And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NRSV)

Once upon a time there was boy named Tommy. Tommy's Mom had a garden. In that garden she grew cucumbers. One day Tommy had a great idea. He took a very tiny plant from that garden with a very tiny cucumber on it. Then he put some rich soil in the bottom of a drink bottle. Then he very carefully planted that tiny cucumber plant in the drink bottle. Lo and behold, it worked! The little plant continued to grow until Tommy had a large cucumber in the bottle. But now he had a problem. What do you imagine was his problem? That's right. He couldn't get the large cucumber through the tiny neck of the bottle. So it stayed inside until it died.

Some people develop bad habits like that--like not telling the truth, or stealing, or doing things we know God won't approve of. But these habits grow, until finally they are as hard to get rid of as Tommy's cucumber was in that drink bottle. It would be better not to do anything we might be ashamed of later.

Lord Jesus, move me close to you and far away from old habits that separate me from God. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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