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Summary: The Valley is a reality but it is only temporary. We are called to go through the Valley, not to dwell, to stay in it. The Valley will make you or break you. Beloved let the valleys transform you into the image of Christ. (Updated April 2018)

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For those not familiar with an Anglican Service there a four Scripture readings that proceed the Message. Today's appointed readings are: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25 and John 10:1-10

BIBLE "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." END

King David is the obvious person ....to write .... such a psalm.

A Psalm about The shepherd ......and his sheep.

For He ...... David, .... was a shepherd.

He was a Shepherd practically from childhood ...... all the way ...... to young adulthood...... following in the footsteps .... of his father Jesse.

He writes ............from experience.

He shares...... the relationship of a shepherd ......with his sheep .... and mirrored it ...... to our relationship with God, ... the Shepherd of Our soul.

The Lord is our Shepherd.... We have heard it since (hand down) ... our Youth. (Long Pause)

Illustration: A Sunday School class teacher ......required all the children in her class ......to recite the whole chapter.... of the 23rd Psalm......on the day ......of their graduation.

All the kids were so excited except one, ...Robert, ......was very shy ......and had difficulty memorizing.

Well......Graduation day came ......and every child was wearing a robe ......and a corsage.

One by one, ......the children recited Psalms 23 ...... with much enthusiasm.

Robert was to be last.

As he watched the other children recite the Psalm, ......he ducked under his seat ......fidgeting with the tassel of his cap ...... and the buttons .... of his robe.

When it was his turn, ......he jumped off his seat, ......grabbed the microphone, ......cleared his throat ......and with much gusto he declared...... "The Lord is my Shepherd"

There was a pause for several seconds.

Then with even a louder voice he continued, ......"That's all ... I need to know".

Beloved ... Indeed .... that is all ......we need ... to know.

"The Lord is my Shepherd?"

Today I would like to look at ...... this Psalm, ...... and share at least three perspectives ......to the journey of life.

David states in the Psalm............ "Even though I walk through the valley" (REPEAT)

Beloved ... First (1 Finger) ... Accept the reality ...... of the valley. (REPEAT)

Why do sheep ......need to go through a valley ......if it is such ......a difficult path?

Shepherds in the past ... and some to this day ......take their flock on a long journey ......to the mountains ......at least once a year.

During the spring, ......they graze in the fields near their home ......while the mountaintops ... are still covered ... with snow.

Then in the summer they seek the newer fields .... ......up in the hills.

They take the route through the valleys ......because it is cooler under the summer heat, ...... and ......it is well-watered.

The journey may not be easy, ......but it is necessary.

And there can be difficulties in the Valley. (Pause)

And Beloved ... There will also be valleys and difficulties...... in our lives.

Days when the sun does not shine as bright, .... Days when things look a little dark.... a little gloomy.

Valleys are inevitable.

Yet we must learn to accept .......... the reality of the valley.

There will be persecution and problems ....in life.

Life cannot ......and will not ......always be smooth.

There will be difficult days .... There will be difficult times.

Everyone will face them...... Some more.... some less.

Some deeper...... others not so deep.

Some longer...... some shorter.

Yet ... we all ....... will face them.

Beloved ...... Be of Good Cheer....... For the Lord is with us in the valley.

Jesus goes on to share these words with us, BIBLE "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." END John 16:33

In other words, we are told to...... Look to Jesus ......And do not to dwell on the troubles ... you will experience in the valley. (Put Down Bible)

(1) First (1 Finger) Accept the reality of the Valley. (2) Second (2 Fingers) How will you respond in the valley?

Beloved ......The Valley.... will make you ......or break you.

Do not ... Do not ... focus on the Valley...... Focus on the Shepherd.

Declare to God your faith in Him...... just as David did.

Notice in the first part of Psalm 23 ......David speaks of God in the third person,

"The Lord is my shepherd, He makes me lie down, He leads me, He restores my soul."

Now in verse 4, David speaks directly to God and states ...... I shall fear no evil "I am not afraid, because ... You are with me;

I will go through the Valley ....and I will go through it safely .... Why?...... For You are with me.

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