Tag Archives: Billy Graham

Mercy and Grace: We Need Both

Mercy and Grace: We Need Both!

By: Will Graham

Grace and mercy. Mercy and grace. Two terms that are often used interchangeably. They go hand-in-hand, but there is indeed a difference. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.Grace, conversely, is getting something you don’t deserve. Picture this: You’re racing down the road, handily breaking the speed limit, when suddenly you see the blue lights flashing behind you. There’s something you do deserve in this situation. You deserve a ticket and a fine. You broke the law, and there’s a penalty for that crime.After a brief conversation, the officer lets you go with a warning. That is mercy. You deserve that speeding ticket, but you are not getting what you do deserve.

Now, imagine that you have a project due at work, and – try as you may – you have not been able to complete the task. Without it, you have no chance of achieving the bonus you’ve been working towards. At the last second a colleague jumps in and saves the day, helping you with the last remaining pieces. That would be grace. No matter how hard you worked, you didn’t deserve the bonus. You fell short. But somebody else came along and provided what you needed.

Why do I bring up this distinction? Because all around us are people who desperately need both of these blessings, and they are both freely given by Christ through His death and resurrection. The Bible tells us very clearly who we are and what we deserve. We are sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Because of that, we deserve death; eternal separation from the Holy and Perfect Father (Romans 6:23). No matter what we do in our own power and effort, we cannot change that fact.

But this is where Christ comes in with His mercy and His grace! We do deserve death, but as we call on His name and make Him the Savior of our lives, we receive mercy. We don’t deserve to come into the presence of God, but we are given that eternal promise through grace.

We’ve found that promise and have the hope of Christ because of it! Meanwhile, all around us are people who are struggling through this world, trying their best to do more good than bad, thinking that is their path to eternity. They’ve never truly experienced grace and mercy, though they’re hungry for it. My friends, look around you and I promise you will see someone who will break your heart; someone on a path leading to destruction. Share with them the hope that is within you, and allow God to open the door for them to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

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Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study: Isaiah 41

 

Isaiah 41:17-20 (NASB)

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst.  I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, as the God of Israel, I will not forsake them. (18)  I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land fountains of water.  (19) I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, (20) that they may see and recognize and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the LORD has done this…”

WHAT DOES IT SAY?

The afflicted and needy seek water, tongue parched. I the LORD will answer Myself, I will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in heights, spring in valleys, make the wilderness a pool and dry land fountains. I will put cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive in wilderness, juniper, box tree cypress in desert, that they may see, recognize, consider and gain insight that the hand of the LORD has done this.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Life is hard.  I find myself telling my kids that all the time.  I wish life were a bowl of cherries every day and adversity stayed at bay, but that is just not realistic.  Who can identify with an adversity-free life?  If you have never had an ounce of adversity, I praise God for that, I truly do; but it would be hard for me to even have coffee with you, because it would be difficult to relate.  It has been said that all of us have either just been through a time of adversity, are in a time of adversity, or are getting ready to go through a time of adversity.  Adversity happens— it’s life.

My most recent blog posts have been wrapped around the image of the desert.  The winter was long, hard and cold; and this spring has been filled with rain and dreariness for days on end. This is the kind of weather that I struggle with.  Winter and spring have been my desert in a sense—maybe more of a frozen tundra—and it has created a longing in me to return to the literal desert of Tucson, Arizona, where I grew up, so that I can dry out and thaw out.  This is what led me to study actual desert habitats, to see how things survive in places where there is little or no water or food.

I am so drawn to these verses in Isaiah 41; they paint such a picture of desperation.  The afflicted and needy are seeking water and sustenance yet find none.  When we’re afflicted and hurting, we seek to alleviate the pain. That is not a bad thing—it’s a human thing.  We have needs, and we need them met. The quote, “Necessity (desperation) the mother of invention” has been attributed to Plato. We seek and we seek…we problem solve, and we collaborate, and when we finish with all that, we end up parched.  We look for answers and relief where there is none to be found.  We try to move, to get out and fix it all.  In this world, our human ingenuity will always leave us lacking—wanting more, and never fulfilled.  Awesome. This blog is truly shaping up to be an encouragement! 

To give us a lift, let’s consider the mountain goat: The mountain goats in the desert are amazing! These goats are sure-footed (or sure-“hooved,” I guess).  With hooves much wider and sturdier than the farm goat or countryside goats we’re used to seeing in petting zoos and on farms, a mountain goat will jump over rocks and ravines and can scale the craziest ledges.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica, these goats actually prefer to sleep on steep, rocky ledges and hillsides.  Who in the world would prefer to live on a rocky ledge overlooking a life-ending drop?  That is crazy!  Another truly awe inspiring fact about these goats (and also about the mule deer of the desert) is that these animals can smell water beneath the surface of the desert floor to about two feet.  The animals will use their hooves to dig up water that is hidden to the naked eye.

