September 1

Encouragement for Today

 

“Are You My Nest?”

Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:  

 

Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

“Are you my mother?” Do you remember the children’s story of the little bird that spends all the pages of the book asking everyone and everything in sight, “Are you my mother?”

 

I know of a mother bird that spent two days looking into many a nest. Her question each time she flew into a nest was, “Are you my nest?”

 

It seems a finch built her nest in a fern hanging in my mother’s garage. Mother realized there was a challenge in store for the future bird family almost immediately. You see, my mother gets up each morning and opens her garage door. Stepping out to walk around in her yard, she spends time with the Lord, praising Him for the beauty of the earth and talking to Him about the day’s plans. One morning she realized that, as soon as the garage door went up, a bird chirped happily and flew in, landing in the fern. Upon further investigation my lover-of-God’s-nature mother discovered a tiny nest. In it nestled a lone little egg.

 

Alarmed, Mother realized the egg would not survive if the mother bird was separated from her egg and eventually her baby. Mother’s schedule is very irregular and often the garage door might close at noon and not be opened again until the next day! She had to come up with a plan to help save the family.

 

Unfortunately that little bird, who was content to build a nest close to the master’s house, was terrified of the master. Consequently, whenever Mother showed up, that little bird decided she needed to fly away. That meant leaving her egg in perilous danger.

 

My mother’s final solution was to take the fern out to the patio. She hoped the mother finch would find her nest.

 

What about you? Do you build your life close to the Master, so as to benefit from some of His blessings, but not so close that you can live the life you choose? Do you claim to love God and believe in his statutes, but then pick and choose what commands to obey and what precepts to adopt into your own life?  Let me give you some examples. The finch wanted the protection of the master’s garage. When the master showed up, though, she was quick to fly away. Consequently there were times when she was at such a distance, the garage door was closed and she was separated from her family and the master.

 

I have called myself a Christian for many years, wanting to live under God’s umbrella as long as I didn’t have to make major commitments to follow Christ wherever He might lead. I kept a Bible handy and claimed to read it often. Unfortunately I didn’t read it everyday, pledging to pattern my life after God’s commands. I must admit, I did so when I needed to. Several years ago it became obvious to me that I was living like that little finch.  When I wanted my Master’s protection – when it was comfortable – I moved in closer to Him. When I wanted to design my own life, I “flew” away. Today I live close to my Lord, realizing I want to feel His presence all the days of my life. I haven’t yet perfected my relationship with Him. Together, my Lord and I are working on coming together in perfect unity.

 

Still, there are areas of my life that need sharpening. For instance, I go to church every Sunday. Do I avail myself to a small group that will hold me accountable? Do I serve my congregation by making a commitment to teach a children’s Sunday School class or visit an elderly person who can’t get out much? I also attend a weekly ladies’ Bible study. Do I do so in order to listen to God and allow my life to be changed by the power of His Word? Or, do I attend the study so I can socialize with my friends, enjoy coffee with a plate full of home baked goodies, and get the latest scoop on everyone’s life? Is my life salt and light for the world as a result of my church life? What about you? Can you relate?

 

Living close to the Master, but not too close so as to have to face Him daily, is not the relationship Jesus had in mind when He prayed for us the night before He was crucified, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11b NIV)

 

Have you built your life in a comfortable location near the Lord, but fly away as soon as He comes close? Or have you settled so near to God that you are aware of His presence day and night, knowing that you can only survive in the refuge of His strong fortress?

 

Did the little finch find her nest? She did! She laid two more eggs and several weeks later all three baby birds could be seen taking their first flying leap, encouraged by their mother, into the world outside the nest.

 

The interesting and very real outcome was that, although her master’s hand blessed her by moving her family so they could be spared the agony of separation and possible extinction, that mother finch continued to fly away every time the master of the house stepped onto the porch!

 

 

My Prayer for Today: 

 

Jesus, Lover of my soul, You have made it so clear in your Word that You want a very personal and intimate relationship with me. I am amazed that I still retreat at your approach. Forgive me. You are Protector, Provider, Fortress, Kind, Gentle, and totally Hospitable. I truly don’t want to leave your presence, ever! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

 

Are you conscious of your close relationship with the Lord?

 

If you have not already, begin to develop a routine that seeks Jesus throughout your day. Talk to Him in the morning. Read from His Word before your day gets too busy. Invite Him to join you in all you do. Ask Him to speak to you. Be ready to hear His quiet and gentle leading.

 

Reflection Points: 

 

Do I flee when the Master comes near? 

 

What is it in my nature that causes me to ignore the Lord?

 

What steps am I willing to take so that I may live in God’s presence day and night? 

 

Power Verses:

 

Genesis 3:8, “Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The LORD God called to Adam, “‘Where are you?’” (NLT)

 

Isaiah 50:7-8, “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to oppose me now? Where are my enemies? Let them appear!” (NLT)

 

Jeremiah 11:8, “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked, each one, in the stubbornness of his evil heart; therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.” (NAS)

 

John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (NIV)

 

James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (NAS)

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_becomingAWoman.htm

 

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretBalanced.htm

 

P31 Woman Magazine

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/woman.htm