DANGER, Roses Ahead

RosesRoses are beautiful flowers. No doubt about it.
Have you ever spent time in a garden full of roses?
It’s possible to lose yourself there, as I have on Petřín Hill in Prague.

I don’t mean I got lost in the park above the City of 100 Spires. I’m talking about becoming so wrapped up in the beauty around you that any unpleasantness disappears—past hurts, annoying quirks, bad habits, heavy responsibilities, unsettling emotions, difficult relationships, _fill in the blank_.

Our surroundings absorb our entire load of burdens and we experience soul-deep peace. I trust you have a place or activity that brings you into that level of tranquility . . . and that you visit it regularly.

rose colored glassesThe danger comes when we take that interlude and set it in place of reality. We choose to see everything around us as only beautiful and positive, blinding ourselves to anything that might stretch or upset us. Thus the phrase, “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses”.

When we shift ourselves away from truth in any form, either internal or external, we step back from God. For God is truth and His Word is true.* Those who know Him, are called to worship Him in spirit and in truth.** As image bearers we pursue truth and communicate truth.

clear glasses 2We need to keep our lenses clear and seek God around the pitfalls and obstacles of life in a fallen world. Otherwise we’ll miss His guidance, and we’ll stumble at best and collapse at worst. Rose garden peace is a divine gift of refreshment. It’s not meant to take the place of facing our circumstances by His grace and power.

What’s your rose garden option for peace?
How do you avoid the rose-colored glasses delusion?

Asking the LORD to grant us all the balance we need in Him,

*Isaiah 65:16; John 1:14, 3:33, 8:26, 17:3; 1 John 5:20; Psalm 31:5
**John 4:23-24
***Exodus 13:21-22




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Tree Limb Truth

Oak 1A rushing, crashing sound filled the house. Like a tidbit of a Missouri tornado.

“What was that?” Tina’s eyes doubled in size.

Pete moved to the window and peered through the blinds. “I can’t figure it out.” His left hand reached to switch on the outside light. “Whoa. A branch fell out of that big tree out front.”

His shoulder jostled for position as she pushed her face to the glass. “A branch? That’s a huge limb. What a mess.”

“Well, there isn’t anything we can do about it tonight so I’m going back to bed.” He was too cool to stand around in his underwear. The scuff, scuff of her slippers followed him down the hall to the bedroom.

The coverlet muffled her voice, but he was able to make out the words. “You know, I parked the car on the side for the first time tonight.”

“Yah. I noticed that. How come?”

Dirty Car“I finally got tired of all the pollen and bird poop, and decided to try a different spot.” She rolled toward him and proper herself up on her elbow.

He turned his head in her direction. “Well, that’s interesting. I mean, the car wouldn’t have been hit even it was in your usual place. It’s just interesting that you were prompted to put it over by the fence.”

“Either way I feel like God protected me and my Silver Bullet.” She giggled then leaned over and laid a kiss on him. “Good night.”

The way she burrowed into him always warmed his gut.

The next morning Pete took stock of the clean-up project. There were two large limbs, both more than a dozen feet long. And the main one was nearly as big around as Tina’s waist. It carried a full array of smaller branches too. He was definitely gonna need a chain saw.

She touched the small of his back. “How ’bout some hot coffee?”

“Thanks.” His mitt-size hands enveloped the orange Clemson mug.

“Seems like this might take a while.”

“Oh yeah. I can do it myself, but I might ask your brother to help me. I like his company.” He blew across the cup of steaming liquid and took a tentative sip.

Oak 2His blonde wife moved around the clutter. “Look at those ragged edges where it tore away from the trunk. Ouch. And there’s a lot of fresh growth all over the part that came down. I wonder why it fell. There wasn’t even a breeze blowing.”

Oak 3“But remember the heavy wind and rain we’ve had over the last two or three weeks. That could easily have weakened the weight-bearing limbs. And it’s happened before. Can you see the weathered break at the top? This tree has seen a lot of storms. Sort of like what we went through with our small group.”

“Mmmm. You’re right.” Her tone grew somber. “And I’m sad those months of turmoil took such a toll. I learned a lot about the damage gossip and slander cause.”

“We all learned how important it is to dedicate ourselves to Christ as Lord and build our lives around His teaching.”

She put her hand on his arm and flashed that heart-affirming grin of hers. “I’m glad we’re on the other side of it.”

He straightened his back and stuck his chest out ever so slightly. “It was an excellent opportunity to memorize that Scripture. Let’s say it together.”

Grapevines 2

“’I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.’” John 15:5-6″

They celebrated with a high five. “Guess I better go in and call Joe. We’ll stack all the burnable wood on the campfire pile.”

“The pruning will be good for this sturdy old oak. Those new leaves will fill out and birds will soon be building nests in her branches.”

“Why are you calling it a girl?” She came up beside him and he tousled her hair. “For all we know it’s a boy tree intent on pumping fresh oxygen into our neighborhood.” His fist pumped its way to his shoulder as they strolled into their weekend.

What broken limbs have you had to clear out of your life?
Are you experiencing the new growth yet?

Asking the Divine Gardener to tend each of our hearts for His glory,

*all references are NIV1984 unless otherwise noted

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Worth Wondering

Windshield viewPenny’s stewing blinded her to the brightness pouring through the windshield. She knew there wasn’t anything she could do about the situation, but her mind kept running over and over the details.

Glare from an oncoming truck struck her eyes and she jerked her head to the side. The sunny day finally caught her attention. If only she could throw off the negative thoughts.

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