Maple Trees by Terry Sturtevant

In my backyard are three maple trees. They are spaced evenly and look beautiful in spring, summer, and fall. They live there quietly shading my lawn and cooling me from the suns rays.

About three or more years ago I began picking up dead branches. Small ones at first and larger ones each spring season. This year in particular, they have been dropping all summer. A few that are fifteen feet long and six inches in diameter.

Well I am not an arborist, but it's very obvious that the trees are either aging or have an insect infestation or blight. They are slowly dying.

The dead branches are falling from the tops. The trees are over forty feet tall and I can only guess that they are the same number in years old. I have lived by them for almost eighteen years.

I remember a lot of my birthdays. Unlike many people, they don't bother me. I liked age thirty and "The Big Four Oh" didn't affect me at all. It's just a number.

But then something changed. It wasn't the gifts, the cake or the flavor of the ice cream. It was me. At age 55, things became "different."

I didn't move as fast. The AARP invited me to join membership. My muscles were a few horsepower weaker. My endurance was nil.

I started on and off exercise and diet programs several times. But the results weren't as stellar as they were in my late thirties.

Looking in the mirror I had noticed my hair had began receding rapidly. My branches were falling off.

No I haven't lost any limbs, but a few are sore and I can no longer drop and do 100 push-ups. Twelve will take my breath away.

I've been diagnosed with glaucoma and have a nagging back ache that according to Doctors should not be hurting me. But it lots my walking for exercise.

Now I like to sleep in longer when I can. But I have more trouble falling asleep.

And Someone must have added extra weight to both the lawn mower and snow blower because I'm exhausted after using them.

I quit growing taller a long time ago. I struggle not to grow wider.

But this I know. In everything there comes a time for an end.

I may have to cut down my beloved maples so that they won't fall and do damage or harm to property or person.

Everything gets its turn to live, to be, and to die. My prayer is that in some way I have comforted those in need during their life and that I'll be appreciated and remembered for giving freely. 
Terry sent me the above for posting;I  was once again reminded of this passage from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes...
 1 To all there is an appointed time, even a time for every purpose under the heavens:  2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pull up what is planted;  3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up;  4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  6 a time to seek, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;  7 a time to tear, and a time to sew together; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  9 What advantage has he who works in that in which he labors?  10 I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men, to be humbled by it. 

  11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has set eternity in their heart, without which man cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning and to the end

Top billing

This week I hit a 34 pound weight loss; only a few more pounds to go until I hit the 10% mark.  I am told that at this percentage, the body changes for the better- blood pressure, blood glucose and other major indicators of health improve.  So far, I just feel a tad lighter and some clothes fit better.  Maybe I will celebrate my 10% with some strawberry cheesecake?  Until now, it was off the menu because of the calories it contains- but then I saw this picture...  Wow!  Right up my alley!!  Funny, how we classify things, isn't it?  I mean, we always refer to cheesecake with strawberries on it as "strawberry cheesecake" and not cheesecake with strawberries.  Cheesecake is the main ingredient and as such you would think it would get "top billing", but it doesn't.  Consider also our lives.  The physical always seems to get priority; bodily needs come first and spiritual needs second.  We place an emphasis on maintaining that which will last the shorter time and sometimes ignore the spiritual side of our being which will last forever.  Which reminds me of this passage from the book of 1 Corinthians...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 15
45 So also it has been written, "The" first "man", Adam, "became a living soul;" the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. Gen. 2:7  46 But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was out of earth, earthy. The second Man was the Lord out of Heaven. Gen. 2:7  48 Such the earthy man , such also the earthy ones. And such the heavenly Man , such also the heavenly ones.  49 And as we bore the image of the earthy man , we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man  50 And I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 

 Adam was the prototype and failed; Jesus was the original and succeeded.  So, the first IS last and those who become like the last are given priority in the last times.  That is what Jesus did; he placed his spiritual nature over his physical one and died so that WE might live.  He gave the spiritual "top billing" over the physical so that we might do the same.  Frankly, I will never look at strawberry cheesecake the same way again...

