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Christian Blog Christian Living

The Oak in the Middle

As you approach an intersection, in one of my favorite neighborhoods, there’s a massive tree in the middle of the road.

I’ve driven by many times but never stopped. Until the other day. Curiosity got the best of me, so I parked my car and walked up under the expansive canopy.

A quick Google search told me the tree is a Burr Oak—a slow-growing hardwood that lives up to 400 years!

Now I realized why the powers-that-be built the road around this stately survivor. “Just how old are you?” I asked the tree. It didn’t answer, of course.😊

I decided to find out.

Another internet search yielded a formula to find the approximate age of a tree. I returned the next day to take the needed measurements. After plugging in the numbers, and doing the math, I had the answer: 260 years!

Kathlyn Tsang, at Tree of Healing Ministries wrote something recently that reminds me of the old oak tree’s endurance: “The sanctification process is a lifetime commitment.”

If God wants to grow an oak tree He’ll take a hundred years. This is the backdrop for what the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Philippi.

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose

Philippians 2:12b-13 (NIV)

Kind reader, if God can look after a tree for two-and-a-half centuries, then He can look after you and me. Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor “Isaiah 61:3b (NIV)
Categories
Christian Living love

The Power of Love

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I started my teaching career in 2004 at a small elementary school in southwest Oklahoma. Most of the children lived in poverty and embodied the term, “at risk.”

I quickly learned the majority of them were distrustful of adults; there would be little respect given up front–I had to earn it.

I will always remember a fourth grader named Jamie. She and her older brother struggled, both with academics and behavior.

Jamie sat sullen-faced in my music class most days and didn’t participate. A simple redirection, such as, “Please walk in line with the other students.” brought a sneer and half compliance.

Going toe-to-toe with Jamie wasn’t working. I needed a relational break through with her, and many other students. But how?

I stumbled onto the answer one morning when Jamie had a rare, good day in class. I wrote a note to her mother explaining how she played the tambourine and taught others how to play too. I also told mom her daughter was a born leader!

That was the break through. Going forward, Jamie became a positive role model in my class and the other students followed. Once she realized I truly cared about her, it made all the difference in the world.

Today, I look back on my rookie teacher days and shake my head with a grin. There was so much I got wrong that first year! But with God’s help I found the one thing that mattered most–unconditional love.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)

Kind reader, an unbelieving world, like Jamie, waits to see if Christians truly care. Do they see the unbounded love of God in our lives?

It could make all the difference.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Jesus, John 13:35 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. 🙏 prayers and ❤️ love.

Categories
Christian Blog Perseverance

Getting Things Done with God

The church where our little congregation meets was built in 1935. Now, to my friends in the UK, where there are churches and castles centuries old, 87 years isn’t all that much.😊

As you can see, the exterior of the church is getting a face lift. Over eight decades of south-central USA weather have taken their toll, especially on the original stained glass windows and roof. Things had gotten so bad, every time it rained, you could literally see the building disintegrating.

Many of us thought this renovation would never happen. Five years ago, we were told the estimated cost of the work was $1,000,000. And more damage has happened since then. A little background info: our church is a chapel on a US Army post; yearly budgets for religious support operations are routinely cut.

Further complicating things, every few years the post gets a new CG (Commanding General) and a new Installation Chaplain–a colonel who is over all the chapels and chaplains. Understandably, each of these leaders has their own opinion about how and where money should be spent.

Fast forward to our current CG and current Installation Chaplain. Last year, these two teamed up and found the money to fix the chapel. Praise God!

Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.

Nehemiah 2:17b (NIV)

Parallels between our deteriorating church building and the story of Nehemiah are plentiful. Here was a guy who shared God’s heart to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. So, he committed 100% to the goal and got the people to join him. There were obstacles and opposition along the way but Nehemiah, and the folks of Jerusalem, kept moving forward with their God-sized project.

So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height.

Nehemiah 4:6 (NIV)

Kind reader, is there a God-sized opportunity in your life that is half-way-there? Then commit, or recommit yourself to accomplish the work–with God’s help. While you’re at it, inspire others to come along side. You’ll both be glad you did!

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

Nehemiah 6:15 (NIV)

I’m not sure how long our building restoration will take, but at some point we will have our beautiful chapel back–good as new. And all this happened because two guys and God set their hearts to make it so!

I close with a quote from the highest ranking CG ever:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Jesus-Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love.