THE BOTANICAL THEMED STATEMENT OF FAITH

A few weeks ago, I spent a good deal of time writing a botanical-themed statement of faith. Jesus’ plant-based parables sure did help! 🙂 Sometimes nature says it all!

God & His Garden

369989.image0Just as both the invisible, buried root and the visible main cane or main branch of a rose bush are united as one plant through the bud union, there is one God consisting of the invisible Father and the visible Son, Jesus Christ, whom are united in one Spirit. All the fullness of God is manifested in His offspring, Jesus Christ just as we consider the visible canes or branches of a rose bush it’s fullness thereof. (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-4,18; 10:30; Ephesians 4:3-6; Colossians 1:15-18; 2:1-10; Revelation 22:16)

In the beginning, God established a beautiful garden in just 6 days (on the 7th day God rested and enjoyed His garden). God wanted His plants to forever thrive and flourish while setting up boundaries to protect His beautiful roses (Genesis 1-2).

Sin

Sin was sown into God’s landscape of life, which left untreated quickly spread

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throughout (Genesis 3+). Similar to how black spot or other botanical diseases taint our roses, infectious sin plagues all human life and leads to physical and spiritual death revealing our desperate need for a remedy (Romans 3:9-26; 6:23).

The Savior, The Remedy

Just as neem oil is produced by the pressing of the fruit of a neem tree and used to treat common diseases and pests found inhibiting our rose bushes, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was pressed on the cross, also made from a tree, so that His blood, like neem oil, could cover and cure our disease of sin if we apply it to our lives (Matthew 26-28; John 1:14,29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Galatians 3:13; Philippians 2:5-11). Additionally, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are manifested throughout botanical creation as the death of a flower leads to fruit full of life-giving seeds.

Water Baptism

watering-rosesJust as life cannot exist without water, it is important those who claim to believe with their whole heart (Acts 8:36-38) believe by obeying Jesus’ command and example to be baptized in His authoritative Name, calling unto Him, for in baptism we are united in Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-39; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; 10:13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:11-12; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 3:18-22). Jesus taught that those who want to be planted in His abundant garden of everlasting life (enter the kingdom of God) need to be baptized by water and the Spirit (John 3:3-6; Mark 16:16). As we submerse ourselves in Him and therefore identify ourselves as His, living waters will wash over us (water baptism), washing away our sins (Acts 22:16), which were covered in His blood, and at some point, living waters flow through us (baptism of Holy Spirit), sustaining an adopted supernatural, flourishing life (John 4:1-26; 7:37-39; Revelation 22:1-2). Water not only washes away dirt (sin) in our garden, but is needed within our plants to thrive (Spirit). Choosing to receive Him, His example, and His command through baptism by immersion in His Name is the first public step towards a long evolving and rewarding process of trusting and obeying Him (John 1:12-13; Acts 5:32; Galatians 3:14).

Baptism of Holy Spirit

Similar to a gardener using his or her hands to plant small seeds of life in a receptive fertile soil, the Holy Spirit is a like a small incorruptible seed implanted into a receiving fertile soul typically, but not limited to, through the laying of hands as God wills (John 1:13; Acts 8:12-19; Acts 9:17; Acts 14:3; Acts 19:1-6,11; Romans 8:9,14; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 1:23). rosehip-seedsThe Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, also referred to throughout Scripture as the eternal Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and the gift of grace or Spirit of grace, is a promise (Acts 1:4; Acts 2:38-39) given by God in His timing to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) – the hands of men and women are just a means by which God uses if He so chooses. Although the Spirit typically is transmitted through hands of Godly, Spirit filled people, there are also instances where the Spirit fell on others without the laying of hands (Acts 2:1-6; 10:44-48). Furthermore, the Book of Acts reveals that receiving the empowering Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) is so intensely powerful it manifests physically in some form upon initial implantation (i.e. speaking in tongues, healing, etc. – Acts 2:1-4; 8:12-19; 9:17-18; 10:44-48; 19:2-6). Throughout various realms or circumstances of life, the physical often manifests what’s going on in the spiritual.

