Green Wood or Dry Wood?

But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’    Luke 23:28-30

For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?  Luke 23:31

 

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ὑγρός

hygros

wet (as if with rain), i.e. (by implication) sappy (fresh):—green

 

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ξηρός

xēros

(through the idea of scorching); arid; by implication, shrunken, earth (as opposed to water):—dry land, withered.

Pilate has turned Jesus over to the people to be crucified.

The innocent, the unblemished Lamb, the Holy One, the One without sin…if they crucify this One, Christ Jesus, then what will they do to the ones who have sin, are guilty, are the withered ones?

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.  John 5:3

Those who are less than perfect, which is all of us…

Those who are withered as dry wood, the man with the withered hand, those with withered, old skin, those who are less than physically whole…

Where do we stand in this scenario?  We are not the green, new wood of Jesus. We are, in ways of our own, the ones who are less than He is, by far.  Yet, there are ways to remain near to Jesus and return to Him where He sits at the right hand of God.

If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  John 15:6

Let us…

come to Jesus as our LORD, our Savior

know that He died and rose again

abide in Him

obey Him

love Him

love others

be planted in the waters of the Lord

yield fruit that glorifies God

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  Psalm 1:3

LORD Jesus, teach me Your ways so that when my days are numbered I may return to You for You have called me.  May I be steadfast in my walk beside You, obedient in Your way.  May I stand near and learn from You so that I may glorify our Father in Heaven.  LORD, I want to be planted in You, my Living Water, quenched in the richness of Your Word.  May this tree bloom, seed, and become the fruit of love and joy, of peace and patience, of kindness, goodness, and faithfulness, of gentleness, and self-control.  May the fruit of righteousness come through You, my Christ, to me so that I may give glory and honor and praise to God.  May I walk in Your light for this fruit is found in all that is good, right, and true.  I want to be pleasing to You, taking no part in unfruitful works of darkness.  Your Word is a lamp unto my feet.  It is a light unto my path, keeping me upright and on the narrow path.  I pray all of this, LORD.  This is not an easy road, but it is the one I desire for all the days of my life.  In You, the Bright, Shining Star, I pray.  Amen. 

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Photo:  One Tree Hill:  http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/green/images/19839104/title/one-tree-hill-d-wallpaper

Photo:  Black and White of Dry Treehttp://www.wallconvert.com/wallpapers/photography/dry-tree-3475.html

Sheep and Shepherds

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

רָעָה

ra`ah

shepherd

to tend a flock; i.e. pasture it; intransitively, to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension, to associate with (as a friend):—× break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdman, keep (sheep) (-er), pastor, shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.

occurs 173 times in 144 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV

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I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:11

ποιμήν

poimēn

a shepherd (literally or figuratively):—shepherd, pastor

occurs 18 times in 17 verses in the Greek concordance of the KJV

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Sheep do not have the ability to survive on their own.  They:

  • graze the same area until the pasture is destroyed.
  • pollute the same ground until it breeds dangerous parasites.
  • drink whatever water is available, clear or contaminated.
  • are fearful and become aggravated which can lead to improperly digesting foods.
  • are timid.
  • and can be stubborn.

They need a shepherd.

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Christians are compared to sheep quite frequently in God’s Word.

We wander down paths of our own devising rather than follow God’s way for our lives.  We delve into false beliefs.  We drink from unhealthy waters, figuratively.  We can be stubborn and fight against God’s best.

Looking at the natural habits of sheep when left on their own can be a reflection of ourselves.

Jesus is our Shepherd.  He is the Christ, the Son of God.  He created me and you.  Who better to care for me, for us?  He cared more than anything for the likes of me when He went to Calvary.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

We are capable of doing right, yet often fail in our attempts using our own strength.  We drink waters of the world rather than the Living Water.  We live in fear rather than trusting in Him Who is trustworthy.  We wander away from our Maker and do not listen for His still, small voice directing us in the way in which we should go.

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 9:36

Jesus is our faithful Shepherd, gentle, caring, and, yet, stern.

A shepherd owns his sheep and marks them with his special mark to determine ownership.  He will cut a notch, a distinctive mark, into his sheep’s ear while placing one ear on a wooden block.

In the Old Testament, Exodus 21, this was also done to a slave in a Hebrew household who chose, of his own free will, to become a lifetime member of that home.  His master/owner would take him to the door, put his ear lobe against the door post and, with an awl, puncture a hole through the ear.  He was marked.

