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This weekend I stumbled onto something that could have been a disaster. I woke up early Sunday morning and was sitting outside enjoying my devotions and quiet time. The birds were singing so beautifully, and the air was refreshing and cool. As I spent time diving deep in the Word and listening to the chorus of creation sing out, I was overwhelmed by God’s creation. After a bit, I walked around in our yard and noticed something I had totally missed before. Below one of my favorite trees, a gorgeous river Birch, were thousands of dead, brown leaves with tiny holes all over them. I looked up in the tree and saw them there as well. What in the world? Later that day, my husband and I went to a local nursery with some of the leaves to ask them what was going on, and they instantly told us we had been invaded by Japanese beetles. They informed us that we needed to act quickly because they are voracious little bugs and can put trees and plants into shock and even kill them. We bought the products needed and headed home, ready to go to battle with these nasty bugs! When we arrived home, I started looking closely at other plants and trees in our yard and noticed these pesky little bugs everywhere! I wondered how in the world I had missed them before. They were devouring my trees, my flowers, and many of my plants. The bugs themselves are fairly large, so I don’t know if they had just recently arrived or if I had just been blind to them before this. I couldn’t help but think about how susceptible we all are to bugs in our spiritual lives as well, negative thoughts that want to eat us alive and devour our faith. The bible warns us about this:

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

The enemy swarms into our lives with negative thoughts and sinful ideas. So many times he comes in so quietly that we don’t even notice. He eats away at our confidence, destroys our dreams, tears down our hope, and devours our faith. He can infiltrate our minds by making us question our worth, doubt our abilities, remind us of past hurts, fuel our impatience with others and longing for things we don’t have. The enemy knows our weaknesses and exactly where to strike. We have to be alert and on the watch for him constantly. God has been revealing some “bugs” in my spiritual life this year, little thoughts and fears that have eaten away at all the goodness He has in store for me. Devious lies from the enemy that I haven’t even noticed because they are so subtle and discreet. Just like we had to take action quickly against the Japanese beetles that have infested our yard, we all need to take quick action and fight the spiritual bugs that want to, well, bug us! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! We take action by taking the time to notice the areas of our life that the enemy has infiltrated and by guarding our hearts with God’s truth. Our best defense is going before our Father and asking him to reveal the “bugs” in our lives, the negative thoughts and behaviors, that we are blind to and keep us from all He has for us. The good news is the items we bought to fight against the invasion of the beetles are working! I’m hopeful we caught this infestation in time to save our precious trees and shrubs.

How is your spiritual yard doing, my friend? I encourage you, be on the lookout for bugs! Hugs and love, Jill

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