A Tree Planted by a River


Psalm 1 v 3.

… That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither –
whatever they do prospers.

Nature’s Delights

One cold morning I went walking by the bank of a small river that flowed swiftly along a desolate valley, tumbling over rocks and little waterfalls on its way to the distant sea. Its froth topped, peaty waters had over the years carved a boulder strewn path through the surrounding mountains, etching its progress into the isolated land. I remarked to myself that of all the delightful things this world has to offer, surely the wonders of creation are among the best.

All around me the hills still wore their drab winter covering of faded heather and mossy grass as they patiently waited for spring’s warmth to entice them back into life. Soon the mountains and the hills would be alive with colour again. For the moment, however, all was desolate and bare. Or was it?

A Holly Tree in the Wilderness

I halted my walk as the sight of a holly tree, clothed in a garment of richest green, caught my eye. It stood out amongst the few bare trees scattered along the river’s banks, almost like ‘a lily among thorns,’ Solomon’s Song 2 v 2.

I wonder if we stand out like ‘a lily among thorns,’ in the world around us. May our lives be such that it can be said of us as it was of Jesus’ disciples, that others ‘took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus,’ Acts 4 v 13.

The Tree’s Origin

How had the holly tree got there, I wondered? Had a bird carried a seed there from some distant tree and the seed had taken root and grown?

It reminds me that God can use a single thought or word or experience to draw a soul to Jesus Christ.

If perhaps you are wondering ‘what must I do to be saved?’ Acts 16 v 30, ask God to nourish the seed He has sown in your heart. May it, with His blessing, grow into a saving and redeeming knowledge of Jesus and, blessed with His righteousness may you become like ‘a tree planted by the rivers of water,’ Psalm 1 v 3.

Rooted by the River

I think it was fair to say that the holly tree’s health and vibrancy came from the fact it’s roots were well established by the edge of the river. And yet it was situated in a pretty hostile environment there among the mountains!

Is the firmly rooted holly tree a picture of you and me in this hostile world we live in? Are we so firmly rooted by faith in Jesus Christ that we are like a tree whose ‘leaf also shall not wither?’ Psalm 1 v 3

Dead and Dying

Along the river’s banks lay trees that were either dead or dying. Some had been blown down by gales; others had been washed away by floods; others had never really rooted. Whatever the reason for their demise it was apparent that all had shallow roots that lacked the strength to anchor them firmly in time of need.

How unlike the holly tree they were!

Like a House Built upon a Rock

The holly tree’s roots could be seen reaching deep down into the river bank where they had been partly exposed by flood water. Despite years of subjection to gales, floods and drought the tree had stood firm for it had ‘cast forth its roots,’ Hosea 14 v 5, like the renowned cedar trees of Lebanon.

Dear friends, could it be that we, because we have no firm Gospel foundation, can be compared to the trees whose roots were of no avail in time of need because they had never rooted in solid ground?

Or are we so rooted and established by faith in Jesus Christ, depending on Him alone for our salvation, that we can be compared to the holly tree that was firmly rooted by the river, where it stood ‘steadfast, unmoveable?’ 1 Corinthians 15 v 58.

Jesus Alone

Dear reader, if you are trusting in Jesus alone believing that ‘He only is my rock and my salvation;‘ Psalm 62 v 2, may you find that ‘God is the strength of your heart, and your portion for ever’ (Psalm 73 v 26.)

Rooted and Flourishing

May we, like the holly tree that had stood firm in countless storms, flourishing where other trees failed, find that, with God’s strength, our faith stand firm and flourishing despite the trials of body and soul.

May God bless us with faith in Jesus Christ that is firmly rooted, nourished and strengthened by the Word of God so that we become as a tree firmly planted by a river.

The Way to Eternal Life

Clip art of two crows

‘I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture’, John Ch 10 v 9.

Falling Eggs

I was awakened early recently by the raucous sound of some crows having what sounded like an argument on the roof of my house. As I lay in bed listening to the racket above me I recalled an incident which happened quite a few years ago.

For several years I kept hens in a hen house and pen at one end of my garden. One afternoon while about to enter the hen house I was stopped in my tracks by the sound of something rolling down the tin roof above me. Looking up I was surprised to find that the falling object was an egg, which appeared to have been dropped by a crow that was now hurriedly flying away from the scene. Wondering where it had got the egg I decided to keep a discreet watch on the hen house.


A Way In

The next morning I spotted two crows perched on the topmost branches of a nearby tree. After a while they flew on to the roof of the hen’s abode and disappeared down behind it.

Quietly I opened the door to the pen to see one crow making its way to a small hole in the back wall, carrying an egg speared on its beak. The other crow could be seen already disappearing out through the hole, presumably it too carrying an egg.

Not only had the crows found a daily supply of fresh eggs but they had found a way to get to them.

Friends, there is a way which leads, not only to a constant supply of food for our souls, but to ‘a place of refuge,’ Proverbs 14 v26, that is both temporal and eternal. Have you and I found it?

I am the Door

A thorough search revealed that the way into the henhouse that the crows had discovered was the only way through which they could have gone. Over the next few days I noticed that the crows flew to the henhouse by different routes but now that I had closed their doorway it was all to no avail.

