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.
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.
Place 1/2-3/4 cup of dried cranberries, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/8-1/4 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts, 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch salt in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour in 2 cups of oatmeal, 2 cups of milk and 2 cups water. Do NOT stir. Cook overnight for 8 - 9 hours on low. (Other options: 2 sliced apples, raisins, blueberries, bananas (after cooked), nutmeg, etc. - use your imagination!) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Did you ever hear your mother say, "Eat your oatmeal"? As a kid I remember the bowl of basic plain old oatmeal!! Today that plain old bowl of oatmeal has lots of added goodies!! Cranberries, blueberries, apples, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of brown sugar! Did you know that just one bowl of oatmeal a day can keep the doctor away. Oatmeal also has many other amazing health benefits worth looking into . . .
so next time you hear the "oatmeal" word . . . try a bowl. You might just find that your childhood taste of oatmeal has changed and you might decide it is really quite "tasty" to your taste buds and also a healthy benefit.
Mustard seed faith says what God says about any given situation. - Dr. Danny Diaz
How many mountains could we move? Just think about it a little bit . . .
Do you realize how tiny a mustard seed really is?? Well, a mustard seed is 1.88 mm - not very big at all!! Actually, it is about the size of the tip of a pencil lead!! Nothing is really impossible with God . . . even with as little faith as a mustard seed! Do we stop to realize that? Do we realize what is really available to us at the end of our "faith"? Faith the size of a mustard seed . . . that really is not very much faith! A tiny mustard seed (one of the least of all seeds) when sowed in the field and when grown is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree. A tree that birds of the air come and lodge in! (Matthew 13:31-32)
I like a little bit of mustard . . . a little on my hot dog and hamburger - but not too much! I also like mustard on a bologna sandwich! It is good seasoning for potato salad and deviled eggs and many other dishes. That little seed is very potent and the taste of mustard can be very overpowering! It doesn't take much mustard for me to get the full robust flavor!
Isn't that what God's Word tells us about "faith" . . . it doesn't take much faith to feel and see that robust act of trusting in God. A God that nothing is really impossible for! It really is not "how much" faith we have . . . it is only that we have faith and it can be as tiny as the little mustard seed. Maybe it is not so much in "how much" but in "how we use that bit of faith"! Do we really believe God can answer our toughest prayers? How about the little prayers I whisper to God though out my day to day routine? Do I believe that He cares, that He wants the very best for me, that He is just waiting for me to exercise my mustard seed-sized faith in a Sovereign God that "nothing is impossible" or too hard for Him? And that He comes into my life and offers me the peace that passeth all understanding and the assurance that everything will be OK?
My faith in a God that knows all, sees all, hears all, and conquers all obstacles in life has been stretched over this last year. Especially since discovering I had two brain tumors!! Looking back I realize that I was barely existing for the majority of last year. I really don't know how I was existing - I was there but I really wasn't there. People come up to me now and tell me that "I'm Back" - "it's me again"! My faith was ever so small - maybe even smaller than the tiny mustard seed! But God, in His goodness and mercy, looked at me and recognized it was ALL I had in my helpless situation. The brain tumors were growing and pressing against my brain limiting my every action from talking, thinking, doing, etc. I was barely existing . . . but God knew all about it!
My mustard seed-sized faith conquered those brain tumors! My recovery was miraculous - from speechless just 8 months ago and not being able to remember when I was born or even my name or my children's names - to talking and remembering, from stumbling on the piano to again playing it and even playing for the praise team at church every week now, from not being able to write or spell words to once again writing on my blog!! Sometimes I still have to slow down and think and say some words over again in my mind every once in a while but my whole being, my whole thought processes are back! As my family and friends say . . . "Diana, you're back"!! It was my "mustard seed faith" and the many, many other "mustard seeds" of faithful people that prayed for my healing and my recovery along the way. This month marked 8 months since discovering the tumors and my surgery. It has been a remarkable 8 months in so many ways. I have exercised my "mustard seed faith" in every area of my life and I have seen what, many times, seemed to be totally impossible . . . but I have seen beyond the "impossible" to the "possible" with the help of God Almighty! I know first hand that "nothing is impossible" with God and a little "mustard seed faith"!!
Hmmmm . . . just what would happen if we had the faith of a watermelon seek, a cucumber seed, an orange seed, an avocado seed . . . or a peach seed???!!!
Here are a few "mustard seed faith builders" . . .
Matthew 17:20 says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Mark 9:23 says everything is possible for him who believes.
Mark 10:27 says that all things are possible for God.
Romans 12:3 says God gives us the measure of faith.
Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Mark 11:23-24 a prayer of faith. Now notice in verse 22 that it says "Have faith in God".
Hebrew 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God, because everyone who comes to Him must believe.
2 Cor. 5:7 says that we must live by faithNOT by sight. Seeing can be very deceiving. Keep your eyes on God. 1 John 5:14 says, that we can have confidence, that if we ask anything according to the Word of God then we will receive what we ask.
1 Cor. 13:2 says that faith has to be proceeded by love. 1 Thes. 5:8 says to put faith and love on as a breastplate. Faith and love go hand in hand, and protect and shieldyour heart.
Heb. 12:2 says Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. So, take a look at your tiny mustard seed and discover the faith within you. Exercise that faith and look at the power of God at work in your heart and life and go ahead . . . move those mountains that are standing, tall and majestic, in front of you today and remember - "NOTHING" is impossible with God!
Goals: “There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them!”-Jim Rohn
“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care:help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair:be kind. Do more than forgive:forget. Do more than dream:work.”-William Arthur Ward
"It's never too late to live . . . Happily Ever After!" -Unknown
"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something great! So just focus and keep aiming!!" - Unknown
“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”-Tyron Edwards
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Live today! Not yesterday.Not tomorrow.Just today!!Inhabit your moments.Don’t rent them out to tomorrow."-Jerry Spinelli
“Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things.”-Josh Hinds
"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individuals, you have an obligation to be one." -Eleanor Roosevelt "You cannot raise a man up by calling him down." -William Baeteker
"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 - GodCAN 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!!"