Related Scripture: Psalm 145:7
Welcome and Call to Worship
Great is the Lord and exalted among the nations.
Mighty and powerful is He who is the King of heaven and earth.
Holy and good is our Lord, beyond our understanding,
So, let us worship Him and proclaim His goodness to all worlds!
(Adapted from The Worship Sourcebook)
Congregational Song (HC #2)*
“What the Lord Has Done for Me”
Testimony of God’s Goodness
(Select three women’s ministries members to share God’s goodness in their lives.)
“What the Lord Has Done for Me” (HC #2 chorus only)*
Responsive Scripture Reading
Selected Women’s Ministries Members (see page…)
Praise and Worship
“Lord, You Are Good” by Israel Houghton
“Good, Good Father” by Anthony Brown & Pat Barrett
“Forever…Give Thanks to Lord” by Chris Tomlin
“O Great God” HC 238*
“Great is the Lord” HC 21*
“God Is so Good” by Paul Makai
“When I Think About the Lord” by Hillsong
United Choir, Soloist, Duet, Dance Presentation
Or a PowerPoint review of local
Women’s Ministries activities throughout the year
Celebrating His Goodness
Time of Reflection
“How Great is our God” HC 157*
“To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done”
(The Salvation Army Song Book, #279)
Prayer and Benediction
Celebrating His Goodness
In the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a saying often expressed in worship services. A meeting participant or leader would say, “God is good,” and the congregation would respond, “all the time.” The leader would then repeat “all the time” and the congregation would reply, “God is good.” I’m sure this expression is still used in many settings, but unfortunately, I have not heard it recently. I think we often get so caught up with the business of our lives that we forget to see God’s goodness and celebrate it.
When my children were younger and we were getting ready to leave for officer’s councils, I would encourage them to please be good. While away, we would call and ask them how things were going and if they were being good. If they were good and did everything that was requested of them, we would reward them and celebrate their goodness when we returned home.
The Psalms often speak about God’s goodness. In Psalm 34:1–8 we read, “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together. I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” In this portion of scripture the Psalmist reflects on the goodness of God and sings praises to Him both individually and in community. He shares his testimony about all God has done. To celebrate God’s goodness, we need to follow his example and: 1. See and Know Who God Is—He is a Good God! 2. Remember His Goodness, 3. Sing Praises of His Goodness and 4. Share His Goodness.
1. See and Know Who God Is—He is a Good God!
He is God our creator. It all started with these words in Genesis: “In the beginning God created.” God spoke, and the world was created, but when it came to humankind, He took us in His hands and molded us in His image. Psalm 139 reminds us that God knows everything about us: “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me” (verse 1). The Psalmist goes on to tell us, “You [God] made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb (verse 13). “Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (verse 16). Doesn’t that amaze you? God has a plan for you and me that was designed for us before we were born. You are His special creation, and as is often said, “God doesn’t make junk.” He is a good God.
We can rejoice because God is our redeemer. In the Old Testament we read that God redeemed His people, Israel, by sending Moses to lead them out of slavery in Egypt. This must have seemed like an impossible task to the Israelites. After ten plagues and a walk through a dry Red Sea, they began to realize that with God nothing is impossible. Their deliverance and redemption are symbolic of what Jesus’ death on the cross did for us. We are saved from our sins and promised eternal life through His redeeming blood shed for us. God is a good God!
God is our provider. His provisions for mankind started with Adam and Eve. He created everything that they needed and then placed them in the beautiful Garden of Eden He had prepared for them. Because of their disobedience they were cast out of that garden. But still God took care of them and provided for their needs. We read in Genesis chapter 22 of another example of God’s provision. He told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, but as he was about to plunge the knife into the boy, the Angel of the Lord told him not to harm him. God provided a ram for the sacrifice in Isaac’s place. Abraham called the place, “The Lord Will Provide,” for the Lord had indeed provided. When through disobedience the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, God provided for their every need with manna, quail and water. Every time God’s people have a need, He provides for them. God is a good God!
We read in Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” This is how we want our relationship with God to be. We want Him to bless us and show us His goodness as our loving Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, at times we also want the freedom to act any way we want and to do things in our own way. When something doesn’t work out the way we think it should, we get upset and think that God isn’t being good to us.
