Devotional

“A Lesson From Two Gardens”

Lancaster County gardenA Lancaster County garden on an Amish farm.
“A Lesson From Two Gardens”
Message summary: Today let us consider two great gardens in the Bible.
 
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“The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed” (Genesis 2:8). “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray'” (Matthew 26:36).

Saturday afternoon we went with our friend Jerry to Longwood Gardens and the outstanding Fireworks & Fountains Show scheduled for late that evening. We arrived early enough to set our chairs up and then toured the vast gardens for several hours. This garden is among the best botanical gardens in the USA and among the finest in the world. The show began at 9:15PM with fountains, lighting, fireworks and Swan Lake orchestration all coordinated for a spectacular display. A feature that was especially intriguing and beautiful was actual fire that was atop the fountains using some type of blast of propane (see below for link to explanation). We shared a couple of photos yesterday but it’s really hard to capture in a photo how stunning the show is.

Some gardens, like Longwood Gardens, are primarily decorative bringing great pleasure as we see the wonders of God’s creation. We were so blessed to see the variety of plant life from huge trees to tiny Bonzai trees to ground cover and of course many, many flowers.

Other gardens are primarily functional, providing our food. However these well-watered, well-tended gardens can also be very beautiful especially here in Lancaster County.

Today let us consider two great gardens in the Bible:

1) The Garden of Eden: the garden of man’s decision. The first garden mentioned in the Bible is the Garden of Eden. It was here that Adam and Eve made a decision that has impacted the entire human race due to their act of disobedience. They were banned from that garden.

We believe that this was an actual historical event but it also symbolizes the decision we all have in life; whether to place our trust in God and obey Him or live in unbelief and obey the devil in whatever form he may appear (not always a serpent!)

2) The Garden Of Gethsemane: the garden of Christ’s decision. In this garden Christ agonized but made the decision for our redemption when he “fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will'”. We are all eternally grateful for the decision that Jesus made when He paid the price for our redemption.

We believe of course that this was also an actual historical event but that it also symbolizes another decision we all have in life when facing a heavy trial. May God give us grace and strength as we properly appeal for the affliction to be removed “let this cup pass from me” but then in faithful resolve similarly declare, “Yet not as I will, but as You will”.

There’s a future garden we can look forward to although the word “garden” is not used in the text. The NIV Bible uses the heading Eden Restored”. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him” (Revelation 22:1-3).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, since our birth we have only known what it is like to live under the curse of sin due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. But we have the blessed assurance from Scripture that one day we will live in the restored Eden where we will not be affected or influenced by the evil of sin. There will no darkness of any kind for we will live in the glory of the light of Christ throughout all eternity. The anticipation of a glorious eternal future in heaven gives us hope, strength, and endurance when we deal with the cup of suffering, loss, or disappointment on this side. Until the day my eyes behold the city of Jerusalem my resolve is to stay faithful, be fruitful and share Your love with all whom I encounter here in my sphere of influence. Amen.

 
Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley. It is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States and is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture (both indoor and outdoor), events and performances, seasonal and themed attractions, as well as educational lectures, courses, and workshops. (from Wikipedia)

Longwood Gardens fountain seating 8/10/19
Here is a portion of the seating at Longwood Gardens in the afternoon prior to the Fireworks and Fountains show. We sat on the level this photo was taken from.

Longwood Gardens platter lilies 8/10/19
Longwood Gardens platter water lilies are one of the many really unusual plants we saw.

Longwood Gardens Bonzai tree 8/10/19
We always enjoy seeing the Longwood Gardens Bonzai tree collection.
This one began training in 1909!

Longwood Gardens pond 8/10/19
A Longwood Gardens pond

Longwood Gardens with Jerry 8/10/19
Here we are with Jerry Smoker, our friend who is a longtime member of Longwood Gardens.  We became good friends when he worked at Kleen-Rite, one of the companies where we are chaplains. He recently retired. Not only did he generously invite us to join him on Saturday but he insisted on pushing Ester in her wheelchair. Due to Ester’s legs being weak when she walks long distances we take along a wheel chair to reserve her strength.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“In The Garden”Video  Selah

Here’s a video someone posted of the same Fireworks & Fountains Show at Longwood Gardens we saw Saturday night  In our lifetime we have now seen two truly outstanding fireworks displays. The other time was along the Charles River in Boston for the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular about 20 years ago. Here’s a video of this year’s show.

* How Longwood allows fire to dance on water

 
We didn’t take this but here’s a photo of the fire on top of fountain. Link to photo
 
Finally today:

Joe Snavely 8/9/19In the course of our work we never know who we’ll see such as meeting Joe Snavely in a Kleen-Rite warehouse. We met Joe about ten years ago when his daughter served with our youth in a small church we had served in an interim role. As you can see he now works for FedEx. Joe respectfully calls me Dr. although I am not one and I don’t even play one on TV.

Audrey's Open House 8/12/19

Yesterday we attended an Open House at Audrey’s where customers came far and wide for a special day at the huge gift and home decor warehouse in Lebanon. These are gift shop owners since Audrey’s only sells wholesale.
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