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.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keep Me Together, Lord!

"Though; he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand."   (Psalm 37:24)

"Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I escape safely."  (Psalm 131:10)

"The Lord upholds all who fall, And "raises up all who are bowed down." (Psalm 145:14)

Steve Urkel played on the popular TV series, Family Matters.  My children used to watch it and Steve's "catch-phrase" was, "I've fallen and I can't get up"!!! 

Have you ever fallen and could not get up.  The older I get the falls take a greater toll on this aging body of mine. It seems to take me longer to get up!!  The other day I got up early and went out and walked my 3 miles, came back to the house, poured my cup of coffee, took a few minutes to enjoy that and then went to get ready for work.  Took my shower, got dressed and was walking at the end of my bed to get my shoes.  I tripped over my sandal which I thought was under the bed farther than it was.  Long story short . . . my feet stayed tangle up in the sandal and the rest of my body slammed forward into my half open door and then to the floor with a "thud".  I was nearly in tears and just laid there in the doorway . . . "I had fallen and couldn't (or at least didn't want to) get up"!!! My arm and shoulder was throbbing from hitting the door and resulted in a bright purple bruise bigger than my hand, both of my knees were in excruciating pain (knee replacements do that when you fall directly on the knees!!) I hurt all over and I just laid there until some of the pain subsided. Then I slowly but surely got up and stood there!! "I thanked God that He kept me together" no broken bones, I could walk, talk, breathe, and really only suffered a couple huge bruises and sore aching muscles!!

"God, Thank you for keeping me together when I'm falling apart!!"

Maybe you are not prone to falling . . . like I am . . . but you "feel" like you are "falling apart"!!  Your plans have fallen through, your bubble has burst, your dreams are fleeting, your finances are depleted, you lost your job, the "cancer" word has hit home, your friends or family have disappeared - just when you needed them! Things just are not going the way you desired.  Things seem to be falling apart - "you" seem to be falling apart.  Have you been there?  Look around today and you will see people everywhere feeling just like that! Broken, bleeding, hurting . . . falling apart!

But don't despair - God CAN and WILL keep you together when you feel like or even when you "are" falling apart!  He is ready and willing to "uphold you with His hand" (Ps. 37:24)  He is there to help you "escape safely" . . . not just escape but to "escape safely"!!  (Ps. 131:10)  Isn't that just fantastic? And get a load of this - "The Lord upholds ALL WHO FALL, and RAISES UP ALL who are bowed down." (Psalm 145:14)

What assurance and confidence we can have in a God that can and will, a God that is ready and willing to uphold us in His hand and will provide a way of escape so we can escape "safely" and will raise those of us up when we are bowed low. Trust God! 

"God, Thank you for keeping me together when I'm falling apart!!"

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