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, October 27, 2011

Beyond the Storm

It was evening as I climbed aboard the jumbo jet. I was tired.

It had been a hectic, emotionally stormy week. I had endured more than the usual schedule changes, telephone calls, interruptions, childrens activities, and arguments.

I settled into my seat, relieved to see the plane was nearly empty.

Maybe I could get some much needed rest. The giant plane took off and climbed up over the condominium complexes hugging the white stretch of beach bordering the deep blue sea of the Atlantic Ocean.

As we passed over Fort Lauderdale, I looked down at the twinkling lights reflected in the many canals and waterways and realized why our city is referred to as the Venice of America. I never tire of the beauty of South Florida.

I settled down, grateful for the quiet, Suddenly I noticed dark, ominous clouds off the left side of the wing. Soon bolts of lightning began to streak across the dark clouds.

I sat mesmerized by this vicious storm only a few miles away.

It was frightening, yet fascinating. It brought to mind many of the tempests I had experienced in my life. Financial storms, physical storms, emotional storms, relational storms. So many different types of storms with varying degrees of intensity.

Some had been as fearful and terrifying as this large thunderhead, others had been sudden. Some storms had resembled a weather front that moves in and wont go away.

As I sat there contemplating the severity of the weather outside the window, and the storm that had raged within my own life, I suddenly saw beyond the storm.

There, along the horizon, was one of the most magnificent sunsets I had ever been priveleged to witness. Brilliant gold blending with deep crimson fading into multiple shades of yellow, peach, apricot, and rose. What absolute, breath taking beauty.

I watched with wonder and awe.

From the vantage point of 42,000 feet up, I knew that at any moment this formidable thunderstorm would probably hit our home west of Fort Lauderdale. But I could also see beyond the storm, and knew that in just a short space of time, those who would be hit by the storm, would also experience incredible beauty.

I was suddenly aware of how God must look upon the storms that hit our lives.

Often I have been in the midst of a fearful squall, and like the disciples, cried out, "Lord don't you care? Don't you see that I can't take any more?"

Of course He cares. In 1 Peter He reminds us that he cares for us.

That we are His personal concern. But, from His vantage point, He also sees the glory that is to follow. His message? Don't be discouraged in the midst of life's storms. Be assured that God cares and that his plans for us include a future and a hope.  (Unknown)

Have you ever been there in the midst of the storm - waiting to see what is on the other side?  Maybe you haven't been able to lift your eyes above the storm, so you can't really see beyond today?  If that is the case look "to Him"  Jesus is the answer to any storm that lies ahead of you whether large or small.  Turn it over to Him and He will restore and renew a bright new future in rays of brilliant gold, crimson, yellows, reds and roses.  Let go and let God take care of your storm right now!

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