Jeweled Chicken Sandals
Diane Virginia, Author, 1.cbn.com
“Mom, I fed the chickens. Here’s your sandals back,” my daughter said.
“Back?” I tried to hide my dismay, “You wore the jeweled ones?” The odor rising from the pleather revealed the answer.
“I just borrowed them quick.”
I glanced at my jeweled sandals. As pretty as they were, they now had a designated purpose. I would use them when I fetched eggs or cared for my hens. My jeweled sandals were now the purtiest’ chicken sandals I’d ever owned. They stank. Bad stank. Invading the kitchen stank. I dropped the sandals outside, closed the door, and blew my nose.
As unusual as it may seem, I knew my daughter’s quick grab happened for a purpose. It reminded me I am called to holiness. The Apostle Paul writes,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 KJV)”
This verse reminds me that in the spiritual realm I am called to keep out of the chicken coop. But there’s more…
Because I’ve been trapped in the coop before, this reminds me to help my friends. We need each other. When I think of how often I’ve gotten trapped inside the coop, and proceeded to walk wherever I willed until someone extended a hand of mercy to me, this makes it easy to extend a helping hand. 1 Peter 2:10 reads,
“Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (KJV)”
God puts us in a spiritual family, and I choose to be available when my friends are needing prayer, a hand up, or just a listening ear so they can work through a chicken coop situation.
The Bible is infallible. Every answer is in the Book. But I am called to have more than head-knowledge — I am called to have a vital relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ. As I cultivate a relationship with Jesus, I become like Him. As I spend this time with Him, He tucks the gift of love inside my person.
I’ll never arrive, this side of heaven, even though I want to be completely holy. But I know every moment I spend with my Jesus is cleansing. He is the One I can count on to create in me the holiness I desire as I rest in His presence, read and meditate on His Word, and receive His love. I cherish these times with my Lord.
Every time I wear my jeweled chicken sandals, I’ll be reminded of three spiritual truths:
- I am called to stay out of the coop,
- I need to be available to rescue friends who are in the coop, and
- I am my best self when I maintain a vital relationship with Jesus.
Father God, help me to live a life that is pleasing to You by following Christ.
Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! — James 3:9-10
I’d been having huge, grumbly blowups. Mostly on Fridays. It was not pretty. This had been my worst day for grumbling in a long time. Friday was the end of a long week, and the house was always a disaster. On Thursdays we had therapy all day, followed by me serving at the teen mom support group at night. I usually came home exhausted, got the kids in bed, then collapsed into bed myself. Reality would hit on Friday when all the mess from Thursday (and typically days before that) displayed itself in unrelenting, grubby chaos.
One day frustration rose within me as I surveyed the house.
“Whose shoes are these? Why is leftover food from last night still on the table? And why is there dirty underwear by the back door?”
The children jumped to attention. They rushed around picking up things, and I could see on their faces they didn’t want to do anything that would make me more upset. Too bad even their frenzied cleaning didn’t work to calm my spirit. I ranted for at least ten more minutes, pointing out scattered toys and each offending piece of crumbled paper, and then, as if I could see a projection of myself in my mind, the reality of how ugly I was being filled me with shame. I paused and glanced around. By this point my kids were yelling at each other. I’d effectively spread around my bad attitude.
It’s Friday… learn to deal with Friday. The thought filled my mind, causing me to still my other thoughts.
Friday came after a long week of homeschooling. Friday came after a long day of running and serving. And why did it make me so upset? Because by Friday I was physically weary. Would it be possible to greet Friday, flaws and all, and just accept it? Or maybe even prepare for it — and conquer it without grumbling — as I had previously encouraged my kids to do? It’s not as though I didn’t understand what triggered me or made me upset. And that’s when the bracelet caught my attention. We had made them to remind our family not to grumble. I can do all things through Him. That meant Fridays too.
By the time we gathered around the table to start our homeschooling day, my kids were somber. No one wore their typical smiles, and I knew I had to seek forgiveness.
I cleared my throat. “Mommy didn’t do a very good job today. My grumbling got out of control. I didn’t act nice. I didn’t control my tongue. And the Bible talks about this.” I opened my Bible to James 3:2 and read,
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. — NLT
“The Bible says that?” Grace looked surprised.
“Yes, it does. I didn’t do a very good job controlling my tongue this morning. Will you forgive me?”
“We forgive you,” their voices called out.
That was one thing about my kids. When I did mess up and ‘fess up, they were usually quick to forgive.
