Friday, December 6, 2013

Adorning Our Tree: God is Our Rock

I am blessed to have my wonderful husband share with you today.   I pray that you will be encouraged by him as much as I am.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I was captured by the truck loaded with Christmas trees heading down the highway.  Then the thought occurred to me; "Here we go again, Christmas items already and we haven't even been able to give thanks."  
 
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 Days later as I was walking into the grocery, I saw them again; row after row of live Christmas trees on display ready to be placed into someone's home.  As I looked at all the trees, I couldn't help but think that in a month these trees will be thrown out to the curb or burnt up out back.  These trees have taken years to grow so that they can be cut down and decorated for a month's worth of pleasure.  Understand I do not think the trees have feelings and they were euthanized to early in their life when they could have enjoyed freedom on some mountain top.   I am not going to start making signs and picketing the tree farms so that these trees can have a better life.  I do realize God has given us beautiful things for us to enjoy in this world.  A triangular shaped evergreen can and does give us pleasure in sight and smell.  However, as I think about these trees burning in January in someone's back yard, I am reminded of what Jesus said about us as trees: "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matthew 7:19). 

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 Of course this verse in found sandwiched in the "Sermon of the Mount" where Jesus explains to his audience what Kingdom life looks like and ends this speech by telling us that "everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24). We will come back to this rock idea, but in the current time I want to stress some thoughts.  We will be known by our fruit (Matthew 7:20) and good fruit is connected directly with our obedience to Christ.  So out with the tree...right? After all, it has some pagan background mixed with some Christian beliefs.  We don't want false idols influencing our walk with the Lord!  The Christmas hype has robbed Christ of his birthday! I could go on, but I'll spare you, because that is not my intention.  

Instead I want to inspire you rather than make you perspire about all the changes you must do to your already decorated home.  Are there ways of intentionally decorating our dwellings so that it would remind us of the truths of God concerning Christmas?  We know, "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut. 6:9).  Out of context, but the idea is that Moses was trying to communicate to us that our lifestyle and surroundings should be used to teach us about God and His ways.

So this year the Warner family is setting out to put God's truths in front of us on our tree.  Every part of the setup will communicate something about our Savior.   As we surround ourselves with the truths of God and are obedient to those truths, our tree will bear fruit. This is an experiment in progress and we are not sure even what the end result will look like.  Join us on our adventure as we adorn ourselves with decorations that are worthy and of remembrance.

Symbol #1:  God is our Rock

Again Jesus said: "everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24).  As we build our collage of truths we are establishing them on the Rock as our foundation.  This understanding is built on the principle that God and Jesus are both communicated as being our Rock in the scriptures.

"For this is contained in Scripture:
Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, A precious corner stone,
and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
This is precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
"The stone which the builders rejected, 
This became the very corner stone,"
and, A stone stumbling and a rock of offense"; 
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were appointed.
(1 Peter 2:6-8)

Choice Stone, Precious Corner Stone, Precious value.  In the mind of the Jewish community in the days of Jesus these words spoke volumes.  Just about everything around them was built with stone.  Being very familiar with the trade of masonry they understood the imagery of an important cut of stone.

The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

That definition alone is enough, but as we talked about this with the kids, they described the rock as solid, strong, and stable.


Please understand how God communicates with us.  We are physical beings in a physical world and He uses physical, tangible objects to communicate truths about Himself.  The same realities to a mason experiences when he references the entire building off of a cornerstone when he lays a foundation, or the feeling you get when you know the rock underneath your feet will not move with the rushing waters.  Those realities you understand about a rock, God says, "I am that for you!"

"Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock."  Isaiah 26:4
 "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,  My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  Psalm 18:2
 "For who is God, besides the Lord? And who is a rock, besides our God?"  2 Samuel 22:32
"There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God."  1 Samuel 2:2
To read the rest of this series, please click on the links below:
"For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God,-The-Rock#sthash.PVaAL38y.dpuf
"For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God,-The-Rock#sthash.PVaAL38y.dpuf

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