We recently moved our keets to their new home (biddy cage).
The keets seem to enjoy the fresh air and the ability to see beyond their protected space.
(Keets are baby guineas in case you didn’t know.)
Keet Saved from Disaster
One of the keets is especially adventurous. In fact, before we expected to move the keets to a larger space, this keet ‘flew the coop.’ Thankfully, I heard her (or his) activity before she got entangled in anything harmful.
Now in the biddy cage, this keet has already decided to roost on a low branch placed strategically inside the cage. She (or possibly he) is obviously a leader.
Being a leader can have its advantages and its disadvantages.
Inside the safety of the storage container (see previous post), the keets were kept warm under the heat of a light bulb. They had plenty of fresh water and food given to them daily. The container was kept clean (keets are messy).
Yet, this keet decided to try its wings and fly over the top and onto the floor in one of our bedrooms. If I had not heard its wings fluttering against a vent, this bird may have died from lack of food and water.
Because of this keet’s activities, the keets were moved outdoors. Within the protection of the biddy cage, this keet is now free to try her wings and encourage others to do the same.
Although we have not seen any of the other keets resting on the branch, I am sure that encouragement from this keet will have them following suit shortly.
To follow the adventurous keet as it flew out of the protective storage container could have been disastrous for the other keets. However, within the protection of the biddy cage, it is advantageous for the keets to follow in resting on the roost.
Follow the Leader?
Just like the keets, children are young and inexperienced in the ways of the world. They do not understand that danger lurks outside the protective boundaries set by their parents and other caring adults.
Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes.
Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes. Sadly, many times children follow the unwise and corrupt. Habits are formed which lead to destruction.
Children will follow the leader. However, it is important that the leader be knowledgeable and upright and praiseworthy. What is cultivated in the child is what has been honored before their eyes.
An Example Worthy of Imitation
As we lead our children are we cultivating that which is praiseworthy? Are we cultivating what is honorable? Are we giving our children an example to imitate that follows truth and godliness?
Can we say as Paul did, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17)?
Children are great imitators. May they ‘mark’ those who walk wisely and follow their example.
Seeing new life around the farm is a blessing. Blossoming faces lift themselves toward life-sustaining sunshine. Butterflies flit once again. And the sounds of animal babies mooing or peeping or meowing let us know that life continues even after winter’s long and harsh visit.
Keets Are Here!
Keets have arrived. That’s baby guineas for newbies to farm life. They are a skittish bunch. I’m afraid we may have more males than we desire, but as long as they get along we will be okay.
Living quarters are a large plastic storage container with paper towels for flooring. We’ve discovered that keets like to scratch for their feed so the feeder has been removed. We also took out the shavings and replaced them with paper towels to accommodate their feeding habits.
The keets are a happy bunch. They huddle together, sing together, eat together, and sleep together in a corner of the bin. Life holds many exciting adventures for them. We pray that they will continue happily when we place them in a larger pen, and finally, to the yard.
New life is always welcome. It refreshes and cleanses away the dreary days of winter. The hope of new life gives us something to look forward to each day.
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.
Anticipation of new life
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it. Sometimes it makes us impatient wondering where new life can be found.
But new life is not far from any of us. In fact, it’s closer than we may imagine.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10
Gift of New Life
Every living creature needs water to survive. The keets must have fresh water each day and I must give it to them. They cannot give it to themselves.
Life is the same. We cannot give ourselves life. It must come from someone else. Our parents birthed us into this world. They gave us what we needed to survive.
New life is the same. We cannot give it to ourselves. It must come from someone else. That someone else is Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to give it to us.
New life is eternal. It is spiritual. It lasts beyond this world.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14
Jesus the Messiah offers the water of life to all who will come to Him. His gift of new life sustains through all eternity.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Is there an obstacle looming before you? Do the circumstances of life hinder you from moving forward? Be encouraged. No obstacle is too large to overcome if you endure.
The Pioneer’s Obstacle
American pioneers traveling westward sought passageways through the majestic Rocky Mountain Range. Determination and grit led them to overcome the difficulties encountered as they faced the daunting heights and freezing temperatures.
Spurred on by their belief that a future and a hope lay on the other side of the seemingly impossible to climb obstacle, they crossed into a land rich with resources.
