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, October 5, 2010

Jump for Joy

“Jump for joy . . . it’s good exercise!” I read this quote and chuckled at the double meaning – so true and so fitting. Jumping is good exercise – it get’s you moving – your heart pumping. Likewise, I think joy also brings a certain stirring of the heart - so why not “jump for joy”?

“Joy” according to Mr. Webster means: A feeling of great pleasure or happiness; A source of pleasure; To rejoice . . . And “Joyful” means: A feeling causing or showing joy. So it sounds to me like if we are feeling joy we probably should “jump” for “joy” and get a little exercise while we are at it . . . just like the quote says!

What is your “joy level” today? Are you jumping or are you dragging just a bit? It is easy to focus on life’s busy schedules, activities, hurts, disappointments, failures, loss, pain, tears, doubts, fears, & defeat, etc and forget to jump for the joy that is woven into our lives in the midst of all of these things. Wow! That was a long sentence! But seriously, when all of these things begin to press in around us – it is time to “jump”, time to look above them, time to re-focus our attention. Time to climb on up the mountain, above the circumstances surrounding us, and look up and beyond to God who is right there reaching out His right hand to take hold of our hand and help us on up, around, and maybe through our circumstance of the day.

A favorite Bible verse of mine is:  Isa. 41:13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”  I just love that – “Take hold . . . I will help you”!

He will lead, guide, and strengthen us for the journey ahead. He is a shelter in the time of storm, a refuge and a comfort at the time of our need. No one can compare to His powerful love for us.

Stop and look back at the “joy” that has been woven into your tapestry of life amongst the hard and difficult times and know that God is still there even when it seems hard. Look at those moments that brought joy and be blessed by them. It’s ok to “jump for joy” and “rejoice” a little over those special moments even as we go through tough times. You will find that many times that is just what helps us get through those times! Thank God for joy on a dark, dreary day, for joy during a sad time, for joy that is buried underneath the load that you are carrying right now. Set your load down, rest and reflect on all God has done for you, all that God is doing right this very minute for you, and all that God has in store for you in the future. Know that the God of all creation wants to bring you joy unspeakable and full of glory – His blessing.

As you begin looking for the joy along the way, you will notice that you really can “jump for joy”! You may not jump very high at first but as you continue to praise God and recognize His presence through it all, you will begin to jump a little higher and maybe even a little farther. And before you know it - you will see that you are “jumping for Joy” and you will realize that it IS “good exercise”!

Let's jump for "Joy"!

No comments:

Post a Comment