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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Are We There Yet?

How many times have you heard . . . "are we there yet?" from the back seat of your car?  In other words, have we reached our "destination" yet?

It would never fail when going on a trip, we would hardly get out of town and the kids would already be bored and start asking that dreaded question . . . are we there yet? And it usually continued until we did reach our destination!! It didn't matter if it was an hour away or eleven hours away, we still heard that chorus from the back seat in harmony with all three of the kids.  

I was thinking about that word "destination" which means port, goal, halting place, end, conclusion, finale, or close. Another word worth looking at is "digressions" which means - diverge, swerve, ramble, wander, deviate, stray, straggle, rove, dodge, meander, or veer.  I read a quote that used these two words along with the word potholes to shed some new light. It said, "Look forward to the journey and all of the potholes and digressions along the way . . . not just the destination"!

I will be the first one to look forward to the journey and it's final destination but to look forward to the potholes - to look forward to the digressions along the way!!   Whoa - wait just a minute - you mean to tell me that those are part the destination?!   

Well, needless to say, I have been thinking about that concept ALL week.  And thinking about every destination I have ever arrived at - there have been potholes and digressions!  Sometimes when the journey was long there were many and it was hard to dodge those nasty "potholes" - those "digressions"! Many times they were there when I least expected them.  Try as I might to avoid every pothole and every digression, there have been times I simply could not avoid them and ended up high-centered in the pothole!  Have you ever found yourself "there" on your journey?  And to top it all off while you sat there in the midst of this digression from the back seat you heard . . . "are we there yet"?!  

I thought back to the many "journeys" I have been on and the final destination of those journeys - Yellowstone Park, the Black Hills, Custer's Last Stand, skiing in Colorado, the Smoky Mountains, etc. and I remembered some of those potholes and digressions along the way.  No, I didn't "look forward" to them - I had my eyes on my "destination".  I was only "looking forward" to that destination!  I had not stopped to think about the things that happen along the way. My focus was only on the ending destination - did I make it, had I accomplished it, was I there yet?  

I had totally put from my mind the various people, places, and things along the way that brought me to my destination.  Some of the people, places, and things brought with them difficulties, trials, frustrations, and disappointments. In being so focused on my destination I forgot to remember that it is these very "potholes" and "digressions" of people, places and things that have made me who I am today and brought me to this place in my journey in life!  

What shape or form will the next pothole take on? Will I stop and recognize it as a pothole making up this life's journey? What digressions will I experience - will they be large ones or small ones? God only knows what particular potholes and digressions it will take to make me stronger for the journey. He knows what potholes and digressions will strengthen my faith in Him and build a bond of trust in His leading to this journey through life to that final destination - HEAVEN!  

Don't give up and lose faith because of the potholes and digressions along the way. They are there for a reason beyond our own understanding.  But remember that God rides along with us. He is there to help us avoid some of the potholes of life and sometimes He is there to help and guide us through those potholes and digressions along the way.  Either way just remember God is God and if He knows the way through the wilderness - He surely knows the best way "in", "through" and "over" the potholes on our journey . . . our journey through this life and ultimately to Heaven!

As I am sitting here typing this blog entry listening to a Bill Gaither CD, the song "Sweet Beulah Land" just came on - how appropriate as I pause to listen to the words. A song about a Journey to Beulah Land . . . Heaven!

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you. And someday on thee I'll stand. There my home shall be eternal, 
Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah Land.  

I'm kinda homesick for that country. To which I've never been before. No sad good-byes will there be spoken, for time won't matter anymore!

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you. And someday on thee I'll stand. There my home shall be eternal, Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah Land. 

I love to travel and see "new" places and experience and look upon God's vast creation with wonder and awe!  But as I journey among the "potholes" and digressions of this life I'm looking forward to that final destination . . . Sweet Beulah Land . . . Home Sweet Heaven!!  . . . "ARE WE THERE YET"?

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