies from man was torn in two (Mark 15:38). In that moment, access to God became available to all who believe. Through the Holy Spirit, we can talk to God directly without a human intermediary (Eph. 2:18). 

Because of our Savior Jesus Christ, we can freely access our heavenly Father. Let’s give Him thanks for the remarkable privilege of prayer

Gods Will

When it comes to knowing God’s will, the best place to start is to pick up the manual. God has given us the manual on how to know His will, and it’s called the Bible.

Romans 12:111. This is called a conditional promise. The promise is that you can know what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. But the conditions are that we must do what He tells us to do first. And that is to present ourselves to Him and not be conformed to this world.

The apostle Paul began this passage with the words, “I beseech you therefore . . .” As I’ve often said, whenever you see the word therefore, find out what it’s there for. Paul was drawing on what he previously said.

From Romans 1 to 11, Paul was basically saying that we are sinners separated from God. We can’t meet God’s standards. We can’t keep the law. We can’t save ourselves. But Jesus died for us. And if we will turn from our sin and put our faith in Him and Him alone, God will forgive us. He will justify us and adopt us into His family.

So in light of this, Paul is saying, present yourself to Him. This is directed to every follower of Jesus Christ. We’re all called to glorify God with our lives, no matter what our vocation in life is. We need believers everywhere, honoring the Lord with the gifts that He has given to them.

Saved or Not

According to the Bible, we are either saved or lost. We are either born again or spiritually dead. We are either headed to Heaven or to Hell. I know that isn’t politically correct to say today, but it’s biblically correct. And nothing has changed in the Bible.

We want to make sure that we are saved, and we want to do everything we can to help others know how to be saved as well. In Romans 10, the apostle Paul tells us how we are saved. And he also tells us that we should care enough so that others can be saved as well.

When we’re thinking of sharing our faith, we usually think about how we should start the conversation. But the first thing we should do before we talk to someone about Jesus is pray for them.

And what do we pray? We ask the Lord to open their spiritual eyes and pray that God would soften their hearts. We pray they would be receptive to the message we are about to bring. Yet we don’t simply pray before we work. Prayer is the work. And then God works.

If you want to see people saved, it starts with prayer.

Wicked People

Sometimes we run into days of trouble. They’re the days that test our faith. They’re the days that test our love and our commitment. They’re the days when God is in the business of developing our character.

And so even the wicked people out there, the ones who want to make a mess of your life, the ones who do indeed make a mess of your life … even those people were made by Him for the days of trouble.

It doesn’t always make sense at the time, and sometimes it doesn’t even make sense with the benefit of hindsight. But the next time some wicked person disrupts your life, remember… God is still in control. He has a plan. He knows what He’s doing.

It depends on the person

Sometimes some of the worst sinners are people raised in Christian homes, because they rebel against it. On the other hand, sometimes some of the greatest saints come from Christian homes. It just depends on the person.

We love to put all the blame on the parents. But we have a say about the direction we take in life, regardless of how we were raised (or not raised). In reality, we need to have our own faith. We can’t live off the faith of someone else. We need our own relationship with Jesus Christ.

Actually, one of the easiest places our hearts can become hardened to the gospel is in the church. As we hear the truth of the gospel, as we hear the truth of God’s Word, we decide whether we’ll be responsive or resistant to it.

Yes, hearts can become hard, even in church. So be careful.

Virtual World

I was an early adopter of smartphones and was very excited about them. But now I think they’re ruining our lives in so many ways. In fact, I believe they’re having a very detrimental effect on the lives of young people who live in a virtual world.

In this virtual world, they’re not able to communicate with one another. They converse through texting more than they communicate through face-to-face conversations. Maybe that is one reason anxiety and depression are so high among young people today. We’ve never been more connected and disconnected at the same time.

Every generation needs to hear the gospel. As the psalmist David wrote, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4 NKJV). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

For every generation, the answer is Jesus.

God’s Word

We feast on God’s Word and reflect on its great truths, but does it ever occur to us to share our faith with someone outside the church walls?

You may not be into evangelism, but are you into recommendations? Most of us talk to people about a great restaurant or a great movie. So can’t we recommend that someone believes in Jesus?

The greatest way to show your love for someone is to tell them about Jesus Christ.

Sharing

Think back to your earliest days and how your parents or other adults in your life told you to share. You could go from happiness to misery in an instant. Do we ever outgrow this?

Sharing isn’t in our nature. But God wants to change our hearts so we have the heart of an intercessor. Let’s stop looking at nonbelievers as the enemy and realize they’re under the power of the enemy, the devil.

Paul described this in 2 Timothy, 2:25-26, when he wrote, “That they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

We could talk all day about how to start a conversation about Jesus. But that won’t matter if we don’t have a concern and a burden for people who are not believers.

You are not unreachable

If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can do it now. He loves you more than you can comprehend, and it will change your life forever.

Lord Jesus, I come before you and confess that I am a sinner. Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross, and that Almighty God raised you from the dead. I pray that you will forgive me of my sin, and be my Lord and Savior. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

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