JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Trust, today’s Focus on God examines His goodness.
According to Acts 10:38, with the Holy Spirit and power, Jesus was anointed to do good and heal all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
In his book, The Practice of Godliness, author Jerry Bridges noted that goodness involves deliberate deeds that are helpful to others. While the Bible uses the word “Good” to refer to what is upright, honorable, and noble concerning moral character, it also uses it to describe actions that are beneficial to others.
When we examine the life of Jesus, we see that His actions were upright and helpful to others. His good deeds flowed out of His good character. He came with the power to heal our brokenness, transform our hearts into His likeness, deliver us from evil, and save us from our sins.
The goodness of God is a reason to trust in God for today and forever.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Amos 5:14.
“Seek good, not evil that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.”
This was a message for a nation that was drifting from God. Israel was under the impression that they were under God’s protection even though the nation was not fully dedicated to walking in His ways. They were in more danger than they realized, and further from God than what they imagined.
The Book of Amos was pointing out that if they wanted their claim to be reality, they needed to love what is good and to hate what is evil. This is where the Lord’s heart is. He loves what is good and hates what is evil. God’s influence on our lives brings us into agreement with His perspective. When we humbly accept God’s Word and apply it to our lives, we can step forward with full confidence that we are on God’s side, and He is with us.
Seeking good, not evil is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Micah 6:8.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Following this good path will guide us into relationships that bring honor to God.
To act justly means that we treat people with fairness and without partiality. We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. We stand for the truth and refuse to be influenced by bribes. Acting justly flows out of a commitment to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
Loving mercy means that it gives us great delight to offer a helping hand to those in needy places, like the Good Samaritan who aided a man on the side of the road beaten by robbers. Loving mercy also means being gracious and patient with people who have stumbled into sin. The love of Jesus fills us with compassion for the condition of their soul.
Walking humbly with God means that we acknowledge the authority of Jesus over us and follow Him day-by-day, step by step.
Doing what is good in the eyes of the Lord is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK -Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 14:22.
“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.”
Plans indicate our intentions to act. This verse is referring to the principle of sowing and reaping.
If we sow evil plans, we will stray off course from God’s intended will for our lives, and the outcome leads to confusion, dissension, and pain. Someone gets hurt when evil plans are carried out. If our plans are evil, God’s remedy is for us to turn back before we carry out those plans.
If the Lord directs our plans, those plans will be consistent with love and faithfulness, and good fruit will flow out of our actions. A generous person who refreshes others will be refreshed. What we send out is often what comes back. Those who plan what is good open the door for thriving relationships and for the name of the Lord to be honored.
Making plans that are good in the eyes of the Lord is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on God’s good purpose for His people.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good. But God has the power to overcome evil with good. This is proven through the power of the cross, where Jesus died for the sins of many people.
So, through the trials of our lives and through the triumphs, God is weaving everything together for a good purpose, and that purpose is identified in the next verse-Romans 8:29.
“For those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That is how we are blessed and God is honored through the circumstances of our lives.
God’s good purpose to transform us to be more like Jesus is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – From Psalm 136, verses 1 and 2.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods; His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of Lords; His love endures forever.”
26 times, this chapter uses the phrase, “His love endures forever.” The reason that we can live with hope is because of God’s enduring love. It will never end, and it will never fail. It is strong enough to save us, and long enough to reach us wherever we are.
Even in the depths of depravity, His love is able to pick us up out of the quicksand of our own making and place us on the solid foundation of faith. His love is magnetic enough to draw us to a relationship with God forever. His enduring love is a compelling reason for daily gratitude.
Thankfulness to God is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.