My neighbor said it's because I'm getting old, but despite the persecution I keep filling my bird feeders and enjoying watching the visitors coming to our tree. Yesterday I saw four rose-breasted grosbeaks at once, a bird I had never seen before. Rather than feeling old, I acted like a little kid excitedly telling others about their yellowish beaks, the red triangle on their chest, and the white patches on their wings that create a circular pattern when you see them flying from behind. They are migrating north for the summer so I may not get to see them for very long. In the Scriptures, birds flocking to trees is a double-edged metaphor. In some places it can represent the curse of judgment coming on people or nations (Genesis 40:16-19; Deuteronomy 28:26; I Samuel 17:46; Jeremiah 7:33; Revelation 19:21); in other places it pictures the promise of nations coming into the kingdom of God (Ezekiel 31:6; Daniel 2:38; Hosea 11:11; Mark 4:30-32). There are lessons to be learned in watching those birds.
With my mathematics background, black always means positive and for something to be "in the red" means it is negative. Think temperatures or the red ink of financial balance sheets. That then will explain my five minute pause every time I go to jump a car battery, where black and red mean just the opposite. The crossed wires in my mind make me scared I'll cross the wires.
Prepping for some preaching on the cross, and was moved by the simplicity of this penetrating question by Frederick Leahy: "If our meditation on the cross be meager, can our love for the Savior be great?"
Surely it has been said before, but in our parenting class in a discussion on the use of the rod it gave us a chuckle anyway. "If the quickest way to a man's heart is through the stomach, then the quickest way to a child's heart is often through the bottom." See Proverbs 22:15 for Biblical support.
Yet having said that, how often the children teach me. Our church is working on a "Building Beautification & Enhancement Plan," as our 1924 building is needing some serious attention to fix some problems and make it accessible to the disabled. One of the most glaring problems is that our stone steps out front are sinking and have large gaps in them. After announcing this on the Lord's Day morning, I was surprised and touched when later that day a young child came to me, dumped $6 or so in change on the table, said "This is for the steps," then just skipped happily away. May God grant all of us the spirit of a child.
Interesting how the Old Testament prophet Nahum used the meaning of his name in his message. Nahum means "Comfort" but, unlike the days of Jonah when she repented, there would be no comfort for Ninevah in her destruction: "Ninevah is devastated! Who will grieve for her? Where will I seek comforters for you?" Certainly Nahum was not one for Ninevah, though his message comforted God's people who had been afflicted by them.
As I concluded a message from Isaiah 49 on the incredible promises the Father made to the Son about spiritual children flocking into the kingdom of God, I gave the congregation a list of twenty means they could use this week to sow seeds in that expectation. Number 18 on the list was to "point out to someone a short YouTube video that succinctly captures spiritual truth in a compelling way." To that end, I share a video by Dr. Rich Ganz on God's holiness that is also on Tim Challies' website today (a great internet resource for spreading the kingdom). If we all share it with someone else, and find many other ways to sow abundantly, by God's grace that kingdom tree will fill all the more abundantly. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8d-yNW0ZuA&feature=player_embedded]