Mary Cantell

Goodness and Mercy are his name

The goodness of God is all around us. Sometimes, we don’t take notice. Being in a rush or too busy can prevent us from seeing things that we ought to notice. Taking the time to appreciate the beauty of the earth and its bounty is worth the effort and brings us one step closer to the Almighty creator of it all—our God.

When the actual greatness of God is realized in that he is one God in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—it’s jaw dropping to fathom. The power to create life and to produce the entire blueprint for everything that has been created is too remarkable to comprehend with our finite minds. Even more impressive is that God’s power extends even to controlling the very atoms and molecules that made up the nails that pierced his beloved Son’s body as he hung on a wooden cross. Yes, while Jesus endured the punishment for every one of our sins, his own power, as God, held those nails together. Talk about power!

His greatness is above our imaginations. To know him is to love him, and the more we know the Lord, the more we see his power working. The beauty of it all is that he desires a relationship with each of us, so that we are able to get to know him by asking him to enter our lives.

Right now, we only see a glimpse of his true glory, including his creation, his Word, his promises, along with his grace. Though when we see him face-to-face, the fullness of what we’ll see will be like nothing we’ve ever known before.

Faithful and true forever

The prophet, Jeremiah, said it well. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations.

God’s faithfulness to us is a great thing. Though we ourselves may lack faith or waver in our unbelief that his word is true, God can never deny his own faithfulness and will never stray from the truth because He is truth!

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has he said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” ~ Numbers 23:19

There are so many examples in the Bible of the Lord’s faithfulness to believers from his forgiveness to our salvation and sanctification, strength through trials, protection from evil, victory over sin, and sealing our future in heaven. Basically, through the Lord’s generous loving kindness, he has saved every believing soul from the power, penalty, and presence of sin. On top of that, God promised to glorify every person he called and justified (Romans 8:29-30), and our souls shall never see eternal death.

We know the Lord is coming back to earth one day. According to the book of Revelation, the living Word in the flesh is the “Faithful and True Witness.” At his return, he will actually bear the title, “Faithful and True.” How lovely to know he’s coming back in victory, and we will dwell with him forever!

He’s still got the ball

Back in the day when God’s people were scattered to Babylon because of their disobedience, God had a moment with the Persian king and basically told him that for the sake of Israel, “You will conquer many nations…you will bring many to their knees as well as set the exiles free and, later, Jerusalem will be rebuilt.” Though King Cyrus did not know God or understand his ways, the Lord saw fit to use the king to fulfill His plans and purposes for Israel.

As it is today, the Lord appoints and uses leaders to continue the plans he has ordered for the world. It may seem like God is lax in carrying out truth and justice by seemingly allowing sin to reign, but it does not reign supremely. God is overseer and judge as well as jury. He has not let go of the ball. He is the Author of all that is true, holy, and good.

May we not murmur or be distressed or turn away our belief. Remember, we are but clay. Who is the clay that it should order the potter or find fault with him? For there is no God like Jehovah. His plans can never be thwarted though many have tried. It would be better to acquiesce in faith to a higher power and turn our hearts to believe in his promises as they were given to Israel. May we be reassured today that the great prophet, priest, and king of all is also judge, jury, and executioner. God is still in the game, he’s got the ball, and he’s still on the throne.

We serve an awesome God

When God looks upon his creation, we can only wonder what is going through his mind. Whether he’s happy or sad at what each day brings, we’re certain that it’s probably a mixture of both. With every sinner who comes to the knowledge of the truth, there’s rejoicing. With every sin, he is pained.

What the spirit of the Living God feels is unimaginable. Our finite minds cannot conceptualize the awesomeness of the nature of God, for how can the limited mind of a finite being understand fully the complexity of an infinite God?

God’s works are immeasurably beyond awesome. Whether in the heavens or on earth, in the quiet of a starry sky or the notes of a tiny song sparrow, he is near. In the sunlight of the early dawn bursting on the horizon or the sharp peels of thunder, his power is all too present.

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork ~ Psalm 19:1

If there is anything we can be assured of, it is that he is alive and his reign knows no beginning nor end.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not… He came unto his own, and his own received him not… But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…full of grace and truth.

Truth, justice, and Jesus

In a world slowly devolving into more social unrest, where the secular powers-that-be continue to strive against everything godly, and while evil prevails around every corner—calamities, war, death, destruction, mayhem—it’s hard to find anything good in the news. But take heart. When the world looks bleak, keep in mind there’s a news story that rarely makes the front pages. It’s not the political Great Reset; it’s the news of Jesus, our Lord, who is coming back to earth one day to establish the Greatest Reset.

In the meantime, God’s word encourages us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and to be prepared for his return like in the parable of the ten virgins. Half of them carried enough oil to keep their lamps aflame while waiting for their bridegroom. Sadly, the others did not, and their lamps burned out, preventing them from entering into the marriage feast. Why weren’t they prepared? They all knew he was coming, yet only a few of them were ready.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus and keep yourself focused there. Don’t be swayed by every wind of doctrine nor worry about what mere man can do here on earth. Be like the virgins who kept their lamps glowing—ready and waiting for their bridegroom.

