This is like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, but I had to try. There is so much more I could say on this chapter, but in an effort to be brief, I pray the Holy Spirit help you read between the lines. Take your time, and enjoy. Let the Holy Spirit reveal so much more than I have written. (And feel free to share your own if you have one.)
Posts Tagged With: Joy
Is this not a beautiful thought? Our ripples of love and life going forth? I hope you enjoy the article below. Taking it with you.
Just so you don’t think I’m a complete Ba-Humbug. My wife and I raised five children in a Christian home and when it comes to certain holidays we had to make some decisions. For example, Halloween. We taught our children it is a holiday dedicated to death, horror, fear, and a whole line of “curses” no one in their right mind would really want to have happen. We hold the same message on movies. Horror films are sick! A mind that wants to be “healthy” will avoid such horrible fantasy. We should pray every day that such horrible things never happen to people, so how can we justify it as entertainment?
A few times we helped out in Church parties offering a completely different message on Halloween. So our children had activity that night, and learned the truth. Now I had no plans of talking about Halloween at Christmas, but somehow the Holy Spirit wanted it said. Now as to Christmas. 🙂
Truth is the most important element. My wife and I enjoy a lot of the Santa Clause movies and Christmas music of the season, so how do we share these things with our young children and not cause confusion, a mixed message? I believe we found a way to tell them the truth and still not ruin the fun.
We told them that Santa Clause was a “GAME” that us “ADULTS” like to “PLAY” at Christmas. It is just a fun game, BUT JESUS IS THE REALITY! THE TRUTH AND NOT A GAME! And of course we celebrated Jesus as we opened presents and had family devotions with the real Christmas message.
Now children understand what it means to play a GAME. They also understand IMAGINATION, and to imagine is not the real thing. We feel this practice helped them to understand the difference between “fiction”, which can be fun, and “reality”, which is true. Our children grew up knowing we would always tell them the truth, they could trust us completely. Because we did not fool them into thinking Santa was real for the first several years of their life, we did not promote a lie but were HONEST with them, our children always knew Santa was just a fun game that we enjoyed every year, and JESUS was the reason our family was the way it was, not just on Christmas, but all year round.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND EXPLAINING TO YOUR CHILDREN THAT SANTA IS JUST A GAME WE ADULTS ENJOY PLAYING, AND WE WILL PLAY THIS GAME AND HAVE MUCH FUN, BUT JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE! 🙂
“Playing Your Cards Right” #4.
Which is it at your house, a Thanksgiving turkey… a Thanksgiving ham… or both?
I dare say for most of us, it is both. We have so much to be thankful for in this country. This is Thanksgiving day and everyone will be very busy with family and friends, just as it should be, but let us be careful that list reads: family, friends, and God. Let us be intentional about it.
In Series #2 we talked about the power of the attitude of gratitude. The Pilgrims knew what it meant to go hungry, I mean really hungry! Most of us do not. For all Priest of God, every day should be a day to play our Thanksgiving hand.
When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one came back to him and said: THANK YOU. Jesus asked, where are the other nine? That one ex-leper played his hand better than all the rest that day. He played his cards much more powerfully because he was truly grateful. The others may have thought they were grateful, but they were mostly just excited about how lucky they had just gotten. Too busy enjoying their new health to take the time to thank the One who had just given it to them. Nine out of ten failed the test that day. How do you like those odds? And I see that so often. God forgotten, or last of the list of everything else. Nine out of ten failing, but we are here to learn to play a better hand! Right? Praise God!
So today, lets play a better hand. Today, lets be truly grateful to our God. Lets love God, and love people, and love ourself like we are supposed to.
Now go, and play your best, most powerful hand. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 🙂
“The Little Bird that Couldn’t”
He couldn’t remember why or how.
All he knew was that he couldn’t… he could not flap his wings.
Yes, he had wings, but they would not flap! Yes, he could stretch them out, but they would not flap. This is the story of the little bird that couldn’t. Such a sad story in the beginning, but what a happy ending!
“What good are wings that will not flap?” asked the wise old owl seeking to help him.
