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.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Know the WHY look to the WHO!

Life brings with it all kinds of experiences.  Sometimes we walk through times of extreme joy and peace that we can't even explain.  Other times we experience times of deep sorrow, sadness, pain and confusion that leaves us wondering "why". Surrounded by questions like: what if I would have. . . or what if I would not have. . .  or where did this slip in. . .  how did this happen. . .  what could I have done to change the end result of this situation. . .  and the big question we have all asked at some time - "WHY"?  Why this or that - why cancer, why death, why depression, why financial struggles, why prodigal children, why the fear, why divorce, why teen pregancy, why abuse, why anger, why car accidents, why job loss, why, why, why?  What are you experiencing in your life right this moment?  Are you questioning some of the "whys" in your life?  Are doubts creeping in trying to confuse you?

I recently heard this quote in a sermon and it has been in my thoughts all week long.  Isn't it great how God can use sermons preached on Sunday throughout the whole week!! 

"When we don't know the WHY - look for the WHO."
                                              -R. LaSalle

I couldn't help but think just how many times I have tried to know the "why" and sometimes have forgotten to look for the "who"!

Our first tendency is to ask "why", sometimes knowing we will never know the reason for each experience in our lives.  But we still tend to struggle with that one little question. With that one little question it is easy to face thoughts of doubt.  Doubt in ourselves, doubt in others and more importantly - doubt in God! I've seen those that have turned their back on God when going through these "WHY-TIMES". And then there are those that have just grown deeper with God during these same "WHY-TIMES". They have come to know them as their "WHO-TIMES"!!!

It is in these difficult times that we are looking for something to hang on to, something that is steady, a firm foundation, a solid rock. Something that is stronger than we are! Something that does not change with the force of the wind or circumstance.  Something or should I say "someONE" that is constant and true! That is the "WHO"!  God is the "who" we need to look to instead of the "why".  He is faithful and He never changes. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!" (Hebrews 13:8) His grace is presently available to all who put their trust in Him.  His love is not affected by our present circumstances. He is changeless in a changing world of attitudes, life styles, habits, and experiences.  "Changeless" - He is the same and loves us (not our sinful ways) but US no matter where we are. And He is ready to forgive and forget. He is faithful and forgiving! (Am I as forgiving of others as He is of me? Or do I "remember" and "judge" and "criticize" others? Am I willing to forgive and forget and reach out a helping-hand to help and encourage others as Christ has done for me???) Just a thought!

To Christ darkness is light. Our confusion becomes clear through Him. Our doubts disappear when we run to the "WHO" and put our trust and faith in His never changing, loving and forgiving hand! We can then leave the "WHY" with the one that created darkness and light! The one that knows the way through our wilderness. Our anchor on the storm-tossed sea of life!  Just reach up and take the Hand of the "WHO" and let Him guide you through whatever "unknown" territory you (and I) may be going through.  Just hold on! Things are always changing in this life but He never changes, He is forever. Take His hand today! 

 But I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way,
who can't see where they're going.
I'll be a personal guide to them,
directing them through unknown country.
I'll be right there to show them what roads to take,
make sure they don't fall into the ditch.
These are the things I'll be doing for them -
sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute."
-Isaiah 42:16 

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