The Vines

 

vines

 

I am getting ready to head to the home town for a couple days to do some more work at my parents’ house. So much to do and little time to do it but it all needs done and if I don’t get it done it will keep building up. The auction is underway and actually ends later this week. I am praying that God has His hand on that and the auction is successful. He will be sure to take care of that according to what He knows so I do have that knowledge to comfort me. At this time some of the work I would like to do to the house is by necessity on hold due to things being in the way. But, there is still more than enough to keep me busy. The next couple days is going to be spent working in the yard. Thankfully the weather is better for that and not brutally hot.

My mom loved plants, all kinds, flowers, shrubbery, trees and vines. She would know which was good and which were essentially weeds. But, the vines are the ones with which I must contend now. Many of the vines have grown up and over the fence and boy have they done so, but while growing they have gotten a bit out of hand, they cover the fence some over the gates so opening and closing them is difficult at times. They are EVERYWHERE! The fence is covered and trying to remove them has been a chore. They weave in and out of the fence. And, since the fence needs to come out eventually, the vines need removed.

Thinking about the fence, the vines and the way they have just about gotten to the point where it doesn’t even look like there is a fence there I realized that sin can be like that. We start out with a nice fence, whether a privacy fence to keep out unwanted things or to keep things in. Then, somehow a vine starts to grow, maybe something a neighbor planted sends a small branch over, perhaps an animal has carried a seed and that takes root. They start to slowly grow and since it doesn’t seem like a bad thing and perhaps may look kind of nice, you don’t pull it out and instead leave it to grow. But, like sin, once it finds somewhere to grow it grows, and grows and grows. Spreading further into one’s fence, into one’s life to the point that, if not diligent it essentially takes over. Sin can take root like that, sin rarely starts out as a massive thing, it starts as a small thing that if ignored, because it isn’t that bad, it grows, it weaves itself into our lives and can eventually take over. I have had things in my life that were sins, things that didn’t seem like a big deal, sometimes realizing that it was there but also thinking, “oh that is nothing much, it’s just a little small thing and won’t do any harm.” In fact, sometimes one sees sin and thinks it will be somewhat beneficial so not only is it ignored, at times growth is encouraged because one thinks they can control it and use the sin for our own good. Sadly, that is rarely the case and over time we get lost in the sin, it creeps over the fence of our lives, weaving in and out and gradually it has taken over. It does so slowly so from day to day we don’t realize it until it seems too late. Choking out the good things in our lives. We realize it is no longer beneficial, but rather detrimental and has to be dealt with in order to make things right. Just like I now need to work to remove the vines one needs to remove the sin. But, the amount there, the way it has taken over our life it seems to be an overwhelming task and nearly impossible and for humans it would be impossible. But there is a master gardener, a groundskeeper of our souls, who can wipe out those vines. He won’t do it if we don’t “hire him” and ask Him to clean off the fences and get rid of those things. But, if we do, He will remove the sins from our lives and make us like new. We may have to deal with remnants of the sin for a while, just like some of the tendril of the fine may be more difficult to completely eradicate than others, He will help us as we struggle with those things and strengthen us while weakening the hold sin has in our lives.

I realized that many vines had become big issues for me over the years. But, Christ has helped with them and removed all manner of sin from my life. He has made me better. A better person and far better Christian than I had been for many years. What an amazing Lord we serve. Oh, He still has work to do, things to help me with to remove any remnants of things I need out of my life, but He strengthens me by cleansing all those things.

The sin, like the vines, at times seemed harmless and maybe even helpful, so I ignored them and thinking about that, I realized (yeah, its a simple concept but sometimes one gets an aha moment when they finally recognize to what point things have gotten) that due to tolerance, complacency, willingness and sometimes even desire for certain benefits I allowed the sin to creep in and take over some parts of my life.

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].  1 Corinthians 10:13

He will give me the ability to overcome the temptation and avoid letting it grow if I seek Him and His strength.

 

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8-9

If I pretend the sin does not exist or that even if I recognize it I ignore it I am simply deceiving myself. But, when I admit to the sin He will cleanse me.

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.   2 Corinthians 5:17

 

He cleanses the sins. He renews me. He makes me a new creature. He removes those vines of sin from the fences and restores me to that which He would have me to be for His glory.

 

Lord,

I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for the little lessons that show me my failures and shortcomings, for showing me those vines of sin I have allowed into my life and helping me remove them to become what You would have me become. I thank You for my salvation and the forgiveness You give me. I pray in the name of Jesus that You continue to show me what vines need removed, what areas I need to further clean to become what You plan for me. Help others see the things they need to remove so they are able to follow You and take the paths You plan for them. Draw us all closer and teach us how to seek You and how to be the Christians You wish. Help us all better know how to seek Christ. I pray You bring loved ones and others to You and give them the better lives through Jesus.

Amen

 

Thanks for your time. I hope that some of the lessons that really are simple things that I for some reason finally see in a way that helps me understand are helpful to others as well. I hope everyone has a chance to be a blessing to someone today and that you have a blessed day as well.

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Why did God make ticks?

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Genesis 1:24

 

I just got back from a stroll in the woods. I truly enjoy the time out in nature, talking with God, enjoying His creations. And, I really try not to question God. I know He has reasons for what He does. But, why did He create ticks? They must have a function somewhere in the ecosystem, but wow, I cannot figure it out. The hang out, wait for a victim, latch on, suck blood and then drop off, to make more ticks to do it all over again. Spreading diseases, lymes, rocky mountain spotted fever and others. Even if they don’t give a disease like lymes, they hurt and itch for days. Why did He make ticks? To teach us to be careful and use the repellent to keep them away, to prepare before I go out in the woods.  As a lesson to me to remember that there is always something out there waiting to try and attack so I need to be on guard?

Well, trying to figure out the actual benefit of ticks has me puzzled, but after some searching, they do have a few benefits: providing food for many creatures, they are hosts for a number of viruses and other microorganisms and they help with population control on a lot of animals. Ok, they have a purpose, but I still don’t like them!

I kind of thought about how I can use that as an analogy for spiritual life and came up with a few, but none really felt like they were from God, SO, guess my main lesson from ticks is to remember, no matter how much I hate them, God made them, so I should appreciate that He did so. Maybe it’s a lesson of taking the bad with the good as well.

So, I will give thanks in all things, even those I don’t like or understand.

 

Lord, I worship and praise You. I ask that You give me patience and tolerance of the bad things and better appreciation of the good. I thank You for the many blessings I have received and eagerly anticipate those to come. I pray that You continue to work in my heart that I become a better vessel for Christ and that I help draw others to You and that You help me hear Your words and feel Your presence even more. Please work in the hearts and minds of loved ones that they yearn to seek You and listen to Your guidance as well.

Amen

Thanks for letting me grumble about ticks, guess I need to go double, double check to make sure there are none on me and will hopefully remember to put on more insect repellant next time.

Please, be a blessing to someone and be ready to be blessed yourselves.