, Muskogee, OK

May 21, 2013

Fort Faith: Flowers can teach us lessons that help us grow in spirit

By Barrett Vanlandingham

— One of the things I love about this time of year is beautiful flowers everywhere! I really appreciate all of Fort Gibson’s very talented and persistent green thumbs.  

Glen and Betty Hopfer have a spectacular purple clematis vine with hundreds of blooms that have climbed and decorated the corner of their house several feet high!  

As I took some pictures of their flower bed, I couldn’t help but be in awe of God’s handiwork in partnership with the Hopfer’s.  But as colorful as this scene was, the words of the prophet Isaiah came to mind. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).”

While I do not like the thought of eventual doom for these blooms, it is encouraging that God loves mankind much more than grass and flowers (Matthew 6:28-30). But with that love comes great responsibility.

The role of Christians has become more important than ever as people are being influenced by an ever-increasingly wicked world, and need something and someone to trust in. It is a daunting task as the statistics show people acting on their feelings of hopelessness.

A recent study by Julie Phillips of Rutgers University shows that more people now die of suicide than in car accidents!

The root of the problem is really nothing new and has been around since the beginning of mankind. It is just that these days, people increasingly seem to embrace taking on more distractions and more financial risks in their lives instead of seeking advice from God on experiencing peace, hope and assurance. He’s been an expert on this for a very long time.

God created all of nature for us to enjoy. He also created us with the ability to have fun, laugh, accomplish our goals, and experience a full range of emotions that comes with daily life. But where we tend to mess up is when our lives become unbalanced, and we forget to just simply spend time being in awe of God, studying the truths of his word, and praising Him for all the ways He blesses our lives, and for the hope we have through his son Jesus the Christ.  

For thousands of years, God’s Holy Spirit has made sure that God’s word in written form would stand the test of time. These truths will still be here to guide all of humanity long after the thrills of this world wilt and let us down.

May God bless you this week with the desire and confidence to simplify your life, let go of distractions that hinder your relationship with God, and to simply get reacquainted with the joys that come from knowing that we serve an eternal God who has an eternal purpose for us.

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or