“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
“I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14) History continually repeats itself, even King Solomon was given wisdom to see this fact and to record it so that we, too, could be wise and not repeat the mistakes from the past. As a matter of fact, King Solomon was given the gift of wisdom to rule the Israelites wisely in the ways of the Lord. However, due to his marrying so many women of other cultures he also became an idol worshipper and began to seek pleasure and riches in his own power, not satisfied with the abundant riches that the Lord had bestowed upon him. After all his years of indulgence and idol worship and folly, he came to a conclusion that those in the world would greatly disagree with. As a matter of fact, even those who call themselves believers, disagree with his conclusion. “then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 12:7-8) The problem is, vanites are appealing to us and destructive! Look at history, look around us today.
With wisdom we would not desire to repeat our destructive history. However, our history is being erased by those who want to be in power and do not want you and I to know the truth. They have effectively over the years removed prayer from schools and now even consider the Bible to be a book of hatred and devisiveness. It is listed as dangerous and there is a great movement to remove it from our society. Unfortunately this isn’t going to be that difficult for the enemy because even those who say with their mouths they believe the Bible is truth, do not follow its teachings. They pick and choose what to apply to each situation and therefore make a mockery of our God. The majority of Bible translations today are written in such a way that they no longer correctly translate the Scripture. They have changed it to deceive and lead the masses away from the truth. Read these words the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, “For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are stupid children and have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know.” (Jeremiah 4:22 emphasis mine) “And although they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely.” (Jeremiah 5:2)
As I read Scripture I am always overwhelmed at the foolishness of mankind. I read of the Israelites disobedience and God’s judgment over and over again. I remember many years ago was reflecting on this exact fact and I asked God how they could have been so blind and I was overwhelmed by His response. I broke down in tears because of the conviction! His response was, “You are no different”. It wasn’t unkind, it wasn’t hateful, it was truth. How many times did I repeat the same mistakes and make the same destructive decisions expecting different results? I could have tried defending myself that I didn’t know Him and His ways for many years (which was true) but there was a place in my soul that told me all along that those choices and actions were wrong. However, I felt unable to do anything else because I did not have any idea what else to do that would produce a possibility of getting what I desired. See the problem? Getting what I desired! Did I get what I desired? Unfortunately I often did and it was to my destruction. I certainly took the hardest road possible, the one walking away from the Living God, to life abundantly and full of mercy and grace!
I share this with you because it is the perfect example of why Satan wants the Bible destroyed and made a crime to read or possess. The answers to all life’s questions are in this wonderful Book! It is the living, breathing Word of of the Lord. Lord God created and Jesus spoke it into being. Just as they did in creation, they also do in each person’s life who turn to seek the truth. But if the Truth, Jesus, has been erased from society, there is no hope, no light, and nothing good, nothing of God’s “agathos” good (coming from Him and for His glory). There will only be man made declarations of what each one declares to be “good” in his own eyes. King Solomon also penned a very poignant proverb regarding this very thing which we need to meditate on, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25) This applies to believers and non-believers. Why believers? Most believers I have met do not pray about what God would have them do, they simply make a decision and ask God to bless it! My dear friends, we need to allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to come into our hearts. This is a matter of life and death.
