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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Sometimes, My Heart Just Grieves

I’ve had several conversations over the past few week with friends who are going through incredibly tough seasons of life, and, as I think back through them all, my heart just feels heavy tonight. Many days, these conversations cause me to seek good, practical advice, Godly wisdom and a lot of scripture to encourage, admonish and uplift their weary hearts. Often, these stories told cause my spirit to rise up in righteous indignation over injustices done. I encourage them to fight, to never give up, to seek God, as well as, to seek their personal well being at all cost.

Yet, sometimes, like this evening, my heart just grieves over their losses and their pain. I wish I had a magical wand that could, somehow, make all the heartache, fear, doubt and turmoil just disappear. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

If you’ve not experienced sorrow yet in your life, well, just keep on living, because it will come. If I can give you a piece of advice, both for those going through the trial and for those who are listening to the story, find someone to lean on. Don’t ever try to carry your burdens (or theirs) alone. You aren’t meant to.

Especially, for those of us who call ourselves a Christian. God never set up the Body of Christ for you to walk through this life experiencing all the brokenness it can bring and travel that painful journey alone. Find yourself a good church family, a wise pastor, spiritual leaders, and pour your heart out. Let them pray for you. Allow someone to come alongside you and help carry those burdens!

If you’re the one always walking alongside helping to carry the weight, you’ve got to learn to lean as well. You can’t always lean on those hurting, because they may not be ready to help carry you; however, you can find someone stronger than you to lend a helping hand. You’re not Superman! (Sorry to bust your bubble!)

Learn to lean. It’ll help you stand stronger.

Learn to release tears. They will wash your soul and help you to breathe deeper.

Learn to grieve. It’ll help your heart be real.

Learn to take a hand. It’ll help you to walk steady on that road to eternity.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Listen to both and be encouraged today. 💗

In An Instant

Too often, we take for granted what we have right before our eyes. We get into a routine, and we expect everyone who’s in our little orbit to always be there tomorrow. We expect to wake up in the morning, and everything be the same.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Car wrecks, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and floods happen in the blink of an eye. Breakups, broken promises, angry flare ups and heartaches may take days in the making but take only a moment to occur. Crushed dreams, destroyed relationships, words unspoken, volumes that can never be erased come in a split second.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Are you ready to say goodbye? Do you cherish the one you’re with? Will you make the moment last? Could you build the memories of a lifetime?

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Don’t be one day too late…

Penned – MG – 7/2/18

When the Struggle Comes

What do you do with struggle? What do you do with change? How do you handle life when it just doesn’t work out the way you planned, or when it throws you a curveball or a great big surprise?

Do you stop in your tracks? Do you back up? Do you turn around and retreat? Or do you throw a fit and let everyone know it’s not as you expected? Or do you press onward, keeping the end goal in sight, never wavering or giving up?

What do you do? What is your reaction? I would love to hear from you, my friends.

It’s an interesting journey when change comes. Everyone reacts differently, and no one can prepare you for many of those surprises along the way, and some tragedies will knock you to your knees, and you’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to stand again.

How you handle change, and how you react in the struggle and in the tragedies of life will often determine whether you’re a leader or whether you’re a quitter. Your response in the hardest moments of life will determine who you lead and who you turn away. It may sound like a harsh judgment, but it’s true.

Everyone will encounter struggle, hardship and tragedies throughout life. If you haven’t yet, well, keep on living and count your blessings for the moment. But talk to an older person, spend some time with someone who has weathered the storms of life. You’ll find that in those darkest moments, character is chiseled and destinies are designed. Friendships are forged and lifetime relationships are created or crumbled. And often, each are determined by the words we chose and the attitudes we allow.

So, I ask you again, what do you do? How do you react? Think about, and choose today what your words and your actions will be. It doesn’t matter that the struggle or tragedy isn’t on you at this moment. Being prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually is half the battle. If you wait for the moment of crisis, then you wait for knee-jerk reactions of the heart, and no matter how good you believe your heart is, it can never be trusted.

Set your foundations on solid ground. Set your thoughts on higher ways. Then, when those struggle of life gets difficult, and when the tragedies hit that you’d never expect, your heart an mind will be ready. Doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it does mean you will survive through it!

Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Embrace It All

I walk down this broken road of memories

The dreams that once were, crashed along the side

The joys filled the hours and the laughter rang out for days

I could glory in those moments that once were

Yet I would be mistaken, for those were days filled with smiles and with pain

As time moves on, we seem to embrace the sunshine and push away the clouds

We forget the misery of which we survived

We put away the those heartaches, praying they will never come again

If I only grasp the good and never the bad, I cheat myself and I cheat you

For in the sorrow, wisdom can be found

In the brokenness and the tragedy, grace is remembered

Throughout my agony and distress, that is where His strength and love is deepest know
Penned – MG – 1/2/17

We Never Know

We have no guarantees. We have no promises of long life and happiness in this earthly life. Not one of us can predict what tomorrow might bring.

I read a post today about a friend who lost her sister in a tragic accident. She was a wife of 14 years and a mom to four children still at home. Talked to a young man yesterday who lost his mom 7 seven years ago; he’s just a teenager. Another friend is grieving the loss of her 16 year old who was lost in a house fire last month. Tragedy surrounds us everyday, and we may never know what someone is going through unless they share their story.

Sometimes, especially in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we can get so busy with our ‘to do’ lists, our shopping needs and our holiday parties that we fail to see the hurting who may be standing right next to us. You know, the waiter who seemed to not care about whether you enjoyed your meal today? Maybe she just lost her mom last week, and she’d rather escape responsibilities right now; however, she has to work to pay the bills. The cashier who seemed mad that you were even in her line? Maybe she’s struggling through a divorce and won’t get to see her kids on Christmas Day, because the judge granted visitation to dad this holiday. Or the father in the grocery aisle looking lost and confused, who just won’t get out of your way? Maybe he is distracted, because his beautiful wife of 10 years is lying in a hospital bed suffering from an incurable disease, but he’s here, searching for the cereal that his four year old so wants for breakfast.

The promise of our Savior is one of Hope. Isaiah told us He would be called Wonderful, Counselor, a Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, and He is all of this and SO much more!  I have to ask, “Are we sharing Him with the world around us this Christmas?” Are we looking for those in need and taking the time to listen to their stories?

We never know the stories unless they share them with us. Yet, if we will open our eyes and listen to His voice, sometimes, He will bring them right in front of us. Just a smile, an encouraging word, a helping hand might help them make it through another day. God could have placed them in your path for you to see; so, you could share your story…because you are someone who has found the Hope they desperately need.

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Let us not just be a great church who sits on a hill looking lovely and singing beautiful songs. Let it be our ambition to reach this community, to share the love of Christ to the unloveable and to proclaim His Hope to the hopeless. Let us share our story that has found love and grace and Hope in the only One True God.

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We Are Moms

Ok, so, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to rant for just a moment. I am so sick of all the bickering across social media, blogs and other “news” mediums, and I just want to shout this from the rooftops: STOP IT!!  *Please note before I start, I am not looking for a debate, and I am not trying to offend. I just feel the need to say something, and I hope you will read till the end…

There is so much shaming, fingerpointing and backbiting that, too often lately, I feel as if I’m back in kindergarten, or better yet, I’m back in junior high listening to the 12 year old girls bickering over who’s fault it is that the popular girl doesn’t like them anymore! 😁 It’s silly, and it’s really becoming annoying.

We have had several MAJOR tragedies in our country over the last several weeks, and the news media and social media feeds have been lit up like Christmas trees. Everyone is trying to find someone to blame for the gorilla, the alligator and the night club violence, because after all, it couldn’t be as interesting as simply be sympathetic toward the families who are grieving over their lost loved ones! It couldn’t be as intriguing as trying to reach out to the ones mourning.

These mothers will never hug their babies again in this life. (And yes, I realize the nightclub was not filled with ‘babies,’ but to a mother, her child will always be her ‘baby,’ no matter his or her age.) These fathers will never rescue their children from another emergency. These grandparents will never see their grandbabies smile those beautiful smiles that made their hearts swell with love. Why can we not stop all the fighting for a split second and observe the value of a life? Observing the value of life does not mean I must agree or disagree with the person or his or her lifestyle for that life to be valuable.

