Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Art of Survival


Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, 
how can you make it salty again?  
Have salt amount yourselves 
and be at peace with each other.  
Mark 9:50 NIV

A week ago we were on vacation and took an airboat ride through the Mangrove forests in the Everglades.  I was fascinated by the long walking gray roots of the twisted trees along the brackish water.  So, of course, I came home to my iPad and had to read about WHAT makes a mangrove a "mangrove".

The mangroves thrive in the salty conditions of the ocean water.  Most plants and trees could never tolerate that much salt, but the mangroves have filtration systems that can eliminate salt, they also have leaves like desert-plants which store fresh water for as long as possible.  Their twisted, frenzied roots-called prop roots-entwine and form a barricade of sorts to prevent the land from eroding into the coastal waters even during tumultuous events like tropical storms and hurricanes.  The roots also "prop" the trees up to help them stand.  

I started thinking about how important it is to be LIKE a mangrove tree while we are here on earth.  As Christians, we are the salt of the earth, but we can't survive on salt water alone...we MUST get our share of freshwater...or non-Christians.  And even though we have filtration systems to help us draw the salt to our roots and keep the fresh water for "later," we need a good balance of both Christian and non-Christian friends in order for us to continue to GROW in our faith.

We need to establish a system of roots that help prop us up and keep us from washing away when the tide comes in or when storms slam against us.   These roots not only save US, but they help US provide safety and refuge for others creatures as well.  We are only as strong as our roots...we must rely on the resources with which God provides us, or we will never stand when life gets hard, and we will never be able to help others if we haven't developed our own roots.    

Finally, the mangroves have those bald, gray walking roots which also act as air roots-they breathe in the oxygen in the air atop the water, and have vessels throughout the surface of our roots, so, even if the roots acquire surface damage, they have so many other vessels running along their roots that they can sustain a lot of damage without being hurt too badly.  As Christians, we need to develope that system of vessels because we will sustain a lot of surface damage in this world; we need to have multiple avenues with which to communicate with God because their will be a lack of TRUTH in our world in the end times...

We need to be like the mangroves!  
Air roots hang from even the high branches of this tree.

We need to have multiple systems of vessels running throughout our bodies to help us get the nutrients we need...

We need to memorize the Word so if there comes a time we don't have our Bible, we can recite scripture to ourselves.

We need to know how to study the Bible ourselves so if there comes a time we are absent from church, or there ARE no churches, we can dive into God's Word on our own.  

We to need to have a healthy and robust prayer life so we can talk to God anytime and anywhere without having to "learn" this skill when we are under duress.
While the roots look dead, they are actually what makes
the mangroves stand tall and strong.

Yes, the Mangroves taught me a lot about what we should look like as Christians in this tough, tough world.  I love how God uses nature, His creation, to show us over and over again His masterful plan; how we can simply look around at His design and realize how He wants to the world to work.   By observing and learning from God's creation, we can know what His HEART for us is like.  

Pray:  Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us your plan in EVERYTHING around us.  Thank you for teaching us YOUR ways when we just pause and learn about your majestic creation.  Help me to remember the lessons of the mangroves…how to survive until I am home with you.  Amen.

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