Aug. 23 Job 27-29

Aug. 23
Job 27-29

Job 27:1 Job again took up his parable, and said,
Job 27:2 "As God lives, who has taken away my right, the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter.
Job 27:3 (For the length of my life is still in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils);
Job 27:4 surely my lips shall not speak unrighteousness, neither shall my tongue utter deceit.
Job 27:5 Far be it from me that I should justify you. Until I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
Job 27:6 I hold fast to my righteousness, and will not let it go. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Job 27:7 "Let my enemy be as the wicked. Let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.
Job 27:8 For what is the hope of the godless, when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?
Job 27:9 Will God hear his cry when trouble comes on him?
Job 27:10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty, and call on God at all times?
Job 27:11 I will teach you about the hand of God. That which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.
Job 27:12 Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves; why then have you become altogether vain?
Job 27:13 "This is the portion of a wicked man with God, the heritage of oppressors, which they receive from the Almighty.
Job 27:14 If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword. His offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.
Job 27:15 Those who remain of him shall be buried in death. His widows shall make no lamentation.
Job 27:16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare clothing as the clay;
Job 27:17 he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.
Job 27:18 He builds his house as the moth, as a booth which the watchman makes.
Job 27:19 He lies down rich, but he shall not do so again. He opens his eyes, and he is not.
Job 27:20 Terrors overtake him like waters. A storm steals him away in the night.
Job 27:21 The east wind carries him away, and he departs. It sweeps him out of his place.
Job 27:22 For it hurls at him, and does not spare, as he flees away from his hand.
Job 27:23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
Job 28:1 "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold which they refine.
Job 28:2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted out of the ore.
Job 28:3 Man sets an end to darkness, and searches out, to the furthest bound, the stones of obscurity and of thick darkness.
Job 28:4 He breaks open a shaft away from where people live. They are forgotten by the foot. They hang far from men, they swing back and forth.
Job 28:5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread; Underneath it is turned up as it were by fire.
Job 28:6 Sapphires come from its rocks. It has dust of gold.
Job 28:7 That path no bird of prey knows, neither has the falcon's eye seen it.
Job 28:8 The proud animals have not trodden it, nor has the fierce lion passed by there.
Job 28:9 He puts forth his hand on the flinty rock, and he overturns the mountains by the roots.
Job 28:10 He cuts out channels among the rocks. His eye sees every precious thing.
Job 28:11 He binds the streams that they don't trickle. The thing that is hidden he brings forth to light.
Job 28:12 "But where shall wisdom be found? Where is the place of understanding?
Job 28:13 Man doesn't know its price; Neither is it found in the land of the living.
Job 28:14 The deep says, 'It isn't in me.' The sea says, 'It isn't with me.'
Job 28:15 It can't be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for its price.
Job 28:16 It can't be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
Job 28:17 Gold and glass can't equal it, neither shall it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
Job 28:18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal. Yes, the price of wisdom is above rubies.
Job 28:19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, Neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Job 28:20 Whence then comes wisdom? Where is the place of understanding?
Job 28:21 Seeing it is hidden from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the birds of the sky.
Job 28:22 Destruction and Death say, 'We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.'
Job 28:23 "God understands its way, and he knows its place.
Job 28:24 For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole sky.
Job 28:25 He establishes the force of the wind. Yes, he measures out the waters by measure.
Job 28:26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder;
Job 28:27 then he saw it, and declared it. He established it, yes, and searched it out.
Job 28:28 To man he said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. To depart from evil is understanding.' "
Job 29:1 Job again took up his parable, and said,
Job 29:2 "Oh that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me;
Job 29:3 when his lamp shone on my head, and by his light I walked through darkness,
Job 29:4 as I was in the ripeness of my days, when the friendship of God was in my tent,
Job 29:5 when the Almighty was yet with me, and my children were around me,
Job 29:6 when my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out streams of oil for me,
Job 29:7 when I went forth to the city gate, when I prepared my seat in the street.
Job 29:8 The young men saw me and hid themselves. The aged rose up and stood.
Job 29:9 The princes refrained from talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
Job 29:10 The voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
Job 29:11 For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it commended me:
Job 29:12 Because I delivered the poor who cried, and the fatherless also, who had none to help him,
Job 29:13 the blessing of him who was ready to perish came on me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
Job 29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me. My justice was as a robe and a diadem.
Job 29:15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame.
Job 29:16 I was a father to the needy. The cause of him who I didn't know, I searched out.
Job 29:17 I broke the jaws of the unrighteous, and plucked the prey out of his teeth.
Job 29:18 Then I said, 'I shall die in my own house, I shall number my days as the sand.
Job 29:19 My root is spread out to the waters. The dew lies all night on my branch.
Job 29:20 My glory is fresh in me. My bow is renewed in my hand.'
Job 29:21 "Men listened to me, waited, and kept silence for my counsel.
Job 29:22 After my words they didn't speak again. My speech fell on them.
Job 29:23 They waited for me as for the rain. Their mouths drank as with the spring rain.
Job 29:24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence. They didn't reject the light of my face.
Job 29:25 I chose out their way, and sat as chief. I lived as a king in the army, as one who comforts the mourners.

