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 29, 2011

Maxine - Yearly Physical

Yesterday I went to the doctor
For my yearly physical.
My blood pressure was high.
My cholesterol was high.
I'd gained some weight,
and I didn't feel so hot.
My doctor said eating right
doesn't have to be complicated and
it would solve my physical problems.

He said:

Just think in colors.
Fill your plate with bright colors.
Try some greens, oranges, reds,
maybe something yellow, etc.
and eat an entire bowl of
bright colors.

And Sure Enough . . .

I Felt Better Immediately !!
I never knew eating right could be so easy !!

Have a great day and take time to laugh a little . . . or even a lot ! ! !  It's good for the soul!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Great Things - Small Ways

Here's a little "MONDAY MOTIVATOR"

1. Show kindness.
2. When someone asks for your love – give it.
3. Talk less and listen more.
4. Practice the art of patience every day.
5. Accept everyone for who they are; reject no one for who they are.
6. Leave an unexpected note of love, encouragement or appreciation.
7. Say, “thank you.”
8. When someone needs you, give your attention right away; don’t wait.
9. Honor boundaries and expect your boundaries to be honored, too.
10. Help your neighbors through their weeds.
11. Let those around you know you believe in them.
12. Let them know you respect them.
13. Don’t use your words as a weapon.
14. Show your children how to smile, relax and enjoy life.
15. Never do anything you wouldn’t want others & God to know.
16. Keep your word.
17. Be fully present when in the presence of others.
18. Share your wisdom when asked.
19. Create a safe place for your family to live.
20. Let go of grudges and live with a forgiving heart.
21. Show respect to everyone you encounter.
22. Give your shoulder for someone to grasp so they can take a leap of faith.
23. Find ways to serve every day.
24. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
25. Let your corner of the world see the goodness and God in you.  
                                            -Alex Blackwell

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. 
– Mother Teresa

Friday, March 25, 2011

You Can Trust Him

S.M Lockridge shared the following powerful message.  When you don't know what to do and don't know where or who to turn to, think about this . . . 

"He's the one who made us. It is He who made us and not we ourselves. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. No means of measure can define His limitless love, and no farseeing telescope can bring into the visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply. I'm telling you today . . . you can trust Him.

No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He's enduringly strong, and He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast, and He is immortally graceful. He's empirically, powerfully, and impartially merciful.  He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son. He's the sinner's Savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. I'm trying to tell you, Church, . . . you can trust Him.

He does not have to call for help, and you can't confuse Him. He doesn't need you, and He doesn't need me.  He stands alone in the solitude of Himself. He's august, and He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's supreme. He's preeminent. He's the loftiest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem of higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of truthology. He's the cardinal necessity of the spiritual religion. He's the miracle of the age, He's the superlative of everything good that you can call Him. I'm trying to tell you that . . . you can trust Him.

He can satisfy all your needs, and He can do it simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak, and He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He sees, He guards and He guides. He heals the sick, He cleansed the leper, He forgives the sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the people. He blesses the young. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek. I'm trying to tell you, Church . . . you can trust Him.

He's the key to knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the path of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. The highway of holiness. He's the gateway to glory . . . you can trust Him.

He's the master of the mighty. He's the capturer of conquerors. He's the head of heroes. He's the leader of legislators. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the Governor of the governors. He's the Prince of princes. He's the King of kings. He's the Lord of lords. . . you can trust Him.

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy. His burden is light, I wish I could describe Him to you. He's indescribable because He's incomprehensible. He's irresistible because He's invincible. You can't get Him off your hands. You can't get Him off your mind. You can't outlive Him, and you can't live without Him. Pilate couldn't stand it when he found out that he couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him, and the witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree, and Herod couldn't kill Him. There was nobody before Him. They'll be nobody after Him. He has no predecessor. He'll have no successor. You can't impeach Him, and He's not going to resign. . . you can trust Him.

He's the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. The first and the last. He's all things. He's the giver of life. He's the joy out of every sorrow. He's the light of every darkness. He's the peace that passes all understanding. He's the giver of every good and perfect gift. . . you can trust Him.

There's no God before Him. They'll be no one after Him. He is the first. He is the last. He is preeminent. There is no other God" . . . You can trust Him, Church. YOU  CAN  TRUST  HIM!!!

Do you trust Him - I mean really trust Him? How can we go wrong when we put our trust in HIM?

Power Verses:

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  -Psalms 18:2, 3 (ESV)

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.   - Psalms 37:5 (KJV)

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.   - Psalms 91:2 (KJV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.  - Proverbs 3:5, 6 (ESV)

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.   - Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Joy of God's Everlasting Love

"God's love is a gift that can make you forget yourself at times. The Scottish writer George MacDonald said,"It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence."

