Hummingbird Bully

Our hummingbird feeder was well used and needed refilling every 24 hours. It was fun to watch.

But then…

A hummingbird bully* appeared, chasing any hummingbird that tried to feed. After a day or two of raucous activity, the feeder now rarely has a hummingbird visitor. And those, not for long.

One web site counseled to enjoy the fight rather than the feeding.

Several other web sites said to have multiple feeders, some out of sight of the others.

I miss our hummingbirds.

This has also made me think about the dark side of humans. How often does someone destroy something, not wanting it for himself or herself, insuring no one can use it. Pride? Control? Envy? Greed? It definitely is easier to destroy than build.

Alas.

If anyone has a solution for hummingbird bullies, please let me know!

 

*A nicer web site called them “hummingbird-feeder-guardians.”

 

Course Correction

Flying

Once when we were on an instrument flight plan (a flight with a defined course and altitude, monitored by Air Traffic Control), I bumped the navigation device, changing the setting. And, instantly, we were on a flight path other than our assigned one. WHOOPS!

Air traffic control contacted us, we identified our (my) error, corrected it, and we were back on course.

If we hadn’t corrected our course, we would have ended up somewhere out in the Atlantic rather than where we wanted to go.

Our Christian Walk

And that is true in the Christian walk as well.

We can make a slight deviation from closely following the Lord, and end up in a wilderness.

Course Correction

The steps to correcting our Christian walk are similar to correcting our flight path.

One. We have a defined path, set out for us in the Word of God. (The instrument flight plan.)

Two. We fail to follow that path because we don’t know the word of God, from habit, from sin. (In our case, because I accidently changed the navigation instrument.)

Three. The Holy Spirit tells us we are off track. (Air Traffic Control told us.)

Four. We then have to agree we are off track, repent, and correct our course. (We corrected the navigation setting and rejoined our correct flight path.)

Our Responsibilities

We must determine to learn the Word of God and apply it to our lives.

We must pay attention.

We need a sensitive heart to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us about our lives.

When we learn we are off course, we need to

Stop!

Confess!

Repent!

Change course.

Prayer

Lord, please help us listen to You and follow closely. Please show us when we are off track, give us the determination to correct our course, confessing our sins, and changing our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Truth

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

Nine little words; three critical concepts.

Sanctify

We, Christians, have been saved from the power of sin. We are now being saved from sin’s power as we learn to walk according to the Spirit. Sanctification isn’t always comfortable because suffering is often the tool God uses to purify His children.

Truth, though, is a key to sanctification that requires some discipline, but not pain, unless it is hard for us to give up lies we believed.

Truth

Truth is a tool of sanctification. As our minds, hearts, hands, lives are characterized by truth, our minds are renewed.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12:2) (See also  Ephesians 4:23.)

God’s Word

The Bible is Gods’ word, the truth.

All truth is God’s truth (the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about everything), but anything that conflicts with what God has to say is false.

Our Discipline

Here are things we can do (should do) that contribute to our sanctification:

  • Study God’s word, daily, deeply, prayfully.
  • Throughout the day, think about what God is saying to you through His Word.
  • Identify your own thoughts and beliefs that are contrary to God’s Word, reject them, and substitute the truth.
  • Use your knowledge of the word of God in discerning people’s words and deeds, and in evaluating current events.
  • Walk in truth. Obey. Your obedience increases your growth.

Pray!

Lord, help us build up ourselves (Jude 20), faithfully learning and applying Your word. Help us see Your truth, distinguishing Your truth — true truth — from what we might think on our own apart from You, or from what others may assert that isn’t from You.

Whose Side Are You On?

The US civic scene is chaotic! Democrats versus Republicans. Strife within each party. Protests of all sorts, some violent. Demonstrations by different advocacy groups. Name calling. Insults. Aspersions on motives and character.

Inability (and/or unwillingness) to agree on facts. Different conceptions of where we should head. Diverse opinions on next steps.

Alas.

Whose side are you on?

Joshua wanted to know that too.

Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the Lord’shost said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.(Joshua 5:13–15)

The challenge for us, Christians, is to follow Christ. We need to determine what it means to love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves during this turbulent time.

