“But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.” Psalm 52: 8
As I read this verse recently I stopped to gaze upon the words, “I am like an olive tree, thriving…” Besides the numerous times olives are mentioned in the Bible, the wording of this verse reminded me of the countless articles I have read regarding the benefits of olive oil and how this ingredient can assist in better health. I decided it was time to do a bit more digging into the Word of God to detail the benefits from a spiritual stance on the subject of olives.
Olive oil comes from the olive fruit. When you firmly press the olive fruit the product rendered is bitter white sap. To acquire the oil, the fruit and its seed need to be crushed by an immense weight. This compressing will remove the bitterness and deliver the oil. Now why is there references made to this particular fruit in the Bible. If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, we realize that everything written in scripture is placed there for a specific purpose and lesson to live by.
Jesus was crushed by an immense weight when He carried the burden and weight of all the sins of the world to the Cross of Calvary. The press that crushed Him was the judgment of a Holy God who cannot be in the presence of sin. Jesus suffered this fate so that He might become the anointing oil that heals us today just as the anointing oil is used today to heal the sick. In fact, James 5:14-15 states, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
I also read where a visitor was in the City of Capernaum and actually saw an olive press. The tour guide shared that the olive berries were placed in the press, as mentioned above, and was then crushed with a millstone. There were three uses shared concerning the final product of oil.
To add insight into how these usages apply to what the Lord did for us when he borne the incredible pressure of the world’s sins, the first point made describes Jesus Christ as the Light of the World. No one comes to the Father except through the Son. His light shines so that we might see and have the worldly blinders removed from our eyes.
The second use of medicine points to the healing power of Jesus’ name. Isaiah 53:5 mentioned “by His stripes we are healed.” Jesus not only can heal our physical bodies, but more importantly He heals us for all eternity.
Soap, made from oil, might seem to be an unusual comparison; however, the cleansing effect that resulted when His blood washed us as white as snow is a superior alternative to the soap that cleanses our earthly bodies. This compressed oil represents the Holy Spirit of God that is received by each person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. He who was crushed beneath the weight of all our sins will heal us, cleanse us and light our path.
Olive oil…when you use it again in your kitchen, or read the numerous articles which outline its benefits for your earthly physical body, remember the pounding which took place to render that oil. Then reflect on what Jesus did for the world.
I think most of us can testify that life isn't easy. Sometimes the burdens we carry are so heavy that we should realize, as Christians, the Lord has instructed us often to "cast our burdens" on Him and let go of the immense emotional and mental pain and suffering we experience. And what do we do in return? We cast our burdens on the Lord and then reel them back as a fisherman when attempting to attract a catch.
I probably pray and cry more now than I ever have in my entire life. It's not because I don't think God is listening, I know He hears and He answers. However, my time continuum and God's doesn't match up....and that occurs frequently when it comes to an answer on those dire needs I'm praying about. God cannot be placed within in a time frame or given a box of limits when it comes to minutes, hours, days, weeks or years. Due to our finite minds we simply cannot accept the concept of limitless and then we aren't positive that we want God's decision to be "final" because it might not agree with what we think is best or want to have transpire.
As I continued to think on the above context this past week and had experienced quite a difficult two weeks emotionally, my husband and I decided to take advantage of a new establishment in our neighborhood. The advertisement was a low cost for an hour massage. Gary and I decided to make appointments and have this wonderful rubdown while taking an hour break from the events of life.
So, off we went. As I readied myself for an hour of relaxation, the young man that was going to do the massage began to talk about the type of therapy he does and said something along the lines of, "this is a type of holistic approach"....so I let it go. Then he added that it would be great if everyone was just good to one another and allowed each person to believe however they chose....
I began to feel my ears prick up as a dog when he hears his master whistling for him. I thought, "God, is this what you want me to do? Have a conversation with this young man about you?" Then I would inject a comment, he would respond and on we went for an hour....yes, my entire time in the massage room. By the end of the hour I had given the young man the plan of salvation and my honest opinion on many topics he began inquiring about as he would say, "let me ask you this...." and on we would go.
As I left the room, he was waiting outside to hand me a bottle of water and say, "thank you for the conversation" and I returned the sentiment and honestly meant it. I did finish by saying, "I'll be praying for you." Which, by his look, startled him.
On the ride home I told Gary how I had just spent my hour in the massage room. He chuckled and said, "Guess God didn't think you needed the break!" Yep, guess I'll need to schedule another massage soon, but I was delighted God had me put one foot in front of the other and keep my eyes and heart focused on Him. You never know when God will use your life, your faith and your willingness to give a testimony to another person. That's just what God does when life has been difficult!
