Recently, I heard someone tell a story which is said to have originated in Japan; it is the story of the hummingbird:
One day, there was a huge forest fire, and all the creatures of the forest: ants, bears, birds, caterpillars, deer, elephants, insects, lions, raccoons, snakes, spiders, squirrels, turtles…and all kinds of creatures of the air and of the ground ran out to the edge of the forest and stared back in horror at the raging flames.
“What are we going to do?” the bear asked, but there was no response. All the animals just stood staring at the red, hot, menacing tongues of fire, mute with shock!
Have you noticed lately, that everyone seems to be telling (selling?) their story? From sunrise to sunset, someone is trying to get our attention through one of the many forms of media that we all choose to interact with. The airwaves are packed 24-7-365. Every storyteller insists that their story is the most captivating with an important lesson for the listeners.
Have you ever wanted to know God’s will? Well here is one instance (and there are many), where the Bible makes God’s will crystal clear. It is God’s will that the believer should give thanks in all circumstances, for this is his God’s will in Christ Jesus. The believer gives thanks, not because the situation is good, but because it is God’s will. It means giving thanks in the hard times, as well as in the good times.
Has God been speaking to you? That’s a question that many believers wrestle with from time to time. How can one know when it is God and when it is just a personal desire or dissatisfaction or something else? How can mortal, flawed and sinful human beings identify the voice of a divine and infallible creator whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)? I don’t know how, but I know it is possible and I know that it does happen, because of God’s love for humanity, and his love covers a multitude of sins (John 3:16).
What would you do if someone asked you the same question three times? This is exactly what happened to Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me?” as though to say, this is of utmost importance Simon. It is a question that is equally important and relevant for us today. In the midst of a world filled with God and truth deniers, there is urgent Kingdom work to be done. In the midst of a great falling away, Jesus is once again asking as he did back then, “Do you love me?” If so, then, “Feed my sheep.” And this is love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
In 1864, while the American Civil War was still being fought, three young women, Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller and Elizabeth Myers began the custom of decorating soldiers’ graves at a cemetery in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. They wanted to recognize the contributions of these brave soldiers from the village who had paid the ultimate price. Today it has become customary to decorate graves with flowers as a sign of our deep affection for those who sacrificed their lives for us, and for those whose lives have touched ours.
Do you live in a state of constant expectation that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says, he will do? This appears to be the way the disciples in Acts 9:37-38 lived. In the face of what most humans would consider IMPOSSIBLE, they exhibited outrageous faith; the kind of faith that anticipates the inevitable intervention of the Almighty God. The kind of faith that is completely surrendered to the will of God, whatever that may be. They displayed the kind of faith that invites ridicule.
Leon Morris, a New Testament scholar, once said: “There is no point in accepting Christian teaching if we refuse to let it shape our lives.” The writer of the book of James is more direct. He says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22). And yet believers around the world have turned their backs on doing the word. Instead of letting God’s word shape our lives, we have allowed the influences of our world to shape us.
Where do you turn to in times of trouble? It’s quite a revelation to watch little children interact with their parents. Whenever a little child is in distress, that child will turn towards a parent and look up with lifted arms, expectantly waiting to be picked up and comforted. In such a case, the parent’s most eloquent response is to bend down, pick the child up and hold them close to reassure them. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s love.