An Aspen, beautiful on the outside rotten on the inside.

As summer approaches and the sun visits our days on a more regular basis we tend to our yard and plants everyday.   The other day while outside watering our yard "the mayor" of our street pops over.  My husband and I call him the mayor because he is so neighborly to everyone on the block.  He makes his rounds having friendly conversations with all the neighbors, taking interest in their lives, and calling them by first name.  I guess he is just being a good neighbor to everyone as the bible tells us to do.  Anyways the major stops by just to talk and then points out something interesting about one of our trees. " You know your aspen looks like it might be rotting." says the mayor.  I think to myself what how can that be?  It is so beautiful right now, full of bright green leaves, growing by the minute.  He then says " Aspens often rot from the inside and if you look at the very top of the aspen there is one tiny branch that has no leaves on it.  That is a sign it is rotten and if you don't cut it down it will spread to all the other trees, you better get it checked out."   Ever since that day I look and ponder on that tiny branch at the very top of the beautiful tree.  It is so weird because before he pointed it out I just admired the beauty of that tree, never once noticing the bare branch at the top that could be a sign of rot.

You know sometimes our lives can be like that Aspen, appearing to be so beautiful and full.  When really on the inside there is something rotten that can quickly spread to others; sin.  It can be gossip for instance, we hear of a trouble or trial another person may be going through and then talk about it to a friend.  Yes we may actually be concerned for that person but instead of praying about it with a fellow friend we just talk about it "gossip about it."  How can our words and thoughts be used by the Lord if we haven't given those words to him through prayer.  They become words the enemy rides on spreading from one person to the next.  The only way to cut the ROT out of our lives is by lifting up every situation to the Lord in prayer.  I was so struck by this Aspen tree and the significance that touched me through it.  1 Corinthians 5:6 reads " Your boasting about this is terrible.  Don't you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?" I feel as though it was God's way of showing me that it is my responsibility to lift up every worry of mine or others to him.  If something bad is going on in my life or someone else's don't just talk about it,  pray about it.  He already knows what is going on he just wants us to ask him, bring it to his table.  My children will often whine when they need help with something or are struggling.  I know that they need my help but I just want them to use their words and ask me.  It is the same thing God wants, he wants us to ask and how do we ask but through prayer.  Isaiah 44:22 says  "I have swept away your sins like a cloud.  I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.  Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free."  He has already paid the price and the more I read his word and spend time in prayer the more he reveals himself to me in the simple things such as a rotten yet still beautiful Aspen tree.  I do not want to hide my sins appearing to be beautiful on the outside I want to be beautiful on the inside as well.   Yes we are all human and sometimes sin works its way into our hearts but that doesn't mean we can't recognize it and cut it out so it doesn't infect others.  Job 31:33 says " Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do, concealing my guilt in my heart?" Yes more than likely I have tried to hide my sins but I just have to admit them to God because he is a forgiving God and already knows what I have done.  I want Gods truth, grace, love, and beauty to be inside me.  I am proclaiming HIM to be the infectious part of my life.  I WILL live through his ways because they are the only ways. Today is a new day and I am going to be a "Healthy Aspen", beautiful on the inside and out!

Psalm 83: 13-15 "O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As fire burns a forest and a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest."  


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