Maybe you’ve done some outdoor planting over the weekend.  As we walked through the woods, I noticed that there were vines growing up in the trees.  Together, my teenage sons and I started pulling massive vines out of the evergreen trees in the back woods.   These vines were not easy to spot because they blended in with the brush, the bark of the tree, and the green needles.  The more vines we pulled out, the more the branches of the trees sprang free and became untangled.  We spent all day in the woods, going from trees, to lilac bushes, to buckthorn, pulling out vines that were encumbering the branches and in many cases, had killed some trees.  We also got out the clippers to cut the vines growing from the earth.

As we went through the day, I thought about just  how the vines that choke out the life of the trees, we also can have a similar situation in our own lives.  Without forgiveness, vines of past hurts can turn to bitterness and resentment in our lives.  And if we don’t deal with them, they can start to grow and overtake our hearts- choking out the joy and life we once had.  Perhaps that is you today.  At times, it has been me.

Hebrews 12:15 even talks about this – 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.

Throughout the afternoon, as I pulled the trees free of the vines, I also thought of my own life and I did a little inventory.  So maybe it’s time to do some reflecting in your own life, identify and vines of bitterness, and start pulling out those vines in your life.    I find that many of us can tend to get resentful or upset over things that did not go well or how we expected in life.  Instead of getting bitter, get better.  By forgiving those who have wronged us, and by uprooting the bitter roots.  This way, you can recapture your dreams, and vision for your life, and release any unforgiveness.  Once you do that, you are free to claim Jeremiah 29:11 for your life:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

By the way, as weird as it sounds,  it was fun pulling out all those vines in the woods, knowing that I was able to salvage those beautiful trees.  Start pulling vines out of your life, recast the vision for your life, and salvage the incredible faith you once had, and grow taller than ever before in your life for Christ.  Unhindered, unencumbered, and free.

Be encouraged

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