Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Little Bird Told Me

“[F]or a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings will tell the matter.” Ecclesiastes 10:20

When someone wants to repeat something but is hesitant to divulge the source, this individual may simply say, "A little bird told me." Well, here are some things a few birds told me, and I don’t mind at all sharing my source:

A dove told me that Jesus was the beloved Son of God (Matt. 3:16-17); an eagle promised me that if I would wait on the Lord, I can mount up into the heavenlies with wings like his own (Isa. 40:31); a swallow shared that the altar of God is the best place to take my children (Psl. 84:3). I was surprised to find that a raven provided the first “meals on wheels (wings) service to one of God’s saints (1 Kings 17:6); and I am overwhelmed with joy at this admission by a sparrow that even though my Heavenly Father may care enough about them to attend each one of their funerals, but He values me much, much more (Matt. 10: 29-31).

Now that’s something to crow about! J

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Forgotten Love

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the child of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” (Isa. 49:15)

God takes the most extreme, unlikely example of forgotten love that can be humanly imagined as a contrast to His own undying love for Israel. The mother who would forsake her child is a prime example of the phrase in Romans 1:31, “without natural affection.” To carry a child in her womb, beneath her heart, is to seal a bond that neither time nor space can sever—or so it would seem to me. Yet God says it can happen. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen.

What kind of awful scenario could give rise to such a thing, I wonder? Perhaps a mother could become so consumed with something or someone else to the point that she would sacrifice her child in order to have the other person or thing. Or maybe the child himself, or herself, could bring such pain or disgrace that maternal love would be pushed to the very limits. But, as I say, these are only hypothetical, and to my mind, unreasonable, scenarios.

My own mother, in the throes of Alzheimer’s, did not recognize who I was. She did, however, remember she had a daughter named Salle Jo, and spoke most tenderly of her to me. She didn’t forget her child; she simply was not aware I was that child.

God does not suffer from such maladies, nor is He subject to the other possibilities mentioned. His love will neither wander nor wane. He goes so far as to say in Romans eight that neither death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things now or those to come, the highest or the lowest of all, no creature known to man or God—none of these will ever separate us from the love of God.

As long as God lives, I will live…and I will be loved, because God’s love can do anything…except forget me.                                                                                   

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. 31:3)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Your Adversary

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8)

While I was visiting back East, my friend, Tina, shared a recent experience of hers that I will admit sent chills up my spine when I heard it. Not because there was any danger involved, but because it was…well, creepy. It happened while she was with others visiting the San Diego Zoo. She enjoyed it all, she said, until they reached the area where the lions were confined. She noticed one lion, which seemed to be looking at her particularly. Indeed, he finally, came over where she was and looked menacingly at her.  Just to test his intentions, she moved from one end of the display to the other; and — you guessed it — he followed her wherever she went. I should tell you, my friend has been in a wheelchair for many years, and as she herself surmised, it was as if he somehow knew she was more vulnerable, someone he could more easily pounce upon. She was not a little unnerved by the whole experience.

My mind went immediately to this verse, and it occurred to me that Peter warned us that you and I are in danger of being vulnerable to our Adversary, the devil, who, he says is “as a roaring lion,” just waiting to pounce and devour us. You and I can become Spiritually “crippled,” making us easy prey to Satan’s attacks. The Bible gives us much instruction concerning our war with this beastly adversary, but I want to just point out a few things we can learn from the verse itself.

First, the devil is constantly on the prowl (“...walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”)  His intentions are all destructive and, when possible, damning. There is nothing, or no one, in our lives that he considers off limits. It may seem he is only nibbling at first, but in the end, he will devour.

Peter gives two words of admonition for the confrontation: sobriety and vigilance. Attribute to this life or death battle the seriousness it deserves. To give this word (sober) its sometime meaning, we must never allow ourselves to become intoxicated with the ethics and standards of this world system. This calls for clarity and solemnity. It also calls for vigilance, keeping careful watch. Think of how you would conduct yourself in a town where an escaped circus lion was spotted. In how many directions would you look when you walked down the street?

         As sure as there is a God in heaven, there is a devil walking up and down this earth (Job 1:7). And like a roaring lion, he’s ever and always seeking someone to devour. Listen, and you can almost hear his roar.  And oh, dear friend, he’s got his eye on you…and me!  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Being Good At the Wrong Things

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1 Corinthians 14:20)

If we’re not careful, we can become skillful at all the wrong things. Paul says here that when it comes to understanding, we need to grow up; but if you’re talking about malice, we need to stay a “little kid.” Growth assumes greater proficiency, but not all activities deserve expertise.

With the media promising to make everything in life simple, it is easy for you and I to become just that: simple! Satisfied with simply comprehending easy things, never bothering to search out ideas and people that require more concentration on our part. Content to read only airy novels or feel-good devotional books or the latest self-affirming paperback. These may have their place, but they are certainly not mind-stretchers. I once knew a pastor’s wife who laughingly admitted that she loved to curl up in bed with one of the old Sugar-Creek Gang Series books! Sad to say, many of us are reluctant to seek out and invest brainpower in authors such as Charles Spurgeon, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, or C.S. Lewis, for instance. 

Paul goes on to say, however, that when it comes to malice, we should be as awkward and inept as a toddler—all thumbs. He is the only writer in all the Word of God to use this term, but he uses it or “malicious” five times. It’s the desire to inflict harm, hurt, or suffering on others; and there are those among us who have gotten it down to an art form. They know just the right weapon to use when it comes to wounding other people, and just how to exact revenge when they themselves are hurt. And like the glory-seeking Diotrephes (3 John 9-10), they have a rich vocabulary of “malicious words.”

How good are we at hurting others—intentionally or unintentionally? God says, even though we’re all capable of it, it should be with the clumsiness of a child not the expertise of an adult. On the other hand, when it comes to understanding deep things, especially Spiritual truths, we should be constantly cultivating the keen mind of a mature, godly, man or woman.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: Am I more skillful at understanding or malice? Don’t take it lightly; God doesn’t.