The fertile valleys gave families sustenance. Homes were built. Towns and cities sprung up. Businesses boomed. The quest for a better life was fulfilled for many even though it came at great cost.
Overcoming Our Obstacles
Jesus is with us as we walk through our valleys and as we climb our mountains. His rod and staff guide us as we face each challenge of life. His promise to never leave us or forsake us is as true today as when He first spoke it.
We may have a “Rocky Mountain Range” looming before us. Yet, what we see as an obstacle hindering our movement forward, may instead be the gateway to a new and fulfilling ministry for Christ.
If it is, our view of the impasse does not hinder what lies ahead. God is not limited by our circumstances. Neither does any obstacle challenge Him or His resources. Instead, they are opportunities for Him to display His unlimited power.
Do not let opposition impede your progress. If God has told you move forward, then keep moving forward. Acknowledge Him every step of the way.
The howling winds, deep snows, and other weather conditions gave the pioneers limited opportunity to reach the other side of their obstacle. Your window of opportunity may be limited also.
Don’t let God’s promises to you slip away. Grasp hold of what He has for you.
And remember, the promise of Heaven is just ahead.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12.
It may seem like you are in a dark place now. It may not look like what God called you to do. But God in His wisdom knew you would need this experience to toughen you for the ministry ahead.
“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand.” Psalm 31:14-15a
Elijah’s calling was to preach to the leadership of his nation (1 Kings 17-18). He was even able to speak directly to the king.
I’m sure Elijah didn’t expect his next stop to be in the wilderness with no one with which to fellowship. When his water supply began to dwindle, he probably wondered what God was doing in his life.
Elijah’s ministry then grew from zero to two, a widow and her son. At least he had someone to talk to, that is, until tragedy struck.
The widow woman’s son died, and Elijah’s ministry was questioned. Yet, in the midst of tragedy, Elijah went to God in prayer and a miracle happened. The son was brought back to life.
From there Elijah would face the false prophets and false priests who deceived the nation. One man stood alone against so many.
Yet he knew he was not alone. He was on a mission from God.
Your mission may not seem as important as Elijah’s, but the soul of the widow woman was just as important to God as the nation’s repentance from the false religion that plagued the masses.
Your mission is just as important as Elijah’s. God knows where you are and He knows where you are headed.
This trial is preparing you. Meanwhile, God is preparing the soil to be receptive to the message He has given you.
God’s timing is perfect. Wait on Him to perform His plan through you.
We may not always understand what God is doing at any moment, but we know that God can always be trusted to do what is right. When you don’t see His hand at work, trust His heart.
“Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20
May your wilderness experience soon turn into pools of living water (See Isaiah 41:18).
A Prayer for the Missionary
Dear Father God in Heaven,
Sometimes we fail to understand Your plan. Even Moses could not understand why he and the Hebrew children were led to the Red Sea. Yet, You opened the way which seemed impossible. You led them through on dry land.
When your people prayed, they failed to believe that You would answer their prayers and release Peter from prison.
When Paul and Silas prayed, the prison was shaken so that a jailer and his family could be saved.
When your enemies set John on the Isle of Patmos, they did not realize You would use John to write the words of Revelation.
You are Almighty God. Show your wonders and power to the discouraged missionary and grant him or her the strength to carry on Your mighty work until Your plan for their lives is accomplished.
Someone is waiting to hear Your gospel message. May the gospel find them through this missionary.
Have you ever been promised something but the person giving you the promise failed to keep his or her word?
Maybe you have made a promise to someone but failed to keep it.
There are some promises, however, that have been kept. Here are just a few.
Ten Promises That Have Not Been Broken
God promised Adam and Eve that a Redeemer would come who would take away their sin. That Redeemer came.
God promised Abraham that He (God) would provide Himself a sacrifice for sin, and He did.
God revealed to Noah that a worldwide flood was coming on the earth. He told Noah to build an ark and his household would be saved. Noah obeyed.
God kept His word and sent the flood.
God promised the children of Israel that they would be delivered from Egypt’s bondage after 400 years passed. He kept His promise and delivered them.
God promised Hannah a son. She had Samuel.
God promised King David that his son Solomon would sit on his throne. He did.
When Israel sinned against God, God said they would go into captivity for 70 years, but afterward He would deliver them. When 70 years were ended, they were given their freedom by King Cyrus.
