Thursday, August 22, 2019


"But ask the beasts and
they will teach you; the
birds and they will tell
you;" (Job 12:7 KJV)
Walking is my favorite form of exercise.  I'm blessed to live near a wooded area with ample sidewalks and paved streets so I get out a few times a week.  There is however,  an area of about a mile or two that doesn't have sidewalks.  A road takes me through neighborhoods filled with massive yards and there's a sweet little creek winding right along its edges! When I take my morning walks that's the place I head out to.

 To get  there I have to pass a newly constructed walk and bicycle trail.  It parallels a very busy street and is a common spot for joggers and moms with babies in strollers.  It's convenient and easy to access but I prefer the more picturesque and less noisy trails.

 Off the main streets is where I see squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and occasionally a deer or two.  But nothing thrills me more than to look up and spot a Red Bird.  Whether it's flying about or simply nestled in the branches of a tree, seeing one is an automatic mood lifter.

Surprisingly this doesn't happen very often even though the Cardinal is Indiana's state bird! That makes it more exciting to see one.  When I do this familiar tune always comes to mind:
"I know it was the blood, I know it was the blood, I know it was the blood for day when I was lost He died upon the cross.  I know it was the blood for me!" I can't help but hum or sing a verse or two!

That is what the Red Bird tells ME!  Remember, no matter what's going on, the trials, the drama, the senseless activities in life, you are covered by the Blood (Ephesians 1:7) You have already received the greatest gift you will ever have...Eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ!

I know there are many legends and meanings accorded to the sighting of the Red Bird.  Some say it is a visit from a deceased loved one. Others a sign of good fortune. There is even a beautiful love story from Choctaw Indian lore that is worth a read.  However, from the biblical perspective I've learned that birds are a great teaching tool and are significant in spirituality.  We know the white dove as a symbol of peace but I've only learned recently the Red Bird is a symbol of faith, life, and the vitality of the soul.  I can only speak for myself.  To me it is a reminder of God's Presence, His Magnificence, and His Power.

There is a theological term you may have heard of called Natural Revelation.  It is the manifestation of God through nature.  Psalms 19:1-3 NIV explains it like this: 

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

If you've ever wondered how people in the most remote parts of the world, those who have never seen a bible or heard a preacher can be saved, this is the answer.  All they have to do is look to the skies (or maybe hear the chirping of a Red Bird), acknowledge that there is Someone greater than themselves and humbly put their faith in Him!  He is the only One Who Creates Something out of Nothing (Ex Nihilo)!

The Red Bird among other of its species tell me that:

>> GOD PROVIDES (Matt. 6:26) - Look at the birds in the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?

>>GOD STRENGTHENS HIS CHILDREN (Isaiah 40:31) - But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

>>GOD CARES FOR ALL (Psalm 104:12) - The bird of the sky nest by the waters, they sing among the branches. 

The next time you are strolling, riding, or simply resting and God sends a Red Bird your way, pause a moment and quiet yourself  Listen carefully it might have a message from the Lord for you!
I applied my heart to what I observed,
and learned a lesson from what I saw.
(Proverbs 24:32)


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Monday, August 12, 2019


"Forsake not the assembling
of ourselves together ..."
(Hebrews 10:25 NIV)
It happens in every church! You look around on a given Sunday and it finally hits you... a familiar face is missing! The first few Sundays you were not concerned.  However, the weeks have gotten longer and longer. 

You make polite inquiries as to their whereabouts
hoping you
haven't missed notification of a sickness or God forbid a death!  But everyone seems clueless.

Finally you get that dreaded response... Honey, they left the church weeks ago!  WHY? you ask. No one seems to know.  It's almost like one of those UFO disappearances you see in the movies.  Another beloved church member vanishes, gone without a trace!

I'm well aware Christians are not bound to any local church.  We belong to the Universal Body of Christ and free to fellowship wherever we like (I Corinthians 12:27).  But once we have placed our membership in a church and formed a love bond with other believers there is a bit of courtesy due when you opt to leave. 

I'm saying this because I've been there.  I left a church that I loved and served in for 17 years and it was very painful. I missed my fellow saints and I truly believe they missed me too.  I never want to feel that kind of pain again, so if you will allow me I'd like to share a bit of insight I've gained from the experience. 

First of all, people leave churches for a variety of reasons.  Here are a few common ones:

1)  Church hurt (wounds or offenses by individuals in the church or the church at large)
2)  Abuses of authority
3)  Doctrinal differences
4)  The church no longer meets their spiritual needs
5)   Practical reasons - job or home relocations 

  • PRAY!  Make sure that God is directing you to leave and not because your feelings are hurt or due to personal conflicts with other members. Make attempts to resolve conflicts the biblical way using the Matthew 18 method.  Many conflicts can be resolved with prayer, conversation and a willingness to love through our differences.  (I Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 18:15-20) 
  • PREPARE!  If you are in a leadership position (teacher, ministry leader, deaconess or auxiliary head) make sure that those within your ministry are notified so they can move on without you.  Fulfill present commitments and transition responsibilities in a timely and appropriate way as to provide continuity of service to those who really need it. (Colossians 3:17, 23)
  • PROVIDE FEEDBACK! You may be leaving because of unmet spiritual needs, some sort of abuse, or differences that prohibit your spiritual growth. You have a responsibility to those you leave.  If you see something or have experienced something that is not of God, SAY something.  Preferably in person to someone in leadership or but at least by letter.  This way accountability is established and you can leave with a clear conscience. ( James 4:17)
  • PEACEFULLY EXIT!  Don't bad mouth the church, try to influence others to leave with you, or cause dissension because you are dissatisfied.  You are only causing harm to your own character! Slandering the local church, the pastor or its members only shows the bitterness in your own heart.  If this is how you're feeling, you've stayed too long and you need to ask the Lord's forgiveness!  (Hebrews 12:15)
Regardless of your reason, let SOMEBODY know.  Although church folks love to gossip, Authentic Christians, those who care about you, have served, and worshipped with you simply want to know you're okay and want an opportunity to wish you well. 

AS FOR THOSE OF US LEFT BEHIND!  Reach out to missing sisters with a text or telephone call.  Let them know they are valued and missed.  Don't press for information.  When the conversation turns negative, change it to something positive! Stay in touch if possible!

And always REMEMBER to pray for them.  They may not be in their usual seat on Sunday but they will  always  in your hearts and one day WE'LL ALL BE TOGETHER IN HEAVEN! 


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