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, December 7, 2010

The Bear Film by Jean Jacques Annaud

(Mute the "blog music" so you can get the full effect of this moving video - you want to hear it)

This video will touch any parents heart. My heart went out to this little bear!

As parents we teach our children to be careful of people, places, and things. We tell them to yell "stranger-danger" when in trouble and try our best to prepare them for their future. But just as with this little bear, we cannot always be there watching out for them. And sometimes they don't think or see anything of the danger out there ahead of them. Many times they walk a little too close for comfort - at least for us mothers!  As a mother, I could feel the emotion and terror in this little bear. The frantic realization that he was in big trouble. The fear and panic followed by the chase.

There are times I see and feel that same kind of scared, frightened emotion in my own children. I can see them scramble and run trying to escape the consequences of playing too long in the meadow, as the little bear did. It is a scary thing to watch your child as they fall down, as they are tossed about hitting rocks and logs in this raging river of life and are washed upon the enemy, as we would put it. As the enemy itself is attacking them with nowhere to run, frozen in fear, frustration, and failure. All alone to face the hard places that have come their way. Listening as the child in them cries out for help in his/her own way not always being understood by those around. And all the time, as parents, wanting to stand up and growl like the mother bear and watch as the enemy gives up and runs away at the very sound of our voice. At least for the time being.

As parents, we can pray and hope that a lesson in life is learned through whatever the circumstances are - even if it has to be learned the "hard" way. Hard places make for hard lessons and we can only trust God to bring that lesson to the very heart, soul, and mind of these young people.  We must never give up, we must lift them up in prayer, love them, and do everything this side of heaven that we possibly can to get them back on track. And if they do fall and are wounded, we need to "be there", like the mother bear, to pick them up, lick their wounds and love them unconditionally just as Christ loves all His dear children. 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life"  -John 3:16

Just as we want to save, rescue, and restore our children so does God want to save, rescue and restore each one of our lives.  No matter where we have been or what we have done.  It doesn't matter what river of life we have been floating down or where it has taken us or even what rocks we have been slammed up against - God loves us unconditionally and wants to rescue us from the raging rapids and the snares of sin and its hold on our lives. "Unconditional" means: not limited to; absolute; not subject to conditions; not dependent on conditions or learning. So you see it doesn't matter where we've been, what we've been through, God still loves us unconditionally. He does not love the sin in our lives - but He does loves us and has seen the river where we have been tossed about. He knows all about us and yet He loves us! He died on the cross for our sin and He wants to rescue and restore us - to cleanse us from what is about to overtake us.

God's unconditional love reaches out to us and just as the mother bear reached out to her cub, He wants to gather us close and touch our wounds, both physical and emotional - whatever they may be. He knows the plans He has for us and He wants to show us what He has prepared for each one of us.

"But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
-1 Cor. 2:9

Turn and run to God's loving, outstretched, arms and taste and see
 what He has prepared for you!  

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