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Musings and Memories

Jesus: Always there

Doug Dezotell
Posted 12/17/22

In the rough mountainous regions of the Western United States, there’s a tree known as the Bristlecone Pine.

These pine trees’ Latin name is Pinus longaeva, or ‘long-lived …

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Musings and Memories

Jesus: Always there

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In the rough mountainous regions of the Western United States, there’s a tree known as the Bristlecone Pine.

These pine trees’ Latin name is Pinus longaeva, or ‘long-lived pines.’

These evergreens can live for thousands of years, thus the name longaeva.

They grow in the barren, rocky regions of the mountains of California, Nevada and Utah with very little precipitation, on mountains sometimes as high as two or more miles above sea level, and just below the tree level.

The oldest Bristlecone Pines usually have just one thin layer of bark left on their trunks, and they are among the longest-living life-forms on Earth.

These old trees are strangely shaped by the harsh winds; hot dry winds in warmer months and the strong, freezing winds of the winter months.

Some of those odd forms of the trunks and branches appear almost human-like.

They have survived the eruptions of volcanoes, and the glacial years of ice ages.

Most of these Bristlecone Pines have survived longer than the rise and fall of the greatest of the world’s empires.

The Pinus longaeva were there in those mountains long before the earliest peoples made their homes in the Americas; and long before anyone from European nations even thought of exploring these new lands.

They were growing in those harsh conditions of the West even before Christ came to Earth in the form of a Man-Child.

In the Great Basin National Park, located in east-central Nevada near the Utah border, are the remains of the Prometheus Tree, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine once recorded as the oldest tree in the world, estimated to be older than 5,000.

Considering the harsh habitat of these trees, it’s a wonder that they should live so long or even survive at all.

But, those “Environmental Adversities” actually have contributed to their longevity.

Those Bristlecone Pines could grow faster, and die sooner, and be less resilient.

You know how?

By planting them in richer soil in lower elevations and with less harsh conditions.

But, the harshness of the Bristlecone Pine’s surroundings is a vital factor in making them strong and sturdy and long-lived.

For people who don’t have a personal relationship with The God who created the mountains and the winds and the trees; people who are not rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus, the harsh conditions of life, suffering and sorrow can destroy them.

But as Christians we need to rejoice and claim glory out of our suffering; knowing that we grow, become mature, and become stronger as we go through the “fires of testing.”

The Lord goes through those fires with us.

He goes through the hardships, the dark times, the pains and agony of disease…With Us.

The Prophet Isaiah and the Angel that appeared to Joseph, the spouse of Mary, gave Jesus another name. It was “Emmanuel,” which means God With Us.

Jesus Goes Through It All With Us.

The Apostle James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in the introduction to his Epistle: “ 2 My brethren, count it all JOY when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

The Apostle Peter wrote to the Believers scattered all over the Mediterranean area these powerful words in the introduction to his first Epistle: “ 6 In this you Greatly Rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you Rejoice With JOY UNSPEAKABLE And Full Of Glory, 9 Receiving The End Of Your Faith—The Salvation Of Your Souls.”

Rejoice and give Glory to God, even in your suffering, knowing that as you go through it—you grow through it!

You mature and become stronger as you go through the “fires of testing.”

The imperfections burn off. Surviving your testing becomes your testimony.

And always remember this, the Lord Jesus Christ is there in the fires of testing with us.

He is “Emmanuel.”

I pray that you will find “comfort and joy, O, tidings of comfort and joy,” from my musings today.

May your Christmas Celebrations be “Merry and Bright!”

And may you find peace as you meditate on that Babe “away in a manger.”

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I want to invite you to join me, and my family and friends, and Celebrate the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Candlelight Communion Service on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. at Cannon United Methodist Church.

The church is located at 1001 So. Cannon Blvd. in Shelbyville.

Invite your family and friends, or come by yourself, and worship the Christ of Christmas at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

I will be reading the Christmas Story from God’s Word, and we will sing and praise the Lord, and share in Holy Communion in the candlelight together.

Everyone is welcome to partake of Communion at Cannon UMC.

Everyone is welcome at the Manger and the Cross.

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