Psalm 23 verse 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures
One of the benefits of the lockdown has been the ability to walk with Rachel, my wife, more often than we usually can. As we have tried to do different walks, we have found some of the wonderful countryside on the outskirts of Wath. We have found ourselves walking in woods, down hidden footpaths and across fields, all in some in very pleasant sunshine.
There is something about being out in the countryside and appreciating the beauty of God’s creation, that just feeds the soul. It is both restful and peaceful in equal measure, and according to the experts, it is good for our mental health.
I wonder if this was David’s experience as a shepherd boy, looking after his sheep daily, with little respite. That he was able to rest in confidence that as part of God’s flock, he was able to lie down in peace, trusting in God’s provision and protection, knowing that there was no need to strive, but only to trust.
Dear Lord Jesus, may we be so confident in you and in your promises, that we can lay down in peace, not worrying or fretting about the issues that surround us.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Fear can come upon us at any time. Sometimes we can wake up slightly worried, perhaps because of a dream or because of events the day before.
We can worry about things in the house or the garden because we are inside more often. We may have some money worries at the moment or food worries.
Worry can be helpful if it leads us to do something constructive. However, it is not helpful if it is constant or there seems to be no solution to our problems.
Whenever I read these words above from the psalm I always think “of course The Lord is my light, He is my stronghold, He is my salvation. So why worry” Why don’t I remember them when I am worrying?
Because we are human, we do forget and we do worry.
Let’s pray that God will remind us often of his light, lover and constancy.
Dear God, thank you that you are our light, salvation, stronghold and an ever-present help in our lives. Forgive us when we forget that. Help us to trust you and to give you our worries.
Before we begin, let’s thank God for His Word: one way through which He speaks to us today. Psalm 1 (6 verses) ‘…but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His Law they meditate day and night.’ Verse 2.
My biggest encouragement over the last few weeks is how many have found uplift and blessing through reading verses of Scripture and using these simple reflections day by day. Maybe this is a gift of God for us in this season and beyond; to find strength and meaning through the words of the Bible. God’s Word, directed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks to us now and I am so thankful that we are freely able to read and share it together. In a sense, our words and thoughts are of little value. It is the words from the Good Book itself that are our ‘delight’: may we more and more ‘meditate’ on it and discover the treasure, truth and wisdom that God imparts to us through it.
Lord, we pray today for those forgotten by society-affected by poverty-lack of social care-with no family or friends to help. We pray for the work of the Food Banks in Wath and beyond. Help us and our community to be good neighbours.
Psalm 23 verse 2 he leadeth me beside the still waters
There is something about water, particularly lakes, streams, rivers and seas, that draws us. We talk of ‘going to the seaside’, ‘walking by the river’ or ‘around the lake’. It just seems to do us good watching the endless flow of the river, or the ripple of the waves, there is something peaceful and calming about them.
I wonder if this what David was thinking about in this Psalm? That as we journey with God through life, that he leads us into good places, places of peace and calm. The situations around us may be as chaotic as ever, life may be just as difficult, but as we allow God to lead us then we find peace and calm during the turmoil. The key here is that it is God that leads us, he does not impose his will upon us or force us, but he leads. The question is are we willing to be led, sometimes into places of chaos, but always into places of peace, because his presence is with us.
Dear Lord Jesus, may we have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to discern where you are leading us, that we may find peace and tranquillity during times of chaos and uncertainty.
Matt Ch 19 verses 13 & 14 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”
Children had a special place in Jesus’ heart. Children have an openness and an easy trust at a young age. They can have a lovely trust and faith in God when we adults can struggle. They can be a delight to listen to and watch whilst they are playing. And yet they are vulnerable and they do not have an easy path in life ahead. Many of the children attached to our church are also missing out on Family services and Assemblies at school, as well as going out and all their usual routines. Let us pray for them now.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all the children we know, as well as those that have links with All Saints church or go to school in Wath. Please help them at this time. Give them peace and a knowledge of your love. Help them to know they are special. Keep them safe from domestic violence, abuse or any other dangers at home they may face. In Jesus name, we pray.
Luke Ch 2 verses 41-52 Verse 51 ‘Then He [Jesus] went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.’
This passage reminds us that Jesus was not only obedient to His earthly parents, but that He also had a heavenly Father who He obeyed and honoured primarily by being willing to come as the Saviour of the World.
God never asks us to do things which He has not done before us: when for example God commands us to honour our mother and father in the 10 commandments …Jesus lived that out by obeying His earthly parents. When Jesus asks us to love God and our neighbour, we know He first loved us and gave Himself for us. [1John 4] Jesus did not just teach about love but He demonstrated, lived out and gives us the strength to follow His perfect example.
Lord God, thank you that you are love. Thank you for demonstrating that love through Jesus your Son. In the power of the Spirit, please help us to love You, our families and our neighbours.
Psalm 23 verse 3 He refreshes my soul
In 2016 I, along with 2 others, walked the final 130 miles of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. It was over the last days of September and the weather was still very warm. On average we walked about 18 miles per day, usually finishing at about 5pm. Taking off our boots, having a shower and enjoying a cold beer [not necessarily in that order], collectively refreshed us after the days walking. We still had the aches and the blisters, but both inwardly and outwardly we felt refreshed, ready to eat, sleep, and to be off again next day.
Being in the presence of God can refresh us, often by just resetting our inner self. It is easy to imbibe the values of the world we live in, to value the material things of life over human relationships, to seek after things rather than cultivate all that enhance the common good. Just being with God, reading the scriptures, spending time in prayer and quiet feeds the inner self, or the soul as David says. Whether it is in corporate worship or alone, just spending time with God helps to imbibe the values of the Kingdom of God, and to feel refreshed as we recognize once more that God knows all that we need and we have no need to strive after them.
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to make time to just be with you, and through quiet, prayer or reading your word, to allow our inner self to be fed, that we can say with David, ‘He refreshes my soul’.