Is God Good?

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

Many who are believers would automatically reply, “God is good simply because of His own goodness.” However, I’d question if you truly believe this truth. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question. “The last time a tragedy hit your family, did you say, ‘Praise God! He is so good!’ or did you rant and rage, wondering where God was in your hour of need? Did you rejoice and celebrate Him as the afflictions came into your life, or did you curse His name for ever tempting you with His promises of love and mercy?

Yet, for many nonbelievers, you might reply “God is good only when He proves He is good by bestowing blessings and goodness.” You might demand His eternal goodness for you to ever be obedient to His Word and submissive to His authority in your life. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question or two, “Why do you trust in all kinds of entities in this life that are proven to be untrustworthy; yet, to the one Deity that has been proven time and again (by scripture and by personal testimonies) to be trustworthy and faithful, you don’t hold the same standards?” You might wonder what I mean. Let me expound a bit…

So many, who question the integrity of God (because they feel “He has let them down” in one way or another) completely depend upon, and keep faithful, in entities of life which have proven to be faulty at one time or another. One example would be money. You hold onto that money, buying, selling, giving and receiving, as if it will last forever. You never question it’s worth. You never question it’s reliability. You never question if it will remain stable tomorrow, next week or even years from now, because you simply trust you will receive that paycheck, cash/deposit it, and withdraw it and use it at anytime you need. Yet, time has brilliantly proven the stock market can crash in a moment’s notice, and poverty can beset us all!

Another example would be government. (*Now, don’t get hostile on either side of the “party lines.” I’m not choosing sides here; I’ll hit you both. Lol.😂) You support that system; you trust that system; you invest in that system; you defend that system, and you live by whatever rules and regulations that system hands down to you or demands of you. Yet, time and again, through political scandals, bailouts, voter frauds, twisted officials and structural brokenness and gaps, that system had proven to be faulty and less than trustworthy.

There are so many examples to give, but I will give one final example here, and that would be simply the human condition. We all have people we have loved, people we have trusted, people we have leaned on, and people in whom we’ve confided our greatest fears and failures, our hopes and dreams. Yet, there have been people in each of our lives who have wounded us, damaged us or simply failed us in a multitude of ways (And if that’s not you, well, keep on livin’, my young friend). People have proven to just be people, with ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, and so much more. Yet, we keep repeating this cycle of trust time and time again.

So, with all of this on both ends of the spectrum, let me repeat the question, just so we are still on the same page…

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

God is good, because He, in and of Himself, is full of goodness. Nothing He does can have bearing on His deity or on His character as God, because He is consumed of goodness and everything good comes from Him. He cannot lie. He cannot be untrustworthy, and He cannot fail.

Our believing the sun isn’t hot simply because we can’t touch it or feel it on a rainy day doesn’t change the gastric heat it contains. Our believing the ocean is no longer wet, because we are in a desert land and can’t presently be immersed in that sea doesn’t change a bit of the moisture it holds. Just as our believing God is no longer good because of a tragedy or because He didn’t grant our every wish never changes the goodness He is nor the goodness He can give.

God is God, nothing more and nothing less. His promises are true, and His goodness flows like a river for all to receive. All we must do is have the right perspective. We have to see Him clearly, and we have to believe.

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Perspective Can Make or Break You

I saw this the other day, and I thought, “Yep. Isn’t that the dang truth?” If ever forget where you came from OR you lose sight of where you are going, it’s no better than if you drop your compass in the middle of a rain forest and wonder why you can’t find your way back home.

If I ever forget where I came from, then, my perspective becomes skewed either out of arrogance or out of self-abasement. If arrogance, I begin to somehow believe I am better than I am. I trust in my own wisdom, and I rely on myself for everything I need, forgetting that the achievements and victories I’ve achieved have not only come by my own strength and resilience, but also, by every friend, family, and sometimes even total strangers, who encouraged and cheered me on along the way. If self-abasement is the angle, it is the same road of sorrow and self-focus, only it has more hidden objectives and behaviors. It’s still an arrogant approach, because self-abasement comes from a place of self-loathing to the point you cannot receive wisdom, strength or even encouragement from anyone, and you live your life in a perpetual rejection of and rebellion against any ounce of truth.

If I lose sight of where I am going, then, my perspective for the future is skewed, because I have no focus, no direction and no purpose for days ahead. Ultimately, I die in the embalming of my yesterdays, because I have no hope for my tomorrows.

Our past molds and shapes us for our present being, and our future gives us hope for which to grow and reach beyond our today…

Learn to Dance

I saw this pic the other day, and please forgive me, it hit me all wrong. Yes, I do understand the concept. I do understand that everyone wants to not feel broken. I do understand that being happy and free feels so much better than being heartsick and broken beyond repair. I get it.

