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The Juniper Tree

The Juniper Tree

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The Juniper Tree

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Jul 28, 2018


The Juniper Tree…Beautiful, Rugged & Enduring. It all starts with a seed. There are seeds of promise that lead to life…But there are also seeds of doubt, denial, deception, defeat, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, and many more that only lead to corruption, sin, destruction and ultimate death. We must decide on which seed we will let take root in us, and which type of fruit we will bear. Will we bear good fruit? Can we offer shelter to others riding a storm…compassion through our own experiences? We are caught up in a storm, a raging spiritual battle that twists and batters us like nothing we've ever imagined. Our enemy crosses dimensions, planes and "reality" to get to us. We must put on our armor and be battle ready. We are of the seed of promise, coming into our land flowing with milk and honey. We are the children of the King. We must endure like the Juniper Tree, and become strong in our maker, persevering through the storms of life and still be standing, having done all to stand.

Jul 28, 2018

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The Juniper Tree - C. Rae Johnson


C.  Rae Johnson


Copyright © 2018 by C. Rae Johnson

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of author.

All rights reserved. Use by permission.


Cover design: John Johnson

Photography:91075662DenisBelitskiy / Dreamstime.com

First printing 2018

Printed in the United States of America

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version (Public domain) of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, New American Standard Version and New King James Version.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

"Scripture quotations taken from the New American

Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org"

Scripture taken form the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-387-45315-3


This book is dedicated in honor to my Heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the refuge, nourishment, life giving water, rest and strength we all need, to survive as well as thrive.

For the Glory of God Alone

Soli Deo Gloria


I would like to extend a big heartfelt thank you to my wonderful husband John for his creative work in cover design.  The stunning beauty of God’s creation in the nighttime sky is truly an amazing sight to see and perfect for a Juniper Tree.

I would like to extend a sincerely heartfelt thank you to a dear friend and brother in Christ, Michael John Encarnación for his help with bringing out the fantastic colors of the Milky Way backdrop for the Juniper Tree book cover.  It truly displays a portion of God’s handiwork in the beautiful majestic firmament. 

The Juniper Tree

Strong Beauty

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:3KJV

The Juniper Tree, how beautiful in all its rugged crookedness.  At first glance, it may present to be deformed, impaired and quite blemished, with all of its twists and turns, knots and roughness, yet holds a wonderment all its own in how it is capable of standing; looking as though it has done all, to even stand.  It can appear as if it would have fallen a long time ago.

But Juniper trees are long lived and very slow growing.  Some reach the ripe old age of a thousand years, climbing through its twists and turns to possibly reach twenty-five feet in height, as it is sculpted by the wind.  They endure the hardship of a drier climate, persevering through the hot temperatures and poor or drier soil.  A Juniper tree’s taproot (primary root) goes deep into the earth, with smaller lateral fibrous roots spreading outward.  Junipers can even survive several thousand feet above well-watered washes.  Their outer covering can have scale-like leaves with newly sharp small sprigs, presenting beautiful blue berries. 

Upon a glimpse of the Juniper tree, we may notice that there is not much in surrounding nourishment, yet it still stands.  What keeps it so strong, despite the storms it must have weathered?  What allows it to bear fruit, as it nourishes the birds of the air and the mammals of the ground, along with containing many therapeutic benefits for people?  How does a Juniper tree twist and hang so low to the ground, without completely falling over, then suddenly shoot upwards again in its growth, toward the light?  It is as if, it will not give up!

Its misshapen and often distorted appearance may perhaps frighten some observers, as it seems to defy logic for its growth.  One might think that it could break easily as well as topple over, at any given moment, because its weight proportions seem to be, quite imbalanced.  Yet it doesn’t.  It grows and grows, pressing onward, forward and upward, despite the windy storms that helped to hammer its shape.  It is an example of perseverance through the storms of life, while still being able to offer some form of help, some small amount of covering, for someone else hurting through exhaustion and despair.

We can learn, through this particular tree, that no matter what we’ve been through in life, we can still help others in need.  We can have a firm foundation that is as strong as a rock, with our taproot being secure in the reality of truth; so that nothing will be able to shake us loose from our root system.  That is the true beauty; the beauty of the Juniper Tree.

Though our beauty may not be depicted on the outside, such as this tree, but rather on the inside, what we do outwardly through our actions, does have an impact.  It signifies to others where our beauty lies.  It is through these actions and our behaviors towards others, those both less fortunate than us, as well as those who are very fortunate, seemingly rich in life, that allow others to see our true identity.  How we ultimately treat others, those who are in great need, and those who are not, ironically displays if we are knotted and twisted up on the inside, ready to fall. 

