Devotions Influenced by Animals
Every Creature Great and Small
The Good Lord God Made Them All*
Animals can be so cute. We get attached to them very easily. Our pet is more like a member of the family than a canine companion! I've learned many lessons from animals over the years, so I've dedicated this page to devotions based on those lessons. Below you'll find devotions to use at your next meeting or small group. Plus, there are at least 10 other pages here at hubpages to help you the next time you need to lead devotions or you need a word of encouragement for yourself. Thanks again for stopping by!
*Opening lines from a song by Mrs. Cecil Francis Alexander
The Call of a Robin
This morning as I climbed out of the shower I heard a wheezy kind of whistling noise. At first I thought it must be my dog snoring, but the longer I heard the evenly paced, high pitched sound, the more I was convinced it was coming from outside my bathroom window. So I grabbed my glasses and looked out the six inches of open window. Our second story bathroom window is almost exactly even with the flat roof of the neighboring office building, and there on the corner of the next roof was a robin.
When the bright red breasted bird opened his beak, I knew for sure that's where the sound was coming from. He looked like a very young bird, almost full grown, but with a very narrow face and not a very full breast yet. After I listened to his lonely call a few times, I wondered if I could mimic it. His chirp was more like a whistle than a bird call. I couldn't resist, I finally gave a short single pitched whistle back to him. I knew it wasn't the right pitch, but it made him stop. He finally gave another whistle, so I changed my pitch just a bit and let out another short tweet. Sure enough, he stopped his chirping again and began to look around. After several tweets back and forth, and the poor bird looking all over trying to find me, I remembered I was supposed to be getting ready for church, not whistling at a bird!
As I dressed and went through my regular morning "routine," I couldn't help but think about that little bird. I wondered if he was looking for his mother. There was one thing I was sure of: Had that bird been a full grown bird rather than a young one, he wouldn't have given my mimicking tweets the time of day. I wasn't truly close enough to his pitch, and a full grown robin has more of a "song" in her call. He obviously wasn't old enough yet to be familiar with the true tweets from his kind.I quickly recalled John 10:1-6: " . . . the sheep follow Him because they know His voice . . . they will never follow a stranger . . . because they don't recognize a stranger's voice."
I thought about how often I feel like that little bird. Sometimes I'm so eager to hear Christ, I mistake other thoughts and feelings for His voice. I'm anxious to find Jesus. Sometimes I want protection, other times I'm simply looking for advice or encouragement. No matter what it is that causes me to seek my Savior, I've discovered that the more I get to know Him, the more often I wait until I'm sure the voice I hear is truly Him, the better my life becomes.
Perhaps, like me, you've answered the phone and had someone begin talking without identifying himself. On those occasions, I find myself paying more attention to the sound of my friend's voice than the actual conversation. Generally before we're on the phone too long, his timber, tone or something he says gives me the clue I need to correctly identify the caller. But this only works with a friend, someone I know well and have talked to a lot.
And as you may have guessed (or already have discovered in your own life), the same is true for Jesus' voice. Until we've talked with our Savior and listened for His response on a regular basis, we won't recognize Him when He calls us, and much like my little bird friend, we'll be easily fooled when a stranger tries to imitate the Holy One.
As Christians it's vital that we get to know our Savior's voice. We need to do be a 1Thessalonians 5:17 people, praying continually and listening carefully to His voice. Reading scripture is equally important so that we can become more and more accustomed to the things Jesus might say. It may take some time, we may miss His voice from time to time, like my new robin friend. However, the more we grow, the more we listen, the closer we get to Christ, the more we'll be ready to recognize His voice and the better we'll be able to fly free!
A Turkey or an Eagle
Isaiah 40:31 ~ Hebrews 12:1 ~ Ephesians 3:20
On my way home today, a turkey flew in front of my truck. I felt so bad for him. He was flapping his wings with all his might and never got more than eight feet off the ground. Fortunately, there weren't any other vehicles around as he made his trip across the two lane road. With his tail feathers all spread and his neck stretched out as far as he could, he looked as if he was giving it all he had to get to the other side before he met some oncoming traffic that could take his life.
Not one-tenth of a mile further, a little bird darted across in front of me. I couldn't correctly identify the little fella' because it was moving so quickly. About the size of a sparrow, I could tell it was dark in color as it flitted by. It made me wonder if the turkey ever got frustrated that he'd been created a bird with such limited flying ability. Does he ever envy the sparrows or hawks? And I wonder how winded he was as he landed on the bank on the other side of the highway. He looked like he was working as hard as he could to get from point A to point B safely.
The whole picture quickly brought to mind our Christian walk. How many people do I know who feel like turkeys? They feel like they just can't get anywhere, and so many others are speeding ahead of them, getting the better view in life as well as all the fun. After all, a turkey never gets to coast along on the breezes or just play in the wind.Isaiah 40:31 is a familiar verse in scripture. It says, "Those who hope in the Lord (some translations say "wait on" "wait for" or "trust in") will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles . . ." It doesn't say strut like turkeys, it says soar like eagles. It's not God's plan for us to become weary or grow faint. We weren't created to struggle through life, we were created to soar.
