July 26, 2004
Encouragement for Today
 
"The Prowling-About Crow"
 
Van Walton
Member of Speaker Team and Director of Spanish Ministry
 
Key Verse
 
Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8    
 
Devotion:

Judy invited me to join her for morning coffee. While waiting for me to arrive, she stepped into the house from the balcony to tidy up a bit.  Just as I came in, I heard her scream.  I thought to myself, "roach".  But no, she was yelling out the French doors that opened onto the balcony.   Quickly I stepped to the window to see a large crow fly by.  Clutched in his claws was an object that looked suspiciously like an English muffin.
 
We went out onto the balcony to assess the crime scene. Sure enough, one muffin was missing. How had that happened? She told me she noticed the crow land on the banister, but paid no attention to what she thought was just a big bird resting. Then, as quickly as she had seen him land, she watched him take flight and swoop over the table grabbing our breakfast.   She screamed and ran around to the French doors.   I asked her why she hadn't pounded on the windows to scare him off.  She just glared at me!
 
We were incensed that our lovely meal had been so rudely removed.  Staring dumbfounded at the brash black bird we mutually sighed.  Where had he come from anyway?  We sat down to our meal and never saw that bird or another crow for the two hours that we visited. 
 
Have you ever found yourself robbed of something precious?  I have.  I have suddenly become aware that my joy for life is missing.  Where did it go?  I have noticed that my passion for God's Word has slipped away. I couldn't find it when I wanted it. My desire to encourage friends or serve my family has been lost. Where could I go to uncover my gifts of encouragement and service?  My love for the church has at times waned. Was it stolen?  Sometimes I turn my back on the needy. Where's my compassion?   I feel like I've been robbed.
 
Ephesians 6:18 encourages the following:  "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."  I know that when I am not regularly in communion with my heavenly Father my joy slips away.  I allow the concerns of the world to take over.  Soon I am consumed by stuff that stresses rather than by substance that soars. If I ignore God's word, it quietly sits on the table and is eventually covered by careless clutter. If I turn my attention toward insignificant issues, allowing the world to tempt me and call for my affection, my friends will move on and my family will fill in the gaps. When I realize I have strayed, the church seems alien.  Actually, I am the foreigner. The fact is that we have an enemy.  Oh, he is no black crow, but he is prowling about looking to steal the benefits we have as God's children and redirect our focus. "Be alert."  That is a good reminder.  "Keep on praying." There is no better guard for our soul.
 
Jokingly I questioned Judy, "Why didn't you pound on the window to scare off that black bird thief?" The reality is that she had moved too far away from her prize to be able to guard it.  As Christians, we must protect our relationship with Jesus.   Treasures like joy, communion, passion, love are ours when we walk closely with the Lord. Without them, our lives may be robbed of meaning and purpose leaving us empty handed.  Keep close watch over your walk with Christ.  You never want to lose the blessings that are yours because you carelessly turned your head to focus on the things of this world.
 

My prayer for today:
 
Jesus, sometimes I get distracted and turn from you.  How does that happen?  You are the treasure that gives my life meaning and purpose.  You fill my every need. I don't want to lose sight of You.  I want to keep my eyes turned toward You forever.


Application Steps:

Examine your heart for feelings of emptiness, lack of purpose and meaning in life.  Record them in a journal. 
 
Maybe you have been so busy you haven't even realized what is missing in your life. Take time to be still before God.  Pray that He will reveal the areas of your life that are stealing your joy.
 
Take some time to refocus, identify what is missing and take hold of your walk with Jesus.
Begin anew by telling Jesus you have missed spending time with Him.  Commit to daily prayer and Bible study using a journal to record the treasures you find.
 

Reflection points:
 
Am I convinced that what is missing from my life is a consistent friendship with Jesus?
 
Am I willing to search for a deeper relationship with Him?
 
Am I willing to spend as much time as necessary to find what I have lost (or maybe never had) in order to be satisfied with Him and Him only?
 

Power verses:
 
You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!  Jeremiah 29:13 (NCV) 
 
Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  Luke 12:13 (NIV) 
 
And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life.  1 Timothy 6:20a (MESSAGE)
 
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6 (RSV) 
 
I give them eternal live, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  John 10:28 (NIV) 
 

Additional resources:
 
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html
 
Who Holds the Keys to your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html
 
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html