(Above Pic: Mountain Goat in En Gedi)

Another type of wild mountain goat, called the Ibex, can be found in Israel at a place called En Gedi. Located by the Dead Sea in the middle of the wilderness, En Gedi is the place where David went to hide after he had given King Saul a minor robe-trimming.  David was in En Gedi when he wrote the words, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You” (Psalm 42:1, NASB).  The name En Gedi means literally “The spring of the goat.” Who knows? David may have been watching that wild mountain goat called the Ibex when God inspired him to write that psalm. (The Ibex still reside at the En Gedi preserve today.)

(Above Pic: Water in En Gedi)

I wonder if the prophet Isaiah had En Gedi mind while he was penning those verses in Isaiah 41: a tremendous spring, situated right in the middle of the wilderness. In contrast to En Gedi, the nearby Dead Sea (also located in the desert of Judea) is so salty that no life can reside in it.  The Dead Sea is… well…dead! It doesn’t really speak of “life.”  Almost everything in this desert wilderness speaks of adversity, hardship and desperate need…. but then there is En Gedi.

In the middle of the desert, where sojourners are faced with the very true reality of dehydration and death, there is this unexplainable, life-giving spring. En Gedi is just that—a spring of life.  Coming out of the rocks in this mountainous and difficult place is fresh water, not salt water!  Bursting forth in the middle of the desert, although hidden among a difficult path, is refreshment—and not just refreshment, but shelter. There are broom trees and acacia trees that shelter and feed the goats, as well as a fresh spring easily traversed by these animals in residence.  En Gedi is a literal oasis, brought forth out of nothing.

Visualizing En Gedi while reading Isaiah 41 brings me such hope and confidence in the God who loves me (41:8), who chose me (41:9) and who is with me and refuses to leave me (41:10,13,14,17).  I pray you will take hold of this same confidence. God is not ignorant of your needs nor of the fact that the mountainous path is hard, rocky, and dangerous; He has made provision for that, and that provision is Himself.  God will make water flow from desert rocks and will produce shelter and food from a rocky, hard land if that is where you are.  God will do what is necessary in order to provide for His people.  There is nothing too difficult for God, and no person is too small to escape His eye.  These verses don’t say God “may” help you, or “may eventually remember your adversity.”  God says He is there, He will provide, and He will not leave you.

I love when David speaks of the deer panting for water in the desert. He likens it to how he pants for God and His Word in these dry, hard and weary places.  David never said that the deer wished for an easier path that was more scalable.  David realized the provision God had given these mountain roamers, and he asked for the same.

It’s easy to lose sight of God in the reality of desert adversity, but what if we really took the time to look around?  Would we see a spring that came out of the rocks at just the right time? Would we discover shelter from a broom tree, (link to broom tree study) just as we were about to collapse from heat exhaustion? Would we find food from the leaves of an acacia (link to acacia study) to ease our gnawing hunger?  Sure, it’s not the provision we’d prefer or the green pastures we’d hoped for, but it is a miracle of God’s provision, grace and presence nonetheless.  It is because life has adversities and we are utterly desperate that we even look to God at all.  Often, it is not until we have explored every avenue of self-provision that we finally call out to God and find He answers us, Himself.  I love that.  He doesn’t send an email through a secretary, but He answers us personally Himself.  What verses of hope! What an amazing oasis in the middle of the desert!

Lord, give us eyes to see and hearts to receive.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?

When has God provided an oasis in the desert for you?  What did your oasis look like?  A promise to hold on to?  A person who dropped by?  A meal that you may or may not have even liked that provided sustenance?

Have we been praying for God to change the path of adversity before us, instead of making our hooves sure-footed as we climb the terrain?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today, LORD God, give me eyes to see Your overwhelming provision, and a heart to accept it.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.


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Don’t Run Away: A Psalm by Quinn Graham

Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written a special  psalm to share. This one, entitled “Don’t Run Away,” was inspired by a message Quinn recently heard his dad preach.

Don’t Run Away!

I.

You may be down today

You may be angry

Angry with God because you think that He let you down

You just want to run away from God

You want to live life your own way with your own rules

Don’t run away!

If you decide to run away nothing will turn out well

Running away makes it worse

You could waste all your money on cigarettes and alcohol

II.

