Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Daily Encouragement (09/24/13) "Enjoying Safe Pasture"

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo of Horses in pasture
These horses are enjoying the green pasture on a farm around the corner from our house at the junction of Colebrook and Kraybill Church Road.
Click on photo for a larger view, along with today's Scripture text.

"Enjoying Safe Pasture"

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"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:3,4).
"Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3). "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture" (John 10:9).

The Lord my pasture shall prepare
And feed me with a shepherd's care;
His presence shall my wants supply
And guard me with a watchful eye;
My noonday walks He shall attend
And all my midnight hours defend.

I took today's photo of the horses about a mile from our house. It's a peaceful pasture with beautiful fencing and lush green grass for the horses to graze. They appear quite content and well cared for.

Pasture is land with vegetation cover used for grazing of livestock as part of a farm or ranch. We don't have as much land used for pasture here in Lancaster County as I was accustomed to in southern Missouri or Brooksyne was while living in Oklahoma, since most of the ground in this area is tilled and planted in crops.

Steincross farm, Harwood Missouri
My Uncle Gentry had a farm (photo above) in southern Missouri with lots of pasture land where we often took tractor rides. He was a colorful man with a folksy sense of humor who referred to golf as "cow pasture pool". (Fellow Missourian Mark Twain called golf "a good walk spoiled".)

Cattle in pastureWhile driving along we always enjoy the wholesome sight of livestock grazing in pasture land and today's photo is the quintessential view. In today's verses the Psalmist David, as in Psalm 23, uses agricultural illustrations to connect to his readers. 

"Trust in the Lord and do good." He begins with this familiar exhortation which is such a common theme through the Scriptures and is reflected in the lyrics of the classic hymn, "Trust and obey". This is at the very heart of what God calls each of us to do in our earthly journey.

"Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." Surely David is foundationally speaking from a spiritual perspective. Safe pasture connotes security, abundance, and faithfulness. A footnote in the NASV indicates that David is giving counsel to his readers to, "feed securely or feed on His faithfulness." The Amplified Bible directs the reader to, "feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed." 

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." We can admire a person from a distance for his or her beauty, talent, skills or accomplishments.  But to delight in a person holds deeper meaning since it suggests strong emotional involvement, not a distant admiration.

Bible studyTo delight ourselves in the Lord is to desire and enjoy His nearness and the truth and righteousness of His Word. As we develop and nurture this kind of relationship with God we surrender our desires to Him so that they are in accordance to His will. The desires that flow from our heart will be greatly influenced or originate from His abiding presence in our hearts.

The same deep satisfaction that David referred to 3,000 years ago may also be ours today as we regularly delight ourselves in the Lord.  It is in this place of safe pasture that the desires of our heart will be shaped by our loving Lord as we feed on His abundance and live by His principles.

In God’s green pastures feeding by His cool waters lie;
Soft in the evening walk my Lord and I,
All the sheep of His pasture
Fare so wondrously fine; His sheep am I.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we place our complete trust in You, for You are a faithful, trustworthy, and loving God. As we feed on Your faithfulness and live by Your righteousness revealed to us through the Scriptures we find ourselves delighting in Your presence. We also delight in You when we sing praises, when we give ourselves in service to others, and most especially when we commune with You in prayer. May the desires of our heart bring delight to Yours as we conform ourselves to Your will and rid ourselves of that which lures us from the safe pasture You have abundantly supplied for those who believe. Amen.

This morning we heard from a reader in Kenya: "Thank you for remembering my dear country Kenya in prayer following an attack by terrorists at a shopping mall in our capital city. This caused loss of lives to innocent people. God Almighty is our refuge in this trying moment."

Indeed let us remember our brothers and sisters all over the world who face increasing persecution for their faith. (Hebrews 13:3)

Ester with Donut man
Family Note: Today Ester will have her heart pacemaker replaced at Hershey Medical Center. The procedure is scheduled to be completed today as outpatient surgery assuming that the leads that are attached to her heart are still good which the monitoring indicates is the case. She will have the same pediatric cardiologist that she saw as a baby perform the procedure. We would appreciate your prayers on this matter and will share an update tomorrow. Her present pacemaker has lasted just over seven years (since August of 2006) and has given excellent performance.

The photo shows Ester with one of her favorite characters as a child, the Donut Man whom we saw on Sept. 14th at Crestview Farm! She was thrilled to finally meet him in person.

Lancaster County lambs 4/17/13
We passed these baby lambs out in pasture this last Spring on an Amish farm in eastern Lancaster County.

Psalm 23
These young lambs are in a pasture on Musser Road, near our home.

Cattle feeding near Harwood PA 7/17/13
This summer we saw these cattle grazing in a Missouri pasture near the farm mentioned above.  They were sure enjoying the freshly baled hay.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Green Pastures"  Video  Fernando Ortega

"I Will Delight"  Video  Fernando Ortega

"In Shady Green Pastures"  Video  Bill Gaither Trio

"God Leads Us Along"  Video  Mennonite Singers

"Shady Green Pastures"  Video  Grace Thrillers

"From the East Unto the West"  Video  Odes Project

The Donut Man

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Stephen, Brooksyne and Ester Weber 04/21/13

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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