Statue of a stone lion in the Chinese garden, Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Knowing what is good

Our lives are full of a lot of things, some good and some not so good. It’s funny how we categorize events and people and gifts into good and bad or good and not good. It’s pretty easy for just about anyone to say that something is good or that something isn’t good, but I’m not 100% convinced that any of us know what is truly good, at least not on our own.

Using our own judgment doesn’t always work because we don’t know everything. We like to think we do, but we don’t. As Christ-followers, we need to depend on Scripture to tell us what is good and what isn’t.

Some things seem fairly obvious, right? Like stealing. Or killing. But are they obvious? Or are they only obvious because of the culture you’ve grown up in? What about marriage? What about children? What about death? What’s good? What’s bad? And how do we know the difference?

That’s why we have the Bible. That’s how we’re supposed to know how to live, how to die, how to serve, how to think, how to act. The Bible tells us what is good and what is bad, and it rarely coincides with our gut instincts.

Statue of a stone lion in the Chinese garden, Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Statue of a stone lion in the Chinese garden, Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Psalm 92

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.

It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,
accompanied by the ten-stringed harp
and the melody of the lyre.

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O Lord, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts.
Only a simpleton would not know,
and only a fool would not understand this:
Though the wicked sprout like weeds
and evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.
But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.
Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.

But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
You have anointed me with the finest oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”

Entitlement in blessing

When someone does something nice for you, what is your reaction? Do you expect people to be nice to you and do things for you? So when someone does, do you just act like they were required to do it? Do you refuse to accept someone’s kindness? Are you humbled that someone would be kind to you? Do you run around and tell everyone about it?

I love to watch little kids open presents. They get so excited, and once they have it open and know what’s inside, they’ll usually run around showing everyone.

If someone does something nice for you, generally your first reaction is going to be to tell people about it. Isn’t it? You’ll want to tell your friends and your family and the people you work with that someone you know did something amazing for you.

That’s what I thought when I read today’s verse, 1 Chronicles 16:8.

8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
      Let the whole world know what he has done.

1 Chronicles is one of those Old Testament books that gets looked over sometimes. It’s a history book, usually used for extended reference with 1 Kings. But it has detail in it that 1 Kings doesn’t, and we can learn things from the Chronicles that we don’t in the Kings.

In 1 Chronicles 16, David and a select group of people are moving the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. This was a big event. In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of God. It was where He would speak to the High Priest. The Israelites carried it into battle with them. It was a symbol. Not an idol. And it was supposed to be at the center of the Temple, in a chamber called the Holy of Holies. Well for some reason or another (it’s complicated), the Ark needed to be moved back to Jerusalem (I can’t remember if this was the time the Philistines stole it or if it was a separate occurence).

In any case, when David and his people got the Ark back to Jerusalem, David wrote a song. The first line of the song is today’s verse.

When was the last time God did something for you that He didn’t have to do? I bet it was more recent than you think. Did you wake up this morning? Are you able to read and understand the words in this post? Do you taste the coffee you’re drinking?

How much has God done for you just in your early morning routine?

I think we expect God to just do things for us because He’s a good God. But we live in such a screwed up world that the entitlement mentality of our culture has spread to our faith.

God is not required to do anything for us. I mean, He already sacrificed His Son so we could have eternal life. What more can we ask from Him? Yes, He tells us to ask Him for what we need, that we don’t have because we don’t ask. But even when we ask, we’re supposed to have the right heart. And many times, I don’t think we do.

God has done amazing things for us. God is doing amazing things for us, and many times we don’t even realize it. So we don’t thank Him like we should, and we don’t tell others about it either.

So today, think about what God has done for you. Because even the “little” things are bigger than we think, too big for us to accomplish on our own. And once you see the things that God has done for you, tell others about it. Because nothing demonstrates gratitude like telling other people what someone else has done for you.

God helped me wake up this morning. He gave me a life where I have a warm bed and hot coffee to drink. He’s provided me with a job that I enjoy, even though it stresses me out sometimes. He’s given me a car to drive that is still going strong at nearly 121,000 miles. He gave me the ability to write and the hands to type my thoughts down. He gave me a family that’s incredible and friends who help keep my focus straight. He gave me a church that’s out-of-this-world awesome. He’s given me opportunities to do the things I love and help people at the same time. He’s given me everything that I need and many things that I wanted. And the things that I wanted that He hasn’t given me are probably just around the bend.

God has been good to me. Very good. And the least I can do is proclaim that goodness to other people. I want the whole world to know that God has blessed me when He didn’t have to.

How has God blessed you this morning?

Think about it. Thank Him for it. And then tell somebody.