May 8th 2022

Psalm 23 | Acts 9 v46-43 | Revelation 7 v9-17 | John 10 v22-30

Two frogs fell into a large bowl of cream. The sides of the bowl were too smooth for them to use as a foothold to climb out. One frog found the circumstances impossible, gave up and sank to the bottom and was no more. The other frog swam and swam with all his might. He kept on swimming, his webbed feet churning up the cream until he found that the cream had turned into butter. He was able to stand on the butter and then hop out of the bowl.

Our Bible readings today are all about perseverance, coping with the struggles of life. The word persevere comes from per, meaning through, coupled with the word severe. It means keeping on, trusting God, looking up and doing our duty even through severe circumstances. It is so easy to give up, we have to make so many decisions in our day to day lives, either as individuals or church communities.

The psalm this week must be one of the most familiar and best loved of all. In the New Testament the picture of Jesus as shepherd caring for His sheep and telling of the shepherd searching for the one that is lost is not the full picture.

If you watched Countryfile last Sunday you will have noticed that there is a lot more to shepherding than looking after white woolly lambs. Their health and safety is all important. Are the fences sturdy and kept mended, are there risks in allowing nature to take over while ewes neglect their offspring. Real shepherding needs strength of mind and body and constant vigilance. Real shepherding is not just about green pastures and cool still waters. Shepherding is of necessity about the highs and lows of life.

God’s shepherding tells us that He is there in our deepest darkest moments. As well as being on the mountain tops and cliff tops, He is with us in the valleys and mole hills. When the going gets tough, we so often attempt to push through on our own, only to find ourselves getting weighed down and going nowhere fast. What we must do is trust our shepherd, being aware of His presence, acknowledging His Blessings and guidance. Just as God perseveres with us and sees us through our darkest journeys, so we need to persevere in our faith and trust Him to see us through those difficult times.

I read the following in Argyle Morley’s Church Magazine.

A little girl told her teacher that she knew the whole of the 23rd psalm. Her teacher sceptically gave her the opportunity to recite it. This is what she said:

” The Lord is my shepherd, He is all that I want.” Then she sat down.

Out of the mouths of babes !!

With every Blessing to you, Val Lamont

A prayer:

Sometimes Lord, something comes along that happens to shake our world. Thank you that you are with us through the difficulties, that you never give up on us. Thank you for blessing us with new beginnings, with green pastures and still waters.