"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Chapter Two by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

                              Chapter Two


1) To see the relation between understanding the "mystery of God" and
   having a strong assurance of our salvation

2) To appreciate how baptism serves as our spiritual circumcision, and
   that it is a work of God which is performed, not a work of man

3) To understand how Christ brought an end to the Old Law by His death
   on the cross


Paul reveals his great concern for those at Colosse and others he has
not seen, expressing his desire that their hearts be knit together in
love, and that they may have the assurance that comes from an
understanding of the mystery of God as revealed through Christ.  He
rejoices in their good order and steadfastness, and encourages them to
be firmly established in Christ, abounding in thanksgiving (1-7).

The word "Beware" in verse eight summarizes the rest of the chapter, in
which Paul warns them of the dangers of "The Colossian Heresy".  These 
dangers include being cheated through philosophy and vain deceit, and 
defrauded of their reward by those who appeal to false humility, the 
worship of angels, false visions, and strict regulations according to 
the commandments and doctrines of men which really have no value 
against the indulgence of the flesh.  In Christ they are made complete,
having undergone a circumcision not made with hands, in which God made
them alive together with Christ.  Since Christ has also nailed to the
cross the "handwriting of requirements" that was against them and taken
it out of the way, none can judge them regarding religious observances
that were only a shadow pointing to the true substance of Christ



      1. He has a great conflict for those...
         a. In Colosse and Laodicea (1a)
         b. Who have not seen his face in the flesh (1b)
      2. His desire is that...
         a. Their hearts be encouraged, knit together in love (2a)
         b. They attain to all the riches of:
            1) The full assurance of understanding (2b)
            2) The knowledge of the mystery of God (2c)
               a) Both of the Father and of Christ (2d)
               b) In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and 
                  knowledge (3)

      1. Lest anyone deceive them with persuasive words (4)
      2. Though absent in the flesh, he is present with them in spirit
      3. He rejoices to see...
         a. Their good order (5b)
         b. The steadfastness of their faith (5c)

      1. As they have received Christ, so they should walk in Him (6)
         a. Rooted and built up in Him (7a)
         b. Established in the faith (7b)
         -- As they were taught (7c)
      2. Abounding with thanksgiving (7d)


      1. Beware of being cheated by philosophy and empty deceit (8a)
         a. According to the traditions of men (8b)
         b. According to the basic principles of the world (8c)
         -- And not according to Christ (8d)
      2. In Christ dwells the fullness of God, and you are complete in
         Him (9-10)
         a. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ (9)
         b. You are complete in Him, who is head over all principality
            and power (10)

      1. In Christ you have a circumcision made without hands (11-12)
         a. A putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh (11)
         b. Having been buried with Christ in baptism (12)
            1) In which you were also raised with Him (12a)
            2) Through faith in the working of God, who raised Jesus
               from the dead (12b)
      2. You are made alive in Christ, and the handwriting of 
         requirements that was against us has been taken away at the 
         cross (13-15)
         a. Dead in sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God has
            made you alive (13a)
         b. He has forgiven you all trespasses (13b)
         c. He has wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was
            against us (14)
            1) That which was contrary to us (14a)
            2) He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the
               cross (14b)
         d. He has disarmed principalities and powers (15)
            1) Having made a public spectacle of them (15a)
            2) Triumphing over them in it (15b)
      3. Therefore don't let anyone judge you in regards to food, 
         festivals, or sabbath days (16)
         a. They are only a shadow of things to come (17a)
         b. The substance is of Christ (17b)

