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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Holy Humor

A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, "I know what the Bible means!" His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?  The son replied, "I do know!" "Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?" "That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly," It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth." =======
There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country."Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk. "Only the Ten Commandments," answered the lady.
"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wake up in the morning and say, Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in he morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning."
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter. Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses." When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."
There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."
While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign... "Energy efficient vehicle:Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."
A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?" A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy. "Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked. "You know. . Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip." The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."
People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.
Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about. The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt." Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about. He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play. "Here's copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances." During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more,  please stand up."At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner." And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache.....
When you open it, he collapses.....
When he sees you reading it, he faints.....
When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees.....
And when you are about to forward this message....
He will try and discourage you.... 
I just defeated him!!! Any other takers?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Go Light Your World

A story is told about a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century. She was quite "wealthy" but also quite "frugal". The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.

Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said.  “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?”

“Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets,
I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles;
then I turn them off”.                       (Unknown Source)

She had the power available but only used it to light her candles!  The power was there for her using, but she didn’t use it to the fullest.  How many of us are just like this little lady?  We are “wealthy” but too “frugal” to use the abundance and wealth that God has given us!  God wants us to “reflect” His work and glory in us and yet we only turn the light on long enough see a glimpse of Him and His glory.  He wants to do so much more in our lives but we turn the power switch on for a few minutes then we shut it off again to conserve the energy! How much time do you spend in the Word of God?  Enough to illuminate and empower your life or just enough to say “I’m good – I’ll make it through today”? Are we mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord?

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, He gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.”         
   2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)

A mirror is a highly reflective surface - a glass or polished metal, that reflects light without diffusing it so that it will give back a clear image of anything placed in front of it; something accurately representing something else - something that accurately reproduces or describes something else.  In other words, we are to reflect, emulate, imitate, represent, diffuse God’s love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion, and His forgiveness accurately and clearly as we represent the glory of the Lord in our lives. 
Are you just turning on the lights  just long enough to light your candle or are you spending enough time with God and His Word to become more and more like Him so that you can reflect His glory more and more each and every day?  Are you living in the fullness of His blessings, in His favor, in His will?  Don’t be afraid to “turn the lights” on and “leave them on” until you know that you have been with Jesus! God has promises, blessings and opportunities for you to mirror who He is to your family, friends, neighbors, community, and your world.

This song, “Go Light Your World” talks about you and I lighting our world.  I challenge you to turn on the lights, leave them on, light some candles, and carry your light into the world around you.
Go Light Your World

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

Cause We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let's raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

Take your candle, and
Go Light Your World

Monday, May 23, 2011

Holy Cow

A farmer had been swindled many times by the local car dealer. One day, the car dealer informed the farmer that he was coming over to purchase a cow.

The farmer priced the unit as follows:

- Basic Cow $999.95
- Shipping and Handling $35.75
- Extra Stomach $79.25
- Two-tone Exterior $142.10
- Produce Storage Compartment $128.50
- Heavy Duty Straw Chopper $189.60
- 4-Spigot/High Output Drain System $149.20
- Automatic Fly Swatter $88.50
- Genuine Cowhide Upholstery $170.80
- Deluxe Dual Horns $59.25
- Automatic Fertilizer Attachment $339.40
- 4 X 4 Traction Drive Assembly $884.16
- Pre-Delivery Wash and Comb $69.80 

Farmer Suggested List Price $3,336.26

Additional Dealer Adjustment $300.00 

Total list price (including options) $3,636.26

Tax and Ear Tags $418.00


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peanut Butter & Corn Chip No-Bake Cookies

This is one of those crazy recipes super simple no bake cookie recipes.

Kookie Cookies

1 package (9.75 to 10.5 ounces) corn chips
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Spread corn chips in a greased 15 in x 10 in by 1 in baking pan.

You can break them into pieces and enjoy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flickering Fire

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to church. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit.

The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace, and waited. The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. 

In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair and engaged the man in small talk.

As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and lifeless.

The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave, he slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday."    (Unknown)

I have sat around many, many campfires in my lifetime.  I totally enjoy sitting there roasting hot dogs, marshmallows, talking and visiting with other "campfire-friends".  Sometimes, someone even pulls out the guitar and we sing "Kum-By-Ya, My Lord"!!!  But it is interesting as we sit there watching the sun go down and the darkness begins to surround us, the stars begin to get brighter and if there is a moon it shines on us so brightly.  Then as the chill of the dark night air surrounds us and begins to chill our "backsides"!  It seems we all begin to rearrange our chairs or stumps of wood so they are a little closer to the fire.  As the night goes on and the discussion leads from one thing to another, before the night is over we can almost feel the heat of that fire nearly melting out shoes.  As we watch the fire burn down, someone finally gets up and throws another log onto the fire and it catches and the smoke rises as the flames dance!  My folks and aunt and uncle go camping and this is the job of my dad and my uncle Bob - they are the "keepers of the fire"!!  I love to go join them when I am able to. We will sit around that fire and watch it for hours as we talk and share, as it burns down and then as it flares up and we have to move our chairs back because it is now too hot!  But I love the closeness we have as we watch this process and as we talk and grow in our relationships together as we share our thoughts, experiences, wisdom, & knowledge.  I have learned many things just sitting around some of those campfires! 