When you focus on the beauty of Jesus—his truth, compassion, love, and—everything else will pale by comparison. When hope wanes under the cares of this world, remember that as believers, we are the bride of Christ. Know that Jesus is there to love us far better than the world ever can.

Goodness overload

 We are all blessed by what our Creator lends us for life on this planet every day. He brings the sunlight, provides our food for harvesting, and His word tells us that the rain, too, falls on the just as well as the unjust.

Take a look at the natural beauty of the sky, a flower, or a butterfly, and marvel at the handiwork of our Lord. If he can be concerned for such things, how much more for you?

The magnificent works of the Lord are above and beyond amazing. Can mere words do them justice?  How can we measure the goodness of the Lord? Is there a measuring rod or scale big enough? With the rich abundance of all he supplies, it would take an eternity to count the blessings God bestows.

Every time the earth rotates around the sun, there is a new dawn and new opportunities to praise and worship Him, our maker.

We’re not here to serve ourselves, and our plans and purposes should reflect what God would have us do. Mostly, it is to serve and love one another, share the gospel, and shine His light. For as God has given us life more abundantly, we need to share the good news with others.

The goodness of God is infinitely more wonderful than we will ever be able to comprehend ~ A.W. Tozer

Just as I am

There’s no pretense with God. No matter how much we want to dress up and present ourselves seamless and flawless to become acceptable, God sees the true nature of our character. No amount of starched collars or finery will cover our sins. Only the blood of Jesus.

When Christ came to earth, he was the division between the pompously proud and the humbly repentant. His purpose was to welcome into his family those who loved and sought the truth of God with a humble, open heart. No finery required.

The Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble ~ James 4:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled
~ Matthew 5:6

Consider what the Lord has accomplished to welcome you into the family of God and know that as a son or daughter of God, truly you are loved and accepted through the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. Nothing more, nothing less.

We don’t need to dress up for the Lord. Out of respect, we want to present ourselves clean when we come to church as members of a civil society. But remember, if you don’t have anything but the clothes on your back, the welcome mat to the Lord’s house is still free for you to set your foot upon. The Lord does not turn away anyone who comes knocking. By his blood, we are all cleansed of our filth in the precious blood of Jesus.

 O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him ~ Psalm 34:8

Be still

With all that goes on in our lives, making the time just to be still is important. The Lord speaks to us so softly sometimes, it’s not always easy to hear his voice in a world filled with distractions and noise. Take a moment and step away from it all and listen for him.

 

Be still and know that I am God ~ Psalm 46

 

One can sense God’s presence in the midst of his awesome handiwork:  the silence of a forest…the rolling of the ocean waves… the serenity of a mountaintop.  Even quiet time alone at home can yield his awesome presence when we seek him and listen with our hearts.  When we draw near to him, he draws near to us (James 4:8).

 

To be still before the Lord is not always a physical position or something to do in the midst of a silent moment. To be still also means to let your ways yield unto his…to mentally put everything else aside and let the Holy Spirit lead.

 

As we are only strong in the Lord’s strength, taking the time to consider his ways above and beyond our own can only lead to opening ourselves up to the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is the only direction we’ll ever need in life.

 

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him ~ Psalm 62:5

Are we there yet?

The roads of life aren’t always smooth, and the rough spots can lead us astray as we navigate our way. In a world where life is so much of a battlefield between good and evil, it’s comforting to know we have an advocate who is on our side. He’s no ordinary comrade or friend who has your back. No, he’s more than that. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Rock of Ages, the Name Above All Names. God is our fortress.

Though the paths are not always free of trouble and debris, God’s word tells us that for those who love Him, everything along our route will work together for good. He has a plan and purpose for everything. Not everything is good, but…

“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” ~ Romans 8:28

 Our wonderful, Almighty God and Creator of the universe wants to have a personal relationship with each of us as we travel the terrains of life. He wants to be our shield and deliverer, and what better way to go than to yield our lives to Him—our creator—to find the ultimate direction. Like a father, he will withhold no good thing from his children. And even above and beyond the most sophisticated GPS system, God knows the better way to go.

Though we may encounter tribulation and trials, the wise man sees beyond the storms of life, knowing that God is in the midst of every suffering and is not immune to the cares and worries of those who belong to him. His strength will shield and sustain us—always.

Going somewhere?

When traveling, vacationing, or just visiting a new place, knowing where you’re going will often save time and keep you on the right track.

In the course of our lives, there are so many paths to take while on this planet. Some are better than others. As we walk, we’ll find the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life do not stop once we are saved. In fact, these temptations often appear stronger when we’re walking with the Lord.

When confronted with any kind of situation where we think we’ve got it covered, remember how many times the wrong decision was made simply because we thought we knew best.

Walking with the Lord is not a set of arbitrary rules and regulations to keep us boxed in; rather, it is relationship tethered by a mutual love and bond fostered through the power of the Holy Spirit—our helper—and for our good. It’s a commitment to God. Out of our love for him, we walk according to his precepts.

If we seek Him first…put His way above our own way, and trust in Him as we would our dearest friend, then He will lead us on the path we’re supposed to travel. If you’re ever in doubt as to which way to go, remember, the road map is as close as your faith walk with God.

Show me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths ~ Psalm 25:4