Hollianne and I spent several days doing some landscaping last spring. We added some annuals and perennials to our existing plants around our house. It was fun to be out digging in the earth with the kids- beautifying our yard in the process.

Last weekend the boys and I decided to do some touch up yard work. Jack T. mowed while Britton and I cleaned up some of the areas that needed additional mulch.

There is one landscaped area in the far back corner of our yard that we rarely visit. Oh- you can see it from the patio and the pool, but we rarely get up close to that area. It’s a beautiful spot, with sunflowers, begonias and some knock-out rose bushes.

Once inspecting this area up close, however, we discovered that it was overrun with weeds. They weren’t detected from far away, but a closer look showed that these weeds had overtaken the once beautiful flower bed. It took us 20 minutes to eliminate all the weeds from this very small patch of ground.

Isn’t my life the same way? I have an appearance that I want my friends and family to see, but closer examination of my own life reveals my own set of weeds- a human tendency for sin.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. I John 1: 8-10

We often keep these sinful areas of our life hidden…not wanting others to see. We maintain strong exteriors while our inner thoughts and behaviors are flawed.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. James 1: 14

Just like that area in the very back of my yard, sin left unaddressed can cover our hearts like the weeds that cover beautiful flowers and plants.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5: 19-21

But there is hope for all, including me. While we are sinners, Jesus paid a sacrifice for us- so that we do not have to remain slaves to sin.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 16-17

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5: 21

Don’t let the weeds of sin cover your heart.

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” II Timothy 2: 19

Accept the saving promise of our Lord and Savior.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6: 23

Let’s all commit to an examination of our hearts for unwanted weeds. I need your prayers- and let me know if I can pray for you.

God bless.


Gators, darkness and the ultimate flashlight

I believe that heat and humidity come to die in South Carolina each July. I have been working in the Palmetto State for the past two days. It’s a beautiful place, especially the coast. But the air is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

I had to be at a breakfast meeting today at 6:45 am. I had decided to get in a quick run around the hotel before breakfast, so I headed out of my room around 5:00 am. I was taken aback at the humidity even at this early hour, but I was even more surprised by the darkness. Pitch black. There wasn’t a hint of sunrise as I started my run, but I eventually found the pathway that circled the hotel complex and began to plod down the trail.

It was dark. There were very few lights along the trail, so each step was taken with caution and a bit of trepidation. The hotel had placed small guide lights along the trail about every 1/8 of a mile, so my strategy was to simply run- carefully- from light to light.

About a ½ mile into my run I spotted a sign that warned visitors to watch for alligators crossing the path. This was a bit unnerving- as I was now painfully aware of the opportunity to run upon a reptile in the darkness.

It was a dark world this morning. There were numerous obstacles along the pathway…fallen limbs from yesterday’s winds, large pools of water from an overnight downpour, and the threat of angry, hungry reptiles. It probably wasn’t smart for me to venture out into the darkness, but I went anyway.

I was reminded about the larger, greater darkness we encounter in this world each day. Stress, strife and sin can cloud our judgment and keep us from seeing (and thinking) clearly about our purpose and our daily walk with Christ.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

The Bible. God’s own word. We’ve been given this ultimate guidebook to navigating our way through life. We have the ultimate light to help us focus on how to live our lives, how to treat people and how to persevere through tough times. It’s up to us to seek this wisdom. The more we read and study- the more clear our path will be.

Let’s encourage one another to read and reflect on the wisdom of the Bible. It’s the ultimate illumination device.

God bless.