Angela's Blog
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Welcome to my personal weblog! I have many areas of interest as a Christian wife and home schooling mother of 6 girls: writing, poetry, website design, digital photography, a home business (sewing); however, this blog will focus more on the wonderful journey the Lord has brought our family through and what the Lord has shown me in His Holy Word.


I know that my devotionals don't often speak of specifics in our lives, but I want my readers to know that what I write comes most often from what the Lord is doing in our lives, or has done. I don't just repeat words by this preacher or that one. My devotionals are often written through a haze of tears, sometimes in grief, sometimes in peace at God's goodness for what He is doing for our good. At other times, after a flood of tears over my lack of faith in His great plan for us, especially after I've seen Heaven's gates open in another miraculous answer to prayer. What I write is what God shows me through those trials which He brings because of His great goodness as He works out His perfect plan. - Angela.


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The Little Foxes That Spoil the Vine

A. Introduction
     I.  Personal Short Testimony
     II. Devotional by Spurgeon

B. The Little Foxes Spoiling
     I.   Spoiled Conscience
     II.  Spoiled Service
     III. Spoiled Fellowship
     IV. Illustration: Brownies With a Difference

C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out
     I.   Clear Conscience
     II.  Empowered Service
     III. Sweet Fellowship
     IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty  
D. Conclusion

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15

A. Introduction

I. Personal Short Testimony

We all seem to keep a “little fox” or two around, don’t we? This devotional is a recount of how the Lord worked in my heart to purge out the “little fox” that was “spoiling my vine”. A few years ago at a ladies retreat, a dear sister in the Lord talked about “little impurities” that we allow to creep into our lives, never thinking (or not wanting to see) how those “little foxes” can lead to BIG problems down the road and our vine be spoiled.

II. Devotional by Spurgeon

Here is Spurgeon’s commentary in his Morning and Evening Devotional:

05/30/AM “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.” –Song of Solomon 2:15

A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that He will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with His people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour’s presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father’s face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without His company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides His face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of “the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Jesus invites you to go with Him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with Him to the hunting. – Spurgeon
 

B. The Little Foxes Spoiling

I. Spoiled Conscience

Our Preacher had preached about ungodly TV programs, and TV in general, and how we must control it, not let it control us, (and if you can’t, get rid of it!). I had been thinking how good I was doing in that area (after all, I hardly watched any TV….) but really, I had been under conviction for a long time for a show that “wasn’t that bad”…after all….it only had an occasional swear word (oh, and not the really bad ones…)….I taped it so I could fast forward the commercials and “personal moments” (most of the time), etc….I’m sure you could add your own excuses in there too…sigh….but here I was now letting our children watch the occasional episode that wasn’t “too bad”…Oh how we deceive ourselves!!! The truth was, I wanted to watch that show regardless of the “little foxes” I knew would spoil my vine!

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14

Without saying the name of the show (as I don’t want others drawn to it), it was about court cases, and the two main characters were always “almost” getting together, but not quite. I tried to pacify the Holy Spirit in me by saying I was really watching it for the court cases (which I truly do enjoy!), but the reality was: I was also watching it for the “romance”.

Since “he fashioneth our hearts alike”, I know you’d be doing (or are doing) the same thing…after all, isn’t that why you read those “Christian” romance novels, ever looking for the fairy tale romances in these “perfect” characters that set a standard no man can live up to, leading to unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in our own marriage? One must also consider that in many of these books, the two sweethearts embrace or kiss before marriage, are left in compromising situations being alone, and the list goes on.

I wonder how many young girls have fallen into that trap and committed fornication, because they thought a little kiss was “okay” after reading it over and over in these books. The authors, especially those who claim to be Bible believers will have much to answer to God for, for these individuals.

… that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. Romans 14:13

Now, although I shun those books like the plague, I had fallen in Satan’s trap with the show. I don’t like feeling guilty, but that’s exactly what happens when we choose to hold on to that “little fox”.

Have you ever tried to get anything done while holding on to a fox? Seems silly to do so, but isn’t that what we do when we hold on to that “little sin” and try to a ccomplish God’s work.

Maybe your “little fox” isn’t the “romance” issue, but how about home renovation shows like “Trading Spaces” and “While You Were Out” where individuals have rooms done in their houses by their friends, family, etc. In the case of the latter show, it’s a complete surprise. Besides the often ungodly dress, the rock music (which we can attempt to justify by muting), they have the same perpetual ending with the surprised participants saying “Oh my G….”. Even if you mute it, the movement of the lips is unmistakable and the thought has been planted…willingly…by our own selves! I know, I’ve been there too…

Now I know this is going to really irk someone…how about the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show (I’m not talking books here-the show)? or shows like it….they’re clean right? Without digging into the wishy washy “religious morality”, I don’t consider two individuals who are not married in real life, kissing, to be “clean”. That’s called fornication (which could easily lead to adultery) and we all know what God thinks about that.

It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 1Corinthians 7:1

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4

I really didn’t want to tell anyone I was watching this show, as I knew I was doing wrong, as we all know when we are!

We can run, but we can’t hide! The Holy Spirit will not allow us to remain in the much and mire of sin, regardless of how “little” we think it is!
 

