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Big Jesus wins award for the 'best community entry' in the parade.
We had a unique perspective on Jesus, His fame and renown. If the crowds were silenced even the stones would have cried out to Him. This must be what it was like for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, re-enacted for the benefit of his LGBT people... What does this say for us and for Him?
Photos of ‘Big Jesus’ appeared in ‘The Guardian’ photos of Pride around the world!
Sat 25th Jan meeting at the Odeon to see ‘Bad Boys for Life’ T
to be arranged – see facebook
‘Loved to Worship’ event in Southport Sat Feb 1st 7pm
Evening of worship only with worship band of musicians from different churches.
If you need a lift give your name to Jim.
In Egypt, two male royal manicurists named Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were found buried together in a shared tomb similar to the way married couples were often buried. Their epigraph reads: ‘Joined in life and joined in death’. Having lived in 2400 BC, they are believed to be history’s oldest recorded gay couple.
Extracts from Lynn’s Preach
Psalm 23 continued: ‘The Valley of the Shadow of Death’
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
If someone said to me, you must walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I would say ‘Walk? I don’t think so, I’ll be running terrified! Death could show up at any moment!’
Up to this point in this psalm, David has painted this story with very bright and lush colours with reassurance of the shepherd’s care and protection. Then, as if out of the blue David throws in the Valley of Death. It seems the valley has to be gone through.
But any Middle Easter shepherd reading these words would not find this transition strange at all. In Israel sheep need to be led to different places in different seasons to get adequate grazing. And in and around Bethlehem, where David kept his father's flocks, this meant you either had to go to higher ground or down to the wilderness on the west side of the Jordan valley. Either way you went you had to go through valleys.
Valleys were dangerous places. There were risks of rock and mud slides, flash floods, and poisonous plants, but there were predators (lions, bears, wolves) lying in wait among the rocks hungry for a tasty lamb dinner.
The valley covered by a shadow of death is a place where there seems to be no light; a place of uncertainty; a place where we feel closed in; a place of real danger; a place where we feel threatened; a place in which our first instinct is towards fear and despair. A place where every fibre in our being is screaming……..GET OUT!
Are you familiar with that kind of feeling? That feeling of oppression. No way out. Trapped.
BUT look, what does David say? Are we trapped? No, we are led.
We are led into the valley and through the valley. It doesn't say we are trapped in the valley, it doesn't say we live in the valley,no, it says "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…"
We are walking through, there is a destination. There is a way out. Not only are these valleys temporary, not only do they come to an end, but when they come to an end, the sheep find themselves in new pastures, a place of fresh provision. The path through the valley is not a detour from the Shepherd's guidance. It’s part of getting to that new place.
The valleys are places of doubt, struggle, fear, and despair. But the destination of the journey is Gods amazing provision. Maybe one of the things God wants to do in us as we meditate on this psalm is release us from trying to live in this “avoiding difficulty” kind of mentality when it comes to pain and struggles. Maybe, He wants us to embrace a "through" mentality. "O God, you will bring me through this. God, you are leading me through this." Look at how the rest of this verse helps us understand this "through" perspective.
No Fear! David continues: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’ There are plenty of evils in the valley but David walks through with confidence, not quaking with fear.
Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”. We need His peace for the valley.
You are with Me:. When it comes to banishing the darkness of fear, there is no greater light than the promise AND experience of God's presence. It was knowing God’s presence that banished fear.
Jesus said, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
The author of Hebrews tells us that God has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Your Rod and Staff: the rod was a short thick stick, like a club, to beat off predators. God the good shepherd fights for us. The staff was a shepherds crook, the straight end to tap the sheep into line and the crook to hook them out of thorn bushes and crevices. God’s protection and guidance was always there.
God will not allow lasting harm to come to His sheep. He allows trials, but they will not destroy us. He allows sorrow, but joy will always win out. He brings “beauty from ashes” There are difficulties in the valley, but God will always bring His sheep safely through to eternal life.
I remember sharing worship with Sandra at the hospital before she died. She knew she was dying; we knew she was dying BUT as I looked at her face as we worshiped in the hospital chapel, I knew she was being led through that valley by the shepherd. She was right in the thick of the valley, death was coming BUT I could see she was so ready to be absent from that body and present with the Lord.
Nothing can jeopardize our eternal safety in the Good Shepherd's care. Death was not in the valley; it was only its shadow. Death is NOT a permanent reality for us. Sandra is more alive today than she has EVER been! The world is a scary place, but we don't have to be afraid.
Our lives might seem like a scary place, our current circumstances might seem like a scary place, our future might seem like a scary place, but we do not need to be afraid. This is how we get ‘through’ the 'valleys' we turn away from fear and ask God to give us the faith we need, faith in the promise that God is with us, and that He will protect us.
Shepherds know where they are going. They've already scouted the ground. They know what dangers lie ahead. Like any good shepherd, Jesus goes ahead of us. He went ahead of us into the valley of the shadow of death. He knows the way through. He was tempted. He was attacked. He was betrayed. He suffered. He died. Jesus has been through that valley. And he says to us, ‘You’re OK, I’ve got you, I can take you through’.
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