The Bee and the Birdbath

 

old birdbath

“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

In my travels, I visited a small butterfly garden that was part of a larger botanical garden. The butterfly garden consisted of a pathway lined mostly with flowering plants and shrubs and with an occasional decorative accessory, such as a bench or a birdbath. While passing one of the birdbaths, I noticed an insect floating on the small amount of water that had accumulated in it. On closer inspection, I determined that it was a small honeybee. The poor thing had somehow become stuck upside-down on the water and was barely moving. I watched as what appeared to be its final minutes were running out. If others had passed by then, they probably would not have noticed or cared about the helpless bee. But I could not bear to just let it die in such a sad, helpless state. So I picked up a nearby leaf, carefully scooped up the straggler, and gently placed it right-side-up on a raised area of the bath. I figured that it could at least have a short time in a dry, sunny place before its demise. When I returned about thirty minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised to find that its weary self had apparently not only dried out, but also recovered enough to fly away!

This incident may seem insignificant, but God, throughout history, has done this innumerable times with each of us.

Just when we thought our life was about at an end, He reached down, picked us up, and placed us on dry land. He cares for us so much that He is willing to reach down and pick us up from our lowest moments in life, if we will let Him.

Yet, even in such a desperate moment as this, we often refuse because of pride, and even curse God for trying to help us. We believe we can make it on our own. We think, “I don’t need anyone’s help; I am on the verge of reviving” (while actually moments away from drowning). But God sees the big picture, and He desires to rescue us. In fact, He sent His beloved only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.

birdbath nested in plants

Because of our sins (our wrongdoings against God), God’s law was broken. It therefore demanded that the penalty be paid: death. And it was not just to be death and the grave here on Earth, but death eternally in Hell (a place of perpetual torment).

According to God’s law, the only way out of this was through the sacrifice of an animal as our substitute. An innocent, spotless lamb was required to be sacrificed in our place. But this was only a temporary means; there was no way that we could ever pay the price ourselves to be saved from eternal death.

It’s like trying to rise up to a great height by lifting ourselves up with only our bare hands. That’s why God sent His Son, who willingly came down as a human being, to be the perfect, innocent, and sinless sacrifice for all of our sins. This fact was witnessed in the book of John, chapter 1, verse 29: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. That includes sins from the first sin of Adam to the sins of a future generation not even born yet!

Jesus fulfilled all of the requirements of God’s law (but did not eliminate it) through His sacrifice on the cross. When He died, He broke the chains of eternal death and our sentence to Hell forever.

And He set free all of those, prior to His death, who had offered up the temporary covering of the blood of the sacrificed lamb.

Our sin has ultimately left us like that bee in the birdbath, hopelessly struggling to live on borrowed time, or even dying. To say that you have more time, or that everything is fine, or that it will all work out all right in the end, is like saying that, because today is sunny and clear, every day is going to be sunny and clear from now on—when actually an inevitable and deadly storm is on its way straight toward you. You are not able see the big picture that God sees. All God wants you to do is to admit that you have sinned against Him, and believe that Jesus died for your sins on the Cross, which paid the tremendous price that you owed. Ask for His forgiveness now, and let Him work inside of you. Let Him reach down and pick you up!

 If you need help with what to say to God, click here for more.

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A Tool Yielded

collection of antiques

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Tim. 2:19-21

When was the last time you used a tool? If you are like many individuals, you would probably say it was when you repaired _______ [fill in the blank] with a screwdriver, hammer, wrench, saw, etc. a few days, or weeks, or even months ago. Yet many do not realize that they actually use tools all the time. As I type this illustration, I am using a tool commonly known as a computer; even the keyboard I am typing on is a tool. When you looked at your social media site today or called someone, you probably used another common tool—a cell-phone (or mobile phone).

When you write something, whether it is with a pen, pencil, marker, crayon, or the stylus on a smart phone, you are using a tool. If you are cutting carrots, mixing together a cake batter, sawing a tree, laying asphalt for a road, or sewing on a button, you are again using a tool (or multiple ones).

old pipe wrench

When you give your heart to Jesus and establish a personal relationship with Him, you are allowing God to use you as His tool. This means that you need to yield to Him for the best results. Since man-made tools are inanimate objects, when you use a tool for the purpose it was designed for, it naturally yields itself to that purpose. A screwdriver doesn’t suddenly bend its shaft into a U-shape as you press it against a screw head, and then restore itself back to its original position afterward. A pen won’t draw the ink back into itself in the middle of writing a note. A computer or smart phone won’t jump out of your hand or off of your lap or desk and change the oil in someone’s vehicle. Neither will a golf club jump out of your hands in the middle of a swing and start chasing the birds around the golf course.