Turkeys don't have much choice in the matter. They were created to strut. Fortunately, they can run pretty fast and the wild ones blend in with the brush well, so they have an advantage when predators come along. When a turkey hears the phrase "bird's eye view" he must get pretty confused. After all, what's the big deal about a view from eight foot off the ground when you're working so hard just to keep from crashing?
No, a turkey's lot in life is sealed. But we are blessed. We get to choose. When God created man and woman, He gave them the freedom to choose to serve and trust Him or live for themselves. We know from history that the one who's chosen to live for him or herself generally ends up living the life of a turkey. It's a life full of hindrances and entanglements. The burdens of the day to day keep him from truly flying.
But those who live like eagles "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles." (Hebrews 12:1) They trust in God for every aspect of life. They have discovered that when they allow His power to work in them, God is able to do "immeasurably more" than they can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) These followers of Christ have learned to "wait on the Lord," and unlike the turkey, we can choose to be one of them. We can walk and not grow weary, run and never faint, and best of all, we can soar.
A Lesson We Can Learn from A Dove
Noah is a Homing Pigeon/Rock Dove who is a permanent resident at Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Whitehouse, Texas. Noah is a non-releasable, one legged dove living at Bob and Georgeanne Lenham's Ranch. The Wild Rose Rescue Ranch is a natural habitat that is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife that has been injured, lost or orphaned.
At one point the Lenhams rescued three baby bunnies orphaned at just six days old. A dog attacked this rabbit family, and these three were the only ones to survive. Two of their siblings lost their lives as well as their mother and father. During the first days after the bunnies were rescued, Noah was seen checking the brown furballs' cage on a regular basis. He kept looking in and even slept in front of the cage. One day when Mrs. Lenham went in, there were only two bunnies in the cage. One had mysteriously come up missing. However, when she picked Noah up from in front of the cage to investigate further, to her surprise, there was the third bunny under Noah's wing sound asleep. The little bunny had squeezed out of the cage and curled up under his overseer. Mrs. Lenham speculated that the tiny orphan preferred the "featherbed."
It didn't take long for all three bunnies to adopt Noah as a surrogate parent. Noah would open his wings and allow the three weak bunnies to nestle there beneath him. He surrounded them with his wings and nudged them with his beak so they would stay under his wings and keep them nice and warm. The bunnies responded tremendously to Noah's love and care. They grew well and were able to be released.
Noah's story has been around the world by e-mail (that's how I first heard of it) touching hearts and lives as it goes. But what those e-mails don't tell you is this is just the beginning of the story. The story of Noah is inspiring. There are a couple of things I believe we can learn from Noah to apply to our day to day life.
First, everyone can do something. There may be a lot you can't do. Noah was a bird who couldn't fly and had only one leg. As far as birds go, he was pretty useless. After all, the whole beauty of a bird is the freedom it has. A bird in flight is one of the most beautiful and majestic sights around. So in bird terms, Noah was hopeless. But this bird didn't allow his shortcomings to stop him. Noah somehow understood that everyone can do something.
Even when we can't do the things we're expected to do, what others do or even what we really want to do, we can still DO! We each have gifts we can use to help others and be the body of Christ. Noah can't fly, but his wings still hold warmth that nurtures and heals. With only one leg, I'm sure he doesn't necessarily hop around very well either, but his lack of mobility doesn't keep him from using his gift of helps and caring to give another animal the nurture it needs to heal and live.
Second, it would seem that Noah understood Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11 and Romans 10:12. All three of these verses tell us we are all the same in God's eyes. Man, woman, Jew, Greek, slaves, free, it doesn't matter. There is no difference as far as our Father in heaven is concerned. The saying "Birds of a feather, flock together" is just as true for humans as it is for our winged friends. We tend to congregate and help those who are like us. It's not necessarily an evil thing, but when we're unwilling to help and love those who are different, when we judge them because of their differences and refuse to realize they are beloved children of the Almighty God, we are not living in the fullness of what God created us to be.
Noah would have been expected to nurture other doves or pigeons, perhaps even other birds. But instead he reached out to some unlikely recipients of his love. I think the most surprising to me was a deer with two broken legs. To see him there at the deer's head while she lay there in the grass was touching. To a bird, a deer of any size would normally be scary or at least intimidating. But Noah didn't allow the size or reputation of the breed stop him from being a friend.Who does God need you to nurture? What wounded, lost or orphaned human creature has God called you to befriend? It needn't be a physical wound or navigationally lost. The emotionally wounded and spiritually lost need us at least as much (if not more) than those with broken legs and arms.So, learn from Noah. You can't do everything, but you can do something. So overlook the differences in others and be a Noah in someone's life!
What Lessons have You Learned from Animals?
Have you ever learned a lesson about your relationship with God from an animal?
A Lesson I Learned from a Bat
1 Corinthians 12
My husband, Steve, seldom, if ever, travels without me; however, this Summer because of my work schedule and limited finances there were two conferences he needed to attend on his own. This left me at home alone for a couple of weeks. The first week alone went by without incident, but the second, that was a different story.
