Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Oak Tree

From a Hallmark card I received this week
from a life-long friend:

I apologize, but I am new at the rules of writing and posting.
After posting the writing from a Hallmark card,
a writer friend advised to take down the post
without first contacting Hallmark for permission.

The Oak Tree

If you are going through trials and tests of faith lately like I have, then I hope you will find this message of encouragement a blessing as I did.

How blessed it 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,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalms 1:1-3

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Are Your Roots Bitter?

One of the key activities I do after a good rain is pull the weeds in my flowerbeds. No, this is not my favorite thing to do but it is the best time to do it. The ground is soft and the tops of the weed as well as the roots come out easily. I have learned if you can’t pull the roots out too then you are making extra work for yourself. The remaining roots will regenerate new weed growth very quickly. All the while you will be thinking… didn’t I just weed that bed?

First in the natural then in the spiritual…(I Corinthians 15:46)

Isn’t it the same way in the spiritual realm? The Rain of Revelation comes to us from the Scriptures about a root of bitterness. The rain could have come during our time alone with God, a penetrating sermon, or a close friend’s counsel. We know that something has to be done about our attitudes and actions. We have tried just forgetting about it or telling ourselves it really doesn’t matter anyway. However, trying to pull away the despised memory without getting to the hidden root cause means we will have to deal with the whole ugly situation when the hurt surfaces again. 

Paul mentions the ‘root of bitterness’ in Hebrews.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God;
that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble,
and by it many may become defiled;
(Hebrew 12:15)

How does bitterness start? By someone taking an offense and then choosing not to forgive. At times genuine wrongs are done to us and then we have to deal with the consequences. Other times, an incident is just a misunderstanding but we choose to believe that the action was intentional. Either case, if we continue to rehearse and nurse the wrong (while seeking others approval), then the root of bitterness will develop and spread. Kind of like a fisherman’s exaggerated stories about the size of his catch. If left unchecked, bitterness will manifest in every area of your life including our health. If we act forgiving on the outside without a change of heart on the inside, then the roots will remain and the bitterness will surface again. The longer the roots remain the deeper they will grow and the harder they will be to pull.

However, when we choose to begin the process of forgiving no matter what the circumstances are or how long ago it happened, then we free ourselves as well as the others involved. When we forgive, we do not leave any “heart” ground for the bitter roots to form and a new grace-filled relationship can begin again.

Do you have a root of bitterness in your life? If so, today could be a great day to begin weeding. If it seems too difficult for you to handle alone, then seek wise godly counsel.With grace, determination and perseverance, the weed can be eradicated forever. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

John Quincy Adams: The 2nd Not The 4th!

John Adams' famous letter of July 3, 1776, in which he wrote to his wife Abigail what his thoughts were about celebrating the Fourth of July is found on various web sites but is usually incorrectly quoted. Following is the exact text from his letter with his original spellings:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

(The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

Writing that letter was an act of celebration. Does anyone know how it became July 4th instead of July 2nd?

As we celebrate this 4th of July:

Let us remember our history with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Let us not forget all those who paid the cost to birth this nation and those who continue to insure our freedom today.

Let us pray and continue to believe that this country will meet the destiny that God designed for her when she was created.

I pray you have a blessed and prosperous day!

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee's resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 "will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival" and that the celebration should include "Pomp and Parade...Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other." On July 4th, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence. 

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826--the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.