DATE: May 17, 2019
TEXT: Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Over the years people have given me books that they thought I should read. Sometimes they wrote those books; sometimes they thought the book had a message for me and sometimes they gave me the book for a reason I couldn’t understand. Now that I am retired, I have tackled that stack of volumes and have gotten to my first book which was given to me for an unknown purpose.
It is a book on plants.
Since I am not a plant person, I am surprised to find myself actually reading and learning some interesting stuff… stuff like the “Matador”, or the “killer” plant of Brazil.
The matador works this way: when the matador's vine meets a vigorous tree, it clamps on and climbs up. As the plant grows larger it shoots out tendrils that surround the tree, growing thicker and clasping it tighter.
The matador grows beautifully, but it does so at the cost of killing its host.
Then, when “the matador” has reached maturity, it puts forth a huge, flowery head above the strangled tree's top. Soon the murderous plant scatters its seeds on the rainforest floor and the process of death begins again.
Now the reason I find this plant so fascinating is because I have seen peoples' sins and problems do the same thing to them. Let me explain.
To the casual observer, an individual may seem have it “all together.” The person under observation seems so gifted that folks believe there is nothing he can’t do; no storm he cannot weather. Sometimes an individual’s history and experiences cause him to believe that he is immune from any negative influence; impervious from any attack.
The sad part comes when the individual is so sure of himself that he ignores the small sins which seem to have taken root at his feet. Almost imperceptibly those transgressions start to take over, choking out that individual’s future, robbing him of his strength.
If this seems to be an accurate description of your life, or of someone dear to you, then you can, even now, rejoice.
Through the sacrifice of His life, the Lord Jesus has done that which was necessary to cut you free from any and all evil which has crept into your life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, heartfelt faith can offer forgiveness and then offer a new lease on life.
Jesus has promised to offer us an abundant life. It is a promise He keeps as He frees us from sin’s strangle hold. Which is why today we encourage you to rejoice in the Christ Who has redeemed you.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it is a fact of life: little sins grow up and become big sins… sins which can rob us of peace, joy, and sometimes our salvation. Help us know that You are with us. Reach out to us. Through Your Son free us from our sins and grant us a new and clean heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html