The more I read the Scriptures the more I am caused to submit my understanding to the Lord for further revelation of how it applies to my life. Let us be challenged a little more today and look at a Scripture we are all familiar with and one that is quoted quite frequently in these devotionals. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) What is there in your life that seems right to you but if you really asked God if it was what He wanted for you He might say “no”? Or asked another way, have you allowed something or someone into your life, without asking God, because you know His answer would be “no”? The Apostle Paul taught that even though there are things are that permissible they are not always profitable. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
The Apostle Paul’s words are powerful. Let’s break them down and see how they apply to our lives. “All things are lawful for me,” is a broad statement and can easily be taken out of context if one is not familiar to what he was talking about. Let’s read the rest of the passage, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.’ But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20 emphasis mine)
There are many choices we make every day. Do we make them in accordance with the Lord’s desire or in our desire? Paul is reminding us that even though there are choices not all of them are for our God or in accordance with God’s will. We can argue that some of the choices aren’t breaking any laws or won’t harm others, and while that may seem to be true, we really do not see the spiritual implications that can be wrought from our actions and decisions. But we need to remember, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-6 emphasis mine) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
(1 Corinthians 6:19 emphasis mine)
So how do we walk that out? I think the first Scripture I ever memorized was the 23rd Psalm, in the King James Version, and I still remember it in the original text. Its words are life and comfort for me. And they also answer the question. Let’s read it together, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalms 23:1-6)
“The LORD is my shepherd; “. It is when I am trying to take control of my circumstances and have not allowed the Lord to lead me that I get angry, defeated, frustrated and feel hopeless, like the world is against me. While it is true that the world is against me I also need the Lord as my shepherd to remind me that He has overcome the world! "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 emphasis mine) His victory is my victory because I am seated in Him at the right hand of the Father! God is my portion and He is the One who sustains me. “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalms 73:26) “The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-25)
Notice that there are two very different realities in this psalm. David is very clear about the dangers and challenges we face while living on this earth. Especially if we are following Jesus Christ and are in an intimate relationship with Him, we will be the target of numerous ongoing attacks by the enemy. Why? He hates God and the only way that he can get to the Lord is through His people. What Satan hasn’t figured out is that those who are truly the Lord’s don’t count their life as meaning anything without Jesus. The Apostle Paul stated it so well, I can’t say it any better, ” For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) The question to each of us is how we have responded to God’s request, “Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways.” (Proverbs 23:26) The psalmist illustrates what reality can, and should be, for each one of us who have truly given their hearts to the Lord. I am encouraged as I read this psalm because, unfortunately, I don’t always see beyond my current circumstance and immediately begin to praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy and lovingkindnesses. It usually doesn’t take very long before I am convicted by the Holy Spirit when I look at my circumstances rather than keeping my eyes on the Lord and this psalm reminds me of my true reality! The words of Jeremiah are precious to me, “Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40)
So let’s begin walking through this psalm together. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from the predators all around waiting to devour them. He doesn’t hide them from the dangers, just as we are not removed from all harm just because we are believers. If you have been told that nothing bad will ever happen to you, or you will never experience difficulties if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, it’s a lie. There will be difficult times, there will be trials and tribulations. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that we will never face difficulties. The opposite is actually true. We are protected by our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and if we truly are saved, we understand that the protection being spoken of is that we know that this earth is not our home, our home is the Kingdom of God! Jesus’ entire earthly ministry demonstrated that His eyes were ALWAYS set to the Kingdom of God, the eternal kingdom where He will reign forever with His bride.
Before we look at the rest of the Psalm and what the shepherd longs to do for us, we must allow the Holy Spirit to ask each of us a few very important questions. The first and foremost is, “Do you really want a shepherd to guide you?” Don’t rush. Most will hurriedly answer, “of course”, but the first opportunity you have to do, or say, something that He is opposed to, and we are off on our own. Worse yet, we also are justifying our actions. And before we even know what hit us we are in over our heads in situations we should have never been in. Is this you? Do you want this to change? Are you willing to follow where Jesus leads you?
As I reflected on the life of a shepherd we must realize that while the shepherd takes his flock to an area where food is abundant, it may be a journey in order to get there. Many people want the benefit/outcome but they don’t want the journey. The journey is where we learn to trust and obey. Once there the area may not be a sheltered protected area and it is crucial that we have learned to trust and obey if we are to remain safe, this is also part of the journey and it is addressed in the rest of this Psalm. There can be no victory without the journey. And there is no journey without complete surrender.
