Sunday, May 19, 2013

Like Trees Firmly Planted

Psalm 1:1-3 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

This weekend I went on a Scout camp out with my son, Jonny, and had the privilege of seeing his patrol win the overall event competition and the breakfast competition. His troop had not fared well at these camporees in several years, and they were very excited at the campfire last night when they were recognized with both wins. But the competitions were only a part of the program. The campground we were in is a National Forest campground and one where the forest service had done a lot of maintenance on the trees and undergrowth. But with the work also came the need to clean up a lot of the leftover stuff remaining on the ground. It was the task of the various troops there to make the campsites look like campsites again, and all of the units there did an excellent job. Our campsite looked like a series of mounds with little space to pitch a tent, and when we left it was actually one in which we would gladly set up camp.  We left not only very pleased with the boys and their effort, but with the great joy of seeing how well they worked together to accomplish those goals which had been set before them.

Myself, I was afforded a privilege by being asked to bring a Sunday morning message to the units who remained. We started our program with two boys walking in wearing regular clothes and sitting down at the large tree in the front of the chapel area. One of them had a prop which was a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag, and the other a prop of white cardstock rolled like a cigarette with the end rubbed with charcoal for realism. They walked in and sat down and embraced their roles in front of the people who were waiting for the service to begin. Next came a Scout wearing his uniform. At first he walked past the other two boys shaking his head, but then he turned around and came back. As he came back he stood there for a moment rubbing his chin and thinking before again walking off. But he didn’t stay gone long, as he quickly turned around, came back, sat down, and took the fake cigarette looking straight into the eyes of the audience has he pretended a puff. You could hear the gasps from some who were looking on.

Having their attention, we spent the rest of our brief time talking about choices, the choices they made even the day before both in service and in competition, but also the choices they make in life. As a text we looked at Psalm 1:1-3, where in verse one, we have a similar situation as that of introductory drama. But then in verse two we looked at the importance of being guided by God’s Word, and by choice letting His Word shape our lives. As Scouts I also reminded them that much of what shaped our Scouting principles are those things consistent with how the Bible says we should live. But the greatest determinant in our lives of how we should live is found in the Bible. It is here that we learn about God, even about us, and how we are to live before him and others.

Then we moved to verse three, where it speaks of being like a tree firmly planted who does not wither and bears fruit in its season. I shared with them the extreme privilege we have of being able to go out and experience these trees we camped under. But also as we looked off into the mountains we could see trees that did not make it. Whether it was by disease or fire, there is the realization that not all trees make it just as in life neither do all people. Then they were challenged to consider who and what they were going to allow to shape their lives and guide their steps. As for me, I told them that it was going to be God and His words as recorded in the Bible.

Today Sarah writes about our security regardless of our feelings. Feelings can be fleeting and even misleading. As with the young Scout in our drama, he didn’t really stop to think. Worse than that, he had not determined in advance how he was going to walk and to whose voice he was going to listen. As such, the feelings and inclinations of the moment were left to determine his steps and possibly, if reality, even his direction. Our real hope is found in our God, and in the relationship we have with Him because of what His Son did on the cross. In Christ our future is guaranteed and His presence is certain.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (5/19)

I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. You are on your way to heaven; nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination. There you will see Me face to Face, and your Joy will be off the charts by any earthly standards. Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through eyes of faith. I will walk with you till the end of time, and onward into eternity.

Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings. Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

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