A lesson from a chicken

I have a few chickens that I tend in my backyard. They are timid and fretful creatures that have given a new meaning to the childhood accusation of cowardice. On the playground, we would goad each other into dangerous situations and if you didn’t do ______ you were a chicken. I never knew the connection, but I do now.

You see, chickens easily disturbed and distressed, it would seem that any strange noise or situation has them frantic. I remember the first time I sneezed near the creatures. They all ran for cover like the world was ending. I’m truly not exaggerating. One action that would usually upset them is when I would take away their food container.

I take away the bin simply to fill it up and make sure they have enough. But every time they wound up clucking away in worry. The most recent time I went to give them food, they seemed contented. Suddenly, I thought of how God provides for us.

Sometimes he takes away one source, simply to provide from another.

Without exception, every one of our lives will be in upheaval for one or another reason. God will remove good things from our lives. It may be a good friendship, good job, good house, fill in the blank. God will take things from our lives. When that happens, we can reaction in faith, or in worry and fear.

I know that I have lived a good portion of my life like a stressed out chicken who sees his food bin disappearing, when it is about to come right back again overflowing.

I challenge you, like I challenge myself. Have faith in God provision. He says in His word,

“No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11

God would not take from his children and watch them suffer without having a greater purpose in mind. Trust God’s love and all-mighty power to provide! He has a plan. We must have faith like the widow who gave the prophet Elijah her last meal in the middle of a drought. She had no means of supporting herself, but God provided.

God provided for her and he will provide for you no matter what he takes from your life.

Don’t be a chicken! 🙂

 

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Do you have a heart?

Have you ever known someone that was really annoying? They were rude, unsportsmanlike, selfish, and didn’t seem all that intelligent? Perhaps this person did more and more to reduce their value in your eyes. Over time, you didn’t care what that person thought or felt, and pretty soon, you didn’t give one iota about their well being either.

I must confess, I’ve been there. There have been some times that I have had so much disgust for someone that I almost hated them. I honestly believe that this sort of miserable condition is what Proverbs 11:12 is speaking of when it says,

“He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.”

That word despise really carries the meaning of “to value as nothing.” It’s easy to devalue people who don’t treat us the way we want. It’s natural to love less those who disrespect us, but the God has something very profound to say about this. He says that such a person who devalues his neighbor is devoid of wisdom.

But it doesn’t end there. The Hebrew word translated as wisdom, is translated over 500 times as our word “heart.” So let’s put this in a literal way. If you don’t value or love your neighbor, you don’t have a heart.

On the other hand, if you are a person of intelligence and understanding, then you will hold your peace. You will be silent. You will keep the peace. Perhaps you will even love them.

Those are some pretty intense opposites.

I challenge you, search your heart. See if there is someone that you do not value as God values. It is not a healthy thing to harbor feelings or attitudes that do not coincide with God’s view. In case we didn’t get the full picture from this scripture, God spells it out in Proverbs 14:21 when He says, “He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth.”

Don’t allow selfishness and pride reduce you to devaluing another.

Have a heart,

or ask God to give you one.

Am I therefore become your enemy?

In Galatians 4, Paul is confronting the Christians in Galatia about their view of the law. Apparently, some Jews had persisted in the idea that salvation still required obedience to the rules and regulations of the law. These Jews thought they had to earn their salvation! God made it abundantly clear that no one ever earned their salvation, not even Abraham, and Paul was trying to tell them.

In the middle of Paul’s letter he exclaims, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” – Galatians 4:16

There are times in each our lives when we must feel what Paul may have felt when he was trying to teach these new Christians. When our friends make wrong choices and we wish to help, and they turn on us, not realizing that we wished only to spare them from harm.

No matter what happens or how a person reacts, when you speak the truth to them in love, you are never their enemy. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Even the Bible suggest that the truth hurts, but it tells us that it will set us free.

So my friend, don’t ever shirk from telling the truth to a friend when they need it. Be kind in the way you tell them, but if the truth is required, then give it. A doctor knows that telling a patient of his disease will “hurt” him, but he also knows that if they use the truth he gives, then they will  have healing.

You cannot control how a person reacts to the truth. They may reject it, but you should not withhold good when it is in your power to do it. Your duty is to love them. A misdiagnosis would make a patient feel better, but it is not love.

Telling someone the truth may feel like you’re becoming their enemy, but that is not the case. Sharing the truth out of love is only the work of a true friend.