MANNA FROM MY FATHER’S HAND # 10
(Originally posted 7/7/2023)
Link to Part 2
STONE OF HELP (Part 1)
We have, in so many ways, become corrupted. As a nation (in the USA, at least, and surely elsewhere as well), as representatives of “the Church” in our society, in our families, in our own lives… We need HELP from above. Lord, may we cry out to You and have our eyes fixed on You as we stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation.
This past couple of weeks have been personally very full and busy for me. Many word pictures have been whispered to my heart through life and the Word. Trusting the Lord to make sense of it all and express whatever He would speak to those who will read this.
Several recent experiences have served to turn my attention to the gentleness and enduring presence of the Living God. He deeply ministered to my heart while doing some preparation for introducing an old hymn (Come Thou Fount) to our church body this past Sunday, in hopes of helping those in the congregation gain a deeper understanding of the profound lyrics. Intermingled with that were some recent sweet moments with the Lord when He whispered love to my heart using simple “coincidences” involving natural occurrences.
The point of all this? Well, I’m trusting the Lord to pour out something to minister to YOUR heart. He has already ministered to mine (about His abiding presence, encouragement and how He watches over us), and if any of that can be shared, well, hallelujah! So, here goes….
Funny how when Jesus was about to enter Jerusalem before his last pre-resurrection week on earth, as He was being rebuked by the Pharisees for allowing His followers to cry out (words from Psalm 118:26, a very Messianic passage) in praise of Him and all He had done (Luke 19:37-44), He said (in verse 40): “I tell you … if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Have you ever sensed the stones were crying out His praise? How about the wind? (Psalm 104:4 NIV) “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.”
Such beautiful poetry, and sometimes the Holy Spirit makes such things tangible so our physical eyes and ears can sense them. The scriptures include accounts of His creatures doing His bidding often. Such as the dove (the Holy Spirit) that descended on Jesus during His baptism (John 1:32-34; Matt 3:16-17).
Another very poignant one was the donkey that literally spoke to Balaam in Numbers 22:28 (see all of chapter 22 to get the whole context). Balaam was asked to curse Israel, but God would not allow the prophet to do so. Sadly, he later did provide the way (largely through encouraging the surrounding peoples to get them ensnared in sexual sin and idolatry) for Israel to be corrupted, and in 2 Peter 2:15-16, Balaam’s legacy was still having an impact on the Church through false teaching and corruption (and sadly, does so to this day as well).
Another example in 1 Samuel 6:10-12 (which will be discussed later) is the account of the two cows that brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Israel after it had been captured by the Philistines. (I ran across this when studying out the “Come Thou Fount” hymn.)
So often animals, birds and even rocks have done the bidding of their Creator, quite naturally, without needing to be told twice it seems.
THE BIRDS OF THE AIR
Recently, there have been several precious moments in my life where His “birds of the air” have caused my eyes to look up to Him and smile. Such “coincidences” often serve to undergird my hope and faith, even though they would likely be missed by most people, and perhaps seem trivial to others. They may have been simple happenstance, but to me, they were like “love taps” from the Awesome One Who sees us, even when we are totally unaware.
The first little bird that showed up unexpectedly was when I was about to finish creating the “Painter of the Heavens” video that I published recently, in memory of my father who passed away earlier this year. My father absolutely loved wrens (especially Carolina Wrens, but all of them have beautiful songs and are sweet little birds). So, while I had been creating footage for the video, we happened to have some wrens nesting on our property, so they would sing happily each morning (and the birds that are in the background of that video’s audio are mostly those very wrens singing–probably House Wrens).
So, as I was wrapping up putting the video together one morning, getting ready to take some pictures of my Dad’s artwork to include in the video, I was a bit stunned to look out the window, with a humming bird at our feeder (another bird that often whispers of the Holy Spirit’s love to me), and on the rail of the deck, a wren was sitting there singing his little heart out. I took my phone over next to the window to see if there might be a way for me to possibly take a picture of this sweet moment with both birds, but knew any move would scare them away. I don’t know how it happened, but I must have held up my phone as if to take a picture, and suddenly realized that a picture HAD been snapped, even though I hadn’t meant to click the phone to do so.