Development

Rose Seedling 1After that incorruptible seed is implanted, rooted in Christ, and tended to, the Spirit within will continue to grow and blossom eventually producing fragrance and fruit (Matthew 13; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2 Peter 1:2-8). Throughout the life cycle of the seed, it matures into an established and flourishing rose bush, albeit the seed cooperates with its own development by responding in obedient faith to whatever nutrition and refreshment supplied (Psalm 42:7; Matthew 13:1-23; 31-32; 25:29-30; Luke 8:18; Acts 5:32; Ephesians 3:16-21; 2 Peter 3:14-18). Consequently, should the once tiny seedling embryo continue to thrive as it grows up in God, it will go onto produce fragrant flowers, emitting the fragrance of Christ, but then as part of the beautiful cycle, the flower dies to its self Rosehip-Natural-oils-for-body-pg-fulland one’s self-centered desires as it serves others in love, allowing the dead flower to produce many more seeds or disciples in Christ (Mark 16:15-18; John 15:8,16).

Trials & Tribulation Followed by Resurrection

Moreover, when a new rose is birthed, it goes through a lengthy trial to test how the rose will respond to various conditions and seasons before it can go onto market to be sold and enjoyed. The breeder looks for healthy canes and foliage, signs of disease, prolific flowering, fragrance, and so forth. Numerous roses grow side by side for many years in a test garden before the breeder decides to promote the overcoming, seasoned, ever-blooming rose.  Whereas, other diseased or non-flourishing roses will be discarded and eventually composted.

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Likewise, we will be tested and tried, dwelling side by side with unbelievers and the disobedient, rebellious roses through various trials and seasons (Matthew 13:24-43; Matthew 24; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:3-7; 4:16-19; Revelation 7:13-14; 9:4; 12:17; 13:4-10; 14:12-13; 18:4, 20-19:2; 21), but in the end, upon our Breeder and Master Gardener’s inspection we will also be promoted through either the resurrection or the gathering depending on if our current state upon His inspection is in dormancy, also know as asleep or dead in Christ, compared to a rose still flourishing despite the difficult and exhausting season of heat encountered (I Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 10:7; 11:15-19; Ezekiel 26). At that moment, His chosen roses will be transplanted to be with Him and to glorify Him through an immortal fragrance of Christ in our designated roles for a millennium (Revelation 20:1-6; Zechariah 14). After the 1,000 years, the remaining dead will be resurrected and will be judged according to their works and obedient faith (Revelation 20:7-15).

The Eternal Garden

Although many diseased or weak roses were composted in the Lake of Fire, all the immortal roses will dwell in God’s eternal garden forever emulating an aroma of Christ (Revelation 21-22).

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Fighting With The Wind

Yesterday, the strong winds violently shook my solid holly tree, whipped my small garden flag, and swirled my hair all around me as I took out the garbage. Today, a gentle breeze soothes my roses from the warmth of the Spring Sun. And as the bees buzz around searching for new buds and the butterfly flutters, they fight with the wind. Meanwhile, the roses sway in the motion of the wind as if relaxed by it’s movement.

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Peace with Fourth of July in background

I wonder why it is we all too often fight with the wind for the wind signifies the Spirit of God. Jesus informs us God is Spirit and where it comes from and where it goes we cannot easily determine. We can only do so by listening to the sound of it (see John 3:3-8). Christ teaches much depth in such analogies, but one could decode the importance of listening for the Voice of His Spirit  or His Wind in order to follow Him wherever He blows. Furthermore, we cannot see His Holy Spirit as the Jews could see His flesh, but we can see the effects of Him blowing around us, in us, and through us. Do you fight the sound of His wind as a struggling insect or do you welcome it like a relaxed rose? What does His Wind sound like to you? What does He look like in your garden? Life is too short to fight with the wind.