A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, March 26, 2021
"The Tree Rings Of Spiritual Growth"
Message summary: Just as the rings on a tree prove its endurance in the years of ease and years of difficulty, our enduring faith proves our walk with God to be genuine and mature, not lacking in godly character. We grow as we faithfully serve Him during times of ease and during times of trial.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Peter 1:5-11).
As we have mentioned to regular readers many trees have been removed on the farmland property across from our home. Most of them weren't suitable for lumber but were used for firewood and then the brush was placed in large piles and burned. The stumps were placed in holes to be buried.
Several large trees directly across from our home are laying on the ground and awaiting the log truck. We show the largest in our lead photo and if you want to view the rings up close and count them see this photo of another tree.
Several of the trees were rotting from the inside out. Although they may have looked healthy their inner condition made them more prone to falling during a wind storm. That's a lesson on the deceptiveness of presenting an attractive outward appearance while neglecting a healthy inward life.
When we lived in New England we enjoyed visiting the Museum of Science in Boston. Among the many displays is a sliced section of a huge Sequoia tree from California that had been cut down in the 1950’s. Scientists had determined the age of the tree by the number of annual rings to be 2,000 years meaning that this tree had been living since before the birth of our Lord! A small detail shows how they can determine years of drought and years of plenty by the size of the rings. A magnifying glass enlarged the rings, so the difference was quite obvious.
As Brooksyne and I looked at this impressive display she observed that in both the years of difficulty and the years of plenty, the tree had still grown, but at a different rate.
Let us consider a way in which we may measure spiritual growth in our own life. In contrast to the tree our most measurable years of growth and maturity are often a result of enduring and overcoming difficulties of various kinds; the dry periods and fiery storms of life, if you will.
Our daily text challenges us; "applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love".
We might see these like tree rings of spiritual growth. Peter further indicates that "if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:8).
Just as the rings on a tree prove its endurance in the years of ease and years of difficulty, our enduring faith proves our walk with God to be genuine and mature, not lacking in godly character. We grow as we faithfully serve Him during times of ease and during times of trial.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we pray that You will help us to grow in Your grace and knowledge, that we will continue to mature in our Christian walk. Scripture, repeatedly, indicates that spiritual maturity is a result of enduring trials of various kinds. In the midst of these trials Your soft prompting or guidance through Scripture, through other believers and through life circumstances can be easily ignored when self gets in the way. Today we make every effort to add to our faith those characteristics that will sustain and grow us in our Christian walk. In doing so we will be effective and productive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, during times of ease but even more so during times of difficulty. Keep us faithful and keep us growing, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Surrender All" Video
Our very good friends, Jim and Dottie Schmidt, joined us for breakfast yesterday at the Casey Jones Restaurant in Ronks/Strasburg.
After breakfast we visited with the Lapps at Old Windmill Farm where their pasture adjoins the Red Caboose Motel/Casey Jones Restaurant.
A big Tom Turkey that serenades us along with other turkeys as we visit outdoors at the Old Windmill Farm.
Yesterday, anticipating another season of riding, we both purchased new bikes. We had looked last year but bikes were in major shortage. Due to joint and dexterity issues we both got the step through design. When we were younger these were called "girl's bikes" but now they market them as step-through design and they are considered appropriate for both men and women! We are both finding it harder to get on and off the bike the way we did when we were younger. Late in the afternoon we tested them out with a river trail ride from Marietta down to Columbia, PA. A sudden downpour drenched us as we were coming back, not the ideal weather for biking!
We rode into Columbia and passed this stately historic home near the river.
Hinkle's Ice Cream Parlor in Columbia, PA
Hinkle's Pharmacy was a very popular spot for years in Columbia since it was also a very busy hometown restaurant "where everybody knows your name." When news spread of the pharmacy closing for various reasons the townspeople were up in arms. But, lo and behold, people came together and finances were provided to restore the old building and make it into just a restaurant and gift shop. We were very impressed when we ate breakfast there this morning and saw the outstanding upgrade including the ice cream parlor. The waitress who has been there 26 years told us they found the ice cream parlor in an old barn in Strasburg, cleaned it up and installed a new counter. They even have a soda jerk who serves the popular ice cream shakes and special ice cream treats.
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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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