Couldn’t believe it had happened, that the moment had been captured, without me even being the driving force. That moment was so tender, that I took that picture, zooming in on the little wren, and used it in the actual video. So if you see a random little blurry picture of a wren at the 2:15 time mark in the “Painter of the Heavens” video, that was THAT wren who came to visit me:). I’ll post the complete picture here so you can see (Most likely in a post above this one, with other pictures mentioned in this blogpost). Of course you have to zoom in to see the birds at all. The humming bird is unfortunately on the opposite side of the feeder, so it’s just barely visible. Hmmmmm. Just struck me. Sort of like the Lord sometimes. We KNOW He’s there, but we can’t quite see Him….
The other precious moment was during a recent mini-concert I gave down at Ocean Grove, NJ, right on the boardwalk in their Pavilion (BTW, thanks for those who prayed for me prior to that event:). Hopefully, I will soon be able to get some of the footage of that day posted as a video, and you’ll again be able to “see” the reality of this moment (so keep an eye out for that video;). And if possible, I’ll link to it from this blog post once it’s available.
I was singing mostly hymns, and while singing “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, it became noticeable that a little bird was singing along with me, almost on cue with the words of the song. If you watch the video, you’ll see the moments of blessing, as I would stop the music to listen to him sing so beautifully. Didn’t even know if anyone in the audience had heard him, but yes, indeed, his little song can be heard in the video footage. So very sweet and comforting. Know, dear fellow traveler on the path of Life, that His eye is on YOU, your way is NOT hidden from Him. He is the God Who sees you…. (Genesis 16:13)
Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV):
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
The final little creature-servants of our King (adding to my story) became apparent during a quick trip I took during last week with some family members. Won’t go into extensive detail (how much time DO you have?;)
Suffice it to say, one of our group was having a difficult time, and I chose the room I stayed in to be in close proximity to her in case she needed help. Her mother was also staying close by. On the mourning we were to leave, praying in my room, the cooing of a morning dove became very noticeable, quite loudly, enough to make me look out my window. I then saw it, a nest of mourning doves RIGHT outside my window nestled close by on the downspout on the right side.
I love mourning doves so much, because they remind me of Jesus in many ways. Once we had a pair that nested right outside our kitchen door, so I knew their routine well. The male and female parents take turns every morning and evening, cooing to each other to call the other parent and to switch places in guarding over the chicks.
I knew that the cooing on this morning was probably around the time of the “changing of the guard”. I called in the girl’s mother I mentioned above so she could witness this sweet little moment. As she looked out the window, the moment of the changing of the guard was happening, with both parent birds being present as the one relieved the other. Soon, that moment passed and the new parent took over.
It all happened so quickly, I tried to raise my phone up to capture it, but the light on my phone was too low and the pictures didn’t come out well… Later, I turned up the screen light so I could see better, and caught a couple quick videos of the mama or papa bird feeding the chicks. (One is posted at the bottom of this blogpost). Precious moment indeed.
Later that day, a few of us were taking a brief walk, and I asked if we could go outside the building we were in and see the nest from outside, so we walked back there. Indeed the birds’ nest could be clearly seen from that vantage point. What ALSO came into view was that on the OTHER side of my window was a HUGE wasp’s nest!
The birds didn’t seem flummoxed at all by it. If I had known it was right outside my window, it might well have caused ME concern!
The birds’ presence was such a blessing in and of itself. As I pondered this picture from the outside vantage point, it echoed in my soul that God is ever present, encouraging and nourishing us. At the very same time, our enemy “…prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
The evil one would gladly derail any one or all of us completely if the opportunity arose. As he is largely unable to do THAT (because Jesus guards over us way more effectively than those beautiful little doves guarded their chicks), he is more than happy to simply corrupt us, get us off track and keep us from being effective.
Let us turn our eyes to Him, stay focused, and as needed, confess where we have turned aside, get back on the straight and narrow Path of Life and head toward the destination He has marked out ahead of us.
To be continued, following after those cows I mentioned earlier….