"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Friday, May 28, 2004

The Thorns of Sin

In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 NIV

I’m not the most dedicated gardener. I plant a few pots on my deck and front porch, but I’ve long ago given up the idea of having overflowing beds of spectacular flowers and perfectly groomed roses.

This week I made the annual trip to the nursery. When I got home, I spotted a nice pot I could use behind our garage, but it contained a rose bush I gave up on last year. Angel, my puppy, came running at my cries of “Ouch. Ouch. Let go!” It seems as if every time I got near enough to move the pot, the thorns on the old bush reached out to stick me. I’m sure I looked comical yelling at it.

I wrapped a towel around the bush, covering it so I could pull it out of the pot. Still, no matter how hard I tried to keep from getting stuck, I got punctured at every turn.

Later I realized I had big long scratches all over my skin. When I saw the scratches, it reminded me of how sin affects our lives. Just like I was wounded after my encounter with the thorns, we are wounded and sometimes scarred for life after an encounter with sin.

Solomon said in Proverbs 5:22 (NIV), “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.”

We must stay away from sin, so as not be ensnared. But if even Paul called himself a “wretched man” in the book of Romans, how are we to avoid sin?

Paul goes on to say in the eighth chapter of Romans “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” We depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us to set our minds on what God wants.

On top of that, when we ask for forgiveness, God forgives us, and the atoning blood of Christ covers our sin. Just like I took a towel and covered the offending thorns, Jesus’ blood covers our offenses.

I told my husband about my experience, and he said a week earlier, he’d been mowing the lawn and the same thing happened – except he got the thorny branches stuck in his hair. He thought he’d need to yell for help, but managed to wrench free. He left behind a few gray hairs dangling on the dead branches.

Have you ever felt that way after a bout with sin? Its tentacles can reach farther than the initial sin. Anyone who has suffered with an addiction will tell you that. But “through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2 NIV).

I praise the Lord He not only provides forgiveness, but gives me the power to overcome!

Even if I don’t have a lush garden, my short time gardening taught me a couple of things. Stay away from sin – and prickly rose bushes.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for providing a covering over my sin – the blood of Christ Jesus. I praise You for the Holy Spirit living in me to guide and direct me in Your ways. I pray I will be open to Your leading and direction. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.


glenniah said...

To raise good tomatoes, you have to pull off the suckers," my father used to say. Those wild branches on the bottom of the plant would sap its strength and slow down the production of fruit.

In our verse, Jesus speaks of pulling off the suckers. God the Father is the gardener who prunes the branches on the vine. The dead branches he cuts off and throws way. The living branches, those who have been made clean by the Word of salvation, he does not leave by themselves to grow wildly. They need his tender, loving care. They need constant pruning so that some wild growth of sin doesn't sap their strength and slow down their fruit production or even turn them into dead branches.

My Father knows exactly how to prune. The shape of his shears may vary and their snips hurt at times. But every bit of his pruning has in mind my betterment as a branch grafted to Jesus. Through the preaching of his Word, he may snip away at my sins and draw me closer to him. Through the adversity that he allows, he may prune away my faults and tie me closer to him. Through a sudden accident, for example, he may cut away my self-reliance and lift my eyes up to him. In his loving wisdom, the heavenly gardener knows when and how to prune that I might become more fruitful as a branch on the vine.

Lord, prune from me the shoots of sin and the suckers of this world that I might be a strong branch producing more fruit for you. Amen.

I posted here once before but I havent seen my post boo hoo

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Excellent analogy, Glenniah. I want to be a branch that bears much fruit!

Thanks for posting.


Donna J. Shepherd said...

PS: I found your other post. It's under 'The Cicadas Are Coming!'

You did comment. You didn't dream it! LOL!


Reflect4Him said...

Donna, thank you for a good start to my day. :-) What a great way to use an ordinary event to encourage and exhort us.

Analogies are a great teaching tool. Many times when I am trying to share with others, I'll have an analogy that just pops into my head to depict my thought.

Hope you have a fun holiday weekend!

Anonymous said...

Donna, through the years I've read many daily devotional books, calendars, and online messages. Your blogs rank right up there! Thanks so much for the insight. I'm a gardener and will think of stearing clear from sin while pruning my rose bushes.

Last year I did a weekly study that compared gardening to spiritual growth. I loved it.

Keep up the great work. I see a devotional book in the making!

Anonymous said...

Oops, that last comment was from Dotsie Bregel.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Oh, Dotsie, from your keyboard to God's sight! *g*

Thank you and Liz for the kind words.


Anonymous said...

Donna, In such a casual, conversational way, you've shared such profound truth! Thank you for the gentle reminder of the ever-faithful Savior and His grace! Ellen

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