We are all like a seed, traveling along, looking for a spot to plant and to grow.  Will we bring forth good fruit?  Or will we produce bad fruit, or yet, be barren, yielding nothing at the time of harvest?  Will we withstand the storms of life like a Juniper tree?  Will we still offer some cover and compassion, some help, to those in need, despite ourselves facing difficult growth challenges, along with not having much at all to even offer?  Are our root systems intact; or are they rotting in a decay of bitterness?

If we do indeed have any root of bitterness growing, we truly do need to purge ourselves of it.  It is growing because we have unresolved unforgiveness within us.  It can be from anything or anyone really, within our entire life.  We may have been hurt so terribly, so shockingly, so undeservingly, that a root started to grow.  Perhaps we may have thought about forgiving, or, we may have vowed to ourselves that we will never forgive someone. 

But when we don’t forgive, we start to carry a burden, a weight so heavy that negatively affects almost every aspect of our lives, our future, as well as others around us.  We then wear it as a badge while we try to fill the deep void caused by the hurt, with other things, including our own busyness; so, we don’t have time to feel the pain. 

We also use other outlets, substances and abuses of both drugs and alcohol, sex, work, anything in excess.  We do not realize that the poison of bitterness is filling us, while the offender is oblivious to the effect of the assault, including the unforgiveness.  In fact, they usually don’t even care.  So, why poison ourselves.  We need to be healed from it; we need to be rescued.  We need the hurt to just go away.  We need healing! 

But how?  We all say.  We do try sometimes, don’t we?  But, somehow, it just keeps coming back. 

That is because we try it in our own strength.  But, our own is not enough, ever, because it is a process.  It is not an, Okay I forgive, now it’s gone.  No, we need help with that.  We need supernatural strength to even be able to do that; to forgive.  We need God’s Almighty help.

We need Holy healing from a Holy and loving God.  He will take our pain along with all our tears and heal us.  He will give us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to enable us to final forgive, to finally be free, to finally heal and move forward again in love.

God will show us how to forgive when we go to Him.  We just need to lay our burdens, our hurts, and our bitterness at His feet.  He will teach us how and give us the strength we need, then we can love again; because He gives us a new heart. 

Then we become more equipped to handle our circumstances and trials in life.  Then we can move forward as a warrior having gone through a tough battle, knowing that our Lord saw us through.  He takes our heavy burden of unforgiveness and the roots of our bitterness and removes them from us. 

Jesus gives us His yoke instead, which is easy, and His burden is light.  We need only to just love Him with everything we’ve got, and to love others as ourselves.   We will form new roots, a new taproot, that is stronger than ever, because it will be rooted in faith; in the truth. 

Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.   

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

We can’t fight our battles if we’re consumed with bitterness in our heart.  The most important part of fighting our battles in spiritual warfare is prayer and praise.  How can we effectively fight the onslaught of enemy attacks if we are burdened down and overwhelmed by our bitterness and an unforgiving heart?

First of all, if we have an unforgiving heart, then we are sinning, because the Word of God says to forgive.  If we do not forgive, we are in direct violation of that.  We then build a wall between God and ourselves with our own unforgiveness.  Then He doesn’t even hear our prayers; and the enemy knows that, making his destructive job even easier.

When we do forgive, it’s not for the offender; God will deal with them, don’t worry about that.  Forgiving is for us and for a closeness between us and the Lord.   It is the process of us becoming humble in prayer, giving it up to God and letting it go.

You know what?  It is because of Jesus Christ, that we can forgive now!

When we forgive, God will heal us and bring us closer to Him, and He will hear our prayers and answer.  Our prayers will have an effect in the Heavenlies, and when we pray with others, that effect compounds.  The Lord will give us the rest we need for our weary souls.  He will bring us the help we need, in whatever form we need.  We will surely feel like jumping for joy, knowing that the God of the universe, Who is all and made all, hears us, loves us and made us His.  God truly cares for His children.  He even became flesh, died and rose again for us.

Along the process of forgiving, as it takes time and endurance, we need to praise God, even in our storms of hurt; when all we really feel like doing is crying or giving up.  We need to keep on keeping on, pressing forward, praying fervently and continually. 

He hears us, and the enemy knows that too.  The enemy may throw stumbling blocks along the way, just as he did when Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks for his people.  God heard him and sent an angel to help him right away, but the angel was detained by the prince of Persia (demon).  The angel Gabriel needed the archangel Michael to help.  Ponder upon that next time your answer is delayed.  There is much going on in the spirit realm.  We need to just be patient and trust God and in His timing.

Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

Daniel 10:12-13 NASB

We’re in a battle that’s already been won, but we still are involved in the groundwork of the battleground for lost souls; which can cause affliction to us along the way.  Therefore, we need to let go of any weight slowing us down or tripping us up, including unforgiveness and bitterness.   We need to drop it right in the path, at the foot of the cross.  Let God fight that battle for us!  We’re free from that.

WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  

Hebrews 12:1 KJV

We must be strong and of good courage, to journey along our paths in life, throughout our entire growth.  We need to be caring and compassionate along the way, as if we we’re blossoming and spreading good seed, not creating weeds through bitterness.  We shall also lend help whenever we can, a little assistance during a storm, with an understanding heart and ear, always willing to listen. 

We ourselves need also to humbly accept where we are at in life at any given moment, and even find joy through our infirmities; so, we may lend a strength so profound to others seeking shelter from a storm, that they start to look up for a strength that is not of our own.  For when we appear to be weak, it is then that we are strong. 

It is when the seedling falls to the ground and dies, that new life begins, producing many more seeds.  Jesus Christ was in the ground Himself, for three days and three nights after He died, just like a seed buried in the earth.  Just as a seed produces new life after dying and being planted in the ground, so the Son of man, the Son of God was like a seed producing the Tree of Life.  Jesus rose from the dead in His Resurrection as the true vine, and we are the branches.  We produce good fruit as we nourish ourselves upon the Good Book; the Living Waters that never run dry, the Word of Life.

When we think we’ve just hit the end, where we cannot go on any further, it is then that a new beginning is just waiting us.  When we die to ourselves, meaning, when we do not feed our every little desire and emotional state of being, but rather think of the bigger picture, by thinking of others, new growth is waiting to spread and flourish into a most wonderful harvest.  Our branches become stronger and more resilient.  Our roots and the foundation they are rooted in is rock solid in good ground. 

If we are nourished by the Word of God, we find that our well will never run dry.  We actually learn that we are adapting to handle some pretty tough storms along the way, enough so to give shelter to others riding them as well. 

We will bear much fruit when we continually feed on the living Word, offer the sacrifice of praise and thankfulness in our hearts and prayers, along with loving our Creator with all our hearts, our souls and our minds, while we love our neighbors (all others) as our selves. 

Through each storm we weather, we become tougher, yet more resilient and able to endure, secure and unshakeable, displaying much perseverance.  We have a sense of true grit about us for having made it through our journey thus far.   We come to realize that through our trials and tribulations, we learn patience and that gives us experiences, which leads to hope; everlasting hope in Christ and the grace He gives.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 KJV

The storms of life will not prevail in attempting to topple us over, once we are grounded in God through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.  We will enjoy a personal relationship with our Savior and become sanctified.  We will then become the hands and feet of God, through the Holy Spirit working through us, as we give Him our sanctified life for His service on this earth.  That, is truly resting in Him. 

We must be on guard to our emotions, not letting any negative ill roots to take hold when their seeds are blown our way.  Just as when the Juniper tree grows it develops twists and knots, displaying the storms it has weathered, it is strong in its persistence.  It has persevered as it fulfills its purpose!  We too can know in our heart, that even though we also grow with many twists and knots, as we pass through our storms in life, that if we hold fast and endure, we also will persevere.  We will become stronger, wiser, and better equipped to fulfill our purpose.  We are in training for a reason, so we will not topple over when the going gets rough; but be still standing, having done all to stand.  We are children of the seed of promise.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:  for when I am weak, then am I strong.    2Corinthians 12:9-10 KJV

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  John 12:24 NASB

The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.    Romans 13:12 KJV

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  Isaiah 11:1 NASB

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief:  for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Matthew 17:20 KJV

The Elijah Syndrome

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13 NASB

You know the story. It is everyone’s, yet admittingly, no one’s.  The girl who enjoyed some newly found relief, learning to trust again.  The boy who suddenly found success, impressing others both of like mind and age, as well as beyond.  The lady who had finally had her dreams come true.   The guy who rose above in ranks within his peers.  Ahh success—why is it fleeting?

We’ve all been there, if we allow ourselves to remember; to think upon a time when all was well.  But, then suddenly, it all seemed to vanish; stop with an abrupt halt.  We wonder what happened.  How did we get to that point?  How can things instantaneously just change for the worse, or apparent worse?   A wrench was thrown in.  An accident or injury happened.  A love suddenly gone, whether through a change of heart or passed before their time.  A sudden bout of anxiety, depression, helplessness, fear, or defeat hovers over us and attempts to take

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