Before you begin, I urge you to find your own bible and read the passage, see what the Almighty says to you before you listen to me.
I love my apple tree. It celebrates spring with flowers that awaken the bees from their winter nap. In the summer she provides rest in her lush shade. But in autumn there are apples. Some sweet, some refreshing in their pucker power. Bright reds and yellows that call my eyes, from a distance.
I’ve been to the desert like dunes in summer. The “trees” there are like bushes, but even inland bushes are more lush then the junipers at the beach where the water is too salty for life and the winds too harsh for lush growth. The berries of the juniper are rejected by most of the birds. Crafters collect them to scent their candles but not to sustain life.
In this morning’s devotion, Jeremiah 17:5-10, believers are compared to trees. Those who are dependent upon strength in the flesh are said to be like those junipers of the dunes. They just survive, stunted, unable to even give shade in the heat of summer. Not only fruitless, even their leaves are prickly. The juniper is like a Christian who is an off grid prepper, the rugged individual with his gun at his side instead of the sword of the Spirit to protect himself and his meager provisions. He does not think about his mission to rescue those who perish. Instead he see the needy as predators rather then those sent by the Almighty for mutual blessing and aid.
There are believers who put their hope in the Almighty, their confidence is in the provision of God, with thanksgiving. They are like a lush tree planted near water. Unafraid for themself while the rest of the world is tested by harsh conditions, this believer still blossoms with hope, protects others in the shade of their healing leaves and gives abundantly of their fruit (Love, joy, kindness, gentle self-control, patience, goodness, and a bubbling faithfulness that the Creator has put them here to serve others instead of living simply to survive. Galatians 5:22-23)
In Malachi 3:10, the Almighty issues a loving challenge for us to give. Try to give more than you think God can. Throw down! You will not be able to keep up with his blessing. The trouble with us is that our hearts lie to us. Our own heart tells us that if we give then there will not be enough for us. If we give stuff away we will not have enough to live. “God helps those who help them-self.” That is the old way of thinking, but the Almighty has given you a new heart and a new mind. You may have a difficult time trusting that new way of living, the way that gives and gives because you are an arm of blessing from the Almighty. There was a time when taking care of yourself because no one else will was how you lived, but no more. Now you have a benefactor, a provider who wants to use you to make others rich. Test him and see for yourself. I am.
Mrs. Hagerty, September 18, 2015