12 Baskets Full

A Devotional Basket January 2021

Although the cowbird is unique to North America, most people consider them a nuisance. Called nest parasites, the female lay her eggs in other bird’s nests, usually a smaller bird. This has become a real problem with serious implications for other native birds. Let me explain. 

Once a cowbird deposits her egg (and she can lay between 20 and 40 of them in various nests during spring) she accepts no responsibility for rearing her young. As their eggs usually hatch more quickly than the other bird’s eggs and they grow more quickly too, the host mother spends an unreasonable amount of time tending to the intruder. Not only do birds tend to feed the largest and loudest of their young first – to ensure survival, but the cowbird, already larger than the host chicks, also outcompetes them for food.  As a result, the cowbird is pushing some other songbirds to extinction! 

Just like the cowbird, distractions in our lives have the potential to intrude and even take over.  It can even cause the extinction of godly activities[1] – like spending quality time with the Lord!   

Let’s get practical!

A Journal & Colouring Pencils: Chronicling our Relationship

Quality time is my number one love language.  And yet, the battle to keep this appointment with God, is real and it is daily, for distractions are everywhere! An early morning appointment in town, visitors, phone calls, deadlines – real and imaginary ones, a poor night’s rest, keeping up with the school calendar, etc.   Yet, the one habit that has kept me on course since High School, has been keeping a journal!   

These days, my favourite journals are homemade, A 4 books that I decorate with old magazine pictures, washi tape, stickers and dried flowers.  At the end of the year, I love to read through them: collecting important scriptures, taking note of repetitive themes, copying promises, celebrating answered prayers, taking down key passages and making sure that each task I was given, or set myself out to do, is completed.  I love to start the new year with a clean slate and conscience – if possible. Naturally, having a mild form of OCD, helps! 

  • Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. Jeremiah 30:2
  • And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Habakkuk 2:2

2021 Calendar:  Where Kairos meets Chronos

I cannot imagine my time with the Lord without a calendar of some sort.  It grounds me in reality, reminds me that whilst I pray for kairos moments, I am still bound by chronos. Yet, I do not want to manage clock-time like the world does, but live with an eternal perspective.  The Bible teaches us to both trust God and plan for the future.  This calendar/diary filled with appointments, birthdays, upcoming ministry trips and deadlines, become daily Godly appointments where kairos meets chronos. I helps me to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as I ask Him to show me when to slot in work time, free time, rest time, personal time, family time, and prayer time – for the clock is not god.  God is! 

  • Ephesians 5: 15 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. MSG

A Variety of Blank Cards:  Encouragement is like Oxygen

The phrase ‘one for another’ or ‘one another’ appear over and over in the Bible.  Most of these commands are positive and in many ways from the basis of all true Christian community:

  • Love one another (John 13:34 + another 16 times)
  • Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

For some of us, ‘one anothering’ is a slow and painful learning process; to others it is second nature.  Yet, feeling appreciated is a universal need and fulfills a core emotional desire in us. I love giving gifts and having all kinds of cards – some with envelopes, others more postcard style – for it is a wonderful way to appreciate or encourage someone.  These days handwritten cards are rare, and yet there are such beautiful ones on the market.  But even if your encouragement ends up as a voice note on whatsapp, or an image forwarded from Pinterest, it will still accomplish its purpose – to uplift and cheer someone on, for the road can be long and loyal company, rare. 

 

 

[1] Distractions 156, from 750 Engaging Illustrations

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