And Then There Was That Tree

A few days ago I wrote about Extravagant Dad.  In it I remembered what it’s like to walk in nature and explore God’s amazing creation.  There is just so much to savor when you are outside.  Today I took a walk with my dog, taking advantage of a bit of warmer weather here in the northwest.  The dog ran forward and back, dashing among the standing tumbleweeds and brush, attempting to stick her nose under the neighbor’s electric fence so she could get a better look at those confounded cows.  Curious of each others presence a yearling came running close to the fence as well and they had a good long look at each other.  Had I not called Sophie back, I’m sure she would have wriggled under the wire and joined in the yearling’s frolics out there in the dairy fields.

Walking made me remember I had mentioned that our extravagant Dad gave us access to all He gave Adam and Eve.  He created us for relationship and so, in giving us our adoption papers upon salvation, we are redeemed into the inheritance of God’s wonder and grace, and Papa God wants nothing more than to spend some time with us.

I allowed my mind to take a walk in what I imagine the garden may have looked like.  I see something a bit like the photograph above.  Wandering through lush vegetation I could almost see God strolling along through masses of green, chatting with His beloved children.  Perhaps they decided to name certain bushes and trees along their walk, asking Papa what he thought of it all.  Do you suppose God, Adam and Eve might have played hide and seek together?  Now that thought makes me giggle at the fun of it.

I imagine that one evening though when, as they strolled along, they came upon a site.  There, as the brush fell away and the sun began to set on the day, they rounded a curve in the path, and came upon it.  The tree.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord spoke to them., “Of this tree, you shall not eat.”  Have you ever spent much time thinking about why the Lord would give such instruction in this lush place?  I didn’t, I just knew what Adam and Eve were told.  “You can eat everything here, all the fruit of the trees and bushes, but of this particular tree you cannot eat.”

I’m no Bible scholar but I’ll tell you what I think.  I believe that the children of God were told not to eat of this tree, so that there might be a choice.  This was the defining moment between God and His creation, these two new children of His that He loved so dearly.  If He simply placed them in the garden and told them they could eat anything there, then there was no choice involved.  They would simply be His little darlings, kept in a wonderful place, provided with everything they needed to exist.

No, I believe this was the choosing point.  This was the difference between having children who would come to Him, purposefully to have a relationship with Him and those who only lived off His provision.  We, as children of God, have to make a choice in order to make this relationship work.  It must be our heart’s desire to follow after Him.  Anything else results in a dictatorship.  No, God knew He had to turn His children free in the garden and see what they would do with this freedom they possessed.  The results are self-evident.

I’ve pondered that one a few times.  While I wished in the earlier days of my life the choice were not so, so final, I have come to understand the great wisdom in His act.  I didn’t really want to come to Christ in my early twenties because I saw this relationship as one I would be required to give up a lot of things I quite frankly didn’t want to give up.  By the time I reached my late twenties, all had changed.  I had lived according to my desires, learning that I wasn’t a very good steward of my life and I cried out to Him to come and be my Lord.  As the days rolled into years, and the years into decades, I’ve come to understand the value in choosing between what I want and what He wants.  There is value in His precepts because oh my, He’s God!  What I wanted was plain and simply the lusts of my flesh.

I am so grateful to my Lord for giving me a choice.  Have you considered the results of your choices lately?  Is there something you’ve continued to choose but the results are a bit confounding?  Or perhaps you simply don’t want to budge on a certain point in your life.  All I can ask is, “how is that working out for you?”  Are you getting the results you want?  If not, it might be time to either choose or to change.  Either way, the Lord is waiting for you.  He loves you no less than He loved His original children, Adam and Eve.  He simply had to leave you to choose.


If you’ve reached that point in your life where you are unhappy with the results of your own choosing and you want to come into relationship with God, you can make that decision here and now.  All you need do is ask Him into your life by saying this prayer:

Lord, I want to make a change today.  I realize I’m a sinner and I’ve made wrong choices.  I don’t want to walk the rest of my days without you.  I know now that you, Jesus, are my Savior.  I know you went to the cross to pay the price of my sins and you were raised again — all for me.  Lord, I ask you to come to me today, come live in my heart.  I believe in you and I need you to be the Lord of my life.  I ask this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Welcome friend!  I encourage you now to seek out another believer and tell them about your decision.  Don’t keep this a secret!  It’s wonderful news.  I also encourage you to find a strong, Bible-based church and join in.  It might be difficult at first, but you’ll catch on.  I pray the peace of God, which passes all understanding, to enfold you now so that you know you have made the right choice.  It’s a glorious choice you’ve made!

And I Must Give Account


I just walked outside with the dog.  As she romped around looking for just the right spot this night, I looked up.  In my part of the world it’s very dark out at night and the view of the heavenly places is quite stunning.  I could see galaxies and constellations.  Breathtaking!

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  Heb. 4:13

This scripture came across my viewing earlier today.  When you take the time to really read His word, sometimes you get a spiritual “smack” from God.  For some reason, this was one of those scriptures.  I’m attempting to lose weight (oh the holidays were fun, too much fun!) and just at the moment I got up to go out with the dog, I realized I’m hungry.  Suddenly food started tempting me.  “What can I find in the refrigerator?  Oh, how about some popcorn?  Yes, popcorn would do the trick.”  The truth is this kind of thinking is what got me into the mode of having to work on losing weight again in the first place.

Why do we find ourselves rationalizing in such moments?  It would be so easy to just give up and state, “tomorrow I’ll start”.  The enemy’s taunting is so easy to fall into.  And yet, something in looking up at the night sky caught my attention and steered me toward thinking about how small I am and how big He is.  How can He keep all of us straight?  He’s there watching over me, and you, in all this expanse and yet we matter!

I can attempt to fool myself into thinking that having some popcorn tonight won’t be the end of the world.  I’d be right in that assumption, it wouldn’t be.  But me trying to fool myself into believing that fudging on the food tonite won’t be any big deal is based on the fact that I’m pretending that God doesn’t know.  Not three days ago, I asked Him to help me lose the weight, that I needed Him to help me get past the urges and fudges.  I can pretend He doesn’t see my indiscretions but He does.  And He cares.

Part of my growing in Christ is dependent on how I treat such times.  I can pretend that the Lord is just one of the good ‘ol boys and it doesn’t much matter to Him if I’m heavy or thin.  There is probably some truth in that.  However He cares about every little thing under the heavens.  For me, in this particular moment, eating indiscriminately is sin.  And how I handle this has a bearing on what He will trust me with in other areas of my walk and ministry.

So, tonite I’m not having popcorn.  Instead, I think I’ll go out and look again at the stars and try to get my head wrapped around the fact that even though I’m so, so small, I still matter.  And that’s the truth!  Care to join me in savoring that one?