Goodness and Mercy

by Rebecca Olmstead on November 2, 2011

in Meat & Potatoes,Sharing

Blessings Friends,

Today’s promise is Psalm 23:6:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Amen!

Have you ever felt like that is exactly what goodness and mercy are doing? Following you? At a very safe distance?

October came and went for us without much fanfare, and our five-year-old made it known how disappointed she was. According to her we were the only neighbors who didn’t decorate!

I am now on my third antibiotic (the big guns) for a very stubborn and painful sinus infection, and the rest of the family joined in the fun a few weeks ago and is still fighting.

As aggravating as prolonged illnesses are, and as sick as I am of being sick, I’m laughing on the inside. You see, after our little “house cleaning” I was convicted to ramp up my prayer life, and it has been AWESOME!

I no longer just whisper a quick prayer here and there as I remember throughout the day. I lift my voice in praise and petition when I have the house to myself or pray with friends and family. And, come midnight, I launch a full-on attack! This I obviously must do quietly, but none the less passionately.

So, the reason I’m laughing on the inside is because, if there’s one thing the enemy doesn’t want, it’s anybody praying in the power of the Holy Spirit—without ceasing! And storming the gates of hell at midnight? That really makes him mad!

The number 12 denotes governmental perfection. It’s the number or factor of all numbers connected with government, whether by Tribes or Apostles, measurements of time, or in things that have to do with the government in the heavens and on Earth. So, what better time to stage a coup?

You may think I’m crazy, but I’ve noticed a pattern in this trial. Whenever I slack off from fatigue or pain, I start feeling better. But, when I get my second wind and launch another attack, my symptoms get worse.

Last Wednesday, I had no symptoms whatever. I went to Bible study 30 min. early for some power prayer time at the altar, and had a great evening of fellowship. That night, I developed a raging ear ache and relapsed. I was still on my second antibiotic.

Sunday I didn’t make it to church, but Chuck made me go to the Dr. and I received the third antibiotic. That night, Chuck and I prayed together at midnight. The pain was so great afterward that I couldn’t sleep until 6 a.m.—the alarm went off at 6:30!

With the kids off to school, I finally settled in for some sleep, but every time I drifted off, a woodpecker would fly into the window or start pecking outside my window. Usually, pounding on the wall or window will scare them off, but not this one. After several attempts to scare it away and sleep, I thought, it’s almost as if someone doesn’t want me to get any rest…hmm, I wonder who that could be.

So, as crazy as it sounds, I began rebuking that woodpecker!

Yes, you read right, I rebuked a woodpecker.

I commanded it to leave in the name of Jesus Christ—and it DID! Tuesday morning as I was praying, it returned, interrupting my prayers. I rebuked it again, and it hasn’t been back since!

While I don’t enjoy being sick, I really enjoy knowing my prayers are being effective. If they weren’t, I’d be well and sleeping like a baby, I’m sure.

In light of the trials of this life, and the fact that Jesus warned us that we’d follow Him at great personal cost, today’s promise bears looking into.

First of all, why did David say, “Surely goodness and mercy (lovingkindness, or grace) shall FOLLOW me?” Why didn’t he say, “encompass, or surround me?” This word “follow” is better translated “follow closely.”

The answer is simply that we do not serve God for our own benefit, but for His glory.

Our reward comes in the next line, “I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.” While we remain on earth, it isn’t our own gain that is of consequence—it is what we leave in our wake. As we practice obedience from day to day, God’s goodness and mercy is revealed to the world through us as we “store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.”

The encouragement comes in the previous verse: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Not only is He preparing a banquet for us in Heaven, He also sets in order a banquet for us to feast on while He fights for us, just as a good shepherd defends his flock as they graze peacefully in “green pastures.”

Why don’t we have to do the fighting?

Because, “Thou annointest my head with oil…” As we humble ourselves, He lifts us up, sanctifies us. This is His seal, we are His sheep.

And “…my cup runneth over.” Likewise, a good shepherd provides water for his sheep.

In this case, the water in the cup symbolizes The Holy Spirit in us. Not just full, but overflowing!

And, as The Holy Spirit has His way in our lives, our enemies are put to shame, and God is glorified as His goodness and mercy is made manifest in us. All we have to do is follow Him, obey Him, trust Him.

Pretty cool, huh? So, whatever the enemy throws at me, I can do anything The Good Shepherd asks of me, knowing that the battle is not mine, but His. And, incidentally, so too is the victory. Amen! 

God’s grace and peace be yours,

Rebecca

 

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