Author:  Jeannie Kirkpatrick

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Grandfather Oak's Continuing Story...    Part 1   "You are very famous, Grandfather Oak," said Little Oak. "What a beautiful tree you are. I want to be just like you."  "Yes, Little Oak, I have been around for a very long time. Mine has been a very fruitful life."

" O Grandfather, you are such a giant symbol, standing there in all your strength and beauty."   " Well, Little Oak, it has taken many, many years."

" Oh, Grandfather! Oh no!", cried Little Tree. "I see them coming to cut you down. Oh, please don't let them destroy your beauty, Grandfather. Oh, the pain! They have cut you down! You will never again be the object of strength and beauty for all to see," Little Oak tearfully cried.

"But, Little Oak, do not be sad for me," said Grandfather Oak. "This has been my destiny since before I was born. I was born to become a very useful, strong vessel for others to enjoy."

"O Grandfather," exclaimed Little Oak, "I am beginning to see what you mean. Your beauty will still be very apparent. Many will see you, and admire your beautiful inner beauty. You will make some family many useful objects. The craftsman will shape you, and sand your beauty. There is no other tree that could be used for such a long time. I am so thankful you have shown me that your usefulness is not finished."

"Yes, Little Oak," said Grandfather, "the cutting hurt only for a little while. But now I will become something beautiful for all to see. I will become what God has destined me to be."

To be continued ...

The Continued Remembrances of Grandfather Oak   Part 2    Top

"Though I am now cut down and awaiting another purpose in life, I recall the many who enjoyed my beauty. I remember the children playing games, the young people, picnics, carving their names on my bark. Many others sat beneath my shade. Many returned years later. There I was, still standing, very much a part of their cherished memories. But they have come and gone. And now, I too have gone. Yet still there is hope in these new shoots."

"Oh, thank you, Grandfather for sharing your story with me," said Little Tree. "But wait, I have much more to tell you," Grandfather said. "Oh, please go on! I would listen to your wisdom daily. I know you have many a story to tell."

"Yes, young man, I will tell you of what began to happen to me when I finally came to maturity. I ask you to listen very closely, for my words hold much truth. You know, young man, if you would observe my growth, you would find it took over twenty years before I came to the stature of maturity. Even then my life was just beginning. It was only at this point that I received the capability to produce fruit.. And produce I did, abundantly. Then began my yearly observations. You know, those first few years of maturity were completely new to me. I had a lot to learn about my responsibilities. I soon found that I was not fully mature."

"Yes, I had indeed reached a place in height that others could enjoy my shade and comfort. And yes, I started to produce fruit abundantly. But there were so many experiences yet in the future. So many adventures took place beneath these spreading branches. I soon found that life was a continual unfolding of others lives beneath me. I began to find that from my view point, I was being shown many valuable lessons. You cannot begin to imagine the experiences which have come to pass beneath my branches over the past."

"Yes, there are many stories to tell. Some are fond memories. Some bring back hurt and shame. Yet, through all that has come to pass, I have found that these observations have taught me many valuable lessons. Lessons I would very much enjoy sharing with you, knowing that you will greatly benefit, and hopefully, young man, will observe others mistakes and grow thereby." To be continued...

The Continuing Remembrancs of Grandfather Oak    Part 3  Top

My story begins long before I became a tree, Little Oak. These stories have been handed down through many, many generations by my own grandfather, and his before him, and his before him. I remember my father and my grandfather sharing the stories their ancestors told them of their own observations, and how they were able to gain much understanding and wisdom through these stories. Many in my family have lived a thousand years or more, you know. They have much to tell. I am so thankful they have brought these stories down through time for me to grow by, and of which I am now passing on to you. Little Oak listen very closely to what I am going to tell you. It now becomes your responsibility to remember these stories, songs, and poems, and share them with your generation, and carry on the great legacy we have been given.

You know, Little Oak, many times it is quite a blessing to be a quiet bystander, and to observe other's strugglings. Our observances have given us much insight into man's endeavours in history. One of the oldest stories which has been carried down through the generations concerns Abraham, the father of Israel. As the story goes, some of my ancestors dwelt in the foothills of the rugged mountain passes, near the desert of Paran. I understand we made quite a spectacular sight because of our abundant bright, green foliage. They say we were quite a landmark because of the great contrast between desert and high mountainous areas. What a sight we beheld as we observed the entourage of Abraham, his family, all their substance, and the souls they had gathered in Haran as they entered our valley. From the distance we could hear their reverberating victory song:

We have overcome the valley, We have overcome the heights,
We have overcome the deserts, By the power of God's might,

Into the land of Canaan we have come, we have come.
Into the land of Canaan we have come!

