Monday, April 11, 2016

In the Devil's Millhopper

Monday, April 11, 2016


Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.  T
he eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.  But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.   
Psalm 34:12-16(NLT)

Today’s Psalm reminded me of a place a mile or so from our home in Gainesville, Florida in the mid-1980’s – The Devil’s Millhopper.

“Devil's Millhopper is a National Natural Landmark that has been visited by the curious since the early 1880s.  Researchers have learned a great deal about Florida's natural history by studying fossil shark teeth, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink.  The sinkhole is 120 feet deep and 500 feet across.  A one-half mile nature trail follows the rim, and there is a 232-step stairway to the bottom of the sink.”[2]

Because it is a State Park, the admission is very reasonable, so the preacher’s family found themselves taking advantage of the place.  As you’re descending those 232 steps to the bottom of this impressive hole in the ground, there is life you cannot see.  The walls are primarily very hard limestone, whose surface is not conducive to the growth of vegetation.  However, tiny spores called “liverworts” which look like moss, take hold.

I am convinced that our life’s inner walls produce a spiritual kind of liverwort during those dry spells of our devotional lives.  Like the Millhopper’s walls in Florida’s hot climate, our souls are a host to growth of all kinds; we are spiritually “hard-wired” to learn, adapt and flourish.  But just as the ground can sprout weeds in un-tended soil, so our souls can sprout a devilish mess when we don’t work at maintaining peace.

In our daily lives we all have dry spells of dimming spiritual awareness; we hardly realize that what is being created is a perfect atmosphere for the liverworts of sin to gain a foothold.  And as they grow they produce the larger consequences of sin which can flourish and blossom into fully-mature apostasy.

This is why there are so many cautions in Scripture to be diligent in the quiet, dry times.  It is then the liverworts of sin can begin their ugly work on your soul.

The Psalmist warns us to guard our tongues, turn away from evil – both defensive measures…cleaning out the liverworts of sin’s foothold. 

But he also warns to move offensively, or in a positive step towards doing good.  And, like laughter is a wonderful medicine for the soul, good deeds and healthy Christian relationships with other followers of Jesus is the best kind of antibiotic against spores of sin that want to get started.

For You Today

I was once told that there is nothing better for keeping weeds out of your lawn than making the grass strong and healthy – it will crowd out weeds! 

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image:  By Ken Watford (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2] Florida State Parks website

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