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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Conference Jitters

Okay, maybe "Conference Jitters" is an understatement. Perhaps "flop sweat" more accurately describes what's happening to you. So, first of all, let's all take a collective deep breath...let it out slowly...close your eyes and climb into your Father's lap.

Now, let me tell you a story. In my backyard right now is a robin's nest right in my bird feeder. I haven't fed the birds for awhile, so apparently they thought the restaurant had closed and they decided to renovate it. Every day, all I have to do is look out of my kitchen window and observe this wonder of nature. Mom and Dad take turns feeding, warming, protecting. It's a beautiful thing. And when Mom brings back a juicy worm, a half dozen scrawny beaks appear over the top of the nest, wide open and eager for their meal. Now, what I've noticed is that when both parents are gone, there is no activity. One would think it was empty. Not a peep. (sorry, couldn't resist) But as soon as that worm appears over their heads, up they pop, ready to take it all in. I wonder what they were thinking when this nutritious gift first appeared above their heads. I doubt any of them ducked. I'm sure not one refused the worm. And I'd bet the farm none were frightened. No, they must have been surprised by this gift suddenly dangling within their reach. Then, each time Mom brings another one, they throw open those little mouths, confident that another meal is on its way.

Aren't we like those baby birds, not able to see past our earthly limitations? Yet as God gives us nourishment, and helps us grow stronger, we gain confidence because He is right there with us, feeding, warming, protecting. Next week as we attempt to sell our work, let's never forget that, unlike these baby birds who will someday leave that nest, we always have the assurance that our Heavenly Father is continually with us, feeding us with His love, warming us with His presence, protecting us with His Holy Spirit.

May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. --Thessalonians 2:16-17 (The Message)

Dear Abba Father, thank you for putting those birds in my back yard. They are a physical picture of Your love and provision. May we all be as eager as babies, our mouths wide open, chirping for more of Your nourishment. Let us feel your presence next week, and let us know, no matter what news we may receive, that You are in control. Please put a fresh heart in each of us, one that can never be broken or bruised, please invigorate our work which we purpose for Your glory, and please enliven our speech as we put that work before strangers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.