Friday, March 18, 2016

Goodness and Mercy are Sure to Follow...

Jehovah is my shepherd, I do not lack,
In pastures of tender grass He causeth me to lie down, By quiet waters He doth lead me.
My soul He refresheth, He leadeth me in paths of righteousness, For His name's sake,
Also -- when I walk in a valley of death-shade, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff -- they comfort me.
Thou arrangest before me a table, Over-against my adversaries, Thou hast anointed with oil my head, My cup is full!
Only -- goodness and kindness pursue me, All the days of my life, And my dwelling is in the house of Jehovah, For a length of days!

Psalm 23~Young's Literal Translation

Another birthday approaches, another year of life, and today found me renewing my photo ID for my driver's license. I could not help but notice how much older I looked than the last picture. I am well into middle aged years. My life has been a journey for all these years, but one thing I know for sure, Jehovah is my Good Shepherd, and He is the One who keeps on leading my path.

He causes me to lie down and rest. I never would have found rest if it were not for learning His words, which grow dearer with each passing day. In a world where everything can change in a moment, one thing stays the same: God and His Words, which will never pass away. Everything else around me will pass away, but Jesus promised His Words would remain forever.

There have been dark times in my life. But He has always been there. It may have seemed that I was trudging along alone, but He silently walked along, keeping my feet from falling. The enemy of my soul likes to taunt with accusations constantly. But I keep eating from a table filled with goodness (for my needs) and mercy (for my sins), and the enemy has nothing he can say that can withstand it. The devil cannot deny the cross or that Christ rose again from the tomb so that I could be God's daughter. God's rod and staff kept me from falling off the cliff altogether, and even if I were that one sheep of the hundred who strayed from the flock, He would reach down with His shepherd's crook to get me.

I heard this week in a Bible teaching that we do not have to go running after happiness. If we follow the Lord, it only stands that happiness will find us. As we go about our days seeking first the Kingdom of God, David says that goodness and kindness pursue us.I just know that even though  the world demands that I grab "all the gusto," in Christ I am content with what He has given me, just where I am, just for today.

When I walk through my life's final valley, I need not be afraid of that either. Whether I die this year or go in the Rapture or have many years yet to live, I trust He will be there to walk it with me. C.H. Spurgeon, in The Treasury of David, says this of the death shadowed valley in Psalm 23:

"The dying saint is not in a flurry, he does not run as though he were alarmed, nor stand still as though he would go no further...Observe that it is not walking in  the valley, but through the valley...Death is not the house but the porch, not the goal but the passage to it...The storm breaks on the mountain, but the valley is a place of quietude, and thus full often the the last days of the Christian are the most peaceful in his whole career...And, then, it is not, "the valley of death," but the valley of the shadow of death," for death in its substance has been removed, and only the shadow of it remains...let us then rejoice that there is a light beyond. Nobody is afraid of a shadow, for a shadow cannot stop a man's pathway even for a moment. The shadow of a dog cannot bite, the shadow of a sword cannot kill...Let us not, therefore, be afraid."        Treasury of David Volume One by Charles H. Spurgeon, page 355.

So yes, I am getting older. But would I turn back to my youth if I had a chance? No! It has taken me some fifty odd years to come to this place of peace and reliance on God, and I am glad that each day given takes me one day closer to seeing Him face to face.

Thank You Lord, for Your goodness and mercy, all the days of my life.

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