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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anxiety vs. Rest

(Church Secretary - Guardian of the Universe -  Not hardly!!!  LOL!!)

This morning the pastor brought his sermon in for me to print. He put it on my desk, laughed and said, “here it is!! I didn’t sleep all night worrying about it” !!! Needless to say, his sermon was on anxiety!!!  . . . and by the way, he was exaggerating and being funny!
But, truth of the matter is - we do lose sleep. We do fret and worry. We do carry on with life,  but in the back of our minds – there is anxiety! Sometimes just a little but other times much more - lots of stress. Have you been there? Do you know how it feels to be preoccupied with the things that are stretching you - home, job, family, friends, finances, etc.?

Luke 12:22 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on" . . . Of course Pastor was laughing and carrying on about the lack of sleep, worrying, etc., but it really is easy to let the anxieties of life get to us, weighing heavy on us physically, emotional, and spiritually.

Have you been to the place where you just wanted to “rest”?  I mean take a nice long, uninterrupted rest and not have to think about the pressures you are experiencing.  A rest – not have to make the hard decisions.  A rest – not waking up in the middle of the night “thinking”.  A rest – not have to look the world in the face.  A rest – just sit in the back yard with a glass of ice tea and watch the fish in the backyard pond - ALL day!!!  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I think we should designate at least one day a month to do just that!!!! Are you with me??

"Rest" means:  to be free from anxiety or disturbance.

How can we be free from anxiety?  I woke up early this morning and was thinking, "why am I awake so early when I could be sleeping?" Is that a hint of anxiety??!!  Then I realized, I am still in my early morning walking routine-mode but now that summer is winding down so are my daylight hours!  It isn't even daylight at my normal walking time so I'm awake - it's still too dark to walk - so I got up and was reading.  Wasn't it nice that God provided this special time just for my devotions???  I came to today's devotional by Charles Spurgeon entitled "Rest for God's People" - how fitting was that??!!!  The scripture was from Hebrews 4:9-11 and says, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest."

As I read this devotional this morning, I was reminded of this "rest" that God talks about.  Charles Spurgeon stated, "It is then a spiritual rest altogether independent of circumstances. It is the spirit within that gives the rest; that rest has little to do with anything without. The spirit is the spring of rest; as for the outward surroundings, they are a small account. Let your mind be like the mind of Christ, and you shall find rest unto your souls; a deep rest, a growing rest, a rest found out more and more, an abiding rest, not only which you have found, but which you shall go on to find." 

"It is strange we go on living our everyday lives so carelessly stumbling, we plod our commonplace paths, and forget that we walk everyday, every hour, in the presence of God!"   
 -Martha Snell Nicholson

That rest is there for us as we seek God's presence and are obedient to Him, as we turn our frustrations, our anxieties, and our lives over to the Him. The Message version says, "this is a live promise". It wasn't canceled at the time of Joshua: otherwise, God wouldn't keep renewing the appoint for "today." The promise of "arrival" and "rest" is still there for God's people - even "TODAY".  He is the great Comforter waiting with outstretched arms as we enter into His "REST" - that deep, growing, and abiding rest!  

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life . . .

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