Rhema Grace March 2017

As we enter into the month in which the season of Spring officially begins, we, in Southeastern Ohio, have had spring-like weather already in February.  As I write this, though, I know very well that by the time this Devotional is released, we could have a foot of snow.  And those of us in Ohio know April showers can be April snows.  In any event, Spring will arrive and Spring activities will arrive with it.
One of those activities is plowing fields and preparing to plant seeds for a Fall harvest.  Already, in this third week of February, I have seen fields being cultivated as farmers have been taking advantage of the early dry conditions.

My subject in this Devotional could be a result of the early Spring conditions, but relates more to people represented as plants.  Specifically, the Bible refers to us as trees.  The first chapter of Psalms includes this illustration in Verse 3 referring to a godly man or woman.  “He or she shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season.  His leaf also shall not wither.  And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Even a child can understand that.  When we are children of God, we are planted by the living waters of life that soak up into our root system and nourish us and bring forth fruit, causing our leaves to flourish and bringing maturity and growth.

In this Devotional, we will experience together the process of the blind man’s eyes in Mark 8:22-25 “And He, Jesus,  cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him, and besought Him to touch him.  And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw aught.  And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.  After that He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

In the initial application of Christ’s touch, the blind man was asked if he could see.  His reply was “I see men as trees walking.”  Then Jesus laid His hands upon his eyes again and the blind man could now see every man clearly.  My prayer is that we would see ourselves as trees walking so that we could see ourselves clearly by the end of this devotional.

As trees, the most important aspect is to know we are planted.  A tree that is not planted cannot live very long.  (Boy, that was a revelation, huh?!)  There are many people today who are not planted in any soil.  Some do not believe in God or there is a God.  Some say they believe, but their roots are above the truth and not grounded in truth.  The result will be death.  Spiritual death.  If any person is not planted in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are already spiritually dead.  It really is that simple.

Another cause of spiritual death is being planted in the world and the things of the world.  1 John 2:15-17: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

The result of being planted in the world is death.  Some attempt to put some of their roots in the world and some of their roots in truth.  It is impossible to experience life while planted in both lies and in truth.  “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  And without the love of the Father in us, the result will be spiritual death.

In my years of ministry, I have seen those who profess to be believers and righteous trees root and uproot themselves from place to place or from church to church.  They root into a field that they like, then something rubs their bark the wrong way, so they uproot and go to another field.  They continue to do this while their root system suffers. The result of any tree being continually rooted and uprooted will be spiritual damage and result in disease and death.

The only transplanting we should ever experience is when we are born again and are transplanted from death into life. The we stay planted in Christ, His Word and in a church that preaches Christ and His Word.

Recently I ministered on Psalm 92:12-15 that plainly deals with that issue.  “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Verse 13 is clear.  Be planted in the House of the Lord.  The result will be flourishing spiritual health.  Plant yourself in a house that preaches the truth of the Gospel and you will be “fat and flourishing.”  Don’t take offense to the word “fat” for it means that you will be full of sap.  Okay, don’t be offended by sap, because it means you will be full of the rich anointing of Holy Spirit that will continue to nourish you as you remain planted in Christ and the house He has established you to be planted in.  Stay planted in Christ and the House of God and you will be nourished and flourish.  This is a word to receive in the Spring season for flourish means “to break forth in bloom and spread.”

The prophet Isaiah mentions as well that we are “the planting of the Lord” in Isaiah 61:3“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”

As we plant ourselves in Christ, we are trees of righteousness and a divine exchange takes place.  Beauty for ashes.  Oil of joy for mourning.  The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  All this takes place as we soak up the rivers of living water into our life and it glorifies our God.  The Amplified Translation says “That we may be called oaks of righteousness, lofty, strong and magnificent.”  Oak trees here in Ohio are often very strong and stable trees, but even the oak tree must be planted deep in good soil to remain strong.

Recently I was blessed to have access to an old oak tree that had fallen due to recent winds and to cut it up for firewood.  When I first saw it, I was amazed at its size and its density; but then I looked at the ground where it was standing and there was only a shallow depth to the area where it had been.  There were virtually no roots to be seen.  Its roots had died.  Thus the tree had fallen despite its size.  In Matthew 15:13, Jesus says this: “Every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up.”  This statement was made referring to the Pharisees that would not plant themselves in the truth that Jesus was speaking.  Over and over again they refused to listen and heed to the words of Christ.  Jesus said the result would be a rooting up and spiritual death.  The Pharisees were deeply planted in traditions of men and meaningless outward acts of self righteousness.  I pray you are not planted in the traditions of men, the things of the world, or in anything other than the truth.

Let’s conclude with Romans 6:3-5“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection….”

Another definition of planted is buried.  Buried and baptized are the same as well.  So what can we conclude in this Scripture?  When we plant ourselves in Christ, we actually bury and baptize our old life of sin with Him on the cross and in His death.  Notice Verse 5 says “We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.”  It is an act of planting ourselves currently in Him, but it is based on an act He did for us 2000 years ago.  The result is the old man is dead and we receive and walk in a newness of resurrection life.  We flourish in the life that only Christ can continuously give as the sap, the Spirit and power of the Holy Spirit flows through us.

Look at your roots.  If you can see them, then maybe you want to evaluate where they should be.  Not in the world.  Not in the traditions of men.  Plant your roots deep in Christ.  “Be rooted and built up in Him” (Colossians 2:7). I can assure you that there is no greater joy and satisfaction than to be planted in Christ. As Spring arrives it is a perfect time to evaluate ourselves as tree’s and look honestly into what ground our roots are planted. Sink your roots deep into Christ and you will be nourished, built up and mature as one of His tree’s.

Then the fruit will be produced within your life for His glory.

Planted together with you in Christ,

Pastor Wes