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Thursday, May 28, 2009

From the archives...

I really don't have anything particular to say right now. All of my words are being stolen by my research proposal assignment. So, until I come up with something more brilliant to share, please enjoy these two posts from my archives. Hey, maybe God wants someone to read them anyway.

***

Originally published May 1, 2006

Freedom... Part 1

God has been teaching me so much that I would like to put it down on paper all at once. But, perhaps it will be more revealing if I communicate it in pieces. Shall I start at the beginning?

The beginning for me happened in April of 2001. God had been trying to speak to me for some time and I was starting to hear him. Having been a Christian since the age of 5, I had become quite "comfortable" in my daily walk with God. Looking back, it is evident to me that one of the most effective traps Satan uses in the lives of Christians is to make them comfortable in their routine. After all, how effective can a robot be for the kingdom of God? Christian school, Christian home, church 3 times a week. These are not dirty words or bad things. Within a heart that longs for the things of God, such opportunities serve to cultivate deep roots, but given to mere routine, they can be a breeding ground for a stale, apathetic attitude. Worse ~ they can deceive a person into believing they are okay by substituting Christian busyness for full passion and surrender to Christ. Am I being too honest?

One Friday that April, I sat in a Women of Faith conference and listened to author, speaker, and singer Sheila Walsh tell the following story:

The Rusty Bird Cage
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Resurrection Sunday morning he came to the church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak... "I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, "What you got there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply. "What are you gonna do with them?" I asked. "Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." "But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?" "Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them." The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?" "Huh?!?! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!" "How much?" the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?" The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit. Then the pastor began to tell this story ... One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!" "What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked. Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!" "And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly. "How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you, and kill you. You don't want those people!" "How much?" He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears, and your life." Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price. The pastor picked up the cage, opened the door, and walked from the pulpit. -- Author Unknown --

To Be Continued...

***

Originally published June 6, 2006

Freedom... Part 2

As I said in my previous post, God had been trying to speak to me for some time. That evening, I listened to Sheila tell the story of the bird cage, and the voice of God pierced my heart as He gently tapped the door of my cage, persuading me to come out. You might ask yourself ~ why would someone want to remain in such a small, restricted place? Like the birds, I was freed by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross; yet somehow, I was still afraid to come out. The confines of the cage felt safe and comfortable, while the outside world loomed large and intimidating. What was keeping me inside? It wasn't something I didn't know, but rather something I didn't want to acknowledge. My problem, my sin, my CAGE... was pride. I was afraid of what others thought of me. For years, Satan had very effectively used my fear and self-doubts to keep me locked away in a corner, useless to myself or the kingdom of God.

Sheila closed with this song and I knew that my Christian life would never be ordinary again. It would no longer be about my religion, but about my relationship with Christ. I would be fully satisfied with nothing less.

Sitting all alone now, broken dreams
And in this place, this pretty cage, broken wings.
You re so afraid to fall again
But all you need is found in him
For you were made to rise upon the wind.
It's time for you to fly.
It's time to soar on eagle wings.
Don't be afraid, you're not alone so lift your head up high.
It's time for you to fly.
Take a look outside now and see the sky.
Can you hear all heaven sing, come and fly!
So take a step outside the door.
He paid the price, there's so much more
For you were made to rise upon the wind.
It's time for you to fly.
It's time to soar on eagle wings.
Don't be afraid, you're not alone so lift your head up high.
It's time for you to fly.
(Sheila Walsh, John Hartley, Gary Saddler)

God used Sheila's presentation that night to make me willing to take that first step to the edge of my cage. To wonder what might be beyond my self-imposed borders and limitations. To step out in FAITH, whatever the future would hold, and to trust Him to use me for His purpose and His glory. I must admit that my "flight" has not been without its obstacles and, at times, I have failed. But I am willing to continue the journey, FREE in His love and safe in His arms.

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

1 comment:

-stephanie- said...

Archives are good. This is good. Thanks for sharing.

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