Good Roots: Rooted and Grounded

Natural principles hold true for Christians as well; the development of solid foundation is essential to be rooted and grounded. Paul Keith Davis says, “Go deep in order to go high.”

Although trees and shrubs of all shapes and sizes fill the lots and parks within the city, I see only the tallest of trees from my fourth floor window. Those who roots have reached deep and wide obtain the resilience to survive the extreme Canadian prairie seasons. Without extensive root systems the gale force prairie winds would topple them.

After planting hundreds of trees over the years, I’ve learned the first five years are critical for healthy root development. In those five years upward and outward growth remains minimum, but beneath the surface a fibrous web of tenacious roots ensure long term health of the tree.

When the focus on root development takes precedence, all other growth and development will lead to greater health and fruitfulness.

God knows far better than I do about planting seeds and transplanting seedings. He created and designed the whole process.

Through trial and error, I also discovered that the right tree planted in the wrong location may survive for a season, but it will never thrive. Usually such a scenario results in death — sometimes slow, other times rapid.

Believe it or not, some trees prefer wet roots, others insist on theirs being dry; some only grow in rich loam, others prefer sandy soil. The adage “bloom where you are planted” only goes so far.

But what does becoming rooted and grounded mean?

In Love

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19

Paul prays for the Ephesian church to become rooted and grounded (or established) in love.

The original word translated as rooted means “to cause to take root, to fix firmly and establish.” While the word translated as established means “to lay the foundation, or to lay the basis, erect, or consolidate.”

Paul prays that “every family” — not just some or a choice few — would become rooted and grounded in love. He knows we need help! But through the power of the Holy Spirit, as Christ inhabits the core of our being through faith, our roots of love deepen and spread ever wider.

The deeper our roots of love go the more we discover how high and deep God’s love for us reaches, going far beyond our comprehension. In His love, we become like mature trees rooted and grounded, reaching the full potential of all God has for us.

In Faith

“And now there is nothing between you and Father God, for he sees you as holy, flawless, and restored, if indeed you continue to advance in faith, assured of a firm foundation to grow upon. Never be shaken from the hope of the gospel you have believed in . . .”
Colossians 1:22-23 TPT

Paul conveys the same idea to the Colossian believers. He encourages them to lay a foundation of faith that is steadfast, firm, and immovable. Those rooted and grounded in faith grow! Faith advances! Never shaken!

Isn’t that what we all desire? A steadfast foundation ensures that nothing and no one comes between us and God. Our core relationship with Him grows unhindered “if” we continue in faith.

Even the smallest tree will experience a set-back when it is transplanted. Though its root system hasn’t yet spread as deep and wide as a mature tree, it takes time to begin to thrive in new ground. We all resemble transplanted trees.

This passage begins with:

“Even though you were once distant from him, living in the shadows of your evil thoughts and actions, he reconnected you back to himself.”
Colossians 1:21

Evil actions and sin-based thinking plagued us all until God transplanted us and “reconnected” us back to Himself. He transplanted us in the fertile soil of faith and love to spread our roots ever deeper. Once rooted and grounded, we will grow to full stature, casting holy shadows of protection and provision for others.

In Truth

Jesus told a parable illustrating the importance of being rooted and grounded.

“Let me describe the one who truly follows me and does what I say: He is like a man who chooses the right place to build a house and then lays a deep and secure foundation. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it continues to stand strong and unshaken through the tempest, for he built it wisely on the right foundation.”
Luke 6:47-48 TPT

Every builder knows the indispensable value of a “deep and secure foundation.” Storms will come! Floods will rage against us! By hearing and activating the Word of God in our lives, we will stand “strong and unshaken” nonetheless.

A building’s secure foundation in many ways resembles a tree’s roots system. We choose daily where and how to build upon God’s promises. May we build wisely. May each one of our lives become firmly rooted and grounded in His Word of truth.

Remain

In Ezekiel 17, we read an allegory about a great eagle who planted a cedar beside “abundant water.” Its branches turned toward the eagle while its roots settled deep in the rich soil, allowing the tree to flourish and be fruitful. But when another eagle came, the cedar turned its roots toward the new eagle, seeking a new source.

“Will it thrive?” God asks. “Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither” (Ezekiel 17).

