Prayer Concerns
• Pat Terrell – Laurens Mem, COVID 19, has been fairly sick.
• Linda Dickens/Husband Steve – COVID 19, both feeling better.
• Debbie Campbell – Greenville Mem, complications from accident early summer.
• Don Franks – Greenville Mem, recovering from successful surgery to remove a tumor.
• Bobbi Wilson – Greenville Mem, COVID 19, responding well to medicine.
• Joy Tumblin – recovering from outpatient surgery yesterday.
• Ricky Poole – at home recovering from light stroke, consulting with his doctors.
• 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 Davis – now home after stay at NHC with congestive heart failure.
• Debbie Campbell – continues rehab in Greenville after accident.
• Keith Blore – encouraging doctor’s visit this week, will continue to monitor concerns.
• Jim & Elaine Sumeral – homebound, ongoing health issues.
• Allyson Sherer- continues to do well overall, positive recent doctors’ visits.
• Carolyn Madden – cognitive/physical issues.
• Jane Ivey – recent surgery, hopeful to begin to feel better.
• Bill Ramey – continuing to take treatments.
• Joan Owings – NHC, continues to receive care/treatment.

Announcements
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, on the main FBC Lot, Wednesday, July 22 at 7pm.

Rocky Railway, Virtual VBS, August 3-5.

July FBC Book Club Opportunity, Thomas Mullen’s The Last Town on Earth, Tuesday, July 28th, 7pm.

Reflecting Together
Read Psalm 23:5a

Soldiers don’t usually sit down for a picnic in the middle of a raging battlefield. They either fight to the death or they turn and run. The scene that David paints in today’s verse is one of total security. In the midst of the worst his enemies could dish out, David finds peace and joy in God.

The high plateaus of sheep ranges are called mesas which means “table.” The mesas are the best grazing areas for the sheep. David, drawing from his experience as a shepherd, may have been referring to these lush grazing areas when he penned today’s verse.

A shepherd would need to prepare the mesas prior to the arrival of the flock. He would survey the land and prepare the key grazing area with salt and minerals which served to strengthen the sheep. He would clear the area of poisonous weeds and flowers such as the white camas which are beautiful, fragrant flowers. However, these flowers are deadly to sheep. The attentive shepherd would further prepare the table by checking for hiding spots or other signs of predators as well as clearing away any mud puddles that may contain bacteria or other harmful diseases.

You may wonder why a shepherd would go to such great lengths to prepare a grazing area for the sheep. The answer is simple. Sheep are not very smart nor are they aware of any danger in their surroundings. When grazing, they will eat everything in sight and are especially drawn to the beautiful, fragrant, yet deadly, camas. They will drink from bacteria filled puddles. Grazing with their heads down, they will wander too far from the shepherd and too close to a predator. Roaming sheep always get picked off by a predator.

As hard as it is to accept, we exhibit tendencies that are very similar to sheep. As humans with a sinful nature, we often feel that we need to try everything that comes our way. We sample things just to see what they are like and even though we know that things might be destructive, we give them a try anyway. We can easily wander away from the Shepherd and unknowingly move closer to the enemy.

In such times, it is important for us to remember that our Shepherd has been there ahead of us, dealing with every situation that would otherwise undo us. The Good Shepherd knows every wile, every trick, every treachery used by Satan and his companions and as our Shepherd, he does not want us to fall prey to these things.

The Shepherd has been through every situation we might encounter in our lives. Because of this, He understands us and He totally identifies Himself with humanity. He paid a great price to prepare this table for us and has made every possible provision that when we have to cope with evil, sin, or self, the contest will not be one-sided.

In the Christian life, there will be both valleys and mountaintops. We will face struggles and hazards. Yet, in His care and concern, the Good Shepherd still ensures that we shall have gladness with sadness, some delightful days as well as dark days, some sunshine as well as shadows.

The prepared table is set directly in the presence of the enemy. The Shepherd’s tender care and concern does not eliminate the presence of that enemy. Instead, His care enables us to experience God’s goodness and bounty, even in the midst of the enemy.

Consider this:
• Consider your greatest enemy. How does this verse change your perspective on that enemy?
• What gives you reason to rejoice? What good things have you seen God prepare for you, even in the presence of your enemy.
• Read Luke 22:31-34. How does this passage illustrate Jesus “preparing a table” for Peter? What does this teach us about Jesus’ foresight in our lives?
• Knowing that Jesus would later reinstate a humbled Peter, what does this teach us about the goodness and bounty at the table that has been prepared for us?
• Read Matthew 4: 1-11. How does Jesus deal with Satan’s temptation in the wilderness? What does this still teach us today?
• Spend a moment to thank Him for “preparing a table” just for you.

Prayer: God, thank you for preparing a picnic for me right in the middle of my crazy world. Thank you that You and I can enjoy a meal together even while surrounded by enemies, whether they be real or perceived. Thank you for your foresight, tender care, and concern for me. Grant me the wisdom to remain close to you and follow your leading each and every day. Amen.