My husband and I left the house to do some errands; returning home, we saw that an oak tree had fallen in our yard. It had just leafed out and there had been no wind – so why had it fallen over? I began to ponder, and was reminded of some thoughts from my power-point presentation on “Trees of the Bible.”
Oaks of Righteousness is the first painting - it comes from Isaiah 61:1-3. These scriptures teach us a great deal about Christ and also about what we are to do as those who belong to Him.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
When Jesus visited the synagogue in Nazareth he quoted Isaiah 61:1-2a. He stated, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
As the body of Christ we are to continue His work. We are called to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners. We are to comfort all who mourn, helping them find beauty for ashes, gladness instead of sorrow and praise instead of fainting. We cannot do it alone. That is why we are called the body of Christ – like the hands and feet and organs, each of us has a different part to play, but we are all to be oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Oak trees live from 200 to 300 years and there are over 275 varieties. The roots, which are unseen as they seek out nutrients from the soil and keep the tree alive, could represent those who pray and keep the work of the Lord going. Others function more like the trunk and the limbs, standing tall and strong for the word of God, made strong by the wind and the storm, but held in place by the roots. Some people are the leaves that provide shade and comfort to others. Together everyone produces the seeds, acorns, and fruit, which in turn reproduce and bring forth new life.
Sometimes a perfectly good branch of an oak tree will fall off. The leaves are green and it looks like there is no reason for it to fall. Sometimes good things are taken from us and it can be difficult to understand why - a prosperous ministry, a valued friendship, the sudden death of a spouse or child or family member and we wonder how we will survive without them.
Oak trees are amazingly strong and survive in drought and the harshest of conditions. I hope in the weeks ahead you will take notice of oak trees and observe their beauty and stateliness. Some oak trees drop their leaves in the fall; others keep their foliage all year. Some varieties turn brown but do not drop their leaves until the new leaves push them off in the spring. An observer would think the tree has died. If you feel like you are a tree full of dead leaves, just wait - God is about to bring forth new life.
My thoughts upon seeing the fallen oak tree in our yard - If I had a choice, I would prefer to die all leafed out and full of life – but that choice is not mine, no more than it was the oak tree’s. God has His reasons for the way death comes in our lives. The most important question is where are you going to spend eternity? There are many who do not understand that Jesus died for us so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I will come again. In my father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man goes to the Father but though me.” No other person died for our sins. No other person rose from the dead and appeared to over 500 people before ascending into heaven.
When I was 29 I experienced what was a tiny bit of heaven, which dramatically changed my life in every way. And believe me, you do not want to miss out – heaven is real! Happy Easter!
Praise and Prayer
The speaking engagement in Brentwood, CA. went very well. What a wonderful group of people. Thank you for your prayers.
The ministry has received letters from three different men in prison. We are encouraged to hear they listen to the program. Pray for wisdom in answering them.
Continue to pray for our financial needs. All contributions are tax deductible, and all the proceeds go to help keep the radio ministry on the air.
In His bonds,
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