God in His gentle mercy warns of the consequences of not remaining grounded in Him. He points to the real dangers of turning to other sources. The Holy Spirit does all He can, rooting and grounding us in His love and steadfast faith and nurturing us through the living water of His Word, the Bible.

Rooted and Grounded

Later in another vision, Ezekiel saw an eternal river flowing from the “threshold of the temple” (Ezekiel 47). He describes the resulting overflow of abundance!

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fall. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Ezekiel 47:12

Everyone rooted and grounded in love, faith, and truth bears fruit that nourishes and heals. Their lives carry the capacity to influence and impact many others. It is my prayer that when the hunger and hurting come close to us they will find food that satisfies the deep longing of their souls and healing for every broken area of their lives.

May our roots of love go deep, the foundation of our faith be solid, and truth of God’s Word guide our decisions. Let’s “go deep in order to go high.”

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Jesus Christ The Sure Foundation – Building to Last

Jesus Christ the firm Foundation

The most important part of any building, ministry or individual is its foundation. Though unseen, a foundation is powerful and strategic. In a structure of any kind, if something is off-base or askew there is a problem in the foundation.

Foundations are critical! They are unseen, yet their impact is clearly visible. Where is your foundation? Is it level? Secure?

The Word of God

Since earliest times, the foundation of faith is the writing of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

“The first five books of the Bible (both Hebrew and Christian) are foundational to all of Scripture…taken by the Jews to constitute a unity known to them as the Torah or Law. To the Jews, the word Torah…means not only the “law” but also “teaching” or “instruction” which more completely characterizes God’s communication to the Israelites through Moses.”

These writing were not just read or studied, they were memorized and absorbed. Why? Here that we learn the character and the ways of God.

“He (God)revealed his character (ways) to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.”
Psalm 103:7

It is in these books that we come to “hear” the heart of God and know how He speaks.

God Still Speaks

“For God does speak
now one way, now another…
In a dream,
in a vision…”

Job 32: 14

Dreams and Visions

When we have the foundation of God’s word, we are able to discern what we hear. Everything God speaks will be laid upon the foundation of scripture. It will align to His character perfectly.

Elihu says the reasons may vary, but God speaks “in their ears.”

God originally spoke to Samuel in an audible voice.

“The LORD came and stood there,
calling as at the other times,
‘Samuel! Samuel!’ ”
I Samuel 3:10

But more often, God “revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” (vs 21)

Jesus the Foundation

“For no man can lay a foundation
other than the one which is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 3:11

“Therefore thus says the LORD God,
‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”
Isaiah 28:16

The Word

Jesus is the Foundation Who has always been!

“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

To know the Word is to know Christ. Those who believe in Him “will not be disturbed.” The Amplified version says, “he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give or hasten away [in sudden panic].”

Faith in Christ is a Foundation so secure circumstance cannot shake those whose lives are built upon that Stone!

Apostles and Prophets

“So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners.
You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.
You are members of God’s family.
Together, we are his house,
built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets.
And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”
Ephesians 2: 19-20

Build Together

If there would be a ranking of apostles and prophets, it would be:

  • Jesus the Chief Apostle (Hebrews 3:1) and Prophet (Luke 13:33)
  • Apostles and prophets of the bible who were given an anointing grace to write scripture
  • all other apostles and prophets

The purpose of apostles and prophets is to build and strengthen the church of Christ.

“But the one who prophesies speaks to people
for their strengthening,
encouraging and comfort.”
I Corinthians 14:3

Their work is to build upon the Foundation of The Word, Jesus Himself.

Today

To daily come to God with open bible asking Him to speak and reveal His character is a healthy practise for every believer. He still speaks; He is just waiting for us to listen.

In the margins of my bible are verses that seemed to speak directly to me or some circumstance I was facing. I pencilled in the date and a two-word reference to what was happening. Then when I read these verses, I can whisper a prayer of thanksgiving about how God has already responded.

Building on the Foundation

On my wall are key verses – verses that bring strength, encouragement, comfort, direction, or even correction. I also have written out prophetic prayers others have prayed over me. Here too, I have been able to add dates and specifics about how God has and is responding through these verses and prayers of others on my behalf.

This is one practical example of being sure the Foundation is secure. I am continuing to build on the Foundation, Jesus Christ.

