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Friday, November 11, 2022
Photo taken four years ago when we walked through an old growth redwood grove at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (Google map). This tree, called "The Giant", is the largest tree in the grove at 270 feet tall.
Lessons From The Redwood Tree
Message summary: We want to help others find strength in God. Today let us put this into practice. We all know of weary, discouraged and fearful people like David. Let us help them find strength in God!
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God" (1 Samuel 23:16). "Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25). "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4-5).
Yesterday we shared in our message about a visit my brother Pat and I made to a redwood grove last week, illustrating our message from the tree's ability to be withstand fire. These giant trees are in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, north of Santa Cruz.
You visit the park by taking a short walk (less than a mile) via loop trail through the trees with a park-provided pamphlet that explains what visitors are seeing.
Another observation from the redwood tree illustrates a spiritual truth in the way redwoods grow. It's called "Redwood Family Circles". The coastal redwood is able to sprout from its trunk base. Even if the tree is taken down its root system is still alive. They have a root system that goes only 6-12 feet below the surface. Since many redwoods grow to some 300 feet in height their shallow root system is remarkable.
But the root system spreads over one hundred feet from the base, which intertwines with the roots of other redwoods. This increases their stability during strong winds and floods.
I believe this illustrates a very important way we strengthen one another as believers. Thank God for the people in our lives who strengthen us. We can become spiritually intertwined with them for mutual strengthening. We hope you have a lot of them in your life and especially friends like David had with Jonathan.
Today's first text is a remarkable statement. It describes the very essence of the strengthening nature of Christian fellowship.
At this point Saul was insanely jealous of David and was in hot pursuit of killing him. The previous verse states, "While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life".
However, Saul's son Jonathan saw his father's error and remained faithful to his friend, David, who just learned that Saul had come out to take his life. Surely Jonathan knew this as well so he was risking his own life and the resulting fallout from his father's wrath in order to help David.
Notice that Jonathan "went to David". He took the initiative and made the effort to help a friend in trouble. David had fled to Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, which was a very desolate and remote region south of the Dead Sea. There are many situations where being a good friend takes some effort and sacrifice.
Jonathan was purposeful in his visit as he set out to "help him find strength in God". The NASV states, "encouraged him in God". This is surely one of the most powerful examples and images of strengthening encouragement found in the entire Bible.
Today you may know of people like David who are besieged by difficult circumstances. They need someone to help them find strength. But notice the very clear source of strength: "in God". This verse expresses the highest purpose of a truly godly friendship.
We both want to help others find strength in God. It would be a good part of a personal mission statement. Today let us put this into practice in our daily agenda. We all know of weary, discouraged and fearful people like David. Let us help them find strength in God!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I pray for a spiritually sensitive heart that I might be a representative of Your indwelling Spirit to those who have distressing needs. Develop in me a discerning heart that I might seek out those in need just as Jonathan did with David. Help me in equipping others to find strength in You, Almighty God. While I certainly don't have all the answers I do know that Your Word brings light, direction, courage, and confidence as we navigate through the twists and turns in our sojourn here below. We offer ourselves to You to be an encouragement to others. We do this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Stephen's note: We'll add another Scriptural prayer for you today; "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). All year long we have been using this on the sig line in our emails.
Veteran's Day: We want to honor our veterans this special day of remembrance on Veterans Day here in America. Both of our fathers served in the military as well as many of our relatives and of course many of you, our readers and/or listeners. Thank you to you and your families for the sacrifice you made on our behalf for the freedoms we enjoy and, frankly, often take for granted. We have become even more mindful in recent years as there are those right in our country seeking to strip us of religious freedoms. Let us remain steadfast and courageous as the battle will never be over on this side of heaven.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Blessed Be The Tie That Binds" Video Gaither In December we are going to a Gaither and Friends Christmas concert at the Giant Center in Hershey.
We both heard the Bill Gaither trio before we met: I (Brooksyne) listened to them on Christian radio in Tulsa, Stephen saw them in a concert in Kansas City. Through the years we have been to many concerts wherever we have lived. Bill is now 86 years old! Five years ago I joined with other Calvary Church choir members in Reading to back up the vocal band in "Chainbreaker". (See photo in this message). When I was in high school I loved to hear them on the radio. When I was a senior in high school the radio station had a contest. Listeners were invited to submit their names to win the newest Gaither's album. We were told the announcer would draw a name on a particular date. Imagine the thrill I felt when I heard my name announced as the winner! (I'm sure my name was mispronounced but I was able to recognize it.) The bonus - it was a double album and included some of my favorites: "He Touched Me", "Something Beautiful", "Because He Lives" and a lot more! I'm sure I wore that double album out! I don't commonly win prizes in contests but this was the best I could have ever won and remains a fond memory to this day!
"Bind us Together Lord" (With Lyrics) Video
"We are one in the bond of love" Video
"All the People Said Amen" Video Matt Maher
''We Won't Be Shaken" Video Building 429
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is most famous for the 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees.
Near the redwood grove we drove by the Felton Covered Bridge, one of the few remaining covered bridges in California. It is the tallest covered bridge in the United States. Ester took this photo 4 years ago with the bright foliage.
(Click to enlarge)
Our neighbor Christian is finishing up his corn harvest in a field up the road from our house.
Click on photo to enlarge
How's this for a family photo!
Our longtime friends Mike and Kathy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary several years ago and met with their children and grandchildren in California, all managing to fit on this huge Sequoia tree stump. (Actually it looks like there's room to spare!)
(Click to enlarge)
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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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