February 26, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose and the autumn crocus.”
Isaiah 35: 1
“If your life is broken, do not wrap it up in bandages but let it lie wide open to the sun and wind and rain. Let flowers drop their seeds in. Plant a tree or two and encourage the birds to sing in the branches, then invite your friends around to listen to the music. If you trust enough to do this, you will quickly discover that God has a wonderful way of turning broken lives into gardens.”
Aotearoa New Zealand
Today’s Study Text:
“Surely goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Psalm 23: 6
Psalm 23 Part 28
“All Your Days”
“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”
D. L. Moody
What do David’s words “all the days of my life” mean to me?
As I look back over my life, do I recognize God’s leading in “all” things?
“Fear not that your life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning.”- John Henry Newman
“We are assured and know that (God being a partner in their labor) all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose.”
Romans 8: 28
There’s nothing I find more exciting when studying the Bible, than to come to the recognition that a word, which I had simply passed over in previous readings, contains an important lesson for my life.
This is exactly what I found out about the phrase in Psalm 23: 6, “all the days of my life.” As we look at the way this entire passage reads, we come to the realization that God’s eternal goodness and unending mercy, pursue, follow, and hunt us down “ALL” the days of our lives. What David was trying to point out is that God’s care for each of us isn’t something which comes and goes – a here today, gone tomorrow type of goodness and mercy based on our behavior or even on our loyalty to God. Instead, the Psalmist says, that every day, I can count on God’s merciful kindness.
Now you may be wondering exactly what it means to have God’s loving kindness, His goodness, and His mercy present in “ALL” the days of your life. What about the day when your marriage is collapsing? What about the day when a drunk driver kills someone you love? What about the day when you are told you have cancer? Do the catastrophic events in our lives take into account God’s promise that on “ALL” our days He is showering us with gifts such as “goodness and mercy?”
I want to share with you the thoughts I uncovered which were penned by author Robert J. Morgan as he explains Psalm 23: 6. “This verse provides one of the Bible’s great ‘all’s’. Some years ago, I went through the Bible looking up every reference to the word ‘ALL,’ a study that’s published in my devotional book All to Jesus. In the introduction I wrote that ‘ALL’ is…
…one of God’s favorite words. He used it thousands of times, often in passages that would have read nicely without it; yet the ‘ALL’ maximizes the meaning to the absolute. It’s the largest little word in the world, taking already – strong statements and broadening their applications to virtual infinity, which, after all, is what one would expect from an omnipotent Father.
The frequency of this word in Scripture speaks to the all-sufficient grace of our Almighty Savior…He is the Lord of ALL, our ALL-in-ALL, our Almighty God…from whom ALL blessings flow; and He is ALL we need.”
In order to personally understand the use of the word “ALL” in a more comprehensive way, I began by referencing one of my favorite texts, Romans 8: 28 which states: “We know that in ‘ALL’ things God works for good with those who love Him.” This particular passage has taken on an entire new meaning in my life since our car accident. I will freely admit that about two weeks after the wreck, when I became aware of the devastating situation Jim and I faced, I didn’t see how the mess we were in could be included in the “all things” that Paul was talking about. It didn’t make any sense to me. But now, looking back on all that has happened since that fateful day, August 27, I have a very different perspective and the best way I can explain my new view point is to briefly share the summaries of two emails I received just last night. And as you read these notes, I encourage you to remember that Transformation Garden would never have existed if the drastic accident, which transpired on August 27 in my life, would have never taken place. Of this I am certain. The “Garden,” as I love to call it, came about because of an event which I could not understand or explain at the time.
