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April 25, 2012

Sycamore tree, Lancaster County PA
This large Sycamore tree dwarfs this old stone farmhouse.

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"The Blessing Of Roots"

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in
Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7,8). "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6,7).

What is it about trees that you like? Perhaps it's the distant profile of the tree during a particular season, the color, beauty and symmetry of the leaves, the shade it provides or the fruit it bears. As children many of us enjoyed climbing trees. They served as a natural setting for a playroom with many levels. My friend Dave and I spent many hours climbing the huge Mulberry tree at the side of our house in Belton, Missouri.

2010 apple harvest, Lancaster County, PAIf a tree has edible fruit we may really enjoy it for that reason. We appreciate the apples from our neighbor's tree and the tasty syrup our friends from New York brought us recently which are produced from the sugar maple trees. Of course we all benefit from the products made from the wood of the tree.

But I doubt if many of us would say, "I really like the roots!" In some instances we see roots as a nuisance.  Exposed tree roots can heave sidewalks and driveways, create tripping hazards for pedestrians and wreck the blades of your lawn mower. Roots of course are largely unseen. We may forget all about them till we have an occasion to dig them out and then they are really a pain!

Tree rootsBut if we've ever studied trees we know that roots are vital to a tree's well-being and this is in turn used to describe the spiritual life. This is seen in our first daily text describing a man whose trust and confidence are in the Lord; "He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream."

2:7 series study guide "Deepening Your Roots"Many years ago we had a discipleship class in our church prepared by the Navigators called "2:7" based on  our second daily Scripture reference, "rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

Pastor Ray Stedman shares an interesting story pertaining to today's theme. I think you'll find it to be helpful and we will conclude our message with this story.

"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?"

How healthy is your root system today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father, we want to be like the trees planted by streams of water that remain vibrant, healthy, and growing in spite of drought, storm and the extremes of the heat and cold. As we are rooted and built up in You we continue to grow, mature, and remain firm when the raging storms of life seek to topple our faith. No matter what we're dealt we continue to live in You, rooted and built up, strengthened in our faith, and overflowing with thankfulness for all that You are to us. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Will Delight"  Video  Fernando Ortega

"Everlasting God"  Video  New Life Worship   This is the song from which we posted the lyrics at the bottom of today's message. It is written by Glenn Packiam.

"Everlasting God"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"From The East Unto The West"  Video  The Odes of Solomon

"Eternity"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"Creation Calls"  Video  Brian Doerksen  Beautiful song set to outstanding photos and videos.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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