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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 3:17’

Check out this baby oak tree. Isn’t it adorable, sporting those glossy, miniature leaves on its spindly stem?

 

 

Every other spring or so our yard becomes a forest of miniature oak sprouts, peeping up over the grass. They’re birthed from the thousands of acorns produced by our neighbor’s mammoth oak tree.

Not so adorable by the dozens. They look like weeds. Thankfully most of them stop growing after being mowed down again and again.

But then there are the acorns that squirrels diligently plant among the bushes, plants, and flowers in front of the house—sometimes right at the base. A sincere effort is required to dig them all out, because their taproots grow surprisingly deep for such tiny trees.

 

 

Of course there’s good reason to reach deep. The developing oak must absorb moisture and minerals for the monumental growth that’s ahead (should the sprout be allowed to mature, that is!). The deep root also provides support for the above-ground portion.

Perhaps these two purposes were on Paul’s mind as he encouraged the Ephesian Christians to be “rooted and established in God’s love” (3:17).

But how do those root-tasks of absorbing and supporting relate particularly to God’s love?

Actually, “love” is a perfect choice for Paul’s metaphor because so many of God’s attributes come to us out of his love—such attributes as his mercy, forgiveness, grace, patience, compassion, faithfulness, goodness, attentiveness, and generosity.

 

 

To be rooted in God’s love is to draw sustenance from all that he is, in order to grow into all we can be (Isaiah 61:3b). In addition, God’s love provides stability against the winds of trouble.

Such nourishment and support for our spiritual lives is essentially found in his Word, the Bible. That’s where we learn about the many facets of God’s love:

  • His mercy—so abundant it covers every sin (Psalm 86:15)
  • His forgiveness—so complete it washes us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)
  • His grace—so generous it overflows (Romans 5:17)
  • His patience—so extreme, he endures our pride and self-will, waiting for us to come to him (2 Peter 3:9)
  • His compassion—so reliable it never fails (Lamentations 3:22)
  • His faithfulness—so vast it reaches to the skies (Psalm 36:5)
  • His goodness—so great he has to store it up (Psalm 31:19)
  • His attentiveness—so individualized he knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7)
  • His generosity—so magnanimous he supplies every need—and then some (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 40:5)

 

 

Like a far-reaching root system, this network of truths about God’s love supplies nourishing strength and firm support—especially during the winds of crisis like we’re enduring right now.

God’s love also sustains us against fear and uncertainty. Again, his comfort and assurance are found in the Bible—familiar passages like Psalm 23, Psalm 56:3-4, and Philippians 4:6-7.

But there are many more—very appropriate for these days of battle against the corona virus.

For example:

Are you wondering whether you can endure until it’s over?

 

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,

who daily bears our burdens.”

–Psalm 68:14

 

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you;

you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.”

–Psalm 59:16-17

 

(And don’t forget Matthew 6:26-27!)

 

Do worries refuse to budge from your thoughts?

 

“When anxiety was great within me

your consolation brought me joy.”

–Psalm 94:19*

 

Are there difficulties to be overcome?

 

“Lord, hear my prayer,

listen to my cry for mercy;

in your faithfulness and righteousness

come to my relief…

…Let the morning bring me words

of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you I entrust my life.”

–Psalm 143:1, 8

 

 

Reach deep into the rich soil of God’s loving assurance, provided among the pages of his Word.

The result will be peace (Isaiah 26:3).

 

*What does that last line mean?  Just what we’re seeking to accomplish in this post:  joyful consolation through the contemplation of God’s attributes, affirmations, and promises.

 

Photo credits:  http://www.pxfuel.com; http://www.commons.wikipedia.org; http://www.pxfuel.com; http://www.maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com; http://www.pickpik.com; http://www.peakpx.com.

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Last weekend I soaked up the cool, crisp atmosphere of autumn in the Pacific Northwest.

The warmth of sunshine compensated for the chill in the air.

Grand trees displayed their fall finery of vermillion, pumpkin orange, and gold.

Birds sang cheery farewells, assuring us they’d be back in the spring.

A chipmunk even scampered close to where I stood, paused for a moment, then leap-hopped to a nearby tree.

And ten other women who love to write, draw, and/or create in other ways gathered at the Grunewald Guild in Plain, Washington, to learn, be inspired and encouraged.

Our very capable facilitators, Jody Lee Collins* and Kimberlee Conway Ireton* pushed our thinking and stretched our creativity. One activity: poetry-writing.

Yes, it was a bit intimidating at first. The likes of John Milton, Charles Wesley, and Christina Rossetti always leave me awestruck by their prowess and power with words.

But Kimberlee challenged us to give it a try, jump-starting us with samples, a quick lesson on alliteration (words within a line that begin with the same sound), and a framework to build upon.

We all began our poems with “Glory to God for…” and ended with “Praise him,” based on “Pied Beauty” by another stellar poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins.

For the lines in between, Kimberlee spread out on two tables hundreds of words, printed on slips of paper, suggesting we search for those that shimmer with possibilities, and build a poem from the ideas that bubble up. We were given twenty to thirty minutes.

I found several pairs that sparked ideas: garb and garden, mystery and memory, shift and sheen.

But several false starts soon left me discouraged.

Oh-oh.  I’m going to be poem-less! I thought. How embarrassing. Lord, help me find SOMETHING!

He did. Wisdom and woods caught my attention, and I began to write:

Glory be to God for

The wisdom of the woods –

Proclaiming perseverance

Through drought and storm,

Demonstrating ongoing praise

With outstretched limbs,

Growing steadily year by year –

Roots deep, leaves green,

Fruit in abundance.

He enables, provides, attends.

Praise Him.

It’s not Milton, that’s for sure. But I personally love the visual connection between the words that shimmered on the table, wisdom and woods, and the scenic wooded property of the Grunewald Guild – two delightful memories of the weekend entwined by imagery.

Oh.  And one more aspect of the weekend is woven into the lines — the theme for the weekend:  Abide (John 15:1-11).

*Do visit Jody’s and Kimberlee’s blogs; you’ll be glad you did. Meet Jody at Three Way Light (http://threewaylight.blogspot.com) and Kimberlee at Kimberlee Conway Ireton (http://www.kimberleeconwayireton.net/).

(Photo credit:  Nancy Ruegg)

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