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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frontyard view following snowstorm 3-3-09

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"Like A Tree"

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3).

Photo of kids climbing a treeCertain specific trees stand out in my memory. As a boy growing up in Belton Missouri it was a sprawling mulberry tree in our side yard that was suitable for climbing. My friend Dave and I spent many pleasurable afternoons up in that tree building forts and tree houses.  There were a few times that I took a pretty nasty fall, but as a child the recovery time took only minutes and then our tree play would resume.

In my adult years it was a huge old oak that was in the back of the church property where we pastored in New England. I would look at that sprawling oak tree with its spirally arranged leaves and try to imagine all the historic events that it might have witnessed in the area since Taunton, Massachusetts was settled in 1636. It had weathered many a thunder storm and fiery bolts of lightning.  This tree had likely stood during the Revolutionary War.  Although I was unable to determine its age Jeff, a forester friend, told me oaks could live hundreds of years. In fact one online source states that the life span of the oak if undisturbed is 500 to 600 years old.*

Photo of WalnutCurrently my favorite tree is seen in the middle of today's opening photo. It's a stately old walnut tree that stands alone in a fence row between two farm fields, across from our home.  It's doubtful that it was planted by man but rather many years ago a tiny seed fell to the ground and sprouted. The seedling grew into a mature tree as it withstood many droughts, high winds and other damaging assaults as its roots grew and spread  deeply in the rich Lancaster County soil.

Last night we did a study of Psalm 1. Charles Spurgeon referred to the Psalms as the Treasury of David, and a treasury is a place where riches are stored and guarded. Pastor Ray Stedman calls this Psalm the "The Song of Foundations". This wonderful short psalm is considered by some commentators to form an introduction to the entire Psalm collection.  It contrasts two types of people and the destinies of each: The obedient who are blessed by God with fruitfulness and the disobedient who are influenced by Satan with wickedness. 

Today I want to consider the "blessed man":

The blessed man is characterized by what he does not do.
1) Walk in the counsel of the wicked or
2) Stand in the way of sinners or
3) Sit in the seat of mockers
There is no posture; walking, standing or sitting, where we should find ourselves comfortable in drawing alliance with an unbelieving heart.

The blessed man is also characterized by what he does:
1) His delight is in the law of the LORD, and
2) On his law he meditates day and night.
The person who walks with God doesn't just dutifully read Scripture but also finds joy and delight in doing so.  As we meditate on the Scriptures they will stay with us day and night so that our souls are not only challenged but also satisfied.

The result is a fruitful life. "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers."

When we arrived at this point last night in our mid-week service I launched into an old camp meeting type song that asserts, "I shall not be moved" indicating a desire for a steadfast, faithful and fruitful walk with the Lord.

I shall not be, I shall not be moved.
I shall not be, I shall not be moved.
Just like a tree planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we want to be rooted and established deep in Your love and righteousness so that we will stand firm during the assaults of life and during times of temptation from the evil one.  As we read Your Word may it find a lodging place in our minds and a loving place in our hearts so that we meditate on it day and night.   We plant our spiritual roots deep in the soil of Your Holy Word so that we can be like healthy trees planted by streams of water growing in strength, beauty, and fruitfulness. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"Streams Of Water" (Psalm 1:1-3) In the nineties Integrity Music had a wonderful series of Scripture songs set to music. We bought the entire series and played them over and over, in the process learning a lot of Scripture. Today Brooksyne, when she heard today's topic, walked in joyfully singing this song!  The audio is available here  (Open this page and click on "play")

"I Shall Not Be Moved
Video (Gaither homecoming)  
Video (Bluegrass style placed up by someone who really likes graphics!)

"Slow Fade"  Video  A theme song from the "Fireproof" movie.

Slow Fade Teaching  Video  Mark Hall is the youth pastor who wrote the song and leads Casting Crowns. In this video he shares an interesting perspective from Psalm 1 that prompted this song.  

Fireproof, DVDFireproof, DVD  By Provident Music Distribution
The theatrical blockbuster from the creators of Facing the Giants, Fireproof is an action-packed love story about a firefighter, his wife, and a marriage worth rescuing! At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) lives by the old firefighter's adage: "Never leave your partner behind". At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt has to face his toughest job ever, rescuing his wife's heart.  Ordering info.

* Oak tree life span

Weeping willows along Donegal Creek
The weeping willows along Donegal Creek.
In a couple of months we will have this view again!

Finally today,
Pastor Ray Stedman shares an interesting story pertaining to this theme: I remember many years ago a youth conference in the Sierra Nevada. There a young man came to me and took me aside. We stood together underneath a great Douglas fir and he said, "Pastor, I don't know what is the matter with me. I want to be a good Christian, and I try hard, but somehow I just never seem to make it. I'm always doing the wrong thing. I just can't live like a Christian." I said to him, "Well, there may be several reasons for that, but let me ask you this, first of all: What about your private life with the Lord? How well do you know the Lord? How much do you delight in reading His word and then spending time talking to Him? Because, after all, it's not the time spent in reading the word that's important, but it's the time spent in enjoying the presence of God that strengthens you." He hung his head and said, "Well, I admit I don't do very much of that." Just then this very phrase from the Psalms flashed into my mind, "He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water." I stepped back and said to him, "Look at this tree we're under. What does it remind you of? What are the qualities this tree suggests to you?" He looked at the tremendous Douglas fir, towering up into the heavens above, and said, "Well, the first thing is, it's strong." I said, "Yes. Anything else?" "Well," he said, "it's beautiful." I said, "Exactly! Beauty and strength. Those are the two things you admire about this tree. And those are exactly the two things you want in your own life, aren't they? Beauty and strength?" He said, "Right." "Well," I said, "Tell me this: What makes this tree beautiful and strong? Where does it get its beauty and its strength?" He stopped for a moment and looked at the tree, then he said, "Well, from the roots, I guess." I asked him, "Can you see the roots?" "No," he said, "You can't." Then he said, "I get it! That is the hidden part of life, but it is the secret of this tree's beauty and strength, isn't it?"
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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.

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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