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No Dead Bush!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

John 12:23-26

"Jesus replied, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.' "

A neighbor, who lives two houses down from us, has a most unique bush. We call it the "Dead Bush." It is quite a large bush, standing about ten feet high and about seven feet across. We moved into our house three years ago in May. At that time we noticed that it looked pretty shaggy, but after a few weeks it was green and lush.

It is an unusual bush in that it does not drop its leaves as other deciduous trees do. The leaves just turn brown and dead looking. The following Spring, we wondered why the neighbors did not cut down that dead bush. I happened to pass by when the owner was talking and laughing with some others from the neighborhood.

She said that she has no idea what the bush is called, but it is always that last bush to turn green and usually not until late in May. Each year a few people, new to the area, stop by and complain about the dead bush and wonder why it has not been cut down.

Perhaps we can draw a parallel between Jesus and that dead bush. Our dear Lord did not come into the world to appear lovely, but to die for our sins. Isaiah 53 is a powerful prophecy about what the coming Messiah, Jesus, would be. In verses two and three we read this prophetic description of Him: "He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not."

On Friday evening NBC Dateline chronicled the remarkable story of twisted identity. In May 2006, a van from Taylor University in Indiana, was carrying nine students back to the campus. A truck crossed the median and struck them, killing five of the students. One surviving girl was misidentified as another girl who had been killed.

Both girls had similar appearances. One family stayed by the bedside of the girl they were told was their daughter. The other grief-stricken family had a funeral and laid to rest the body of the one they were told was their daughter. Both families faced great turmoil in dealing with the tragedy.

Finally the truth was discovered and the role of each family was reversed. The family that had been grieving over the death of their daughter now had her restored to them as she struggled for her mental faculties to return. The family that had been at her bedside for these weeks now were struck with the reality that their own dear daughter had gone to be with the Lord at the time of the crash.

Toward the end of the program, Matt Laur, the TV reporter was interviewing the survivor, Whitney Cerak. He made comment about a plaque Whitney had on her wall. It was what she hoped to hear when she left this world and went to be with the Lord. "WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!"

Matt asked her if she ever wondered why she had survived while the others died. Whitney smiled and quietly said, "It's because my work here on earth is not done." Well said, Whitney! I pray that each one of us will strive to achieve that same attitude. We may look like nothing but a dead bush, but the Lord gives us life at just the right time!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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