I wrote this psalm in March this year... it has become an anthem, a life-song, echoing in every step I take...
Praise be to God
Who has delivered my soul from religion
Praise be to the King
Who has delivered my heart from politics
For Pharisees had leavened my bread
And Herod baked his plot
Innocently I walked into the snare they had laid
Their poison flooded my mind
Their lies infected my soul
My strength failed me and my dreams died
But praise be to God who restores my hope
To the Lion of Judah who renews praise on my tongue
Herod and the Pharisees are exposed
Their agenda made plain for all to see
Their snares become like dust, their lies shrivel like autumn leaves
But I, I dwell in the Presence of The Lord
On His Throne of Grace I rest between His shoulders
Both now and forevermore.
What a wonderful subject… God’s goodness. His goodness is the very essence of His nature; it is the texture of His love, the disposition of His face towards His people. Every morning, in any moment, we can lift up our eyes and know He is smiling at us. God is not just always good, he is ONLY good – only, always, ever good. It is His will to bring good into every situation, into every person’s life. He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5:45)… it is His goodness that leads to repentance (Rom 2:4), that He’s holding back Jesus return so that more would turn to Him (2 Pet 3:9)… He works all things to the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28)… He gives us seed to sow out of the goodness of His grace, and He is good to His word – it WILL produce a harvest (2 Cor 9:10; Isa 55:10; Lk 8:8).
Some people say that God brings sickness or suffering into your life to discipline you. Or that he allows sickness so that you can learn things, to develop or refine your character. You know, for God to put sickness on you would mean that Jesus wasn’t wounded enough for you… for it’s by His stripes that we WERE healed (Isa 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24). What father would put cancer on his child to teach them a lesson? And if we believe God is allowing a particular sickness, how can we pray for healing or take medicine for that matter? No, it is always God’s will to heal – it is His GOOD, pleasing and perfect will (Rom 12:2).
Some say that it is to discipline us, punish us, when we sin. Some even go so far as to say that God brings natural disasters, like the tsunamis in Indonesia, as an act of judgment upon those nations. What they fail to understand is that for God to punish or judge anyone for their sin would mean that Jesus didn’t satisfy His wrath. The punishment that brought us peace was upon His shoulders (Isa 53:5). God judged the sin of every man, woman and nation in Jesus’ flesh. He poured out the wrath that all that sin deserved on Jesus. He is no longer angry. His wrath has been satisfied. His goodness is just, it is not a whimsical emotion or capricious mood. His goodness is not based on our performance, but finds its full expression through the just sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf (Col 1:19-20). The Father is now able to pour out the goodness of His nature on all people. At the birth of Jesus the angels sang, “Peace on earth and goodwill to man!!” (Lk 2:14) It is the unhindered display of the goodness of God that will bring people to Him.
All the years of the Mosaic law restrained his nature. Under the law He had to judge sin. Judgment and wrath brought some people to His kingdom out of fear… but most mocked and ridiculed. But now, ah but NOW, His goodness is revealed to us in the perfect Son of God. Unbelief in the goodness of God is our problem. All creation declares His goodness, ushering us into the reality of His nature: He is GOOD and His love endures forever (Ps 100:5).
What a simple word: gratitude. So simple and so often abused, that we rarely access the latent power in it. Thanksgiving. Gratitude.
How may of us have had people say to us: “You are so ungrateful!” or “I didn’t hear you say ‘thank you’!” The word ‘thankfulness’ doesn’t rate high on our favourite words list. I think we view it like that for many reasons, especially for the one above. Thanksgiving has for many of us been in a context of etiquette or social expectation. It’s something we are expected to say when we are given a gift or something from another.
We need to change the way we see that wonderful word!
One of the words for ‘thanks’ in the New Testament is the word ‘homologeo’. This amazing word means ‘to say the same as’, ‘to agree’, ‘to confess’. I’m not sure if you’re getting the magnitude of this as yet, so let me explain a little what the Lord showed me.
Look at these verses:
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks (homologeo) to His name.
“…for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses (homologeo), resulting in salvation (sozo).”
To give thanks is an act of faith. Thanks is agreement. It is the AMEN to the word God speaks to us. Thanks in the Kingdom comes both before and after the God-given word is fulfilled. Thanks says, “I say the same as what God has said. Despite the circumstance, despite my feelings, despite what I see that is contrary. I’m not going to agree/align myself with what I see and complain. No, I agree with/align myself with His spoken word.”
Thanksgiving understands that no word, no rhema, from God is without power for fulfillment. When He speaks, thanksgiving celebrates its fulfillment in advance because it knows God’s word is sure. Faith, thanksgiving and praise are inextricably linked. What comes out of our mouth will either aid that rhema seed into fulfillment or hinder, even choke, its fulfillment. A person who is full of thanksgiving is anchored in the rhemas of God; that is someone who knows the goodness and faithfulness of God despite anything contrary around them. They know they are not a victim of a system or at the mercy of fate. No, they are powerfully governed by the supernatural reality of God’s Kingdom, where nothing is impossible!
"Father, I repent, change my mind about what I say. I return to believing in Your word above everything else. In this place, all my complaining leaves and is powerfully replaced by an irrepressible thanksgiving. He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it!"