      1. Don't let anyone defraud you of your reward (18a)
         a. By taking delight in false humility and worship of angels
         b. By intruding into things not seen, vainly puffed by fleshly
            minds (18c)
      2. Such people do not hold fast to Christ as the Head (19a)
         a. From whom all the body grows (19b)
         b. Nourished and knit together by various elements, with 
            increase from God (19c)

      1. There is no need to submit to human ordinances (2:20-22)
         a. For you have died with Christ from basic principles of the
            world (20a)
         b. Therefore do not subject yourselves to ascetic regulations
            1) Such as "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle" (21)
            2) They only concern things which perish with the using
            3) Which are according to commandments and doctrines of men
      2. Such practices are of no value (23)
         a. They may have an appearance of wisdom in their...
            1) Self-imposed religion (23a)
            2) False humility (23b)
            3) Neglect of the body (23c)
         b. But they are no value against the indulgence of the flesh


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Paul's solicitude (1-7)
   - Warnings against the "Colossian Heresy" (8-23)

2) What was Paul's strong desire for those he had not seen? (1-2)
   - That their hearts may be encouraged, knit together in love
   - That they may be richly blessed by the assurance that comes from
     an understanding and knowledge of the mystery of God

3) What is "hidden" in Christ? (3)
   - All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

4) What had Paul seen in the Colossians that caused him to rejoice? (5)
   - Their good order and steadfastness of faith in Christ

5) How were the Colossians to walk in Christ? (6-7)
   - Rooted and built up in Him
   - Established in the faith
   - Abounding with thanksgiving

6) What three things might be used to "cheat" us? (8)
   - Philosophy and empty deceit
   - Tradition of men
   - Basic principles of the world

7) What is said about Jesus in relation to the Godhead? (9)
   - In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily

8) What is our condition in Christ? (10)
   - We are complete in Him

9) What sort of "circumcision" have we had in Christ? (11)
   - One made without hands
   - A putting off the body of the sins of the flesh

10) What takes place in baptism?  Who is the one at work in baptism?
   - We are buried with Christ, raised with Christ, made alive together
     with Christ
   - God, who raised Jesus from the dead

11) What did Christ take out of the way, having nailed it to the cross?
   - The "handwriting of requirements"

12) In what things should we not let others judge us? (16-17)
   - In food or drink
   - Regarding religious festivals, a new moon or sabbaths

13) In what ways might people seek to defraud us? (18)
   - Through false humility, worship of angels, appeals to things not
     really seen

14) What sort of "basic principles of the world" might others try to
    regulate upon us? (21)
   - "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle"

15) What is the truth about such traditions of men? (22-23)
   - They have an appearance of wisdom, but are of no value against the
     indulgence of the flesh

Aug. 23 Romans 4

Aug. 23
Romans 4

Rom 4:1 What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh?
Rom 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God.
Rom 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Rom 4:4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him who doesn't work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works,
Rom 4:7 "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.
Rom 4:9 Is this blessing then pronounced on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.
Rom 4:10 How then was it counted? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Rom 4:11 He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might also be accounted to them.
Rom 4:12 The father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had in uncircumcision.
Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and to his seed that he should be heir of the world wasn't through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Rom 4:14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect.
Rom 4:15 For the law works wrath, for where there is no law, neither is there disobedience.
Rom 4:16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
Rom 4:17 As it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations." This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were.
Rom 4:18 Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, "So will your seed be."
Rom 4:19 Without being weakened in faith, he didn't consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
Rom 4:20 Yet, looking to the promise of God, he didn't waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God,
Rom 4:21 and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Rom 4:22 Therefore it also was "reckoned to him for righteousness."
Rom 4:23 Now it was not written that it was accounted to him for his sake alone,
Rom 4:24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be accounted, who believe in him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead,
Rom 4:25 who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.