Soon you may get tired of living without God

You will want to come back to God, back home

God will always be on the lookout

He won’t stop looking until you come back

Once you finally come back to God, He will fix everything

When you turn your life the opposite direction

All of heaven will rejoice because you come back home

Don’t run away

By: Quinn Graham


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Saturday Snapshot: Shepherd’s Inn

The Cove has two beautiful Inns where guests can spend time away from the distractions of the world and be in a quiet place to hear from The Lord.  The Inns have a gorgeous rustic mountain design that is complete with beautiful finishes. The guest rooms combine the charm of the mountains and gracious comfort of the finest country inns.

The Inn suites have a gas fireplace that is perfect for the cooler weather in the fall and winter.

The Inns are nestled in the forest so you are surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation.

You can stay at the Inns if you are here for an event, seminar, retreat, or with a guest group! You can choose to have the Complete Cove Experience: Package includes lodging, meals, complimentary 24-hour beverages, and materials (including seminar notebook and giveaway book or DVD).  On-property lodging accommodations are available only to registered Cove program participants.

To learn more about The Cove and how to register, please click here! 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

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Devotional- Rooted in Christ

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”  (Matthew 7:24-25)

When the storms come in your life, are you shaken? It is normal for all of us to experience feeling uncomfortable, unsettled, fearful, heartbroken, or even like the wind has been knocked out of our sails. We will feel the blow. This verse clearly says that the winds blew and beat on that house. When we go through storms, it will sometimes feel like we have been hit mentally, emotionally, and physically. It hurts. We will feel it. Jesus is not saying that we will not feel it. He is telling us that if we are rooted in Him and in His Word that we will not fall. It will not destroy us. He gives us the tools we need to withstand the storm.

He gives us strength. The kind of strength to endure any storm in our lives. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

He gives us peace. A peace that we cannot attain from the world. It is a peace that is lasting. A peace that will cover us! John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We have nothing to fear when we are in His presence. When we are rooted in Him. He is the Prince of Peace. He says that,These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

He gives us joy in the midst of the storm! It is one thing to just get through the storms of life by simply just getting through them. But God offers us to have joy in these tough times. We can have joy because through the storms we are gaining strength.  “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)

It is up to us to study and read His Word. It is our lifeline for everything we need in our lives. After we read it, we must act on it. We must put it to the test and activate it in our lives. The Word says in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ” That means that we take His Word and literally stand on what it says. When storms come and we know that they will, we must root  ourselves so deep in Him that it will not shake or move us.  Take some time to memorize some key verses like the ones above to call upon when you need them.  Listen to worship music and give Him thanks for the blessings in your life.  We would also love to encourage you and pray with you. You can click here and we have someone available to chat with you right now!

May God be with you today and always!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Miracles: A Psalm by Quinn Graham

We have a modern-day psalmist on our hands:  Quinn Graham, Will Graham’s son and Billy Graham’s great-grandson, has written a special  psalm to share. This one, entitled “Miracles,” was inspired by a message Quinn recently heard his dad preach. Enjoy this reminder that God is always working on our behalf.  Miracles are all around us!

Miracles happen all the time

We may see it or not

Miracles happen to you every day

We just need to open our eyes

Miracles aren’t coincidences

Coincidences have no meaning

But miracles have a meaning

You may wonder how you can tell if it’s a miracle or not

All you need to do is open your eyes

Open your eyes so that you can see what God really does

Open your eyes so that you may see the kingdom of heaven

God does miraculous things

We just don’t see them all time

Miracles happen everyday

To you, me, your friend, or maybe even the haters of God

God does miracles for everyone

Miracles change our lives

By: Quinn Graham


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Weekly Bible Verse: John 15: 11

Our Bible verse for the week  comes from John 15:11

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Fill your heart and soul with His joy today! He is the giver of life and the more we read His Word and pray, the more we will be filled by Him. His joy is never lacking. It is full!

——————————————————————————–

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

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Cissie Graham Lynch on the Power of Scripture, Radio and Motherhood

 

Wait, what did she just say?

A few weeks ago, driving in her car with her daughter Margaret in the back seat, Cissie Graham Lynch had a mother moment that brought her to tears: A revelation that there can be a profound connection between her 4-year-old daughter and her famous 99-year-old grandfather, who passed away on Feb. 21.

Cissie had her SiriusXM radio dial locked in to the Billy Graham Channel (145), listening to her late grandfather preach, a comforting experience, especially in light of his passing.

Out of nowhere, Margaret piped up with the urgency that only a 4-year-old can muster from the back seat.

“Mom, mom, Daddy Bill is talking about sin,” Margaret said.