“I do not know, sir,” he answered in despair. “I was hoping you could tell me.”
“Hmmm,” the owl considered, trying to find an answer full of wisdom, because that was the job of owls in the bird kingdom, to have wise answers. But alas, he could think of nothing.
So the little bird continued on, walking wherever he went. It was not the way of birds to walk, but it had been his way for as long as he could remember, and not even the wise owl could give him any hope, as he continued walking.
He did not know this land, for he had walked many weeks now. He missed home, even though it had been a cruel place where the other birds laughed at him. But he just wanted to fit in, have friends, and a place to belong.
They called him, Flapless. “Here comes ‘Flapless’!” they would yell.
“Hey Flapless! We’ve decided to hunt for worms in the far meadow over there! See ya when you get there, if we’re not too old! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” they laughed while flying away. Finally, he just kept on walking one day, and thus his quest began. Surely someone could help him find an answer, or at least a place he would be accepted and make his home, but for weeks now it had been one dreary mile after another, and nothing but disappointments, like the not-so-wise owl.
As darkness settled in for another night, he found a spot at the base of a large tree and snuggled up. Sometimes, as he slept, he actually dreamed about flying! It was a wondrous thing! Every night as he closed his eyes he said a little prayer that he might fly. But it was only a dream; and even those were far and few between. He was a sad little bird. His heart broke more every day while he longed for something that should rightly be his, but for some unknown reason, was not.
When morning came he ruffled his feathers, shook himself, and came out. Then he stretched his wings a far as he could and tried to flap! Still nothing. “Oh well, at least my legs work, I guess.” Then he pecked the ground and swallowed a large worm before pressing on with the quest.
It had been three days since his encounter with the owl, three long and silent days. He was tired of only hearing his own voice, and thinking his own thoughts. “I wish I had someone traveling with me,” he said out loud, but again, no one was there to answer back.
Now the land before him was changing and he had a choice to make. Ahead was a fork in the road with a big tree standing tall. He stopped at the tree and looked to his right. To the right he saw nothing but very tall mountains, and who knew what dangers might lurk there, because he had never been in mountains before, and so they were strange to him.
Now to the left the road continued with lovely rolling hills, green grass, butterflies, and pleasant travel, but to the right it looked rocky, dangerous, lonely, and perhaps even cold. The answer seemed obvious as he started veering down the left path.
“Are you sure you want to go that way?” a voice asked.
“What? Who said that?” the little bird asked while looking every way about, but seeing no one!
“I did,” the voice said again, and it came from the tree!
“Trees don’t talk,” he reminded himself. “Am I going crazy?” But he could not help but have a closer look. So he cautiously walked over to the big tree, stared up into its leaves, and feeling rather silly asked, “Pardon me, Mr. Tree, but did you say something?”
“No,” came the reply.
Now the little bird was very confused and startled! For obviously the tree had spoken to him, but said, No! So if the tree did not speak to him then he was not going crazy, because trees do not speak and “no” was the right answer, but how could the tree not be speaking if he heard it say, No? So he was crazy either way!
“What am I going to do, what am I going to do?” the little bird fretted. “My journey has driven me crazy!” Then he hyperventilated and passed out.
The next morning, as the little bird regained his senses, he was surprised to find he had lay there all night! And now the sun was rising for the new day! Was he still hearing voices? If he spoke to the tree would it answer him again? Was he still crazy?
Picking himself up from the ground he shook the lingering dew from his feathers. “Guess no harm done,” he said, I’m just a little damp around the edges.”
“So you are, my fine feathered friend,” the voice came again.
Immediately, the little bird’s heart started racing again, and his feet wanted to run away! But he did not look up into the big tree as he focused on calming his heart, for there must be a great mystery here, and the answer he wanted to know.
Slowly, very slowly, he raised his head and dared to look up. He still had questions. “Okay, Mr. Tree, if you are not the one speaking to me, then who is?”
“It is I, the Wind,” came the answer. “You hear my words as I move through the leaves of this tree, but I assure you, as everyone knows, trees do not talk. How silly that would be, right?”
