Scripture Readings for the Week:
Tuesday, September 27. Read Romans 6:1-14. What is the subject of this discussion? What is the big image which Paul uses in this text? What happens when someone is baptized?
Wednesday, September 28. Read Colossians 2:8-15. What was Paul concerned about in this text? Where did Paul tell the Colossians their “fulness” was? What does he say about baptism, and why is it an appropriate image for this text?
Thursday, September 29. Read Acts 17:16-21. In what city was Paul in this text? What was the prevailing mindset of the city? What do you think the basic weakness of their system was?
Friday, September 30. Read Psalm 1:1-6. How are people who obey God like trees? What do they do that makes them this way?
Saturday, October 1. Read Colossians 2: 1-12. Sunday’s sermon text.
Devotional Reading: Deep Roots by Teresa Bell Kindred
What kind of legacy are we leaving for those around us?
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalms 1:1-3 KJV).
Another tree fell at our church this week. Her name was Mrs. Virginia Beasley, known to her church family as Miss Beasley.
For the past 15 years or so, I have sat behind Miss Beasley every Sunday at church. Her white hair has been the focal point of our side of the church. To me, her hair looked like soft, white cotton candy. I don’t know how she felt about it, but I thought it was beautiful. Miss Beasely was known as the candy and gum lady at church. She brought a baggie full of goodies every Sunday and passed it out to the children who sat around her little ones and very big ones. They loved her for it and I know they will miss her just like I will.
What We Sometimes Forget
I’m sure you probably have a Miss Beasley in your life too. Someone who sits in the same spot every Sunday. Never misses a service. Loves people and children and sharing what they have with others. What we sometimes forget about these church members is that growing deep roots in our faith doesn’t guarantee an easy life and Miss Beasley didn’t have one.
In 1996, Miss Beasley’s daughter, Jo, was taken from her home by someone she knew, driven to a barn and brutally murdered. It was the day before Jo’s birthday. As I sat behind Miss Beasley in church I often wondered how she got past that horrific event. I suspect that like most traumatic events in our lives she didn’t get past it, she just learned to live with it, but it had to have been incredibly hard.
Miss Beasley had a necklace with her daughter’s picture on it that she wore frequently. One Sunday, I commented about what a good picture it was of Jo. Her eyes teared up, “Why don’t people ever talk about Jo?” She asked. “It’s like they don’t remember her.” That broke my heart. Of course we remember, but we were trying to spare Miss Beasley more pain, which seems foolish because a mother’s heart can’t know more pain than the death of a child.
Even though others may never have mentioned Jo’s death, I know she never stopped thinking about it. In fact, the night Miss Beasley died was 2 days before the anniversary of Jo’s death. I’m sure she went to sleep thinking about her daughter. She died peacefully in her sleep, thus being spared reliving one more time the anniversary of her daughter’s death.
One day last week, my son and I took his 8 year old daughter for a walk on our farm. We stopped to show my granddaughter one of the largest trees I have ever seen. It’s a huge old oak tree. This tree is so big that our arms won’t reach around it. Abby, my granddaughter, was fascinated with this old tree, so I snapped a picture of her hugging it.
Now when I look at that picture, I am reminded of Miss Beasley and others like her. These great old souls didn’t waver when the storms of life came. The shadow the oak tree casts is huge. The sphere of influence that a strong Christian shares when they stay firmly rooted in their faith is even bigger and more influential.
The hard thing about a large tree with deep roots is that when it falls, it leaves such an empty, vacant space. And every time we see that spot, we ache for the tree that was there. That’s how I feel with the empty spot where Miss Beasley used to sit. I ache for her presence and miss her. Yet the empty spot on the pew in front of me also serves as a reminder of two important realities:
- I need to continue growing deeper roots to be an influence for good and for God!
- God wants me to stay busy planting more trees and nurturing them to grow deep roots!
I want to be able to proclaim like the old African American spiritual, “I Shall Not Be Moved!”
Glory hallelujah, I shall not be moved,
Anchored in Jehovah, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
I shall not be moved!
In His love abiding, I shall not be moved,
And in Him confiding, I shall not be moved;
Just like the tree that’s planted by the water,
I shall not be moved!
I shall not be, I shall not be moved,
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the water
I shall not be moved!
Song of the Week: As a Tree Beside the Water by Alfred H. Ackley, 1936
Has the Savior planted me;
All my fruit shall be in season,
I shall live eternally.Chorus:
I shall not be moved,
I shall not be moved;
Anchored to the Rock of Ages,
I shall not be moved.
2 Tho’ the tempest rage around me,
Thro’ the storm my Lord I see,
Pointing upward to that haven,
Where my loved ones wait for me. [Chorus]
3 When by grief my heart is broken,
And the sunshine steals away,
Then His grace, in mercy given,
Changes darkness into day. [Chorus]
4 When at last I stand before Him,
Oh, what joy it will afford,
Just to see the sinner ransomed,
And behold my sov’reign Lord. [Chorus]