I was enjoying the sunshine outside when I heard an alarm of Go-away birds. I looked at the tree which seemed to be the centre of the ruckus. Was one of the juvenile cats climbing the tree again?
Then I saw the perceived danger. A pied crow flew away and landed in the fir tree at the far end of the neighbour’s garden. As I watched, another four of five crows circled the tree before flying away.
The Go-away birds identified the danger and made sure the whole neighborhood was warned. Crows eat eggs and baby birds. Take care! Destruction awaits the careless or those who ignore the warning.
Psalm 19 says in vs 8b The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. Verse 11 expands on this, By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Isn’t it funny that the birds know how to act when given a warning of danger, but we humans think we know better. How many of us take seriously the Word of God?
May I be more like a Go-away bird, both prepared to sound the warning and to heed it when others give the alarm.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us .
God loves me. Just as I was created for him and I have a God-shaped hole in my heart, so He has a me-shaped hole in His heart that only I can fill. That is so exciting. And it changes everything.
I was looking at my bubble-bath the other night and thinking what a difference it makes to an ordinary, routine bath. It does nothing to change the amount of air or water around, but just by trapping pockets of air, it makes the mundane special.
Knowing I am loved is like bubble-bath. It does nothing to change circumstances in my life, but it brings life to my circumstances. I can look around and see little bubbles of God’s grace all around me. I know He is in control and I can relax in His love. The more the water gets agitated, the more bubbles of grace appear.
May I always keep my eyes open to the wonder of God’s love for me.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous on every occasion, and your giving through us will produce thanksgiving to God.… (2 Cor 9:10 – 11)
I recently heard a preacher discuss these verses at a Worship Celebration.
God supplies our needs. In these verses, two things are mentioned, bread and seed. In case we miss the difference, the bible specifies what they are to be used for. Bread is for eating. I interpret it as supply for our daily needs. Our Father knows what we need.
The seed is for sowing. We are to sow into the lives and the needs of others. In other words, God supplies not only what we need, but enough for us to be generous “on every occasion.”
The preacher stressed that we should not confuse our seed and our bread. We are not to eat our seed – use all of God’s provision on ourselves. If we do, we won’t have any left to sow.
I am not quite sure how this can all work out in my life but it has certainly given me pause for thought.
I only took three pairs of trousers when we went to Port Elizabeth to house-sit my brother’s house and keep an eye on our Mom. Two were long and the navy blue pair was just above ankle length, therefore the most suitable of the three for ten pin bowling. I couldn’t find them.
I looked in the obvious places:- the cupboard in the spare room my sister-in-law had cleared somewhat for us to hang clothes, the smaller cupboard in our bedroom where I kept underwear and things I hadn’t bothered to unpack yet. Nothing. Perhaps I had hand-washed them and they were hanging over the clothes horse where the sun normally streams into the spare room but gloomy light was all that was visible that day. All I saw there was a turquoise towel and a pair of black pants that probably belonged to my nephew.
Perhaps they were in the laundry bag. I emptied the contents onto the floor and searched through them one by one. Nothing.
I tried to think back carefully. When had I last seen them? Had I perhaps added them to the weekly wash and hung them up in the laundry? A short trip to the laundry dispelled that thought. I started my search from the beginning again. Not in the hanging cupboard, not in the bedroom cupboard. I looked carefully at the black pants hanging over the clothes horse. Surely they were too small for my nephew? I looked at the label. “David Jones. Size 14.” Then I recognised them. They were my missing navy cropped pants! I had looked right at them and not recognised them.
It was the week after Easter and our sermon that Sunday was from Luke 24 from verse 13 where the two followers from Emmaus did not recognise Jesus when he walked and talked with him. In the same way that I didn’t recognise my own clothes, they didn’t recognise their Lord. How many times in our daily lives do we not recognise the Lord when He is with us? Our eyes are too focused on our lives and our plans and our preconceived ideas in the gloomy light of everyday. Perhaps we need to examine carefully the happenings around us in the sunlight of God’s presence which is always with us.
We are in Port Elizabeth at the moment, spending time with my mother. On Tuesday our grandchildren and their parents joined us. Like all holiday makers who visit the sea, the children wanted to go to the beach, despite windy and cloudy weather. Preparations for the Iron Man Competition, which takes place in Port Elizabeth tomorrow were underway. Areas of the parking were closed off and temporary structures were springing up. The pier was adorned with flags fluttering in the wind.
Clusters of foreigners in wet suits were taking photos, running down to the water or emerging and we saw groups of swimmers training far out to sea. Two approached us and asked whether we would keep an eye on their bags for twenty minutes while they did their swim. They told us they were Austrians. One had participated in another event last year and had so enjoyed South Africa that he had jumped at the chance to come again and take part in the Iron Man, bringing his friend over with him. My husband noted that we hadn’t seen the Austrian flag in the array but they assured us it would be there on the day. They asked if we would be watching but the thought of all the crowds and the road closures and traffic congestion discourages us. Much better watch on TV.
Those athletes are competing for their country. Crowds will judge Austria based on their performance. If they show unsportsmanlike behaviour or dishonesty, they will disgrace their country.
Likewise people are watching us. If we “compete” under the Christian flag, our Saviour and His Kingdom will be judged on our actions. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ( Hebrews 12:1)
A friend of mine is a Puppy Trainer for the Guide Dog Association. She is an art teacher in the studio that is on the same property as our cottage and once a week she brings Jarvis with her. Last week, the dog galloped into our lounge, clearing out the old ginger cat who was lazing on the couch. My friend was close behind. I commented that this did not seem like a responsible Guide Dog and she said I should see him in his harness. When he wears it, he knows what is expected of him so behaves appropriately. Jarvis is only a Guide-Dog-in-training but that doesn’t get rid of his doggy nature.
I am a Christian-in-training. I have consented to be in Christ’s harness and I qualify for all the benefits He died to secure for me: forgiveness from sins, His presence and involvement in my life, guidance, His inexplicable peace, and eternal life where I can be forever with Him forever.
However, I am not perfect. My human nature, or sin nature, is never far away. I take comfort in Phil1:6 which says, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In this life I will never reach perfection, but I trust my trainer for “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13)
I am sure that Jarvis will become a wonderful Guide Dog, bringing independence to a sight-impaired person. His trainer knows what he is destined for and what he can become. Christ, my trainer, knows the purpose for which I was created and can help me fulfill that purpose and become the best version of myself.