“Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me”

goodness and mercy follow me

by Dona Hake

“SURELY goodness and mercy SHALL follow me all the days of my life.”

As we have walked through each precious verse of Psalm 23 we can be most assured that we serve a faithful, loving Shepherd!  Because He is so good, we can most assuredly say “only goodness and mercy WILL follow me.”

If you have lived any length of time on this earth you can testify to the fact that there will be tests and there will be trials.  Nevertheless, our Shepherd has promised to follow us around with His goodness and His mercy.  Many times trials can test our confidence in Christ, but we must remember that He will never give up on us.  Even though we fall, He has promised to lift us back up and restore us again.

His goodness and mercy should not only follow us but we should have it flowing through us.  I believe that we can vessels of His goodness and mercy even to those that you may feel are undeserving of it.    I leave you with two questions to ask yourself and ponder…How do you deposit the blessings you have received into the lives of others? And can others see that you are  being followed by His goodness and mercy?  I find these two questions very challenging and I want to think about them on a regular basis in order to keep my heart challenged…how about you?

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“My Cup Runneth Over”

My cup runneth over

by Dona Hake

This world seems to have so much to offer and tempt us.  If we do not keep our eyes on Jesus we can be pulled and tugged to find our satisfaction is things other than Him.  Only Jesus can satisfy the thirst of our souls.  Jesus explained to the woman at the well the meaning of the true spring of water that only He gives.

John 4:13-14
Amplified Bible

“Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again.
But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

When you feel life problems and this world draining you of your strength and peace, stop and drink of His water that will strengthen and refresh your soul.  Know that it will continue and it has no end.  As this scripture translation says, His water “shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling, continually…”    This gives such a beautiful image of His living water within us.  It truly is the life flow from which we can draw upon whenever we meet  uncertainty and overwhelming problems.  God is gracious and He ever lives to pour forth that living water to you!

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“He Anoints My Head With Oil”

He anoints my head Aby Dona Hake

I have an image in my mind of the troubled sheep standing submissively under the shepherd’s hands as he pours fresh oil down over his woolly forehead. As the shepherd gently rubs it into his head he is assured that his sheep will be protected from torments that come from a particular pestilence. The shepherd well knows and understands how his sheep can be troubled by nose flies. These little flies buzz about the sheep’s head attempting to deposit their eggs on the damp, mucous membranes of the nasal passages. If they succeed the worm-like larvae work their way up into the the sheep’s head. It is then that the intense irritation cause extreme inflammation to the poor sheep. There is extreme torment and pain for this poor sheep that has been afflicted with this nasty parasite.

 

 

I think of the daily cares that seem to swarm around our heads and torment us as well. Many times we are tempted to worry about things before they even happen. We try at times to put things out of our minds yet thoughts that are not dealt with eventually take root and get bigger. We must purpose ourselves to daily stay under our caring Shepherd’s loving hands. Allow Him to pour the oil of His loving Spirit over you and permeate your mind, heart, and soul.

 

 

It is as we spend time with Him that we will receive our daily anointing of His fresh Spirit in our lives. Allow His fresh and sweet presence to anoint your soul that you are resisting picking up cares and any other tormenting things that seem to bring you down.



“You Prepare A Table For Me”

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemines

by Dona Hake

“You Prepare A Table For Me In the Presence of My Enemies”

As I have been reading  from the experience of a shepherd, he speaks of the tableland for his sheepfold.  Before the shepherd attempts to move his sheep to these high plateaus he must go before them and make preparations.  He looks over the rough, wild country and with great care distributes salt and minerals for the nourishment of his flock.   He goes over the range carefully to determine how vigorous the grass and vegetation is.  His keen eye and wisdom and initiative will cause his flock to be safe and they will thrive.  One of the most important things is the shepherd’s attention that he gives is to the removal of the poisonous weeds on a tableland that could kill his sheep if they ingest them.

I see an analogy here as to the importance that we take hold of being led by the Spirit of God.  Our Good Shepherd always has our well being in mind and is watching over us.  As we are led by Him and we purpose to heed to His instruction and admonishment  we will continually be moving forward with Him to higher places in the will of God for our life.

“I have set the Lord always before me…”

The Bible speaks of the Devil appearing as an angel of light.  Let us always be mindful that there will be things that may appear good yet they are evil.  As we stay close to Him and permit Him to show us the “poisonous” things that could cause us to stumble, it will always be to our benefit.  Let us remember that our Master has been there ahead of us coping with every situation which could undo us.  As we make the decision to keep Him before us, we will continue to move forward with a discerning heart and have the ability to know that which is good and that which is evil.  Thank God today that He is well able to cause your mind and heart to be led by Him in all things.

