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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cardinal in snow
The Cardinal, Brooksyne's favorite bird.
She took this photo right in front of our home office window.

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"God Cares For You"

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26)  "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

As Brooksyne and I have gotten older our interests have changed. When we were in our twenties and early thirties we were serious tennis players. We'd often play late into the night and one year we even played on New Year's Day in northern Pennsylvania in sub-freezing weather as we carefully dodged the icy patches! 

Now we have both become avid bird watchers (binoculars and all); she more than I. We have an assortment of bird feeders, and when we get caught up from our recent trip, Brooksyne will likely prepare peanut butter & seed covered pinecones and suet feeders.  She'll strategically place them where we can watch the birds enjoy these treats through the window of our home office where today's photo was taken from.

She studied the variety of birds and how to attract certain species. In fact when we were at Bass Pro Shop several days ago we considered buying a device that played the various bird songs.  We enjoy cooperating with the heavenly Father in caring for these tiny creatures.  We see red cardinals, gray-slated juncos, purple finches, downy woodpeckers and many other varieties that make for a real show particularly when we have snow.

What meticulous care God exercises to provide for the birds.  But consider how much greater value we are to God than these birds.  Jesus said so!  "Are you not much more valuable than they?" The One who has so marvelously provided for the birds of the air is certainly more interested in those He made in His own image. How can we help but sing, "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!"

But it's our keen awareness that the particulars of the future are undisclosed to us that often leads our thinking  to turn into worry.  It's been said that worrying may shorten one's life, but not as quickly as it once did. The ancestor of the word "worry" in Old English wyrgan, literally meant "to strangle." Its Middle English descendant, worien, kept this sense and developed the new sense "to kill or injure by biting and shaking" much like a wolf or dog might attack and slowly kill a sheep. 

Worrying in some ways resembles the ancestry of these Old English words in that worry can feel like a slow but persistent strangling of hope or a bright outlook toward the future.   Jesus, in the same context of our daily text, said "O you of little faith" (Matthew 6:30).  We lack trust in our heavenly Father when we look to our own strength or limited resources instead of His loving care and unlimited provisions.  

God's love for us is abundantly demonstrated in the way He cares and provides for His creation.  My prayer is that you will experience the wonderful peace of God today as you rest in the divine care of our loving Father. Worry can be such a detriment in our walk of faith and it will definitely rob us of the peace that God intends for His children. Perhaps today you will want to personalize this truth by properly proclaiming, "I will not be afraid, for I am worth more than many sparrows."  And you sure are!

Today I want the birds to be a lesson that indeed our heavenly Father cares and provides for our needs.  Some of you reading this are beset by worries. These may be legitimate concerns since our ability to consider and prepare for the future is a God-given dimension of our humanity. But when a thought about uncertainties of the future brings on stress or anxiety the problem lies with us and not with God.

Part of the abundant life that Christ gives to the believer is the peace that our heavenly Father cares and provides for our every need. My prayer is that each reader is filled with God's wonderful customized assurance today!

Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely, And long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender words I hear.
And feasting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear.
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, along with the Psalmist David, we pray for relief from our distress.  We pray that the light of Your face would shine upon us, for You have filled our hearts with greater joy than when grain and new wine abound.  You give us a sense of security when we lie down so that we can sleep in peace; for You alone, O Lord, make us dwell in safety.  We lie down and sleep and we wake again, because You sustain us.  We will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against us on every side.  From You, O God, comes deliverance and You shower Your blessings upon Your people. Thank You for caring for us, for sustaining us, and for providing for us. Amen.

(Prayer is adapted from selected verses from Psalm 3 & 4)

Brooksyne's added note about faith:  I believe it was D.L. Moody who once said, "I can go to heaven in 2nd class which is, 'When I am afraid I will trust in You'.  Or I can go to heaven in 1st class which is, 'I will trust in You'."  We do make a choice don't we – I prefer first class!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"His Eye Is On The Sparrow"  Video

Hymn story on "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"

Yesterday I shared concerning a store I especially enjoy where I took a photo of Brooksyne with a bear. It was taken at a Bass Pro Shop near Richmond VA, although quite a few readers guessed Cabella's. Actually we have both nearby and it could have been either!  In fact if we were near Freeport, Maine it could have been LL Bean.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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