Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
God Doesn’t Forget a Single Bird
On my way into work this morning, a bird darted in front of me. I heard it bounce off of my truck and in my rearview mirror; I saw it as it fell to the side of the road. The Lord immediately spoke to me about that little bird. He impressed it upon my heart that He had seen what happened and He was totally aware of it. My mind jumped to this verse:
“What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? … Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 TLB)
God doesn’t forget a single bird. God’s creation is valuable to Him. As a part of His creation, He is concerned with you and me. In fact we are His chosen vessels to complete His will on earth.
Sometimes we all feel as if we’ve been left out in the cold. We feel like God must have His attention elsewhere and He didn’t see that problem that came up or realize we needed a quick resolution. Just like that bird that darted in front of me, we often ask why God doesn’t intervene in our lives, why didn’t God make him zig instead of zag?
But of course God does intervene as we yield to Him.
God really does care about us. God really does see all the problems. God really is on the job, hearing our prayers and taking care of what we need.
We have to stay focused. We hear a variation of that all the time. The world says, “Just stay focused”, as if that will make our entire decision making process okay. Or they say, “Work through it,” as if all the poor choices we’ve made can be corrected by force of will. God wants us to focus on Him:
And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. (Luke 12:28-31 NLT)
He will give us everything we need if we make His kingdom our focus. We have to learn to rely on Him to take care of the issues in our lives. How many times have you tried to interject yourself in a situation fully intending on doing the right thing and yet it turns out so wrong? We always want to do things our way; and yet half the time that’s the very reason we’re in that position in the first place. Our free will is not free reign to wreak havoc. In fact, that’s what God is trying to get us to see — yield to Him and He will take care of you. Look at this verse:
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” (Psalm 91:9-16 NLT)
He will protect us, rescue us, be with us, answer us, honor us, satisfy us, give us long life and His salvation. If we make God our refuge and our shelter! We just have to trust in Him and he gives us all that. What a bargain!
Don’t fret. God sees all the little birds that fall by the wayside and He sees all you are struggling with today. He wants you to know that He loves you with His everlasting Love. He wants you to know that He alone knows all about you and every hope and dream you hold so dear. He alone knows the issues in your life. He alone knows the way it will all turn out but you must yield to Him. God’s plan is the best plan. His plan will make you skillful at His calling. His plan for you will enable you to go forward with confidence. His plan will prevail.
God wants to bless you right now. He is giving you strength for this day and hope for the future. He is giving you peace. Just receive all that He has for you! Rest in the fact that He is looking upon you with graciousness and favor. You are His beloved.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6: 24-26 NKJV)
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34NASB)
When a storm is on the rise, he starts to pace. My son can’t NOT worry when he sees there’s a storm headed our way. He wanders from room to room, checking the windows, peeking through the shades and repeating, “I’m not worried. Nope. I’m not the least bit worried.” We laugh and he continues to not worry.
Funny thing is, he weathered the six tornados that passed over our house in the early spring without a hitch. He was calm. At peace. The best explanation I can find is it’s the anticipation.
Anticipation is the pits. It’s also the land mind of lies. When anticipation starts, my son imagines all sorts of things that might happen. The more he imagines, the bigger the fear grows. He paces, waiting for the flood of horrible things to hit — the lies he’s conjured up in his own mind.
I can’t say much about him. I worry too. Things sometimes seep into my head I can’t excommunicate. They churn and swizzle until I find myself pacing the halls at 3:00 a.m.
I love Matthew and his recounting of Jesus’ instructions. The words, the instructions Christ left … should have put every worry we imagine to rest.
Don’t be self-righteous, pray in secret, give in privacy, care for the poor. Here’s how to pray, don’t store up earthly treasure, and more … so don’t worry. Don’t worry because God has your back. Jesus even gave us the perfect example — the birds don’t fret and yet they are fed.
If anyone had just reason to worry, it was Jesus. He didn’t know from day to day where His next meal would come from or if He’d be welcome in the next town He’d entered. He dined with sinners, protected prostitutes, walked among the deathly ill. Jesus had reason to worry. But He didn’t. Instead, He spent time teaching the people how not to worry.
There’s more to Matthew’s account of this teaching than meets the eye. When we search deeper we find it’s a matter of trust. Unfortunately, trust usually runs a distant second to anticipation and worry. It’s not the direction we head at the first signs of chaos. Instinct seems to point us in the opposite direction — it’s easier to worry than trust.
