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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photo of Horses in pasture
Horses in green pasture
Larger image of above photo with today's Scripture.

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"Safe Pasture"

"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).

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

Early this morning I emailed brief words of encouragement to a few friends who had written about some prayer needs. A pastor friend facing a housing situation since he and his family resigned the church they'd served for many years. Another pastor friend is seeking opportunities to extend his ministry outreach. A truck driver
from Canada then called for prayer who has critical decisions to make regarding expensive repairs on his truck. As I shared I was able to use today's verse as a basis of Biblical encouragement and thus I will do so today for all our readers.

I particularly focus on the words "safe pasture."  Likely our most familiar Biblical use of the word pasture is from the 23rd Psalm where David proclaims, "He makes me lie down in green pastures."

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 around here as I was accustomed to in southern Missouri or Brooksyne  from Oklahoma, since most of the ground in this area is tilled and planted in crops. This brings a recollection of my very colorful Uncle Gentry, a farmer and banker in tiny Harwood Missouri, who referred to golf as "cow pasture pool" (which by the way, fellow Missourian Mark Twain called golf "a good walk spoiled").

As we walk or drive through the country we enjoy seeing livestock grazing in pasture land and today's photo is the quintessential view. In today's verse the Psalmist David, as in Psalm 23, also uses an agricultural illustration to connect to his readers. 

"Trust in the Lord and do good."  He begins with this familiar exhortation which is 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.

To 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.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily 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.

An alert reader pointed out that the Corner Acre Mums (photo) we mentioned in yesterday's message is really open "dawn to dusk" rather than "dusk to dawn" as we had mistakenly posted! (Brooksyne's Note: I'm the guilty party since I often get the words backwards for the properly designated time.  Our neighbors' business, if it were open from "dusk to dawn" would thrive if they sold moon flowers instead of mums, since moon flowers are most beautiful in the dark.

Photo of T-shirt
I mentioned yesterday that I had attended a men's conference this last weekend in Hershey PA.  I sure enjoy looking at the creative T-shirts so many wear and this is one among many that caught my attention. See here for the message on the other side of this T-shirt!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

Andrew & Jessie

Andrew Hostetler, pictured here with his wife Jessica, is the worship team leader in a church I spoke at this spring in southern Lancaster County. We enjoy this song he wrote, along with Valerie Kreider, based on Psalm 33. Here's the key thought for our readers today: "The Creator of the universe cares about each one of us."

Psalm 33
audio mp3

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous ones
It is fitting for the upright to praise Him
Praise the Lord with the harp and lyre, make music to Him
It is fitting for the upright to praise Him
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully, and shout!   for!   joy!!

For the Word of the Lord is righteous and true;
He is faithful in all He does…

He puts the seas into jars
He puts the seas into jars
The Creator of the universe
Cares about each one of us
He puts the seas into jars

Words (based on Psalm 33) and Music by
Valerie Kreider and Andrew Hostetler

"Psalm 34"
 Audio  Also by Andrew

"Trust And Obey"  Video  We particularly enjoy the ch, ch, ch!

"Who Am I"  Video

Scripture Memory Songs - Last week we referred to a selection of Scripture verses we had recorded in our home with some friends.  The words are set to familar music as an aid to memorization in a discipleship training class.  Here's the full selection!

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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