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, January 30, 2011

The Guide

As kids we grew up on a farm.  We had 109 acres to run and climb over, around, and through!  We knew that farm like the back of our hands, even as kids.  We knew where nearly every ditch, dead end, look-out point, and hiding spot was.  We would go into the pasture and follow the cow-paths from one end of the farm to the other and we knew where each path would end up and where they would go as we followed them in the different directions.  Some paths lead down to the big ditch at the end of the farm. Some went past the cable swing that would swing out over the small pond.  Some would lead us clear on down past the big ditch to the big pond.  Some would lead us absolutely "no-where" - a dead-end!  Some would just lead to an open clearing where the cows would leisurely graze and lay down, rest and chew their cud as the baby calves would scamper around in their play.  We knew the lay-out of the ground whether it was in the pasture or across the cornfield. 

It seemed like our friends always wanted to come to the farm! We always had lots of fun as we would set out for a day of good old "farm fun".  We rode the horses, climbed the haystack and jumped into a big pile of loose hay. We'd swing out over the pond and let go - falling into the pond.  There was always something to do on the farm! 

One of our favorite things to do was play hide and seek! Especially when Uncle Bill and Nora came out - they had 10 kids so we always had plenty to play a fantastic game of hide and seek.  Of course we always had the advantage because we knew the lay of the land and every perfect hiding place.  My brothers and I would take off to hide and before we knew it we had one or two of the cousins following us to hide with us. So we would lead them on to some hiding places where no one would find us.  We'd usually be perched somewhere watching the others hunt all over for us - sometimes walking right by us! There we would wait and wait for them to find us until finally we would hear them calling out "ollie-ollie oxen all in free"!  I wonder who came up with that phrase?!  Anyway, in we would come running and laughing all the way! 

We would go into the pasture and sometimes the "city-kids" would get lost in the cornfield as we cut across the field to the pasture.  We were always the guides as we planned halloween ghost walks down through the pasture each year.  We would go ahead and scout out all of the paths and prepare them.  We would have camp outs for the kids from church making sure there was plenty of cut up wood for the camp fire and a nice sheltered spot for the tents.  We always put a lot of planning into these events and always had a good time of fun and fellowship as we made our trek down through the timber.  Many times some of our friends said "don't leave me" - they wanted to stick close to us . . . especially after it got dark!  Even with our flashlights, it can really be dark in the middle of 30 acres of timber with only the moon peeking out through the clouds!  They knew that we knew how to get back to the house - we knew which one of the cow-paths lead back to safety.

Life offers many paths for us to follow.  Some, like those in the pasture, lead past ponds, to and sometimes through ditches, some take us to dead-end places, some take us to quiet valleys of rest and refreshment and some take us "no-where" at all just "around in circles".  That is why we need a guide that knows the way.  A guide that scouts out what is up ahead and can provide shelter and provisions for our journey.  A good guide will clear the path and prepare the way and light the path for us offering us strength and will take our hand and help us up the path when we need that extra help.

Where do we find a guide like that?  A guide that will walk with us and talk with us and look out for our best interest every minute of the day? One that will light the path ahead of us and show us the way? 

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path". -Psalms 119:105 (NIV)
or the Message says it this way, 
"By your Words I can see where I am going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path".  

God's Word is that lamp and as we read it and let it take hold of our lives we see it's beam of light shining on our path illuminating the way "home".  The way to peace and happiness on our journey through life.  We can play hide and seek and be lead down paths that will only lead us far away from where we really want to be.  Unlit paths that lead to distruction and disaster.  Paths that take us to unfamiliar places filled with hate, heartache and regrets.  Paths that lead us farther and farther away from the God that loves us and wants to care for us.  The God that wants to be our "Guide".   

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"  -John 14:6

He wants to be our Guide and light the path we are traveling.  Wherever you are on your path of life -

No comments:

Post a Comment