Eagle or Buzzard?

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:12-14)

Dear Readers:

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Perched high above the city

 

Have you ever watched bald eagles? They are a majestic bird. They seem to exude an air of royalty, honor, virtue, beauty, and power. Whenever we see an eagle around here in Southeastern Pennsylvania it is a rare sight and people stop to observe and take photos. It’s no wonder our forefathers chose the Bald Eagle to be our national bird. It is symbolic of our national pride and honor. The eagle is featured on many state flags, national emblems and logos. Outwardly, it looks like an impressive bird, they have the appearance of beauty and perfection.

We recently took an amazing trip to Juneau, Alaska. It was the trip of a lifetime! We marveled at the glories of God’s creation: The mountains, glaciers, trees, wildlife, MOUNTAINS everywhere! We did a lot of exploring, learning, and observing the local scenery and habitats. One of the things that amazed us was the number of bald eagles! Apparently, Juneau is one of the most densely eagle-populated areas in the world! They were beautiful, we never got tired of watching them soar overhead, or taking photos of them perched on different objects. But we noticed something…

Those eagles were not so regal, in fact, upon close inspection, they were not perfect creatures! Whilst we did see them swooping down to the water and snatching fish from their natural habitat, they were also scavengers, along the lines of those buzzards we see by the roads here in Pennsylvania, chewing on roadkill! We saw them by the waterside, and in the dump, looking for some dead critters to eat. The locals call them “beach varmints” or the “state pigeon” –

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Scavenging a dead salmon

because they’re so prolific.

Ben Franklin, who wanted the national bird to be the turkey, had some things to say about the eagle, In a letter to his daughter, he wrote: “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.” One of our tour guides said that it is not unusual to find several small dog collars in an eagles’ nest — and you know what that means!

 

So, while Bald Eagles have the illusion of being perfect and honorable and majestic, they have a carnal side. And so do we! As Christians, we tend to try to appear perfect and honorable. But the truth is, we have a carnal or flesh nature that we constantly battle. We are tempted to go hang out by the “dump” or “by the roadside” looking for scraps from the world around us, hoping nobody sees us, when we could be soaring like eagles. We are not perfect. We should never think we are. When we see someone who is down and out, we should think, “there but for the grace of God go I”, and lend a helping hand. I hope someone would extend the same grace and mercy to me. Let’s not fool ourselves.

It is only by God’s grace and helping hand that we can escape a temptation that Satan puts in our way. God WILL allow things in our lives that we can’t handle (by ourselves), so that we will turn to Him for the “way of escape” that He and only He can offer. If there is any good in us, it comes from God, so give Him the glory:

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

I am thankful that our God is a God of second chances (and third and fourth…), that He loves me unconditionally. He highly values humility, and He will humble me if I don’t humble myself, so I need to be sure that I am NOT prideful and glorying in myself as if I had something to do with it, anyways. He will cause me to “mount up with wings as eagles” in His time, and in His way.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

So, reader, let’s choose to be like the Eagles, but remember that we are still buzzards without God’s enabling grace, and let’s be ever thankful to Him for that Amazing Grace.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

And it’s all because of God’s Amazing Grace…         

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“Lady Baltimore”  a female who was injured and cannot live on her own in the wild.

          Here’s a few more eagle photos for you to enjoy…

 

 

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This guy was sitting by the water looking for salmon
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This couple lived on an old fuel dock right outside our hotel room window.

Our Spiritual GPS

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

I recently spent some time in Wisconsin taking one of my daughters back to school, and I got to sit in on my son’s teaching (*Bragging Mom Alert!!*). He is in Seminary at Maranatha Baptist University and as a Graduate Assistant he teaches an Old Testament Survey class, and since I was there, I decided to sit in the back and observe, he did a great job if I may say so myself!! The following analogy came from his class, I get no credit for it, I am merely passing on some good stuff:

Most new cars today are equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS), if your car doesn’t have one, then you probably have one suction-cupped to your windshield (like I do), or you usegps your phone, some people still like the old-fashioned paper maps, but not so many anymore. Well, my super-spiritual, intelligent son says that:

GOD’S WORD IS LIKE A SPIRITUAL GPS:

If you look at 2 Timothy 3:16, it tells us Four things that God’s Word does for us, it is like a spiritual GPS that gets us to our destination of “Righteousness Path” through the process of sanctification as we go on the “road of life”.

