Saturday, February 15, 2014

Battle of the Grapes (Luke 5:37)

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)

A vineyard just before harvest is a beautiful place. The aroma is sweet and rich, the colors varied and bright. On the surface, it seems peaceful and idyllic, but there is a battle for the grapes that requires a closer look.  Botrytis cinerea is a fungus that specifically attacks grapes and causes botrytis bunch rot. As you can surmise from the name, the fungus causes the bunches of grapes to rot, making them a total loss. This particular fungus is almost always on the fruit while on the vine, but it cannot infect the fruit unless the fruit is damaged in some way. A myriad of factors, from insects to a worker bumping the fruit, can cause a small wound. That is all the opportunity the fungus needs to accomplish its mission. It enters the grape, infects the grape, infects the grape, and destroys the grape. Once infected, that grape is a total loss. Once that first grape is infected, the entire bunch will soon become a total loss, as well. 

That sounds familiar, doesn't it?  1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (NASB) The enemy of our soul is just as tenacious as the Botrytis fungus. He, too, hangs about looking for the slightest opportunity to invade, and he is intent on destruction. If he cannot steal the eternal life of the one he attacks, he will steal the joy, hope, and effectiveness of witness. Any destruction will do. 

It is impossible to go through life without an injury of some sort. Our loved ones may have experienced the pain of rejection or betrayal by someone close to them, angry and hurtful words from a loved one, or the damage that can come from their own foolish choices. Regardless of the hurt, it can be used by the enemy of our soul as an opportunity to attack and, if possible, steal their faith from them. There is nothing the enemy can do, however, that our Lord cannot heal. 

Pray today that the damage of the evil one in the lives of our loved ones will be limited and that they will eagerly submit to the loving, healing ministrations of the Great Physician. Pray that healing will come and joy, hope, and faith will be restored.