God loves to step in and rearrange the way you feel about things and people, if you let Him.
Well hello radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m fine thank you. Yes, thank God I’m just perking along and so grateful for the privilege of ministering His Word day by day. This does something for me. I guess you know that, to be able to look into God’s Word and to enjoy it and then share it with you folk, oh, boy that’s great! That’s like a vacation with pay- (laughs) it’s wonderful. Thank you for making it possible, for being there on the listening end. You and I are talking about Psalm 23 verse six, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”, we were talking about God’s goodness. “Goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” ordered steps, stops and stumbles because of the goodness of God. Psalm 86 verse five, I want to turn to that momentarily, and talk about some other angle or facet if you want to change the figure of speech-facet of God’s wonderful goodness, “For thou Lord”, this is Psalm 86:5, “For Thou Lord art good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy”- see there’s goodness and mercy once again, “Thou Lord art good and ready to forgive and plenteous in mercy, unto all them that call upon Thee”.
Good and ready to forgive. Interesting isn’t it, that God’s goodness is coupled here with His willingness and His readiness, now it’s not just willing, it’s ready. You know the difference, don’t you? You say to your better half, “Are you willing to go with me to this dinner tonight?”, and the answer is “yes”. The next question is “well are you ready?” “No, I won’t be ready for a half hour”. You know how that is, don’t you fellas? Well there is a difference then between being willing and ready. He says, “You’re ready to forgive”. You don’t have to wait for God to get geared up emotionally or any other way, to meet you in your need. 1 John 1:9 says it doesn’t it? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. There’s no time lag there, God is ready to forgive and to cleanse. To forgive means to erase the guilt, to cleanse means to remove the possibility of a repetition of that tragic error. God’s dealing with you and with me is twofold then; He deals with the guilt of sin, He forgives. And anybody who forgives a wrong, means that he or she takes upon themselves the burden of that wrongdoing. When God forgives you and me, He has taken upon Himself the burden of it. This is what Paul is trying to say in 2 Corinthians 5, “God hath made Him Christ to be sin for us, He who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. God’s forgiveness makes God the object of the burden of our wrong. He takes on Himself the burden of our wrong doings so He can forgive us, “That He might be just”, Paul says in Romans 3, “AND at the same time, just”, “and at the same time the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus”. Ready to forgive. God has arranged everything necessary to forgive your sins in Christ, it’s all done. All the religions of the world around us say “do this or do that”. There’s always something “to do” connected with the various religions of the world. But in the Christian faith, the key word is not do, but done. “Tis done, the great transaction’s done. I am my Lord’s and He is mine. He called me and I followed on, charmed to confess the voice divine, happy day. When Jesus washed my sins away, it’s all done! Every bit of your guilt and sin and shame and woe was taken care of it Calvary. He took the handwriting of ordinances that was contrary to us, in other words the broken law, and He nailed it to His cross, said “There, it’s done”.
Oh, beloved, do you realize that for yourself? He’s good, it means He’s ready to forgive. And then forgiveness of course involves cleansing. “Faithful and just to forgive us our sins”, 1 John 1:9 again, “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. God doesn’t want you coming back and saying, “Oh, well I did it again, and then again, and again, and again. Please forgive, me please forgive, me please, forgive me”. That isn’t God’s way, “He that covereth his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confess it”, then what’s the next word, “whoso confesseth and forsake it shall have mercy”, and so God wants to cleanse me from my wrongdoing. No, it isn’t sinless perfection, until we get to Glory we’re still going to be faulty failing human beings, I know that and so do you. But it is this; that when you bring something wrong to God, He does straighten it out. Yes He does. When you bring something wrong to God, He does straighten it out. Cleanse us, forgive us, that takes care the guilt; cleanse us, that takes care of the power of sin, so that you don’t have to wallow in it any longer. Hallelujah for that.
