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Conclusion: Psalm 23 Part 11

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted January 17, 2013
RELIGION – Knowing when to close something out is important. Last week we had some new friends over for dinner. I wanted to try a new stuffed Pork Loin recipe. Man, it was a fancy dish and looked great going in the oven. I knew to cook the pork till an internal temp of 160. I probed the huge loin with the thermometer and it read 160 all around so I took it out. However, I did not, and could not; probe the bottom of the meat, where it was 120. So I went to cut my gorgeous stuffed loin, and it was grossly undercooked. So back in the oven it went, with diner being nearly an hour late, and Rebecca and I being pretty embarrassed!

In Psalm 23, however, David closes it right. 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.” This little verse just makes me smile!

One of my pet-peeves is negative “woe is me, the sky is falling” type supposed Christians. They all day long complain about the government, the economy, the town, the church, their health, the schools, and on and on. This outlook is not found in the Bible. The message of the Bible is that life and the world is going to be rough, but we endure in faith because God takes care of his people. God is control, not governments, not politicians, not chance, God is in control.

Monday afternoon as Cason (my five year old son) and I were leaving boxing practice at the Augusta Boxing Gym off of Walton Way, we were approached by a homeless man looking for food. Off the bat I noticed first his old hat said “Jesus is my BOSS!”

Second, I noticed his arm had a hospital bracelet on it. I could tell it was from the VA hospital. Third, he was moving slow and did not appear to be doing very well. Well, Cason and I always go to Checker’s after boxing for Cheeseburgers, so I asked the man to sit down on a bench and told him we would be right back with some food.

So we got him two burgers and a drink and came back to his bench. Cason kept asking while we were in the car, does he really not have a home? Where did his teeth go, how does he only have one eye? I explained his poverty and how there might have been something a little wrong with his mind. And when we returned we sat down with the man, whose name was Joseph, and I asked if we could pray with him. He said sure, he loved prayer because he was a Christian, then he reminded me of his hat (Jesus is my BOSS.)

Before we prayed he told me how his life was pretty much some Christian showing him one act of kindness after another. He said he had come to just trust God that someone would help him meet his needs. So I prayed and we all held hands. Joseph’s pray was great, he prayed for blessing on me, and then blessing for my son that God would use him in a great way someday. But then he did something that spoke volumes to me and Cason, he prayed for the people less fortunate than he, who did not know God.

After we prayed, we talked boxing, his service in the Navy, and he did show us a bulging and pretty rough looking hernia. In the car Cason asked “What was that thing and how did he get it?” He also sang us a nice rendition of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.”  Cason replied that he liked that song.

My point is that, although Joseph had a rough life, a life not many of us could relate to or understand. There was probably some mental illness, maybe due to his service to his country, and we might say in was about as bad as it could get. But he had joy. He had faith. He knew his Bible (we talked about the cross, Moses on Mt. Sinai and the 10 Commandments, God’s grace in bringing wayward children back to himself, all topics he brought up.) He was not nervous or afraid.

It seems to me, that Joseph lived his life with the promise of 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.” He said acts of kindness from Christians were always there for him. We could say they “followed” him. He knew if he was to die where he would go.  “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I don’t envy this man at all, but I do think about all that I worry about in spite of my home, food, health, friends, and family. This man seemed to have little of this. But he had God and that was enough. Smile today. Look behind and around you and if you try a little you will see the Goodness and Mecry of God there.

Look forward past your troubles and you will see your future in the house of Lord forever. Enjoy your day as God’s sheep and be thankful for the Good Shepherd for all that you have! 

Also, if you have ideas or questions you would like answered let me know. This concludes Psalm 23 and I don’t know where we will go next. 

Pastor Phillip

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