Jude 22-23 – Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (NIV)

A man was an avid cactus collector. He bought a meter-tall cactus plant. He brought it back to Australia for his collection and planted it in the back garden after it had passed all the quarantine regulations.

One day, when it had grown to two meters tall, he watered it down to keep it cool, and the plant shivered. He sprayed it and it moved again. This he thought was not normal for a plant, so he consulted the local council who passed him on to the state's foremost horticultural specialist.

The expert asked about the cactus. He then asked if there was anyone else with him. He was told to gather the occupants of the house and get out immediately. Some little time later the police and fire brigade arrived and promptly burnt down the cactus and its surroundings with a flame-thrower.

The man asked the expert why they had burnt down his precious cactus and his garden fence. The answer was given as he peeled back a piece of the cactus skin to reveal a hollow inside that was the nurturing environment for a bird-eating tarantula that had previously laid its eggs inside the plant. After they had hatched, these spiders had continued to grow inside the plant until they were fully mature and were about the size of a large dinner plate.

The plant had been about to spill out the hundred and fifty or so spiders inside.

This may be just a story, but I pass it on because it made me ask questions of myself: What things have I treasured lately? Are the new things good? Or is there something unseen inside waiting for the right time to get out and run riot?

Just a thought!

Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters. (NIV)

Prayer: Father, you are our God, and there is no other like you. We bring to you our offering of praise and thanksgiving for your provision, for you alone are worthy to receive thanks and praise. You alone are the giver of life and the eternal deliverer from our sins and failures. Have mercy on us, Father, in the name of Jesus, as we bring before you our loved ones and our prized possessions. Hear our prayer and deliver us, and them, from any evil and its deceptive enticements that we may have allowed into our lives. Purify our hearts once more so that we may be as precious gold to you and acceptable in your sight. May we be, by your grace, fit lamp stands to carry your light into a darkened world today. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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