I dropped Steve and another pastor at the airport on Tuesday morning early. On Wednesday, the grandkids came over to spend the night. They hadn't been in bed very long when my grandson called down the stairs, "Hada (they call me Hada), there's a bird in the bedroom." I went upstairs to check it out. His sister was already sound asleep, and he told me he watched the bird fly into our unfinished bathroom. So I got out the duck tape and an old sheet and covered the door so the bird wouldn't come out and scare us in the middle of the night. We'd take care of the critter in the morning.
After tucking Josh in, I returned to the couch to finish my computer "stuff." It wasn't long before I heard the dog gently barking. She had gone upstairs with the kids and her bark was a bit funny. Not like her normal "I hear something" bark. So I ventured back up the steps to investigate. When I opened the door, both grandchildren were sleeping and Holly (our miniature Schnauzer) was barking at something flying around the room. Not a bird. A bat.
Now, I'm not really frightened of bats; however, I also don't like them flying around over my head while I'm sleeping, so I tried to figure out a way to get the bat out of the room. Prayer seemed like my best line of defense since Steve normally handles this kind of dilemma. The bat finally flew into what appeared to be the unfinished bathroom or some other corner where I wouldn't have to see him, so I went to bed and slept pretty restlessly. Had the grandkids not been there, I'd have slept on the couch. But since I hated to wake them just to move them downstairs, and the bat seemed to be gone, I decided to sleep with the light on so I could see him if he started flying again.
The next night, no grandkids, but the bat was back, this time downstairs. I opened the front door, turned off all of the lights except the porch light and the light in the hall near the door and prayed. I truly believe my God is big enough to have lead that bat out the front door. I know, you're thinking of all the ways I could have gotten rid of the bat. I've heard them all, throw the towel, hit it with a tennis racket and more. But I chose to trust that God would remove this bat from my house.
I was exhausted, praying and crying. I wanted deliverance from the bat! About 2 a.m. the thought crossed my mind to open the BACK door and let the bat fly out. I dismissed it as crazy. If the bat won't go out the front door, chances are he won't go out the back door. Finally, I decided to go to bed. I sat in the bathroom (the only room I was sure he wasn't in because it's so small) and cried for a bit. I was really mad at God. I KNOW for a fact He could have taken that bat out of my house had He chosen to. And to be perfectly honest with you I was angry that He hadn't!
I slept all of 4 hours that night. The next afternoon my brother dropped by because he'd read on Facebook about my bat problems. He wasn't there 10 minutes until the bat appeared. While he was looking for something to get the bat with, I opened the back door. The bat immediately flew into it, I closed it, with the bat clinging to the outside and the bat was out. I'd cried and prayed over this bat for hours in the dark, and here in less than two minutes the bat was gone.
Now, you might think this would have made me happy. And while my brother was here, I laughed about it. But later, when I was talking to God, it wasn't so funny. I was mad at Him. I didn't understand why He couldn't have answered my simple prayer on either of the two nights before when I felt so alone and afraid. I prayed, I believed, I expected, yet I still had a bat!
As I cried out to God in my anger, He spoke to my heart gently, "I haven't given you the gift of miracles, I've given you the gift of wisdom." God amazes me sometimes how He uses every experience in my life to teach me something wonderful. I guess that's why Romans 8:28 is my favorite verse. You see, God had given me the plan to get rid of the bat as I cried out to Him on that Wednesday evening. Do remember reading that the thought had crossed my mind to open the back door? My back hall is only about three inches wider and taller than my door. When I opened it, the bat had nowhere to go but cling to the door. If I'd have listened to the "thought" on Wednesday evening, the bat would have been gone. But I was tired and I wanted a miracle.
I'm not saying here that God doesn't use everyone's prayers to bring about miracles from time to time, but I was reminded that each of us have various and different gifts and all can be used in the Kingdom of God. It disheartens me sometimes the way that some Christians focus on the "greater gifts" to the neglect of the others, while a whole other group dismisses all the gifts as unnecessary or archaic. In many congregations the gifts are seldom spoken about and some Christ followers are afraid, embarrassed or not ready to find out what their gifts actually are.
Christ reminded me, in a lesson from the bat, that every gift is important and necessary for the body of Christ to function properly. It may seem as though some people's prayers are answered quickly and in full nearly every time they pray. Those are probably the people with the gift of miracles. We may be impressed and intimidated by those with the gifts of prophecy, wisdom and teaching because they seem so important and seem to demand respect in the congregation. Tongues may seem like such great proof of a person's spiritual health. But God said that not everyone will have every gift. And while Paul told us to eagerly desire the greater gifts, those with the spiritual gift of giving, works and hospitality should never feel inferior or less important.The world sees the pastors and teachers in the church as indispensable, much like your hands and feet are the visible parts of your body. We don't know what we'd do without them. Yet, like your liver and kidneys, the body of Christ can not function without the gifts that do much of the work and yet seem to go unnoticed. It is important to the life of the Kingdom that each of us discover our Spiritual gifts and use them, not envying the gifts of another, but grateful that the Spirit works through us to bring others to meet the giver of the greatest of gifts, Jesus Christ.
© 2010 Lynne Modranski