And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
Recently, this verse came to my attention … again! It is a verse that offers comfort and the assurance that God is and will always be there with us. Whether we are in the valley, the desert, the wilderness, or even the mountaintop, goodness and mercy are right behind.
I recall David’s life filled with challenges and disappointments. Yet, in spite of it all, he penned songs or psalms that offered hope and encouragement in times of distress. He knew his God intimately and consistently leaned on His strength and love to see him through every situation he encountered. He watched God deliver him time and again. Whether he was fighting against and defeating a giant that even the experienced Israelite army refused to face or running from a jealous king Saul who was determined to destroy him, David trusted that his God was always with him. He heavily relied on his God to protect him, fight for him and deliver him from impossible situations.
I used to believe that verse to be futuristic in nature. In other words, goodness and mercy would follow me at the end of a season of trial and testing. It would finally come after I had been through a difficult battle. But it finally dawned on me that my circumstances do not dictate the presence of God’s goodness and mercy. As a child of God, I am entitled to that goodness and mercy in both the good times and the bad times. As David put it, they would follow me all the days of my life, not just the good days but all the days both good and bad. In short, they would follow me to keep me, to make sure I am okay, to let me know that I am going to make it. They watch over me to ensure my safety and to help me make it through every situation I face. They don’t leave during tough times, they are right there with me!
The word mercy usually gives the idea of showing forgiveness to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Yet, according to Strong’s Concordance, the word “mercy” in Psalm 23 implies kindness. At the end of the day, goodness and kindness are attributes of God and once you are His child He will never leave you nor forsake you, His attributes will always be present with you. In Psalm 27:13 David says: “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” David was constantly challenged yet, his confidence was in the fact that, in spite of it all, God’s goodness and His kindness were ever present with him.
It can be difficult to see good in bad situations. It can be difficult to find hope but we can be encouraged by David who knew that even in the dark times goodness and mercy were right there following him, watching over him even when he couldn’t see or feel them. They were not in front of him or even beside him but behind him like his own personal bodyguards ensuring that he would make it through every trial.
We don’t have to wait for the battle to be over or for the storm to end to experience God’s goodness and mercy. These are what God uses to give us the strength to ride the storms of adversity and to face insurmountable challenges that cross our path along life’s journey. God is faithful and the tools we need to survive and thrive are well within our reach. At the end of the day, like David we can be confident that our God will never leave us nor forsake us. He has ensured that we have all we need to strengthen and keep us in the good times and in the bad.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as personal Lord and Saviour I encourage you to make that step today. God is a very personal God and never far away. He will be right there with you, guiding, directing and protecting you through every valley, storm, challenge that comes your way. Just trust Him.
One night Sean, a canine police officer, was on duty working with his partner, Jax. It was about 3am when he approached a criminal who had managed to evade arrest a few hours earlier. As he made an attempt to arrest him, a fight ensued. Although he was able to call for backup, help was several blocks away. On top of that, he was unable to release his dog to come to his assistance because the button on his vest was malfunctioning. During the fight, he was shot in the face. He knew it was bad because bone and blood were spilling out. He was a Christian and he prepared himself to die. However, an image of his wife and two sons gave him the motivation he needed to fight to live. As the criminal fired at him again, he reached out to grab the gun but the bullet hit his hand. As he hit the ground, police and ambulance arrived and he was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery. The criminal was arrested a short while later.
Sean went on to have a dozen surgeries to reconstruct his jaw and left hand where he lost a finger. Through it all, he gives God thanks for putting everything and everyone in place that night to save his life. He and his canine, Jax, retired from the police service and he went on to serve as a chaplain for a Christian organisation. He sees his experience as an opportunity to bring honour and glory to God. He is thankful that he can be with and enjoy his family and that he can share his experience with others and encourage them to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
As I listened to this testimony I was encouraged. This man was thankful to God even for what he had been through. He recognised that had he not gone through this, he would not be having the amazing opportunities he is having now to share his faith in God with others. He could be complaining, he could be bitter against God but he isn’t because he sees God as bringing good even out of a bad situation.
I am linking this testimony to a verse in the song “Praise” by Elevation Worship which says:
I’ll praise in the valley, praise on the mountain
I’ll praise when I’m sure, praise when I’m doubting
I’ll praise when outnumbered, praise when surrounded
Cause praise is the water my enemies drown in.
Sean was certainly outnumbered and surrounded by evil forces that night. Everything seemed to be going against him, yet He saw God in it orchestrating everything for his good. When we can be thankful in the valley just as on the mountain, God can do great things in and through any valley situation we might be going through.
Yes, it may feel like hell while we are going through. Some days we may wonder if we will ever make it through alive. Other days we may wonder how long it will take before help comes. But, at the end of the day, we praise God because He will use that same negative situation to bring honour and glory to Himself and to do great and amazing things in and through us. We will be able to look back and realise that some of the great things we are accomplishing now are as a result of that one negative thing we desperately wanted to do without!!!