The little bird took a big swallow as he gulped and said, “Ha! Yes! Of course! How silly that would be! Everyone knows that trees do not talk! But the wind does?” came his nervous half frightened question.
“Of course, silly, but only to those who hear me.”
“Of course,” the little bird weakly agreed. “And I am one of those, I guess, right?”
“You are now,” the Wind replied. “But it has taken several weeks for you to be so. Most people are too busy ‘inside’ to hear my voice. Your many weeks of walking has quieted your soul, opened your ears, and now you hear.”
“I see,” he answered. “Of course, it all makes sense now. I should have known. Right?”
“Exactly!” the Wind answered. “For has it not been foretold by all the great prophets?”
“Yes, I think I remember reading that somewhere? I’m sure I did.” The little bird paused for a moment, before asking, “So if I move from this tree, will I still be able to hear you?” “No. You’re not that good yet. Don’t flatter yourself. You really have a lot to learn.”
“Yes, you do,” the Wind confirmed. “Tell me, what is your name? For I have been watching you for weeks, but have not heard your name.”
The little bird hesitated. Whatever his real name had been, it had gotten lost in all the name-calling. Even his own brothers and sisters had called him various names once it was discovered he could not flap, but eventually one name stuck, and everyone began saying it, “My name is, Flapless,” he said, with his head turned down.
“Flapless?” the Wind repeated, as if pondering. “Ahh, you have been given a great gift. That explains a lot.”
“It does?” Flapless questioned.
“It does,” the Wind confirmed. “It explains why you hear my voice, and why you have been walking alone for so long that your soul became very quiet, so that you could hear me. Most people are so busy ‘flapping’ that they never really hear. Sometimes they pause for a moment thinking they heard something, but then they rush back to their flapping and never give it a further thought. But you, my little bird, cannot flap! And now you are beginning to hear.”
“Wow,” Flapless thought, “a great gift. But what does it mean? What can I do with this gift? I still wish I could fly. But he was afraid to speak any of these thoughts out loud.
“So, do you trust me, Flapless?” the Wind asked.
“Trust you? I hardly know you,” he answered.
“That is right, you hardly do, but you need to.”
“Why do I need to?” Flapless asked.
“Because I am ‘All-Knowing’,” the Wind answered.
Silence followed that final statement. Everything the Wind had asked, it asked for the benefit of the bird, for it knew all things, and had no need to hear any answers, only Flapless did.
PART ONE OF “THE ENCOUNTER” IS NOW IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, CHAPTER BY CHAPTER AND AVAILABLE TO YOU SIMPLY BY CLICKING ON THE “The Encounter I” button in the HEADER BAR!
The story of Dan and his spiritual evolution continues, however, Part Two of our story is now Dan writing his book: “The Little Bird that Couldn’t”. An Adult Story in Children Form. He hopes to capture this vision of living like an eagle soaring, rather than a sparrow flapping, in a metaphoric allegory that is a delight to read.
I highly recommend a person read “The Encounter I” before progressing to “The Encounter II” consisting of this story of a bird named “Flapless”. Nevertheless, “The Little Bird that Couldn’t” will stand on its’ own if a reader so desires.
I hope you enjoy this delightful story containing powerful spiritual truth. I do have plans for “The Encounter III” also, in which things will take another leap you won’t be expecting. CLUE > “Can we say holy cow, Batman?” ENJOY!!!
(P.S. Feel free to print and copy for ease of reading and sharing with others. All copyrights belonging to Don Allen.)
Dan had one last section in the book to read before his weekend ended, so after supper he locked himself away again. Tomorrow he would rise early to begin another workweek, and he wanted to be ready. Flipping open the book to where his marker was, he began reading the verse of scripture for the last teaching.
“He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalms 103:5 NLT)
From here the teacher began to explain how this was a Psalms that David wrote, a man after God’s own heart. David is praising and expounding about all the goodness of God, and then in verse five he suddenly makes a comparison to the eagle, and he says: “My youth is renewed like the eagle!”
