Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God's Gifts

I never fail to be amazed at God's creation. My backyard is my sanctuary. I love to see the flowers, watch the backyard visitors, hear the birds,and watch the raspberries ripen. They are all gifts. Unfortunately we have been invaded by a pest that I am growing tired of - Japanese Beetles! It seems I spend much time picking them off the raspberry leaves and from the leaves of a tree in front of our house. The blessing from these pests came the other morning as I saw a dragonfly on a raspberry branch. It was sitting there with it's wings spread. I didn't expect it to still be there after I ran to get the camera, but it was! A gift! I thought I would share it with you. Gifts are best when shared, aren't they?

It's it beautiful? I've never seen one that stayed in one place for so long. So, in spite of the trials (bugs eating my leaves), there was a blessing. I had to take the time to be still, to slow down, and see the gift. I hope you enjoy the photos. God's blessings to you~

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Friendship is a Sheltering Tree" part 2

I decided to share with you the devotional I gave at the secret pal gathering yesterday.
Friendship is a Sheltering Tree

"Flowers are lovely; love is flower-like, friendship is a sheltering tree."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834

I have a tree in my back yard that reminds me of this quote . Though it is not very big, there is something about it's shape that looks so inviting. I thought this quote would be a good topic for our secret pal devotional. I decided to begin by looking up definitions of the words.

Friendship - a relationship between two friends. ** Don’t you hate it when you look up a definition and it uses a word that you have to look up and then that one uses another word and it goes on and on??!! OK, so, what’s a friend? **

**Friend – a supporter, a confidante, a person you know well and regard with affection and trust

One can be a friend to another, but in order to have a friendship, there must be reciprocation. Each one must be a friend to the other. It takes two in order for friendship to exist.

Shelter - to shelter means to cover, to protect from danger, to give security, to defend

Tree – a tree gives shade and protection; it is larger than a bush or shrubs. It is sturdy and strong. It can usually withstand storms and winds.

As I looked at these definitions, I can understand why Coleridge said that friendship is a sheltering tree. A true friendship is one in which each person attempts to be a secure, safe place of refuge for the other, a place of rest and relaxation, one that will remain throughout the storms of life.

In 1 Sam. 20, we have a good example of friendship with Jonathan and David. Although Jonathan would be the likely one to succeed King Saul, he knew that God’s choice was David. Jonathan did all he could to warn and protect David when Saul tried to kill him. They made a vow to each other and David promised to take care of Jonathan and his family/descendants. They were true friends.

As I thought about friendship, I could see that it is a picture of what God desires with us. He is our sheltering tree. He is our protection, our refuge, our security and our defender. David speaks of the shelter he has in God.
Ps 61:3 - For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
Ps 61:4 - I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
Ps 143:9 - Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.
Joel 3:16 - … the Lord will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.

God is our perfect friend. He is loving and giving. He knows us well, accepts us, and loves us. He has given His best and sacrificed for us. …. But we are His friends?

Is it even possible to be a friend and have friendship with the almighty God? It’s hard to get a grasp of His greatness, all his “omni’s” (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresent) and think about Him wanting us for His friends. But according to Scripture, we can be called His friends.
James 2:23 - And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.

Jesus said in John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you..

Through Christ, we can have a friendship with Almighty GOD. We can communicate with Him, listen to Him, read His word, share our joys and sorrows, & trust in His care and comfort. Because of His great power, God may not “need” or rely on us, but He can and does use us to be His hands, feet, eyes, ears & mouth to help accomplish His will. When we obey Him, we show that we are friends with God.

So the next time you take the time to sit and relax under a nice shade tree, remember that friendship with God is the best sheltering tree that we could ask for.

©July 1, 2008 J-ME

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Friendship is a Sheltering Tree

Today we had a secret pal reveal at my house. For the past 6 months, some of the ladies at church have been secret pals to others. It is a fun way to remember and to get to know others. I decided to do a devotional for it.

Since I have a particular tree out back that I really like the shape of, even though it's not very big yet, it always makes me think of the quote, "Friendship is a sheltering tree" by Samuel Coleridge. Anyway, that quote kept coming to mind, so that is what I did the devotion on. It turned out to be not so much about friendships among women, but how God is the ultimate friend, and our friendship with Him is the best sheltering tree we could have.

Is He your "sheltering tree"?