Thursday, July 25, 2013
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My wife and I took a trip to the mountains and, in a way, to her childhood. We visited an old Smokey Mountain community that the Park Service preserved over the years. It's called Cades Cove. It used to be inhabited by a lot of mountain folk. Now, my wife grew up in a Yankee family who lived in the Ozarks on a farm. So she experienced both.
She recognized a lot of the customs when we went to Cades Cove, and the terminology, and the lifestyle. Oh, they were new to me; they weren't new to her. I kind of chuckled when they talked about clearing farmland by "girdling" the trees. City boy! Now, listen, if you let your imagination run, you could get a pretty humorous image of a girdled tree. But, actually, that process was an example of old mountain wisdom. Here's this huge tree, and the shade is keeping anything from growing around it. It's got to come down if you're going to farm there. But it's so thick it would be very, very difficult to chop down.
The old mountaineers would go around the tree with an ax and chop one line through the bark. Here was this big tree with a ring from chipping all around the trunk with an ax. You'd think, "Oh, that won't hurt the tree." But, they had girdled the tree. That would eventually cause all the leaves to fall off, it would cause the tree to die, and it would be relatively easy then to take it down. That little cut simply cut off the route for the nourishment to get to the rest of the tree. You know, that might be the best way to bring you down too.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Cutting You Off to Bring You Down."
Our word for today from the Word of God; we are in the very first Psalm. I'll begin reading at verse 1. Notice there's a tree in here. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."
This tells us how to be a deeply rooted child of God. Don't you want to be strong and consistent? Don't you want to be (here comes a word) "un-bring-downable?" I want to be un-bring-downable! Now, if the Devil wants you to fall like a big, old tree, and he does, he may know that a direct attack coming at you swinging his ax would fail, because if you saw that coming, you'd fight back. You would see a direct devilish attempt to try to bring you down.
I think what he wants to do is wear you down with little compromises; little nicks in your bark where first of all you just walk around in some wrong stuff. You don't plan to stay in it. And then like the Psalm says, you sort of stand still with it; you get a little more compromised. And finally you're sitting in it. See, he just wants you to think wrong right now, to watch or listen to something that's wrong, to become tolerant of what you once would never have allowed in your life—those little nicks in the bark that are setting you up for a big fall.
Secondly, he wants to cut you off from the nourishment. See, your nourishment is meditating in God's Word day and night. Have you noticed a slow drift lately from being in God's Word? One day becomes two, and three, and maybe your Bible's started getting a little dusty. Jesus is missing you. The time you do have with Him is dry and then less frequent. Prayer has become predictable and flat. Don't you see what's happening? The Devil is trying to cut you off to bring you down. Don't let slow decay take away the life you have in Christ.
See, if you're rooted daily in God's Word; if you don't let anything interrupt that flow of nourishment and if you're fighting the little compromises, you're a rooted tree, and you are not coming down!