Instantly, Margaret had connected her great-grandfather’s words to the ABC Gospel (an easy and fun way for children to memorize 26 scriptures) that she had just started memorizing that week at the request of her grandfather (Cissie’s father), Franklin Graham.

“A—All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Margaret recited Romans 3:23.

Instantly, Cissie’s heart swelled.

“I just started crying,” Cissie said. “Here I am, listening to my grandfather and his great-granddaughter is learning God’s Word. And she makes the connection of the two. And you see at that young age at 4 years old, that seed is being planted.”

It’s a seed Cissie had planted in her own heart at a very young age, watching her parents and grandparents seamlessly incorporate Bible reading and memorization into their everyday lives.

“I have great memories growing up with my dad always having the Bible open in the mornings,” she said, “and my mom always having the Bible open in the mornings.

“Even in their older age, I remember my grandmother (Ruth Bell Graham) memorizing Scripture that would’ve been in like 200-point font so she could see it. The same for my grandfather. He would have Scriptures that were printed out in huge font.”

Galations 6:14 could often be found in big letters on the walls of Billy Graham’s Montreat, North Carolina, log cabin home: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Throughout her life, Cissie always knew there was real value in Scripture memorization, but it took being a mom for her to feel the depth.

“As a mother—this year—that’s the prayer for my children,” said Cissie, who also has son, Austin, who is almost 2. “That I would be able to teach them to know what they believe and why they believe it. And to hide Scripture in their heart.”

Because deep down, she knows that one day, it will be more than just memorized words. It will be needed artillery.

“I was praying over her the other day, when she faces life’s toughest critics or situations or Satan comes to attack her, she’ll be able to recall these Bible verses that have been hidden in her heart since she was 4 years old,” she said.

But when her father, Franklin, challenged all of his 12 grandkids to learn the ABC Gospel, Cissie didn’t think her 4-year-old had enough maturity to start memorizing.

“I kinda put it aside, I thought my child isn’t ready for that,” Cissie said. “She can’t read or write yet. We’ll do that in a couple years.”

Then one day, Cissie saw Margaret’s eyes glued to her cousins reciting verses to her father and thought, why not start now?

And sure enough, a few days after that first SiriusXM connection in the car, it happened again. This time, it was the letter C. “Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“And what Bible verse was (Billy Graham) talking about that day? The same one. And Margaret says “Mom, Daddy Bill. And she quoted the Scripture two times.”

For any parent, these random vignettes are certainly heart-warming and Instagram worthy. But while Cissie felt like sharing this with her world, it was a still, small voice inside her that made more of an impact than all the social media likes and comments.

“As a mom, when life is hectic and life is crazy, you’re screaming at your kids, you’re disciplining them, and your house is a mess, you’re picking up toys over and over, there are days you failed as a mom,” she said. “Did I discipline too hard? Or I didn’t do this right or do that right.

“But God gives us little glimpses in life, saying, you’re on the right track, mom. You’re doing the right thing.”

(Article by: Trevor Freeze )

>> Listen Now: Cissie Graham Lynch: ‘My Mother Has Been Incredible in My Life’

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Kendra Graham Online Bible Study – Jeremiah

 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes. But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NASB)

 What does it say?

Blessed is the man who trusts the LORD and in the LORD

He shall be like a tree planted by water that extends roots by a stream, will NOT fear heat, its leaves green, not anxious in drought nor cease to yield fruit.

What Does it Mean?

The desert is a hard, unforgiving place. God seems to have a pattern of leading His people to the desert: from Moses to King David, to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, Jesus, and many others. All these individuals had been driven to the desert to experience God. The desert is a place of thirst, with brutal temperature changes from unbearably hot during the day to freezing cold at night.  And if the desert climate doesn’t do you in, there is danger from wildlife and deadly insects—AWESOME, right?  So why would God lead His people to the desert? To kill them? To torture them?

The desert places in the Bible were not locations where God led His people to drive them off a cliff.  The desert was a place where God brought His people to the point of total dependence, and then provided for them in extraordinary ways. These desert places were transformed from a place of danger and dread to a place of refuge and provision. The desert became the place where God taught His people to walk with Him—a place where God came and lived among the people He so loved. The desert became a place of intimacy with God, where the Word of God did not dehydrate and dissipate; in the desert the Word of God came to life.

I shared a little bit in my last post about my journey which lately seems like a desert place (link to previous).  There have been days in which I struggled in the morning just to put my feet on the ground and start the day and then struggled to continue the day through to the end.  How do I walk with God in the desert?  I have felt alone, left to decompose by the elements that have been beating down with relentless force. I recently began to study the desert’s vegetation and animals. The desert is actually home to me, so I went back in the recesses of my mind to Tucson, AZ, where in high school we took a class called “Desert Survival.”  I know that if God has led me to this place, then He will provide for me here.  Yet to be honest, I don’t like God’s provision in the desert because I don’t like the fact that I’m here at all.

