Yardwork and a lesson in Sin

I took these photos exactly a month and a day ago. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was out with the boys doing yard work. We rent the house we live in now so I don't HAVE to do yard work. The boys have really enjoyed raking leaves and Chestnut hulls. We never really had to rake at our old house because we had Pin Oaks and they held on to their leaves until the new growth in the spring pushed the old leaves off the branches. Anyway i was trimming a small tree in the backyard that was growing close to the ground and when the ball went under it it was hard to get to because of those low branches. I snipped the limbs that were in the way but something was holding them and not letting me pull them away. As I investigated what I found was truely eye opening. The brances were being held by a vine that was growing throughout the tree. I was told this vine is called a Saw Briar.
As I investigated the vine I was amazed at how this vine was grabbing the limbs of the tree. every time the vine touched a branch it would send out these tendrils that would wrap around the limb from both sides of the vine. Amazing, the vine was tying itself to the tree. What awesome design.

As you can see the Saw Briar is tenacious when it grabs hold of the tree.
As I continued to explore the vine attacking the tree I found the image above. I started thinking about Mark chapter 4 and the Parable of the Sower. Jesus told a parable about a farmer planting seed and what happened to the seed depending on where it fell as it was scattered.

1. Some seed fell on the Path and birds came and ate it.
2. Some seed fell among Rocks and died quickly because the roots could not go down deep in the soil.
3. Some seed fell among the Thorns it grew but was overpowered by thorns and choked out.
4. Some seed fell on Good Soil and produced a harvest 30-60- or 100 fold.

Jesus explained the parable and the explanation of the seed among the Thorns is explained this way:

Mark 4:18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

This photo shows a briar that attached to a leaf stem instead of the tree branch.  As you can see the tendrils are choking the leaf to death.  

As I was taking these photos and thinking about the Parable of the Sower I was also thinking about Psalm 1:1.

1 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.

Sin is a progressive problem: notice the progression 

1st photo-walking by

3rd photo-standing with

4th photo-sitting in.

The first photo the Saw Briar looks kind of innocent just meandering through the limbs of the tree. The root of sin is a hard thorny root that is ugly and unattractive.

I am constantly amazed how God can speak to us through his word and through his creation.

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