December 5, 2012

“…and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree…” Rom. 11:17

The cold winds of the present season are beginning to blow. Leaves have mostly fallen in preparation of enduring the coming winter. Now, I can clearly see the bones of these living canopies that shielded us through the harshness of summer.  I can now be fascinated by the numerous little homes of our feathered friends that were built in secret.

The bones of shade trees show why they are so marvelous; without good bones a tree cannot become magnificent.  The branches of a tree provide the necessary structure that forms a trees shape and allows the architecture of a glorious tree to be revealed.CLF - Olmstead Parks

Christians are part of a glorious olive tree (Hos. 14:6) but not naturally. This tree was not our own.  For us gentiles, we don’t belong there. We have been grafted into the people of God. We are by nature, wild olive shoots.

I have wild Russian Olive shoots that spring up in my pasture.  I mow them down.  I don’t even consider grafting one of those nasty twisted little twigs into one of my charished shade trees but that is exactly what God has done with us.

God has taken me, this odd, twisted, twig, full of thorns and sap, and inserted me into his people. He made me part of his magnificent tree when I had nothing to add to it; when it seemed like all I would do is distract from it. That was his plan. He made me part of the tree of life and I had nothing to add to it. That is how he builds the structure of his master piece; a master piece that reveals the architect of a glorious people built by the hand of God.

The majority of the time I feel like that odd, twisted, shriveled twig growing out of the side of an otherwise magnificent tree. However, look closely. The grandeur of the tree is made up of innumerable, imperfect and twisted branches that together serve the purpose of bearing fruit for the one who planted the tree.

There is not a branch in this tree that does not belong there. God is the master horticulturalist. Every branch is where he placed it, for the purpose he intended. This wonderful tree is loved, nourished, and pruned by his skilled hand; He knows what He is doing even when He grafted in as twisted of a twig as me.

PRAYER: Lord, My gratitude is beyond words. Thank you seems so insufficent.  Lord, you have made for yourself a people, not because they were special or powerful or numerous. Lord- you chose a people to reveal how glorious you are.  Thank you for making me a part of your people. Thank you for making me a child of God, and if a child then an heir; an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of revealing your glory to this world that so desperately needs to see you.    Amen

Image from http://rosehaigler.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/best-types-of-trees-to-plant-for-your-yard/


  1. Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed this post. So thankful that He took me in when I was twisted and grafted me into the Body.

    • Amen to that

  2. Predestination is my problem with Romans. People have tried explaining to me why predestination is a good thing, but I hope I’m just reading it wrong. Imagine bringing children into the world who are already destined for hell. This can’t be!

    • Predestination is a hard one.
      I believe one of the great mysteries of the Bible is predestination and a God who is love. However, I believe that both can in fact “be” because I accept it upon faith. Romans is not the only place that talks about predestination. God’s entire redemptive plan is a demonstration of predestination. God selected one nation out of the entire world to be His people. God hardened Israel’s heart. God hardened Pharaoh heart. God called John the Baptist in the womb. Jesus spoke in parables so that some people would not believe.
      Equally, the Bible is filled with evidence upon evidence that God loves those who are His. So, I believe that both can be true because God is a loving and just God even though I don’t understand it. There are many things beyond my understanding. This is just one of the many.
      When I am troubled by difficult things that I don’t know, like predestination, I go back to what I do know. The name God chose for himself is I AM WHO I AM.
      “And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The Lord.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exodus 33:19
      He is the great I AM. This is the God I follow. I don’t define him. He defines me. I trust that He is able to show grace and mercy to some and not to others AND it will be perfectly just. There is nothing too hard for Him.
      In my study of predestination, this is how I have tried to wrestle with the concept. Every person is born sinful. It is our very nature not to seek and love God and we are blind in our sin. Therefore, we are like a person standing in the middle of a boulevard with a blindfold over our eyes and a bus bearing down upon us. Christ comes to us in our hopeless condition and removes the blindfold and shows us the danger that we are in. He then leads out of the path of our impending destruction and we in our free will follow him.
      This is the grace and mercy that He determines to show upon all that the Father has given Him. Why He does not do it for all mankind? I do not know. Could He do it for all mankind? I believe that He could otherwise there would be something that could thwart the will of God.
      Ultimately, who am I, as the clay, to find fault with the Potter. I never want to allow my uncertainties result in crafting a god in an image that I find acceptable. I follow the God revealed in scripture and accept by faith even those doctrines that trouble me and pray that He will one day grant me further insight into the mysteries of His glory.
      Sorry for the long reply. Predestination is a hard one to address succinctly.
      God Bless!

      • I really appreciate your reply! So how can you live in the joy of Christ if you’re not certain you’re one of the chosen? I end up living in fear. I get really caught on this. I’m not even thinking past myself and my own children 🙂

        The power of God is frightening to me. As a rebellious person I get that I’m blind to a lot of my off kilter thoughts, but have had little luck in seeking out a way to feel comforted by this doctrine.

        I don’t even have to understand it fully, but I’d like some certainty that I’m not destined for hell–or that I didn’t bring kids into the world to join me there.

