January 19, 2021
Genesis 21:33
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.
New International Version (NIV)
               I stopped to see a historical marker once which read, “On this site in 1897, nothing happened.”  Someone designed a parody of the real historical markers.  It is not unlike the stickers on cars which say, 0.0 to commemorate the fact that the owner has not run a marathon, or run at all, for that matter.  How do we commemorate the great moments in our lives?  In wedding ceremonies we exchange rings.  At dedications and on anniversaries we engrave and place plaques to remind us of what happened. 

              Abraham planted a tree by the well he dug.  These years were momentous in Abraham’s life.  When Abraham asked Sarah to lie and say she was his sister, a foreign king named Abimelek almost married her.  God protected them and later smiled on Abraham fulfilling his promise by giving him and Sarah a son named Isaac, meaning “laughter.”  He sent his other son Ishmael into the wilderness where God made him the father of a great nation. 

               Water is scarce and valuable in arid climates.  Abraham and his men dug a well only to have Abimelek’s servants seize it.  In a peace treaty, Abimelek agreed that the well belonged to Abraham.  Their treaty gave the place of the well a new name, “Beersheba,” in the southernmost part of the promised land.  We might think the well itself was sign enough.  But Abraham planted a tree to commemorate the event.  Remember he was over a hundred years old.

              Last week I went to a “re-weaver” to have her repair a hole in a suit.  I admired the grapefruit and orange trees in her backyard.  She told me that she had planted them eight years ago, and finally they were bearing much fruit.  Huge navel oranges bent the branches holding them.  When I look at our buildings at Tallowood, I remember a picture of a tree in my office.  It reminds me that we sometimes plant trees which will provide shade for future generations. 

              In a world that often seems disruptive and destructive, I hope we will dig wells and plant trees this year.  We never know how long we will be here, or who will enjoy the fruit of our labors.  But life matters.  What we do today has the potential to make eternal impact.  Let us so live today that when we are gone, others will know that something important, lasting and beautiful happened here.
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for the water of life we find in Jesus Christ.  Help us to use our time and resources well today to seek peace and pursue it.  Open the eyes of our imagination to see the trees of life along the banks of the river in heaven, which offer healing to the nations.  Please heal our nation we pray.  Let us confirm our identity as your children by actively making peace today and everyday.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.    
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Romans 4:20-22
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
https://www.tallowood.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Read-Through-Bible-Download.pdf
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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