"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

Old Oak Tree

Legend of the Forest Trees

One day, as God was listening To prayers that came to Him, He heard a whispered longing From a forest’s mighty limb. “O Lord”, it prayed, “let me be formed Into a palace fit For the most noble king on earth.” And God said, “So be it.”

Another tree then dared to ask To be a ship well known B men who sail on all the seas And live in every zone. The Father kindly looked on it And touched it with His hand, “You shall have your request in full But you may not understand.”

A third tree shyly prayed, “Dear God”, (And its leaves were aglow With its earnestness to serve its Lord) “Please let me always grow “With branches pointing heavenward To lead men’s thoughts to Thee.”

And God looked down on it with love And breathed, “This, too, shall be.”
The woodmen came and felled each tree And dragged them out one morn The first became a cattle shed Where the King of kings was born. They fashioned one to be a boat To sail on Galilee. From this the Master calmed the storm And leveled the rolling sea.

The tiny skiff has travelled far On sea, to every land, As men in faith have calmed their fears With His “Peace, be still!” command.
The third tree sadly hung its head, “They are making a cross of me!” But ever since, it has pointed men To the Christ of Calvary.

Keeping Perspective

Keeping Perspective - Beautiful TreesBroken promises, feeling taken for granted, unappreciated, unloved or misunderstood-these are things that can steal our joy. They cause us to lose sight of who we are in Christ and to whom we belong.

Sin also robs us of joy. One of my own heart’s fondest desires is to live at all times in the joy of the Lord. I long for it so much that if I find it missing, I cannot waste a moment until I have it back again.

Many times that means getting on my knees in repentance. Sometimes it is pouring out my broken heart to God, other times it is simply refocusing my thoughts on Jesus. Even in the midst of broken promises and feeling unloved, when I consider where my hope lies, I can be joyful.

If the Apostle Paul could praise God and hold fast to his joy while in chains, how can we who are free, do any less? Paul’s thoughts were not of himself and his own suffering. He focused on telling others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He had things in perspective. His priorities were right with God.

Joy is not necessarily a feeling of happiness, though at times it can be. It is a deep assurance that no matter the situation at hand, we have much to look forward to. No matter the storms that surround us, we know that we are children of God and that He loves and cares for us. We can get excited when we think of all He has waiting for us in our Heavenly Home. How can we help but be joyful if we place our hope in Him and take our eyes off the things of the world.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1: 2-4)

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