So, the evening of Memorial Day we had rain and some pretty decent wind in the Bottom (Frazier's Bottom, that is!). I was upstairs in our house when I heard a pretty loud crack, like a tree falling. Now, we have some pretty tall trees in our backyard so my first thought was that one of our trees had fallen. I ran to the bathroom window in our bedroom and I saw that a tree had fallen in our next door neighbor's yard. Honestly, my first thought was being thankful that it wasn't one of ours. I know, that was selfish. But, my second thought was I hope it didn't damage their deck, because that was where it had fallen. Before I could get out there to see if they needed help, my neighbor had already started. Our neighbor on the other side was out there helping with his chainsaw, so they were doing a good job of getting it cleaned up. I went out to help put the branches and logs into a pile and saw that what had fallen was a huge, dead part of the tree that was actually help up with the main part of the tree with barbed wire. It was a good sized piece and they were fortunate that it didn't damage anything. Well, as the neighbor was cutting through a part of the tree, he suddenly stopped and had a weird look on his face. He looked at me and said, "What the heck?" There were three snakes that ended up being killed by his chainsaw as he was cutting that tree up, and it wasn't on purpose. He didn't know they were in there. One snake did get away and slithered up into the part of the tree that was left. I'm sure it was thankful to get away with its life.
As we were piling the branches and logs up, I got to thinking about the spiritual aspect of what I saw in that dead tree and the snakes. I seem to do that a lot, see the spiritual in things. The first thought that came to mind is the fact that we have to strive to be constantly growing in our faith. That means we have to stay connected to Jesus. He said in John 15,
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned".- John 15
If we don't stay connected to the Vine, we will wither away and become dead just like that tree. When that happens, we run the risk of allowing satan to fill the void where the Holy Spirit should be in our lives. It was pretty amazing that there was a hole, an empty space that ran the length of that dead tree, and that's where the snakes were. If we're not letting the Holy Spirit continually fill our lives, something else will. The enemy is just waiting for the opportunity to do it. SIN WILL FIND A WAY INTO OUR LIVES. Once we become Christ followers it doesn't mean that we are immune to temptation. The devil is going to look for every crack or hole to fill. Just as the snakes filled the hole in that dead tree, sin will look to fill us if we're not growing. And then we'll find ourselves on the pile ready to be burned.
MAY WE ENCOURAGE, COMFORT, AND URGE EACH OTHER TO GROW IN THE LORD AND ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO WORK IN AND THROUGH US SO THE devil WON'T HAVE A PLACE IN OUR LIVES SO WE CAN LIVE AND SHOW THE GOSPEL!
Love you guys...