Goodness on Fire

Cover of "Merriam Webster Dictionary"
Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition of goodness fall short in comparison to the goodness of God.

What biblical goodness is
Goodness, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary refers to the quality or state of being good. The term good is then defined as a favourable character or tendency.

Receiving the compliment of being good is an honour and privilege – we may call many as exhibited some good acts, but labelling them as good people takes on a much higher level. Yes, being called good is such a rare opportunity.

National heroes may speak well of the term – but not all of them. It only shows that the term is heavy and calls for uniqueness.

In the Bible, the term goodness is said fifty (50) times in the King James Version (KJV), in which more than 90% refers to the goodness of God. Good is said seven hundred fifty (750) times, and the majority of it coming from the acts and nature of God. Very few of the biblical terms goodness and good refer to a particular biblical character. Clearly implied, goodness is a virtue in which God is exemplary, and none of His creation comes close to the degree of His innate goodness or good character.

A survey of the use of both goodness and good in the Bible defines the meaning by its qualities that are exhibited when practiced. One key area is forgiveness. When God shows goodness, it is often associated in His unwavering commitment to forgive His straying people (e.g. Isaiah 63:7). Another is God’s willingness to bless peoples materially. This is evident in the way God blessed Israel in the Old Testament times (1 Kings 8:66): God loves to bless His people not because of their own merit but because God desires to glorify His Name. It is also God’s way of showing that He desires a people who will speak of His goodness.

The list could go on but maybe the most important of all is how the goodness of God relates to His character of love. In the Holy Scriptures, the goodness of God in relation to His love (actually mercy (chesed), but the term mercy/lovingkindess implies love according to Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew) is mentioned sixteen (16) times in the KJV. When God chooses to do wonderful good acts, it is because He does it out of love. Or to put it differently, because God is love, He will never cease to do good things. Wow! O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)

The goodness of the Lord therefore is of a separate class. It is far beyond the idea of human kindness. The goodness of man has its own limits, and its nature is imperfect, but God’s goodness crosses boundaries and is perfect in its nature.

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The Heart Always Does Matter

In everyday experience I have proven again and again that the condition of the heart always dictate the overall status of the individual for the day.

A downgraded heart would mean a lifeless individual; a cheerful heart would reflect an invigorated soul. An enthusiastic heart would mean great accomplishments for the day; and a burdened heart would mean futility.

The greatest investment therefore an individual could do is to keep his or her heart at the best condition always. Yes, keep the physical body healthy, as well as the mind, but the heart would always have its effects on these as well. Not to mention that the heart also is a reflection of the emotional and spiritual status of a person.

Keeping the heart optimal is never easy, as I have learned. It suffers often in atrophy, just like the muscles when not exercised or when overlooked for some time. Worse, it weakens at a much more rapid rate than the muscles.

My advice? Prayer, and serious Bible meditation and application would always be the best ways to keep the heart in the best condition possible.

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Prayer Requests:

For my preaching this Sunday with Acts 17 as the Text. Accomplishments of projects. Guidance of the Lord for my talk with Madam Jane Salazar and Ptr. Sam right after this coming Sunday service. Thank you.

 

Battle for Pleasure

John Piper (theologian)
John Piper tells us: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Everyday life is a battle for Pleasure. It is either we get satisfied in God, or in anything else.

When former pastor and writer John Piper released his book Desiring God, which aims to show the Church that the basic duty of man is to delight in God, he got numerous criticisms from fellow Christians around the world. The most prevalent teaching is that when we love and seek God, we should not be thinking of benefiting ourselves but rather do it sacrificial all for the sake of its own virtue, and for the Glory of God. But for Piper it is different. He sees Scriptures commanding us that at the center of God’s plan is ‘Glorifying Himself by getting people satisfied in Him.’

After much meditation, I agree with Piper. Truly, every moment of each day we find ourselves battling to get ourselves being happy and joyful and satisfied with whatever or whoever we find pleasurable in life. It is either we  glut  on God, or in anything else. And that ‘anything else’ may well include, money, relationships, or sinful acts.

What does the Bible really say then? Is it really wrong to have self-delight as everyday, moment-by-moment duty?

(Ps 16:11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

This verse would simply mean that God is leading us to a true kind of life – one that is joyful in His presence.

(Phil 4:4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Here Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord always.

There are still many Scriptures that could be said, but I would like to focus now on one thing: God’s determination to Glorify Himself by having people getting satisfied in Him.

Here is a key Scripture passage:

(Jer 2:1) Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

(Jer 2:11) Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.

(Jer 2:12) Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

(Jer 2:13) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The Lord here is speaking, telling Israel her many sins. And on verses 11-13 He nails the point: Israel has forsaken their glory, the God of Israel to many things that does not profit them. Instead of choosing God as the only source of their satisfaction and sustenance, they have chosen other things, like other gods for their objects of pleasure.

Here it is also interesting to note that God sees sins as having pleasure other than in God, and we know that sins are all acts that try to trample on God’s Glory. Thus, Scripture Logic tells us that being satisfied in God brings Glory to God.