Good vs Best

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

I recently read a devotional by Oswald Chambers and, with one word, he really challenged my thinking and fine-tuned my understanding concerning this familiar scripture. He said, “…lean not on your own ‘righteous’ understanding.” Well, we know that worldly thinking is sometimes unscriptural, and we know this applies to carnal perceptions for sure. But have you ever considered that our understanding could be upright and scriptural, but still not be what God had planned at that moment?

This may be a simplistic example, but it helped me to grasp the concept. Once, while preparing for company (you know what that’s like), I asked one of my children to empty the dishwasher. When I came home, the dishwasher was still full, but the house was picked-up. Well, that was a very good and much appreciated help, but my immediate need required full use of the kitchen. Likewise, our service, even if it is righteous and scriptural, may not further God’s plan.

And sometimes the good gets in the way of the best. We may choose a direction to go or a service to do that may be really worthwhile. We may even pray for God to bless our efforts, when in fact, He may have an even better plan. That’s why we’re told to seek His righteousness, and in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths.


Taste and See

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Ps 34:8)

The word “taste” appears a few times in connection with the goodness of God in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s choice of words is never random, but each is meaningful and carefully chosen.

As I thought about this, I concluded that our sense of taste is the most complicated. It works in connection with other senses including smell– aroma and also touch–texture. Though we may try, a taste is most difficult to explain in words. It can only be described by comparing it to another taste–like chicken (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). So it is with the goodness of God. There is no comparison; it must be discovered, experienced, and acknowledged.

God’s goodness is complete—totally satisfying, sufficient to meet our every need.

The challenge isn’t going back for a second helping, but to park there and bask in the Lord’s provision as this verse concludes, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Those Who Seek

I love those who love Me; And those who diligently seek Me will find Me (Prov 8:17).

In discussions with other believers, the topic of God’s will never fails to eventually come up. God, for sure, wants us to know His will, to desire to do and say things that align with His word. But more than even that, He wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son. In other words, not to just seek His will, but to KNOW Him.

To understand concepts like this, I have to relate it to my experiences, in this case, as a wife. When my husband and I first began building a relationship, we learned things about each other—likes, dislikes, annoyances…. Later, as our relationship grew, we learned about each other on a much deeper level—what we valued, what was in our hearts. Because of this, we could each anticipate how the other might react to a situation.

The great thing about our perfect Father is that the more we know, the more amazed we are. He is the author of every good thing, the very definition of love. And as knowledge of Him grows, it is both astonishing and humbling to be considered His dearly beloved child.

Tuning in to The Good Shepherd

He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice (John 10:3-4).

I was raised in an Italian household where almost daily there were lots of people there, talking all at once, usually at a high volume. I learned early on to block out conversations and to concentrate in the midst of chaos. This isn’t always a good thing because now when I tune-out, I sometimes miss some very important information.

Tuning in to the Good Shepherd is vital for every believer. It is one conversation that we don’t want to miss or dismiss. Hearing His voice is important, not only for direction, but also to build a relationship with the One who loves us so much. And when He does direct us, it is in ways that are the best ways.

He never pushes or forces, but gently guides us to “have a life that is full and good.”

A Pure Heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10).

Are there people in your life, too, who knowingly or not, cause contention? When I choose to admit it, those people and uncomfortable situations are so often what send me to the Lord in prayer. Often times I have prayed for them to change when God shows me that it is I who need to change too.

Isn’t this exactly what God wants? A change in my heart?  When Jesus dealt with the people who despised Him so much that they took satisfaction in the brutal suffering that He endured until death, He looked at them with love, forgiveness, and understanding, realizing that they didn’t really know what they were doing.

Oh, to have that much love in my heart! Maybe the table He is preparing before me in the presence of my enemies is really my own heart.

Random Thoughts

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (I Cor 13:4-8a).

Today’s discussion is not exactly about relationships; it is about prayer. It has been said that in order to communicate with God effectively, we need to discipline our mind. I know that personally I like to start with a prayer of thanks, but often I end up with random thoughts a thousand miles away. My question today is, “How do we know whether or not a thought comes from God.”

This is why I chose Corinthians 13 as the verse. God is love. Any communication that comes from Him follows the principles outlined in these verses. If our thoughts are selfish, revengeful or even prideful, they did not come from the Father.

We can certainly be honest with God about our feelings, but His answer once we leave our “secret place” (Matt 6:6) will never direct us toward any idea or action but love.

These are just beginning thoughts on understanding God through prayer, but it seems that time and time again, the right answer to most questions is love.

Knowing God

It has been said that the Creator placed within each of us a yearning for Him. After reading a verse in Colossians, I am wondering if He placed more than a yearning, but also a knowledge of Him within each person—from the most primitive to the most sophisticated.

I’d like to examine some of these scriptures then end with one of my favorite stories about Hellen Keller. At least that’s my plan, but I am open to where the Lord leads, so be sure to read to the end.

Romans 1:20 states, for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and deity; so that they are without excuse. To me, this means that everyone should know God or at least, know about Him through the amazing things He created.

Colossians 1:22-23 says, You have been reconciled through Christ’s death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach, so continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. My footnote says that Paul was using a hyperbole (exaggeration), but this same idea of everyone having heard the gospel (Christ’s redemptive death, burial, and resurrection) appears elsewhere.

Titus 2:11 states, for the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared (is revealed) to all men.

I would think that there are indigenous from primitive lands that have not heard the complete gospel message, but I also believe that we have an amazing God who would not leave anyone in the dark. With that lead-in, here’s my Helen Keller story as one example.

Helen was blind and deaf from the age of two. She had basically lived a life of isolation. Years later, after her teacher, Anne Sullivan, had taught her the gift of language, she thought Helen should have some spiritual knowledge as well. I have no idea how Anne explained God to Helen, but Helen’s reply is amazing. “I’ve known Him all along; I just never knew His name.”