No Good Thing…


For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. – Psalm 84:11

This is an incredible promise and one that those who trust in the Lord can place their hope. It’s also the kind of verse that is so often misunderstood and taken as a promise for the unbelieving, or even worse used in prosperity teaching. I have full confidence that this verse is completely true, yet I don’t always know what’s good for me.

Yesterday our two-year old daughter Lydia openly defied instruction and I was able to live out this verse in her life. She is my daughter, I love her, and I won’t withhold what is good for her. However, she didn’t see it that way. In fact she really didn’t care much for my love for her and I’m reminded that often what might not seem “good” is what we really need the most.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This verse is also often misquoted as to provide comfort to people and used in evangelism without understanding the whole story. I know I’ve used this verse wrongly in the past and I’d like to really look at what’s “good” and what the LORD will not withhold from us.

Jeremiah was called by God to speak to a wicked and rebellious generation, to call them to repentance and return to the LORD. What an overwhelming task. What an overwhelming task before us today, to preach the gospel of peace to people. Those same people that don’t want to hear, just as those God sent Jeremiah to.

Jeremiah 38:6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So Jeremiah sank in the mire.

When Jeremiah preached the good news he was rewarded with a trip to the dungeon and for God’s eternal purposes this was good for him. It’s not our general idea of good, but this word means – (to be good, be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial, be pleasant, be favourable, be happy, be right). I’m not sure the experience of the mire was pleasant for Jeremiah, but it was certainly beneficial.

Our experiences, the ones that we don’t necessarily deem enjoyable are beneficial. They are meant for good. We see this in the example of Joseph.

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Doesn’t this sound familiar to Jeremiah’s story and more importantly how it points us to Jesus?

Acts 13:27-33 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the father. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.

Jesus considered the joy that was set before Him, the cross that He would die upon, the physical torture and for the only time in eternity, He would have the wrath of God poured out upon Him, a benefit. A benefit that His called out ones could bring Him glory on this earth, because this is the ultimate reality of salvation; the glory of God.

It is, after all, the chief end of man.

Beloved, we must consider our momentary trials and tribulations pure joy (James 1:2-4). The scripture leaves no room for any other interpretation. It’s not always fun. It’s not always our desire, but it is providentially God’s plan for you, and for me. This is a bitter pill to swallow far more often than we desire. But if you are in Christ, you are a new creation, and we can take comfort that God has a plan that far outweighs our comfort.



A new birth

Last December our beautiful daughter Lydia was brought into the world.  It was a wonderful experience; almost too wonderful.  Jen labored at home for as long as possible and we cut it a little too close.  I wish someone had recorded us trying to get from our vehicle into the emergency room.  I think Jen stopped at least twice to get down on all fours in the parking lot to fight off contractions and I looked like a circus clown running back and forth trying to help her, carry in luggage, grab a wheel chair and whatever else I thought was helpful, thank the Lord, Brenda arrived just in time to help as she hollered across the parking lot “I’ve got it Kevin, get her inside”.

Jen was literally holding Lydia in as she sat in the emergency room entrance with the two young nurses who were in a panic hoping they wouldn’t have to try and deliver a baby.  It seemed like time was standing still as we waited for the nurse.

Once upstairs to the delivery room the doctor was scrambling to get ready as Jen literally jumped into the gown and onto the delivery table; simultaneously if memory serves me correctly.  Okay that’s an exaggeration but it was quick.  The doctor took one look and said “PUSH”.  30 seconds later out popped my third beautiful daughter.  What a rush…  All parents can relate to that amazing feeling and sense of relief and joy when a new life enters the world.  It’s so incredible to see God’s creation and the miracle of a brand new life.

Last Sunday I was able to experience a new birth that had the birth of all three of my girls pale in comparison.  We were able to see the amazing gift of the second birth and this happened to be my first daughter Grace.  Grace was received into membership at Grace Fellowship Church, made a public profession of the saving grace of God and was baptized as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.  So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Over the past couple months Jen and I have seen some remarkable changes in our oldest daughter.  Grace has always been a very compliant child.  Not outwardly rebellious, in most cases, very much a rule follower.  But things were different.  She was different.  The day we really saw her experience God’s grace was a couple Sunday’s earlier as our pastor preached on the crucifixion.  In her testimony Grace explained how the weight of her sin became real to her as God poured out His Spirit.  She knew her sin caused the Lord to suffer.  Her sin was real, even though she’s just a young girl.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.  When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

Why did it please Yahweh to bruise Him?  The NIV says to crush Him.  Verse 11 tells us.

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.  By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

He loved us and calls us children.  This is the hope we can have that Christ suffered the wrath of the Father to reconcile His children.  What an amazing gift, what an amazing God.

1 John 3:1-2 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God: and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

So now Grace must live as a child of the King.  Her life from here until her death will either prove her conversion is real or false.  She will not live a perfect life.  She will sin but affirmation will come in how she handles sin.  Will she have a Psalm 51 experience over her sin, or will it be no big deal.  She must desire to live a life of obedience to God’s word.  She must be in the world but not of the world.

Grace’s life will produce fruit to the glory of God.  I’ve already experienced how she desires to live differently.  She has a desire to pour truth into her sister’s life and to be the kind of a friend and a daughter the Lord wants her to be.

I don’t understand how God’s Sovereign election works.  But I believe it because the scripture tell us plainly that its Gods plan.  I also believe that as I’ve poured biblical truth into the lives of my children God has been merciful and has blessed my effort and that of the pastor and elders.

I must be faithful to my call as a father.  I must diligently teach as Deuteronomy 6 says and in that I can trust in the Lord’s wisdom and grace.

Exodus 20:5-6 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them, For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.