We will overcome Canaan's valleys We will overcome Canaan's heights,
We will overcome Canaan's deserts, By the power of God's might.

Into the land of Canaan we have come, we have come,
Into the land of Canaan we have come!

What an impression this victory song made on us! You know, Little Oak, it was under our shade that Abraham and his family made their first stop in the land of Canaan. What an honour it was for us to be remembered as the starting point of this great nation Israel in the land of Canaan.

Not only did we hear their approaching song of victory, we also were blessed as we observed these Mesopotamians kneel and thank the one true God for their safe journey from their homeland in the Ur of the Chaldees and from their sojourn in Haran. My fathers had often heard of the Ur of the Chaldees and Haran from the many trading caravans who passed under our branches, but none before had prayed. What a refreshing new thing it was to hear words of thanks instead of the usual conversations we heard from those who passed through our valley.

Their prayer has been carried down through our generations. Would you like to hear it, Little Oak? Oh yes, Grandfather, I thank you for sharing their "Overcoming Song" with me, and I would very much like to hear their prayer. Please, Grandfather, go on...

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 4  Top

Little Oak, I promised to share with you Abraham's first prayer as he entered our land. What a prayer we heard that day. O that more families would pray the prayer we overheard that day! And Little Oak, what a spectacular sight was the altar Abraham and his household made that day. It was remembered for many generations afterwards. Many of my ancestors have remarked how Abraham was known throughout the land for the altars and the prayers he lifted up before the one true God beneath our branches. What an honour this has been for us.

But now let me share Abraham's prayer with you, and I pray, Little Oak, you will also take this prayer into your being and preserve it forever, so that you, too, can share it with your future generations. As my fathers told me, Abraham began to pray, saying:

Heavenly Father, I bow before You with thanksgiving, I and my whole house, thank You for appearing unto us in our homeland in the Ur of the Chaldees. I thank You for calling me and all my house out of Mesopotamia to go to a place we knew not where.

I thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your protection on us as we sojourned to the city of Haran, and the fruitful life you gave to Terah, my father, there. I thank You for speaking to me in the city of Haran, and how Y ou called me out of that place also to come unto this land. O Father it was a hard decision to leave my homeland and my father's house to come unto this land. I thank You, Heavenly Father, for appearing unto me as we entered this valley, and for the great promise of this land to my seed. I pray we will be worthy of this great gift.

We observed as Abraham and each of his family then stood and made the following proclamation for the days ahead. With a loud voice for all Canaan to hear, Abraham declared:

Heavenly Father, this promise I, and those of my household, make to You this day:

As we come to sojourn in the plain of Moreh in the land of Sichem, we therefore establish in our hearts to serve You with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength all the days of our life.

For all those who are with me this day, my wife Sarai, my nephew Lot, and all those You have given to us in Haran, we make an oath this day to walk throughout this land in the way You alone choose. Our desires are Your desires. Lead us in the paths of righteousness for Thy name's sake, O Lord.

Be it known to all, we are but sojourners in this land. We proclaim this day to walk before the one true God, and Him only to serve. And we all do hereby signify by saying, Amen.

What a prayer that was, Little Oak! I have heard this prayer often from my father and grandfather, and it has become my prayer also, and I pray it will become yours, too, Little Oak.

Thank you Grandfather, for sharing Abraham's prayer with me. I will keep it always in my heart. Heavenly Father, give me the courage to proclaim Your will in my life to all I meet, as Abraham and his whole household did that momentous day as they entered into the land of Canaan.

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 5  Top

The Continuing Story of Grandfather Oak . . .  Part 6   Top

"Little Oak, would you like to hear another story about the travels of Abraham, the Father of Faith?" "Yes, Grandfather, but Grandfather why does Abraham move so often?" "O Little Oak, you are a smart young lad to wander about such things. I know it is hard for you to understand why others move when the Lord has made us to always stand in one place. I, too asked my Grandfather about this mystery." "What did he say, Grandfather?" "Well, Little Oak, he told me the following story about Abraham's travels. Listen as Abraham's nephew Lot speaks to Abraham's wife Sarah"

"Sarah, Abraham came and told me to gather the servants and get the tents ready to move on again. Must we leave Sichem and Moreh? Where are we going this time? Must we always be on the move?" Sarah, too, wondered why it was always necessary to move on to different places. Sarah and Lot decided to go and ask Abraham about this. They found Abraham sitting beneath the shade of our branches praying unto the Lord. In respect they quietly sat down and waited until he was finished praying so they could ask him their question. They listened as he prayed.

