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.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

National Zucchini Day is today, August 8th and we are getting zucchini from our garden. We got about a half of dozen the other day! They were beautiful and my head started spinning as to what I should make with these.  I started going through my stand-by recipes and then decided to search for some new possibilities!  I quickly realized that I could make a huge variety of things from these two zucchini.  I could make the traditional zucchini bread that I always make.  I could add some variety to this by adding chocolate chips or dried cranberries.  I could make my families favorite chocolate zucchini cake for all of us chocolate lovers!!  I could bread it and deep fat fry it or Air Fry it, or I could bake it or have grilled vegetable kbobs. I could stuff it, marinate it in a salad or I could make zucchini lasagna or zucchini meatloaf . . . and I could even pickle it!!!  How does one choose what to do with these two zucchini??!! Well, I settled on the zucchini bread and some breaded fried zucchini for supper. I still have a little left - just about enough to bake the chocolate zucchini cake to satisfy my sweet tooth!!  LOL!

As I was grating the zucchini I was thinking about all the different ways to use the zucchini.  It can be made into sweet things, sour things, greasy things, starchy things, breaded things, fried things, stuffed things, marinated things - you name it can be done!!  

I was thinking about how we as people are somewhat like the zucchini, believe it or not!!   We can be sweet, sour, greasy, starchy, breaded, fried, stuffed, and marinated. We too, can be all of these things! Our personalities all vary with the amount of honor, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness, and loyalty woven into our very character. We each possess characteristics that state who we are, what we believe in and what we stand for. When I look at a zucchini - I don't automatically think of "chocolate" like a chocolate zucchini cake!! But when mixed with other important ingredients like flour, eggs, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, etc. a green vegetable called a zucchini takes on the mix of a wonderful chocolate zucchini cake!  

Just like the zucchini adds other ingredients to become a chocolate cake - we have important characteristics in our character that help us become who we are. Who are you?  What do you believe?  What do you stand for?  I hope you are adding the other important ingredients that make you stand out or stand up for who you are and what you believe is important in life.  Weave some honor, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness, and loyalty into your character. Let God measure the exact ingredients just for "you" and let God's mix state "who you are as a child of God" and "stand tall" . . .

. . . like one of those Chocolate Zucchini cakes in one of those glass cake stands with the glass cover on them. Don't be just a zucchini - be something "special"!

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