“I shall not want.” In other words, all I need will be provided. However, our sinful nature can still find many things to “want” and “desire” that are not in the Shepherd’s will. What will you do? Complain? Try to obtain them yourself? Maybe even prepare beforehand and take material things with you to make the journey more pleasant for yourself? Maybe even try to tell the Shepherd a better way to get to the destination? Think about that last question, humans are great at telling the Lord what we want and how to give it to us! Ouch! Am I willing to be satisfied with what the Lord provides? Really content. So content that we will continually praise Him and rejoice to be in His presence? Like King David, our prayer should be to “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me”. (Psalms 51:10)
The Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt with only the clothes on their backs. Their clothes nor their sandals wore out in those 40 years! What He had them bring out were very precise to meet their needs and to provide what was needed for building the Tent of Meetings. Remember, the Lord’s ways are not our ways! "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:” “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) No matter our circumstances, if we are “in Him” we can find rest. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) The path that we see with our eyes may not appear to be “straight” nor safe, but if we are trusting and truly following Jesus Christ He will lead us and give us rest in our journey. That rest comes through faith and faith comes through trust and obedience, “for we walk by faith, not by sight--” (2 Corinthians 5:7) There is everlasting joy in His presence, He is our green pasture, we rest in Him, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matthew 11:29) He is our foundation, our cornerstone and our anchor. “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.’” (Isaiah 28:16) "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’" (2 Timothy 2:19) “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:18-20) "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4) Lastly, we must take the warning from the Apostle Paul seriously as he admonishes us to remember that there are many unstable and deceptive “foundations”, none of which are going to stand intact before the Judgment Seat of Christ! “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11)
If this area is a difficult area for you, please go to the Praise His Holy Name tab on this website and print out the A to Z Praise List, I promise you that you will find His green pasture! You will become like the bride in the Song of Solomon who asks, "Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?" (Song of Solomon 1:7)
We listen and follow with our mind and not our hearts. If we are living by “following our hearts” we are in for great tribulation and trials. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) Walk according to what the Word of God says, not by what man says.
“he leadeth me beside the still waters.” When I picture still waters I see a glass mirror that reflects everything around it. It signifies peace and tranquility. But it also reflects EVERYTHING, it will reflect our countenance, whether calm or disturbed. There isn’t anything we need more than the safety of being transparent in the eyes of Jesus and finding His peace that will bring us to the point of calm and resting in Him. When we are stressed and in fear and He brings us to the still waters the shock of seeing ourselves as Jesus sees us should cause us such concern that we stop and quickly turn to Him and ask for help. That is exactly why He has brought us to this point. We won’t make the rest of the journey unless we allow Him to be our healing balm! "Cease striving and know that I am God; …” (Psalms 46:10)
When I reflect on the still waters of the Lord I am reminded of Psalm 91. This is where we learn to sit and reflect on the Lord’s goodness, His mighty power and His protection over us. It is where Psalm 1:1-3 becomes a reality in our lives, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3)
“He restoreth my soul:” Oh how easily our souls become corrupted! Beside those still waters He sends healing. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:3) We can confidently declare, “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14) “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Psalms 36:9) “for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17) When I think of the Lord restoring my soul I go back to the comforting words of the Lord spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, “But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;’...” (Isaiah 43:1-3)
“he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” I truly believe that this is where most people struggle with the Lord’s ways. People in our society want recognition, they want to be in the spotlight, they like getting the credit for anything good that is done. They like to hold high positions and to be in “the right circles”. They love adoration and praise. Are you beginning to see the problem? Life is not about us, it’s about reflecting the life of Jesus Christ so that others may see Him and be drawn to Him. It is not our will be done, but “Thy will be done”! Obviously, God does place some in positions of power or in public office or government positions, but, again, it is not for their benefit, it is so that He can work through them! All we need to do is read the Scriptures and we find examples of men and women who God used for His glory. Look at Abraham, Daniel, David, Peter, John, the Apostle Paul. Think about Esther being chosen as the wife of the King of the Persian Empire. How about Ruth, a young Moabite woman who chose to follow her mother-in-law’s God and forsake her heritage? Another one of my favorites is Mary of Bethany, and we can’t forget Mary the mother of Jesus! I’m sure you can find many more but there is a reason we have these accounts written in the Scriptures, they are to give us encouragement and guidance! Notice, however, none of these sought for greatness within themselves, nor did they ask for high positions. None of these were people of great courage and wisdom, they were all people who chose to believe God and follow Him with all they had. That is why the first commandment is, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Is this you? Please remember the warning words of James, the brother of Jesus, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8) It is only through the restoration of the Lord that we can become useful vessels.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” There are so many aspects to this verse! For starters, do you have a deep intimate spiritual relationship with the Lord to truly see what Jesus sees? Without seeing the world around us as Jesus sees it, we will never truly understand this verse. For those who may be going through great physical challenges or medical problems and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, you may say that you understand walking daily in the shadow of death, and that would be true. But it isn’t always a physical battle. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Yes, these spiritual forces work through men and women on this earth but we need to remember where the actual power is from so that we aren’t fighting the wrong battle! The enemy is out to destroy those who are called according to the name of Jesus. His first line of defense is to make a believer question whether the Word of God is pure and true and that every word applies to their lives. This is where the enemy has made great strides, he has divided the church because he has deceived masses of people and a great majority of leaders. These are walking into spiritual and physical death that will separate them from the love of Christ for all eternity! Unfortunately they will also say they fear no evil because they have become hardened to truth and do not see the enemy of destruction that is leading them down the path.
