23 Pt. 23

“… and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23:6 KJV

     It fits that pt. 23 is the last session we shall have together in Psalm 23. It also segues wonderfully into our next change study! We are going to start a word study on Heaven.

      What do we know about this place? Some people think it’s all clouds and harps and singing for eternity. David seemed to want to go there. I suppose for a guy who loved music the clouds and harps thing seemed like a pretty attractive deal; But what about those poor guys who can’t carry a tune in a bucket? You know those guys who can hardly sit through an offertory? Clouds and harps for eternity hardly sounds like a plan for the man or woman of action!….And what about the ADHD among us? Spending all eternity in one place doing one thing? Torture!

     Let me rest your mind. Heaven is much more than clouds and harps and angels singing. It’s more than just “a great big house with lots and lots of room” as the song goes. I’d like to start with your thoughts.

What do you think Heaven is? What will it be like?

23 Pt. 22

“…shall follow me all the days of my life” Psalm 23:6 KJV

       Many years ago I came to a place in my life where I felt like God had played fifty-two pick-up with my heart. I was at loose ends with ministry and didn’t even feel like I had a church family (I realize now that was mostly from my end not anybody else’s). During that season I actually turned my back on God for a time and decided that if what was going on in my life was truly God’s plan, then I could handle things better on my own, thank you very much!

Have you ever been there?

     It was a terrible time. I shut God out and God did what God does with all of His children who come to such dark valleys; He pursued me; He stalked me; He followed me!

      And for a while I was ticked because I didn’t want to be followed. I wanted Him to go away. I was mad at Him for treating me “wrong”; But His favor and His forgiveness pursued me… wouldn’t leave me alone even for a minute!

    This is what the phrase “…shall follow me all the days of my life.” means.  The word is “RADAPH”. It’s the word used to indicate passionate pursuit, even harassment in some cases. It’s the picture of the lovesick boy who won’t leave the damsel alone despite her attempts to discourage his advances.

     God pursues us with His mercy and his goodness! Today He is actively wooing me to come closer to Him with His favor and His mercy, because He passionately desires me! ME! I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT!

     I am so glad He did not give up on me all those years ago. Even when I became faithless, He remained faithful!

How does this phrase challenge or confirm your view of God?

23 Pt. 21

“and mercy…” Psalm 23:6

I asked a leading question yesterday. It boils down to the ages-old query “how could a merciful God consign anyone to Hell?”

I think  we have to understand that mercy is a word closely connected with covenant. A covenant in David’s day was a binding agreement between two parties. In the agreement both sides had responsibilities towards and privileges from the other party. Mercy is one of God’s covenant responsibilities:

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” Deut. 7:9

“And he said, LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:” I Kings 8:23

      In David’s day God kept His covenant with those who obeyed the law and followed the sacrifice faithfully…. In other words, with those who chose to enter into covenant with Him.

Today God has made a new covenant offer to mankind. It’s called the New Testament. Mercy is still God’s responsibility. Our responsibility is to trust in the sacrifice of Jesus as Paul wrote in Romans, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9,10 NLT

God’s mercy you see is available to everyone. It is accessible to all. Still it must be received by faith. Further, Jesus must be confessed as Lord in order for mercy to be accessed. Sadly this is the jumping off point for many.

I once had a pastor say to me “Mr. Lillie you and I do not see eye to eye on many subjects and I will tell you right now if I have to accept Jesus in order to go to Heaven then I will be perfectly happy to go to Hell.”

You see a loving God does not consign anyone to Hell. Unloving humans separate themselves unto it.

How many do you know who are knowingly walking the path away from God’s mercy?

23 Pt. 20

     “And mercy…” Psalm 23:6

I have often heard it said that grace is God’s unmerited favor and mercy is God’s refusal to give us the punishment we so richly deserve. I have also heard it said that we cannot earn mercy or grace, that they are gifts. The Bible bears this out time and again:

” For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:” Eph. 2:8

Still have you ever wondered what motivates God toward mercy? If He is truly merciful then why doesn’t He just save everyone? After all no one is more deserving than anyone else. Romans makes it perfectly clear that we have all fallen too far to be worthy of salvation. So why can some claim to have received mercy while claiming that others have not received it?  Does mercy follow everyone or just a certain few?

Tell me what you think!

23 Pt. 19

Surely Goodness…” Psalm 23:6

     For a long time I was confused about this word, “goodness”. What is good?

If my family and I go to Olive Garden and the new dish we try is delicious we will say “It’s good.”

If I find a person to be exceedingly kind or giving or righteous, I will identify them as a “good” person.

So when I started meditating on this verse months ago, “surely goodness…will follow me all the days of my life”, I mistakenly thought that goodness following me meant God would be constantly making me more and more righteous, conforming me to His image as it were; But the word goodness used here has more to do with favor or blessing than it does with righteousness. To have goodness following me means that the blessing of God is constantly upon my life. Practically it means that everything that happens to me will somehow work out for my benefit.