"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".  2 Peter 3:18

"And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together , as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching".  -Hebrews 10:24-25

Sometimes, just as we need to stir up the campfire and get the fire blazing hot by throwing on another log, so we must stir up the fire within us.  Sometimes we need to smell the smoke of the campfire and refuel and refresh our own hearts and lives.  How do we do that?  Prayer, meditating on God's Word, listening to preaching, teaching, Bible studies, talking with other Christians, trusting and believing God is Who He says He is and simply "living" these things out in our day-to-day walk.  We need God and we need each other!  Just like that fire will crackle and pop so we must "live out our walk with Christ".

And like the sermon in the story above . . .
we grow from each other and we can all learn from a
"fiery sermon" like the pastor shared!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Friend Is . . .

A friend is one who is not hard to find when you are penniless.
A friend is one who makes your grief less painful, your adversity more bearable.
A friend is one who joyfully sings with you when you are on the mountaintop, and silently walks beside you through the valley.
A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whome you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.
A friend is one who warms you by his presence, trusts you with his secrets, and remembers you in his prayers.
A friend is one who gives you a spark of assurance when you doubt your ability to fulfill your noblest aspirations, climb your special mountain, or reach your secret goal.
A friend is one who helps you bridge the gaps between loneliness and fellowship, frustration and confidence, despair and hope, setbacks and success.
A friend is one who is available to you, understanding of you, and patient with you. A friend is no less a gift from God than is a talent; no less a treasure than life itself.
A friend is also someone who listens.
                            -Barbara Johnson

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."  
 -Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

The Message Version says it this way: 
"Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble".
"Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family".
Proverbs 17:17; 18:24

Do you hear your friend's footsteps beside you?  I hope you have these kinds of friends. Friends that are there to see you through whatever circumstances you are going through.  Friends that stick by you "like family"!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Old Fisherman

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs & rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the Clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. 'Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old,' I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red & raw. Yet, his voice was pleasant as he said,'Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, & there's no bus 'till morning.'
He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success; no one seemed to have a room. 'I guess it's my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments...'

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me, 'I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.' I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside & finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. 'No thank you. I have plenty' And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an over sized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children & her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He was thankful for the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded, & the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, 'Could I please come back & stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.' He paused a moment & then added, 'Your children made me feel at home. Grown-ups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind.' I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish & a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice & fresh. I knew his bus left at 4 a.m., I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish & oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these & knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. 'Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!'

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice But, oh if only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint & the good with gratitude...

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, 'If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!'

My friend changed my mind. 'I ran short of pots,' she explained, 'and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.'

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. There's an especially beautiful one,' God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. 'He won't mind starting in this small body.'

All this happened long ago -- and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand...

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
                 ~Author Unknown~

How often do we look and judge a person by their looks, by their clothes, by their outward appearance?  I look around me every day and see all sorts, styles, shapes, of people and personalities. 

Many act or react by what they have been taught or seen as a child.  Some not even realizing that their lifestyle was learned and passed down to them by their parents.  Sometimes it is language that may offend some but to them seems so natural.  Habits are another thing that children learn by watching their parents. Modesty, or should I say in many cases, immodesty is also learned.

Parents . . . we have a responsiblity to not only teach our children but also to live it in front of them. Instill traits in them that will reach out to others that may not be "like us" but "need to know" someone cares - like the man in the above story.  I think of our young people today that do not have a clue about Christianity or living a Christ-like life.  They need us to reach out to them - even as different as they may look on the outside!  They need us to look beyond the outward appearance and look at the heart and soul of them and let them know that Jesus loved them - enough to die on the cross for their sins and make a way of escape for them. 

Reach out and touch someone today - make a difference in their life - be "Jesus" to someone who may not "look" or "act" quite like you!  Step out of your 
"comfort zone"
and let God work through you! 

"For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks
 at the heart."
(1 Samuel 16:7)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Colorful Cauliflower Salad

Here's a great salad for a larger crowd.

1 lg head cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 cups of salted red peanuts
1 pkg (7 oz) dried cranberries
2/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup of sugar

In a large bowl, add the cauliflower,
peanuts, cranberries, mayonnaise &
sugar. Stir until well combined.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Makes 10 cups


Wet Pants & Compassion

Come with me  to a third grade classroom... There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.
The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, 'Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat.'

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.

As the teacher is walking toward him, a class mate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap.

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!'
Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else -   Susie.

She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. You've done enough, you Klutz!'

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, 'You did that on purpose, didn't you?' Susie whispers back, 'I wet my pants once too.' 
   (Unknown Aurthor)

May God help us see the opportunities that are always around us to do good...

Remember...Just going to  church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Each and everyone one of us go through tough times, but God is ready to bless you in a way that only He can whether you are the giver like Susie or the receiver like the boy. 

Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end  of a situation and been in the exact spot where God could work like He did in the above story?  I'm sure if we were to think back we could remember many times God has answered our prayers with a little help from a "Susie"!!

 Look around and see who is out there that needs an answer to one of their prayers and see if God can use you to help answer it.  Somebody out there needs a "Susie". 

Keep trusting God to show you that who "someone" is and have faith to be that "Susie" to them today!