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“The Goodness of God” (September 2022 Update) 

There are many aspects to the character and attributes of God. All are essential to fully know God. While one of the most accepted attributes of God is goodness, few fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s goodness. God’s goodness includes His generosity and His love, but it is much, much more. 

God’s goodness comes out of His love. But God’s love emphasizes God’s heart. God’s goodness emphasizes God’s actions. William Tyndale said, “”God’s goodness is the root of all goodness and our goodness, if we have any, [and it] springs from His goodness.” And God’s goodness is the example and the motivation for our goodness. 

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“Knowing God….” (August 2022 Update) 

Our own spiritual lives will never be higher than our view of God. That’s why it is so important to be theologically correct, especially about the nature of God! Our view of God provides the framework for our life and also for the way we conduct our ministry. So, we need to be sure that we have a biblical view of God. However, it is impossible to know everything about God because He is incomprehensible. But what God has revealed about Himself, we can know and study and trust for our lives. That’s why studying the Word of God is so essential to having a right view of God. It affects everything in our lives. 

But we also need to remember that theology is not an end in itself – our goal is not simply to know about God – but to know God! 

Let’s look at a couple of passages about the importance of knowing God. 

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As we celebrate our freedom on Independence Day, we must not forget the cost of our freedom. Freedom for us is mostly free, but our Founding Fathers risked everything to achieve our freedom. What they did 246 years ago purchased our freedom today. And countless soldiers through the years have also risked their lives (and many lost their lives) defending the freedom that we have today. But, if you think about it, we do not have “absolute freedom.”  

Absolute freedom means that we are dependent on nothing and no one. However, all the freedoms we enjoy today could be called “dependent” freedoms or “derived” freedoms. That means that we did not attain them ourselves and that we cannot maintain them by ourselves. We are free. But we must remember that our freedom, in many senses, is dependent on others. We do not have “absolute freedom.” 

However, when we speak of God, we must speak of His absolute freedom. This means that God is self-determining. He does what He desires according to His own pleasures and His own purposes. Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Ephesians 1:11 reminds us that He “works all things after the counsel of His will.” Absolute freedom means that God does not rely on us or on anything in creation.  

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“Unchanging ….” (June 2022 Update) 

It is hard to determine which of God’s attributes is the most important. In reality, they are all essential. We cannot pick and choose one over the other. To remove even one of His attributes would be to lessen God – and therefore, He would no longer be God! 

But, if I had to choose one attribute that is most essential and at the same time, most comforting, I would choose the attribute of “immutability.” Because if God changes, then we can never have confidence in anything. That’s why God says in Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” If God would ever change, we could never have confidence in Him or in His promises. That’s why immutability is so important as we consider the attributes of God. 

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The people of Ukraine have always amazed me. After my first trip to Ukraine in 1996, I told friends that I was amazed that the believers did so much with so little (while we Americans seem have so much and do so little)! In 2014, I witnessed first-hand, the resiliency of the Ukrainian people. From November 2013 until the end of February 2014, thousands of people stood day and night in below freezing temperatures to protest their corrupt pro-Russian government. The more the government sent troops to beat the people, the more people came out in the streets to protest. It was amazing to see. After the protests, when Russia took Crimea and then attacked in Donetsk and Lugansk, the Ukrainian people responded by volunteering to fight (since Ukraine had no army then) and wealthy men in Ukraine paid the volunteers to fight. Every grocery store collected money and food to help feed the soldiers. This group of volunteers held off the pro-Russian forces over the last 9 years while Ukraine formed a standing army. 

Even more impressive were the actions of believers. Christians throughout Ukraine responded immediately with many becoming chaplains to share the gospel with soldiers and others beginning to help with humanitarian efforts. People opened their homes to refugees and helped them to be resettled in Kyiv and as far away as L’viv. This was during a time that the Ukrainian currency fell from 8:1 to 24:1 (triple loss) and inflation rose to over more than double. Still Ukrainians kept giving and sharing and caring for others. Most of all, during this time, believers rallied together to form new churches and new outreaches to refugees so that the gospel would continue to go forth. This has continued and even increased in the face of the current Russian invasion. 

All of this reminded me of the ending of the Book of Acts: “Now Paul stayed two full years in his own rented lodging and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching things about the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” Likewise, in spite of all these difficulties, the gospel in Ukraine continues to be spread – unhindered. 

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