Naming The Snakes

August 10, 2020
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Psalm 119:133 – Establish my steps and direct them by [means of] your word; let not any iniquity have dominion over me. (AMPC)

"BE AWARE OF RATTLESNAKES AND POISON IVY!" reads a warning about hiking in the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, USA.

Such a sign didn't exist when I went skipping ahead of my family on a sunny morning across the ancient lava flats high above the Clearwater River among the cedars and cottonwoods. There were plenty of elk, moose, cougars, and bears, but back then, only the occasional faraway ranger.

Suddenly, my father shoved me aside, shouldered his .22 rifle and fired point blank into the very next place that I would've stepped. A rattlesnake, coiled to strike, had just raised its head when that shot's BLAM! BLAM! rang out over the river valley, bouncing off the cliffs. With no first aid to be had, if I'd been bitten, I would've died there in the wilderness.

Remembering this story reminded me of the danger that I risked when I allowed such snakes into my life: smoking (but I know it isn't good for me), overeating (which has been called suicide by knife and fork), mindless television (when I could be about God's business), resentments (they did me wrong!), and drugs (the list of our own personal snakes marches on). Taking these snakelike sins away forever is what God's mercy is all about.

Life is a gift (which is, of course, why we call it the present). We unwrap it through our thoughts and actions. When that unwrapping is a daily prayer to be rid of anything that blocks us from the sunlight of God's Spirit, then what we should be doing and where we should be going becomes a lot clearer. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress names some of the snakes that strike all of us at some time or another: pride, selfishness, anger, willful blindness, arrogance, stupidity, and cowardice — to name a few.

Without willingness to be rid of them, our life-snakes multiply and lead to death. But when we ask for God's forgiveness and help, the path that we travel becomes snake-free, letting us journey in freedom, happiness, and joy.

May we let God make such a change in us that we may model snake-free living to others, allowing them to seek to join us on the journey.

Psalm 37:23 – The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. (AMPC)

Prayer: O Father God, keep us travelling along with You, through both the good and the bad corners of this world. We need Your presence every passing hour. Who but Yourself, our Guide and Friend can be? Abide with us, we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <rise370@gmail.com>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Another good one, Rose.


    Good one Rose! So very true.
    Thanks, and blessings.


    Thank you. I need to redirect my free time more to the will of God. Back to pen and paper, and my new sewing machine.


    Another great post, Rose! You should write a book as your stories are always so interesting and lead everyone in the right direction. God Bless!


    Dear Rose,
    I always appreciate your meditations so much. I am praying that my life will be snake-free so that my wonderful unbelieving son will want to be a Jesus-follower.


    Hello Rose,
    Thank you for a very mindful devotional today. So true that our joy and happiness in life comes in abundance from seeking our Lord and following His path to glory.
    Blessings for writing.
    (B.C.)


    I say Amen to your devotional Rose.
    May His mercies never expire in our lives and that of our family members in Jesus name.
    Thank God for his timeliness and faithfulness in rescuing you from that deadly snake,
    and thanks for sharing your experience too.
    More blessings on your work and ministry.


    I remember in the 80-90s our then Pastor making the same point.
    He talked about gluttony and said now it looked like eating huge bags of potato chips and candies and pops – no longer those memories of Henry VIII with his hugely weighed down tables of food.
    It is all so surreptitious isn’t it!
    Blessings Rose!


    Thank you, Rose, for sharing this devotional with us. That must have been a very frightening experience for you. My daughter and I had a similar one back in the days when we lived on a fallow farm. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she saw that rattlesnake as I beheaded it with my shovel’s sharp edge. Thank God my aim was true, and she listened to me when I told her to stay back! Snakes, ugh! Blessings.


    Dear Rose,
    How true, how true! Another problem with the snakes such as you’ve mentioned is that, even when we overcome them or leave them behind, they don’t leave us behind! There are many things that I could wish I’d never done in my life, but remorse still pops up many years later. Memories of the bad as well as the good times linger in our minds and may never go away completely. Sigh!


    Rose, one more awesome story from your life. Have you written a book yet? I can certainly identify with these: “overeating (which has been called suicide by knife and fork), mindless (change to reading) (when I could be about God’s business), resentments (they did me wrong!)” And your solution: “Life is a gift (which is, of course, why we call it the present). We unwrap it through our thoughts and actions. When that unwrapping is a daily prayer to be rid of anything that blocks us from the sunlight of God’s Spirit, then what we should be doing and where we should be going becomes a lot clearer” is so helpful.


    I always appreciate your thoughtful insights.
    Glad that snake didn’t get you!


    Rose,
    As usual you wrote an exceptional devotional. All those snakes we all succumb to without sometimes even realizing it. We should all look like Medusa!


    Hi Rose,
    Good devotional. There are indeed many “Snakes” waiting in ambush all the time, if only we would recognize them.
    Thank you for writing.


    Hello Rose,
    I just wanted to thank you for your devotional. It reminded me of the dangers that I have risked over the years when I allowed my own “snakes” to enter my garden of life. I can happily attest that God has forgiven me for many of my past sins and continues to do so when I sincerely repent of the new sins that creep into my life.
    Blessings on you.


    Hello Rose,
    I just wanted to thank you for your devotional. It reminded me of the dangers that I have risked over the years when I allowed my own “snakes” to enter my garden of life. I can happily attest that God has forgiven me for many of my past sins and continues to do so when I sincerely repent of the new sins that creep into my life.
    Blessings on you.


    Thank you for a well-though-out and graciously said devotional.
    Keep writing.

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