“I didn’t do a good job of controlling my tongue,” I continued. “And do you know how hard it is to actually tame it? The Bible talks more about it. Listen to this.” I turned back to where I’d been reading.
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! — NLT
I paused and lifted my head. “That’s James 3:2–10.”
“No way!” Fifteen-year-old Maddie’s jaw dropped toward her chest. “The Bible really says that? I don’t believe it.” She extended her hand, motioning me to put my Bible into it. I did. She found the passage and her eyes grew wider. “Wow, it really does say that.”
“Yes, and what do you think all that means?”
“Our tongues are hard to control?” Ten-year-old Sissy posed it like a question.
“That’s right. Good job listening.”
“If you don’t watch what you’re saying, you can end up in the middle of troubles,” Maddie said.
“When we’re grumbling, what are we not doing?” I asked.
“Praising!” they all said at once.
“Well, now we’re going to praise together. I’m going to read a few lines of this verse, and you tell me what you notice.” Then I read Psalm 136:1-3 to them.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Alexis waved her hand. “Oh, after each part it says, ‘His love endures forever.’ ”
“Yes, exactly. And it does that through the whole chapter — all twenty-six verses. So I’m going to read the first part aloud, and you all say the second part aloud. Got it?”
They all nodded, and I began. I read through the whole psalm, and after each verse they said, “His love endures forever.” As we continued my heart swelled with joy. Tears rimmed my eyes to hear my children praising God in unison, and I began to wonder why I hadn’t done this more often. I also wondered why I had let Fridays take such a hold of me.
It was amazing, really, what could happen when I was willing to humble myself, explain how hard it was to control one’s tongue, and then encourage my kids to turn to praise instead. It didn’t just change the moment. It changed the day.
I looked down to my bracelet again. Yes, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Comfort for the desponding
“Oh that I were as in months past.” Job 29:2
Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 4:11-20
There is such a thing, my dear friends, as your getting into a terribly bad condition through the ministry that you attend. Can it be expected that men should grow in grace when they are never watered with the streams that make glad the city of our God? Can they be supposed to grow strong in the Lord Jesus, when they do not feed on spiritual food? We know some who grumble, Sabbath after Sabbath, and say they can’t hear such and such a minister. Why don’t you buy an ear-trumpet then? Ah! But I mean, that I can’t hear him to my soul’s profit. Then do not go to hear him, if you have tried for a long while and don’t get any profit. I always think that a man who grumbles as he goes out of chapel ought not to be pitied, but whipped, for he can stay away if he likes, and go where he will be pleased. There are plenty of places where the sheep may feed in their own manner; and everyone is bound to go where he gets the pasture most suited to his soul. But you are not bound to run away directly your minister dies, as many of you did before you came here. You should not run away from the ship directly the storm comes, and the captain is gone, and you find her not exactly sea-worthy; stand by her, begin caulking her, God will send you a captain, there will be fine weather by and by, and all will be right. But very frequently a bad minister starves God’s people into walking skeletons, so that you can tell all their bones; and who wonders that they starve out their minister, when they get no nourishment from his ministrations.
For meditation: God provides leaders to build up his people so that they can go on to build up one another (Ephesians 4:11-12). The absence of the leader will show whether the flock can stand on their own feet in the Lord (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 2:5).
Streams In The Desert
Take the arrows… Smite upon the ground. And he smote twice and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times (2 Kings 13:18-19).
How striking and eloquent the message of these words! Jehoash thought he had done very well when he duplicated and triplicated what to him was certainly an extraordinary act of faith. But the Lord and the prophet were bitterly disappointed because he had stopped half way.
He got something. He got much. He got exactly what he believed for in the final test, but he did not get all that the prophet meant and the Lord wanted to bestow. He missed much of the meaning of the promise and the fullness of the blessing. He got something better than the human, but he did not get God’s best.
Beloved, how solemn is the application! How heartsearching the message of God to us! How important that we should learn to pray through! Shall we claim all the fullness of the promise and all the possibilities of believing prayer?
—A. B. Simpson
“Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
There is no other such piling up of words in Paul’s writings as these, “exceeding abundantly above all,” and each word is packed with infinite love and power to “do” for His praying saints. There is one limitation, “according to the power that worketh in us.” He will do just as much for us as we let Him do in us. The power that saved us, washed us with His own blood, filled us with might by His Spirit, kept us in manifold temptations, will work for us, meeting every emergency, every crisis, every circumstance, and every adversary.