James 1:17a (NCV): “Every good action and every perfect gift is from God.”
John 3:27 (KJ2000): “John [the Baptist] answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.'”
THE LORD’S BENEVOLENT HAND
THE OTHER DAY I nearly lost my left eye.
I bent over to pick up a dead leaf from one of our indoor plants and failed to see a stabilizer stick jutting up that struck my forehead.
Barely an inch from my eye.
Surely, God’s angels were watching over me.
That incident is not even the most dramatic one in the last few days affecting me or members of my family, but just one example in my life.
God is good to us, and we see reminders of that every day.
NOT PROSPERITY GOSPEL
LET’S NOT MISTAKE God’s good gifts for the so-called “Prosperity Gospel.” God’s Word promises He’ll go through our trials with us, not that we will skate through life without them.
However, each one of us can cite numerous examples where we experienced a “near miss,” something that easily could have turned into one of those tragedies we all read about and say, “Hope that doesn’t happen to me.”
There are many times we’ve been saved from a car running a red light, a flying object that misses our face, or a heavy object that falls harmlessly beside our foot.
Often for me, it has manifested itself in driving situations, where I’m about to turn into the passing lane and am alerted by my car’s alarm of an oncoming vehicle that I failed to see in the mirror. I immediately thank God for watching over me.
When turning left in front of oncoming traffic, I pray for patience so that I don’t end up scooting in front of a car, a car that I swear has just sped up, but allow myself to wait for a clearer path.
“Love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I recite the Fruit of the Spirit (Gals. 5:22-23 ESV) as a prayer, each time emphasizing the fourth word to restrain my impulses.
Not only in my own life, but how often has a loved one experienced God’s protective grace, and I don’t even know about it? If they don’t relate the story, I’ll never hear of it, but I still “know” that God’s protection abounds.
I did hear of one story. In July 2019, my daughter in Texas was struck by two cars — one from behind her and one from in front. While the car was a total wreck, she escaped with a concussion, and the children were unharmed.
I still thank the Lord for sparing their lives.
JESUS’ GREATEST SERMON
JESUS IN THE SERMON on the Mount tells us about God’s goodness … by contrasting His goodness with man’s goodness.
He tells a story of how mankind, being inherently evil, still has the capacity to do good things. He says a father, for example, will not give his son a stone if the child asks for bread, nor will he give the child a snake instead of a fish (Matt. 7:9-10).
The Master uses the example to assure His listeners that, if earthly fathers can give good gifts to their children, surely a good and loving Heavenly Father would “give good things to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:11 ESV).
I’m often amazed at stories of Good Samaritans who quickly doff shoes and clothing to dive into a pool or lake or ocean to retrieve another person they may not even know, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. (Just Google, “Good Samaritan dies saving another person” to see numerous examples.)
GOD’S GOOD GIFTS
A SPIRIT-FILLED PASTOR in the DC area a few years ago related a story of how, when their children were young, they would stop by the roadside on the way to the Washington Zoo to pray for a good parking spot.
When the congregation registered surprise, he said, “Oh, yeah! God loves to give His children good gifts, … and we managed to find some pretty good parking spots, too!”
All good gifts come from the Father, but how often do most people think to ask God for help in their everyday lives, even when the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:17) exhorts us to stay in prayer throughout the day?
There are many times we can thank Him for His provision, like asking Him to bless the food we’re about to eat or help us find our car keys or pray that He’ll keep our dropped mobile phone from a cracked face.
While God is not a genie who grants our every wish, He is a personal God who created us to be in fellowship with Him and wants to provide for us.
Jesus said He came to the earth that we would “have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b NASB).
How sad for so many who cannot accept the existence of our Heavenly Father nor enjoy His loving goodness toward them.
When we stay in prayer all day, asking Him for favors, seeking forgiveness for something we’ve said, or asking Him to help us decide how to handle a thorny situation, we open the communication channels so God can speak to us … and that’s really the point of it all, isn’t it?
REJOICE IN THE LORD
THE APOSTLE PAUL exhorts us to “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NLT).
Nearly 1,000 years earlier, the psalmist gave us the same message: “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! … For the LORD is good.” (Psalm 100:1, 5a NKJV)
The Doxology, sung each week in many churches, says this:
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
OUR GOOD AND GRACIOUS HEAVENLY FATHER, we thank you for Your loving kindness, Your mercy, and Your provision. Please forgive us when we take Your gifts for granted. Give us hearts that appreciate Your goodness. Praise the Lord! In Jesus name, AMEN