Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Remove The Vines

Tangled vines, Twisting, Choking, Scarring

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord." (Ephesians 6:10)

I really enjoy being outside this time of year, experiencing the beautiful sight of fresh green growth. Sometimes, however that new growth sprouts up in places unwelcome.
Late yesterday I convinced my son and my husband to remove some damaged and lifeless limbs from a Chinese Elm that had become entangled with suffocating vines.

Patrice Jastrzembski wote an article about vines. She writes, "Trees are constantly fighting a battle with the elements for survival. Winter's wind and summer's droughts alternately test trees through the seasons. Besides contending with the natural elements, a tree's health is often threatened by disease, fungi, insects, and aggressive vines. Many species of climbing vines are capable of suppressing growth, and even killing trees. Vines can cause damage in several ways.Vines compete with trees for water and sunlight. Many vines send out many runners into the soil to seek any available water. When vines grow atop a tree, they cause shade, which may suppress photosynthesis, weakening and killing the tree. Vines growing along the ground often inhibit new plants from sprouting, affecting normal plant succession.The weight of a vine can cause twigs and branches to twist and break, deforming the tree's shape. This affects the tree's wind resistance. Vine-covered branches are in the greatest danger of snapping off in strong winds or heavy snows. Stems and tendrils of some vines grow in tight coils around twigs and small trunks, causing deformity and constriction as the tree grows."

Strange, I don't remember the Chinese Elm tree in my yard having any vines last summer before the frost and cold caused it to slumber. The seige, the overtaking, the capture of these trappings so subtle and gradual that I didn't notice. The vine intermingled and blended in with the foliage on the tree. Now the limbs of the tree have permanent indentions, marks causing damage, even death to parts of the tree.

Isn't that a lot like our enemy, Satan?
Subtle, clever, we ignore his attack.
Then we are surprised when we find ourselves choking, gasping for a breath from God.

Second Corinthians 2:11 tells us, "We are not to be ignorant of Satan's strategies, of the devil's devices." (paraphrase) We are not to be unaware of the way the devil does things. In fact, 1 Peter 5:8-9, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him."

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Ephesians 6:10-12 (The Message)

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