Why? Because this country has become too accustomed to shaming anybody and everybody who avails him or herself to the public eye. We have become too comfortable with setting ourselves as judge and juror,  bondsman and, even, the thought police. This ought not be.

Can I tell you? I am a mom. I love my babies, and I do my very best to take care of them the best way I know how. Do I always do everything perfect? By all means, No! I wake up everyday and pray the Lord help me and guide me, because I am human, and humans make mistakes, and accidents can happen.

Now, just because I do my best, does that put every mom into that same category? No, unfortunately, I can’t say that it does. Some moms are so focused on themselves or their own agendas that they are neglective or oblivious to their child’s needs. Some moms are so jacked up that they cannot cope and function the way they should. Other moms are just simply wrong in how they handle life, children and all of the above.

Yet, it’s not my place (or yours) to get on social media or any other news medium and blast that mom for what I believe she did or didn’t do right. I don’t even know the woman. If we are not within her orbit, didn’t see exactly what happened and have no tangible access to her world, how can we sit in judgement and shame her, or praise her, for what we have drawn as our own opinions?? …and why should we? Don’t we have better things to do with our time??

If there has been a crime committed, the authorities will figure that out. It is their job. That is what they are trained to do! That’s what they are doing at that nightclub. They’ve determined it was an act of terrorism; so, why is the bickering still focused on gun control and the life of the homosexual? The news media and liberal agendas seem to enjoy stirring up the opinions on everything else but the real issue at hand. The fact is, we are all Americans, no matter race, origin, religion or sexual orientation, and we have some real enemies in this world. These enemies would like to see us ALL dead, and our fighting amongst ourselves is not going to change this fact, nor will it help to bring resolution to that fact. Sometimes, there is a war to be fought, and we must fight it. Shooting in amongst the troops isn’t going to kill the enemy. It will only hinder our efforts to win.

On the two other tragedies, if there is a wrong to be found, those involved in the situation will be called upon to right that wrong. If she (and he) is found to be untrue, and she is to be chastised for her faulty ways, then those closest to her and those in leadership surrounding her should speak into her life for reprimand and change, but who are you and I to think it is our place to publicly shame her? Do you really think that is going to make a difference in her life?

Sometimes, shaming is for coping, and sometimes, it’s for competing. We are moms. We shouldn’t do either, but it all comes from vanity. Either you feel better than someone else or worse than them. So, you compare. You compete. You tear them down to lift yourself up. It’s all wrong.

Matt12.34

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“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34b-37

 

 

We are moms. This is a battle of life and death, and the victory is the breath and legacy of our children. We should just fight the good fight. Link arms together when we can, and pull each other up when we’re able. If we see wrong within our orbit of influence, we should not hesitate to speak up; however, often times, we must have built a relationship long before the tragedy to make any real impact in the lives of those whom we speak truth.

If we witness a crime, by all means, stand up for the innocent! Yet, when it comes to men and women we know nothing about, a situation in which we have no first hand knowledge and a location in which we were not present, sometimes, it’s better for everyone involved, including ourselves, to keep quiet, give grace and just pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for truth. Pray for justice and grace.

Life is hard sometimes, and we all need a friend and a cheerleader to help us along the way!  … Okay, I will end my rant now. Thank you for letting me unload that mess…

 plankeye“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew.7:3-5  

 

Who will Cry For The Children?

 Sorry for the delay in posting today!)…Thinking of the news headlines lately, I thought I’d repost a piece I wrote many years ago…

  

Who will cry for the children?

They cry out in anguish                                  
They cry out in pain

Who will cry for the children?

They play in the streets
They fall in the rain

Who will fight for the children?

They fight for their freedom
They fight for their life

 Who will fight for the children?

They run into fears
They run into strife

Who will pray for the children?

They pray for the answers
They pray for the love

Who will pray for the children?

They seek out the Light
They seek out the Truth above

Will you be the one to reach them?

Will you be the one to pray for them?

Will you be the one to fight, to cry, to bleed?

 

penned 1/26/04 – MG