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Green Leaves, Dry Times



The prefix un can mean "to reverse action." In a nutshell, this is the meaning of God's intervention in our lives. He wants to reverse the negative actions and decisions we make. George Eliot said, "It's never too late to be what we might have become." The good news is that God is in the business of transformation! He wants to help us become our best. But just how do we change? Often we know what we need to do differently, but we lack either the desire or the ability to put the change into effect. In the two verses of today's text, the prophet Jeremiah helps us out. First, he tells us to:


1. Trust Unconditionally. We donít have the strength to change ourselves, but God does; and change comes about as we trust Him to work His grace throughout our lives. In chapter 17, verse 9, Jeremiah acknowledges the root problem concerning trust when he says,


"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure."


Trust is an essential need in our world today, but it is in short supply... except in Godís economy.


Notice what Jeremiah tells us,

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."


We don't need to worry and fret. God is able to handle all of the concerns we bring Him. In fact, when we decide we want to partner with God to change, we are promised blessings. As St. Augustine put it, "God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them." We must believe that God can think pure thoughts through us, love unlovely people through us, do blessed deeds through us, and that He can, in short, live His Christ-life through us by His Spirit. Major Ian Thomas once said, "All there is of God is available to the man who is available to all there is of God." Next, Jeremiah instructs us to:

2. Grow Uninhibitedly. Richard Foster said, "Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or [even] gifted people, but for deep people."


Several years ago, I saw a picture of a lonely, snarled, scraggly tree way out on a rocky crag. The weathered tree was the epitome of perseverance. The caption read: Trees grow strong when the roots grow deep.


Jeremiah describes for us another picture of a healthy Christian who is changing and growing in his or her walk with God. The growing child of God will be like a tree planted by the water. The roots are deep, spreading out, bringing nourishment and maturity. It is no secret that every person needs to grow. It's not natural or easy, but it is possible. The key is to embrace the life God has given us with enthusiasm. Then we can become intimate with God. We will grow without limits, and our roots will grow deeply. Third, he encourages us to"


3. Live Unforgettably. Jeremiah reminds his readers that those who are intimate with God will not fear change, but embrace it, becoming a little more like Christ every day. Someone once said, "Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it." The Christian who is deeply rooted in God does not have to worry or fear.


When life becomes intense and someone turns up the heat, it's okay. Our roots are refreshed by living water. Our leaves, our attitudes toward others, are always green. Even in times of drought, our lives produce fruit. Christians who are always changing and growing leave a lasting impact on all they touch. They are unforgettable!


Such a man was Arthur Matthews, the last CIM missionary to get out of China. He endured months of terror and uncertainty, but he later said that by leaning on Jeremiah 17:7-9, he remained victorious in his spirit. His biography by Isabel Kuhn is entitled, Green Leaf in Drought Time. I hope you'll read it.


Are your leaves green in drought times? People can be very shallow in this day of "instant life." But, only through the daily process of change can we grow into the people God has ordained us to be.


Robert Browning said, "My business is not to remain myself, but to make the absolute best of what God made."


Jeremiah tells us the secret of change. It's locked up in two little letters, "un." It's time to reverse the negative actions and habits that are keeping us from becoming intimate with God. It's time to change and, with God's help, we can. With God's help, we will. "Be willing to give up all that you now are to be all that you can become."


"When we're through changing, we're through."












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