        Thanks again for the time you put into your reply. It meant a lot.


      • Adrienne – you have just put words to a significant portion of my life. I have “been saved” numerous times. I have responded to many an altar call not due to hearing the good news afresh but in search of assurance that my original confession of belief was really true. I have always found the reality of Matt. 7:23 very frightening. Could I be one of those who thinks they are saved but at the throne of God not be known by Christ? My fear of God and being deceived has resulted in living much of my life without joy as I tried to do good works to keep me in the good graces of God. This was before I had really studied much about predestination.
        That approach made me a miserable Christian. I don’t think that is the joy we were promised. I have learned that a much better approach is to recognize my doubts and to fight them with the Word of God. The Bible is full of instruction of how we can know that we are children of God. That tells me that you and I are not the first ones to struggle over certainty in knowing that we have been chosen.
        During those periods of doubt, I go back to what I know and I preach to myself. I spend a lot of time in the Gospel of John. When I struggle with that same reoccurring sin; when I feel distant from God; when I read what the scriptures say I should be but I know that I am not; I read the gospel and pray.
        John 6:39-40, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this it the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, I will raise him up on the last day.”
        I claim the promises of this wonderful passage. I confess anew my belief in Jesus Christ who is the Son of God, who came in likeness of sinful flesh for sin; who condemned the sin in my flesh so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in me. Therefore, I no longer face condemnation. (Rom. 8:1-4) I acknowledge that Jesus is the only means of my salvation (John 14:6) Praise be to God. I pray “Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God; Help my unbelief.”
        I claim the promise of John 6:44; “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” I pray “Lord, my confession of belief is assurance that you have drawn me. My eyes are open to my need for you. That is evidence of your drawing. I claim your promise that by my belief I can know that I am yours and that you will raise me up at the last day. Help me to know.”
        I claim God’s promise that He is the good shepherd (John 10). I have heard his voice. I have recognized His voice and repented; I don’t want to continue in my sin. I call on my shepherd and I claim His promise never to lose me. I acknowledge that my salvation is completely and totally in the hands of my Lord. I acknowledge that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of my faith. (Hebrews 11:2)
        And then I go back to my “stones of remembrances”. John 15:8, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” I believe that through the evidences of our sanctification our assurance grows. I remind myself of all the Spirit has done in my life. I look for the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. I consider my desire and love for God. I remember the trials that I have walked through and I am still with the Lord. I remember all my failure to temptations but I am still with the Lord. I remember times I have suffered and I am still have a hope that does not put me to shame.
        “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
        I remember that my faith has been tested and I am still steadfastly clinging to my Father.
        “for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:3)
        Those are my stones of remembrances. They are evidences that the faith I feel in my heart is real. They are demonstrations that Christ is being my shepherd even when I have continued to be a stupid, stubborn sheep. The longer we walk with the Lord the greater assurance of faith we will have because we will have more “stones of remembrances” to God faithfulness.
        I have learned to recognize that doubting my salvation is a tool of our enemy to steal the joy of my salvation and to pervert the worship of my savior. Therefore, I have learned to fight it with the Word. I have learned not to trust my emotions in a moment but to rely upon the grace shown to me by Christ over several decades of striving to follow Him.
        Regarding our children, I can think of no one I would trust with their salvation more than Christ. He has been the founder and perfecter of my faith and I pray that He will do the same for them. Therefore, my wife and I do all that we can to stack the kindling of faith around our children and we pray that the Christ will draw them to Himself and ignite the flame of faith.
        I hope this was helpful. Just know that you are not alone in those thoughts of uncertainty. I encourage you to fight the fight of faith and let it produce steadfastness and joy in your heart. It will come. God promised it.
        A couple of book recommendations:
        “Extravagant Grace – God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness” – Barbara R. Duguid
        “Knowing God” – J.I. Packer
        “Desiring God” – John Piper

      • I just copied and pasted everything you wrote to keep for when I have my doubts. You covered everything i know I should know. 🙂 The Gospel of John is my favorite. I need to remember that more often. I think I have the last 2 books in my house from when I was still searching but I don’t think I’ve read them so now’s a good time.

        I prayed this week that God would send people into my life to help me on this issue (it comes up periodically). You’ve given me a gift today. My pastor just happened to speak on it too this morning. haha> God does answer prayers!

        Thanks so much!


      • We serve a wonderfully gracious God who gives us what we need, when we need it. I’ve been praying that God will richly bless your time with Him. Thank you for the opportunity to remind myself of so many wonderful promises that we have been given.
        God Bless!

  3. Beautiful words create beautiful pictures in my mind that glorify our awesome God. Thanks, JD.

    • Thank you David

  4. Reblogged this on A DEVOTED LIFE and commented:

    My Bible reading plan has once again taken me through Romans 11. I am reminded of the glory of the Master and humbled to be a grafted twisted twig.

  5. Our God is truly magnificent. Every branch and twisted twig has it’s own place. And together, all our branches are the body of Christ. Glory to the Highest!

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog so I could find yours… I will try to get back to read more when I have time.. God Bless 😀

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