One note I received last night was from Bridget Huie. Several years ago, her husband Bob was in a horrific accident when a hit and run driver hit him from behind as he was bicycling home from work. This was one of those terrible events where Bob did nothing wrong and yet ended up with multiple fractures and internal injuries that affected his ability to walk including a severely fractured pelvis. I’ll never forget reading Bridget’s first prayer request and thinking how much pain Bob had to be in with a fractured pelvis plus so many other injuries. Let me just say that Bridget and Bob’s life has been turned upside down in so many ways. However, I can’t begin to tell you what the bond is like between us as we have prayed through their valley experience together. And frankly, without the traumatic accident that Jim and I went through, I simply don’t believe I could have had the compassion to walk along in prayer with Bridget and Bob. But you see, “ALL” things can be turned into something special if we trust our Father’s goodness and mercy to carry us “ALL” our days – even in the worst moments of our lives.
And this brings me to the note I received last night from Anna Litchfield who is battling brain cancer. We have been praying for Anna for nearly three years. In every way she is a living miracle. But the news I shared with all of you last week regarding the return of Anna’s tumor really made me ponder the Psalmist David’s words: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” I’d like to share with you how Anna’s trust in her heavenly Shepherd, all the days of her life, is a living testimony to our ALL-Sufficient, ALL-Powerful, ALL-Loving Father:
“Thank you so much for your prayers, blessing and help, and that of the Garden’s. I am so utterly grateful, thank you.
Last week was such a challenging week on many levels.
The tumor grew a lot. When I spoke with my neuro surgeon, he told me that with this surgery I risked a 5-10% chance of more disability (my first surgery was 1-3% and I was severely impacted.) If I elected for this large asleep surgery, added to that, he only gave me 24 hours to elect surgery. I felt a lot of pressure as he wanted an answer. I shared with him that it has taken 3+ years to recover from the first surgery and the thought of being asleep and waking up more disabled was overwhelming to me. The Dr was not pleased with my hesitancy. I saw lots of signs and felt very pressured.
In the consultation room, I prayed for God’s wisdom. I wanted to follow God’s plan regardless, and I told the Dr what I heard in my heart and in my soul. My decision was NO surgery. My surgeon became very angry with me, and told me I would live only 3-4 months, and it would be in deteriorating agony. I was stunned. I listened again for clarification from my Heavenly Father, He gave me no indication to change my mind. Again, I said no surgery. My Dr left the room in disgust, but thankfully had his nurse come to check in with me as I sat there contemplating what the next phase of my life would bring. Stunned and silent I kept seeing myself at the base of the cross looking at Jesus for guidance. I had no idea if I made the right choice God, if I heard my Father correctly or I was being stubborn and afraid.
Acting on an intuition before this appointment I had requested to see another oncologist for a second opinion. This request, I believe, saved my life.
Not only did the 2nd Dr offer a total different way of treating me, after he confirmed my surgeon offered no other treatment options, but this Dr offered me an experimental drug, which was one I’ve had an intuition about for months before as something that night help me longterm. At one point I was sobbing thinking my life was over, and in what seemed like the next I was resurrected and given Manna. I had an alternative treatment, and my insurance would cover its cost as I had passed all the protocols to qualify for this drug. I have had several setbacks which now allowed me to take this drug…a Door opened after so much suffering and hardship.
Dorothy, I cannot put into words the gratitude I feel to God for this spiritual intervention. I know now the words and the meaning behind the hymn Amazing Grace.
A week ago I had my first infusion, I’ve had a port put into my chest to make biweekly treatment easier, and I am recuperating as best I can. I am so utterly grateful for this chance to further serve my God and mankind.
I have a heart and mind full of God’s light and love again. And on a side note, the drug color is yellow, so I envision God’s golden light and love entering my head, as I receive my miracle drug. Praise be to God!
All my love, thank you for letting me share this with you.”
All I can say is that our precious Anna is a daily witness, around the entire world to the truth of the promise in Psalm 23: 6 – Our Father’s goodness and mercy will follow every one of us every single day – Yes, ‘ALL’ the days of our lives. What a blessed Shepherd leads us gently through our life-long journey – all the way to our eternal home.
“Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove,
So neither shall my praise.”
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love, even truth and faithfulness are they for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
Psalm 25: 10
All The Way
“All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell;
For I know whatever befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me;
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread,
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo, a spring of joy I see.”
Fanny J, Crosby
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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