10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
I will give You thanks with all my heart. I will sing praises to You in front of the gods. 2 I will bow down toward Your holy house. And I will give thanks to Your name for Your loving-kindness and Your truth. For You have honored Your Word because of what Your name is. 3 You answered me on the day I called. You gave me strength in my soul.
Romans 5 tells us that suffering, or being stuck, from our Father God "produces" like a bear hunt. We look back on what we overcome with great joy and, if the problem is in the unusual range, to not eaten by lions category - we might just enjoy the novelty. Some suffering is so great, God had to write the Bible to encourage us to endure, persevere and draw sustenance from Father God. And if you look at the disciples, they had A Lot of Concerns with watching Jesus do His Father's Work. God gives us Scripture to meet us seeking Him, as actively as Peter got Jesus to help him, plunging His Hands into Peter's fear.
Ezekiel was a man of such earnest writings, the Temple made readers age to the year 30, before they could read how wild and vast and complicated were God's answers to the Children of Israel enduring generational sin, slavery, conquest, drudgery and a Very Powerful Hope. C.S. Lewis, in a typical English delight said, "God is not a Tame Lion."
Ezekiel wrote of a tree as being the greatest in the forest struck down in pride. Biblegateway.com or Google can help you locate the story. We are sometimes that tree. And we wonder if the Gospel of Matthew - the man who threw our Hero Jesus - a Party - was wrong about Heaven...
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
The tree of the photo arrived today during the USA Disc Golf Masters Tournament. This tree could be Ezekiel's tree for the towering height. And we had to stop play to fathom how this huge tree has survived this devastating lightning strike.
And the phone buzzed in an email. A dear friend has decided her time to die has arrived and in her 80th year wants prayers for Jesus to come and collect her. You do not see your 80th year without lightning. We all go at different times. Madeleine L'Engle wrote we all have an invitation to leave the planet.
Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
This dear friend was taking care of her aunt in her mid 90's just two years ago. Surviving widowhood in her 50's. Encouraging her three kids to start a Margarita business! Loving the success for them! Her son calls her everyday driving home from work. Michaelangelo of any hand made art stitched form.
The Lightning Bolt Tree tells us a Biblical story. One we can visually recall with a memory of the Master's Tournament stopping to see this Wonder. The Master gave a storm. Branches fell off. Our enduring Tree felt stripped and worried. Life continued. The Tree struggled. And looked sad and even misshapen. Life continued. The Tree must have begun to feel hope. And see a future. And today the Tree is magnificent. And the branches show struggle and Victory.
Is this a parable of Eternity? Of course, because Jesus says Heaven is at hand today. And calls His believers - not just friend, but Scriptures tell us, Jesus calls us "Beloved."
Rise and go forth, knowing the Scriptures, knowing the Power of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, for us all. In Jesus Christ the Lord!