Participation in politics or current issues may be the Lord’s path for you. Or not. If you participate, how you participate is critical. The essential is that our lives must reflect our standing in Christ.

If you look back over the last few weeks, where were your energies? Your thoughts? Are you okay with how much time you spent on current issues?  How did your words and actions line up with your beliefs? Did your beliefs influence your reactions? Are you okay with how much time and energy you devoted to the Lord?

Did you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did you love your neighbor as yourself?

What has my lord to say to his servant? (Joshua 5:14)

What does your Lord have to say to you?

 

Praise the Corner Stone

 

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, the perfect stone that controls the accuracy of a building’s angles and lines.

Behold, I [the LORD God] am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.(Isaiah 28:16)

Jesus was rejected and crucified

Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead … is the stone which wasrejectedby you, the builders.Acts 4:10-11

The resurrected Jesus Christ became the Chief Corner Stone

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’sdoing; It is marvelous in our eyes.(Psalm 118:22–23)

Christians are living stones, being fit in the building with Christ as the Cornerstone

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house [with Jesus Himself being the corner stone—Ephesians 2:19-22] for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(1 Peter 2:5)

Cornerstone or Stumbling block: People have a choice

Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, aprecious cornerstone, And he who believes inHim will not bedisappointed. This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the buildersrejected,This became the very cornerstone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” (1 Peter 2:6–8)

Praise the Corner Stone

Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You, the perfect Cornerstone, who sets the growing building of believers into a dwelling that glorifies God. And we praise You for being the cornerstone in each of our lives so that we may be set in proper alignment with You. Thank You that You never disappoint. Thank You for Your perfection. Thank You for the privilege of being a living stone in Your building.

You Are Adequate

God has made you and me adequate.

God … made us adequate as servants of a new covenant.(2 Corinthians 3:6)

He has given us  abundance for every good deed.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.(2 Corinthians 9:8–10)

So … do you feel adequate? Do you think you have an abundance for every good deed?

I don’t. You probably don’t either.

We know God’s Word is truth. But we don’t see ourselves as adequate or having abundance for good deeds.

This is a case of what is termed “Already-but-Not-Yet.” We already are saved. We already have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

The “Not Yet” part is that we are in the process of being saved from the power of sin (sanctification). We are in the process of learning to walk in the newness of life. We are being transformed into the image of Christ. We’re getting there, but we are not there yet.

Our adequacy is a truth, but it is also a process.  It is an example of “Already- but-Not-Yet.”

Already

We are saved (John 3:16)

We are children of God

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.(John 1:12)

We have access to God’s throne (Hebrew 4:16)

The Holy Spirit lives in us

The Holy Spirit who dwells in us …(2 Timothy 1:14)

Christ is praying for us (See Jesus is Praying for You)

The Holy Spirit is praying for us (See The Holy Spirit is Praying for You)

We have God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

But Not Yet: We Must Become More Adequate

Pray! We can approach God with confidence. In order to serve Him and meet our challenges we must pray.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

Rely! We are not adequate in ourselves, so we must learn to rely on God and not ourselves. Be humble.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.(2 Corinthians 3:5)

Learn! God’s grace is sufficient. When we don’t rely on ourselves, when we know we’re weak and He is strong, we learn His awesome power.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.(2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

Grow! We must grow in the knowledge of God. Knowing His Word, the Bible, is key. Determine to study the Bible regularly and deeply.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Praise God

For the opportunities He gives us to serve Him,

For the challenges He gives us to rely on Him,

For the grace He gives in abundance.

 

A New Name

A New Name

You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).(John 1:42)

The gospels and Acts show Simon’s development into his new name, including times of failure when the Lord again called him “Simon.” (See John 21:15-17)

Our New Name

We also are growing into a new name that will be given to us in heaven.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.(Revelation 2:17)

Our Growth

Our growth into a new name started when we came to saving faith in Christ.