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“Your Rod and Your Staff”

Your Rod and Your Staff they comfort me

by Dona Hake

Psalm 23:4 (DARBY) 

“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.”

When you are walking through a dark valley in this life you absolutely must believe that He is beside you.  He has not left you alone to walk in a place in which you do not understand.  It makes my heart cringe when I hear a believer exclaim, “Where is God in all of this?…”    Either you believe with all of your heart that Jesus keeps His Word or you do not.  Jesus plainly said in His Word, “I will not leave nor forsake you.”

Let us look at what one of the  meanings that  the rod symbolizes.  One of the uses for a shepherd’s rod was to examine and count the sheep.  Many times when we are walking through difficult times we may find that our perspective on life is now different.  We come to grip with the reality of what is really important and God is able to touch your heart in an area He may not have been able to before.  You may then feel His gentle tug to deal with a particular area of your life. As you  permit Him to deal with your heart, He will speak and instruct you in that which may need help or change.

Psalm 139:23-24 (AMP)

“Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.”

The staff is symbolic of His loving and watchful care over you and your life.  He is concerned about you and He sees your every need.  The staff is also used in guiding sheep that they stay on the right path.  We know that His Word is a lamp onto our feet and a light onto our path. As we permit Him to lead us with His rod and staff we will walk through the valleys as well as walk on the mountain tops with Him.  Praise God for our loving Shepherd!

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“Even Though I Walk Through Valleys…”

Even though I walk through the valley

by Dona Hake

Psalm 23:4 (AMP)

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley

of the shadow of death, I will fear or

dread no evil, for You are with me…”

Death is one of those things that is a very hard thing to face. In this life we will lose loved ones, we may have experienced the death of a relationship or death of a dream. No matter how you look at it, when you walk through it, it is a very dark time.

It is important to look and focus on one very important word within this verse and that word is “through.” The Psalmist said we would walk THROUGH valleys but one thing for sure, and that is we can be comforted knowing that He is with us. Because He is with us we need not be afraid, and we are going THROUGH it with Him! God can get us THROUGH anything.

I can remember dreading the “dark valley” as I knew my mother was dying. One particular morning I woke up and my heart was so down and full of sorrow. It was on that day that we were tell her she had cancer. It was beyond words how badly I dreaded facing that day. I wanted it too just all go away and be better. I was scared to walk through this valley and I hated every minute of it. I sat quietly on the edge of my bed and His still small voice spoke to my heart “The deeper the valley, the deeper the strength.” As long as I live I will never forget the power that rose up in my spirit that morning.

God helped me that day to embrace a greater revelation of this truth. He imparted unto me a strength that was so deep that it was beyond words, and human comprehension.  It was a spiritual strength that only He could equip me with for the walk that I had to take.

You see, the bigger the problem, the more we need to see that we in ourselves cannot cope with pain and sorrow. We cannot draw on the faith and strength from yesterday. We must draw upon the strength only He can give, and that is what we need for the moment we are living in. It is only Him that can take our hand in our deepest valley and strengthen us with a strength we have ever known. With His strength, grace and peace, He enables us to walk THROUGH anything.

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“He Leads Me In Right Paths”

Lead me in paths of righteousness

by Dona Hake

 God desires that we be consumed with Him and doing His will yet  He knows our frame and our weaknesses.  As we embrace His will for our lives we will without a doubt have a desire to do that which is right in His eyes.   Yes, there will be days that we mess up but He well knows that we are human and we will make mistakes.   We must remind ourselves that His forgiveness is there for us and He promises to walk along side of us and show us the right way.  Not only does He show us the way, but He enables us to walk the path.

Psalm 23:3 (VOICE)
“He makes me whole again,
steering me off worn, hard paths
to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.”

Sheep have a tendency to want to walk the same paths to the point they are in ruts.   Because a sheep stays in a favored spot, they wear it down, and it becomes barren.  These type areas can tend to become infested with parasites which are very dangerous to the health of sheep.  We too can tend as humans to desire a comfort zone.  We can tend to fall into ruts with our thinking and behavior.  These things can keep us from walking in the freshness of His will for our life.

Today, let us remind ourselves to look to Him for direction in every area of our life.  As we do, our lives will be a testimony as it echoes and honors His Name!

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“He Restores My Soul”

He Restores My Soul

by Dona Hake

Jesus told us that in this world there would be trouble.  I am quite amazed when people try to live in an ideal place that pain and trouble should never cross their path.   Even as we are under the tender, loving and faithful care of our Shepherd, there will be times in which our soul needs restored.

