Sunday, August 8, 2010

Higher and Higher...............

It's Sunday again! This morning with my church group we had a wonderful discussion around trees, plants, and other living things. We talked about how God gives life to even the tiniest seeds, and provides the soil, sun and rain that they require to grow up out of the ground, and bear fruit and flowers.

Bill and Ethel talked about how they had found a quaint motel on their weekend getaway last week. It was located on the water, and on that Sunday morning they had sat looking out over the water, at the horizon in the distance. In the forest that was there, they noticed one tree that stood out from the rest, due to its great height. Ethel remarked how it seemed to be reaching up to the sky, and how all plant life did the same. It's as though they reach up to heaven, knowing that is where their life comes from.

Bill mentioned how some seeds even remain dormant for many years, till just the right time when they spring to life. I then mentioned how I had just seen a portion of a film the day before that explained how in Death Valley, the hottest place on earth, there is still rainfall that causes new life to cover ground that was formerly parched and barren. And in that place, seeds that have been dead for 20 or 30 years will sprout with the rainfall, resulting in beautiful foliage.

We talked about how like dormant, dead seeds our hearts are, until the Holy Spirit comes and waters them, and brings them to life. They are dead in trespasses and sins, unable to grow in grace or holiness, or bear fruit for God. But once Holy Spirit regenerates us, we are just like those plants growing up from seeds, and those mighty oaks that devlop from tiny acorns. Just as they reach up to the sky, toward the sun and the rain, we reach out to our Saviour, our Father, and the Holy Spirit. We are fed and watered, and grow deep roots, being rooted and grounded in love and grace.

The Christian life is one of looking up. We fix our eyes on Jesus, set our minds on things above, and keep looking up for our redemption that is drawing near. Our hearts turn away from sin and self, and toward God, just as plants turn to face the sun, needing its warmth and bright rays to grow. Increasingly, we think less of our own selves, and more of Christ. He has become to us "wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption." (1 Cor. 1:30b) We have been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph. 1:3) Knowing that we are citizens of Heaven, and that we are strangers, aliens here on earth, we realize more and more that our lives here are but for an instant, compared to the eternity we will spend in Glory.

Nature displays God's amazing creativity, and we can draw many lessons from the wide variety of species with whom we co-exist. I never grow weary of meditating on God's providential care for all of His creation, and how He is made known through it to all of mankind. May He speak to you through His handiwork today!


Anonymous said...

Three Trees....

The Bible can be seen as the story of three trees. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the first. It was a beautiful and lush tree of Paradise with vibrant fruit. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise. . .” But, despite its beauty and desirous fruit, it was forbidden forever to mankind: "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." But by coveting and by theft Adam and Eve ate of it. “Thou shalt not steal.” And, “Thou shalt not covet” their sinful children must now be told. Since we were all in our first parents, we all lost our lives with them because we all became sinners through the effect of that tree. We obtained knowledge that was too great for us and by it we have all fallen, just as it is said, "Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil."

The second is the Tree of Life. It also was in Paradise. Eating of it can keep us alive in our bodies forever. It was denied man after he ate of the forbidden tree: ". . .And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden. . . " So, we who were born to them were also denied that most important tree. So we all must die. Do you ever wonder why you can’t stop aging? You lack the fruit of that tree! It can keep one forever young. It is currently out of reach of man; but, God has granted a hope for us because of the third tree that came about 4 thousand years after the Fall.

The third Tree is the Cross. It was a dead tree where Jesus hung as a dead man. The fruit that brought death to man was on a living tree. On the cross, Jesus may be likened to a dead fruit hanging on a dead tree. We are to eat of it, as it says, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,” that is, when we come to Him and believe in Him, we eat of Him spiritually and will receive the undoing of the effect of the first tree. For, as He says, “he that believes on me shall never die.”

Between the two trees in the midst of Paradise, stands the third one. To get from the tree that occasioned our death to the one that will restore eternal physical life in the resurrection, is the Cross. This cross is the heart of the Gospel that saves. So, God has always been telling us about Trees - each one of them has a supernatural aspect and effect. The first one he commanded not to be eaten of for it contained Godlike knowledge that led to sin. The second one, the Tree of Life, is granted by faith in the One who hung on the third. He was raised immortal for us all and commands that we obey Him that we might have access to that tree of life, as it says in Revelation 2: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

Suppresst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suppresst said...

You wrote:

"But once Holy Spirit regenerates us, we are just like those plants growing up from seeds, and those mighty oaks that develop from tiny acorns."

Beresford Job argues, and I agree, that the "regeneration" God works in us is the re-establishment of the person who we would have been/become, if we had never sinned. You see, Satan will be allowed no victories. If in any particular Satan has a everlasting victory, then Satan is just in aspiring to godhood.

So, while the dormant seed analogy is good, we must be careful to not picture in our minds new growth from new seeds dropped on barren soil. It is more like the dead stump that we are sprouts new sprigs - sprigs from the original essence.

You wrote:
We have been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."

Beresford points out that this blessing is an accomplished fact - past tense. Thus since we already have these spiritual blessings our job is to simply allow them to operate in our lives, not go out and find them.

See his podcast/lecture "Grieving the Holy Spirit for more in-depth.

Anonymous said...

Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3 7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1 Corinthians 6:19 20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his/her life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17 21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4 10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2 3).