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Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Oak tree
One of our two oaks in our front lawn.

"Fading Leaves"

Message summary: Am I like an "oak with fading leaves" or like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither"?

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Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 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 that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers" (Psalm 1:1-3). "You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30).

Autumn leaves, Lancaster Country PAWe are blessed with many trees: two large oaks in our front lawn and several smaller trees beside our driveway.  The flowering dogwood and hydrangea trees bring a lot of color and interest in our backyard. On the other side of our fence we have our neighbor's huge silver maple and alongside our south lawn we have a row of evergreens that provide a windbreak and beautiful views in the winter when laced with snow. (See photo here)

We've been getting some aerobic exercise raking all the leaves and scooping them up with our hand rakes. I burn some but we have filled many large leaf bags for disposal. I can either take them to a large pile down the tractor lane or they will be picked up by our township if I place them by the road.

Leaf bag
The weight of an individual leaf is barely discernible but we fill the bags and then keep pressing them down to pack them tightly. A full bag of leaves has significant weight. That made me muse on just how much the leaves themselves weigh on a living tree in the summer. Of course the internet has some answers although I can't verify. Frankly there seems to be quite a bit of disparity partly due to the many variables. According to one site the leaves on an oak tree would be about 450 pounds.

Speaking of trees and falling leaves, let us examine two portions from God's Word. The first from Psalm 1 will be familiar to many, the second is a rarely considered Bible text in Isaiah that draws an illustration from fading leaves.

The second text is taken from a portion of Isaiah dealing with the rebellious nation of Israel. It's a stunning chapter and includes this warning, "Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him" (Isaiah 1:4). This sounds a lot like the spiritual condition of our nation!

Golden leavesVarious illustrations are used to describe Israel's condition including today's text, "You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30). Now the meaning in context is speaking of the nation's condition as the people rebel against God.

An oak is a splendid tree and is the first specific species of tree mentioned in the Bible, "Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh" (Genesis 12:6).

There is the God-designed transformation of trees, when the leaves fade and eventually drop to the ground as part of the tree's life cycle. But there is also an untimely fading due to lack of water which is what Isaiah seems to mean when he writes "as a garden that has no water".

Oak leafPsalm 1:3 describes a vibrant tree and a healthy spiritual life is like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither".

Today we can consider the text on the national level (wherever we may live) and wonder if our nation is "like an oak with fading leaves". It's an interesting analogy to contemplate as we consider the fading spiritual hunger of our land.

However let us consider this verse on a personal level in an examination of our own relationship with the Lord. Am I like an 
"oak with fading leaves" or am I like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither"?

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, fruitful in every season of my life. I don't want to wither during the winter season as I grow old and more feeble. Though I may be more dormant I can still hold fast to the profession of my faith and not let it fade over time. I can do that by living a life above reproach, clinging to Your promises, immersing myself in the Scriptures and prayer, and trusting You for all that concerns me in every season of my life. Like a tree receives health by drawing from its water supply I remain spiritually healthy by drinking from the springs of living water. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Psalm 1"  Video  The Psalms Project

"Still"  Video  Greater Vision

Photo of Oak Leaf
How pretty an individual fall is with so many shades of green, yellow, gold and crimson!

Leaf pile
Ester has been helping with the leaves and is actually buried in this pile. As you can see in the background other neighbors were raking as well.

Lunar eclipse
Ester snapped this photo of yesterday's Lunar eclipse

1976 International Harvester tractor
This tractor is on an Amish farm we passed yesterday on Harvest Road. It looks but after looking it up we learned this tractor (an International Harvester 1566) was manufactured the year we got married in 1976! Aging in vehicles reminds us of the aging process we all go through! Rust that spreads on a vehicle might be like arthritis that spreads to our joints.

Deer in field
Right after Ester took a photo of the moon she spotted these deer through our upstairs window. You need binoculars but it's always exciting to spot a deer or two no matter the size.

Amish school
This morning I (Brooksyne) stopped in at the Amish school house just up the road from us. The children were just being called in from recess. After they were seated (26 students grades 1-8) I greeted each student at their desk as I presented them a batch of caramel cookies. Each took a cookie along with a fall themed napkin and put it on the corner of their desk to enjoy a snack at lunch or early afternoon. I know quite a few of them as our neighbors and it's so sweet to see their big smiles as they recognize me. I think each one of the children said thank you upon receiving the cookie. And since their name is visible on their desktop I could greet them all by name. The photo above shows the front of the school and where the children wash their hands. If the children were not in the classroom I could have taken photos of all the colorful decorations as Naomi their teacher permits me to do so. With the large number of students this year she has an aid to help her. I wish everyone had the opportunity to visit an Amish school and see the order, respect and learning the three R's (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic) that takes place - 8 grades in one classroom.

Amish school

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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