What Are You Doing to Protect Your Home?

If you mention the word snake, it evokes definite reactions with each individual.  Some freak out and others get excited.  I am definitely on the freak out side of things and when I almost stepped on one this past week in my OWN HOUSE I thought I would die!  We noticed a few weeks ago that we more than likely had a mouse as something had eaten Jim’s almonds he stored in a baggie in his computer bag.  However, after setting a bunch of mouse traps everywhere and not catching anything, I was convinced it was an even larger animal.  I went to Lowe’s and bought a trap for bigger animals and was sure I was going to catch me a varmint.  I laid some almonds in the middle of that one and waited, but again, we caught nothing.

We couldn’t imagine what it might be so we began walking the perimeter of our home looking for eaves that had been pulled down in case of a raccoon or other possible entry points for a smaller animal such as a mouse.  Other than the small hole in the empty almond bag, there was no other sign or clue as to what it was.  On the outside of the house, there was a spot where the electricity comes into the home that had a possible gap where a smaller animal might be able to get through.  So, Jim sprayed some expanding foam stuff into the hole to ensure nothing else got in.  However, what we didn’t think about what might already be inside.  Now that we had made our home totally animal proof from the outside, we had also trapped anything that was already inside!

About a week later, we finally caught our mouse since he had nowhere else to go for food but our traps.  However, I never expected a snake too!  Apparently, according to our exterminator, the mouse came through the hole in the wall and the snake followed him in.  Then we plugged the hole, killed the mouse, and the snake came out because he got hungry.  Luckily a friend who lives nearby came to help me get the snake out of the house saving the day or I’d still be standing on the chair screaming for help!  I guess the joys of sitting in my office writing and watching the wildlife in the woods in our backyard comes with a price!  When you live this close, having even just a small spot on this big house where something can get through is all these animals needed to wreak major havoc in my life!

I think about that scenario and am reminded of how diligent we need to be in our Christian lives as well to ensure the enemy stays outside and does not come in.  Leaving just a small entry point for sin to enter in is all Satan needs to cause a lot of trouble in our lives.  What do you do when you see the enemy trying to get in?  Do you run and plug up the holes…perhaps by spending more time in prayer and Bible study?  Or do you stand on a chair screaming for someone else to come take care of it for you?  Do you have a good friend that you can call “911” to and have them help you find your way out of your mess?  That friend would be one who isn’t afraid to point out the areas in your life that might be open to the enemy.  Do you have traps set to alert you that the enemy is near?  These might be disciplines in your daily routines to help you measure whether you’re prepared for battle or not by the amount of time spent preparing.  Does the enemy take you seriously? It only takes one little sin to enter in and before you know it, a lot of others follow if you’re not alert at all times.

I hope you’ll take the time today to examine your spiritual house.  Are there areas you need to work on to ensure a more secure environment?  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the leaks in your foundation so that you can get them sealed up today!  Don’t find yourself holding an empty almond bag!  Rather, let your storehouses be full and your life be safe from the things that seek to cause trouble in your walk with God.  The enemy doesn’t stand a chance when your life is sealed up by the Blood of Jesus Christ!

1Peter 5:8-11 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 121:7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

A Little Bit of Sin Can Cause a Whole of Trouble!

Have you ever gone through customs and had them ask you if you have any live plants?  Did you ever wonder why they ask?  I’ve seen people try to sneak things through customs, not paying attention to the rules about bringing plants and other things into the US that are prohibited.  Even though it seems  harmless to bring a plant from another country, it could be a disaster.  Thus, this is the reason for the rule.

It’s kind of like the 10 commandments.  There are some that view the 10 commandments as just guidelines, not really rules.  Like for instance, I’ve heard some say, “When it says ‘thou shalt not lie’, I’m sure that doesn’t mean when I tell a little fib in order to not hurt someone’s feelings.” Really?  Is that how it goes?  I don’t think so!