God promised a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called Emmanuel, the Saviour of the world. God kept His promise.
Jesus was called Emmanuel, and He became the Saviour of the world.
God promised He would pay our sin debt by dying on a cross, but He would rise again the third day. He did.
Jesus has promised to forgive those who will come to Him believing and admitting their sinful conditions, willing to repent of their sins, and asking for His forgiveness; and He will.
The Promise to Come
God promised He would come again and take those who believe on Him to Heaven to be with Him forever; and He will.
Will You Be Left Behind?
What if the rapture were to take place today? Would you be prepared?
There is only one way to go to heaven. That is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The return of Christ for His own is a promise that will not be broken.
God has not failed to keep any of His promises. He will not fail to keep the promise of His soon return. I pray you are prepared to meet Him. If not, please ask Him to come into your heart today. I would love to hear about it.
I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.
Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend. The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.
We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.
The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.
Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.
It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled. Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him. In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.
As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).
Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His empowerment from on high.
Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us. Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.
My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength. When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me. I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life. Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In what ways do we allow our weaknesses/handicaps to hinder us from doing God’s will?
How is God’s strength perfected in us?
What horses have I personally leaned upon to strengthen me instead of leaning upon the strength that only God can give me?
All Scripture quotations above are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
When I reminisce on the word shod I picture a rancher shoeing a horse. He carefully shapes each shoe and attaches each one to fit the horse’s hooves. They must be a perfect fit or they won’t protect properly.
The rancher knows that his horses need shoes to protect their hooves or they will not be able to do the work that he needs them to do. A limping horse is of no value to the rancher.
Recently my husband and I stopped at a shoe store. My husband wanted me to have a new pair of sandals. Thankfully, I found a pair that was comfortable.
The sales clerk placed them in a box and kept them safe at the counter while we continued to look. There were several pairs that we liked, but they did not fit the bottom of my feet properly. Not finding another pair we made our purchase and left.
Arriving home, the package was placed in the bedroom to be opened later. I will probably not open the package until I need the shoes inside.
We are to prepare ourselves by shodding our feet.
I’m afraid that’s also what we do with our Bibles. We bring them home and place them on the end table or some other location to be opened later.
It’s not that we think the Bible is of no importance. It certainly is. But just as the rancher prepares his horse for the work he has to do, we are to prepare ourselves for the work God has us to do.
To shod myself I must put forth the effort to put on my shoes.
For the sandals that I purchased to be of any value to me, I must take them out of the package and put them on my feet. I must shod myself with my shoes to protect my feet from stones and other debris that would cause harm. I do not wish to endure the pain of a stumped toe or jagged cut.
As my physical feet are shod with sandals so my spiritual feet are shod with God’s Word.
Just as the rancher prepares his horse’s hooves to be fitted with shoes, I must prepare myself to be fitted with the gospel of peace.
To shod myself with the gospel of peace I must open the Bible and absorb its words. As I shod myself with God’s Word, I am being provided with the protection that I need to walk through the debris of life.
A turn onto the wrong path can leave me limping through life. Instead, I want to walk through God’s fields with a healthy and Christ-honoring stride.
Preparing ourselves with the gospel of peace will keep us from limping in God’s fields.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:13-16
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
King Lemuel’s mother gave her son valuable lessons concerning the pitfalls into which any son can fall prey. She was highly concerned that he be guided properly, so she bore this role personally.
Two important areas she discussed in her lesson plans were women and strong drink.
This mother knew that if her son did not conduct himself properly in these two areas, his authority over his kingdom would be damaged and his judgment thwarted.
To protect his future kingship, she wisely advised him:
“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” Proverbs 31:3-4
Her plans included two important words.
The list of attributes describing the virtuous woman that this mother desired for her son may seem challenging to today’s woman but are basically contained in two words which this mother used to teach an important lesson to her son.
The first is ‘ruby’ and the second is ‘heart’.
Lemuel’s mother wanted to instill in Lemuel the value of a good woman. To do this, she placed the image of a ruby in his mind.
As a man in training for kingship, young Lemuel would be taught the value of gems and their use in commerce.
Precious stones were given by visiting royalty as presents unto kings. Lemuel had to be able to distinguish quality between the various stones presented.
