I am really excited this year because I have finally attracted some hummingbirds to my backyard. I've put out the feeders, changed the sugar water regularly, provided a bird bath with a floating fountain, made a small wild flower garden, and planted other plants to attract the birds. This Spring we regularly saw two hummingbirds visit our feeders. I think those two had children because we now see four flying around and two are larger than the other two. They are getting more bold as well as we watch them drink from the feeder, hover nearby, rest in the trees, and chase each other around.
The hummingbirds aren't the only guests we have. I also have a regular bird feeder and it is visited daily by up to a dozen mourning doves, Chick-a-Dees, Tufted Titmouse. Cowbirds, House Sparrows, and Blue Jays. The Blue Jays really like the whole peanuts I put out there for them. They must watch for me because I no sooner put out the peanuts and walk away that they don't swoop down and grab a peanut. I think there are probably a half-dozen Blue Jays.
I'd heard that hummingbirds can be aggressive and it is true. I've seen the daddy sit on a perch nearby and as soon as another hummingbird comes to feed it swoops down and chases it off. I also see them chasing each other around the yard. It is quite fun to watch them.
Another interesting observation on the regular bird feeder is that the most aggressive bird(s) are the Mourning Doves. We think of doves as peaceful and we talk and sing about the Dove of Peace but they are the most aggressive bird at that feeder. There is one dove that must think the feeder is hers. She will plant herself in the middle of the feeder and eat while keeping other birds at bay. I'd always heard Blue Jays were aggressive, and they can be, but at my feeder it's the doves that rule.
Oh, and I shouldn't forget the squirrels. Of course, I have squirrels.
But as much as I do for them As soon as I unlock our back door and step out on the deck they fly away as quickly as they can. Obviously they are scared of me. even though they wait for me to bring fresh food out and as much as they enjoy playing in the bird bath fountain. And though I would never hurt them.
I don't expect a Disney experience with them like we see in Disney movies but I wish they'd at least not act like they think I'm going to catch and roast them. I'd like to be able to be close to them and enjoy their beauty, songs, and antics.
Recently, I started wondering if that's how our heavenly Father feels. He provides for us day by day and moment by moment. We don't even know all the times He has protected us, provided for us, and met our needs. I'm sure He longs to commune with us like He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before they sinned.
After Adam and Eve sinned there formed a separation between man and God. It wasn't possible to have full communion with Him because of the sin in our lives. When Jesus came He took our sin upon Himself. When He died on the cross He carried those sins to the grave, and when He rose from the grave He left the sins behind. Because of His work on our behalf we can now have a full and unhindered relationship with God. We must only believe that Jesus died and redeemed us. Then as we continue through life, when we fail and commit some sin, we have only to confess our wrong to Him and ask for forgiveness. The Bible teaches us that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.
That means we can have a free and unhindered fellowship with Him. He can walk with us through the garden and through the struggles. Wherever we are, God is there walking along side us.
But too often I am like the birds I described. I'm afraid to be in God's presence. I run away when He comes near. When I run away I rob myself of communion with God and basking in His love for me.
John 3:17 tells us Jesus came to the world (us) not to condemn the world but to save the world and reconcile ourselves to Him. He came to give us life and that more abundant. Jesus said He wants to call me His friend. but in my guilt and fear I run away from His love.
I'm going to try and not be like my hummingbirds or any of the other birds. I'm going to strive to not sin and when I do confess my sin. That way I won't feel guilty. I also won't feel like God's out to get me and or punish me.
I'm sure I'll be happier basking in the Savior's love. We'll you join me there?
No matter what you've done in your life, Jesus is ready to forgive you and open His storehouses of heaven to you. He forgives and forgets, Trust in Him today. And if you don't know Him the way I've described, please let someone near you know so they can help you resolve your conflict with God. Then your spirit will soar like a hummingbird!
In the fifth chapter of Matthew we read Jesus' teachings on a wide variety of subjects. The chapter starts with a group of blessings that have been termed, The Beatitudes. Each beatitude begins with "Blessed are . . ." and then proceeds to teach some way of living that causes one to be blessed. The beatitude section is beautiful prose and profound.
In the rest of the chapter, Jesus covers a variety of topics. The topics include murder, adultery, divorce, vengeance, and showing love to those we hate. In one section of this chapter Jesus addresses the Law, meaning the Ten Commandments God gave to the people through Moses and other directives. Jesus proclaims that He has come to fulfill or complete the Law. Indeed with His death on the cross Jesus does fulfill the Law and ushers mankind into the age of grace.
One should notice in Jesus' teaching on the various topics that the standard He sets is higher, deeper, and more demanding than the Old Testament commands given. I submit two examples to illustrate my point. "Thou shalt not murder." is the sixth commandment. Jesus says in Matthew 5 if one is angry with their brother, and elsewhere if you hate your brother, then you have committed murder. He goes deeper than the actual act of physically taking another's life and add our attitude.
The other example is the seventh commandment. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." that is sexual relations with a married person who is not one's spouse. Jesus adds that if one has lust in their heart towards another than they have committed adultery in their heart. Again Jesus adds attitude or thought in addition to the actual physical act.
Jesus also taught on being truthful and letting your word stand on it's own. In verses 33 through 37 of Matthew chapter five, Jesus teaches that we should not undergird our word by swearing on something. The swearing here is not using the seven forbidden words as the Comedian George Carlin once waxed amusingly upon. Rather it is saying an oath by something recognized as greater than ourselves. Jesus teaches us to let our Yes mean Yes or our No, No. Another way of saying this is "Say what you mean, and mean what you say!" Be a person who stands by their word. As you live your life in this manner, others will soon learn your word can be trusted. Being recognized as a person of one's word is a valuable, and rare, commodity.
