Bad Me

Have you ever said something to someone that you wish you could take back?  I did that recently.  I hurt someone’s feelings.  I realized that I had hurt their feelings.  Then I texted the person to ask if I hurt their feelings and the person confirmed that I had indeed hurt her feelings.  So, I apologized.  But, after I apologized, I received no response.  What does this mean?  Am I forgiven?  It kept me up all night.  And, it is still bothering me today.  So, do I apologize again?  Hmmm…

Makes me so thankful that with God, I don’t have to apologize a second or third time.  I can ask for forgiveness and it is given.  Aren’t you glad that is how He works?  So often in life, though, we go around beating ourselves up for things that are under the blood.  Excuse the church jargon, but it is what it is.  Jesus died on the cross to take our sins and so if we ask for forgiveness, then it is “under the blood”.

Trumpet Vine

Friday morning I awoke at 5:40a.m. to my 2-year old saying, “I need to potty, Mommy.”  So I dutifully arose and took him potty.  As I stumbled back to the bed, I very clearly heard my childhood pastor Bro. Phillips’ voice say, “Read Ezekial 17.”  I made a mental note, and climbed back into bed.  An hour and a half later, I arose to have my morning coffee and a little quiet time before the remainder of my family began to stir.  I opened my Bible to Ezekial 17 and the sub-title above the chapter said “Two Eagles and a Vine”.  I have always felt like reading the Old Testament was like reading a foreign language.  It has never been easy for me, and I sometimes find my mind wandering.  As I began to read about these two eagles and a vine, this time was no different.  My mind immediately connected with something I am all to familiar with-trumpet vine.  Trumpet vine is a bad word at our house.  It didn’t start out that way.  We had a beautiful vine with fragrant trumpet-like blooms in shades of orange growing on our storage shed in the backyard.  The vine attracted hummingbirds and bees and we became comfortable with having it as a part of our yard.  Then one day we noticed trumpet vine “volunteers” sprouting up in our “needs some work, but getting there” lawn and in a flowerbed next to the house.  We proceeded to keep the lawn mowed down and pull trumpet vine from the flowerbed.   Not long after this mundane process began, we noticed volunteers creeping up the side of our house and then, to our horror, between the masonary work and the windows.  We are being overtaken by the trumpet vine!  In an effort to cleanse the yard and our life of the trumpet vine, John decided to take vengance upon the vine.  In his haste, he cut the mature trumpet vine on the storage building to the ground.  “I am man-I will conquer!”, I think is what he growled as he wielded the chain saw and pulled 1″-2″ diameter vines from the earth.  But to his dismay, he only thought he was getting rid of this aggressive opponent.  Within a couple of days, we had 6″-10″ sprouts of new growth covering the area he had just conquered.  So, we went to the expert.  We asked a farmer friend what we should do and he provided us with industrial strength Round-up.  He guaranteed that it would not survive.  John not only applied the poison, he applied the poison about 5 different times.  However, once again, man failed and the trumpet vine lives on.  A couple of weeks later, he decided to purchase a tiller.  Surely, we thought, if we till up the ground we can destroy the root system that lies beneath.  He tilled up the ground where he pulled out the mature vine and he tilled up a new area so I could plant a flowerbed.  This seemed to have worked.  I planted my new flowers and tenderly began to care for them.  About a week after being transplanted to their new home, I noticed a small sprig growing in the bed.  How could this be?  The area where John had tilled the ground was also beginning to show signs of life.  We were astounded by this trumpet vine and it’s tenacity.  A Master Gardener from church informed us that we would not be able to kill the trumpet vine with Round-Up.  What we needed to do was to take a grubbing hoe and physically dig up every volunteer that we see coming up in the yard.  This is not such a daunting task the first time around, but when you walk out the next morning to find a whole new colony in the yard, it is very disturbing.  Pulling trumpet vine from the yard became a daily routine for us.  What we learned was amazing.  When we grubbed the trumpet vine from the ground, we found that they were attached to chunks of dead, dry roots.   Some of these chunks of root were only an inch long.  This plant is truely living up to it’s description of “aggressive”.  We are really getting tired of all of this trumpet vine in our midst.  People who have never had this problem look at us like we are funny when we express so much emotion about trumpet vine.  So, I decided to do a little research on-line to see if there was anyone else who has had this problem who could offer some advice or at least some sympathy.   We did find some new ideas that we are about to implement,  but the most comforting piece we found was on a discussion board.  Our new friend Karen says this about the invasive plant-” Trumpet vines and cockaroaches will be all that’s left after a nuclear holocaust!”  We happen to agree at this point.  No matter how pretty it can be, we will never look at trumpet vine the same. 

I feel like the Lord led me to Ezekial 17 because he wanted to give me an even more in depth study on the trumpet vine.  I love analogies and I can see a powerful analogy between trumpet vine and sin.  The trumpet vine just began to give us problems this year, although it had been in our backyard for over 20 years.  Sometimes we become comfortable with the sin in our life.  It can even masquerade as beautiful and fragrant as long as we keep it under control (or so we tell ourselves).  But the Bible clearly says in II Timothy 2:21 that we should “purge” ourselves of sin in order to become vessels of honor.  When we do rid ourselves of sin, we must not be decieved.  Sin can be compared to the trumpet vine in that it also lays a strong root system and produces “volunteers” that seem to just pop up in different areas of our life.  These “volunteers” also have to be addressed or your life will once again be overtaken with sin.  Romans 11:16 says, “if the root be holy, then so are the branches.”  We must establish a holy root system.  The Bible tells us how to do this in John 15:5.  Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  So, it is time.  Rid yourself of the trumpet vine.  In place of the trumpet vine, plant a healthy alternative.  Instead of sin, plant yourself in holiness.  This is not an easy task, but with much determination and focus, you can make wise choices that will lead to a life of happiness and fulfillment in Christ Jesus.  And in the meantime, please pray for our yard! 





Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

All Cleaned Up

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