Maybe you say I’m too black and white, as I have accused so in the past.  However, I call it like I see it and if there is a rule or a law, it is probably there because at one time or another it was a problem.  The person smuggling a simple little plant into the US just for use in their yard, or the man who tells his wife he’s working late when in fact, he’s out with a new female friend, have no clue as to how many people their simple decision to disobey the rules will affect down the road.  It all seems simple, but before you know it, it is out of control.

This past weekend, my husband and I visited Gatlinburg for a few days for rest and relaxation in the beautiful Smokey Mountains—one of our favorite places to kick back and unwind from life’s stresses.  It was a bit unnerving though as we stayed in a cabin called the Dolly cabin, short for Dolly Parton.  Everywhere we turned, there was another picture of Dolly staring at us!  There were Dolly DVD’s in the draws, CD’s by the stereo and lace and flowers everywhere you looked!  A couple of times, I had to turn a picture around as I couldn’t take one more picture of Dolly!  Obviously, we are not Dolly fans, but to each his own!  LOL!

As if that weren’t enough, as we drove through the Smokey Mountain National Park this year, I grew concerned as I looked around at the scenery in the mountains as well.  You see, several years ago, someone decided it would be a good idea to bring a plant from China/Japan called Kudzu to the US.  It makes a great ground cover and it also blooms with some beautiful flowers occasionally, just adding to its charm.  When it was brought over, it caught on like wildfire as it was new, different, and grew easily in the south.  However, the one thing one did not do their homework on is the fact that in the US, we don’t have the insects and/or animals to eat the plant that they have in Asia.  In fact, since we don’t, this vine called Kudzu has been known to be called the vine  that ate the south.  It is so out of control that it is overtaking entire mountainsides of trees that have been growing for decades as it flourishes up the existing foliage smothering out anything in its way.

I have heard that the only way to get rid of it is to remove the vine and burn it. Even then, if one leaf flies out of the fire and falls to the ground, a new plant will begin right there. It really grieves me to think that we could lose acres upon acres of trees and vegetation in these areas because it is so out of control.  Eventually though, left to grow, it will overtake and destroy all vegetation in its path.  In fact, it will overtake buildings, wiring, or whatever is in its way.

It kind of reminds me of sin. For example, when a person steps out of a marriage relationship and entertains the idea of an adulterous affair, they are only thinking of themselves and never even consider they might hurt anyone else.  Most of the time, it’s just a simple friendship that develops with no intention of an adulterous relationship or of hurting anyone with this newfound friend.

However, it’s kind of like the Kudzu. Just one little leaf—or in this case, one little lie—takes root and grows and before you know it, it is out of control.  Before you know it, you are justifying it and excusing it as you watch it destroy your relationships with your spouse, your children, your parents/in-laws, maybe your employers, friends, etc.  There is nothing but the Holy Spirit’s fire that will give you strength to rise above and kill that which seeks to destroy what we have worked years to have.  Sin can rob us of our joy in an instant. It is unrelenting—it doesn’t care what it finds in its path or who it  hurts.

This is why it is important to follow the guidelines God set down for us in His Word, the Bible.  When He says we shouldn’t lie or commit adultery, I’m thinking He has a pretty good reason for saying it.  Don’t you?  Or as far as the plants go, yes, it’s tempting to have the next latest thing in our yard that makes it stand out from the Jones’ but is it worth losing everything to have it?  The newness and excitement will wear off in both cases and then you’re just going to have another disaster to have to deal with.  It’s so much easier and much more rewarding to stay the course, do the right thing, and receive the blessings for having done so, even when it is hard and you have to deprive yourself at times of things that are tempting.  However, if you stay on the path, keep your eye on the goal, whatever you’re struggling with, will quickly lose its appeal.  Trust me, I’m a realtor!  It’s one of the funny things I say in life since realtors rank somewhere around used car salesmen.  LOL!  Today though, I will say, “Trust me, I’m a Christian.”  I have reaped and expect to keep reaping God’s  rewards for staying on the path and am here to testify to you today that no  matter what comes your way, if it’s not of God, run!  There is nothing worth losing it all.

Proverbs 3:1-2 (NKJV) My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.