As parents, we don’t reward our kids for bad behavior. When they misbehave, rebel and disobey, we don’t take them out for ice cream as a reward. No, we discipline to correct them because we love them. It is the same with God; if we want Him to bless us, we must live according to His will for our lives. Every time we read through the pages of the Bible we get the same message that God is good.
2. Remember His Goodness to His People
The beautiful song “Great is Thy Faithfulness” reminds us of God’s goodness to His people. “Great is Thy faithfulness; Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” What a great reminder that all we need, His hand has provided. We are the recipients of God’s goodness.
One of the problems today is that we live in a world of dissatisfaction. No matter what we have or where we are, it is not enough. Author and speaker Emily P. Freeman said, “Discontentment shows up when we focus on what we can’t have rather than what we do have.” We focus more on what we don’t have and miss all that God has given us. We become like the wandering Israelites, grumbling and forgetting the goodness of God.
The Israelites grumbled and complained about their situation and forgot how God delivered them from bondage in Egypt. They forgot that He protected and provided for them while they were in the wilderness. They complained that they had the same meal of manna and quail every day. “They began to speak against God and Moses. ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness? There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!’” (Number 21:5). His people kept on forgetting God’s goodness and complained, completely ignoring His good deeds.
There are some very interesting verses in Numbers 11 that focus further on the Israelites’ complaining and lack of thankfulness. “Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. ‘Oh, for some meat! We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!’” (Numbers 11: 4–6). As I read those words I thought, did they forget what it was like in Egypt? They made Egypt sound like a vacation resort with a pool, servers, unlimited buffet, bus boys and room service. But they seemed to forget that they were slaves. Their experiences in Egypt were terrible. They were whipped, beaten, starved and made to work harder and harder. Even though God redeemed them and provided for them in the wilderness, all they could focus on were the negative aspects of their present position.
We’ve all met people who are quick to focus on the bad things in their lives. In one of our appointments there was a woman who complained that everything was wrong. The lights in the chapel were too bright one day and too dim on another day. The building was either too cold or too warm depending on how she felt. She never seemed to find anything good. Anytime you asked, “How are you?” she was quick to tell you about all that was bad or wrong with her life. She failed to remember that she had the strength to get out of bed that morning. She forgot that she had a place to live, a car to drive, a church family who cared for her and good health. She had a hard time focusing on God’s continued goodness.
We read in Matthew 7:9–12, “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” Are we also guilty of focusing on the stones and the snakes, rather than the bread and the fish? We see all the bad things in our lives and those things that we don’t have, but fail to remember all God has provided and that we have every reason to celebrate.
In order to celebrate God’s goodness we need to remember what He has done and what He continues to do for us. There is a chorus that says, “When I remember that He died for me, I will never go back anymore.” We read in the Bible how God, since the beginning of time, has masterfully worked everything out for us. He loved us so much that He sent Jesus so that we could have forgiveness for our sins and be reconciled to Him. When we remember this, we should be singing at the top of our lungs, “I’ll never go back anymore.” Wow! How can we forget that goodness to us, His people?
3. Sing Praises of His Goodness
When we remember His goodness and it is constantly in our thoughts, we can’t help but burst out in praises to Him. We sing praise in corporate worship, which is what we have done this morning. We sang, as a corporate body of believers, “Lord You Are Good.” It is a powerful weapon of worship when we sing together about the goodness of God. Heaven rejoices and Satan trembles in fear because God’s people are singing of God’s goodness.
We sing praise in private moments when we are overwhelmed by God’s presence and goodness. The thing about singing in the private moments is that no one but God can hear you sing, and it doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful voice or an awful voice. You might feel hindered in corporate worship because your voice isn’t the best; but on your own, in the car, in the shower at home where no one can hear you, you can give it all you’ve got. The only person that can hear is God and if your song is from your heart, it is a sweet, sweet sound in His ears. As the song says, “I love you Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, O my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”
We can sing His praise by writing down all the reasons God is good. You might say, “That is not singing.” And technically, you would be right. But when we read about God’s goodness and treasure it in our hearts, the song, though never sung out loud, is precious to God.