People use many routes in their efforts to find eternal peace but these routes will be of no avail if they do not lead to Jesus who alone is ‘the way the truth and the life,’ John 14 v6, for ‘no man cometh unto the father,John 14 v6, except by Him.

An Open Door

What route are you following to take you to everlasting life? Is it the route of dependence upon your own good works? The Bible tells us that Salvation is obtained ‘Not of works, lest any man should boast,Ephesians 2 v9, for it is ‘the gift of God,Ephesians 2 v8. It also tells us quite simply that the only way to find salvation is through Jesus Christ who said ‘I am the door: by me if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture,John 10 v9.

Dear reader, God has provided for us ‘an open door and no man can shut it,Revelation 3 v8. If you have not yet found salvation by passing through that door do not delay. The day may come when, like the door closed to the crows by me, you will find that, with the passing of life, the door to salvation and eternal life has been closed for ever.

What can you expect to find on the other side of that door?

Benefits of salvation

The crows had found a never ending supply of nutritious food on the other side of the door they had found into the hen run. I believe that they were in the habit of constantly going in and out of the run to feed on the rich supply of eggs they had found there.

By faithfully reading the Word of God we have access to a rich ‘pasture,’ John 10 v9, where we can daily feed on ‘the finest of the wheat,Psalm 81 v16. May we find that a childlike trust and commitment to Jesus provides us with a constant supply of ‘grace to help in time of need,Hebrews 4 v16.

Eternal Refuge

I think, too that, while the crows had access to my henhouse, they may well have also found a place where they could shelter peacefully from stormy weather.

Are you and I able to say, like David the psalmist, that God ‘hast been a shelter for me,Psalm 61 v3. Do we firmly believe Jesus promise to His people ‘I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,John 10 v28.

May we find that faith in Jesus Christ, who is the door that leads to everlasting life, has provided us with access to a place of shelter which will be ’as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast’, Hebrews 6 v19, all the days of our life and throughout eternity.

David Joy

Rooted in Christ

Flower head

He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon,Hosea Ch 14 v 5.

A Long Winter

As spring approached there was no sign of the daffodils in my garden bursting into bloom and as I looked across the marshy ground behind my house I could see no evidence of the irises which were usually, by this time of year, pushing spear shaped stalks up above the ground.

I began to wonder if the long winter was going to prevent the flowers from blooming.

Winter Over

However, with the onset of warmer weather, all my fears were dispersed ‘as the early dew,Hosea 6 v 4, as flowers appeared. Winter was past!

There can be testing times, in life’s experience, when we would dearly wish to say that ‘the winter is past,Solomon’s Song 2 v 11, for no matter how strong our faith in Jesus is, we are not exempt from trial for Jesus said ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation,John 16 v 33.

Nevertheless, trials do not mean we can not remain firmly ‘rooted,Ephesians 3 v 17, in Christ and continue to ‘grow in grace,2 Peter 3 v 18.

Firmly Rooted

What was it that ensured the spring flowers would eventually burst into bloom? Surely it was the fact they were firmly rooted or entrenched in the ground, where they had lain dormant for many months. After flowering they had died back, their flowers and leaves had withered away, and to the untrained mind they would have appeared to be dead.

But there was still life in their bulbs, tubers or roots.

Dear reader, have you living spiritual roots? Are you so firmly rooted in Christ that you trust Him in every situation that comes your way? Or do trials burden you with negative and faith undermining thoughts?

Tried Faith

I am reminded as I write this, that despite the long hard winter, it led to an exceptional display of flowers as my garden became alive with the cheering colours of spring. It would appear that the inclement weather had actually strengthened the rooting systems in which the life of the plants lay.

And so it often is, with tried and tested believers, that affliction and trials strengthen their faith in Jesus!

Better the End than the Beginning

Friends, sometimes our faith may appear to be like ‘a grain of mustard seed,Matthew 17 v 20; and sometimes Satan’s ‘devices,2 Corinthians 2 v 11, can lead us to think that God has deserted us altogether. But we can be strengthened by the thought that though the Lord may ‘cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies,Lamentations 3 v 32.

There is an old adage that says ‘Better is the end of a thing than the beginning,Ecclesiastes 7 v 8.

May God help us to truly believe that for those who firmly trust in Jesus ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us,Romans 8 v 18.

May our faith, though sometimes weak, grow stronger as we experience, overcome and move on from the various trials of life. And, may we, by searching the scriptures, be encouraged by God’s dealings with the saints of old and how they coped.

Trials of Old

Job’s trials were so severe that he felt compelled to say ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born,Job 3 v 3. And yet, despite all his suffering he was able to say regarding God ‘Though he slay me yet will I trust in him,Job 13 v 15.

Paul was sorely tried on many occasions but could still say ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?Romans 8 v 35.

Both were to find their faith rewarded.

Crowns of Glory

The ‘Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning,Job 42 v 12.

Paul could say that ‘Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,2 Timothy 4 v 8.

May God help us to look beyond the trials of today and focus on what awaits us in glory. May we find that afflictions and trials grow into blessings and increase our faith, strengthen our perseverance and build up our hope for eternity.

David Joy