But to those who have developed an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, they will hear the warning from the Holy Spirit, they will see the traps that have been set, but they will not fear because they are following the Shepherd! It is a very narrow path but He will protect them. They also know that if they are ambushed and killed, it is not a frightening thing because they will go to their eternal home in the Kingdom of God! But their eyes are set firmly on Jesus Christ and where He is leading them. Notice that the psalmist speaks of a rod and staff that brings him comfort. Actually they are the same. The shepherd’s staff has a “hook” on one end to reach out and pull back a straying sheep or to rescue one that has gone astray. However, there other end is straight and is a rod that is used for discipline. “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:8)
Have you ever seen a picture of a shepherd with a young lamb around his neck? That is because the young lamb would constantly stray off on its own away from the flock and would be prey for the wolves, coyotes and bears. After a time if the lamb’s disobedience cannot be corrected with the staff/hook, the shepherd will have to break the little lamb’s legs so that he cannot walk. The shepherd then carries the lamb around his neck. The lamb’s head then rests on the shepherd’s chest and the lamb learns to hear the shepherd’s heartbeat. The lamb is calmed and begins to rely on that heartbeat for its sustenance! How about you? What is it going to take for you to learn to have complete surrender to the Shepherd? “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” (Galatians 1:3-4)
While no discipline is pleasant I am relieved (of the oppression I am experiencing) when I hear the Lord bring conviction into my life. Why? Because I know even before He speaks that there is something wrong. I may not always want to hear that I am wrong or acting in disobedience but when He speaks, I am grieved that I would cause Him pain and that I have moved away from Him spiritually. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 emphasis mine) It grieves me that I should even need to write these next few sentences but because of so much bad doctrine out there I must. Just because you may be suffering with an illness, a disability, a financial setback, etc. it does not mean that God is punishing you for disobedience! We live in a fallen world. There are times that God allows such things and we must seek Him to understand His will for our lives. God’s will is perfect even when we can’t see it or understand it. Do not allow the condemnation of the enemy to accuse you unfairly! We need to be spiritually fit to see the victory when the enemy tries to tell us that we are defeated!
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:” A table of provision, sustenance, abundance. But we must never forget the most important thing about this table. We are seated with Jesus! “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35) "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, `From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. " (John 7:38) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Unless we have surrendered our lives and have entered the Holy of Holies and become true worshippers of the Lord of lords and King of kings we will not sit at this table. Why? Because we are still in the outer court and have not trusted Him nor fallen in love with Him. We can be obedient to a certain extent but without love it’s all works and will be of no value to us. Jesus desires a personal relationship, after all He will not marry a bride who has no desire for Him! "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." (Revelation 19:7 emphasis mine)
“thou anointest my head with oil;” Through our salvation we received the gift of the Holy Spirit, God living in us! That alone is overwhelming to me. To know that God is with me every moment, through everything I go through I can sometimes fool others with what my intentions are, I can’t fool God! Let that sink in for a moment. Yet, He loves me! He desires me! He longs to have a relationship with me! All I need to do is ask and He will direct my steps! He gives me discernment and wisdom! “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Psalms 32:8 emphasis mine) "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation." (Psalms 91:14-16) Remember to allow the Holy Spirit to give insight and understanding. Long life is eternal life, He may grant us many years on this earth but even if He doesn’t, He will give us eternal life with Him which will be much more than we can ever imagine! “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (Psalms 30:11-12)
