Friday, July 27, 2018

...it all hinges on a tree

In the Garden of Eden, God put everything in place to take care of His creation. He gave us the fruit of every tree except one--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan knows Scripture, and he knows humanity. He twisted God's command, playing into the idea that God is keeping the good stuff from us and setting up a list of rules we have to follow. He preyed on human pride--you are smart enough to decide right from wrong; you don't need God to tell you what to do.

With the fruit from that first tree, sin entered the world.

...it all hinges on a tree. The blood poured from the raw, open flesh on Jesus' back and soaked into the wood of the cross that He was forced to carry to Golgotha. The sacrificial Lamb took on the weight of all the sins of mankind and carried that burden to a second tree. His death bridged the gap between humanity and God that had been created when sin entered the world.

With His death on that tree, sin was paid for.

...it all hinges on a tree. In the new Jerusalem, a river that shines like crystal flows out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. This river flows down and splits the street. A more spectacular view in my opinion, though, is the tree of life. This tree is so big that it straddles the river and stands on both banks. Its leaves provide healing, and it grows 12 different types of fruit that grow all year long. Throughout eternity, we will no longer have to toil under the curse of sin.

With the fruit of that tree, God's children will live forever with Him.

...it all hinges on a tree.

Friday, July 13, 2018

faith like a dog

Dogs are pretty incredible. It doesn't take much to make them happy--the smallest pat on the head, and they're good. Our two follow us everywhere, even when it is 95 degrees and sunny and they would be much more comfortable hanging out in the shade with the goats. They go blackberry picking with me, even though they don't eat blackberries. Stella is on my heels first thing in the morning when I go up to milk, and she follows me back to the barn every evening. Knute thinks the best place in the world is beside me.

I don't have to convince them to follow. I don't have to tell them where I'm going or what my plan is. If I get on to them, they know they've done something wrong and want nothing more than to please me again. "Good dog" makes their day. They greet me with tails wagging every time I come home, no matter how much (or how little) time has passed. They would follow me into danger if I told them to, even though they wouldn't understand my reasoning. They see mas as their master, and that's good enough of a reason to do anything I tell them.

God, give me the faith of my dogs. Help me to trust You to take care of me simply because You are my Master and You have promised to provide for me. Give me the desire to want nothing more than to be close to You--not because I want something from You, but just because being close to You is the best place in the world. Help me to follow You, to go where You go even when it would be more comfortable to stay where things are easy. Make pleasing You the desire of my heart--not because I have something to earn, but just because I long to hear "Well done" when this life is over. Let me come to You with joy every time I meet with you, simply because You are the One who makes my heart joyful. Let me see you as my Master and trust that You have my best interests in mind when You lead me, even when I don't understand Your reasoning.

***Thanks, Pop, for using this illustration. It has stuck with me for quite a while now...

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