I’ve had my share of brokenness. I’ve had my share of broken dreams, broken promises, broken images, and broken foundations in my life. I’ve had more than my share of tears shed through the years. I’ve experienced more than some and not as much as others. Brokenness is not comfortable, enjoyable, or even a bearable element of my soul.

But I cannot embrace the cultural trend that forgetting from where I came makes me more joyous, more loose, more free to live. I refuse to welcome the notion that to obliterate my past makes me a better, more balanced, human being. I will not accept the propaganda that tells me “a forgotten past brings a brighter tomorrow.” (*chosen words before seeing similar quote online. No correlation or reflection. Unaware of that author, quote or beliefs.)

When someone is hiking up a mountain, forgetting from whence you came will only cause you to lose your way back down the trail. When someone goes on a long extended trip, obliterating the road map will only cause you to never return to home.

When someone tries to erase history, history is never truly erased. What has been has been, and there is no way to live as if it never existed. That is just pretending, and pretending just makes you as a child.

Being a child is wonderful while you are of a physically young age, but once you have crossed the threshold of maturity, that immaturity only makes you look like an ignorant fool. (…and yes, those can mean two very different things.) So then, you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions…

How old am I? How old should I be acting? Will I live my life in immaturity, ignorance and foolishness, or will I live in maturity, knowledge and wisdom? The choice is truly yours.

I choose to walk in integrity, maturity, wisdom and truth. I choose to embrace my past, my pain and my brokenness, even the shattered pieces that may always carry a shards of irreparable moments. I will carry on, even if I walk with a limp, and even if my scars are evident for all to see.

I choose to be full of joy. I choose to have peace. I choose to love and be loved. I choose to have life and give life.

Is it hard? Heck, yeah! Is it uncomfortable? Always. Telling you that’s it’s not would be returning to those childhood days of pretend and make believe. Life is so much better than the fairytales. Not because it never rains and not because there is no pain, but rather, because through the rain, I learn to dance, through the pain, I learn to sing.

And this song and dance is better than any mythical enchantment I could ever dream. This song and dance gives birth to a beautiful melody called life created by an unimaginable symphony of experiences and awakenings. Without these notes on the pages of my soul, I could never leave the legacy of song for my children, my friends, my family, for one who is ready whom I may never know.

So, I will choose to dance even when it’s raining and even though the storm brews darker. I will dance and sing, and sing some more, to bring a little memory of sunshine through the pain; so, the legacy will live ever more brightly for my children and those who are to come.

**Listen to this.

*I do not own nor possess this song, video or photos. These are all from simple Google search.

Good Friday or Bad?

Today, many of us celebrate what we call, Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross with the promise of rising in three days. The day the earth shook, the sun darkened, the veil was torn, and the believers were scattered with their dreams of majesty shattered. The day the Holy Lamb of God was beaten, bruised, pierced by those who hated Him and forsaken by the very Father God who claimed to love Him.

So, if all this bad happened on this day, how can we call it Good Friday? How can we join together to celebrate such a horrific, gruesome, unimaginable death? How can anything good be taken from such a terrible day that is forever written in the annals of time?

If you don’t know Him, I can understand why you’d wonder. If you’ve never realized His love for you, I can believe your confusion and doubt. If you’ve only heard of Him in storybooks and seen Him portrayed as “just a man” in cults and Hollywood box office hits, I can comprehend your skepticism, ridicule and even rejection.

But for me, I know Him on a personal level…

He was there before I even took a breath. He was there when I was in my mother’s womb, and her guidance counselor tried to convince her to “get rid of the dilemma,” because, after all, she was just 16. He was there when I was born six weeks (8 wks to today’s standards) too early and fought for life for those 10 days in that tiny incubator.

He was there when I was six months old, and my alcoholic parents split up. He was there when my four year old self waited by the door with packed bags for a father who never showed up. He was there when my twelve year old self received a “new daddy” who took us away from a comfortable, small town to a great big city with so many unknowns.

He was there when I met the man of my dreams and said, “I do.” He was there when our first child never grew in the womb, and we buried him under those great big oaks at my childhood home. He was there when our firstborn aspirated meconium, and we were told by a young nurse that it could be fatal. He was there when our second son fell off the changing table onto a tile floor while being babysat. He was there when I lost my precious grandfather to cancer, the man who had protected me, loved me and cherished me, the man who been my “Daddy” for so many years. He was there through all of the grief and sorrow.

The stories could go on and on with so much more detail, but I won’t bore you with my life story. I can just say, with 100% confidence, He was there. In my darkest days and in my happiest hours, in my finest moments and in those times that I wish to never be repeated, He was there.

