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Thursday, November 10, 2022

Standing inside a Redwood tree
Notice the charred bark on the tree, especially to the left
Click on photo to enlarge

Lessons From The Redwood Tree
(Part 1)
"Tested By Fire"

Message summary: We will all, in various ways, be tested by fire. May God give us His assurance that these trials, in whatever form they appear "may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ".

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Yesterday we shared a message about the fading and falling leaves in our front lawn, primarily from our two large oak trees. Today we will share about a visit my brother and I made last week to a grove of much larger trees when we visited a stand of Redwoods near Santa Cruz, California. These trees comparatively make our oaks seem quite small!

These giant trees are in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, a relatively small preserve not far from San Francisco (a day trip drive for us). There is a loop walking trail through the grove that is less than a mile long so you see a lot in a short distance.

One thing (among several) I learned is that redwoods are resistant to fire. The park guide states,

The sequoia sempervirens, the ever-living redwood, is another name for the coast redwood. Its many survival adaptations include thick bark, long roots, and its extraordinary height. Tannic acid within redwood bark gives it a rich cinnamon red color while providing defense against insects, fungus, and even fire. Almost indestructible, these huge trees persistently survive while battling the natural elements.

"More than 100 years have passed since the last forest fire burned through here. Most fires cannot penetrate the thick fibrous and almost fire resistant redwood bark. An intense fire may burn through the bark and hollow out a tree, but, if enough living tissue remains unharmed, the tree, like this one, continues to live and slowly heal its fire scars." (I am  standing in the hollow of this tree in the above photo, notice also the burn marks.)

These trees have certainly been "tested by fire" which is a phrase in our daily Scripture text from 1 Peter. In this context the fire is analogous to the various trials the believers were enduring. Although the early church surely had some of the same kinds of trials we have such as illness, worries about provision, family struggles, etc. most likely this was referring to various forms of persecution.

Late in the same book Peter wrote, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).

J. Vernon McGee wrote, "When God tests us today, He puts us into the furnace. He doesn’t do that to destroy us or to hurt or harm us. But He wants pure gold, and that is the way He will get it. He tries to teach us this through our trials. He is drawing us closer to Him."

We will all, in various ways, be tested by fire. May God give us His assurance that these trials, in whatever form they appear, "may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ".

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to be moved by the plight of those who are suffering loss and even laying down their lives for the sake of Christ. We remember those in persecuted lands who have suffered loss physically, structurally or materially or all three. Through Your miraculous intervention evil can be exchanged for good when we earnestly pray for Your purpose to prevail even in such mayhem and loss. We can have joy in our hearts even though we may endure many trials for a little while, for these trials will show whether or not our faith is genuine. Our hearts are being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though our faith in Christ is far more precious than mere gold. We want to remain strong through our trials so that it will bring You much praise, glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blessings"  Video  Joni Eareckson Tada and Laura Story

"He Will Hold Me Fast: Prayer for Peace" Video  (Sung in Ukrainian, Russian & English) w/Joni Eareckson Tada

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is most famous for the 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees.

Redwood tree
This Redwood tree is known as "The Giant" and is the largest in the park rising to 270 feet (25 stories) and over 17 feet wide. I had my brother Pat stand in front of it for perspective. I didn't get back from it far enough to show the entire height.
Click on photo to enlarge

Redwood tree
How would you like to have a complexion like this? The profusion of bumpy growths on this redwood tree are burls which are harmless to the tree.
Click on photo to enlarge

Coastal highway
The coastal highway south of Pacifica, CA

The Pigeon Point Light Station is along the coastal highway

Apple headquarters
On the way back to the city we drove by and visited the visitor's center at the massive Apple Headquarters. The office building is in the form of a round disk.

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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