Even in the Worst Times, God Is Good

Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you’” (Psalm 16:1-2 NCV).

Although it’s true not everything that happens in your life is good, that doesn’t mean God is not good, and it doesn’t mean God is not pouring his goodness into your life. God can take the bad and bring good out of it. Even in the worst times, God has a good purpose, a good plan, and a good reason.

Psalm 16:1-2 says, “Protect me, God, because I trust in you. I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from you’” (NCV).

Would you pray and talk to God about his goodness? Say, “God, you are so good. I could never deserve your goodness. I’m sorry that I have often forgotten or doubted your goodness. Forgive me for ungratefulness and prideful self-centeredness. I am nothing without you. Like David, I would despair if I didn’t know your goodness. Open my eyes to see how good you really are, and let it transform my life.

“God, my soul needs restoring. I don’t always think right. I don’t always choose right. I don’t always feel right. I need you to restore my damaged soul, my mind, my will, and my emotions. As I continue learning about your goodness, I trust that my sins have been forgiven because I’ve come to you and said I need a Savior. I’m going to release the people who have hurt me and pray a prayer of blessing over them. I’m going to team up with you and ask you to help me with the load I’m carrying.”

If you don’t know Jesus as Savior, you can pray this right now: “Jesus Christ, I want to get to know you. I want to learn to love you and trust you. I humbly ask you to accept me into your family, not because I deserve it but because on the cross, it was finished. You paid it all! Thank you. I pray this in your name. Amen.”
Talk About It

  • How have you seen God turn the bad things that happen to you into something good?
  • When you look back and recognize God’s goodness, how does it affect your perspective right now?
  • Why is it prideful not to acknowledge God’s goodness?

What Happens When We Forget God’s Goodness?

What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Yesterday we talked about how trusting in God’s goodness helps us face life’s struggles. So, what happens when we forget God’s goodness?
When we forget God’s goodness, we start claiming credit for things God has done.
In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who had been very successful but didn’t give God any of the credit. This man thought he built his wealth all by himself. God says to him, “You fool. Tonight you’re going to die, and I’m going to give everything you’ve amassed to somebody else who will appreciate it and express their gratitude to me.”
That’s a sober warning!
Prideful ingratitude is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it’s the source of all our sins. When you stop being grateful to God, you get into trouble: “Yes, [people] knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21 NLT).
The problem with the self-made man is that he worships his maker. You may be thinking, Wait a minute; I built this business with my bare hands. But who gave you your hands? I thought up the business plan totally by myself. But who gave you your mind? I worked for where I got today by the sweat of my brow. But who gave you the ability to work so hard?
“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).
Everything you have in life—the ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to eat, your freedom, your thoughts—you owe to God. You would not take your next breath if it weren’t for the goodness of God. You wouldn’t exist if God hadn’t made you to love you.
Ingratitude is actually one of the roots of atheism; when you’re ungrateful, you start dismissing or even denying what God has done. And that’s just a short step from denying that God even exists.
Yet the truth is we don’t even have to know a lot of the Bible to know a lot about God. All you have to do is walk outside. The Bible says it like this: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).
When you start to doubt the goodness of God, just take a step outside your door and look around!PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>
Talk About It
Step outside for a few minutes and think about the goodness of God in the natural world. Think about more than just the easy-to-name things (such as sunshine, snow, trees). What do you notice when you go deeper?
What good things in your life do you tend to take credit for?
How does a wrong understanding of God’s character skew our perspective of life? How does it make us “dark and confused,” as Romans 1:21 says?
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Our Gift: Living in the Goodness of God Guided Experience

Is God really good all the time? Absolutely, but too often we don’t live like we believe it.

This in-depth guided experience is much more than a Bible study. It’s a spiritual growth tool that will show you how to trust God, apply his Word, and live in his goodness every day of your life. This book has a soft leather like cover and has 285 full color interior pages packed with Pastor Rick’s teaching, Bible verses, graphic artwork, photos and exercises all designed to help you learn how to truly live in God’s goodness.

God wants to give you the confidence of his goodness, even on your dark days.

The Downward Spiral of Moral Compromise

And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
—Judges 16:20
Talk about sleeping with the enemy. Samson was comfortable enough with Delilah to fall asleep in her lap. That’s amazing to me. But then there is this sad statement: “But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him” (Judges 16:20 NKJV).