“What did David know that perhaps we do not?” the author asked. “What does it mean for our youth to be renewed like the eagle? How is the eagle’s youth renewed? What does it mean, and how does that compare to us?” Dan paused to ponder the power of one’s youth being renewed. Again, powerful and supernatural stuff.
The story went like this. There was a young man and a ship’s Captain standing at the rail of a ship, watching the land go by. The Captain spotted an eagle perched high on a sunbathed cliff and pointed it out to the young man. Taking the binoculars, the man studied the bird. He could see his feathers looked old and some were falling out. There were bloody spots where the eagle’s talons should be, and its beak was bloody and beaten. The young man concluded that the eagle was old and on his way to dying. So he told the Captain of his conclusion, but the Captain said, “Not so,” and began to explain why.
“You see the eagle is a very different bird. When he begins to age, and his talons are growing dull, and his beak is no longer sharp, he has a choice. When his feathers have lost their youthfulness and no longer catch the wind as they did, he has a choice. He can choose to find a rock in the high places, one in which the sun will bathe down upon him, and he begins to molt. One by one all his feathers begin falling out. Then he takes his beak and pulls out those dull talons, leaving the bloody holes. Then he beats his old beak off on the rock, and there he is, helpless, defenseless, unable to eat, fasting, but his youth is being renewed. It has to be a very unpleasant experience, but the reward is amazing.”
The Captain continued, “If he makes the choice to go through this process, he can possibly gain another forty years of life. Brand new youthful feathers grow back. A strong razor sharp beak grows back, long sharp talons grow out again, and then one day the eagle’s youth has been renewed and he spreads those wings and launches out from the cliff ready to soar and hunt again. He is strong and vital, ready to live another forty years.”
The young man was amazed at this ability of the eagle. The author continued teaching, making comparisons as to what it means to be born-again in Christ. He also taught more about the first step of surrender, spending time with God, soaking in his Son, so our youth can be renewed in supernatural things. The taking up of our cross to follow Jesus, the denying of self, but Jesus said if we lay down our life for his sake, then we will find abundance of life. Those who seek to save their own life, will lose it. It’s a process, for those wise enough to chose it.
Dan closed the book and looked at his priority list he had written, the one entitled: “This is not my Home”. Then he bowed his head and thanked the Lord for this awesome life God had given. He had been living it all wrong, unaware of this other way of living. Starting tomorrow, things would be different.
The next day the alarm went off and Dan got up, but he did not rush off into his day…
Returning to our story, “The Encounter”…
Dan was anxious to share with Cathy what he had learned from “the book”. Her favorite food was steak, so as they pulled into the parking lot of her favorite steakhouse, Cathy’s mind was on food, but Dan’s mind was on food Cathy knew not of, much like when the disciples came to Christ and he told them he had meat to eat they knew not of. (John 4:32) Dan was going to order light, so he could talk while Cathy ate. He was looking more forward to this than a steak meal!
It didn’t take long to be seated, order drinks, salad, and meal. Some pleasant conversation about family and the things on Cathy’s mind preceded the arrival of her steaming hot juicy steak. She had had a chance to clear her mind in general conversation, but now Dan was ready to share his.
Cathy knew what this meal was actually about, and when her steak arrived, she said, “So, you were up most the whole night with ‘dad’s book’. What did you think of it, and, did it give you any ideas?”
“Honey, you have no idea. I feel like a new man.”
“Really?” she responded in interest.
“Yes,” he began. “We do not realize the power of actually putting God first. I never realized the ‘supernatural’ side of things. I’m a practical guy and supernatural always just sounded weird, to me. I don’t do ‘weird’ very well, but I’m telling you Cathy, we don’t know what we’ve been missing. I failed to understand the power of my priesthood in Christ.”
Cathy was quiet for a moment as she finished swallowing a delicious bite of the steak, but then asked, “What do you mean by that? I mean, we’re not actually pastors, or anything.”
“No, but every child of God has entered into a priesthood and it is powerful! ‘If’… ‘if’, they practice what God has provided. These spiritual sacrifices, as scripture calls them, actually open portals, dimensional portals, allowing God to move in your behalf. In other words, he goes before you and creates your way.”
“Hhmm, that sounds interesting, but what’s the catch?”
