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Posts Tagged ‘Jeremiah 17:7-8’

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When Steve and I moved from South Florida to north of Tampa, we were delighted to see the abundance of live oak trees. Each one reaches wide with graceful, curving branches that outline intriguing free-form shapes.

Live oaks can grow to be eighty feet tall and just as broad over a life-span of hundreds of years.  The key to their longevity is their root system, which reaches down into the soil about four feet, and extends laterally to ninety feet. Such depth and width offers strong support for the tree.

Of course, roots also provide water and nutrients. A mature oak can take in more than fifty gallons of water per day, much of which evaporates and keeps the tree cool.

Such facts give me greater understanding and appreciation for Jeremiah 17:7-8.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.”

Doesn’t that sound satisfying and peaceful? Yet too often I’ve been more like a tumbleweed in the desert—dry, flitting here and there, and anything but peaceful.

Tumbleweed

How do I turn my tumbleweed self into a mature, flourishing tree?

The secret is in the roots. Oak tree roots grow wide and deep; tumbleweeds have none.

I have to send out my roots into the soil of God’s Word. That’s where the nutrients of strength, wisdom, and encouragement will come from. The deeper and wider my knowledge, the more empowered I’ll be to withstand the buffeting challenges of life.

The soil also represents God’s love (Ephesians 3:17-18). I must learn about my loving Heavenly Father and spend time with him in order to know him. As intimacy develops, trust grows.

And when roots grow deep into God’s Word and his love, when we practice his presence, we can remain strong when life turns up the heat…

  • When our kids make foolish choices
  • When the boss’s high expectations ratchet up a few more notches
  • When the paycheck will not stretch another penny
  • When a disagreement becomes an impasse
  • When a decision must be made and the pros and cons swim endlessly in our heads

We express our trust by affirming what we know about God. And we affirm our confidence in him by reviewing his promises–not once a day in a quick morning prayer, but moment by moment.

Roots are continually absorbing water and nutrients. We must do the same by praising and thanking God all day long. Even our concerns can be expressed with praise and gratitude:

“Father, I lift up _______ to you as he looks for another job. We are trusting you to provide, knowing that those who seek you lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10). Our hope is in you because no one who hopes in you is put to shame (25:3). I thank you that he is looking to you, God, and seeking your path. You are a good and upright God; you will instruct ______ in the way you have chosen for him (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Hallelujah!”

As our roots grow deep, our spirits can reach high and strong like live oak branches — in adoration and praise for our trustworthy God.

I am DONE with tumbleweed living!  How about you?

(Photo credits:  www.nativetreesociety.org; http://www.sonoragardensinc.com)

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Let’s take a walk down to the river, you and I. It won’t take long—I know how busy you are…

…You’ll come? Splendid!

It’s much too lovely a day to stay indoors anyway. See how the sunshine fairly dances across the mounds of bright white clouds? And look how the yellow asters and violets seem to vie for attention in the grass.

Listen! Before we even glimpse the river through the trees, we can hear the water gurgling over the rocks.

Ah-h-h. Feel that cool air? These grand, shady oaks grow especially lush by the river.

English: River under the Trees The River Erme ...

River under the Trees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here we are! I told you it wouldn’t take long. Let’s sit on these rocks for a moment.

Isn’t it peaceful? The only sounds are the burbling eddies and the distant chirping of a few birds. Must be nap time for the woodland creatures.

The water currents are moving at a slow, steady pace today. Look how the sun glints off the gentle ripples, like tiny stars on liquid sky.

What is it about water that we find so appealing? Why does a vista of calm waters also calm our spirits?

Reflection of trees in river

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such questions bring to mind a scripture about God being like a river.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (Psalm 46:4).

Those of us who love God are the inhabitants of the city, made glad by the streams of the God River.

But how is God like a river?

One, he is our resting place, much as this river offers a quiet retreat. Just reflecting on a few of his names can calm our hearts. He is our Shepherd—caring and protective, he is our Rock—reliable and strong, he is our Father—loving and kind.

Just to name a few.

English: Sheep, Eden Brows. Woods descend to t...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two, God’s grace (all of his riches) comes to us like the water of this river, in an unending flow. And much as we delight in this scenic view of drifting water and majestic trees, God’s exquisite grace cheers our hearts again and again.

But to enjoy the river fully, we have to sit on its banks. We have to look and listen with focused attention.  Otherwise we’ll miss much of its beauty.

The same is true of God’s grace.

So sit quietly. Turn over in your mind the glorious treasures of his grace, and inspect them:

• Inexhaustible love

• Unmerited favor

• Total forgiveness

• Eternal bliss in heaven

Sunbeams

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

• Lavish provision

• Unfailing empowerment

• Delightful blessings

• Dazzling transformation

And again, this list is just a sampling.

Last, consider these grand oak trees. They, too, offer appropriate imagery of another Bible passage about rivers.

English: River Add through the trees

“Blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season”
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG).

*     *     *     *      *     *     *      *     *     *

Oh, Lord, thank you for your peace and grace that flow unending like a great river. I reaffirm my trust in you. My heart’s desire is to be like one of these trees– spiritually strong, serene, and calm—no matter what happens. And I want to bear fruit, to grow qualities that reflect you. As I seek to send my roots deep into the soil of your Word, guide my thoughts and actions.  Because most of all, I want to honor you.

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