Yesterday I received a text from my son, Nicholas. He is a sixth grade teacher in a school north of the City of Pittsburgh.
The text, along with a song written by a 12 year old middle school student accompanied by a music video crafted by her teenage sister, was heart breaking. In a world that seemingly is increasing with hate, issues we might have assumed died in years past, are resurfacing. The context of the information you will read and listen to brought back memories of being bullied as a child simply for being a Christian in the back woods of rural Virginia. Of course, the scale of my being bullied and what you will read and hear are so minor you probably wonder why I would even bring it up. The point being, those situations we experience, especially as children, are buried deep within one's fiber and can never fully be forgotten.
It breaks my heart to hear of young people going through the climate of hate because of their ethnic background, color of skin or their given lifestyle. Although I might not agree with a person's lifestyle, God has taught me that I need to love others....period. I will hold to the boundaries He has set forth, but treating others in a demeaning way....that's out of the question. Who am I to judge? Could I throw the first stone? Judging is left up to God, not me. Would anyone ever listen to what I have to say as a woman bearing the name of Christ if I'm treating them without the tolerance I am requesting of them?
This world in which we live is reeling. We have lost our spiritual footing. Politically we have slogans, outcries, posters, marches and numerous unrests occurring which are teaching our children if you don't like what those in places of authority are doing, just rebel. Human rights are being questioned. Drugs are being sold to our youth in untold numbers and children being sold into slave traffic would astound the law abiding, suburb living adult. But when are we going to take off the blinders and unite to pray that Almighty God will anoint our hearts and minds with His love? "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13 That one scripture verse alone would change the world. The Word of God is not obsolete and it's time we realize God is the only way to correct our humanistic finite wisdom that has taken us down a path of everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.
I would ask that you search your heart, pray...even if that's not what you have been accustomed to, and ask God Almighty to intervene in the hearts and lives of those who are full of hate. Remember their hate was not born in one day, but is a product of past events or past teachings of previous generations. Ask God to erase hate from their hearts and place within them a heart of love for their fellowman.
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." I John 4:8
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
Hello friends and family...
I rarely, if ever, send out a mass email like this. This is not a forward, this is an original from me.
I wanted to share a song with you. A song written and performed by a young lady who experienced hate in way she had only read or been told about. When confronted with this, she turned to her main outlet...she turned to music. This young lady wrote this song, performed this song, played the guitar for this song, put her heart into this song....
She is 12 and a student in my period 4 class. She is Jewish. And this is what she wrote and recorded after a swastika was spray painted on the street directly in front of her house. Her 17-year-old sister made the video that accompanies this song. She gave me permission to share with anyone. You should do the same if you feel as though you should.
In a world that needs so much more good in it, we unfortunately still have things like this that the children in this world must still deal with.
Growing up living beside by paternal grandmother, there was a beautiful rose bush that always delivered on Mother's Day. I was told that if your mother was living you would wear a red rose and if she had passed away the color worn was white. For as long as I can remember, I have insisted on a red flower of some sort if my husband wanted to buy a corsage for me to wear Sunday morning on Mother's Day. My mother always upheld the rule and when her mother passed away she began wearing a white flower.
You might think this is morbid, but it is a way we paid tribute to our moms. We gave thanks for their influence in our lives and honored them through the red and paid our humble respect with white. That was probably my first remembrance of Mother's Day, except for the fact we took my mom out for Sunday lunch at a restaurant (which was not the norm growing up in rural Virginia)!
Today as I have aged and become a grandmother, I realize that what my grandmothers and my mother always enjoyed was time spent with us...not necessarily a present. I know that I didn't realize the concept of time spent instead of a gift buying venture until I became a bit older. Moms like to not only hear from their offspring, but they long to be included in "what's happening" in their daily lives, activities and grandchildren's lives. Even the mundane stuff.
As I was teaching recently I compared our conversations with our children to the conversations we have with our Father God. It works so much better when our children call us than when we call them. For when we call them, they could be in the middle of something and the conversation isn't that great. However, regardless of what we are in the middle of, when a child calls a parent, we set aside whatever we're doing and make time to listen. God is like that....He might really need to tell us something, but at that moment we're not ready to listen; however, when we need Him....He is always ready to listen and love us.
That is a picture of your mom, or at least the mom I grew up with. May this Mother's Day bring you closer to your mom whether by conversation or a visit. If your mom has joined the Lord Jesus, may you find a mother to salute. And if you have children....may they realize time is a precious commodity.
Blessings to all the moms out there!