“my cup runneth over.” “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.” (Psalms 139:17-18) “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” (Psalms 27:1) “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” (Psalms 27:4-6) “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.’” (Psalms 27:8) “For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me. You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.” (Psalms 31:3-5) "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27) "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” (John 17:22 emphasis mine) “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) You may want to pause here for awhile and just praise Him! The “A to Z Praise List” under the Praise His Holy Name tab is an anointed list taken directly from Scripture. Personally I have found that it takes me directly into the Holy of Holies.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” I pause at this point because this last part will not be a reality in our lives without the whole of what we have been studying. Even with a surrendered life it is sometimes hard to physically see the reality of these words, we must see spiritually. We need to be wholly submitted to our Creator and keep our eyes focused on Him and His will. When we are able to separate the physical from the spiritual we will be amazed at what God will show us. Chaos may be all around us but we will see His blessings upon us. The word goodness is a word abundant in its definition. It means fruitful, morally correct, profitable, abundant, kind and benevolent. After God created each component in Genesis 1 He said it was “good”. It was created to benefit all of creation. Don’t you think that might have also been His intent when He created man? He created us to be in relationship with Him and to be fruitful and to rule as He would rule over the earth. Just because sin entered in and created great chaos and is trying to destroy everything that is God’s good, doesn’t mean that God’s goodness does not exist for those of us who are His.
I’m sure you’ve heard that mercy is what God gives us even though we don’t deserve it. That is true. But what does God give us? That is the important question! He gives us His kindness, His truth, His faithfulness, His steadfastness, His justice, His righteousness, His goodness. All of these are just examples of His character. He has given us Himself and all of His character! Let that sink in a minute. Do we display it? Do we walk in it? Do we live in it? I honestly have to answer that I do not walk in it as He would have me to walk in it. But that doesn’t stop Him from giving it to me and growing me in His grace and mercy to walk in it! I have it, I need to access it by asking the Holy Spirit to teach me and lead me in it. He will give me opportunities to learn how to grow in that area, and hopefully, I will begin to reflect that character in my life.
"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." (John 14:1-4) These verses alone are a whole devotional unto themselves. For now, let they be words of life and encouragement to keep our eyes “onward and upward” as the Apostle Paul would say! Notice that it does not say the Jesus is going to prepare a mansion for us. This is important, bear with me a minute here. He said, “for I go to prepare a place for you.” Up until the resurrection of Jesus, those who had been believers went to Abraham’s bosom. When Jesus cried out on the cross, “it is finished!” the curtain in the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom and it was to show us that Jesus had opened up the way into the Holy of Holies! No longer was there a divider keeping us from the Mercy Seat. We now had direct access into God’s presence!
Heaven is not our eternal home. Heaven is where we will go until the final battle of Armageddon is fought and Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives and sets up His eternal kingdom in Jerusalem. That is where our eternal home will be. Jesus tells us that “In My Father's house are many dwelling places”. In our Father’s house means that we are family and we are invited into His home to dwell as one with Him, as heirs of the throne! To dwell is to abide, be established, to belong, “for in Him we live and move and exist,...” (Acts 17:28) This is about intimacy! “And you know the way where I am going." Jesus is clearly telling us that the only way is to walk where He walked in obedience and love. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6) His whole desire was to please His Father! And that is the way for us. We must be washed by the blood of Jesus and through Him, only through Jesus Christ, will we dwell “in the house of the Lord forever”.
Abba Father, I humbly bow before You. Your words to us are life. Forgive us for our selfish desires. And most of all, forgive us for not spending time in Your presence! You sacrificed Your Son, Jesus Christ, to make the way into the Holy of Holies, into Your presence. There is no greater gift, nor any greater place to be than in Your presence. Teach us, Holy Spirit, to rest in You, to submit to Your leading, to dwell in Your presence and be transformed by the renewed mind in which You have given us. Help us to walk in the reality of who You created us to be and to live and dwell in You. May we see new and wonderful things in Your Word every time we open the Scriptures. May we come with expectation and leave filled with Your joy! Thank You that You dance over us and You desire to have us in Your presence! I love You with all of my heart and long to see You face to face! All this I pray in the blessed name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! Amen.