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A few months ago, as I was writing at my computer, I heard a bunch of noise at my front door. I went to the door and looked out my peephole, and to my delight, a small bird was constructing a nest in my wreath. The wreath was just the right size that I could watch her closely through the peephole. Now, I know some people might not like a bird making a nest on a wreath on a front door because of the mess the birds would leave behind, but not me. I love all kinds of animals, and I was so happy that she chose her nest location on my wreath.
As the days went by, I heard constant singing and chirping. I decided to look up information on birds as I know very little about them. I was able to match the singing to a house finch. When she finally laid the eggs and I saw them through the peephole, I was completely convinced that this was a house finch. The eggs appeared light blue with dark specks on them, and this is what a house finch eggs looks like.
Apparently, it takes 12-14 days for finch eggs to hatch, so when they hadn’t hatched at about day 15, I became a little worried. Mom was still sitting on them, but they weren’t hatching. I said a prayer and specifically asked God to help the little finches. I was so excited to see that a couple of the eggs had hatched the very next day. I watched as mom brought food to the nest and fed the little mouths that I saw through the peephole.
A couple of days later, dad must have been visiting the nest as I saw a beautiful red-chested bird facing toward the peephole, and he looked exactly like the house finches I had seen on the computer. He was beautiful, and I watched as he fed the babies. Amazing!
However, a few days later, I noticed that there wasn’t much activity in the nest. I couldn’t see the babies, and I again started to worry. After a full day of no activity, I decided to open my front door (I had been entering and exiting my house through my garage as to not disturb the nest). To my utter disappointment, I found a dead baby lying in front of my door. I could not locate the second baby. I looked in the nest, and there were two unhatched eggs still in it, but I knew the parents abandoned the nest. I moved the dead baby bird into the grass. My heart was broken. I spoke to God and told him that I didn’t understand why the babies died. I didn’t understand why I prayed for them, then they hatched only to die several days later. I was depressed and frustrated; however, deep inside I knew that all things happen for a reason. I tried to hang onto that, but it was hard.
About a week later, again as I was writing, a bird flew straight into my window. It didn’t die – it just flew off and landed on a nearby railing. I was able to get a good look at it, and it looked like a female finch. About a month later, I attended a family reunion. After checking into the hotel room, I opened the curtains to the balcony only to find a dead goldfinch lying on a chair. At that point, all I could do was laugh. I told my family members, and all I could think was, “What is it with all the dead or injured birds? I don’t get it!”
I think my questions were answered this morning. When I first woke up, I checked facebook (as I always do). I saw a post from one of my friends that quoted Isaiah 52:7:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.””
The word “publishes” stuck out to me since I am a writer. Was God telling me to write an inspirational blog today? I wasn’t sure, but it was intriguing.
I walked down the steps and into my kitchen. After making sure my cat had enough food and water, I opened the blinds to my patio. Right at that moment, two finches flew up, landed on my railing, and looked directly at me. One was a female (all brown) and the other was a gorgeous male (bright red on his chest and on his tail). Almost immediately, two more female finches showed up and landed on the railing next to the other two. They just looked at me and didn’t seem scared at all. It was almost as if they were telling me that everything is OK with them. Even though bad things happened, they are all OK. I couldn’t believe how close they were and how they didn’t seem scared at all when I moved the blinds. Even my cat came up and looked out, and they didn’t move. They just cocked their heads from side to side and looked at us. After a few minutes, they all flew away.
When my mom heard about this, she reminded me of the following verse in the Bible:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29
I believe that today, we need to remember that we should not worry and always remember that God is holding us in the palm of His hand. He is in control. I know that in recent days, there has been much suffering in light of the police shootings and the event in Dallas, but we must remember that God is the source of peace. We need to turn to Him and lean on Him during this time. God teaches us to be loving and compassionate, and we, as onlookers to this event, need to help out others who are hurting during this time and bring them some sense of peace. This is a very rough time for a lot of people, but happy days will return, just as it did for the finches.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 5:13
It is amazing to me how I always receive a new message each time I read the Bible, even when I read the same passage repeatedly. My own mother has remarked on this also.
Yesterday, as I read Romans, I thought about all the times that I have encountered people who strongly believe that their denomination is the “right” denomination. I have seen persecution of and by Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, and many others. There are many people out there that think in order to save someone, they must convert others to their own specific denomination. I would like to take time to address this issue today.
I have never believed that a specific denomination will guarantee your entrance into heaven based on the following statement that Jesus says in the gospel of John:
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16
However, I received more clarification on this subject as I read Romans, beginning in chapter 3.
“Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” Romans 3:29-30
This brings up the issue of following man-made laws in the church. Will God punish those who receive communion in a church when they are not a member of that church? No, I don’t believe so, based on the above statement. The real purpose of receiving communion is to spiritually connect with the Almighty and to remember His death on the cross for the salvation of our souls. This can be done even if you don’t receive communion physically. It is solely dependent on what is in your heart, and if you truly believe and accept Jesus as your Savior, these man-made rules have no power over you. God has the final say.
Continuing on to Romans, Chapter 9, it says “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Romans 9:6
Paul goes on to explain, “In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” Romans 9:8
I take this to mean that the choice is ours. We have to make a conscious decision to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and truly believe it in our heart. This offer is open to all – Catholics, Jewish, Protestant, etc. It is not limited to one denomination. This is clarified even more in the same chapter in Romans.
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one” and “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ‘you are not my people’, they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'” Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”Romans 9:25-28
Although this can sound a bit scary to some, it is actually great news. Anyone from any area, denomination, class, color, etc. can be saved! It is open to everyone! The door is open – all you have to do is walk through it and allow Jesus into your life. This promise isn’t just for a certain group of people – it is for ALL people, regardless of who you are or where you are. Take His hand and allow Him to enter your heart and lead you on the path of righteousness!
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith, but Israel,who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone”. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Romans 9:30-33
Do not fool yourself into thinking that other denominations are “wrong”. Each denomination has issues that they deal with – issues that can be improved. To think that only one denomination is “right” is akin to believing that you can only get to heaven through “works”. The only way to heaven is complete faith and trust in God. Always remember, “Do not judge lest ye be judged” and “all things are possible with God”.