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, October 16, 2015

Apple Butter Ginger Snap Cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup apple butter
Simple icing (optional):
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until soft dough forms.
4. Form dough into 1 T balls, roll in remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat, and arrange cookies 2” apart on prepared baking sheets.
5. Using the back of a round measuring teaspoon, create a depression for the apple butter (Tip: If you hold the sides of the cookies with gentle pressure as you create the thumbprint, it reduces the size and number of the cracks).
6. Evenly divide apple butter between cookies and bake for 14 minutes, switching baking sheets between racks halfway through. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
7. Make optional icing: Combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Drizzle over cookies and let dry completely.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Professional Prayer Answerer!

Image result for car key lock in car clipart
Here's a little story that reminds us of the power of prayer!!

She hurried to the pharmacy to get medication, got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside.

The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She looked at it and said, "I don't know how to use this."

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some HELP.  Within 5 minutes a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a gruff bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said: "Yes, my daughter is sick.  I’ve locked my keys in my car.  I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure."  He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.

She hugged the man and through tears said, "Thank You God for sending me such a very nice man."

The man heard her little prayer and replied, "Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of PRISON yesterday; I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again sobbing, "Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a Professional!"
        Is GOD great or what?

Matthew 6:8 says, ". . . your Father knows what you need before you ask Him".  

Isn't it awesome - God KNOWS our needs before we even ASK!!!   It continues to amaze me that God not only "knows" - He "knows" what is "best", what is "available", even "how" things will come to pass - God knows our needs and He knows how He is going to answer our prayers in advance of our human utterances.  And the best part . . . just as the lady in the story said, "God even sent a 'professional' to answer her pray"!!!  You can't beat that, can you?! 

Take a few minutes and stop to reflect on the answers to some of your prayers.  It's easy to set those answers aside and as the days, weeks, and months go by we sometimes put them out-of-sight / out-of-mind!  But let's stake stock and "remember" how blessed we really are - both in the little answers and, of course, in the big answers to our prayers.

P.S.  Don't forget to thank God when he answers our prayers!!