In my last blog post on the desert broom tree, God showed me He has provided just enough shade in this desert place to decrease the intensity of the heat and make it bearable for me.  God is my shade at my right hand. I am not the only one in this desert place, but the vastness of the desert often makes me feel that way.  Recently, I found myself speaking praise out of one side of my mouth for the shade God provided, and out of the other side of my mouth curses for calling me here. I found myself asking WHY, as the frustration of this place rose within me.  Can anyone relate?

God showed me the acacia tree, so I want to show you as well. The acacia tree is a relatively slow-growing tree; it takes around 20- 30 years to mature.  According to Jewish plant experts, this tree will grow much taller than the broom tree: at full height an acacia will be six to nine feet tall.  The leaves of an acacia tree all come together at the top and cast an umbrella like shade across the desert floor. The welcome shade decreases the heat for groups of travelers as well as for their animals. Native to the Judean Negev desert, the acacia has evergreen leaves and is found only along dry river beds that are subject to flash flooding in the desert.  The roots of the tree drive deep into the earth, further than most desert plants, finding the smallest bits of water to survive. When the rains come and the floods rise, the packed earth of the desert floor cannot receive all this water; however, the acacia trees readily soak up the excess.

In addition to providing shade for desert animals and Bedouin travelers, its leaves produce food for camels. The pods (fruit) that the tree bears become food for deer and other desert animals and are also used for reproduction of the tree. The wood of the acacia tree is incredibly hard and difficult to chop down; acacia branches will burn long into the night to keep the Bedouin nomads warm and protected.  In periods of severe drought, the tree will go dormant; yet at the first sign of rain, the acacia will burst back to life and produce its fruit in season. The acacia is an incredible tree!

The prophet Jeremiah was often in the Judean desert, and the acacia is quite probably the tree he is speaking of here in chapter 17.  When we read this verse (and a similar passage in Psalm 1), we may think of a tall Oak tree planted by a rippling stream—a lush and beautiful source of complete shade towering above green grass, colorful flowers and cheery butterflies.  That is the picture we want—a soft place.  We sometimes believe that if we follow God, He will lead us to greenery and comfort 24/7.

Yet what if this acacia in the desert is the tree that Jeremiah speaks of?  What if he’s referring to this tree that survives in the harshest conditions in the Negev, giving shade, food, protection and care to others who are traveling through? This tree is planted by the dry river beds, with its roots extending deep into the empty riverbed, awaiting the waters that will rush in during monsoon season. The acacia will not fear when the heat comes; even with such little rainfall throughout the rest of the year, its leaves remain green. The acacia is not anxious in a drought because it will go dormant just waiting for that next drop of water which will bring it back to life and produce fruit.

What if this is what we are called to be?  What if God was our shade, our broom tree, at our right hand so that He could grow us into an acacia tree on the desert floor?  Oh, we don’t like it.  I don’t like it.  I would rather someone else be the acacia tree so that I can navigate through this place as fast as humanly possible… but what if God was our shade so that we could be the shade someone else needs in the same place?  The Word of God says we will be blessed in this desert place if we can trust in the LORD.  Psalm 1:2 tells us how we can be that tree firmly planted; it comes down to meditating on God’s Word day and night.  We have to be in God’s Word and know what God says.  We have to know what He promises and hold on to that promise in the times of flood, drought, rain and heat. Regardless of our current condition, God calls us to trust in that Word that He has given us. The only way to trust in His Word is to know what it says.

To be an acacia tree is a high calling where deep roots are required for survival.  Our desert survival depends completely on soaking our roots in the Truth of God’s Word.

What Does it Mean to Me?

How deep are your roots, and what are they soaking in?  Are you soaking in the ever-changing landscape of the world around us, or in the unchanging Truth of God’s Word and His promises?

When have you been called to be an acacia tree to someone else?  How was God your shade so that you could be shade to others?

Often we feel so alone and isolated in these desert places, which is why when you share your story of God’s provision, you become that oasis in the desert to someone else.

LIVE IT OUT

Today I will seek out that Living Water found in the God’s Word even in this desert place.  I will seek to be that acacia tree for someone else as they travel through the same desert, so that they know that they are not alone and that God is who He says He is and His promises are all yes and Amen in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).  Oh, that we may rise out of the desert floor to become an oasis for others!

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

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Weekly Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our Bible verse for the week  comes from 2 Corinthians 12: 9

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'”


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest