They’re everywhere, fighting plantfully, each hoping to overpower the others.
- Virginia creeper—Has a bad reputation for its fast spread and tenacity, ruthlessly pushing aside other plants by stealing their sunlight.
- Poison ivy—I guess we all know about this one! Though mostly on the ground, it too climbs trees.
- Bittersweet—an invasive that seems to be taking over the entire northeast.
- Grapevine—does grow grapes but uses trees as its trellis.
These plants are gardening nightmares and require persistence in weeding them out.
They remind me, though, of a different sort of vine interloper. (Warning: lightning shift ahead.)
I won’t connect the following to any destructive vine, but each issue below is under attack, which stirs concern.
- Free speech
- Civil discourse on divisive issues
- Mutually affirming racial discussion
- Religious freedom
All of these are protected, in one way or another, by our Constitution. Benjamin Franklin famously replied to a question about what their new Constitution was. “A republic,” he said, “if you can keep it.” Pure democracy can evolve into a power struggle, with the majority—good or bad—calling the shots. A republic, on the other hand, limits the majority and provides safeguards for individuals and minorities. If we lose the republic, cultural vines will smother our freedoms.
In our current conflict of political concepts that is bombarding us from every side, where does God factor in? Some see an opportunity to stand and fight for what is right, some see impending judgment. No matter how we view these matters, we need to cling—tightly—to Jesus, our true Commander in Chief.
A battle is raging, and yes, I do need to care. But instead of making it my major focus, I am putting my trust the Lord God Almighty. “Thus saith the Lord: ‘Thou shalt not OBSESS!’ ” Jesus—King of kings, Lord of lords—is fully able to handle any and all of today’s invasives.
… wore a crown of thorns.
Heaven comes to fight for me.
Fear, you lost your hold on me.
I welcome your comments, either below or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ellie, dead on, especially your conclusion
Thanks much, John. This has been heavy on my heart.
So glad to hear your words of wisdom in these trying times. God Bless you dear Ellie.
Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Thanks to your post, Ellie, I now will have a smile on my face as I attack the Bittersweet and Poison Ivy on the march in my yard. 🙂
Go to it, Allacin! I have all four in my yard–plus Multiflora rose, another invasive! : )
Most people have one flood at a time. I had 3 wthin a 2 week period…all wornout things in my house! Talk about being under attack! The fix-it process is happening (not at my speed of course) and there’s not point worrying about it because worry steals my day and I try to live in the day. Your comments hit the mark and for me, it’s the only way to get through life! God only gives Manna for one day at a time. Thanks Ellie.
Oh, Linda, trouble piles up, doesn’t it? But this too shall pass, in God’s good time. Love you!
Ellie, as you know I have several fruit trees in my backyard. Need constant watch for a vine that grows around the top of them to smother the good leaves and limbs. I confess, I obsess over the culture / society in the USA, but also a whole lot of other cultures, mine here in Costa Rica, but also my neighbor Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba. Keeping an eye on Bolivia and Peru. But last couple of months have worked through reading Ezekiel a couple of times and three commentaries on the book. Message, ¿Where are the watchmen? ¿How come God’s people turn Yahweh worship into idol worship, crush the poor and marginal, steal. Israel turned upsidedown “Only Yahweh should be worshipped”, and totally ignored being responsable for the care of your neighbor. We the Church of God may be the ones under judgment. ¿Are we copying Israel? ¿Will our Jerusalem soon be destroyed by “Babylon” and God Himself. I fear that that should be my (our) obsession. Thanks for keeping us engaged with our minds as well as our hearts.
Right on, Bob! You seem to be as in love with Ezekiel as I am, I myself having just finished reading it twice. Such a rich book! I confess to being caught up in worshiping Yahweh and shrugging off care for far-off neighbors, as in “I can’t do anything about them.” I do have some far-offs that I care and spend money on, and I do a lot of email loving for those closer by, and maybe it’s those personal connections that we are called to “shepherd.” I too care deeply about our political and medical situations, but not obsessing is becoming more of God’s instruction for me. Thanks, Bob, for your insightful response!
I have an elderly cat that wakes me every morning around 4:00 am. When I hear her I get right out of bed. It sounds terrible but it is actually one of my favorite times of the day. I take care of her, sit in the dark and pray to God. I am very afraid of what I see happening in the world. It appears, according to many, that what we treasure is now bad and what we think is bad is good. I stand firm in my beliefs and my love for the Lord. I will not be shaken and I am comforted to know that God doesn’t change. We can depend on him. I pray for guidance and wisdom to navigate through what is happening. I am trying to not be fearful but it sure is a challenge at times.
I’m always stirred up in a good way when I read your thoughtful and creative posts, dear Ellie! The Holy Spirit is invading the invasives on our planet and we can rejoice that we’re on the Victorious side!!! 😍 Emily
Thanks so much, Emily. You definitely got the point of the assorted invasives, and yes–we ARE on the side of the Ultimate Victor!
Thanks, Sherry, for your insightful comment. We do feel helpless, but that alone puts us in the arms of Jesus.
Martin Luther had it right:
That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still;
HIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER!
Fear not! : )
Your making me think. What creeps into my heart and snufs out the power of God that is available to me to lovingly show the way in the society/darkness around me.
Hey, Larry, thinking is not a bad thing. Try making a habit of it! : ) Seriously, we all need to access the power of God to make our way through the terrible darkness we’re finding ourselves in. Pure Light and pure Love are waiting for us, but not yet, not yet. One “thinking” foot in front of the other………
I don’t often leave comments on your blog but have enjoyed reading it. I just want to thank you that despite the illness you have been facing (that you have described in some posts), and the commitments at home you have, that you and Jim still continue not just to “hang in there” but to advance God’s kingdom by your biog and Jim’s organ playing at church — and probably many other things I am not aware of. I remember asking Jim long ago what his favorite verse was and he replied with 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” It’s a reminder to me personally as I get older and feel the inexorable march of time. As my kids might say, “Rock on!” (but always founded on the Rock of Ages, founded not to founder . . )
Yes! A great verse. My illness has served not only as a platform to talk about death and dying, but also as a personal means of growing closer to the ONE with whom I will live forever. WOIRSHIP has become the operative word, even in the hard things of everyday life. We will continue to Rock On, but not in a rocking chair! : ) Thanks much, George. You, too, have been a shining light in my life.
I’m just studying 2 Chronicles 20, where the King of Judah faces enormous armies marching toward him from the East. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20chronicles%2020&version=NIV)
His prayer: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you… We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Yahweh’s answer: “‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
I believe the Lord was on their side because this particular king was a true believer who worshipped the God of the Universe and obeyed him. Secondly, the Lord had made promises to this nation that He would keep.
Later in Matthew 13 Jesus warned us that the “enemy” would sow weeds among the wheat that made it impossible to “weed out” the bad without destroying the good. In your blog, Ellie, even touching the toxic vines would turn out to be painful. Where does that leave us?
“Lord, we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon YOU.”
My comfort verses: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27 https://www.biblehub.com/deuteronomy/33-27.htm}
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” (Psalm 90:1)
Yes, yes, Marcia!That’s one of my favorite verses–we don’t know what to do, but we fix our eyes on You! What else can we do in our situation? I think we’re way beyond trying to weed out toxic elements. Our only hope is in the God who knows both the beginning and the end. Thanks for your insightful comment.