When we resist doing what God intends to do with us, it is like a blender full of liquid refusing to spin when the power is applied. All that will happen is that the motor will burn out, or a fuse or circuit breaker will stop the power from operating it. It seemed to think it had a right to decide for itself and refused to spin its blades. All that is affected is us (or the blender).

God is not affected and neither is the operator of the blender. Unless we give up and yield to God, He will just use someone else to accomplish the work and will put us though this process again and again at a later time until we do ultimately yield to Him.

quill pen

Many times we think we can ‘help’ God more if we do His work without Him or without His approval. Ever seen a doorknob fall out of a door, roll over, and start pumping out someone’s swimming pool? How about a fire extinguisher that jumps off of a wall and starts sewing your clothes? These examples may sound humorously absurd, but that, in essence, is what we do with God. He may use us as a tool in one area, and then we decide that we know what will help Him even more, and go work on something entirely different and unrelated in another area.

When we do something for God, or reach out to someone for Him without seeking His will first, we are no longer yielding to Him, but are putting our own interests before His instead.

We are no longer putting our total trust in what He is doing in or through us, His tool. We should be living our lives with so much concentration on Christ that we are not even aware that we are being used as God’s tool.

Yield yourself as a tool to God your Heavenly Father, and He will use you in the way that He knows is best for the benefit of His kingdom. Don’t resist or flee from Him (read the book of Jonah in the Bible) and miss out on the blessing He has for you.

–James Pangburn

Focus On Yourself?

all about me figure

Have you ever wondered if the trial you are going through is the result of the actions of another person, or if it is coming from the enemy of your soul?

Do you ever find yourself thinking things like this:

  • “Did you see what he (she) just did concerning you? Are you going to put up with that?”
  • “How many times have you told him (her) how much you don’t like that? Doesn’t he (she) care about you and how you feel about things?”
  • “You really should just leave. That would show him (her/them). Just get up and walk out and don’t come back. Then he (she/they) will be sorry. He (she/they) don’t deserve to have you with him (her/them), the way he (she/they) act. This will show him (her/them)!”
  • “He (she) just doesn’t know what marriage is supposed to be like. He (she) doesn’t treat you the way you ought to be treated. He (she) is out there or back there having a good time while you are here doing all the work! He (she) doesn’t appreciate you and all that you do. Maybe he (she) is having a good time with someone else while you sit here alone. You ought to snoop and find out. Or just come right out when he (she) returns and accuse him (her) and see what kind of reaction you get! Then you’ll know!”
  • “The world would really be better off without a person like you. You have never fit in. You are never a success at anything. You cause problems everywhere you go. You should just find a way to end it all and be done with it.”

***

Any of these thoughts sound familiar? How do I know that you hear these thoughts at times? Because I know that the enemy of your soul is busy, busy, busy all the time planting these ungodly ideas in your head every opportunity he can get. That’s why we all hear the same old story from many different people. The common denominator in all the above statements is ‘you’. The enemy wants you to focus on yourself. “Look how this affects me. Look how I am hurting or insulted or restricted, etc.”

If these thoughts were coming from God, He would not be putting the emphasis on ‘you.’ He would not harass and torment you with negative thoughts that encourage you to think about yourself all the time, or about ways to make other people treat you the way you want to be treated.

Have you ever tried thinking once in a while as if you were the enemy? What would you do if you were in his shoes and wanted to bring you down or cause you a lot of trouble to discourage you from doing what is right? Sometimes this line of thought can help you see from another angle what is happening to you.

The enemy’s goal is to get you to focus on yourself, to feel sorry for yourself, and to become unable to see another person’s point of view, or what the real situation is. He wants you concerned for your own welfare at all times. He wants you to do everything you can to avoid suffering of any kind. He does not want you to take on the burdens of others. He does not want you to be self-sacrificing. He does not want you to put the needs of others above your own.

Now try thinking once in a while as if you were God. Would God plant these thoughts in someone who He is trying to encourage to be righteous and holy? Would He ever tell someone to whom He gave the gift of life to go end that life because he (she) is worthless?

He NEVER tells anyone to kill himself (herself). Thoughts like that are never from God.

Would He tell someone to think only of him (her) and have no regard for others? What if God treated us that way? What if He thought only of Himself and just left us to suffer the just penalty for our sin against Him? What if He had refused to arrange the sacrifice of His only begotten Son so that we could be made free from the bondage of sin and the devil?

Finally, try thinking once in a while how what you do affects God. Would He act the way you just did? Would He accuse others of evil without a shred of evidence? Would He walk out and slam the door behind Him when someone said or did something He did not like? Would He be quick to put someone down and have a feeling of triumph that He had won and that person had lost? Would He blow His top if things didn’t go His way and then refuse to even apologize later? This all sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? You can’t imagine God acting in ways like this. Yet we do all the time and think nothing of it.

–Alana Pangburn