A lot has happened since last Tuesday. Susie, Cynthia, Myra, Ethel, Tywanza, DePayne and the Reverends, Sharonda, Daniel and Clementa welcomed a young man to their Emanuel AME church's Wednesday night Bible Study in downtown Charleston, and they didn't make it back home to their families, their beds, their lives like they had originally planned. Things changed drastically, without warning and it left everyone feeling devastated.
Last Tuesday, I felt the nudge to join in on this Tuesday at Ten . . . (I find strength in . . .) phrase challenge by Karen Beth at Finding The Grace Within and wanted to use parts of an earlier post from back in April, The Palms In Psalms Remain Vital and Green but with new pictures of palm trees and added new text.
I wasn't planning on using this pic again, but strangely, it seemed to have more significance as it was taken in Charleston, South Carolina. With all that happened this week and today being Father's Day, it seemed timely and appropriate.
Just like in this picture, storms can come into our lives unexpectedly, devastate, alter our plans and zap us of our strength. However, there is a source for strength that is hard to comprehend until you have experienced it firsthand.
There is just something about palm trees that fascinate me and all I can say is that it must be a God thing. If you ask any follower of Christ, " Where do you find your strength?" They will most likely reply that their strength comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Okay . . . they may not say it just like that, but hopefully it is plain to see that their strength is of a supernatural kind. And how does one receive this kind of strength? It is given to those who put their trust in Him and that is exactly what we have seen on the news. We've seen people of different backgrounds praying on the streets of Charleston. We've heard family members of the victims telling the young man, who murdered their loved ones, that they forgive him! That is not normal strength, that is something that goes against how we want to react in our flesh.
I've tried depending on my own strength in the past to cope with out of control situations, but it never played out well. Now, I find my strength in my heavenly Father, for He shows me illustrations through His own creation, the palm trees. They stand tall and can survive hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis and heat. They grow a strong root system, are flexible and don't carry the weight of large heavy branches. The wind can move more freely through their leaves without uprooting them. They find their strength basking in the presence of the sun and even grow stronger after surviving the toughest of storms. Their strength is not their own but rather given to them by their designer, their creator.
But the godly will flourish like the palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord's own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, "The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is nothing but goodness in him!"
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Matthew 6: 9-13
Christina is an
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