So often with old people and children, all sense of what would be appropriate is swallowed up in what feels right. That's refreshing. We waste too many years between childhood and our older years measuring our behavior on a scale we think we see in someone else's eyes.

God loves us as we are right now! That's one of the things I'm most grateful for. I love the freedom to be myself in God. I pray that a year from now, five years from now, I will be a godlier woman, but I know God won't love me any more than he does right this minute!

Let me tell you, you can run in out of the cold, sit by the fire, put up your feet, and just be yourself. You are loved, you are loved. you are loved!"   -Sheila Walsh

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you."    - Jeremiah 31:3

That is a loyal love, a "covenant" love coming from God himself down through the generations to "me" this very day! Just as Sheila Walsh stated above . . . "you can run in out of the cold, sit by the fire, put up your feet, and just be yourself. You are loved, you are loved. you are loved!"  -Sheila Walsh

7 Deadly Signs - Red Flags of Abuse

Know the 7 Deadly Signs and the red flags of abuse in a relationship, and exercise your options.

HELPLESSNESS - Helplessness often results when one partner assumes full control over the relationship and attacks the other partner’s competence. One person makes all the decisions. That person does not hesitate to ridicule or criticize the other in public and in private. Words like “stupid,” “ignorant,” or “incompetent ” are common.

ANXIETY - The abusing partner offers no reassurance, stability, or commitment. It is impossible to predict either the behavior or the feelings of the abusing partner or of the relationship. It may be characterized by the “off-again, on-again” pattern or by the abusing partner being frequently unavailable. Actions that produce pleasure one day may provoke verbal or even physical abuse the next.

HOSTILITY - Hostility typically takes the form of aggression, anger, rage and irritability.” The abused person responds in kindness to the partner’s behavior, either openly or privately. The open hostility would be characterized by a raised voice, hurtful or angry words, or accusations against the partner. Private hostility includes such things as hidden resentment, plotted revenge, and private negative fantasies. The hostility may also be internalized as guilt or anger.

FRUSTRATION - Frustration results when the abusing partner fails to satisfy needs for affection, intimacy, attention, acceptance, approval, reassurance, praise, or any other emotional need. No matter how hard the partner tries to please the other, it never is enough. They will praise others but never mention your own achievements. They “work the room” but leave you standing alone in the corner.

CYNICISM - Any action which constitutes a betrayal or abuse of trust is likely to result in cynicism. Obviously having an affair with another person fits into this category. Additionally, patterns of borrowing money which is never repaid, making promises which are seldom kept, or sharing information given in confidence will likely produce cynicism.

LOSS OF SELF-ESTEEM - This sign includes feelings of diminished self-worth, inadequacy, negative self-image, reduced self-confidence, and deterioration of self-respect, with associated depression. Choosing to remain in a relationship in which a person feels devalued inevitably leads to increased loss of self-esteem.

Loss of self-esteem happens through a cycle of faulty logic: First, you recognize that you are in a relationship in which you feel unloved, unworthy, and mistreated. That you would choose such a relationship causes you to doubt your judgment. You try to “fix” it by changing yourself or your partner, but when that doesn’t work you conclude that you not only have poor judgment, you also are inept at relationship skills. Thus, you reason that “people get what they deserve,” and since you are being treated badly, you must deserve it. Obviously, then, the only thing for you to do is to accept the treatment since you “don’t deserve nor could hope for a better relationship.

HOPELESSNESS - Hopelessness usually results after numerous vain attempts to communicate the need for a change, with the partner ignoring all approaches. A person who recognizes a lack of responsiveness in their partner can be warned from the beginning that the relationship is developing in an unhealthy manner and there is likely trouble ahead.    (Life Skills International)

Look for any of these "red flags" and do not take them lightly.  There are ways out of this kind of situation. Personalize the conviction that you do not have to tolerate abusive behavior. Seek help from a friend, a pastor, a counselor - but do not ignore these important signs in your relationships.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Know the WHY look to the WHO!

Life brings with it all kinds of experiences.  Sometimes we walk through times of extreme joy and peace that we can't even explain.  Other times we experience times of deep sorrow, sadness, pain and confusion that leaves us wondering "why". Surrounded by questions like: what if I would have. . . or what if I would not have. . .  or where did this slip in. . .  how did this happen. . .  what could I have done to change the end result of this situation. . .  and the big question we have all asked at some time - "WHY"?  Why this or that - why cancer, why death, why depression, why financial struggles, why prodigal children, why the fear, why divorce, why teen pregancy, why abuse, why anger, why car accidents, why job loss, why, why, why?  What are you experiencing in your life right this moment?  Are you questioning some of the "whys" in your life?  Are doubts creeping in trying to confuse you?

