In 1977, while on vacation in Trinidad, I was introduced to Silent Unity, a 24/7 prayer ministry using affirmative prayer to provide others with faith, courage and strength. A delightful old woman named Miss gave me their devotional magazine, Daily Word, to take home. I subscribed to it for many years and have recently been re-introduced to this wonderful organization. The following prayer has been in my possession for over forty years and is within my daily vision. Happy Sunday.
“The light of God surrounds me; The love of God enfolds me; The power of God protects me; The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is!” James Dillet Freeman (March 20, 1912 – April 9, 2003)
“Birds of a feather flock together”. This is a quote that has been around for years, no, centuries. I take it to mean that the same kind of creature prefers the company of its own kind.
This post is about birds but also about the human experience. This morning I woke up feeling a little unsettled with myself…feeling as though my life is not meeting God’s expectations…and wondering just how I am going to remedy that. It was one of those moments where one feels unworthy for whatever reason; not just in God’s eyes but in the eyes of friends and family.
So, I took my feelings to my “prayer chair” which overlooks a garden containing a bird bath, feeder, flowers, and trees. Within minutes the yard was filled with birds. These were not “birds of a feather”. There was a blue jay and a cardinal sitting together on the fence. There were sparrows and a yellow finch quenching their thirst together. A red-headed woodpecker seemed to be teaching his youngster how to get this job done, when the mom showed up and joined in. Two mourning doves were doing their thing on the garage roof; you know what doves are like, billing and cooing all over the place.
There were two birds I didn’t recognize and had never seen before. They were a brownish yellowy color with a touch of orange or red on the back of their heads, and when they spread their wings to fly their backs were all white. I’ll look them up later.
Now I marveled at all this, especially when the cardinal and blue jay came and rested on my deck railing. I was in awe and wondered out loud why I was being treated to such a spectacular show of nature. It’s over now. There’s not a bird in the yard.
This whole scene helped to lighten my mood but the clincher was this. It was time for my daily devotional and when I opened my Bible, this is what I read in Luke 12:24 “Consider the ravens; they do not sow or reap…yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds.”
Birds of a feather? I was happy to see so many different species of feathers this morning, and happier still to receive the message they brought.
Almost a year ago I posted, “Only One God . Period”. I still believe that. However, this morning I came across the following in my daily devotions. “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;…” See that? “Among the gods…” So, perhaps it is not good to be so adamant about one’s beliefs, but, at least now I can see the other side of the argument…”there is more than one god.”
For me, though, there is only One God among the gods. Period.
Life gets busy and we don’t always fit in everything that we set out to do in a day. For some of us, a daily time of devotional is very important, and if we don’t find the time to make it happen, somehow our day seems incomplete.
Yesterday, over lunch with a very interesting friend, this plight came to the fore. She mentioned that her daily activities (and she has many) seemed very compartmentalized, including her devotional time, and she wasn’t comfortable having God in a compartment. She would prefer to have everything flow nicely together, with God in the midst of it.
That conversation made me think of Brother Lawrence and his book, The Practice of the Presence of God. This Carmelite Brother had such a profound personal relationship with God that there was nowhere he went, or nothing that he did, but God was with him like a second skin.
So I’m thinking we can do that. We can carry our devotional time with us throughout the day by simply acknowledging that God is in everything we do. We need only become aware, and simply let him know that we are aware.
We have time when we’re driving to thank him for being with us. We have time when we’re visiting and praying for others to tell him we love him. We have the opportunity in our brief periods of relaxation to feel his abiding presence, whether we are reading or watching television, or just plain vegging out.
So let’s not fret if a morning devotional doesn’t happen in its entirety. Let’s face it…God doesn’t. He would rather have us nice and relaxed so that he doesn’t have to pry his way into our day…or our lives.