Thursday, January 12, 2017
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Hosea 12:6 – So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God. (ESV)

I have moved house recently to a chalet bungalow on the very edge of town here in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The house is rather run-down and in need of major TLC.

There was a holly tree that was planted some twenty years ago to decorate the patio with its leaves and red berries — very pretty it was, too. However pretty it was, it was too large and too close to the house. Its branches overshadowed the roof guttering, and its roots were in danger of getting into the foundations. It had to go.

In addition, over many years, the tree roots had grown underneath and lifted some of the patio slabs well proud of their neighbours, making trip hazards and see-saws of the slabs. So I had to dig up and re-lay a large section of our sizable patio to the rear of the house.

To get this into shape again involved using various tools: pickaxe, shovel, crowbar, spade, etc. The slabs were heavy, and I am a lot fitter now! As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." It certainly got the heart pumping.

As I removed the holly tree, I also found tree roots from the cherry tree —even bigger, but further away. Now that I have removed the roots, trimmed the cherry tree, and put it all back again, I realized that these beautiful trees had nearly compromised the safety of the rear of the house. The roots went right up to the back wall. So just in the nick of time, the hazard has been removed before it had done any permanent damage.

I wonder what roots are growing under the surface of our lives, endangering our faith? It could be ungodly attitudes undermining God's love in us, and through us to others. They could be sinful and of the world, sneakily breaking up God's straight path or blinding us to the truth. The only inkling that we may have that something is awry is that we find ourselves not as calm and level-headed as we know we should be, or once were. Are we emotional see-saws or spiritual trip hazards to others? How are our quiet times? How often do we really listen or give time to God in our lives?

Not to worry! As we hold fast to God, He will dig out the overgrown roots from our past, make our paths straight, and pull out the weeds, if we ask Him in Jesus' name.

Prayer: Lord, we are saddened to find that we have allowed ourselves to let the roots of sin grow under our spiritual feet, and we are surprised at how close to Your foundation that we have allowed them to come. Please open our eyes to the truth; dig up the unhelpful roots that have grown in us over the years; and show us the way forward. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:


    Thanks Rod for another good word.

    Thank you, Rod Marshall, for your conclusion about holding fast to God.
    Keep writing.

    Thanks, Rod, for this instructive devotional. May we always be rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus. Blessings.

    Hi Rod, So good to hear from and about your learned experience(s)!! It’s been many years of experiencing the lessons we both learned and shared over the years! God bless you.

    Hi Rod,
    Hopefully you haven’t had to move again so shortly after your previous move. Whatever move it is, thank you for writing… back-breaking work resulted in a very effective devotional.

    Hello Brother Rod,
    Insightful. Convicting. Comforting. Assuring.
    Beautifully penned and Spirit inspired.
    Thank you. May God bless you 100 times for every blessing you have been to me and many other readers.

    Good one Rod.
    We experienced a similar situation when we moved here. My husband had to relay our patio to rid it of the major roller-coaster affect caused by the roots of two enormous poplar trees, so could relate to your huge task completely.
    Glad all is well now. Hope you enjoy your home and God gives you all much happiness there.

    Hi Roderick,
    Thank you for your devotional today.
    We went through a similar experience years ago when we bought a house in Holland. An ugly tree was very close to the house and the window, The very first Saturday we were there I started to cut it down and the neighbour came running over to tell me that I could not do that without a permit. I told him I was pruning it, which I did, at ground level. I always enjoy your writings.

    Excellent meditation…food for thought!

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