March 19, 2007, Enterprise Dispatch
Pastor's Column

A strong oak, that cannot be split

Rev. Lyndon Korhonen, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran, Cokato

I had been waiting for cold weather to do a task. ‘The task was to cut and split a 34-inch diameter white oak out at Don and Luella Norberg’s farm.

Perhaps you wonder why I wanted cold weather. You old timers know the reason right away. When that tree is frozen, the wood is more unstable and it splits much easier.

When Joshua and I began the cutting process, we cut out a firewood-length chunk and tipped it on end to examine it. Before you expend energy in splitting something that big, I have discovered it pays to try and find a weak spot.

This particular white oak had a large frost crack going through it, so that is where we started hitting it with the splitting maul. Once it gave way, then we started on the edge and began using the growth rings to our advantage.

Sometimes you will be surprised, as you aim for that weak spot, the wood will begin to crack in a different spot. Then, you change your strategy and hit it on the new crack.

As we were first examining the chunk of wood, I explained to Joshua that just as we look for weak spots in the wood, so Satan looks for weak spots in our lives to attack.

God’s Word exhorts the believer to be on the alert to these “exams.” I Peter 5:8 is clear “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

He looks for that area in our life that we want to keep for ourselves and not yield control of to Jesus. Yours may be wandering eyes on the Internet, assuming a few perks at work that aren’t rightfully yours, or looking at a classmate’s answers while taking the test at school.

Ephesians 6:10-11 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

The devil knows where your “frost crack” is and he will pound on that, trying to get you to give in to him. He wants to destroy your relationship with Jesus and destroy your life.

Our defense is to be in God’s Word, the chief means of grace. There, we are reminded of his schemes and our defense in Christ.

When you stick to the Word of God and obey it, God will make you to be a strong oak that Satan cannot split, not even when the weather is cold or your trials severe.

God can hold you together through His Word.

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