Prayer Concerns
• Pat Terrell – at home with COVID 19, mild symptoms so far.
• Mike & Susan Little – Mike taking chemotherapy, Susan has speech/memory issues.
• Reames Family – death of Jimmy last week, funeral was Tuesday.
• Wayland Sherman – home now, was in hospital with ulcers.
• Phyllis Metz – Greenville Memorial, broken hip, will go to rehab after.
• Noel Spencer – recovering from outpatient knee surgery last Friday.
• Cyndy & Bobby O’Rear – Cyndy had gallbladder surgery last week.
• Don Franks – surgery to remove tumor on July 17. Expects hospital stay of a week.
• 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.
• Bryson Davis – recovering remarkably well from four wheeler accident, doing well.
• 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.

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.

Youth Kickball at Colyar Park, Thursday, July 9 at 7pm.

Youth Drive In Movie, Moana, Friday night, July 10, 9pm.

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.

Children’s Ministry July Taste & See Pick Up, Friday, July 17.

FBC July Golf Fellowships, Tuesday July 14 & 21 at Lakeside, 5:30pm.

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

Reflecting Together
Read: Psalm 23:4

According to Webster, a shadow is the darkness cast by something cutting off light. It’s an illusion. There is no substance to a shadow. But, shadows can be terrifying because they play tricks on us. Shadows are those things that, as children, drove us underneath the covers. But when we turned on the light the shadows disappeared and we realized that we had nothing to fear.

In our verse today, David writes that the valley is an area through which we will walk. This does not depict a destination or dwelling place. Instead, it is a place that one is merely passing through. This picture of the valley suggests being hedged in or surrounded and David specifically describes it as the “valley of the shadow of death.” The shepherd and his sheep are not facing death itself, but instead a shadow that casts a dark and fearful outline.

As sheep who place ourselves under the Good Shepherd’s care, we only face the shadow of death because Jesus took the reality of it in our place. Death in its substance has been removed and only a shadow of it remains. David is facing what appears to be the ultimate defeat and evil, but he recognized that under the Shepherd’s leading, he may walk through the valley. He recognizes that all of life is lived under this shadow and it is the conscious presence of the Lord as Shepherd that makes it all bearable.

So why do shepherds lead their sheep through valleys to get to the mountaintop? First of all, it is the best route. Every mountain has its valleys and with deep ravines and gulches. The valley is a gentle grade, and the shepherd leads his flock gently, but persistently, through these valleys. Second, the valleys are well-watered and, as a result, the richest feed and best forage is found along this route.

In our lives we will, at one time or another, travel through a valley. Our valleys will consist of disappointments, discouragements, frustrations, and dilemmas. There will be dark and difficult days. But it is also in these valleys where we have the opportunity to know God more intimately. When we walk with Him through deep troubles, we find refreshment from God. The Good Shepherd always knows where we can find strength, sustenance, and gentle grazing despite every threat of disaster around us. When we look back over life and see how the Shepherd’s hand has guided and sustained us and when we reflect on His faithfulness in every crisis, our faith is renewed and our spiritual stamina is increased.

We will pass through valleys in this life. Yet, this is the path that allows us to travel to higher ground with God. In the journey, we will learn to develop an attitude of thanks for the difficult things which is to say a quiet acceptance of every adversity as we come to know our Shepherd in a new and intimate way.

Remember…it’s just a shadow.

Consider this:

• What is one of the scariest experiences or situations that you have ever faced? What made it so scary for you? How did you react?

• Compare today’s verse with verses 1-3. What is different?

• Read James 1:2-6. What does this passage say about the purpose of valleys?

• Read John 16:33. How does this passage give us hope as we travel through our valley?

• Think back to a time when you passed through a valley. What did God teach you about Himself?

• How might God want you to use your experience in the valley to comfort and encourage others who are now experiencing similar situations?

Prayer: Father, there are mountain-top experiences in this life. But there are also times when we travel though dark valleys. In those days, Father, help me to remember your promise to always stay with me. Remind me that I am not alone. Teach me that I can be brave not because the shadow has disappeared but because I am always safe in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.