"Dear Heavenly Father, said Abraham. I bow before you here at this altar we have built at the gateway of this bountiful land. I, again, thank you for safely bringing our family and all our substance from the Ur of the Chaldees, on to Haran, and after many days to this beautiful spot in the land of Canaan. I thank you, O Lord, for your protection from the giants in this land.

Father, I ask your forgiveness in questioning why we must again leave our home and move on. I know Your ways are better than our ways. You know the future and what lies ahead of us. O Lord, my only desire is to walk in Your will. If You have chosen for me to always move on to new places, then I will be obedient. But heavenly Father this walk of faith is very hard to endure, very hard. Father I ask you to give us peace about leaving this place. Amen."

Sarah and Lot heard Abraham's prayer and knew Abraham, too found it hard to move on. Right then and there they too knelt before the Lord and prayed, "O Father, please forgive us for desiring to remain in this place. We, too, want to walk in obedience to Your will. Father, give us strength to move on. Amen."

As they rose from their prayer, Abraham was standing near. The three looked in each other's eyes. . . and knew . . . God would prepare the way for their next stop.

"Little Oak, some must stand in one place , other's must be willing to move. Whatever our lot in life, we must be willing to walk in the way the Lord has chosen. Whether we must stand in one place or ever be on the move, know this, Little Oak, the Lord will give us strength for our journey.

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 7  Top

"Remember, Little Oak, I left off telling you the reason why Abraham and his household were required to keep moving to new places." "Yes, Grandfather, I remember what you told me. But it is very hard to understand why God required them to move so often."

"Little Oak", there is one thing you must always remember. God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. What we think is limited by our small understanding, but God's thoughts and purposes for our lives are far reaching. He knows exactly what we need to go through to perfect our walk, whether it be to stand or move.

"Little Oak, listen as I bring you up to date about Abraham's next stop in Canaan." " Look Sarah! Look Lot!" said Abraham. "There in the distance is the landmark the Lord showed me last night in my dreams. Sarah and Lot stood in utter amazement at the pitiful sight Abraham was pointing out. Across the valley, on a wind swept hill stood the burnt remains of what must been a magnificent oak in days past. For even in its present sad state its girth was over 30 feet in diameter. More amazing was the abundant green foliage on its east side. Abraham, Sarah, and Lot all thought to themselves, "Was this valley between Bethel and Ai to be our next dwelling place? And what is the significance of this lone oak in our journey. . ."

"Little Oak," said Grandfather, "My ancestors have often told me stories about this tree known as the Weeping tree". This lone tree standing so stark against the wind knew its purpose, and it stood many, many centuries fulfilling the purpose for which it was created." "Grandfather," said Little Oak, "I am beginning to understand what you said about standing or moving. Some must be willing and obedient to move at God's command as Abraham and his household. And some, like you, must be willing and obedient to be cut down to be used as useful vessels. And some, as the Weeping Tree, must stand alone for all the world to see, never to be a tree of great beauty and usefulness.

"Grandfather," asked Little Oak, "Why was this tree called the "Weeping Tree"? "Well, Little Oak, answered Grandfather, "Many travelers have poured out their hurts and sorrows beneath this lone tree. I just suppose they feel a kinship to its untold hurts." "Grandfather, I wander what my destiny is to be in God's purpose in my life? Do you think I will have to suffer as this "Weeping Tree" or will I be cut down as you to be used as a beautiful wooden vessel like you?

"Little Oak," said Grandfather, "God has truly blessed you with a questioning mind. Please know, Little Oak, that your destiny and the purpose God has prepared for you in life is yet to be revealed. Just remember, Little Oak, to keep a willing and obedient heart to fulfill the purpose and destiny God has created you for.

Next month: Abraham's Altar beneath the "Weeping Tree"

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 8 . . .  Top

"Little Oak, I promised to tell you about the altar Abraham built beneath the `Oak of Weeping' on the mountain ledge between Bethel and Hai." "O yes, Grandfather, please go on. . ." "As I shared with you before, Abraham was known throught the land of Canaan for the altars he built. Their landmarks were ever before the people in the land, and I suppose many wondered about their significance."

