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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Eaton Farms topiary 9/7/16
A selection of growing topiary trees at the Eaton Farm

"Only God Can Make A Tree"

Message Summary:
Since we believe in a supernatural, miracle working God we, by faith and reason, choose to examine the evidence including the creation of trees on the third day. Along with many other evidences, both in Scripture and observed in science, we affirm our faith in the Creation account of the Bible! Won't you join us? Remember, only God can make a tree.

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"Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day" (Genesis 1:11-13).

When I was a young boy my mom recited a poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer to us, probably one she had learned in school. I can still picture her smile as she recited it from memory.

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear a nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

Perhaps to my Mom's disappointment in making me "cultured" I never gained much appreciation for poetry but I sure took an interest in trees!

Yesterday afternoon I visited a large tree and topiary farm about 50 miles northeast of us in Berks County PA. Don Eaton and his wife Kathy are friends we met about ten years ago through Convene. The family business, Eaton Farms, grows trees for the wholesale market, selling about 70,000 trees annually. The farm covers some 200 rolling acres where one can view hundreds of thousands of growing trees and other plants in various stages of development. The scale of Eaton Farms is best seen on a Google map.

I did something that makes me smile. I got on a golf cart and rode around the farm passing row after row of growing trees of many varieties. I just wonder if the extra oxygen in the air and the unhindered visual stimulation contributed to my joy.

Eaton Farms uses three planting methods; from seeds, graftings and rooted cuttings. Unlike plant nurseries that can grow many species of flowers or plants in a matter of weeks or months, most trees have a five to six year growing period before they're mature enough to ship. Such a business requires a great deal of financial investment, endurance, patience, and labor. However Don and his team know that only God can make a tree!

Regular readers in this series know that we both like trees which have the interesting distinction of being referenced all through the Bible including the very first (Genesis 1) and very last (Revelation 22) chapter.

Today let's go back to the beginning at the third day of creation to read the first reference to trees, that moment in space and time when God made the first trees. On this day God commanded, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds."

Note especially the phrase, "Trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it." This reveals that at Creation the trees were created fully mature.

Weber front lawn oaks We have two large oak trees in our front yard that were planted as small trees in the eighties when our house was built on former farmland. We have seen the steady growth of the oaks since we moved here in 2002. Over the last several years these trees began to produce acorns (seeds). This is consistent with what we've read that oaks generally produce fruit (acorns) when they are 20-25 years old. They are now mature trees and, yes, we get the job of raking up acorns that the squirrels miss.

I've been considering this thought: if I cut a mature tree down I can see the years of growth in the rings on the cut surface of the trunk. That makes me wonder... if I were present at the time of creation and cut down a mature tree would I have seen these rings? Of course no one can prove this one way or another, but I believe that it, being a "normal" tree, would have had these rings since it was created as a mature tree.

Two thoughts here: You are reading this and I assume that you accept the Bible as the true Word of God:

1) Many of you, like us, accept the account of Creation according to Genesis 1. But those who hold this view are increasingly mocked and ridiculed. We want to give you something to think about today as you consider the trees around you, something virtually all of us will see at some point today, which also helps to build our faith.

2) However there are those who claim faith in God but feel they must concede to the naturalistic, secularist viewpoint of those who regard the Creation account as merely a myth, due to what is presented as overwhelming, even incontrovertible evidence for an evolutionary explanation of origins.

Think about the tree and other details of Creation which God created as mature. For instance, in regard to human creation, He created a fully developed, mature man and woman!

Since we believe in a supernatural, miracle working God we, by faith and reason, choose to examine the evidence including the creation of trees on the third day. Along with many other evidences, both in Scripture and observed in nature and science, we affirm our faith in the Creation account of the Bible! Won't you join us? Remember, only God can make a tree.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are so very grateful for the signs of life, color, beauty, shape and functionality that are evident in the plants and vegetation all around us; a result of Your creative handwork on the third day of creation. Though You are Creator, You have made us stewards and caretakers of that which You created. What a joy it is to plant a seed or seedling in the ground and watch as You also provide the oxygen, rain, and sunshine to aid its health and growth. We affirm once again in our writings and prayer that You are the divine Creator of the universe and all things are in submission to Your creative power and in accordance to Your will.  In the name of Jesus we pray these things. Amen.

Eaton Farms 9/7/16
We've had a hot dry summer and Don shared how we really need rain. Irrigation on the farm is quite conservation-oriented with large holding ponds. The water is pumped up for irrigation and then drains back into the holding ponds!

Eaton Farms living chairs 9/7/16
These trees are being shaped to be living chairs, one of Eaton Farm's newest offerings.

Eaton Farms heart shaped trees 9/7/16
It's kind of hard to see with so many in the background but this tree is being shaped to grow in a heart shape.

Don and Kathy Eaton
I took this photo several years ago of Don and Kathy Eaton. Their six children all work in the family business along with their spouses.

A couple of signs I passed along 322 east of Ephrata, PA yesterday.

Church sign 9/7/16
This church often has thought-provoking messages.

Road sign 9/7/16
Think about this one!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Creation Sings the Fathers Song"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

"God Of Wonders"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Maker Of All Things"  Video  Tim Hughes

Eaton FarmsTheir first "core value" is "GOD HONORING - Our core values are aligned with God’s Word and reflect Christ. God has temporarily entrusted His company to us and we should honor Him in all that we do." What a blessing it is to have an association with business owners who seek to honor God!

Finally today:

Yesterday I had lunch with Pat, my older brother, near Reading, PA. But no photo to share since taking selfies at our age just does not seem appropriate! For fun here is a cute satire article about this matter: "God Reveals Eighth Thing He Hates To Be Selfies"

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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