From my sister (Julie Roth) back yard in Arizona.
From my sister (Julie Roth) back yard in Arizona.
Acacia wood was the only wood used to build the Tabernacle. The Bible named the wood used in the Tabernacle as shittah, which translates as acacia. Despite acacia’s plentiful presence on the Sinai Peninsula, the tree had a drawback: a pair of straight, light gray thorns at the base of each leaf. When Israelites cut down trees and fashioned boards (planks) for the Tent of Meeting walls, furniture, and poles, they had to contend with these thorns.
God could have supplied trees without thorns for Israelites to make boards for Tabernacle structures. Why did God have Israelites use a tree with thorns? After all, the Tabernacle was an important structure of Israelite worship. Building it should have been easy.
One answer is that acacia tree thorns assisted Israelites to comprehend that just because they were out of Egypt didn’t mean that all would be smooth in their lives. In their new world, plants had thorns that could/would pierce and puncture their skin.
I am a conservative woman who is a Christian. Similar to Israelites on Sinai, Christian women in the 21st century need to work with what is available in their world. In the Sinai, an acacia tree was available. In my world thorns are persons, political parties, and at times even church. Some days, I think that there are more thorns than flowers in my environment. Some people just have so many thorns (and, of course, I don’t)!
Because opinions differ from mine, doesn’t mean others’ opinions are wrong. Possibly, my opinions and perspective are wrong (gasp!).
God put me in this life to live and interact with what and who is here. My interactions should promote God’s glory. How can we learn to interact with thorny people and institutions? I’ve thought of three ways:
First, we must know what we believe and why. If we claim to be Christian, we need to learn all we can about God and Christ; and know why and what we believe about them.
Second, we need to listen to different perspectives with an open mind; and not to only perspectives we agree with. I am so guilty of this one.
Third, we need to know when to keep quiet. If you don’t know about a certain issue, keep silent. You don’t have to have an opinion on every topic.
Importantly, we can deal with thorny problems while not becoming a thorny person.
Copyright: Published in abbreviated for here. Originally published on http://www.politichicks.com
Bible Reference: Book of Habakkuk
I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me (Habakkuk 2.1)
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3.17-18).
The white berries of mistletoe plants are poisonous to humans but valuable food to many other species.
Often used as a symbol of renewal because it stays green all winter, mistletoe is famed for its stolen-kisses power. But the plant also is important to wildlife, and it may have critical value for humans, too. Extracts from mistletoe—newly used in Europe to combat colon cancer, the second greatest cause of cancer death in Europe and the Americas—show signs of being more effect against cancer, and less toxic to humans, than standard chemotherapy.
Here are some mistletoe facts that may give you new respect for a plant that, until now, you might have considered as just an excuse to limber up your lips:
Mistletoe grows in tangled balls of stems that can be up to five feet across. They’re sometimes called witches’ brooms.
Reflection: Let’s be frivolous: Do you like to be kissed under mistletoe?
It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas. Time for holly. These pictures are of the beautiful American holly tree (Ilex opaca) that grows in southeastern United States. This one is in the St. John Church Bible Garden. It is evergreen. These picture were taken on December 12 when the temperature is freezing at night. My friend told me that he goes out in the church garden, cuts springs from the holly trees there, and uses them for garland in his home. I think that this holly tree is happy to be used in this way.
Don’t confuse this tree with the holm tree in the Bible. That tree is an evergreen oak (Quercus ilex). Both species take their name from the pointed leaves.
If you want to grow holly trees you need a male and a female. Only the female tree produces the beautiful red berries.
A Christmas carol is The Holly and The Ivy.
Reflection: When I see, or hear, the word holly, I always think of holy. God is holy–pure, just, kind, bright–and I am not. If I were holy, I would want to be like the colors of the holly tree, e.g., vibrant, pleasing to look at, even colorful. I would want people to look at me and smile, as I do when I look at a holly tree.
I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/
Copyright: December 13, 2015; Carolyn A. Roth