Litle Oak, listen to the prayer my ancestors have handed down to me concerning Abraham's humble prayer beneath the Oak of Weeping. ". . . O Father, I humbly come and kneel before you, the One True God. I truly thank you for bringing me to this place in my sojourning in the land of Canaan. And I pour out my soul to you here at this altar beneath the Oak of Weeping. O Father, I feel such a kinship between myself and the pitiful sight of this tree.

With tears Abraham poured out his heart, "It was very hard for me to leave the Ur of Chaldees and all its comforts. But you caused the city to come mightily against me, causing me to flee. When I was going through this it was hard on all of us, but praise God you spoke to our hearts and gave us the promise we would become a great nation. Again in Haran, it was almost impossible for me to leave my parents, but praise God you gave the promise of this new land to our posterity.

O Father, let me speak yet more. It was one of the most difficult things I have had to face as we entered the plains of Moreh at Sichem and saw the giants in the land, and knew we had to do battle against them. Yes, we learned to overcome their deceptions, and yes we became strong in our fight against the inhabitants in the land at Moreh. But just when things were getting better, you began to stir our hearts to leave our protected surroundings again. Abrahan continued his heartfelt cry, "I know, too, Father we declared to all we are but sojourners in this land and it is our total desire to be in your will, but the way is so hard sometimes. Must we always move on to harder and harder places to overcome? It seems here, too, especially here in this harsh mountain, we will again be forced to endure many difficult learning experiences.

O Father, I come before you for my whole household and all those who dwell within our tents. I lay my life on this altar and I lift up my willing heart to you in total submission. Give us strength to endure your chastenings. Help us, O Father, to press on into the continuing, narrow walk you desire for us. Help us always to keep this song in our hearts for the days ahead. . .

"I will make of thee a great nation
      And I will bless, and make thy name great
      And I will make of thee a great nation Refrain
      And thou shalt be a blessing.

And I wil bless them that bless thee,
And curse them that curseth thee
And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Refrain again

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 9 . . .  Top

Grandfather, its been awhile since we sat and talked. I've been afraid to come because I told a lie. It wasn't exactly a lie, but it wasn't exactly true either. I was afraid to tell the truth, so I only told half the truth. Grandfather, will you forgive me? I have felt just awful, and I knew I had to share this with someone because it was tearing me apart inside.

Little Oak, the Lord would always have us tell the truth. He knows our conscience will convict us of the wrong of lieing. As you have found it is not a very good feeling. Remember, Little Oak, the last time we talked I told you the story of Abraham. Well, Little Oak, Abraham had a similar experience as you did with lieing. He, too, told a lie, not exactly a lie, but still, all in the same, it was not the whole truth.

If you remember Abraham was dwelling at Bethel near the "Oak of Weeping". But it became necessary for Abraham to once again move on. Abraham had to leave the place between Bethel and Ai and go down to Egypt because there was a great famine in the land. Abraham did not want to make this downward journey into Egypt because he knew it was a fearful place where great Pharaohs ruled the land. He knew too they despised shepherds.

Upon coming into the land, Abraham was so fearful he told everyone in the land of Egypt that Sarah was his sister, not his wife. He was afriad if he told the truth the Pharaoh would kill him. Like you, Abraham, was convicted of his lieing. And because of his lie, Sarah his wife could have been given to Pharaoh.

But you know, Little Oak, God was faithful to protect Sarah and Abraham even though Abraham had told a lie. The whole land of Egypt suffered great plagues because of Sarah being in Pharaoh's house. Pharaoh called Abraham before him and confronted him about the lie he had told. Abraham in fear told Pharaoh the truth. Though very angry, Pharoah did not kill Abraham, but commanded Abraham and his family to leave the land of Egypt.

Little Oak, fear is a terrible thing, and like you experienced, and Abraham found, lieing does not help. Hopefully, Little Oak, you will never again tell a half truth because of fear of what might happen otherwise. I know, Little Oak, you found it a very uncomfortable feeling to know you lied. Lieing always makes us feel like we are unworthy. But thank goodness, Little Oak, you came to me and was able to share this with me. Now you can be at peace, knowing your conscience is clear. To be continued. . .

The Continuing Remembrances of Grandfather Oak, Part 10 

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