1. New Creatures

We, Christians, are new creatures

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.(2 Corinthians 5:17)

2. Being Transformed

We are being transformed

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.(1 Corinthians 6:11)

3. Learning to Walk

We are learning to walk after Christ

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.(Ephesians 4:24)

and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—(Colossians 3:10)

4. God is Working on Us

God will keep working on us until the day of Christ

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1:6)

Be Encouraged

What encouragement! We are not like we were before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. God is working in us, making us ready for our new names.

Hallelujah!

 

 

Waiting for the Cloud to Move

Waiting for the Cloud to move

When the Israelis were delivered from Egypt, a pillar of fire followed them and a cloud led them. When the Cloud stopped, they made camp and they did not move again until the Cloud did.

Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.(Exodus 40:36–38)

God made it clear He was with them, when to stop, and when to move.

How long did it take to break camp? How long did it take to set up the tabernacle and then ready it for a move? Was there any warning?

Since they didn’t know how long they would be at that location, what did they do?

Are you waiting for the Cloud to move?

There are similarities for us. My mom was ready to move to a retirement home about six years before my dad was ready. He wasn’t ready until the sprinkler system broke! She had to wait.

And you are or have been in a season you knew would end but didn’t know when. Maybe your house is for sale. Maybe you are on an (endless) waiting list for something.

As a believer, know for sure that God is with you. If you are sensing the need to move, pay attention. If you aren’t being told to move, wait.

How do you wait?

Surrender the timing to the Lord.

Thank Him for your situation, knowing that He is working. He is giving you a rest period. He is teaching you. He is giving you a place of service.

Be ready when the cloud moves, but until then, strive to live each day in the newness of life. Redeem the time.

Don’t start taking down the tabernacle until the Lord directs!

But then

But, then, move, and wait for the Cloud to stop…

Praise our Banner

Banners

The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics feature athletes proudly displaying their countries’ flags.

The ongoing conflicts we see on the news—both domestic and international—display flags/banners carried by various parties. We can now readily identify the flags and goals of various groups.

If you are caught in a demonstration, you can judge which way to move by the banners you see.

Yahweh is our Banner

Eternally important is that for us, believers, our flag, our banner, is our Lord.

Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner [Yahweh-Nissi].(Exodus 17:15)

Our Salvation

When we came to saving faith in Christ, we were placed under God’s Banner. We became part of His army, one of His possessions.

And I [Jesus], if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. (John 12:32) (See also Numbers 21:8-9)

Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal [NLT: banner of salvation] for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.(Isaiah 11:10)

Our Identity to Display. Our Protection to Claim

You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth. That Your beloved may be delivered. (Psalm 60:4–5)

And His Declaration of Love

And his banner over me is love.(Song of Solomon 2:4)

~~~

Praise Our Banner

God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we praise You for revealing Yourself as our Banner. We praise You for drawing us to Yourself, for placing us under Your Banner, making us Your own. We praise You that You show us Your direction, protect us through Your infinite power, and lead us to Your presence. Please help us understand You as our Banner, help us display Your holiness, and lead us in ways everlasting.

 

 

The Holy Spirit is Praying for You!

Leonid Regheta Facebook Post

The Holy Spirit is Praying for You!

The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He [God the Father] who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He [the Holy Spirit] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Romans 8:26–27)

Are you worried whether you have the resources to successfully fight the battle you’re in? Do you know you need help? Do you want the “big guns” on your side?

The Holy Spirit is praying for you!

Jesus Christ is praying for you! (See Jesus is Praying for You!)

We don’t always know what to pray for. A non-specific “HELP!” is often my first thought. But the Holy Spirit knows exactly how to pray. And He is praying even when we don’t.

We are weak in fighting our spiritual battles. The Holy Spirit is God, all powerful, infinitely wise and He is praying for us.

We are guaranteed glory, and the intercession of Christ, our Advocate, and the Holy Spirit, make that sure.

If we lose a specific battle, we have an Advocate (1 John 2:1), and we have a promise of forgiveness when we confess (1 John 1:9). Going forward, both Christ and the Holy Spirit are praying for us.

Rejoice, believer, and know your immense privilege of God the Son’s and God the Holy Spirit’s prayers for you.

Hallelujah!