I recently heard this quote in a sermon and it has been in my thoughts all week long.  Isn't it great how God can use sermons preached on Sunday throughout the whole week!! 

"When we don't know the WHY - look for the WHO."
                                              -R. LaSalle

I couldn't help but think just how many times I have tried to know the "why" and sometimes have forgotten to look for the "who"!

Our first tendency is to ask "why", sometimes knowing we will never know the reason for each experience in our lives.  But we still tend to struggle with that one little question. With that one little question it is easy to face thoughts of doubt.  Doubt in ourselves, doubt in others and more importantly - doubt in God! I've seen those that have turned their back on God when going through these "WHY-TIMES". And then there are those that have just grown deeper with God during these same "WHY-TIMES". They have come to know them as their "WHO-TIMES"!!!

It is in these difficult times that we are looking for something to hang on to, something that is steady, a firm foundation, a solid rock. Something that is stronger than we are! Something that does not change with the force of the wind or circumstance.  Something or should I say "someONE" that is constant and true! That is the "WHO"!  God is the "who" we need to look to instead of the "why".  He is faithful and He never changes. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!" (Hebrews 13:8) His grace is presently available to all who put their trust in Him.  His love is not affected by our present circumstances. He is changeless in a changing world of attitudes, life styles, habits, and experiences.  "Changeless" - He is the same and loves us (not our sinful ways) but US no matter where we are. And He is ready to forgive and forget. He is faithful and forgiving! (Am I as forgiving of others as He is of me? Or do I "remember" and "judge" and "criticize" others? Am I willing to forgive and forget and reach out a helping-hand to help and encourage others as Christ has done for me???) Just a thought!

To Christ darkness is light. Our confusion becomes clear through Him. Our doubts disappear when we run to the "WHO" and put our trust and faith in His never changing, loving and forgiving hand! We can then leave the "WHY" with the one that created darkness and light! The one that knows the way through our wilderness. Our anchor on the storm-tossed sea of life!  Just reach up and take the Hand of the "WHO" and let Him guide you through whatever "unknown" territory you (and I) may be going through.  Just hold on! Things are always changing in this life but He never changes, He is forever. Take His hand today! 

 But I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way,
who can't see where they're going.
I'll be a personal guide to them,
directing them through unknown country.
I'll be right there to show them what roads to take,
make sure they don't fall into the ditch.
These are the things I'll be doing for them -
sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute."
-Isaiah 42:16 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maxine's Back

Let's face it . . . "nobody's" kidding Maxine!!!!! 
   .    .    .    .    .    .    or for that matter God!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's Important

What's important is...
not what kind of car you drive,
but rather how many people you give a lift.

What's important is...
not the size of your house,
but rather the number of people you welcome into your home.

What's important is...
not your social status,
but whether you live your life with conviction and integrity.

What's important is...
not what you possess,
but rather what you give.

What's important is...
not how many friends you have,
but rather how many to whom you are a friend.

What's important is...
not how much overtime you worked,
but rather if you work overtime for your family and loved ones.

What's important is...
not if you live in a great neighborhood,
but rather how you treat your neighbor.

What's important is . . . You living out God's love each and every day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whipping Cream Biscuits

Here is a two-ingredient biscuit recipe that is so easy and so good! Heavy cream and self-rising flour and that is it.  The cream provides the fat, and the self-rising flour contains the leavening and the salt. 
Whip these up and add some sausage gravy . . .  yummy!
2 Cups self-rising flour
1 Cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and cream in a mixing bowl, stirring just until blended. (The dough will be a little stiff) Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times. Roll to 1/2 inch thinkness and cut with a 2-inch cutter. Place biscuits close together on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Choose . . .

We choose how we shall live;
courageously or in cowardice,
honorably or dishonorably,
with purpose or in drift.

We decide what is important
and what is trivial in life.
We decide that what makes us significant
is either what we do or refuse to do . . .
And as we decide and as we choose,
 . . . so our lives are formed . . .

I'm not sure who wrote this but it tells it so well - WE CHOOSE / WE DECIDE!

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are exellent and worthy of praise, Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you."     
(Philippians 4:8-9)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Funny Humor

Two horses were galloping along when one stumbled and landed on its side.
After a number of tries the tumbled equine finally regained his footing, but
when he tried to run to catch up to his buddy he found he couldn't even trot.
Calling after his friend he neighed, "I've fallen and I can't giddy-up!"

~       ~      ~      ~      ~      ~      ~

"Accountancy Exam"

Dewey wanted to be an accountant, so he went and took the accountancy exam.

Examiner: If I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits do you have?

Dewey: Five.

Examiner: No, listen carefully again. If I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?

Dewey: Five.

Examiner: Let's try this another way. If I give you two bottles of pop and then I give you another two bottles of pop, how many bottles of pop have you got?

Dewey: Four.