The Bible bears this out in the writing of the Apostle Paul, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

That means everything, even the bad stuff, is bringing about a blessing for my life if I follow it to its conclusion….And there is the rub. So many times we fail to receive the goodness because we don’t continue to walk with God in a situation until He can bring the blessing out of it: We get fed up and leave the church; We get sick of being sick and grow bitter with Jesus who has “held up” our healing; We get tired of waiting for that certain someone to change and walk out on the relationship.

Somehow though if we can just keep next to the Shepherd in the midst of our circumstance He will cause His blessing and goodness to follow us all the days of our lives.

So how is goodness following you today?

23 Pt. 18

“my cup runneth over. ” Psalm 23:5 KJV

    I am here to testify that life is full! I keep a blessings list in my desk drawer. Specifically, I keep a list of blessings that come from every trial. That list is full and constantly growing. 

    As I walk this valley of the shadow of death I realize I have two choices. I can look at the death OR I can look at the life that is being squeezed out of the deathly shadows.

    the devil is constantly whispering the death into my ear, telling me there is no light, only trouble. He tries so hard to drag my eyes away from the cup of the Lord’s blessing; But praises be! Greater is He that is in me. His voice draws me back to the cup so that I can see it is overflowing with the lemonade that the Holy Spirit has made out of life’s lemons!

    Maybe you are struggling in a dark place, having trouble seeing the Lord’s overflowing blessing. Here are seven things that cause all our cups to overflow:

1. “And it came to pass.” These words are all over the Bible. All our testings are temporary. They cannot last.

2. “There is no temptation come upon you except what is common to man.” 1 Cor. 10:13 You are surrounded by people who understand the struggle and who can help you. Reach out and God will provide someone to support you!

3. “God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear.” 1 Cor. 10:13 He has put a strength inside of you to bear the trial. It may not feel it but the strength is there. Your faith will not fail!

4. “He will with every temptation provide a way of escape.” 1 Cor. 10:13 Always God provides a distraction, a secret passage, a back door for you to escape by.

5. My tests increase my abilities. I am a more capable man today because I know how to walk in trials.

6. My tests increase my compassion. Judgment leaves the room when I know and understand the pain life can bring.

7. My tests increase my wisdom. I have come to a fuller understanding of myself, others, God, and God’s purposes through my trials!

What are some of the blessings that overflow your cup in the presence of your enemies?

23 Pt.17

     “Thou anointest my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5

     So today we finish talking about the anointing. The anointing:



Requires and the anointing


     I want to tell you, there is nothing more exciting than living life under tha anointing. Christianity when lived in cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s plans is anything but boring! It has its complications(life under the anointing can get challenging). It has its assurances ( with the anointing I will succeed in the way God has ordained). It has its requirements (in order to walk in this anointing there are things I must do to cooperate with Holy Spirit). But all that leads to a life full of excitement!

      As I write this I am preparing for a weekend prayer gathering where we will be believing for healing of bodies, marriages, and bank accounts. Now as I pray I am not just biting my nails hoping God will do something. I KNOW God is going to meet us! I can pray this way because God has anointed us to pray. Because of what we do lives will be saved. Bodies will be healed. Provision will be received. Laborers will be sent to the field!  What could possibly be more exciting than watching the world change supernaturally?

What has God done in your life through the anointing?

23 Pt. 16

      “Thou anointest my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5

       In the last two days we have discussed that when God anoints a person for something, life gets complicated AND  full of assurance. Battles arise but so does victory because the anointing makes it so!

     You might remember that we are using the acronym C.A.R.E.  to discuss how the Holy Spirit manifests anointing in a person’s life. When you are anointed, and if you believe and are born-again you are anointed, then life will get complicated; But you will also succeed in life through the anointing, if you follow the requirements of the anointing. You see the anointing requires  something of us.

     This is where so many Christians fall off the road and end up swimming in a sea of half-believing misery. I have so often heard it preached that “There is no one so miserable as a half-hearted Christian.” It’s true! Many of us have “just enough of the truth to keep us out of Hell but not enough to make us happy or victorious on Earth.”

     These statements paint the picture of Christians who have received the anointing but refuse to walk out the requirements of the anointing. I know as soon as I start talking about God requiring something of us a whole segment of the Christian population begins to wrankle, feeling I’ve just done away with grace. Listen, I’m not talking about eternal destinations here. I leave that with the Judge of all the Earth who penned John 3:16-18. I am however talking about our level of joy. 

     No one can deny that many Christians heading for eternal life live as though that’s more a punishment than a gift. So many of my brothers and sisters just seem stuck in a cycle of negativity they cannot break.  The cause of this is a life out of harmony with the anointing. Holy Ghost promises joy unspeakable and full of glory. Holy Ghost promises peace that passes understanding. Holy Ghost also promises that if we live in ways that quench or grieve Him we’ll have none of that (even though we retain our salvation).

