Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
Hi Pastor John,
Let me know how you feel about this. . .
Today, I ran up into the hills, in that valley where I took you and Barbara. On the trail was a dead owl. I don’t know what kind of predator could catch and kill an owl except maybe another predator bird, like a hawk, but it looked a little torn up, as if it had been attacked. Seeing an animal such as that up close was pretty interesting. One seldom gets a close look at a creature like that when it’s not moving. Even in it’s stillness it had an impressive “power;” in particular I scrutinized it’s long, curved, sharp talons. I didn’t realize what long claws an owl had.
As I hiked further, I reflected on the sinful times in my past, and instantly, I felt angry and disgusted by those past memories... wasted years ... and simultaneously, relieved to feel the love of God and how far He has brought me into righteousness. This is SO MUCH BETTER! GLORY TO GOD! The Spirit reminded me by whispering, “Sin is like those sharp talons on the bird. It digs in, without mercy, and doesn’t want to let go. Only the holy Ghost can set a person free from those sharp claws.”
I have found difficulty in my years of being a newborn; the old nature still wrestling with my new nature, not dying out as quickly as I would have liked. But now, this past week, God has opened up my heart immensely, as if I’ve been taken to a NEW LEVEL, to SEE, to REALIZE how GREAT a gift it is to be a child of God, and how lightly I have esteemed it. I am repentant! Now, every day, every hour, is a gift, another chance to do GOOD, to BE GOOD, to love this life, and to please my Lord.
This change hasn’t come upon me through self-discipline. God has touched me and shown me that sin is FINALLY becoming a thing of the past -- and He’s enabled me, by a new revelation, to feel that even the temptation to sin, even a little, brings remorse. I love it! The talons of sin are sharp and certainly deadly, but they are no match for the WINGS of the holy Ghost!
The Apostle Paul said that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. In the kingdom of God, a dove is the most powerful and dangerous of birds. It can easily destroy every hawk and owl of sin.
I was glad to hear that what you are feeling did not come through self-discipline but by the grace of God. Grace lasts; self-will does not. Thank God for His blessing on you!
I really like the e-mail between you and Brad; I liked the spirit I felt from Brad in his e-mail. John, in your response to Brad, I liked what you said about the dove: “A dove is the most powerful and dangerous of birds.” I have been thinking a lot about the TFE that you sent out about the serpent and the dove. It was so good.
How we react to something tells us a lot about ourselves, if we pay attention to how we respond. I liked how you described the wounded dove when it was in your hands, how it did not strike back and try to bite you at all, even though it was not its fault for what had happened to it.
We can be the same way in the Lord if we believe that He has our best interest in mind. I have learned that if someone tells me something about myself, to always concede it and not to snap back. If it is true, it is for my good; if it is not true, then it will work itself out and no harm will be done. We all are in God’s hands and we can trust Him with our lives.
I always want to be a dove and not a serpent.