Examiner: Good! Now, if I give you two rabbits and then I give you another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?

Dewey: Five.

Examiner: How on earth do you work out that two lots of two rabbits is five?

Dewey: I've already got one rabbit at home!

 ~      ~      ~      ~      ~      ~      ~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

God Knows Our Situation

"God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them."  (C.S. Lewis)

I don't know about you but this quote by C.S. Lewis speaks loudly to me. As I thought about it I realized that God really does know my situation and he also knows your situation.  He knows every little and big detail of what's going on with you and me.  He knows the difficulties we may have to overcome. The struggles we may be facing. And isn't is comforting that He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome.  But He will look deep down into our hearts, into our "will" and He sees the sincerity and the perseverance with which we "press on" to reach and overcome these parts of life that seem so difficult at times. People seem quick to judge by the outward things that they see - the surface situations.  But God knows "our" specific situation - sees our sincerity, our perseverance, our trust in Him and tells us to keep on - don't give up now - you're almost there - you've almost overcome this struggle - VICTORY is on the way! It is so easy to judge when we have not been there.  We've not walked in that other person's shoes. We can't possible understand the whole situation because we look on the surface and seldom bother to look below the surface to see the real struggle. 

Will we always have struggles and difficulties to overcome?  I think we will but just remember . . . "God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome.   What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them."

"But those who wait on the Lord shall
renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31


Bulletin Bloopers

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletin Bloopers! Thank the Lord for church ladies with typewriters and computers. And may I say "human" ladies that every now and then make a "typo"!  (I always just say, thank you for catching that - I put that in to see if anyone really reads the bulletin!!!!) HA! HA!  I'm sure you have seen some of these but they are still comical as they appear in church bulletins and some even announced in church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

THOUGHT:  "Humor is to life what shock absorbers
are to a car!"

VERSE:  " A happy heart is a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing . . ."       (Proverbs 17:22)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee

Free Sample - Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee

The delicious flavors of sweet maple syrup and the aroma of crisp country bacon combine in this coffee brew to produce a taste you’ll jump out of bed for! Experience the ambiance of a charming maple farms with the fresh flavor of sugary sweet maple syrup. Maple bacon flavored coffee will not disappoint those lovers of breakfast flavors! . . .

I received this ad today and thought it sounded a little far out!!  Now, don't get me wrong - I like my coffee and I like lots of different flavors.  But I must say, this one really didn't hit me as the flavor that I would "jump out of bed for"!  (Sorry!)  I like maple syrup and I could "maybe" taste that in my cup of coffee but I'm not so sure about the "crisp country bacon" in my coffee cup!!!!  I like my crisp country bacon to crunch in my mouth not in my cup! And preferrably with a couple of eggs and toast. And, yes, with a cup of coffee that does NOT have crisp country bacon in it!

What do you think?  Does this sound like your cup of coffee? Needless to say - I did not send for my free sample.  I think I will just have to pass on this "freebie"!

Isn't if funny how some things in life we can simply live without - like Maple Bacon Coffee! And yet I am sure there is somebody out there that thinks "Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee" sounds just wonderful! And the smell of it in the morning probably does make them "jump out of bed for it"!  But that is what makes life so interesting, isn't it?  We can't all like the same things or we would be standing in line forever waiting to get our sample of Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee! (You know - because that is the kind everyone wants!!!)

Thank goodness we are all different! All unique in our own God-given ways. God gave each one of us special characteristics, talents, abilities, ambitions, dreams, and expectations.  Creating a special being that is like none other.  No two human beings alike - all special ordered by God Himself!   WOW!  That is exciting when you think about it, isn't it?  You and Me - special ordered by God.  And let me tell you - YOU are "special".  He (God) knows the plans He has for you and for you alone.  Plans that no one else can accomplish or fulfill - only you!  Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the lord, " plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you  a future and a hope." God gave you everything you need to fulfill those plans.  Everything you need to fulfill your future and your hope in Christ.

Have you thought about your "special-ness" and how you are using the gifts you have.  What are your special gifts and talents?  Is it teaching, reaching out to others, music, laughter, computer skills, babysitting, visiting those in the hospital, care-giving, sending cards, cooking, cleaning, showing hospitality, working on cars . . . oh my, the list could go on and on . . . the real question is, how are you using these abilities to impact those around you?  Those that could use a little help and encouragement.  

It's easy to get so busy with all that we are doing "in and of ourselves" that we forget that God wants us to share "who we are" and "spread His love" to others through the "gifts and abilities" He has given us.  God wants to "SHINE" in and through each one of us.

So tomorrow morning when you smell that coffee aroma (whatever flavor it is!) rise and shine - jump out of bed ready and willing to share who you are and what God has done for you.  Somebody needs to see God's love through you!