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, May 25, 2010

Robin and Worm

In walking yesterday morning I came upon a robin on the sidewalk ahead of me. It didn’t want to move. As I approached I saw why – there on the sidewalk lay a great big fat earthworm! The robin didn’t want to move but I was a threat to it so it hopped over into the grass about a foot from the sidewalk. As I got closer it hopped all around but it was evident it did not want to leave that worm. It kept watching me and kept its eye on the worm. It fluttered up on the nearby fence as I stepped over the worm. I turned to look back at the bird and the worm and immediately the robin flew down to the sidewalk and hopped around the worm knowing I was no longer a threat!

I finished my walk, got ready for work and didn’t think about that robin and worm until later last night. When I got to work the air conditioner was not working in the office so it was about 84 degrees! That is a little warm for me! Since it was so hot I passed up my morning “cup of coffee”. The repairman didn’t get there to fix it until about 2 pm so as the day progressed so did my headache. I usually go home for lunch. The mailman was just walking up so he handed me my mail and I went on in the house feeling a little drained - still sporting the headache. I had a bite to eat then upon opening my mail was even feeling worse after opening a letter I had been waiting for. Well, not exactly what I had anticipated – just a little more to add to my "everything" list to think about!

Have you ever felt like posting a comment on Facebook like “I need some encouragement – is there anybody out there???” That is kind of what I was feeling right then. When in all actuality, I know there are many people around me that are there offering me lots of encouragement. But isn’t that just like satan - to come at us when we are feeling down physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually - when we’ve pushed ourselves to the limit? He knows just when and how to attack us from every angle possible. He is the great deceiver. A liar!

I sat there thinking about “everything” and decided to go in and play through the praise team music for Sunday. As I sat there at the piano playing through the songs the words just seemed to speak to my heart. Seems there was something in each one of those songs that said, Diana, I, your God, am with you right this very moment. I will see you through. I will be there for you. I will not fail you or forsake you. I will provide for your needs. What a friend we have in Jesus! That time at the piano was just what I needed before I headed back to work. My office was still hot when I returned to work and I still had my headache but my heart felt lighter - my load didn’t seem as heavy! After work I went home, took a couple Excedrin and laid down. Sometimes we just need some rest and renewal! And, I must say, I felt much better after my nap!

Later in the evening, I read this scripture that once again spoke to me. God knows just when and what we need to encourage us. “Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around-life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him . . . fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out!
-Romans 12 (Message)

God wants my everyday, ordinary life! My sleeping, eating, going to work, paying bills, overseeing kids etc. - my walking-around-life – He wants me to place it before Him. . . offer all of it to Him. Am I offering all of the “everythings” in life to Him and embracing all of what God is doing for me? Yesterday I was a little overwhelmed with the “everythings” going on in my life. I needed the reminder from that verse in Romans “to fix my attention on Him and He will change me from the inside out”. What a faithful God we have!

As I continued reading I came to this verse: “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder” -Romans 12 (Message)

Just the words I needed to end my day. I thought back to my morning walk and the robin and the worm. That robin had fixed its attention on that worm and was not going to get very far away from it. I was a threat to it but the robin walked away from me while still keeping its eye on the worm. Then when I was past the worm, that robin in its alertness flew down to that worm! Oh, that you and I would keep our attention fixed on God and be alert, expectant, fueled and aflame for the “everythings” in our life.

Do you ever feel like quitting in the hard times – do you every want to say “Is there anybody out there? I need some encouragement!” Don’t give up – pray harder and fix your attention on God. . . Remember, God wants ALL of our everyday, ordinary, walking-around-life!!

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