He has always been there.

So, I call it Good Friday, because I know He was there hanging on the cross pouring out His blood for me for redemption. I call it Good Friday, because I know He rose just a few days later with the promise of victory, and heaven and eternity for my soul if I just believe. I call it Good Friday, because I am a witness to all that has come from His sacrifice, His love and His grace just in my own life.

I call it Good Friday, because often times, out of the bad, the horrific, the most unimaginable things comes such beauty and goodness and promise that you can’t call it anything but GOOD!

Watch and listen…

https://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

Queen or Slave?

How are you feeling today?

Do you live like a queen or a slave?

A queen has rights, responsibilities and rightful ownerships.

A slave has excuses, exemptions and evictions.

A queen has power, personality and principles.

A slave has pity, problems and polysemy.

A queen makes choices, has character and a conscience.

A slave has disdain, degradation and disrespect.

A queen is never a victim, but rather a product of the chosen one she has become.

A slave is always a victim, never realizing her justification for hate and sin destroys her potential, her dreams, and her future.

Fight to win the victory.

Stand with royalty and honor.

Walk in the queenship you’ve been given.

1 Peter 2:9. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Grief: Learning to Live

Grief isn’t fair. Grief isn’t gentle. Grief isn’t considerate, or gracious, or kind…or any of those nice words, really. Grief stinks. And that’s an understatement.

Grief makes you want to stop time, remove yourself from it, and retract minutes from eternity. It makes you want to return to simpler days, days where there were less cares, less tears, less pain.

Yet, life doesn’t work that way. Time moves on with or without you. The clock, living and breathing, keeps ticking until your heart doesn’t.

Demanding that it be any different is just as foolish as if I were to say, “I’m going to hold my breath until the sky turns green.” Demanding it to be different only causes you more pain, more regrets and more agony. Demanding others to remain stuck there with you only causes them more sorrow for the loss, more bitterness for your constraints and can even cause a dwarfism in growth for both you and them.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Time is the constant, grief is the variable and choice is the solvent in this equation called life. We can choose to drown in the river of grief and loss or dance in the torrential rains of grace.

Does the choice to dance make the journey through grief disappear? No. Does the choice to dance make the hours shorter or the days brighter? Maybe, maybe not. What I can assure you is when your perspective is focused on the dance more than the pain, it does make the burden a bit lighter, and it will cause the healing come in a bit stronger.

Dancing in the rain never dissipates the raindrops, and it never removes the moisture from your drenched hair and skin, but it surely will enable you to see the rainbow beyond the clouds.

I ask you, “What will you choose today?”

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*

The Gift

You came in without warning. You stole my heart and promised we’d be forever. Our days together were sweet, thrilling and unforgettable. We learned to love, to endure and to persevere with one heartbeat.

We didn’t just survive the storms. We learned to thrive and to conquer. They shouted, “Dreamers!” They mocked, “Too good for truth!” We grasped hands and promised to squelch their sneers and scoffing.

The years came like a blur. Children, diplomas, anniversaries and goodbyes. It was a fairy tale others dreamt to have. We were fighting the odds and winning with a high score.

The squall rolled in without alarm. We trusted what had been would always be. We held our hearts in our hands and exchanged the promise once more. For we knew this is not the end.

What will be will always be.

Penned – MG – 5/31/18

*I did not make, nor do I possess any rights to this video. Simply shared from YouTube.

How Do you Start the New Year?

Regrets or Do-Overs?

Remorse or Recommitment?

Sorrow or Joy?

It’s all in your perspective. What will you do with the past? What will you make is the future? Your choices in these few things can and will determine your tomorrow.

Choose cautiously. Choose wisely.

Kingjamesbibleonline.org

How’s Your Time?

Every man, woman and child has the same amount hours in everyday. We are all given the exact same amount, but we surely don’t use it the same. I wonder if, at the end of our life, will there be a measuring stick (with a digital readout) that tells us just how much of our life’s efforts really amounted to something significant…

Think about it.

BUSYNESS OF LIFE: WORTH / LACK = VALUE

If there was, what would your percentage be? Would all your busyness in life amount to good stuff, quality efforts and true, needed changes and value placed into your life and the lives of others? Or would you find that the equation only equaled a pile of, what I call, “cotton candy?”

Lots of sweetness (or sickening sugar and stickiness, depending on your preference) but nothing substantial.

Think about it.

2017 is quickly coming to an end. What if just this year was measured.

What would your equation say about you?

Job 14:5, “Since his days are determined,

The number of his months is with You;

You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.”

Ecclesiastes 1:3, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”