Journal Entry by Liz Davila

S - Scripture   Psalms 1: 1-2  NLT
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating in it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

O - Observation
What does it mean to delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate in it day and night?  How do I do this?  How do I recognise the advice of the wicked, and not stand with sinners, or join in with mockers?

A - Application
I love observing nature and especially huge trees. Have you ever been at the foot of a tree so tall you can’t see the top from the base of the trunk looking up because it’s so tall? One of my most incredible memories is being surrounded by such trees in Sequoia national park, it was like I was in Jurassic park and had stepped back in time. Even without speaking they point us heavenward. As in this scripture, I want to be like a tree that is deep rooted by a river bank alongside other trees in a forest of fruitful trees and lush vegetation. As opposed to a shrub or chaff blown in the wind in a dry, desert plain. Did you know if we are planted in a forest of big deep rooted fruit trees together we can nourish and help the soil of other shallower younger species and help with reproduction of a lush forest and be more fruitful and strong together against wind and storms as our deep roots intertwine? 
Pastor Paul De Jong, challenged us last last week at Hillsong conference to not be a part of a Bonsai city church, where we can find lots of other bonsai trees, Chinese elms, in little beautiful pots, just half a metre high, as opposed to their 10-15metre potential if planted directly in the earth and given space and time to grow.  Bonsai Christians are like these small trees, similar to each other, beautiful, but shallow, high maintenance, and not reaching their full potential height due to potting. Shallow because they are not planted anywhere for long. And he really challenged us to stick out living in community and being planted and being part of a diverse garden or forest, the local community that God puts you in, so you can grow. He also pointed out how trees and vegetation are more productive when there is diversity and not just in a monocultural field. There can be 80% more production in such fields, he said, and that we needed the polyculture of other species to grow and be more fruitful. We need each other’s differences and nuances in our church family. We cannot grow if we only serve those who are easy to love and we get along with, and are the same as us. Matthew 5:46-48. 

P - Prayer
Lord, I praise and thank you for diversity in our church family, and pray you teach us how to love each other and serve one another with your grace and unconditional love so that we may grow and be more fruitful and productive for your glory and for the expansion of your kingdom here on earth. Help me to remember, I need those who you put in my life, to be planted in my forest, and grow in your garden, so we may all learn how to love as you love, and have deep roots that are united to stand together against the storms of life and protect and nourish our young ones in our church family. Thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy. Thank you that you are the vine and you abide in us, to guide and lead us each day in the decisions we make to love and serve, to make each day a living worship song, as we abide in you that we may bear much fruit together, and glorify you.