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, July 6, 2010

The Kick-Back

This past Memorial Day the guys were down by the pasture edge doing a little target practice. I decided I had never shot a gun so walked down there to watch them as they took turns with the handgun. I didn't realize how loud they were! Heather finish her round and Matt and John looked at me. Matt gave me the yellow protective glasses and the ear plugs to put on. Matt explained the gun and the safety lever, showed me how to stand, how to hold it and aim for the tree which was the target. Bracing myself, I placed my feet firmly in the tall trampled down grass, raised the gun, took aim, and pulled the trigger! I do believe that the minute the gun went off I closed my eyes - it was so loud! Much louder than the gunshots I've heard on TV or in the movies!! I couldn't tell you if I hit the tree or not. That was my practice shot!!! The kick back of the gun was quite strong - I had always heard people say that but now I knew what they ment first hand. I felt the power of that explosion push the gun back at me! On one of the shots I actually felt something hit me on the forehead. It felt like a small spark or something! Powder burn!?! On the next shot I actually kept my eye open and on the target and saw a small piece of bark fly off of the side of the tree - WOW!

Anyway, that was a new experience for me. I guess I can now mark that off of my bucket list . . . shot a gun . . . check!!!! LOL! I also commend all of those in our military and law enforcement areas of work that have to handle guns as part of their job. May God bless and protect you each and every day! I don't think I could ever shoot a rabbit, squirel or anything else. So don't count on me to "rough it" and bring in the "game" for supper unless it's from the grocery store!!! Or maybe I could just bake some gun shaped sugar cookies like this cookie cutter!

John took his turn and fired the gun as we watched. He was a much better shot. Matt caught one of the small goldish bullet casings as it flew up in the air and handed it to me. It was still hot to touch from the explosion in the gun chamber.

As I thought about this powerful experience - the whole process of the small but powerful bullet when placed in that chamber. The exchange that takes place as the trigger is pulled and the bullet is discharged with the loud deafening sound. The flash of the explosion along with the kick of the gun. Not to mention the impact of the bullet as it hits it's target destroying and devastating whatever is in it's path. One small but powerful bullet - one loud explosion - one powerfully deadening impact! Wow!

The dictionary says, "impact" means: Collision, The force transmitted by, The effect or impression of one thing on another, To strike forcefully, To have an effect or impact, To push.

As I thought of the powerful force of the bullet, my thoughts went to other areas of life that have a powerful impact on us. So many experiences in life impact our lives. Some impact us in a good-positive way, some in a bad-negative way, and some barely effect us at all. Depending on where we are in the line of fire we feel the effects or impact of many of these life experiences. Some hit us true to target and we feel the "kick-back", we hear the "deafening explosion", we feel the "collision" first hand. But sometimes even when we are not the target but may be close to the target we still feel and see the impact, the push, the force of the collision. It may be angry explosive words, actions, thoughts, or feelings being pushed through the bullet chamber of life and pushed to the surface. Watch out! Move! Stay out of the line of fire! Find safety!

Some of the smallest words and actions - just like that small bullet - can be devastating. Choose your words carefully and act accordingly. Ps. 19:14 says, "May the words of my mouth and the meditaions of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer." May this scripture be our prayer and motto. May the impact we make on those around us be a positive, up-lifting and good experience. May we encourage and help those we come into contact with and be a blessing to those walking this journey with us.

Sometimes when we cry - no one sees our tears. Sometimes when we are in pain - no one sees our hurt, Sometimes when we are worried - no one sees our stress. Sometimes when our heart aches - no one feels our racing heartbeat. Sometimes when we can't see the light - no one knows the darkness we feel. Sometimes when life is overwhelming - no one is there to offer a helping hand. Sometimes when we are happy - no one sees our smile. Sometimes when our cups are overflowing - no one is there to share it with. Sometimes when things are going good, no one seems to notice. Sometimes when we are excited - no one is there to give us a pat on the back or a "high five"! Sometimes when life is just routine - no one seems to know we are there. Sometimes when we need a push in life - no one is there to give direction and support . . . to impact us.

Sometimes when we live by faith, no one but God understands! But thank goodness He sees and understands and God will have a definite effect - a definite impact on each of our lives. He is like that one small but powerful bullet - that one loud explosion - that one powerfully deadening impact. He - that small baby born in Bethlehem so long ago. He whose ministry exploded and impacted the world and through God's plan for redemption carried sin's cross to calvary. That act of surrender and sacrifice made a powerfully deadening impact on the sin of this world - yours and mine!

His impact on us will help us impact those around us. We may be only one small bullet in this chamber of life but we can each one have a positive impact on those around us. Let's reach out and "be there" for those we see need God's touch through us!

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