II. Spoiled Service

It all boils down to this: It is one area of our lives we have not given over to the Lord. We are bucking the Holy Spirit and God’s working in our lives comes to a complete standstill until the issue is dealt with. As we go out soulwinning, the Spirit’s power is not present; Bible reading is stale; prayer life is repetitive or non-existent; we’ve lost our joy. How can I expect to be the godly Christian woman the Lord wants me to be when I have no spiritual power. This is not God’s desire. He wants all His children to be filled with the Spirit of God so we can effectively witness in word and deed of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the little foxes were spoiling my vine, I tried to witness, but the Spirit’s power was not there. I had quenched the Spirit of God and the Lord could not, would not use me. The blood of those whom I should be witnessing to was now on my hands. I had no one to blame but myself.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God,and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do,do all to the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31

Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1Thessalonians 5:22

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper:but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ezekiel 3:18

III. Spoiled Fellowship

In my case, it was causing me to be grumpy with my children, actually, down right miserable and I certainly was not the profitable help meet for my husband either! I was hardly reading my Bible, my prayer life was hindered….on and on it went….I was fighting God and I knew it! I’ve often said there are two people who are the most miserable on earth, the lost and the backslidden Christian. It’s not good to be either one! If you are honest, you must admit that it is your sin that is causing havoc in your home as well.

Well, as I said, Preacher preached on ungodliness from the TV, and I was still justifying myself pretty good, until he read an illustration I had read a few years ago, but forgotten about. I think it gets the point across thoroughly.
 

IV. Illustration

Brownies With A Difference

Many parents are hard pressed to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home or to listen to or see.

One parent came up with an original idea that is hard to refute. The father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG because of the suggestion of sex — they never really showed it. The language was pretty good — the Lord’s name was only used in vain three times in the whole movie.

The teens did admit there was a scene where a building and a bunch of people were blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn’t too bad. And, even if there were a few minor things, the special effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed.

However, even with all the justifications the teens made for the PG rating, the father still wouldn’t give in. He didn’t even give his children a satisfactory explanation for saying, “No”, He just said, “No”.

A little later on that evening the father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had baked. He explained that he’d taken the family’s favorite recipe and added a little something new. The children asked what it was.

The father calmly replied that he had added dog poop. However, he quickly assured them, it was only a little bit. All other ingredients were gourmet quality and he had taken great care to bake the brownies at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.

Even with their father’s promise that the brownies were of almost perfect quality, the teens would not take any. The father acted surprised. After all, it was only one small part that was causing them to be so stubborn. He was certain they would hardly notice it.

Still the teens held firm and would not try the brownies.

The father then told his children how the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Our minds are us into believing that just a little bit of evil won’t matter. But, the truth is even a little bit of poop makes the difference between a great treat and something disgusting and totally unacceptable.

The father went on to explain that even though the movie industry would have us believe that most of today’s movies are acceptable fare for adults and youth, they are not.

Now, when this father’s children want to see something that is of questionable material, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poop brownies. That closes the subject.

Doesn’t leave us with any excuses does it?

C. The Little Foxes Rooted Out

I. Clear Conscience

I still struggled with my “besetting sin” that night, but the next morning, I could not take the conviction anymore, so I walked over to the VCR and deleted the program for that show. It was done! What relief! What joy! Oh why do we hold on to our sin when there is such sweet release, relief, joy, contentment, etc. when we know we are walking in sweet fellowship with our Lord!

….weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalms 30:5

It has been several weeks now, and not only have I stopped watching that show, almost all desire for any TV has virtually vanished. I’m not even really that interested in the news anymore either. (I read that via e-mail when I want it.)

It is so wonderful to no longer have that burden of guilt which brings about a sense of impending judgment!

II. Empowered Service

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness,nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:19

III. Sweet Fellowship

I was blessed to go out for lunch that day, for the first time ever, with my Pastor’s wife. (Don’t know why we never have, maybe 6 kids each, busy household…you know the rigmarole!) Anyway, we had a blessed time encouraging one another in the Lord, with a clear conscience, and it was a great relief for me to share with her this issue and to rejoice in victory over sin!

I didn’t really think I spent “that” much time watching TV, but now I find I can sit and talk with my other children (or read them a book, etc.) while feeding the baby, instead of watching the “goof tube”.  And yes, a sweeter spirit is now reigning in our home! God has been very good to me!

IV. Illustration: Getting Our Hands Dirty

Susannah Wesley

Susannah Wesley was one of the great mothers of history. One day, one of her daughters wished to do something which was not altogether bad, but which was not right. When she was told not to do it, she was not convinced.

It was late and she and her mother were sitting beside a dead fire. Her mother said to her: “Pick up that bit of coal.” “I don’t want to,” said the girl. “Go on,” said her mother. “The fire is out, it won’t burn you.” “I know that,” said the girl. “I know it won’t burn me but it will blacken my hands.” “Exactly,” said Susannah Wesley.

Conclusion

I think this quote summarizes so well what the “little foxes” can do::

Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go.
Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay.
Sin will cost you far more than you ever wanted to pay.
– Author Unknown to me

Our Preacher is fond of saying:
It is better to have no friends than the wrong kind of friends.

I’d like to add to his wise saying::
It is better to read no books than read the wrong books.
It is better to watch no TV than bad TV.

**********

Let us take heed and not allow those “little foxes” to “spoil our vines” so that we may be the godly Christian women God wants us to be.

– Angela Trenholm

Take us the foxes, the little foxes,that spoil the vines:for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15