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, November 4, 2010

Smell the Coffee

I enjoy my coffee and the sweet, pleasant aroma that fills the room and awakens my senses to reach for my cup and pour a steaming hot cupful! I have a programmable coffee pot – one of the best things I have purchased!! I just picked up some Cinnamon Hazelnut flavored coffee and it is so good!! Oh, to wake up to the smell of coffee and come downstairs with it ready to pour into my cup with no waiting for it to brew – let me tell you, it is great! That is unless you get so busy the night before that you forget to put in the coffee, water, and push the button to turn it on!!! I can’t believe that I forgot two nights in a row!!! Slow down, Diana, and smell the coffee!!! Well, last night I did remember and the last thing I did before going upstairs to turn in was “put the coffee on”. Yes, it takes a little time when I am tired and ready for bed but it is so worth the extra time and effort when morning comes and I wake up to fragrant coffee filtering all the way upstairs!

Some things take a little extra time and effort in life and when we put forth that little extra the rewards are so worth it. Life goes on with or without the effort but the blessings of that little “extra” truly can be a blessing to not only myself but to those around me.

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” -Ray Bradbury

We are cups, continually be filled. . . some days we may be only half full, some days three-fourths, some days nearly empty, and some days we are overflowing! Oh, for those days that we are overflowing!! But it is important for us to remember that we are being filled every single day. Have you been there? Can you think of some of those times in your own life when you were being filled? It is that mix that makes up “life”. The easy-going, the ups-and-downs, the joyous moments, the sad-heart-felt times, the tough-hard times, the times of uncontrollable laughter, the quiet times of peaceful contentment - they are all a part of life – if we slow down and “smell the coffee”.

What is your favorite blend? I have several blends – I’m not too picky! I think variety is a good thing when it comes to coffee. Although, I was fixing coffee for a birthday party we had last week and my cousin quite adamantly informed me that he did not like that “flavored stuff” – he just likes the “plain old stuff”!! Well, I also like the plain “old stuff” too.

. . . The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” -Ray Bradbury

Don’t you just hate it when you spill your cup of coffee? Me too! But this quote compares us to “cups” and mentions “knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out!” I was thinking about that and sometimes when we spill things, our cup may be almost empty while other times it may be brim full. What is in you cup? How full are you? You may ask, how can that be beautiful? Whether your cup tips over and spills a little or a lot, it doesn’t really matter. Some days I may only have a little of the “beautiful stuff” to share because I am going through some hard times. Even some of the most difficult things in life can be “beautiful stuff” with time and when spilled at God’s perfect timing. Maybe someone needs to see how God can take hard things and make beautiful stuff out of them! Other times, I am just brim full waiting for that first sip of steaming hot coffee and WOOPS!! . . . it spills!!

I don’t always know or understand these spills in life but I think the trick is in not letting the “spills” in life upset us as much as learning to lean on a God that makes the beginning to end, leaving what’s in the middle for us to hold in our cups. Then knowing how to tip ourselves over and let God’s love, His grace, His mercy, His understanding, His help, and His peace spill over. I was thinking that some of the stuff in my cup isn’t so beautiful! Do I want that spilled out?? But just as I like many flavors of coffee, I believe God can use every one of our personal flavors in life and as God blends all of these flavors together it is He and He alone that brings all of the aroma together from our very own special brew.

I was looking online at some coffee from "The Roasterie Air-Roast Coffee" in Kansas City. (Time out for just a little "Commercial Break" here!  Stormin' Normin' has the very "best" coffee!  Stop in and see him next time you are in KC).  I noticed that you can special order your very own favorite flavors and put them together for your own personal flavor label!! That’s exactly how we are – God knows our personal flavor label, He knows how he can use us to “tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out!” He fills our cups with special flavors - the good, bad, and the ugly, and gives us opportunities, abilities, and strengths to tip ourselves over at just the right time and place. He can mix the blend and bring out the richest, fullest, roast of perfectly blended flavor.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that
God maketh from the beginning to the end.             
- Ecc. 3:11 KJV

So, slow down, don’t forget to put the coffee on and remember . . .

. . . “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out.”
-Ray Bradbury

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