Joshua Tree Lesson

Joshua Tree

Joshua tree is also called Yucca brevifolia and is a plant species belonging to genus Yucca in the family Agavaceae.This monocotyledonoustree is native to southwestern North American the states of California,Arizona, Utah and Nevada,where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 400-1,800 m (2,000-6,000 feet). It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley
and Lost Horse Valley in
Joshua Tree National Park.

How was the name Joshua tree derived?

The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua
reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.


A BRANCHLESS JOSHUA TREE

Growth and development

Joshua trees are fast growers for the desert; new seedlings may grow at an
average rate of 7.6
cm (3.0in) per year in their first ten years, then only grow about 3.8cm (1.5in) per year thereafter. The trunk of a Joshua tree is made of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age. This tree has a top-heavy branch system, but also has what has been described as a “deep and extensive” root system, with roots possibly reaching up to 11m (36ft) away. If it survives the rigors of the desert it can live for hundreds of years with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years. The tallest trees reach about 15 m tall. New plants can grow from seed,but in some populations, new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the Joshua tree. Spring rains may bring clusters of white-green flowers on long stalks at branch tips. Like all desert blooms, Joshua trees depend on just the perfect conditions: well-timed rains, and for the Joshua tree, a crisp winter freeze. Researchers believe that freezing temperatures may damage the growing end of a branch and stimulate flowering,
followed by branching. You may notice some Joshua trees grow
like straight stalks; these trees have never bloomed which is why they are branchless! In addition to ideal weather, the pollination of flowers requires a visit from the yucca moth. The moth collects pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower ovary. As seeds develop and mature, the eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the seeds. The tree relies on the moth for pollination and the moth relies on the tree for a few seeds
for her young a happy symbiosis. The Joshua tree is also capable of sprouting from roots and branches. Being able to reproduce vegetative allows a much quicker recovery after damaging floods or fires, which may kill the main tree. Many birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects depend on the Joshua tree for food and shelter. Keep your eyes open for the yellow and black flash of a Scott’s oriole busy making a nest in a yucca,s branches. At the base of rocks you may find a wood rat nest built with spiny yucca leaves for protection. As evening falls, the desert night lizard begins poking around under the log of a fallen Joshua tree in search of tasty insects.

You may be at ease with pine or hardwood, or find shade under the domesticated trees in your city park, but in the high desert, Joshua is our tree. It is an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards. Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance. They are the silhouette that reminds those of us who live here that we are home. Like the Lorax we speak for the trees, but often the trees speak to us.

Panicle

Fruit

Once they bloom, the trees are pollinated by the yucca moth, which spreads pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower. The moth larvae feed on the seeds of the tree, but enough seeds are left behind to produce more trees. The Joshua tree is also able to actively abort ovaries in which too many eggs have been laid.

Summary
of how Joshua Tree can survive in Desert.

  1. Most important of all, they have deep rooting system, enabling them to draw water from underground.
  2. Capable of vegetating more roots to survive damaging floods or fires.
  3. Able to bloom into more branches in perfect timing and condition.

Learning from the Joshua Tree –  Biblical application for Christian.

1)Deep Rooting System

Just like the Joshua Tree, it survived in the hardest desert because of its deep rooting system, the ability to draw water from the deepest underground where there is stream of living water.

Christian survival is dependent on the deep rooting with the Holy Spirit, always in the awe, realm of the Holy Spirit in order to draw the living water and spiritual strength so that one can survive even in the worst hash desert condition. There is much contentment and comfort hidden deeply away from where human eyes can’t see, spring of living water, the hidden manna can be found.

John 3:5 “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Building on a Solid Foundation

Matt 24-25 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”

Water speaks of Living word of God, having the faith believing in the living word of God and be born of the Spirit (baptised).

2) Vegetate more roots

Once the Joshua Tree had the deep rooting system established, it didn’t stop there, it continues to vegetate more and more root branches deep underneath the ground. This will help the Joshua tree to survive even though above the ground surface there are much damaging floods or fires.

So for Christian to survive, do not stop at first instant of deep rooting with the Holy Spirit upon being baptised. Go forth and vegatate more roots with our Holy Spirit, thus growing more branches of hidden Spiritual Gifts of which; Word of Discernment, Word of Wisdom and Word of prophecy is primarily important. Thus, even though being weathered by floods of persecutions, trials, and test by fire above the ground level, you will survive victorously!

1Cor 12:3-13
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To
another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Thus the Rooting system the roots, are hidden Spiritual Gifts that is hidden underground where it not visible nor easily seen nor understood by man.

3) Blooming with more branches

For Joshua Tree to bloom and have more branches, it needs perfect conditions:

  1. A well-timed rain.

  2. A crisp winter freezing, the end of branches was broken and this stimulate growing end of branch and stimulate flowering combined with growing of more branches.

As an individual Christian, at times we are too happy or contented with what we had achieved. We are very satisfied with the number of branches we have. Symbolic meaning of branches represents our achievements, the works we had accomplished in Church or Kingdom of Heaven and it also represents spiritual fruits such as love which is the main essence of standalone ability to draw people closer and expand branches from this community love. But we becomes stagnant, there is no synergy of new Visions to do more. Do not be like the branchless Joshua Tree! It looks ugly! At time like, this we needed to be place into the well-timed rain from God, exposed to extreme crisp winter so that we maybe broken and bring forth stimulated growth, evident by blooming flowers and sprouting of branches. This is the same for Cell Group, it is good to be big but there will come a time when we’re contented with a Big family and just stopped there. So we have to pray for the same “Well timed rain” where the rain symbolize “Blessings from God” and then be exposed to “ crisp winter freezing, Crisp winter freezing symbolize “chastening” just like Jonah being put in the belly of the fish. Only then, with the complete brokenness and with direct well timed commandment from God then the division can proceeded for growing more branches of Cell Group. Please note that this is different from the simplified decision making by Cell Group leader where he or she “feel the need to expand cell group” and the decision making is based on numerical calculation whereas the well-timed rain and crisp winter freezing to permit sprouting of more branches is from the invisible hands of God.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’

Thus if every members can incubate more spiritual fruits, then the retention of members and expansion of a cell group is a natural process by the Grace of our Lord Jesus.

Thus the flowering blooms and the growing branches, are evidents of Spiritual Fruits that may become tangible or visible due to the resultant of various love actions taken to materialized it or it can be felt by people.

The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. But somehow I gotten the revelation from our H.S. that the name was derived from Joshua’s ability to survive in the desert because he had deep rooting with God and a remarkable event happened, he caused the Sun to stand still so that Israel won the battle against their enemy.

Joshua 10:13 “So the Sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.”

End notes:

You can’t determine the spiritual age of a Christian
Unlike normal tree where its age can be determined by the ring formed by its bark in its trunk, the trunk of a Joshua tree is made of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age.

In the same way you can’t determine the spiritual age of a Christian.
How many of us are feeling like being in the “Desert” dry and lost, fighting the battle alone without any support?
I strongly encourage you to have deep rooting with our Holy Spirit. With HIS command in Jesus’ name; armies of God’s warriors will be with you in any spiritual battle fields and not only that; many Angels will be at hand to support you. There is no fear against those who can kill only the body but not the soul. Our Holy Spirit will lead you out of the “desert’ into the promise land where there are springs of living water in the valley. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Added notes 20/1/2013 (Thanks Pastor Eileen for the Bible verse):
“Blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river, and it shall not see and fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8