Bitter Root

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Since I was off work today, I decided to do some weeding in the yard.

At one side of my house, I have some nice plants in a rectangular bed.

Sadly, I have neglected it and many weeds have grown up.

While removing some of them today, I reached down to pull an unwanted weed.

To my surprise, when I pulled it from the ground, it was actually spread out for quite a way to either side of the root.

What looked like a lot of plants was actually only one weed that had grown and spread its tendrils over an impressive area of soil.

Almost immediately as I looked at the mass of greenery hanging from my gloved hand, I thought of how that applies to life.

I hung the removed mass of stems and leaves up and took a photograph of them.

Pondering further, I think there are many spiritual problems that can threaten to overtake someone.

I wonder if those vast number of issues could actually be stemming from an initial one–

Bitterness?

Greed?

Anger?

If so, how can a person be delivered from a life plagued with the wages of sin?

Only God can deliver us from our plight.

When He removes, forgives and redeems, everything is taken out.

We can be healed from our transgressions and have a renewed mind—a mind devoted to Him.

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See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

—Hebrews 12:15

Click image to enlarge.

root

Get Rid of All

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I had just walked out the door.

It was early morning and I was on my way to work.

As I approached my car in the driveway, I saw the piles of fresh dirt by the concrete.

Ants.

Probably hundreds of them, even though only a few were out and about where I could see them.

Where I live, it is quite common to be bitten by ants.

They set up shop almost anywhere and you don’t really know where they are hidden until they decide to show themselves.

The mounds of dirt that seem to appear so quickly are just the final testimony of what’s been going on all along.

Under the surface of the ground, the ants have been multiplying and building their forces, silently and without any fanfare.

Then, without warning, one day they come out of hiding for all to see.

There are some issues in our lives that behave just like that.

Anger.

Jealousy.

Bitterness.

No one really wants to think about these, but they are often there.

Hidden deep inside us, these emotions multiply like ants, building their forces, silently—without letting anyone else know about it.

Hidden behind smiles and appropriate behavior, their presence may go unnoticed, perhaps for years.

Then, for whatever reason, feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, guilt, regret or anxiety suddenly seem to surface for all to see.

It may seem sudden to onlookers at the time, but the problems have perhaps had quite a long history behind them.

So, what can be done?

Anything at all?

If I’d had access to a large enough shovel and the time to devote to it, I might have been able to dig up the ant nests.

I could have purchased a product designed to rid them from my yard.

What can be done for the human heart that suffers from detrimental feelings?

God can remove them all.

Fear?

Anger?

It doesn’t matter what the problem is.

He can rid them from your heart.

If any of these things are troubling you, why not ask God to take them away?

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Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

—Ephesians 4:31

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Click image to enlarge.

bitterness

Humble and Repentant

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While I was driving home today, I was listening to music.

Even though it’s not Christmas anymore, I still listen to Christmas music sometimes.

“The Little Drummer Boy” came on.

The story is of a little boy who was orphaned when robbers came and broke into his home at night, taking the lives of his parents.

He alone escaped, along with some dear animals, one of which was a lamb.

Shortly before the intruders’ attack, the boy had been given a drum by his parents for his birthday.

He had that with him, as well.

Wandering the dessert and finding himself angry and bitter about his parents’ fate, he began to feel hatred toward all people.

Toward the end of the story, he finds himself in Bethlehem, with crowds everywhere, due to the census that had been proclaimed.

A speeding wagon accidentally hits his little lamb.

He is heartbroken, once again.

People are gathering around a certain place, looking at a mother and her newborn baby.

Gifts are being brought to the child.

The boy approaches, having nothing to give.

Quietly, he takes out his drum and begins to play.

His talent and his heart are all he has to give.

As he plays, the baby Jesus smiles at him.

Then, one of the three wise men who had also come bringing a gift, speaks to the boy.

He tells him that Jesus must have liked the boy’s gift best of all.

Hearing this, he sees that his little injured lamb is completely well.

At this point, so is the boy’s heart.

The song lyrics state,

“I have no gift to bring, pa rum pa pum pum
That’s fit to give our King…”

What gift does our King desire today?

What do you have to bring to Jesus?

If your talents and your heart are all you have to give, isn’t that what will make Him smile?

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My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God;
    you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.

—Psalm 51:17

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repentant heart