Jesus expands His teaching on standing by one's word in Matthew 21:28-32. In this passage Jesus shares a parable about two sons. The father tells his sons to go work in the vineyard. One son says "No," and the other son says, "Yes." The son who answered "Yes," is the obedient son, right? As the parable continues we find that the son who readily replied, "Yes," or more exactly, "I will, sir." Did not do as he said he would. The son who said no, and I'm sure at the time disappointed if not angered his father, changed his mind and went to the field to work. Jesus puts forth the question, "Who did what his father wanted." To which those present answered correctly, "The first," that is the one who said no but then relented and obeyed.
Jesus used this parable to teach that there are people in the world who say "No" to God's ways but later repent and embrace Him and obey. There are also those who either by zealous exuberance, or a desire to curry favor immediately say yes but then fail to follow through or who perhaps had no intention of ever obeying. Jesus teaches it is the one who ultimately obeys who is in the right. Appearance means nothing, obedient action, even if one initially refuses, is rewarded. This passage is another example of saying what you mean and meaning what you say, however, if you say "No" but change your mind and obey, then you are forgiven and rewarded.
We must be people of our word; in our word to man but definitely in our word to God. "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." Galatians 6:7
In our scriptures the believers of God are encouraged to come to church to join in worshipping Him and to learn what the scriptures can teach us about God and how to live with our fellow man.
The most recognized verse about regular worship attendance is Hebrews 10:25. Following is Hebrews 10:24,25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
These verses teach us to encourage one another to live in love and do good towards others. The final lesson is that we should not give up on meeting together.
Humans are social creatures. Yes, we need alone time, but we need the interaction with others as well.
The previous eighteen months have been hard on our relationships, and churches, as we have needed to self-quarantine as a measure to prevent infection of the COVID-19 virus.
I found the following list on health benefits of regular church attendance.
According to Radiant Church, the most noteworthy health benefits of church attendance are as follows:
Regular church attendance helps each one of us stay connected with our faith community, to join in praising and worshipping God, assist in teaching our children about God and worship, and lifts our spirit when we see long time friends.
There are practical benefits of regular church attendance. From time to time each one of us needs practical help. It may be a financial need, help with moving, appliance repair, vehicle repair, and on and on the list goes. When we are part of a local body of faith we have the opportunity to help others and to receive help when we need it.
Finally regular church attendance helps all of us feel better. When we attend church we raise the number in attendance. Seeing greater church attendance encourages all of us.
If you don't have a church you regularly attend, or you've drifted away from church attendance, we at Campbellsburg Baptist Church invite you to worship with us. We won't make you feel awkward by pointing you out in the worship service as a guest. However, some of our members will take the time to welcome you and tell you they're glad you attended.
We can, and should, engage in private Bible reading and worship of God. Each one of us receives benefits from regular church attendance and our fellow worshippers are benefitted by our attendance.
I hope you will choose to make church attendance a regular part of your week. I really believe that taking time on Sunday to worship God and listen to His word, will make the rest of the week better for you.
I've included the link to the article I quoted below so you can read all the comments.
Read more: The Top Health Benefits Of Church Attendance • https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/wellness/the-top-health-benefits-of-church-attendance/#ixzz73i4CbntI
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Recently a friend blessed me by asking about the pattern for praying that I had mentioned in a sermon. We don't have to use any pattern or method in how we pray. After all, prayer is simply a conversation with God. However, sometimes it help to have a pattern to follow. If we review our prayers we may discover that all we do is ask God for something. There are many patterns and suggested formats for praying. Below is one that I use that is easy to remember and helps me.
The patterns uses the word ACTS as in the bible book The Acts of the Apostles. A very good book to read. In this pattern ACTS is used as an acrostic where each letter stands for a word.
A - Adoration---Praising and worshipping God Almighty and who He is
C - Confession---Agreeing with God about ways we have fallen short
T - Thanksgiving---Thanking God for specific ways He has blessed us
S - Supplication---Making our requests known to God.
A - Adoration
We worship the Supreme Creator of the universe. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. He speaks and worlds come into existence. He has no beginning and no end-the Alpha and Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet). Praising and worshipping God is not stroking His ego. It is not flattery intended to get us what we want. Adoration is an expression of love. As powerful as God is His love for us is just as powerful. Spending time in adoring Him helps us establish the right relationship between us and God. He is The Almighty and we are His children. He is Savior and Lord. He is our authority. We follow Him not the reverse.
C - Confession
Confession means to agree with. In this case we are agreeing with God that we have fallen short of the mark, His desire for our lives. Sin is to miss the mark. To have a free and clear relationship with God it is necessary for us to admit where we have failed and accept His forgiveness. Jesus' death on the cross provides forgiveness for any sin we may have or are, or will commit. To appropriate His forgiveness we must acknowledge our error and receive His work on our behalf. In James 1:9 we have the promise; "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When we mess up we need to 'fess up. Once we have 'fessed up everything we have a relationship with Him that is free and unhindered.
T - Thanksgiving
The Bible teaches us "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 We need to have the "attitude of gratitude".
S - Supplication
This is where we ask God for whatever is on our heart and for what we need. It isn't wrong to ask for God's help and provision but it should not be all of our prayer. God is not our genie in a bottle. To quote C.S. Lewis in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe "he is not a tame lion." He is the Lion of Judah but He is not our pet. In humble submission to Him we ask Him for specific blessings, for provision, for ourselves and others.
So if you need a pattern to pray by I recommend using the A.C.T.S. pattern. It can help keep our prayers well said. However, the bottom line is pray! Talk with God daily and stay in an attitude of pray all day.