Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
The Goodness of God in the Land of the Living
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Rewarder - "one who pays wages" (misthos, "wages," apo, "back," didomi, "to give"), is used by metonymy in Heb. 11:6, of God, as the "Rewarder" of those who "seek after Him"
Ask any Christian if they believe that God is good and they would certainly say, well of course. But believing that He is good is not the only requirement in pleasing Him. The Word we just read goes on to say, we must also believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This sounds like an admonishment to me. So many Christians don't believe He is a rewarder in the here and now, it's always in the future, or when they get to Heaven. When we understand what the Word of God has to say about this, we will come to the place where we can believe that He is a rewarder here and now.
Pleasing Him requires that we believe not only in Him, but in also in His willingness to reward those who seek after Him or as the Amplified Bible says, those who seek Him out.
A great many Christians don't believe God is a rewarder here and now. Yes, they believe their sins are forgiven and they are going to Heaven, but that is about as far as it goes in many cases. Christians will often say God is certainly able to help them, but when it comes down to it, they don't believe He is willing to show His goodness towards them personally. Often times they are willing to say He blesses others, but have a hard time believing He is actually willing to bless them. God is absolutely consistent in not only His ability to bless but in His willingness to bless. He is no respecter of persons. What ever He is willing to do for me, He is just as willing to do for you and visa versa. Aren't you glad?
Jesus said In Marks Gospel ...
Mark 10:29 So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30. "who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life.
Jesus said in Luke’s Gospel…
Luke 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
The word Gospel simply means, good news.
Jesus preached good news to the poor. Does God want us broke down and begging? Then what is the significance of preaching to the poor, what is the significance of preaching to the sick, what is the significance of preaching to the lost? What is good news to someone who is poor, or lost, or who is sick? Do these people all have the same needs? No they don't, but there is good news. We have been redeemed from all of these things if we will but receive them. Glory to God!.
I've talked to many Christians who believe God is trying to teach them something through these things. Is this how goodness acts? Not by any definition I know of.
The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. This was God's will in the flesh. Sickness is oppression from the evil one. God does not use oppression of the devil to teach His children. He redeemed us at a great price so we wouldn't have to be oppressed, that's the Good News. Why would He go to such great lengths to redeem us from these things and then turn around and oppress us to teach us something. That makes no sense. I've learned He teaches us by His Word and by revelation of the Holy Spirit. He will lead us and guide us into all truth. He doesn't need the devil to teach His children. Who would want to seek after a God that as soon as they found Him caused them to become sick or poverty stricken to teach them something. That certainly doesn't sound like very good news to me, does it you? Is this how you would act toward your children? God loves us much more than we can understand. He wants the best for us. He went to great lengths to give us His best, The least we could do is try to learn what His best is, and then begin to learn how to walk in it. Sometimes we need to get to the place where we can shake off our preconceived ideas, before we can walk in the truth.
Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the Lord with your words; yet you say, "In what way have we wearied Him?'' In that you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,'' or, "Where is the God of justice?''
God's people were calling evil good, and God said that this wearied Him. Is it any different in our day? I've heard ministers call sickness a blessing from God. God forbid! God is good. Goodness and evil never co-exist. The definition of goodness has not changed since the times when Jesus walked the Earth. If it was true in the times of Christ, it is certainly true for us today. He went about doing good and healing. If we don't have this clear in our mind then we can certainly not have a firm foundation for our faith. Faith always begins where the word of God is clearly understood. Oppressing those who seek after Him is not what the Word of God says. He rewards those who diligently seek after Him. Sickness, disease, and poverty are not rewards and they are not of God. Enough said.
John said in his 3rd Epistle ...
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
W.E. Vines says this word prosper here means ... to have a prosperous journey.
"to prosper, be prospered. in material things;
the continuous tense suggests the successive circumstances of varying prosperity as week follows week; of physical and spiritual health.
Our life is an ongoing and continuous journey is it not? Can you have a prosperous or good journey if your sick, can you have prosperous journey if you are so poor you can't put gas in your tank, can you have a prosperous journey if you are lost. The answer to all of these is no, you can't. None the less, it is God's desire that we have a prosperous journey even as our soul prospers. A renewed mind is the beginning of this process. When we meditate on the goodness of God we bring our mind into subjection to His will.
Brother Oral Roberts made popular the saying, something good is going to happen. It gets you in the right frame of mind. When you begin to say this, it helps you turn your expectancy level up. Expectancy is another way of saying hope. Hope and faith work together to bring God's will to pass. If you can not see it happening you will never be able to receive the promise by faith. Our expectancy will grow as our understanding grows. The greater the revelation, the greater we can expect to receive. The greater we expect to receive, the greater we will receive, they are all tied together. We can not receive above the level of our expectancy. We can not walk in the goodness of God above the level of our soul prosperity. I hope this makes sense.
Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
We are certainly in the land of the living. It is here and now that we need to see a manifestation of God's goodness in our lives. When we get to Heaven it will be a given. There will be no more suffering, or sickness, or sorrow, or lack of any kind will there?
We must receive this revelation before we can begin to walk in it.
Back when I was in Bible School, one particular minister would always make us stand up before class and say, For the Lord is good and His mercy endureth forever. (He used the King James Version.) One day during my second year after having said this probably two hundred times, I asked the Lord, why this Scripture, I know You are good and Your mercy endures forever. I was literally too shy to go and ask him myself. Several weeks went by and I forgot about it. Thank God the Lord didn't forget. One particular day as always, we stood up before class and said, For the Lord is good and His mercy endureth forever, This time however, as I said it out loud revelation knowledge came into my spirit. It nearly overwhelmed me. There will never be the slightest doubt in my mind what goodness is, and that God is totally good. Glory to His name forever. I pray that all can come to this knowledge. We often think we know some things when the truth is we only know in part. I learned that in order to minister effectively to others I have to have this revelation myself, for it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance. I only saw a small part of the revelation of His goodness that day, and since then I’ve seen more of it, but regardless of how much of His goodness I’ve seen, I still only know in part. He’s too big for us to fully comprehend. Aren’t you glad we will always be able to continue to grow in the knowledge of Him?
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
If you haven't done so, now is the time to reach out to Him and see that He is good, and in His goodness He is able and very willing to abundantly bless His children. Amen
I would like to leave you with a few Scriptures to meditate on.
Jeremiah 33:11 `the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: "Praise the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever'' and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,' says the Lord.
Psalms 100:5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalms 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!!
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.