Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Powdery Mildew

{photo courtesy of Gardener’s Path}

Powdery Mildew

After a few seasons of tenderly caring for my roses, I was puzzled to discover a white powdery substance coating my babies as I had not experienced this dilemma thus far. Initially, I thought little of the matter until the next day when I noticed the powdery film quickly oppressed most of the bush. Even more distressing was realizing the powdery mildew also spread to a nearby bush!

Naturally, I quickly took action by researching how to eradicate this infectious disease before it was too late. I learned a simple concoction of baking soda, dish detergent, and water would remedy the issue. Neem Oil or a sulfur-based fungicide would be sufficient as well.

​For weeks I carefully monitored the situation to ensure the white powdery mildew did not haunt my garden once more. I now know powdery mildew thrives in warm dry days followed by cooler humid nights. Without swift action, its toxic spores easily transport wreaking havoc on a once thriving rose garden.

“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

Are the conditions dry in the well of your heart? Are you or your congregation ignoring fungi like sexual immorality, abusive people, deceit, or practicing other unholy ways?

​As painful and delicate as the matter may be, Abba Father instructs His people to not adopt the ways of the world, not to worship Him like they worship their gods, or associate with those who claim to be of Him or sent by Him, but behave otherwise (Deut.12:29-13:18, 18:9-14; Jeremiah 10). Could it be Abba Father understands without His standards or boundaries within one’s heart, home, and congregation, a devastating fungus can kill the beauty in Abba’s developing garden? After loving many, “boundary busters”, I learned by setting appropriate boundaries with the offensive party, I am in fact loving them. Moses and other Prophets both enforced boundaries and interceded to the LORD on the people’s behalf.

We can intercede in prayer while also establishing and enforcing boundaries to protect ourselves and others from sinful disease while demonstrating tough love. After all, tough love is true love. Many need to suffer the consequences of their choices before repenting and reaching out for the hand of God’s redeeming grace.

​In the meantime, understand there is a fine line between enabling grievous acts and exhibiting gracious ones.

‘Mr. Lincoln’, a fragrant, hybrid tea rose.

Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Prickles and Predators

A grasshopper avoids this rose’s fierce prickles!

Prickles and Predators

Did you know what we commonly refer to as thorns on rose bushes are botanically speaking actually prickles? Thorns run deep within the sap of a branch whereas on a rose, the prickle is just along the surface of the rose’s bark and can be snapped off. Nevertheless, the purpose of the prickle is to protect the rose from predators. Various animals including rabbits, deer, and even horses would find roses a delicious snack if it weren’t for protective prickles. The piercing prickles also protect the plant from caterpillars and other insects that would welcome the climb up with a leafy treat as its reward. ​

“…God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31

As a young woman, I discovered evil can sometimes manifest in the likes of wile handsome devils looking to devour your heart, or more accurately stated, your undergarments. After I found myself divorced, sexual temptations only grew worse within my wanton heart. Feeling defeated emotionally, physically, and most definitely spiritually, I decided I needed to stop “playing the harlot” and get it together! Lo and behold, if a so-called angel of light didn’t come across my path just in time to save me from my new found resolve. You guessed it! A gorgeous man pursued me like no other despite my repeated refusals. In one of my rejections, I explained my commitment to work on an important area neglected in my life… my soul! Shortly thereafter, in yet another persistent attempt to win a date, the devil-in-disguise craftily confessed he was in a Bible study earlier that morning. With this tid-bit of knowledge, my young naïve heart perked up questioning my harsh judgments against his sexy self. Needless to say, when you combine good looks and God talk, with promises to take care of me, I was SOLD! Wish I could say it was a dream come true, but with all the drama this guy brought, I needed Triple A to help me deal with his Triple A’s: Addictions, Affairs, and Abuse! You see, had I been strong in my relationship with Abba Father, bound and guarded with His truth (Proverbs 3), or prickles meant to protect, I would have seen that predator coming! The latter verses of Deuteronomy 12 into Chapter 13 warn that God will test us to see if we will choose Him and His Torah or choose to follow other false gods, false messiahs, or people in error. Instead, I found myself picking and choosing which of God’s boundaries I was going to hop on over like fornication or mingling with false people rather than binding God’s instructions to me to help me remember His Torah, which is His Voice, His Word, His Way, His Truth. I failed to realize as people commissioned to be the light, that the light is living God’s Torah, a set-apart lifestyle.

​”For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life…” Proverbs 6:23

The truth is, beloved, spiritual captivity often leads to some form of physical captivity. Just read the accounts of the wicked kings reigning over the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and their outcomes found in the Hebrew Bible to verify. Or, you could erroneously have weak boundaries and consequently rebel against God’s boundaries while falling in lust with addicted, abusive, player type of men like I foolishly did and you too will glean this wisdom soon enough.

​If rose bushes aren’t covered in prickles, they would be devoured by all sorts of pestilence and predators. Likewise, do yourself a favor, get rooted in God’s Word and grow some prickles for you too will be tested!

“Dream Come True”, a grandiflora rose.

Garden Border Control

Creeping Charlie (Small)

Creeping Charlie {photo credit: unknown}

Today, I found myself performing the never ending task of weeding. In particular, an intruding vine, known as “Ground Ivy” or “Creeping Charlie”, knows no bounds as it constantly invades my rose beds.  Although it looks deceptively charming at first, Creeping Charlie will choke the life out of my roses and other plants if allowed. Hence, why I pulled out my knee pad and spent about 2 hours ripping this vine out as best as I could not to mention the persistent flock of dandelions and other unknown weeds in my urban garden. I’m not sure who sowed Creeping Charlie into my yard probably decades ago, but my goodness, what a headache! To help eliminate the encroaching yard from reaching my flower beds, the husband and I will soon be implementing a border control of sorts with old brick or stone (it’s still up for discussion as to which we can agree on).

brickborder

{photo credit: unknown}

So while the dirt compiled under my nails this morning, I thought about how necessary boundaries are in our lives as they define our roles, our responsibilities, and our way of life. Without boundaries or borders defining and describing such areas, both our garden and our world would be chaos. Boundaries not only define who we are, but they protect what we value most. A brick or stone border, a fence, a wall, laws, rules, and terms of an agreement, are all examples of boundaries. God’s word found in the Holy Bible provides boundaries to live by as well. Such boundaries, or written terms, are designed to define our roles and responsibilities as believers, who we are in Christ Jesus, and the way to life. By rejecting these Judeo-Christian boundaries, there are chaotic consequences – just look at the world around us or even your own life. I certainly suffered chaotic and unnecessary consequences when I didn’t abide by God’s boundaries. I’m sure you can think of a time or two you did as well. Clearly, without them, ungodly vines like Creeping Charlies can invade our hearts and homes choking out the life God intended for us. How important it is we learn to abide within Christ’s border control while eliminating the ungodly vines and weeds the world sows.