Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Three Trees

This is for those of you who find that your life hasn't turned out quite like you had imagined it would. This is one of my favorite stories and I am thrilled to share it with you. Merry Christmas, and may you find your life pointing the way to Jesus.

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said,'Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.'

Then the second tree said, 'Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.'

Finally the third tree said, 'I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.'

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, 'This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter,' and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsman said, 'This looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.' The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When a woodsman came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the Woodsmen said, 'I don't need anything special from my tree, I'll take this one,' and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.

The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.

The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said, 'Peace', and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

So, remember, when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for your life that is far greater than you could have imagined.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where is the lamb?

Due to circumstances in my life I find it very hard to trust people. I think to some degree all of us have been let down and dissapointed by others. My trust is not something I give easily. This not being able to trust is something that has leaked into my willingness to trust God. It is something that I constantly have to work on. I am reminded of the verse that says "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." My strength does not come from myself, therefore I can do nothing on my own. It is necessary that I trust God. I love the story of Abraham and Isaac. God tells Abraham to go to the mountain and sacrifice his son (Gen 22). He doesn't tell him which mountain, he just says go and I will show you. Abraham takes his son and wood and some servants and he leaves. I can't imagine what must have been going through his mind. He was going to have to sacrifice his son that he loved so much. Well, when they get to the mountain he leaves behind his servants and takes Isaac with him. I love this part of the story because Isaac asks, "Where is the lamb?" and Abraham replies, "God will provide one." It was a circle of trust. Abraham was trusting God to provide and Isaac was trusting his father. Then comes the test...Abraham binds Isaac and lays him on the altar and just as he is about to kill him the angel of the Lord stops him. We can read the rest of the story and know that a ram was provided. I love this story because we see how God called Abraham to lay what was most important to him on the altar of sacrifice. It shows me that it is not always easy to trust God, but it is so important. Because Abraham obeyed God and trusted him, God was able to bless him in a mighty way. I encourage you to place yourself and all of your wants and desires on the altar of sacrifice. See what God can do...