Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Generic Hello

“HELLO” - Have you ever thought what this word stands for?

Do you know that a simple "hello" can be a more than just "hello"?

Someone once said that the word “hello” means:

H = How are you?
E = Everything all right?
L = Like to hear from you
L = Love to see you soon!
O = Obviously, You are my friend...

So many times we greet people with, "hi, how are you"? Many times not really wanting to hear all about how they really are. And many times we hear people greet us the same way knowing that they don't have time to hear all about how we really are and what we're going through, so we just answer "fine" or "good".

I went to the eye doctor last week and the nurse came out and called the name of a man sitting down a couple chairs from me in the waiting room. She greeted him with, "George". He stood up, walked over to her and she said, "hello, George, how are you"? He looked her straight in the eye and said in a very loud, booming voice, "I'm just terrible, my knees hurt, I can't see, my hearing is going bad, and I've come down with this terrible cold"!!!! The whole waiting room got dead silent and the poor nurse just stood there looking at him totally bewildered! He just stood there looking her square in the eye with a big smile on his face, and I might add, what looked to me like a twinkle in his eye!! Very timidly, she mumbled something back, laughed, and led him down the hall. Everyone in the waiting room just chuckled and laughed. He got his point across to all of us. His wife who sat there shaking her head, said, "he does that every time someone asks him how he is. He says they don't really mean it - they really do not want to know "how he is"!!

I thought about that and it really is true. Most, even some of whom we consider friends, do not really want to know what is going on in our lives. They don't really want to know if everything is all right. So many times it is just a form of greeting! Many times even when we know someone is going through tough times, we neglect to ask, we don't know what to say or do. We don't know how to handle the situation, we don't understand what is going on and we are simply afraid to question. . . so we say nothing - we just ignore the person and the problems they are experiencing! But to say "nothing" is to appear uncaring and unconcerned, to not offer support or encouragement - to simply ignore the other person's feelings, hurt, struggle, etc. I've been there when I felt like my life was being torn apart - feeling as though no one cared or even noticed! I've learned over time to look at people in a different way - to look into the eyes of their heart and say "hello, how are you doing" and really mean it - expecting an answer from them and ready to show that I really do care. Maybe they need to talk, maybe they need a hug, maybe just a smile or a pat on the arm. Something more than a quick generic "hello, how are you"? Who do you see regularly or pass by every week at the store, at church, or maybe at work that is struggling and in need of a "heartfelt hello"? A hello from your heart to theirs? It very well could be someone that you don't even know is going through some difficult times. Stop and look around you, it just might surprise you as you look into the eyes of their heart and see that they need your words of encouragement.

This has made me think about my “hello”. I now try to put some real heartfelt meaning into this simple “hello” as I look into the eyes of the one receiving my “hello” and sincerely ask and wait for an answer from them. Next time you say "hello" - stop and think about it, wait, and be a blessing to someone that needs a blessing from you! You will also experience the blessing!

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