    I’m not a legalist friends but I will say that the degree to which we conform to the patterns of the Word or to the patterns of the World to that degree we will increase or decrease joy, victory, and success.

23 Pt. 15

     “Thou anointest my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5

     It struck me as I finished writing yesterday that there may be those among us who are unfamiliar with the term anointing. The anointing, in short, is the touch of God on a person’s life that equips and empowers them for a certain work. In the Old Testament it was received when a prophet poured a specially mixed oil over the individual chosen by God for a certain work: Aaron was anointed by Moses as High priest. Saul and David were both anointed by Samuel as kings. Elisha was anointed as prophet by Elijah and so on.

     We are explaining what the anointing looks like by using the acronym C.A.R.E..  Yesterday we explained that the anointing  complicates  life. Aaron, Saul and David all discovered this after they were anointed. I guess that makes the anointing sound bad, but really the anointing is a thing to be greatly desired. While it may complicate things, it also assures!

      Let me tell you something, when God calls you to something and anoints you for the work your success in that endeavor is assured! The truth is, if God is behind you in a work ( and that is what the anointing means) there is absolutely no possibility that you will fail. The world may stand against you. Satan himself may show up to nay-say your endeavors; But if God has ordained and anointed your work it will succeed and nothing can stop it.

    In David’s day not everyone was anointed…but today in the New Testament EVERYONE WHO HAS ACCEPTED JESUS AS LORD AND SAVIOR IS ANOINTED!  

      We know this is true because of the Scripture. You see, the oil used to anoint Aaron, Saul, and David was symbolic. It was not the oil that gave them power; It was the Holy Spirit whom the oil symbolized that empowered them. Once these men were anointed the Holy Spirit came on them to assure them of success as long as the men stayed faithful to their God.

     Here’s where it gets exciting for us as New Testament Christians Paul the apostle writes, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13, 14 NIV

     Hallelujah! Those of us who believe are anointed with oil of the Holy Spirit!

     Christian arise and realize that if you follow Him into the things He has anointed you for then your success is assured. You may battle but you will not fail!

Tomorrow: the anointing requires!

23 Pt. 14

     “thou anointest my head with oil; ” Psalm 23:5 KJV

     A good acronym for anointing is C.A.R.E.       

     The truth is, the idea of biblical anointing is lost on most western Christians, even among those of us who practice anointing. Usually when I anoint a person at the altar I tip the bottle onto my finger, wet it and use my thumb or forefinger to paint a little oil cross on the forehead of the anointee. It’s nice. It’s sweet. It’s comforting. It’s so NOT the picture of biblical anointing! In the Old Testament (which perspective David was writing from) when a person was anointed it looked something like this:

     “Dress Aaron in his priestly garments—the tunic, the robe worn with the ephod, the ephod itself, and the chestpiece. Then wrap the decorative sash of the ephod around him.  Place the turban on his head, and fasten the sacred medallion to the turban.  Then anoint him by pouring the anointing oil over his head. ” Ex. 29:5-7 NLT

          Please note first that the anointing oil was not dabbed, sprinkled or even splashed on Aaron. It was poured. The word used here for poured means “poured out” or “emptied”. Some say Aaron was anointed with a hin (8 quarts) of oil. We know, according to Psalm 133:2 that it was at least enough to cause his beard to become saturated and drip with the oil.

     Second please take note that Aaron was not wearing Fruit of the Loom, Boxer Joes, BVD’s, or a swim suit for this anointing. He was fully dressed in all his High Priestly regalia.

     With this picture in mind we are led to the C  of our anointing acronym, C.A.R.E..  The anointing complicates things. It may seem a bummer way to kick off this part of the study but it has to be acknowledged that in a world fallen so deep into sin the anointing call of God though wonderful is messy and costly and complicated.

    Aaron got anointed and went straight from the goo of the oil to the grumbling of the Israelites. Aaron got anointed;  Then while he ministered in the tabernacle, God killed two of the priest’s sons for their sin and commanded Aaron not to grieve. How’s that for complication? How did Aaron explain that one to his wife?

       My experience is that most people are all hyped up about being anointed until they get anointed and life gets complicated. The price of anointing in this world is high. Sometimes it causes our valleys of shadow. Sometimes it creates enemies for us; But the pay off is far higher for those who get past the devastation of complication. Anointing does not make for smooth sailing but if you can get past the wind and the waves the journey is well worth it!

     Maybe you have been anointed by God for a work and you have been thrown off kilter by complications the anointing has brought. Tell me about it. Tomorrow we will talk about why we truly crave the anointing even with its complications.

Tomorrow: the anointing assures!