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.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Giving from the Heart

My Grandma Edna Mowery  was a short, plump little lady whose eyes always sparkled.  Grandpa had passed on long before and she lived alone.  She spent her time making things. She sewed, mostly by hand.  I remember one year she made me a whole wardrobe of Barbie doll clothes.  These were amazing.  There were fancy dresses with sequins sewed on them, there were flannel pajamas, pleated skirts with tops to match with tiny little buttons sewed on them. One of my favorites was the tiny corduroy coat with little pockets stitched on it.  Grandma had even completed it with a matching lining! There must have been  25 outfits in this little box that she had waiting for me under her Christmas tree one Christmas Eve.  And to think that all of these were sewed from scrapes of material and sewed by hand - stitch by tender stitch.  There are no other Barbie clothes like these.  I actually still have them and no I don't play "Barbie" anymore but every now and then I take them out and look at the tiny stitches  stitched with love and am still amazed at this special wardrobe of clothes!!  I was the envy of all of my girlfriends when they saw all of these!  And as I look at these clothes I am amazed at the time, patience and love that went into making them.  Another year in my early adult life I had a big package under Grandma's tree.  It was a colorful red and white quilt - again all hand stitched!  These things must have taken her all year to make. 
I in turn always looked forward to giving grandma something equally as special.  I painted china so I would always hand-paint her a cup and saucer (she loved her hot tea!) or a plate, or more salt and pepper shakers to add to her collection. She collected all kinds of salt and pepper shakers!  She must have had hundreds!!  As a kid I remember standing for hours looking at all of these she had in two big china cabinets - row after row of them filling every nook and cranny in the cabinets. I've often wondered where all of her salt and pepper shakers ended up.  That was such a fond memory for me of gazing at each and every one of them as a child. 

When Grandma passed away I was given a box with all of the china pieces I had painted for her.  Each layer of paint and each firing of the paint was done with a loving heart as I painted it just for her with her alone in mind.  I now look at those china pieces and recall the joy I felt with each stroke of paint that was applied. And even more joy as I gave the painted china pieces to her. 

That is what Christmas is all about the joy and blessings of giving from the heart.  Not so much the dollar amount spent - but the act of giving.  Giving out of love reaches clear down into the depths of the heart. And that is when the act of giving fills not just the giver but also the receiver with the joys and blessing of that expression of true love - that of giving!  It was once said that "you may give without loving, but you cannot love without giving". 

May the gifts you give and receive this year during the Christmas Season be those that bring true joy and blessings to you and to the receiver of your gifts! 

 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
John 3:16

This Christmas remember this special gift of love
 God gave to us !
~ ~ JESUS ~ ~

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