I love how The Message translation brings to light “He restores my soul.”

Psalm 23:3 (The Message)

True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

There are times in life in which we have all experienced one thing hitting us right after the other.  Many times you can become weary in battle and you feel that there is no rest.  Sometimes life can feel like ocean waves knocking you down one right after the other.  You just know that if you are  able to stand long enough you will be able  catch your breath again.  Sometimes life can make us feel this way.

Let us take hold of the truth that He is able to lift us back up no matter how long we have been down.  His tender touch is able to wipe away the tears from our hurt, pain and sorrow.  He is able to renew to us the strength we have seemed to have lost as our soul has grown weary.  No matter what we have walked through and whether anyone understands, it matters not.  Jesus understands any and all things we have walked through and He will restore our souls as we ask Him to.

If your heart is weary and aching from pain, just ask Him.  He is faithful and loving and ever ready to touch those that look to Him for true restoration!

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“He Leads Me Beside Still Water”

He Leads Me Beside Still Water

by Dona Hake

It seems that many know that sheep are afraid of moving water.  I am thinking that this is more instinctive than anything.  If a sheep were to fall into water they would drown for they do not know how to swim plus the water would weight down their wool which would make it harder for them to be rescued. Therefore they are inclined to drink from water that is calm and peaceful.  Whenever I read this verse I visualize the shepherd standing beside the sheep by still water.  As the sheep is drinking he glances into the water and sees the reflection of his shepherd standing beside him watching over him.

I have heard many times that sheep are not the smartest animals in the bunch but I believe that all animals God created are blessings, and just maybe we can learn from them.    I cannot help but wonder why Jesus referred to us as being sheep.  He well understood what we are capable of if we are left to ourselves.

The  good shepherd understands that a sheep left to wander will end up drinking from a mud hole and possibly getting a parasitic disease.   Sheep MUST be led to fresh pure water.  Again, I think our meditation should rest on how if we left to ourselves could possibly make decisions that could create harmful consequences. We need to look for the divine leading of our Good Shepherd so we are not drinking of the impure things of this world.  As we look to His leading in every area of our lives we can avoid a lot of pain and sorrow.

I came across a fact in my reading that sheep can actually go for months without drinking water.  This shepherd explained that a sheep’s tendency is to rise early to eat the grass that is drenched with the clean and pure dew that rests upon the grass.  What a beautiful analogy because as we seek Him and His Word early or before any task, we too can spiritually ingest that which our soul thirsts for.  His Word is full of all that we need so our soul will be satisfied!

John 4:14
Amplified Bible
“But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

Isaiah 58:11

“He will satisfy my soul in drought.”

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“He Makes Me to Lie Down In Green Pastures”

He Makes Me to Lie Down in Green Pastures

by Dona Hake

You would think any animal would absolutely love the inviting green grass on a warm day.  You would never think that one of the greatest hindrances for a sheep to lie down is their fear within.  Sheep are actually restless and creatures that are easily intimidated.  I have read that a single jack rabbit can scare one sheep and cause a whole flock of hundreds to flee in fear.   Because they are on guard and nervous, it is only the shepherd that can assure them that it is safe to lay down in the beautiful, lush, green pastures that he has led them to.

What I see here is the importance of the shepherd’s keen oversight of his flock.  In my reading on this subject the three other things that keep them from laying down in green pastures is friction within the flock, tormenting flies, and parasites, and they cannot be hungry.  Any of these things will hinder them from basking and resting in the green pastures.

Within these facts we can see a beautiful analogy of our Good Shepherd.  It is only He that alleviates fear, helps us work toward unity, helps us with the irritations of life, and is faithful to feed us His good Word.   There is no substitute for His keen awareness of every area of our life.

Psalm 4:8 (CEB)
“I will lie down and fall asleep in peace
because you alone, Lord, let me live in safety.”

~~~~~♥~~~~~




6 Responses to “Devotional”

  1. Lisa Viands says:

    This is a good way of teaching the kids to forgive each other(Matt. 5:7). I like the power of this gentle scripture and lesson… Thanks!!

  2. Selena Neely says:

    Ralph &I are really enjoying your devotional together.

  3. Selena Neely says:

    Oh, what a wonderful reminder! I want to break the magnifing glass of worry and trust God for each step I take.

  4. Dona Hake says:

    It is interesting Selena how the more we worry the bigger and more magnified things get in our minds. Oh how important it is to trust our God for the smallest of things! Thank you for sharing!