1 “Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.  Exodus 21:1-6

We, as Christ’s, bear the mark of the Cross.  Jesus has authority over me.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  Matthew 16:24

We need the Good Shepherd, the One Who truly is our Shepherd.

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  11 I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  14 I am the good Shepherd.  I know My own and My own know Me, 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice.  So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.  John 10:7-16

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Father God, You gave Your One and Only Son to pay the price for my iniquities.  Thank You so very much.  

As one of Your children, I so want to please You.  Carrying my cross daily and following Jesus is my call.  And I want that to always be my call.  I am grateful for being willing and able, for the sake of the Gospel.  I follow.  It is a privilege, LORD.  A privilege.  

As a sheep, I would wish that I were not so vulnerable, but I am.  It is by staying in Your Word, by listening to and for You, by praying, that I can remain in Your fold.  I know that the good Shepherd guards the gateway so that I remain safe.  He watches for the wolves, protecting me.  I am dependent upon Jesus and look to Him.  I am sorry for my past periods of straying away.  I am here now.  I must stay close for His protection is vital to my life.  Thank You, Father.  I lift up in prayer those who stray or are lost or have not yet found the Shepherd.  May they hear Your Voice and come to You before it is too late.  I have family and friends in those places and I so want them with us in Heaven.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Photo of shepherd and sheep

Photo of John 10

Cultivate

cultivate1280-1-560x448What is the life God desires of me? … His life, His life in me. And just what is that?

I walk with Him. I listen to Him. I know in part but one day will know in full what my life should/could have been. I pray I will walk the remainder of my life, growing more and more like Him, towards Him, each and every day.

Give ear, and hear my voice;

Give ear, and hear my voice;

give attention, and hear my speech.

Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?

Does he continually open and harrow his ground?

When he has leveled its surface,

does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,

and put in wheat in rows

and barley in its proper place,

and emmer as the border?

For he is rightly instructed;

his God teaches him.

 

How can I ‘cultivate’ this life…this life God desires of me?

  • tilling the soil
  • planting the seeds
  • watering the earth
  • keeping the weeds out and away from the new sprouts
  • harvesting the crop

cultivation

(ˌkʌltɪˈveɪʃən)

1. (Agriculture) agriculture

a. the planting, tending, improving, or harvesting of crops or plants
b. the preparation of ground to promote their growth
 
2. development, esp through education, training, etc

3. culture or sophistication, esp social refinement

How do I take this picture and make it mine?

  • The soil is me.  I am tilled up by reading God’s Word.  I listen for His instruction.  I pray.
  • The seeds are for planting; God’s thoughts, God’s Word, God’s Way are those seeds to be planted in fertile, moist soil. By knowing His Word, hearing His voice, waiting upon Him, I become the type of soil where the roots can take hold.
  • I never thirst for I have the Living Water.  Staying close to Jesus is how those seeds come to fruition.
  • The weeds, the tares, are not to get a foothold.  By staying in the Word and in communion with God allows the seeds to grow and keeps satan away.
  • Harvest time is a continuous time as the seeds are of every different part of growing that God wants for me.  He knows the possibilities in me for growthSo today, I may be able to harvest patience.  Tomorrow, I may harvest extra love.  I may also need some faith every day.  To harvest may be to serve, or to pray, or to wait, or to be gentle.  So many wonderful plants and fruits of the harvest.  Thus harvesting is ongoing and on-growing.

Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,

nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,

but dill is beaten out with a stick,

and cumin with a rod.

Does one crush grain for bread?

No, he does not thresh it forever;

when he drives his cart wheel over it

with his horses, he does not crush it.

This also comes from the Lord of hosts;

he is wonderful in counsel

and excellent in wisdom.

Isaiah 28:23-29 ESV


God uses the perfect tool for each task.  His counsel is what I need to cultivate the life that He desires for me.  His counsel calls me to pray.  He calls me to be still.  He wants my ear.  He also wants my mouth to hold fast to wait for Him.  He wants my obedience, my love, my humbleness, my honor.  He wants me in His hands like clay.
The life of God in me is, hopefully, that of respect, quietness, and gentleness.  It is that of service by His hand, not of mine, or that out of guilt.  He is the Farmer, the Potter, the Creator.  I want Him to be glorified in all I am, in all I do.  May it be so, Father God.  Amen.

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Hungry? Thirsty?

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Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
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So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

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And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

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