“Well, that is the big question, isn’t it. Here it is. You got to live with him. I mean, really live with him.”
Now Cathy was confused and Dan could see it in her eyes. “Alright, help me out here,” she began, “I know we will live with him after we die, but I don’t see how committing suicide would help our cause down here,” she ended with a chuckle, and a remark about how good her steak was.
Not deterred in the least, Dan responded, “Not suicide, but selficide.”
Cathy almost choked on her steak as she hurried to say, “What?”
“Yes, we’re like people looking for love in all the wrong places. We don’t understand how ‘surrender’ is not a breaking of our strength, but it is a ‘unity’ of purpose, like more strands of a rope being wound together, we actually become stronger, more powerful. And as our will unites with His, we begin to actually practice our priesthood, which opens powerful doors for God to flow. But there is a sacrifice to be made in order to live in the high places with God. These sacrifices will pay-off in the long run, but may be hard to see in the present, which requires a lot of faith. However, once you develop your eagle wings, you soon realize there is no greater way to live than in your priesthood with him. It is the difference between a life of a bunch of flapping… and soaring!”
Dan paused to read Cathy’s eyes again, he could see her curiosity and desire to understand, so he continued, “Take your dad, for instance. We were both confused by the direction he took with his life, and yet we had to admit he was happy and affecting people in a powerful way, even though we did not understand. I actually understand him now. I know what he means when he talks about being the hunter, and not the prey. I know what he means when he says he is on a mission for God, and downtown is his target. I understand where the joy is coming from in his life. Material things no longer mean much to him, he is having too much fun on his adventure with God, and the power of living in the high places. His spirit man has grown so strong that he is no longer dependent upon external things for happiness, his strength comes from within. The Kingdom of God is within him, and he is already living there, and then it flows out, affecting the physical world around him.”
Now it was time to let Cathy respond. He had already given her a lot to think about in a very short time. Cathy’s eating slowed, and she had questions. He explained to her what it meant to “wait upon the Lord”, and how the 3 P’s of Praise, Prayer, and Promises were powerful priesthood tools that can actually shape the fabric of their personal creation. In many ways they had “tied the hands of God”, and because of free-will, man was the only creation God allowed to do that, even as Christ allowed Roman soldiers to bind his hands on the day he was betrayed.
“Our sins, our lack of faith, our lack of discipline ties God’s hands and we begin to reap what we have sown, which is when we usually begin to look for God again. That is what has been happening to me, honey. And when I hit that black bird and saw him flapping in the road, dazed and unable to fly away? That is why I saw ‘me’, and I did not even realize it.”
The subject of surrender, love, and devotion; this is where the eagle lives.
Dan kept looking back and forth at the two pictures with the Pastor’s arms outstretched. One represented soaring like an eagle, and the other represented a life of sacrifice, the cross, and the two were interwoven like those cords of a rope spoken of in Isaiah 40:31.
In order to become one with the Spirit, the way an eagle soars upon a current of wind, there had to be a surrender, a breaking of the will. In this book, “Soar More / Flap Less”, the Pastor strongly expounded that the breaking of our will is not a breaking of our strength, but it is a unity of purpose, making us even stronger, like a rope becomes stronger as more cords are intertwined.
This is a process, the Teacher explained. It is a process leading to the high places, just like a stairway leads to the top floor of a building. But the first step, the crucial first step, involves a breaking, a surrender, a devotion, a falling in love, a giving to the Lord “FIRST PLACE” in your life. It is not that you do not have other things also, but the Lord is FIRST! And we develop a lifestyle of seeking FIRST the Kingdom of God. This is what the eagle has to teach us.
This staircase, although it starts at a very broken place, it leads to a very powerful existence, supernatural in nature. With God, it is the broken wings that soar! Paul wrote of this staircase, and explained that when he was weak, then was he strong! “Would you like to see this sacred stairway?” the Pastor asked. And then he said, “Turn to Second Corinthians, chapter seven and verse eleven.”
