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Listen to the Birds

My husband, Jack, and I have a special
fondness for birds. We enjoy seeing them
fly, darting from tree to tree, soaring and
wheeling about, riding the wind in joyous freedom.

And it’s fun to watch them splash in a
puddle or pool of water, bathing themselves
and carefully preening their feathers.

We have two feeders and a drinking bowl
in our backyard, and the birds have discovered
this safe haven. Besides sparrows,
cardinals, robins, blackbirds, and other
small songbirds, we’ve seen crows, doves,
mallard ducks, and even Canadian Geese
in our yard. Sometimes there will he
several different kinds of birds there all at the
same time.

Jack and I love to watch them — and so
does Finica, our cat. She sits by the sliding
glass door and stares out at the birds. She
gets so intense that her whiskers twitch!
Now and then, a bird will land on the patio
near the door, and Finica’s eyes get so big.
But we don’t let her out for fear that her
natural feline instincts might overpower her
usually friendly disposition.

I especially enjoy listening to the birds.
More than any other creature, it seems to
me they have learned to serve the Lord with
gladness:
[and] come before his presence with
singing
(Psalm 100:2).

When God created the fowl of the air on
the fifth day of creation, He gave them a
song. And virtually all types of birds make
some kind of joyful noise — it seems like
they’re always praising the Lord. I’ve seen
them after a winter snowstorm, sitting on
top of the feeders, thankfully chirping and
singing because the food is there.

Jesus once referred to the sparrows,
which many consider an ordinary little bird
with no apparent value. But He, who
values all His creatures, said not one of them
falls to the ground without God noticing
(see Matthew 10:29).

Luke records what the Lord said about
the common crow. Consider the ravens; for
they neither sow nor reap; which neither have
storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them:
how much more are ye better than the fowls?

(Luke 12:24).

Watching the birds and remembering
what God has said about them has really
been a blessing to Jack and me.

Lessons from the birds

There is much we can learn from our
fine feathered friends. The Bible is filled
with references to birds as symbols of what
we humans ought to be or can do with
God’s help.

On the top of the pole where our American
flag flies there often is the image of an
eagle, symbol of strength and majesty. The
Bible tells us that if we wait upon the Lord,
He will give us strength to overcome every
difficulty and to mount up on wings, as the
eagle (see Isaiah 40:31).

Genesis 8 tells us that when the ark
landed on solid ground after the great flood,
Noah sent out a dove to see if the land was
habitable. The dove found no place to light
and returned to the ark. A week later,
Noah sent the dove out again and it
returned in the evening with an olive branch
in its beak. So Noah knew it would soon be
safe to go out into the unknown.

Of course, it is no accident that the dove
is symbolic of the Holy Spirit who wings His
way over the abyss of man’s sinful past,
bridged by the sacrificial ark of the cross of
Christ, and leads all who will follow step by
step into the Father’s new beginning.

God used a common barnyard rooster
to deal with the heart of Peter during the
last days of Jesus’ life. After Peter had
boasted that he would stay close to the
Lord no matter what happened or who
turned against Him, Jesus told Peter that
he would deny Him before the cock crowed
the next morning.

The gospels tell the awful story of how
Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden
of Gethsemane, then taken before Caiaphas
the high priest to be sentenced to death.
Warming himself by the fire at the edge of
the angry mob, Peter was asked once, twice,
three times if he knew or was a companion
to this Jesus.

Once, twice, three times — with oaths —
Peter denied knowing the Lord! And at that
darkest hour, just before the dawn, a rooster
crowed! Instantly Peter remembered his
prideful boast and Jesus’ prophetic words…
and he wept bitterly.

Of course, we know Peter repented and
went on to become a leader in proclaiming
the message of Christ’s death and
Resurrection all across the known world.

Being fed by the birds

You may remember the story of how God
used birds to answer the prayers of the
Children of Israel. After wandering in the
wilderness for many years and being fed on
manna, the people cried out for meat. God
caused coveys of quail to come near their
camp until there was plenty to feed all the people.

The Old Testament tells of the Prophet
Elijah being sent into the wilderness to wait
beside the brook Cherith. Twice a day the
Lord sent ravens to deliver his food. And the
ravens brought him bread and flesh in the
morning, and bread and flesh in the evening

(1 Kings 17:6).

Imagine depending on crows to deliver
your breakfast and supper! I’m not sure I’d
want to trust them with my food. But Elijah
did…and he never went hungry.

Are birds good parents?

I’m certainly not an ornithological
expert, but I’ve been impressed about the
strong parental instinct birds seem to have.
It’s fascinating to watch them building a
nest, gathering twigs, straw, string, and
grass to fashion a fragile but sturdy place
to lay their eggs.

In some species, both father and mother
bird take turns sitting on the nest, keeping
the eggs safe and warm. And once the little
ones come out of the eggs, the parents feed
the babies until they grow large enough to fly.

I’ve seen mother birds fiercely attack
other birds, even animals, that prowled too
close to their nest. In many instances, the
mother seems willing to give her own life to
protect her young.

During the time the baby birds are being
incubated, then fed and cared for until they
can fly away, nothing is more important to
the mother bird. Her babies are the center
of her life and the sole reason for her existence.

In our day, necessity sometimes forces
both parents to work outside the home. Still,
I can’t help feeling there are lessons both
fathers and mothers can learn about
parenting from the example of the birds.
Most of all, we must understand how
precious the lives of our children really are,
worth any sacrifice to protect and nurture
in the fear and admonition of God.

Once for a lifetime

I’m impressed with the instinct of birds
to be good, faithful partners. I’ve heard
that some species, including the turtle dove,
mate once for a lifetime. Once a male and
female come together, they stay with their
mate and remain faithful to each other
until separated by death.

Oh, that these beautiful creatures could
teach the men and women of America the
lessons of fidelity and faithfulness. In a
society where there are more divorces being
granted than new marriages performed,
surely we need to turn again to the example
of these beautiful creatures for instruction
in living as God intended.

Listen, my friend, to the voices of the
little birds, and hear God speaking to you
today. Observe the life-style and the joy of
these beautiful creatures and learn anew of
God’s plan for your life.

Satellite telemissions

Ecclesiastes 10:20 says, For a bird of the
air shall carry the voice, and that which hath
wings shall tell the matter
.

As you know, an important part of this
ministry’s outreach now is transmitting the
gospel worldwide via communications
satellites in space. Using the uplink dish on
the roof of our World Outreach Center, we
can beam a TV signal from our studio to a
satellite, which rebroadcasts it back to
earth — to a coverage area including scores
of entire nations, reaching a potential
viewing audience of multiplied millions of people.

Did you know that, in the TV communications
industry, the slang term for an
orbiting communications satellite is…a bird!
“We’ll beam this up to ‘the bird,'” they say,
“and let it relay the signal to the other side
of the world!”

So the words of Solomon have become
another fulfilled prophecy! For today a “bird”
does indeed carry the voice of the gospel,
and “that which hath wings” is proclaiming
the matter of God’s Word to the ends of the earth.

What an exciting day in which to be
alive! And what a thrill it is for Jack and
me to be partners with you in helping to
carry out Christ’s Great Commission to
evangelize our world in this generation.

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