This past Saturday, I had about 45 minutes before dark in which to cut the grass. This is pretty much how long it takes to cut our front and back yards. I got the lawn mower out, it started (thank the Lord!), and I set about to do the job.
As I began, the thought occurred to me that I could spend the time simply cutting the grass. Or, I could add a component to the task that would make it far more productive and enjoyable. "Heavenly Father," I prayed in response to the thought, "I want to take this opportunity to think about Your goodness and greatness, and praise You for the thoughts that come to mind." I did so, and here is the progression of praise I offered, with verifying Biblical passages and a few accompanying thoughts.
Love, that is, God's unselfishness devotion to others. Certainly every consideration begins here, in the wonder of our Lord's self-sacrificial, others-devoted nature and character. "God is love… charity (love) seeketh not her own" (I John 4:8; I Corinthians 13:5). Indeed, think of it. The infinite, eternal Lord, the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Most High God, the Judge of all, and the Redeemer of those who believe possesses a heart of altruism rather than arrogance. He loves to give, even at the greatest cost to Himself, as revealed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not selfish, and as love, He cannot by definition do anything for mere self satisfaction. He thinks, wills, speaks, and acts in devotion to others, and has never and never will experience a moment in which He does anything of egocentric narcissism. I praised Him for this.
Patience. The Lord is longsuffering, especially with me! How He bears with us as we learn His ways, and seek to grow in the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus. Few qualities of our Heavenly Father more come to my heart and mind when I think of His devotion to us. "And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth" (Exodus 34:6). I praised Him for this.
Faithfulness. Frances and I like to say it this way: No one has ever trusted in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and been disappointed for doing so. And no one ever will. He is faithful and true. He keeps every promise He makes, and fulfills every word He speaks. He cannot lie, and He can be trusted with all our hearts. "I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:11). I praised Him for this.
Holiness. Holiness serves as the fount from which faithfulness proceeds. God is devoted and sanctified to His nature, character, and way. He is who He is, always and forever. Thus, He always acts accordingly, in the holiness of His unchanging being of love, light, life, and truth. "The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17). I praised Him for this.
Mercy. God loves to forgive. He "delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18). The prodigal's father ran to greet his wayward son with pardon, forgiveness, and restoration. In the moment we came to know the Lord Jesus, an even greater greeting met us as our Heavenly Father bestowed upon us a mercy so great that His Spirit entered into our hearts. We became "vessels of mercy" in that holy hour, and we personally discovered the declaration of the Psalmist: "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee" (Romans 9:23; Psalm 86:5). I praised Him for this.
Goodness, or kindness. God made and redeemed us in order to be good to us, and to eternally show forth His gracious kindness by such bestowal of grace (Ephesians 2:4-7). The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I think, "The Lord has been good to me." He has, and if He never did another thing for me, I would still be indebted to Him forever. "Oh, how great is Thy goodness!" (Psalm 31:19). I praised Him for this.
Generosity. I love the line from the old hymn, "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again." He does, and eternity will not be long enough to exhaust the vast Reservoir of God's "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). As we frequently mention in these messages, "God loveth a cheerful giver" because He is a cheerful giver! (II Corinthians 9:7). "Life more abundant" showers forth upon those who trust the Lord Jesus, and who know our Heavenly Father as the bestower of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (John 10:10; James 1:17). I praised Him for this.
Power. As is so often the case regarding our wondrous Lord, the Apostle Paul expressed it best regarding the ability and capability of God: "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church throughout all ages, world without end, Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21). I can add nothing to that, other than to say, I praised Him for this. And, I rejoice that we can declare with the Psalmist our intention, based upon the goodness and greatness of our Lord, to eternally raise our hearts and voices to the One so worthy of our accolade, affirmation, and adoration…
"I will praise Thee forever!"
Weekly Memory Verse
"I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True".