Prayer Concerns
• Bobbi Wilson Family – in her death on Sunday evening, funeral will be private.
• Pat Terrell – Laurens Mem, COVID 19, beginning to feel better.
• Keith & Pam Blore – COVID 19, Keith in the hospital overnight, Pam mainly fatigued.
• Teresa Asman – Greenville Mem, COVID 19, hopes to come home this week.
• Debbie Campbell – rehab in Greenville.
• Earl Martin – continuing to deal with an infection.
• Polly Lineberger – Unit II at Martha Franks, recovering from a fall.
• Ray Patterson – Unit II at Martha Franks, recovering from a hospital stay.
• Don Franks – home recovering after recent surgery.
• Mike & Susan Little – Mike taking chemotherapy, Susan has speech/memory issues.
• Phyllis Metz – NHC, rehab after broken hip.
• Francis Feighner – now home, advanced stages of cancer.
• Jim & Elaine Sumeral – homebound, ongoing health issues.
• Carolyn Madden – cognitive/physical issues.
• Jane Ivey – recent surgery, hopeful to begin to feel better.
• Bill Ramey – continuing to take treatments.

Worship Options: We will continue to post a worship service every Sunday on our website and via the FBC Laurens App. You may also listen to our service on WLBG at 11:00 each Sunday morning.

Senior Adult Sunday School on the Radio: Join us at 3pm each Tuesday afternoon on WLBG. The 30 minute lessons will be offered by a FBC Sunday School teacher.

FBC Diverge Youth Parking Lot Worship, FBC Parking Lot, tonight at 7pm.

August FBC Golf Outings, Tuesday, August 11 & 25, 5:30pm, Lakeside CC.

Rocky Railway, Virtual VBS, King of Pops Celebration, tonight, 8pm.

Reflecting Together

Read: Psalm 23:6a

Some of the most popular optical illusions are illustrations that offer multiple interpretations. Two viewers can look at the same image and see totally different things. Unlike hidden pictures, the two distinct images nestled in each illustration are equally obvious. You don’t have to tilt your head and you don’t have to cross your eyes. You just have to remember that sometimes there are often multiple ways of seeing the exact same thing.

In a somewhat similar way, today’s verse can be considered from different perspectives. Psalm 23:6a is the promise and blessing that comes as a result of the shepherd’s love and care that is expressed in Psalm 23:1-5. The word surely, which begins today’s verse, points us to a result of all that has been stated in the opening verses of this psalm. The words goodness, love, and mercy indicate God’s favor and the comfortable effects and benefits of it. However, the phrase will follow me is the centerpiece of this verse. It is a strong, almost boastful statement that can be interpreted in two ways.

On the one hand, the Hebrew word used for “follow” in this verse is jirdepani which means “to pursue.” The implication here is that God’s goodness and love don’t just lag behind us. They chase after us. Using the shepherd/sheep analogy, sheep who are under the care and management of an attentive shepherd can be perfectly sure that, when he is present, goodness and love will be a part of the picture. As much as sheep can understand, they know that they are under sound and attentive care.

For the Christian, today’s verse is an exclamation of implicit confidence in our Shepherd who guides our lives and ultimately our destiny. This thought is easy to accept when things are going well. However, the thought is hard to believe when life becomes difficult. It is in such times when the Good Shepherd’s pursuit of us becomes greater because He loves us. His goodness, love and mercy are new every day. We don’t deserve these things, but they come from His own great heart of love.

There is yet another interpretation of the phrase “will follow me.” If sheep are not managed well by the shepherd, the flock can be the most destructive livestock. They can ruin and ravage a tract of land beyond repair.

In contrast, sheep can also be the most beneficial of all livestock. Their manure is the best balanced of any domestic animal and when scattered efficiently over pastures, it proves to be an enormous benefit to the soil. Sheep also eat all sorts of weeds and other undesirable plants that might otherwise invade a field. In short, a flock of well-managed sheep will clean up and restore a piece of ravaged land as no other creature can do. Goodness and mercy follow the flock.

Just as goodness and mercy flow to us all the days of our lives, so goodness and mercy should follow us and should be left behind as a legacy to others wherever we may go. The overflow of goodness and mercy given to us by Christ, can pass through our lives to bless and benefit. As we do this, it keeps God’s love and goodness from becoming stagnant in this world.

People say we can only count on two things in life which are death and taxes. This may be so, but we should also add two more absolutes to our lives which are God’s love and His goodness. In these days, it is important to establish these truths in our lives once and for all that God loves us and is good to us.

Consider this:
• Look back over your life as David did in Psalm 23:1-5. Consider the good times and the not so good times. What stands as evidence of His goodness, love and mercy in your life? Give thanks for these things.

• Think of your family, friends, co-workers and others in your sphere of influence. Consider mere strangers that you may have passed by or come into contact with this past week. What are you leaving behind with these?
• Goodness and mercy or frustration?
• Forgiveness or judgement?
• The compassion of Christ or the critical eye of censure?

• Is there any discrepancy between what you want to leave behind and what you are actually leaving behind? Pray for God’s help in this area.

Prayer: Father, I praise you for Your goodness, mercy and kindness to me. Thank you that Your goodness and Your mercy pursue me and follow me all the days of my life. I am so blessed by You and Your relentless love for me. Amen.