Come, follow Me

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16, ESV.

In high school, Paul’s words to the Galatians were a godsend, literally.  I struggled with temptations from every side, struggled mightily.  Even worse, these struggles made me feel completely unworthy to even approach God in reverence.  This verse inspired in me the first inkling that it wasn’t a matter of cleaning the sin out of my life before I came to Him, but rather a matter of sacrificing it in order to follow Him, to walk in the Spirit as it were.  Once doing so, He would lend me strength to overcome them.  As Francis Chen says in Crazy Love, “you have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin….When you are running toward Christ, you are freed up to serve, love, and give thanks without guilt, worry or fear As long as you’re running, you’re safe.”

I didn’t truly come to understand that concept until recently, but in reflection of this verse, 16-year-old me wrote this poem, possibly the only poem I’ve ever written of any quality.  I had completely forgotten about it, but while going through an old notebook recently I stumbled on it, and it convicted me to perform some introspection and see if these words still applied to my life.

 

Lord must I walk this path again?

Try to pass this test again?

So many times I’ve tried,

And failed

Then You come and pick me up

Your Spirit surrounding me,

Now it’s astounding me

Your Grace,

Compassion,

Mercy.

(Even when I don’t deserve it)

Though temptation may rise,

I will walk in the Spirit ’til the day I die

The world is pulling on me,

But I’m standing on You.

No matter what happens,

You bring me through

The world says I’m trippin’

But what they can’t see:

Every time I trip, you say,

“COME, FOLLOW ME”

-Nathan Powell

Multiflora Rose

History of multiflora rose from the Missouri Department of Conservation website:

“Multiflora rose was originally introduced to the East Coast from Japan in 1886 as rootstock for cultivated roses. In the 1930s the U.S. Soil Conservation Service advocated use of multiflora rose in soil erosion control. Experimental plantings were conducted in Missouri and Illinois, and as recently as the late 1960s, many state conservation departments were distributing rooted cuttings to landowners. It was planted in the Midwest for living fences and soil conservation. Managers recognized that plantings of this thorny, bushy shrub provided excellent escape cover and a source of winter food for wildlife. The species soon spread and became a serious invader of agricultural lands, pastures, and natural communities from the Midwest to the East Coast.”

The trunk can be as wide as 8 inches diameter and the bush can exceed 15 feet.  They are extremely hard to control and viciously difficult to handle because of the length of canes and that they are covered with thorns.  Millions of dollars are spent in time in mechanical and chemical control of these government-introduced, non-native, invasive shrubs.

cows etc 012
Thankfully, most of our multiflora rose bushes are not as huge as this one in view of Brook Road.  I estimate the highest canes of this bush to be nearly 20 feet!  We, along with every farmer and rancher in Missouri battle these things year round.  I’m certain they would take over the world if left unchecked!