I read somewhere in a little book on prayer, I can’t tell you the name of the book or the author either except the just what I read sticks in my memory. A man and his wife were praying for a lady who was infatuated with someone else. She was a married lady, but she had allowed herself to be drawn into an illicit relationship and she was so deeply in love she didn’t want to do. And she had come to these folk to talk to them about about her problem, but she was in despair. She said, “Nothing will help me”, she said, “my marriage will break up”, she said, “I just can’t get rid of this terrible infatuation. I’m completely gone”. And so as she talked, they let her talk a while and they said, “Now, we’re going to pray for you in faith”. And they were two people who believed in praying, not just toward the problem but toward the answer, and so as they prayed they took by faith something she couldn’t. She kept saying, “It won’t work, it won’t work”, but they said, “Now, we’re gonna pray in faith”. And so they prayed in faith that God would deliver her from this terrible infatuation which was threatening to wreck her life and certainly her marriage. And she went out the door still shaking her head. She didn’t know. The next morning the phone rang and it was she calling them up. She said, “I just want you to know, God answered your prayer”, she said. “When I woke this morning, as a matter of habit, I tried to think about this man with whom I was in love”, she said “I couldn’t even remember his name, it’s gone”. Hallelujah. Oh, listen I have to tell you. I believe in therapy and I believe in counselors-my own son-in-law, the husband of my youngest daughter, is a successful Christian counselor. I believe in that, but I have to tell you this: that God loves to step in and rearrange your thinking and your feelings. Oh, yes He does. That’s under the heading of the word “cleanse.” God loves to step in and rearrange the way you feel about things and people, if you let Him. You believe that? Oh, that’s one of the most wonderful truths you’ll ever get a hold of. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. This is part of the goodness of God. The Lord is good, ready to forgive. He’s ready for you today, buddy, if you’re ready for Him.
Pastor McCarroll of sacred memory, he’s now with the Lord a good many years, there in Cicero Bible Church used to say, one of his great clichés that he used often was, “If you’ll get definite with God, He’ll get definite with you”. Any of you old-timers in the Chicago area remember that? “If you’ll get definite with God, He’ll get definite with you”. God’s ready, yes He is. Oh, let Him take over your life, will you? Let Him take over in your life, He’s ready when you are. Goodness, goodness.
Now I’m looking at Psalm… isn’t this good stuff?! I enjoy it anyway! Now looking at Psalm 119. You don’t mind my enjoying my own preaching, do you? No law against it. Verse 39, Psalm 119:39, “Turn away my reproach which I fear for Thy judgments are good”. God’s goodness extends to the relationship you have with the opinions of others, under the word” reproach”, your critics and those the things in your life of which you may not be very proud, about which other people know and remind you. I had a rough time teaching a certain class back in 1935 and 36, that’s a long time ago, in Philadelphia. And the dear people would come, it was an evening class, and they been working hard all day and they would come tired and sleepy, and I was fresh out of college, and I tried to apply college standards to those dear night school people, and it just didn’t work. I pleaded and I threatened that I cajoled, and on the tests they did poorly and I scolded, and they all just hated it. Well I met a returned missionary, who had come back from the field and it developed that this dear returned missionary, had been in that unfortunate class of mine back in 1935, and she looked at me and she said at the top of her voice (this was after service in a church out in the Midwest) she said at the top of her voice, “Bob Cook! Well look at you. My, isn’t it wonderful what the Lord could do you. You were such a failure back there and look at you now” (laughs) Everybody turned around and looked. I want to tell you. There will always be people who can remind you of your faults. Don’t fight it. Let the Lord take care of it. Yes, He can take care of it. God’s goodness includes your relationship to your critics. Have you found that out? You don’t have to answer your critics. No, you don’t! You don’t have to answer all the critical letters you get, file them in file 13 and commit them to the grace of God. You don’t even have to be hurt by criticism that is undeserved. Now, learn from the good criticisms, learn from your critics when you deserve it, but you don’t have to fight it because God’s goodness takes the sting out of somebody else’s reproach. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Try that on for size today, and God will bless you as you do.
Dear Father today, teach us more about Thy goodness even in the pressures of life, may we know the tender touch of the nail-pierced hand, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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