The Foundation that Lasts

Lord, help me be more intentional
in building my life
upon You, the Chief Cornerstone,
my Firm Foundation,
the unfaltering Word of God.
Here I choose to stay –
secure.

__________

Want more to read? Try this!

Laughter – It’s Better Than Medicine! Choose Joy!

__________

 

 

Children and Death? How Can We Help?

Children and Death

Three random conversations over a span of four hours; all remarkably similar in context. Conversations that brought me face-to-face with the subject of children and death. Death leaves a deep imprint. Such an imprint on children will be dealt with either effectively or ineffectively. You can make the difference!

Three Conversations

First of all, a grandchild, now in her teens asks “What happens when you die? Does everyone go to heaven? Does it happen right away?” Death and heaven were on her mind.

Then a man in his 40’s shares how he still deeply misses a friend.  Even though it has been over a decade since his passing, thoughts and questions rise to the surface. In the conversation a striking remark, “he never fully recovered from the loss of his father.”

Finally, a young man in early adulthood tells of a rocky place in his own life. As a teen his parents divorced and his grandmother died, both in the same year. Tears flowed as he mentioned his grandmother, whom he had been “very close to”. His lifestyle changed dramatically as a result. It was a turning point toward destructive choices.

Death

Personal Experience

As a toddler, my two baby sisters passed away: one soon after birth, the second a few short months later. My mother, a true nurturer, was thrown into an emotional tailspin, unable to deal with the impact of such a great double loss.

Though I have no memories of tiny siblings, there are many of a sad father and an angry mother. Both struggling for breath in the midst of heart wrenching personal pain.

Even now, it is difficult to put pen to paper reflecting on my family deeply imprinted by tragic loss. More difficult still, it is to lay bare the wounded soul within me of the impact of those years.

Common Theme

Sitting next to a woman in midlife, through tears she whispers, “I finally have the words.” Her life as a small child had been filled with loss. Now as an adult, she “finally had words”…words that would open wide the gates to inner and lasting healing...words released from an inner cavern of pain.

[bctt tweet=”Words open wide the gates to inner and lasting healing.” username=”MAWardAuthor”]

Mourning

It is an expression painfully familiar. Barely a week goes by in fact when I don’t hear them uttered in one form or another as I walk beside women of all ages into places of increased strength and purpose.

Children and death! Not an easy topic! For many children there are unbirthed, silenced or stolen words surrounding death of many shapes:

physical death
divorce – the undying death –
death of innocence or sense of stability
of personal worth and value
… loss in various ugly forms.

God’s Answer

With a grieving heart I pray seeking God for answers. How do we help children walk through “the valley of the shadow of death” – especially when it has been someone close to them?” In the midst of trauma, young children can easily be ignored, while the needs of others take priority. Certainly, it is not intentional! The life-long repercussions of by-passing the young should be cause to take another look!

What if we helped children find their voice in the centre of their situation and circumstance. Or if we did not wait for decades to listen for that fragile wavering voice? What if we stopped and silently listened, intentionally creating a gateway of expression?

The language of a child is different from the language of an adult. (1 Cor 13:11) There is a tender intuition in a child to protect others – an intense sensitivity to the painful currents around them. Children, even very young children, carry the emotional load of pain internally and personally.

Matthew 19 Little Children Come

Especially relevant for today are these words spoken long ago! It is our privilege to set before children of all ages the realities of the life of Christ. In this way, a solid foundation is established for even the smallest of children. A foundation that is secure in the most difficult of moments. Even as dark winds of pain come, the brightness of His goodness breaks through!

Hope in Christ

Jesus’ invitation to children still rings out, “Let them come!”

Such is the intention a little children’s book, “Olivia & Me”. It doesn’t contain answers to the hard questions; however, it does open wide the gate for conversation about life, death and hope we have in Christ Jesus.

Death never was, or is, God’s intention. Never! Quite the opposite is true; Jesus Christ is the

Giver of Life
Source of Life
Sustainer of Life
Bread of Life
Eternal Life
Abundant Life
THE LIFE!


Children and Death! Lord Teach us to Pray!

Lord help us be sensitive and present
for all those grieving.
Give us listening ears and an open heart to
hear beyond words  and see beyond natural limits
to the secret places of wounded hearts.
We need your love and compassion at all times.
Fill us with your wisdom and gentleness,
your grace and mercy to lavishly give
until the broken are whole again.