Monday, April 26, 2010

Are you a grazer?

Okay, so it looks like God’s teaching us another lesson from the bovine world. When we last spoke, our cow friends were having a bit of a tiff and one of the cows was left out of the herd. They’ve since mooved past their issues and are all together as one happy family.

I drove by their pasture the other day and saw a pretty familiar sight. All of the shiny black cows were grazing on the lush green grass of the field. They happily munched the tender blades while completely ignoring the buzz of traffic that rushed by. Their heads stayed low and their focus steady as they accomplish what they’d come to do…get their fill.

God fills you just like the grass fills the cows. He wants a relationship with you that draws you into Him for all that you need. He asks only for your attention and to have His will be your main focus. He provides for the cows with fresh, green grass but He provides for you through His word and Holy Spirit. When you consider God in your choices and spend time in His word, you are grazing on His goodness.

The cows get their fill on everything that God provides, but do you? Are you continuously going back to God for sustenance? Or are you so busy watching all the cars drive by that you forget why you’re in the field? Maybe it’s time to start grazing on God!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.” John 15:9-10

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stay in the Herd

Ten black cows snoozed in a lush green field. A few feet away one cow slept all alone causing questions to rattle around in my head:

“Was there some cow drama going on?”
“Was the little cow cast out of the group or was she just taking a much needed break from everyone?”
“Was she just a ‘loner’ cow that didn’t quite fit in?”

The ‘mom’ in me wanted to know why the little cow was not peacefully slumbering with the rest of the herd. I hated the idea of this little cow being all alone!

I ran several scenarios in my head that could have caused the separation and found that each situation was a scene from my own life: The teenage drama that would hang heavy like a dark cloud over a sunny day; the constant chatter that I would find myself wanting to escape from; the hard reality of not fitting in with the group you longed to be a part of. Geez, no wonder the cow wanted to mooove out of the herd!!

On the other hand, Jesus would leave the ‘herd’ to be still before God and pray. He needed time alone to reflect on all God had been doing and allow God to prepare Him for what still needed to be done. Jesus knew leaving the group so that God could whisper to His spirit would be beneficial for everyone but He was always certain to rejoin His friends when He was done.

God created us with the herd mentality, we’re just better together! Are you currently part of a herd? Or are you sitting just a few feet away by yourself? Have you realized that the herd you’ve been hanging with may not be right for you? It’s important to spend time alone with God, but He also wants to love you through others…and that’s no BULL!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monday, April 12, 2010

Denial

My husband, Greg, is on a health kick. He’s spending more time on the treadmill and has started eating salads for lunch (which is an astonishing since he had only eaten maybe 10 salads in his life so far…) He’s determined to shed a few pounds and lead the family into a healthier lifestyle. It’s been said that in a balanced diet ‘you can have things in moderation’, but it’s the moderation part that trips me up. I prefer to stop at the ‘you can have things’ part of that quote.

As Greg works off the 10 lbs or so that may have accumulated over the last year and a half, I’m trying to chisel off 1/3 of my body weight! Although our goals are distinctly different, we both have to say no to foods that we like and that, quite frankly, make us happy. He’s a meat and beer-asaurus and I’m a chocoholic so we both consistently need to deny ourselves those indulgences.

Do you have something that you need to start denying yourself of? Have you been enjoying something that just isn’t good for you? I have to disagree that ‘you can have all things in moderation’ because so many of us lose sight of what healthy moderation truly is. Sometimes we just have to say ‘no’. For example, a good friend of mine just celebrated his fourth year of sobriety this week. He’s the first to testify that sometimes omission, not moderation, is what’s required to have a healthy life.

Jesus knew how to say ‘no’ to the things that held no value so He could say ‘yes’ to the things that would matter for the kingdom. He knew that the things He would give up could not compare with the benefits He would gain! We have the opportunity to follow His lead. The first step is denying ourselves of the things that stand between us and God so we can gain what is truly beneficial.

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”Luke 9:23-24

Monday, April 5, 2010

What are you talking about?

This weekend I took a journey to another time and place as I watched Fiddler on the Roof for the first time. Now, I did have to watch it in three sections as I did not have one large 3 ½ hour chunk in my day to watch it all at once, regardless I am so glad that I did!

If you’re not familiar with the story, let me recap a little. Tevye, his wife and their five daughters live in a small village of Anatevka in Ukraine on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Tevye is a poor milkman whose daughters begin to make increasingly unconventional choices that move further and further from tradition. This forces Tevye to decide if he’s flexible to change or if he will stay rigid in the traditions he has always known.

Several times throughout the movie, Tevye loads up his donkey and walks around the village delivering the milk for the day. As he does, we’re privy to some of the conversations that Tevye has with God. Tevye talked with God about his joys, his struggles, thoughts and ideas…pretty much everything! What stood out the most about that was the perfect balance between familiarity and reverence that Tevye had for God. He was fully aware of the deity he was speaking to, but knew God intimately enough to be real with Him.

Tevye also included in God in almost every conversation he had. He would take a minute to pause, consider the situation and chat with God about it for a minute. Now in the movie this would ‘freeze frame’ the other person while he talked it out with God to make the conversation he was having in his head make sense to the audience. It was as if he was measuring each situation against God’s yard stick to see what he should do.

All of Tevye’s conversations with the Lord were one sided, but Tevye had faith that the God he loved was listening to him even if he didn’t get what he was asking for. He was content with whatever the Lord gave him… joy, struggles, love and heartbreak. He would make comments like “Riches are the evil of the world, oh if I could only be so cursed! I would carry that affliction all of my days…” Tevye talked with the Lord as if He were a friend while always maintaining the respect that the Lord is due.

So, what do your conversations with God sound like these days? Do you tell Him the feelings that are in your heart or do you assume He already knows? Are you sharing joys and hurts with Him? Is God your best friend or an acquaintance that you run into once a week? He longs for you to be real and talk with Him. Be honest if you’re angry with Him, He can take it! Share the things that bring you joy as well as the things that scare you. He’s waiting to talk with you…

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13