2020-10-06 - Brambles
As I write this, residents and firefighters in the Western part of the United States are struggling to deal with wildfires. A goodly number have been set by arsonists. One man alone set nine fires, one of which ended up burning 13,000 acres. Some are started by the so-called EcoTerrorists, who admit to setting them but claim they are trying to "help the environment," which leaves me scratching my head. Some of the Western burns have been started by the normal cause of lightning, and others by people who purposefully set the fires for "innocent" reasons, only to have the fires go out of control. I try not to share opinions in devotionals, but I have to admit that if I lived in a state covered in wildfires, I believe that I could wait until another time, to set a bonfire or set off fireworks. What were they thinking?! According to the US National Park Service, over 85% of wildfires are started by human activity such as campfires, arson or unextinguished cigarettes.
Please pray for the residents and firefighters, as well as for true justice for the felons, for I am thankful to say that arson is considered a felon. I know that it is hard to see how anyone could do such a thing to their fellow human beings - sometimes killing them and their pets, not to mention killing some firefighters and destroying homes and dreams of their fellow humans.
But regardless of the initial causes, one reason that the fires spread so quickly is the management policy, or lack thereof. In the National and State Forests in our state and nearby ones, they have what is called "prescribed burns," which are performed by trained professionals, and are well-monitored and very effective. This destroys "brambly" areas that are known for speeding fires along and multiplying damage. Thus, when we do have wildfires, I am very thankful to say that they do not normally last as long, nor do nearly as much damage as in places like California which limit these "controlled burns." In recent years, less than .002 of their forest land has had this process applied - not even one percent. Around here, they warn people ahead of time, so that if possible, people can just avoid the area altogether, and these fires normally do not last very long. But I do admit that during those rare times when we have to drive through an area where a prescribed burn is occurring, I have been known to fuss about the smoke! And I am talking about breathing in smoke, even in a car for which we are able to keep the windows rolled up and use recirculated air conditioning, to limit the outside air. But I have vowed that after seeing what residents are dealing with out West, I will never again complain about smoke from a controlled burn; instead, I will say a silent prayer of thanks for them.
Brambles are not limited to forests; many of us have brambles in our own lives, as well. Some of us have relationships that need to be cleaned up; others have pastimes that are causing pileups of other bad habits, domino-style. For example, someone who takes an illicit drug develops a craving for it. So s/he needs more and more of the drug, to feed that habit and often the addict "graduates" to stronger drugs. Eventually, the person may end up burglarizing or even robbing people, in order to steal items to sell, to support the habit. Then, they have a criminal record. If they decide to not bother to report to their probation officer, even after they signed paperwork promising to do so, they could end up serving that sentence in jail instead. In addition, they can lose jobs, homes and even family. Quite a bramble. The same can happen with pornography addiction or other perversions or crimes, or just simple, "everyday" sins.
In addition to "keeping short accounts with God" by confessing our sins to Him daily, may we ask Him to help us find and clean up the brambles in our own lives, before they cause more destruction.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB) Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.