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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Somebody Like Me" by Jason Crabb - Don't Be a Vanilla Christian!

Are you a Vanilla Christian?

I heard the phrase "Vanilla Christian" on my way to work this morning.  The speaker was referring to a plain, ordinary, run of the mill "Christian" - not too different than anyone else in the whole-wide world. That phrase caught my attention as I began to process it and think it through.  

Now I am one of those gals that enjoys looking at cookbooks - yes, that is plural - cookbook"s"!!!! And, as I think back on so many of the recipes I have read, I realized that so many of the recipes call for that almost generic flavor of "vanilla".  It is so common, so basic, so almost bland.  Now, I like to change it up sometimes. I like to replace vanilla with "almond", "peppermint", "orange", or better yet . . . "cinnamon" (my all-time favorite!).  I like to add a little "splash" - a little "pizzazz" - a little "zing"!!!   Sometimes, not the ordinary but instead something a little different - a little daring - a little divine!  . . .  maybe even a little "Diana"!!!!!   LOL!!  I find this much more exciting than just plain old "vanilla".

In light of all of this . . . that phrase "Vanilla Christian" kept running through my head all day as I thought of the different recipes that called for just the basic vanilla . . . the basic Christian.  Are we "just" basic Christians or are we called to be more than so basic and plain as vanilla?  What - just what - would happen if we added a little "splash, pizzazz, a little zing" to our Vanilla Christianity?  What if our excitement caught on to our co-worker, our neighbor, our friends our family?  What if we showed God's abundant love, grace, and mercy in a "New Flavor" - in a little mint, orange, or cinnamon?  What if we exchanged the "Ordinary Vanilla Christianity" for a more distinct and bolder flavor?  A flavor that tells the world who we are and what our so called Christianity is all about.  Maybe a "Cinnamon Christianity" that speaks clearly and distinctly to those we come in contact with. Or maybe an "Orange flavored Christian" that says "orange" you glad God loves you?!  LOL!  

Why don't you put on a "new" flavor and don't just be a plain old basic "Vanilla Christian".  Make a statement - make a difference!   Pick your own "special" favorite flavor and reach out to those around you.  It could take "Somebody Just Like You" that is more than a "Vanilla Christian" to make something special happen in your own life and the lives of others.  Somebody just like you and me that will do something different - go against the grain and make a difference!

I wonder who that somebody is that could make a difference in the world around us.  Maybe that somebody is YOU!   Get rid of the Vanilla Christianity and trade the ordinary for something extra-ordinary - something different, daring, and divine!!

Listen to this song,  "Somebody Like Me" by Jason Crabb and let it challenge you to be that somebody!!

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