God’s ways and thoughts are still higher than ours. His ways are past finding out. Sometimes they simply baffle our finite and limited minds and understanding. So, the next time you get the opportunity to praise God, just praise Him, just be thankful even in those negative situations you want so desperately to change. At the end of the day, God’s purpose and plan for everything we go through is perfectly designed for our good!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. Life is filled with unexpected ups and downs that we can’t always avoid. But, when Jesus is in it with you, rest assured that He is orchestrating everything to bring about that perfect plan He has ordained and designed just for you.
I’ll praise ‘cause You’re sovereign, praise ‘cause You reign
Praise ‘cause You rose and defeated the grave
I’ll praise ‘cause Your’re faithful, praise ‘cause You’re true
Praise ‘cause there’s nobody greater than You…
(excerpt from “Praise” Elevation Worship)
Over the years I have learned to praise God when things were going good and when they were not. I learned to push through in praise when my natural eyes were not seeing how things could possibly work out in my favour. It was certainly not always easy but it was worth it. Choosing to praise God not only shifted my focus to God but my heavy spirit was lifted and refreshed.
What I like about that verse is the focus on all the things that we can be thankful and give God praise for. The interesting thing is that all of it focuses on God and what He has done and can and will do. None of it is about man’s ability or accomplishments. It’s all about God and God alone. This is encouraging because I don’t have to rely on myself to make it through or to make it happen; I don’t have to depend on my ability or my strength or my accomplishments. It’s all about the Sovereign God who can do all things.
When you look at all the miracles in the Bible, God performed every one. There was no miracle performed that allowed man to say that he had done it. God did it and He continues to do impossible things to this day.
I am reminded of the testimony of Glenda who was miraculously healed from a brain bleed. She went to bed early one night with a piercing headache. Sometime during the night her husband was awakened by her convulsive movements in bed. He tried to calm her telling her she was having a bad dream. However, when she did not respond he became concerned and told their son to call 911. Glenda was taken to the hospital where it was discovered she had a 6cm brain bleed from a ruptured blood vessel. The doctors planned to put her in a medically induced coma and wait for the bleeding to subside. They were not sure that she would survive. After the doctors left, Glenda’s husband, Greg, asked their son to pray. Moments later she awoke and asked them what had happened. She felt fine and was ready to leave the hospital. The doctor was in shock because they had not even had a chance to touch her. There was no longer any need to put her in a coma. By the end of the week the brain bleed and slight memory loss she had experienced had resolved. After a brief stay in rehab she was able to return home.
I love the fact that the doctors had not even gotten the opportunity to touch her to do what they had planned to do to help. God did it all by Himself!
How could we not praise such an awesome God as this? He didn’t just perform miracles many years ago, He continues to perform them even today. He is truly the same God yesterday, today and forever.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour I encourage you to do so today. Jehovah God is worthy of all the praise, honour and glory. There’s nothing too big or too small that He can’t or won’t do. He is God all by Himself. We can trust Him, He never fails!
Last week I shared on the power of praise and thanksgiving. This week, I still find myself motivated to have that attitude of praise and thanksgiving to God. I must admit, however, that it’s an attitude we should always have. Life is already difficult as it is and we need something powerful to keep us and sustain us.
I found myself this evening listening over and over to a song by Elevation Worship called “Praise.” It kept playing in my heart and I believe God was simply reminding me that He wants me to praise Him no matter what.
The pre chorus and chorus say:
As long as I’m breathing
I’ve got a reason to
Praise the Lord oh my soul
Praise the Lord oh my soul
This is a reminder that the best time to praise God is when you’re alive. Once you are alive there will always be something to give God praise and thanks for. Every day He gives us breath, He chooses to give us life; His blessings are new every morning. He chooses to love us even when we are not very loveable; He chooses to give us His very best … even when we know we don’t deserve it. Yes, there is always something to praise and thank God for.
The Bridge of this song also catches my attention because it says:
I won’t be quiet
My God is alive
How could I keep it inside
Praise the Lord oh my soul
This Bridge reminds me of king David (2 Samuel 6:12b -22). When the ark of the Lord was brought into the city of David, the people rejoiced. King David, dressed in a priestly garment, danced before the Lord with all his might. He did not care who was looking at him, he did not care what anyone thought, he was going to praise the Lord with everything that he had. He refused to keep his praise to himself and he simply let it out with everything in him. Sadly, his wife, Michal did not understand his expression of praise and thanksgiving and she scorned him. He replied that he was willing to look even more foolish even be humiliated in his own eyes (v. 22a).
Sometimes we just have to praise God with everything that we have. It doesn’t matter what others might think or say, we know what God has done for us and we know what we want Him to do for us. Our praise may not make sense to anyone else, but our God honours it. Think about it, when we are willing to go to this level of praise, I don’t think there is anything God will withhold from us! He understands the power behind it.
Years ago, I learned that there is not only power in prayer, there is power in praise. When we praise God and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, as I said last week, miracles can happen. I think it has to do with the fact that when we praise, we take our eyes off our problems and put them on God instead, the One capable of solving those problems. And, as we put our eyes on Him, we magnify Him not our problem.
Our God is still bigger than the biggest problem that may come our way. When we praise and choose to be thankful, the burdens are lifted because we have that confidence that our God will do what we can’t do.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so today. One of our most powerful weapons is praise. When we choose to praise God in spite of how we feel or what we see, God steps in and fights on our behalf. We are victorious through praise!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.