On earth...

In Matt. 6:10, Jesus calls us to pray with words like this: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven." "On earth..." messages are the reflection of various local writers sharing common experiences in daily living and then guiding renewal of the mind and spirit from God's Word. It is scheduled to appear on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Looks can be deceiving          Send a link to a friend

By Stacey Martin

[July 30, 2007]  During this past week a tree on our property fell over, with the top landing near the pond. We have a lot of trees at our place, and the outer appearance of this tree, unlike the others, was deceptive. We had walked past the tree many times and thought it was doing pretty well, although it had at least 100-plus years on it. It was a mighty oak with leaves on most of the branches. The tree made it through harsh winters, hot summers and other types of adversity. By all appearances the tree was healthy.

Once the tree fell, we knew immediately that the outer appearance wasn't a sign of the inner health of the tree. Quite the contrary; the inner core was rotten with decay. There's an old song that goes something like this: "I shall not be, I shall not be moved. I shall not be, I shall not be moved. Just like a tree, planted by the waters, Lord, I shall not be moved." This tree wasn't moved of its own accord. It fell because the innermost being of the tree hadn't been nourished. In fact, after further inspection by my 8-year old, it was clear that carpenter ants had literally made a feast out of the inside of the tree.

When Drew stepped on the tree, he fell through the bark and was standing in the insides of the tree. When pressure was applied to the outer part of the tree, it crumbled.

What happens to you when pressure is applied to your being? Speaking from my own experience, I am honest when I say this: At times I crumble too. Even though all may appear solid on the outside, I have times when I haven't remained and dwelled in God's Word to remain nourished. When the storm came, I didn't weather it so well.

It causes me to wonder how God sees me. Does he view me as having a few branches with green leaves, yet find me with decay on the inside? I pray that is not the case, although at times I feel he must see me as just plain rotten on the inside.

When trees are planted by water, they grow at a steady pace. When trees are planted away from their water source, water must be carried to them.

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1 Peter 2 says we are to long for the pure milk of the Word, that by it we may grow in respect to salvation. The tree needed salvation; however, it couldn't find its savior. But that is not the case for you and me. We have hope and the freedom to go after nourishment. The nourishment is found in the Word of God and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. John 8:51 says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My Word he shall never see death."

As a child of Christ, we are to keep his Word as a means of true salvation and life in Christ. Jesus left us with his peace, not as the world gives, but as he gives. For man, it is much easier to go to work every day, knowing we will have a paycheck after a week of work, than it is to remain faithful to God's Word by abiding in it. The interesting thing is that a paycheck does not nourish the inner core of man; however, God's Word does.

When it rains on a tree, the water on the top of the tree falls to the leaves below for a final progression to the outer edge of the lower branches, called the drip line. The leaves are God's natural plan to nourish the roots of the tree. The drip line is in line with the roots of the tree below ground. God nourishes the trees and all of His creation.

God's plan for our nourishment is beyond amazing. Each time I read my Bible I am amazed at how fresh the words, or nutrients, are. He brought the nourishment to us through Jesus Christ and his perfectly sustaining Word.

If you need a place to start, I know many ministers suggest the book of John in the New Testament. I seem to direct people to the book of James because the first topic is the purpose of trials. We all have them, and God nourishes us with his wisdom in handling everyday life.

[Stacey Martin]

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