Why did this mother choose the ruby to educate her son in these matters?
What qualities does a ruby possess that would describe a virtuous woman?
Large transparent rubies are rarer than diamonds. Thus, the value of a natural, transparent ruby is more than that of a diamond.
Obviously, this mother realized that a virtuous woman would be someone for whom Lemuel would have to diligently seek. A virtuous woman was not a common commodity.
The more transparent a ruby is the greater the value. Although all rubies have some flaws, the less imperfections a ruby has, the more it is desired.
When a woman is transparent, she has nothing to hide. She allows her husband to see her as she is. She does not try to put a veil over his eyes as to her character.
A ruby can be heat treated to remove some internal flaws.
Trials and afflictions are the fires that God uses to purify man. A virtuous woman can endure those trials and afflictions and remain true.
It takes an expert to distinguish between a natural and a man-made ruby.
God is the expert that can discern a woman’s heart and her motives. A wise man will seek God’s will when contemplating courtship. His eyes cannot see into a woman’s heart, but God’s eyes can.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12
The second word that King Lemuel’s mother focused upon was heart.
Men consider trust a major factor in describing a healthy marriage.
If a man feels he cannot confide in his wife, if he feels she has betrayed his confidences, he will stop entrusting her with his words. This may lead him to seek spoil or an unscriptural relationship with another.
Many marriages end because another woman chose to listen to a married man’s words and keep them in confidence, thus drawing the man away from his wife.
The advice that King Lemuel’s mother gave was directed in such a way that King Lemuel would be able to understand the consequences of unwise choices. She turned his focus upon his own heart and how it would be affected by those choices.
The choice that he would make as to a wife would do him good or do him evil all the days of his life.
He could choose that which was more valuable than rubies in which he could safely invest his heart and profit, or he could choose that which was of less value and loose his investment and suffer loss.
“Who can find a virtuous woman?”
She is described as transparent and trustworthy.
She reflects what is inside of her, the character of Christ. She is a haven for her husband and keeps his words close to herself.
Her motives are pure, showing her intent to protect her husband’s heart. Therefore, she is given the liberty to accomplish all that the Proverbs 31 woman had liberty to accomplish.
The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman could involve herself in such activities as described in Proverbs 31:13-24 because she could be trusted to do those things without bringing shame to her husband or her household.
The Proverbs 31 woman was portrayed, not by her performance, but by the transparency of her true nature.
King Lemuel was taught to ask himself two important questions as he sought for a wife.
Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal Christlike character or a flawed character?
Does this woman’s transparency or lack thereof reveal a trustworthy heart or a questionable one?
King Lemuel’s adopted course of action hopefully brought him a Proverbs 31 woman that he safely trusted in all his days.
I met a new potter this weekend while taking pictures at an event I attended. Since I love pottery, we struck up a conversation and “friended” each other. Her work was beautiful, especially the various mugs and trays that she had on display.
Although there are several potters who work in my area, each potter’s work is unique.
Every Potter Eventually Establishes a ‘Brand’
Not only are their individual items uniquely made, but the colors used and patterns applied are unique to each potter.
You might say they each have their ‘brand’. That brand is established by their unique styles.
That style is brought out by hands that carefully mold and form from the potter’s viewpoint and vision.
Sometimes the clay wishes to cooperate with the potter. Sometimes it does not. The potter patiently places the clay back on the wheel until finally the clay submits to the potter’s wishes.
The Potter Knows the Potential of the Clay
It’s not that the potter doesn’t consider the clay’s texture or color or strength. The potter knows those things. But the potter also knows what the clay can become when it yields itself to his or her touch.
The potter has the end piece in view.
He or she sees it in all its beautiful form as finished and sitting on a customer’s table. He or she knows its usefulness and the blessing it will be as it pours out its contents to those who sit at the table.
Our Master in Heaven Is
the Great Potter
It’s the same way with our Master in Heaven. He is the Great Potter who forms us and molds us to be the vessels that will bless those for whom we are poured out in service for Him.
Our Great Potter knows our frame, but He sees what we can be. He sees us as what we will be in His kingdom.
He is the author and finisher of our faith. One day our faith will end in sight.
One day soon we will see our Great Potter face to face. May He say of us in that day, “Well done!”