Dan was anxious to see this because he had already broken before the Lord. Circumstances, and his conscience had been pounding him for many months. The Holy Spirit had been working on him, to break him, for a long time now, and when he poured out his heart to God in prayer, he knew he had broken, and since the first step was already accomplished, he did not fear it, but already embraced it. Now, what might the second step be? And how many steps are there? His mind raced as he anxiously turned the pages of his Bible. He knew this book had it too, but he wanted to see it in his Bible first. So when he located it, he slowly began reading…
“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort,” The first step, Dan thought, the breaking step.
Second step, “what carefulness it wrought in you,”
Third step, “yea, what clearing of yourselves,”
Fourth, “yea, what indignation,”
Fifth, “yea, what fear,”
Sixth, “yea, what vehement desire,”
Seventh, “yea, what zeal,”
Eighth, “yea, what revenge!”
“Revenge?” Dan was shocked. “Revenge?” He did not understand. He could plainly see the steps of the stairway, and it fascinated him. He was already into steps two and three, a carefulness and clearing of yourself. And this top step did excite him! It was powerful, just as the Pastor had said. As a man, as someone who was a warrior at heart, the thought of it was very appealing, but where was a place for revenge in the life of a Christian? And yet, had not the Apostle Paul just spoke of it, and put it at the top of this very sacred and supernatural staircase? His mind continued racing. “Holy Spirit help me,” he prayed.
Dan thought about that last verse on the eagle, in Job. “Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.”
It was then that he thought he heard God speak to him in that very deep and personal way, like he had not heard in many months, but now was beginning to be restored. He was sure he heard the Spirit of God ask, “Will you be my spiritual Bounty Hunter? Will you live in the high places, and learn to kill snakes?”
Now Dan was both excited, and scared!
“They that wait upon the Lord…”, he pondered those words over and over in his mind as he stared out into the darkness. It was more than simply waiting on God. It was even more than being a servant, as in serving, waiting on, as to serve, it was more than that. It spoke of unity. It spoke of relationship. These were the ones who had found the secret place of power, a supernatural lifestyle mounting up with wings as the eagle. It was a falling in love with God!
Dan glanced at the clock again and saw it was 11:00 p.m. and not slowing down at all. Soon it would be the midnight hour. Now the Preacher was taking him to Psalms 91… “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High…” . Notice it does not say the “most-low”, the Preacher pointed out, we are talking about “high-places”, he said. He that “dwells” there, he emphasized. And then another supernatural promise, “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
The Teacher was driving his point home, scripture upon scripture. He was revealing an uncommon lifestyle, not ordinary, or even mortal, for eternity is already possessed by the born-again! This mindset. This vision affecting every decision made. Living in the high-places. Learning lessons from the eagle, no longer satisfied with the flapping lives of little sparrows!
Verse nine, “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; (Your home!)
Verse ten, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
Verse thirteen, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
Verse fourteen, “Because he hath set his love upon me, (God), therefore will I…” And Dan took note of every promise God made in the following verses, to those who set their love upon him, those who became one with him, those who made God their habitation! All of it was supernatural, and all of it would be done by God, not the Christian, but God would do the heavy lifting, a supernatural lifestyle fulfilling the picture of an eagle, Isaiah 40:31. The eagle flaps his wings to mount up, until he reaches a point of stretching out those powerful wings and God carries him!
The more he read the verses in Psalms 91, the more Dan was drawn to fall to his knees and pray before going on. So right then and there he broke before the Lord his God, and poured out his heart to his Creator, the lover of his soul.
When he finally rose from that prayer, it was midnight, a new day was just beginning. He felt like every care of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. He turned back to the book and saw the Preacher was now going to some verses in Job 39. Again, it was about the eagle. He had forgotten these verses were even there. He could not believe the incredible things God’s word had to say about the eagle, and what a picture it painted!
Dan was ready to press on now. He had unloaded the heavy burden of so many years of taking God for granted, living in a man-made lifestyle, ignoring the powerful blessings of his priesthood in Christ. “Never again,” he said, as he turned his eyes towards these very powerful scriptures in Job. “What exciting spiritual keys for living might these sacred words reveal?” He could hardly wait to find out.