If Samson had not been in this sinful relationship with Delilah, he wouldn’t have found himself in the mess he was in. But Delilah wouldn’t give up. She kept tormenting him and nagging him. And then she went in for the kill: “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies” (verse 15 NKJV).

In the end Samson told Delilah his secret. He confessed that his hair had never been cut and that he had been dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. Then he told her that if his head were to be shaved, his strength would leave him and he’d become like anyone else.

Delilah realized that Samson had finally told her the truth. So she sent for the Philistine leaders and then lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap. She called for his hair to be shaved off, making his capture certain. Samson didn’t realize the Lord had left him, and the Philistines overpowered him.

Any person who would ask you to compromise your principles as a believer to prove your love doesn’t really love you. The fact of the matter is that if someone loves you, they’ll tell you the truth. Proverbs 27:5 says, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed” (NKJV).

Moral compromise always makes us vulnerable. And if we’re not careful, we can come under the sway and the intoxicating effects of sin.

How To Pray Effectively

“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them . . . I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored’” (Nehemiah 1:8-9 NLT).

Here are four secrets to answered prayer based on the life of Nehemiah:

Base your request on God’s character. Pray like you know God will answer you: “I’m expecting you to answer this prayer because of who you are. You are a faithful God. You are a great God. You are a loving God. You are a wonderful God. You can handle this problem, God!”
Confess the sins of which you’re aware. After Nehemiah bases his prayer on who God is, he confesses his sins. He says, “I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us” (Nehemiah 1:6-7 NLT). It wasn’t Nehemiah’s fault that Israel went into captivity. He wasn’t even born when it happened; he was most likely born in captivity. Yet he’s including himself in the national sins. He says, “I’ve been a part of the problem.”
Claim the promises of God. Nehemiah prays to the Lord, saying, “Please remember what you told your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 1:8 NLT). Can you imagine telling God to “remember” something? Nehemiah reminds God of a promise he made to the nation of Israel. In effect, he prays, “God, you warned through Moses that if we were unfaithful, we would lose the land of Israel. But you also promised that if we’d repent, you’d give it back to us.”
Does God have to be reminded? No. Does he forget what he’s promised? No. Then why do we do this? Because it helps us remember what God has promised.

Be specific in what you ask for. If you want specific answers to prayer, make specific requests. If your prayers consist of general requests, how will you know if they’re answered?
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>
Talk About It

Think of a prayer request you’ve recently made to God that hasn’t been answered yet. What motivates you to keep praying about it?
Pray again for that request, and follow the steps above. How does your prayer change?
What promises of God do you need to claim?

Living In The Goodness Of God

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7

Today, I want you to consider some personal application questions for each of the aspects. I challenge you to commit an act of premeditated mercy in each of these categories this week.

Wait. Isn’t there a tension between mercy and personal responsibility? Yes, there is. But I have personally decided that if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of being too gracious, too merciful, and too forgiving. I’d rather go overboard on mercy—just look at what Jesus did on the cross.

So, how will you be merciful?

Be patient with people’s quirks. What person in your life has irritating quirks? How can you practice patience with that person this week?
Help anyone around you who is hurting. See who around you is obviously hurting—and then look for a way you can help this week. If you can’t find anybody, then you’re not paying attention. Look closer!
Give people a second chance. Who in your life needs a second chance? How can you show that person mercy and compassion this week?
Do good to those who hurt you. Maybe you’re suffering from an old wound that you have not been able to let go of. Choose to forgive and then turn it around for good. Who is that person in your life? Will you make a phone call or a visit this week?
Be kind to those who offend you. Who offends you? Maybe it’s a politician or a comedian that you can pray for. Maybe it’s a Facebook friend who has different views and says some pretty offensive things. How can you be intentional about showing kindness to that person this week?
Build bridges of love to the unpopular. What person first comes to mind when you think of an outcast? Who spends their lunch breaks eating alone or doesn’t seem to have any friends at soccer games? What specific thing will you do this week to bridge the gap between you and that person with love?
Value relationships over rules. What unbeliever could you invite over for dinner in the next few weeks? Will you then step up and invite that person to church? This is your ministry of mercy.
Talk About It

Will you pray this prayer today? “Heavenly Father, your Word convicts me. I want your blessing on my life, and I want to be a merciful person. As I look at these seven things, I think of shortcomings and weaknesses in my own life. I pray that rather than just hearing the Word, I would do something about it. Give me the courage to be merciful. Give me the strength this week to step out in faith and do radical, premeditated acts of mercy that point others to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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