Keep a careful, prayerful watch

Published 7:00 pm Friday, July 4, 2014

I recently mentioned to my wife that this is a wonderful time of year.

It is true that the heat is a bit uncomfortable and the gnats are relentless, but the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables offset all those inconveniences—at least as far as I am concerned.

One thing that I really enjoy is fresh butter beans and I am grateful that I had the privilege of growing a few of my own in our garden.

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When I work in the garden during the summer, I always keep in the back of my mind that all the lush vegetation makes an excellent spot for unwanted guests—such as rattlesnakes—, so I was on the alert a few days ago as I was down on my knees picking butter beans (with plenty of gnats keeping me company).

As I moved the vines around, without notice I caught the dark flash of something that came out of nowhere.

Before I could do anything about it, there was a thud against my abdomen.  I will not say my whole life flashed before me when it happened, but it did bring about a notable surge of excitement.  Yet the surge of excitement was not sufficient to move me out of the path of what pounced out of the butter bean vines.  I took a direct hit!

What a reminder that there are hidden sources of evil all about us every day.

We should all be grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy in our nation, and at the same time we have to acknowledge now more than ever the constant threats against us that exist.  And because those threats are so well hidden with disguise, vigilance is all the more essential.

As we celebrate our freedom, we should gladly express our gratitude for those who are on the guard to protect us from the destructive attempts launched against us.

We need to remember, too, that In moments when we least expect it, if we are not alert and aware that there is an adversary of our souls who desires above all to hinder the plans of God for humankind and to bring about our spiritual destruction, we can fall victim to the devil’s deceitful and deadly ways.

Genesis 3:1 describes the adversary, Satan, who appeared in the form of a snake and deceived the first humans into sin:  “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (New International Version).

Unfortunately, the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, succumbed to that deceptive move of Satan and we have all suffered as a result ever since then.  Thankfully, God has provided us with the remedy for sin through personal faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible calls Him “The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

The cricket that sailed out of those butter bean vines the other day and slammed against my body was harmless; the only ability he had to do any damage was to make me hurt myself trying to get out of his way.  Yet it was a good reminder of how close the attacks of Satan can be and how well his tactics are hidden.  It pays to keep a careful, prayerful watch at all times.