4. Share His Goodness
Part of celebrating His goodness is sharing it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to celebrate alone. It’s at those moments that we can bring people up to date with what is happening in our lives and share our hopes and dreams. When I attend any festivity, I enjoy celebrating with those I know and with people I’m getting to know.
In Luke 15 there are three parables of things lost and found. The first was a lost sheep, then a lost coin and thirdly a lost son. At the end, when the sheep and the coin were found and the son returned home, the father threw a party and invited others to rejoice with him. We can see this as an example and be willing to rejoice together in God’s goodness.
We can share God’s goodness by telling others what He has done for us. Testimonies about God’s goodness do not have to take place only on Sunday mornings or when we are in church. Anytime God opens a door for you to share about His goodness, take that opportunity. How many times a day are you asked by people, “How are you today?” That is an open door for you to tell someone about God’s goodness. Unfortunately, our natural response is usually to answer, “I’m okay.” We shouldn’t be afraid share about how good God is and what He is doing in our life. In Hebrews 10:25 we read, “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day appearing.”
Sometimes it is hard for us to see God’s goodness because of how bad things seem to us. It is then that we need those around us to point out His goodness. One day a Salvation Army officer gave a ride to a man who he saw walking along the street. In the ensuing conversation, the man shared that he was new in town and his family was in need of furniture. The officer was able to help them with furniture, clothes, food and rent to get them back on their feet. When the furniture arrived, the officer helped them get it set up. While visiting with the family he had the opportunity to share that all the Salvation Army had done for them was to assure them of God’s love and goodness. Before leaving He offered to pray with the family. They readily agreed and gave thanks to God for all He had provided.
In this new age of technology each of us can point people to God’s goodness through social media—Twitter, e–mail, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, text and phone calls, or even in a good old-fashioned letter. Use whatever method you are comfortable with to share God’s goodness so they can celebrate with you.
God is good! That is as true a statement as God is love, God is compassionate, God is faithful. It is one of His attributes. It is not the nature of God not to be good. He can never not be good. God never has a bad day when He withholds His goodness from His people. Even to those who are disobedient, He continues to show His goodness, compassion and mercy. Everything stems from God’s goodness to us.
My challenge to you today is to think about all the ways that God has been good to you. Whether it is simply the fact that you woke up this morning, were able to get out of bed and come to church, or that He continues to provide for all your needs day after day. Then when you go home, write them down and treasure them in your heart. Celebrate His goodness. Let your heart sing praises for His goodness. Also, think how you can share God’s goodness with someone. Maybe it is with the person sitting beside you this morning. Maybe when you get home today you will want to post a message on Facebook or write an e–mail to share what God has done for you day after day.
As we continue with our time of reflection and prayer, think of who God is and His goodness shown to you; reflect on what He has done and His goodness in your life. Sing His praises as we sing our closing song “How Great Is Our God.” Remember as you leave this place to share your testimony and proclaim His goodness to someone today.
Responsive Scripture Reading
Reader 1: I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise Your name forever and ever. I will praise You every day; yes, I will praise You forever.
Reader 2: Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure His greatness. Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts; let them proclaim Your power.
Reader 1: I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles. Your awe–inspiring deeds will be on every tongue.
Reader 3: I will proclaim Your greatness. Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about Your righteousness.
Reader 1: The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
Reader 2: The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation. All of Your works will thank you; Lord and Your faithful followers will praise You.
Reader 3: They will speak of the glory of Your kingdom; they will give examples of Your power. They will tell about Your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of Your reign. For Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.
Reader 1: The Lord always keeps His promises; He is gracious in all He does. The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to You in hope; You give them their food as they need it.
Reader 2: When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
Reader 1: The Lord is righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness.
Reader 2: The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.Reader 3: He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.
Reader 1: The Lord protects all those who love Him, but He destroys the wicked.
Reader 2: Great is the Lord
Reader 3: The Lord is good!
ALL: We will praise the Lord, and may everyone on earth bless His holy name forever and ever!
(Psalm 145 New Living Translation (NLT))