So, first we set our GPS to our final destination – “Righteousness Path” (Spiritually, this is Christian maturity), and we set off. Everything is going well, we are following the purple arrow on the GPS that is telling us the right way to go

~This is Doctrine – the right way to live, what pleases God

But then we get hungry and/or thirsty and need to use the restroom, so we pull off an exit to get something to eat and drink. (Spiritually, this is when we get off-track and choose the path of sin). The GPS doesn’t like this, if you have yours set to talk it will say “RECALCULATING!”, sometimes it seems like she has a bit of an attitude –if you have it set to a British voice, imagine her saying “what are you doing? Where are you going? You’re not going where I told you to go!”

~This is Reproof – what is wrong with the path you are headed on

Now we’re done with our pit-stop, and need to figure out how to get back on the road we were on (Spiritually, this is repentance). The GPS tells us how to get back on our original path – sometimes it will say “turn left in 1.5 miles”, or, “make a legal U-turn as soon as possible.”

~This is Correctionhow to get back on the right path after we have sinned

Finally, when we are back on the right path, and following that purple arrow again, the GPS will say something like “stay on this route for the next 350 miles, your destination will be on the right.

~This is Instruction in Righteousness –Now that you are back on track, this is what you need to do to stay on the right path

God’s Word doesn’t leave us wandering around aimlessly trying to find our way like a man without a map. God wants us to be successful in life, and He makes it clear how:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

Next time you consult your GPS as you are heading to a destination, be reminded that God’s Word is our GPS to help us get to our Spiritual Destination and we need only read it to find help in times of trouble.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Don’t be a sap, look at the Map!

The Sawyer

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20,21)img_8784b

Dear Readers,

I am sorry it has been a while since I posted, but life has been busy lately.

Let me tell you about ONE of the things I was busy with:

My husband is very good at many things, and he has a variety of interests, one of which is his portable sawmill. He is “a sawyer” (definition: ‘someone who saws wood’).  This past weekend we set up the sawmill at a small local country fair and he demonstrated how it works, he took several large logs on a trailer, and with the help of some friends, he milled them all into boards, made benches, made some posts for the Revolutionary War reenactors, and was able to talk to a lot of people about one of his passions -wood! Meanwhile, I sold the serving boards that he makes, and manned the booth answering what questions I could, and talked with some folks about the Lord, invited some to Church. It was a lovely weekend, even though it was rather hot – I thought things were supposed to cool off in September but the heat index was over 100 on Saturday! Phew!

Whenever I watch my husband run his sawmill, I try to see the wood through his eyes. He first looks at the log, they are often rough, dirty, covered in rough hard bark, and may not look like much at first – but he sees potential! He positions it ‘just so’ on the sawmill bed in order to get the best yield. The first slices cut off the bark, and he starts to get an idea of what lies beneath. The next slices go deeper into the heart of the log, bit-by-bit, slice-by-slice he goes, revealing what he suspected was there – the true value of the beauty of the log! What beautiful grains are exposed, what wonderful patterns placed there by their Creator, just waiting for the sawyer to find them! Sometimes, he finds that the tree was rotten inside, and sometimes he will find a piece of metal imbedded in the tree that he was not expecting – a nail, a horseshoe, a clothesline pulley, and any number of things that were attached to the tree and over the years the tree just grew around it until it disappeared and became a part of the tree – amazing! He can often salvage part of the tree, and just cut out the offending metal piece.

After he has cut the log into boards, he dries them in his kiln to get the moisture out, then he will take them into his shop and run them through a planer, and finally sand them smooth with a sander so that they are useful. He looks at each board he has cut, and “sees” what he is going to make out of it. He makes tables for families to gather round at mealtimes, and cabinets to hold a family’s treasures. From Tree to Treasure, there is a process that the wood goes through and my husband, the woodwright (another of his titles), takes them through that process.

You know, God is like a sawyer, He is the Creator, and the wise Masterbuilder of His Church (1 Corinthinans 3:10). He takes a rough, dirty sinner, and He saves us by His grace. We may not look like much at first, and we may not think that God can use such a sinful person, but through the process of ‘Progressive Sanctification’, He can and He will if we will yield ourselves to His capable hands. He uses all kinds of trials and situations to ‘slice away’ at us, revealing our true value, making us more like His Son (Romans 8:28-30). He planes and sands away the rough edges as we read and obey His Word and pray, drawing closer to Him. He makes us “meet for the Master’s use” (2 Timothy 2:21). There is a purpose in all he allows in our lives, because He has a plan for each of us, He “sees” what He is going to make out of us. He will expose the sin in our life, and help us ‘cut it out’, or “put off… the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). Then, He makes us into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), and makes us “that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12) – “ a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

I hope you enjoyed my analogy of the sawyer and our Wise Masterbuilder.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“Wood” you let the Lord do His “perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”? (James 1:4)