you ever been in a nursing home or a hospital, visiting someone whoís
no longer completely in touch with reality? Maybe youíre visiting a
family member, someone very close like a parent or a grandparent, but
theyíre just not themselves anymore. They may not even be able to
remember who you are, or who they are. Itís painful to see a loved
one go through that, and I imagine itís difficult and frustrating for
that person to lose touch with everything thatís familiar.
been on a few visits like that, and Iíd be lying if I said it wasnít
uncomfortable for me. Itís hard to connect with someone whoís so
disconnected from everything.
then Iíll read the twenty-third Psalm aloud to them, and all of a
sudden itís like a lightís been turned on. Someone who canít
recognize their own family or remember their own name will begin to
recite the psalm along with me. Thereís just something about those
verses that makes the connection, that soothes the soul. This psalm,
like all the other psalms, is a prayer of the people to God. A prayer
that speaks to God for us when we canít come up with the words on our
. . . . .
the Shepherd's Care
a sermon based on Psalm 23
by Dr. David Rogne
first thing King David does is to credit God with providing for his most basic
needs. In a very optimistic statement he declares, "I shall not be in
want." One could take exception to that and ask whether he is saying
that all who decide to follow God will really have all their needs
met. Was the Psalmist so blind that he never saw the righteous go
hungry or good people go without clothing? I do not think the Psalmist
was unaware of these things. David, the presumed author of this Psalm,
was often hungry and without lodging when he was being pursued by King
Saul. What he is describing here is an attitude of trust and
confidence which will take a person through such difficulties with
optimism. ďTo be in wantĒ is a concept that is relative to one's
expectations. When I go back to the old neighborhood in which I grew
up, I become aware that I came from a poor neighborhood, but I didn't
know then that it was a poor neighborhood. When I was going to
seminary, my wife and I were probably as poor as people on welfare,
but we didn't think of ourselves in those terms; we were simply
temporarily doing without. Contentment is a state of mind, not
necessarily related to the way in which other people see our
situations. The person who is convinced of the goodness of God still
has reason to be optimistic, even when times are difficult.
Contentment is a gift from God, and those who have it do not feel that
they are in want.
author also sees rest as a gift "(God) makes me lie down in green
pastures," he says. If we don't rest as we should, it affects our
whole outlook. A woman complained to her pastor "I needed your advice
on something yesterday, but when I phoned you weren't in. "I'm sorry,"
said the pastor, "but yesterday was my day off." "A day off?" she
sniffed, "you know, the devil never takes a day off." "That's true,"
said the pastor, "and if I didn't have a day off I'd be just like
. . . . . .
Hear My Voice
based on John 20:22-30 & Psalm 23
by Rev. Frank Schaefer
Good morning boys and girls. Today, I didn't bring anything to
show you because you can all help me with this children's sermon. I
need you to pretend to be sheep. Can you all go: baaaaaaa....?
Now that we know what sheep sound like, what else do we know
about sheep? What do they do? What do they eat? Are they by
themselves or in a group with other sheep? Who makes sure that all
the sheep stay together? (the shepherd).
How does a Shepherd take care of his sheep? Do they lead
them to where green grass grows? Do they lead them to fresh
water? Do they take care of them when they are sick? Do
they protect them from wild animals? Do they go looking for a
sheep that got lost?
In today's Bible reading Jesus says that God's people hear his
voice like sheep know their shepherd's voice.
Now, do you suppose it is true that sheep know the shepherd's
voice? That's amazing, isn't it? And maybe not that amazing,
because our pets probably know our voice too, don't they? Who
of you have a cat or a dog? Do they recognize your
voice? Do they come when you call them? That's the
same with sheep.
Do you think we are a little like sheep? Do we need help? Do we
need a Shepherd to help us? Who is our Shepherd? That's right it's
Jesus/God. And God has promised us to take care of us, to keep us
going on the right path and to teach us what we need to know. He is
the Good Shepherd. But we must listen to Jesus, the Good
Shepherd. We have His words in the bible, and sometimes he
speaks to our hearts, too.
What do you think, should we ask God to help us listen to Jesus
words? O.K. let's ask God right now. In invite you to
bow your heads with me for prayer:
"Dear God, our Good Shepherd, help us listen to your
voice. We need you to lead us and guide us. We want to
be good sheep and follow you with glad hearts. Amen."
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