Psalms reminds us, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10 NASB)
Trust in the Lord. Easy words spouted but hard words lived.
Trust is hard. It requires real effort, real faith to stand in the belief God has things under control. Still, trust and worry walk hand in hand. The good news is, I know Christ and He lives in my heart. When I know Him, trust Him, my heavenly Father will not forsake me. In fact, He has yet to fail me.
My worries are nothing compared to the worries of others. But when I focus on them instead of looking to the promises of Jesus, the anticipation starts to gnaw away my foundation. How I wish I could be like the birds.
And so, the vicious cycle continues to spin. When I finally get dizzy enough, then I jump off the merry-go-round and land in the arms of a Savior who eagerly waits to hold me close.
These days, I’m working on bird watching with my son. We’ve added some new feeders by the pond so we can enjoy the beauty of the birds. Now, when I see my son’s anticipation growing, we stand in the doorway and watch the birds. If the feeders are empty, we take note how the birds scratch and pull at the ground, filling their bellies with things we cannot see. We’re learning to not worry and growing in confidence that tomorrow will care for itself.
Don’t let worry stall you. When you find yourself pacing, go bird watching. See if they worry.
“If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns . . .for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site.” – Genesis 23:8-9 NASB
As Abraham looked for a tomb in which to bury his wife, Sarah, Ephron offered to give him the cave of Machpelah. If Abraham was like many bargain-hunters today, he would have accepted this offer. But he had higher standards. He knew that the cave would only have value if he paid the “full price.” For Abraham wanted to make an investment in something that was important to him.
Unfortunately, some people do not understand the importance of value, in their attitude toward property, or even toward the things of God. They look for quick returns and cheap profit, for as little effort as possible. They make offerings that are not real sacrifices, or meaningful investments. Then, they wonder why they have not been blessed by Him.
The Bible reminds us of the importance of value, particularly in our relationship with God. Jesus said that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He warned us not to “store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Today, ask God to show you what you value in your life. Think about what you are doing with your time, talent, and treasure. Are you investing in the Kingdom of God, or in the pleasures of this world, or things that will not last? Make sure that you place your highest value on serving God. Make a sacrificial investment of real value in His Kingdom.
Dare to Believe God – Streams in the Desert – July 13
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
God… calleth those things which be not as though they were (Romans 4:17).
What does that mean? Why Abraham did this thing: he dared to believe God. It seemed an impossibility at his age that Abraham should become the father of a child; it looked incredible; and yet God called him a “father of many nations” before there was a sign of a child; and so Abraham called himself “father” because God called him so. That is faith; it is to believe and assert what God says. “Faith steps on seeming void, and finds the rock beneath.”
Only say you have what God says you have, and He will make good to you all you believe. Only it must be real faith, all there is in you must go over in that act of faith to God.
Be willing to live by believing and neither think nor desire to live in any other way. Be willing to see every outward light extinguished, to see the eclipse of every star in the blue heavens, leaving nothing but darkness and perils around, if God will only leave in thy soul the inner radiance, the pure bright lamp which faith has kindled.
–Thomas C. Upham
The moment has come when you must get off the perch of distrust, out of the nest of seeming safety, and onto the wings of faith; just such a time as comes to the bird when it must begin to try the air. It may seem as though you must drop to the earth; so it may seem to the fledgling. It, too, may feel very like falling; but it does not fall — it’s pinions give it support, or, if they fail, the parent birds sweeps under and bears it upon its wings.
Even so will God bear you. Only trust Him; “thou shalt be holden up.” “Well, but,” you say, “am I to cast myself upon nothing?” That is what the bird seems to have to do; but we know the air is there, and the air is not so unsubstantial as it seems. And you know the promises of God are there, and they are not unsubstantial at all. “But it seems an unlikely thing to come about that my poor weak soul should be girded with such strength.” Has God said it shall? “That my tempted, yielding nature shall be victor in the strife.” Has God said it shall? “That my timorous, trembling heart shall find peace?” Has God said it shall?
For, if He has, you surely do not mean to give Him the lie! Hath he spoken, and shall He not do it? If you have gotten a word — “a sure word” of promise — take it implicitly, trust it absolutely. And this sure word you have; nay, you have more — you have Him who speaks the word confidently.
“Yea, I say unto you,” trust Him.
–J. B. Figgis, M. A.