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, September 18, 2011

God's Wisdom for Mothers

We had been to our "Soul-Sister's Bible Study" and our facilitator shared how we can stand firm in the scriptures of the Bible. (I believe she used the words of a children's song about beating the devil over the head with a "Bible Verse"!!)  As we drove home my daughter Hannah and I was sharing.  Hannah asked me if I remembered when she was a little girl and how scared she used to get?  I thought back a few years and did remember!  She went through a period of time when she didn't want me to leave and if I did she couldn't wait until I was back home. On one occassion, I had gone to a church board meeting that lasted a little longer than usual and there she was waiting - looking out the window for me instead of sleeping!  It wasn't that she was alone in the house, her sister was there and so was her dad. But there she was waiting by the window for me!  This went on for a while when she was in early grade school. 

Hannah reminded me of one particular time when she was so scared that she did not want to go to school.  Now, I'm not one for letting my kids "skip" school, but for some reason Hannah was really struggling this particular morning.  So, I did not make her go to school.  Instead we "home-schooled"!  That morning we took her little Bible and we looked up every verse we could find that had anything to do with "fear", "afraid", "scared", etc.  She underlined them in her Bible and we talked about each and every situation in those verses.  We talked about life, and about what bothered her, and about what she could do the next time she was fearful.  We spent the day talking about all of these things and sharing times, places, and things that can make us fearful but also about a God that loves us and doesn't want us to live in fear.   The next day Hannah got up and was ready for school and each day after that.  Time went on and it seemed to be a phase in life that she was passing through.

What I didn't realize until the other night after Bible study was how much that one particular day has stuck in Hannah's heart and mind.  When she mentioned it to me I had almost forgotten about it but she hadn't!!  She remembered turning to those scriptures many times over the weeks to follow.  But what she said to me that night was, "mom, do you know that as I would read those verses my fear of you not being in the house or with me began to fade - I wasn't so fearful that something had happened to you!?"  I hadn't realized how important that single day was for Hannah as we read the scripture, underlined it in her little Bible and talked about God's strong hand of protection!  She was probably in first or second grade at the time but that made an impact in her life!  Even as she reflects on it today!  (Thanks, Hannah for reminding me of this!) 

Mothers, can I just challenge you to get "into" the Word of God!  Be able to share it and know what it says, what it really means, and how it applies to our lives today.  Whether it is fear, discouragement, heartache, pain, sickness or death - know what God is saying to us. Be able to express it to those around you.  Maybe it is your children.  Be the Bible to them - train them in God's Word and God's direction for their lives.  So many things are out there that our kids today go through and at such a young age. We need to point them to the Bible - our Guide Book for Life! Maybe it is a friend, struggling with some issues in life, or a neighbor that has cancer. There are all kinds of opportunities to spread God's love and God's Word.  But first you need to be where God can use you - you need to get into God's Word and know it and let God be first place in your heart and life.  Know that your sins are forgiven and you are following God.  Then let Him guide you to whoever and whatever situation lays ahead of you. Could be your children, your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers - let God and His Word be your strength, your shelter, your fortress, your stronghold in life and don't be afraid to stand firm in God's Word - the Bible! 

Mother's you hold your children for a while but during that time use God's wisdom in teaching them to face life, stand true, and not drift. Oliver Wendell Holmes says "I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it but we must sail and not drift, not lie at anchor."  Mothers, teach your children well so they will not drift or lie anchor but will sail whether it is with the wind or at times against the wind - we have an anchor not in the waters around us but in Jesus Christ, God's Son who was crucified for our sins and He is there to lead us through whatever lay ahead in our journey through this life.

Here are a few "Power-Verses":

For I the Lord will hold thy right hand, saying unto you, fear not; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear; the Lord is the strength if my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.  I Peter 5:7

They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. Psalm 125:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in Him. Nahum 1:7

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust . . .  Psalm 18:2

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 

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