Chickadees And Persecution

Fear not!

One day this spring, before “leaf-out day,” I was blessed to capture these chickadees preparing their nests for the next generation! They pecked quite a series of holes in these Birch trees. I watched in awe as these little birds worked, flying in and out more times than I could count. They worked and God provided the materials to get it done with only the cost of labor. As I delighted in the demonstration of God’s beauty, love, faithfulness and creativity, I was reminded of Jesus talking about God providing for us…so I looked it up. I was surprised to see it in context:DSC_0686_2 - Version 2

Have No Fear

Matthew 10:26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

DSC_0685_2 - Version 2So often these verses are used to encourage us in “simple” needs. I was struck by the way these amazing promises of God’s love and care of us are sandwiched between the command to not be afraid of persecution on one side and our need to have unwavering dedication to God in the face of that persecution. Great promises in disturbing context.

DSC_0689_2 - Version 2

My first pass at this post was to use those promises without the context, making this a “cute” and “light” topic as we enjoy the photos of God’s creation. But I could not do that in light of our world today. The full context in Matthew 10 is one of violence and choice!

As our culture continues to shift, we will have more and more choices to make. Will we choose to please people, by going with the flow of the changing culture that denies God and His word? Or will we choose to please the one who made us by depending on Him to help us demonstrate sacrificial love instead of responding in anger, pain and hate?

Yes, we have to choose whether to blend in with the culture around us or stand for God. Choosing to stand for God will cost at times, but God promises to provide for us…like he does daily for the sparrows and the chickadees.
DSC_0684_2 - Version 2Today in my current life of ease I choose to follow my loving Creator. Today, I pray to stand with Him when it is not so easy, knowing I can not do it without Him fulfilling these promises, because I know if I am left with my power alone, I am weak. I hope and pray I remain faithful. I cling to His words:

“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows! [And many Chickadees!] …everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”

I bless you with the knowledge that you are loved and valued by our Creator. You were born with a destiny to be a light to the world. You exist to allow God to love you, and love you, and love you, then love you some more! And when you are saturated with that perfect, unconditional love, you can let it overflow to others…in all circumstances. I bless you with the strength and courage to choose to stand in truth, grace and love in good times and hard times. Because Abba values you more than many chickadees!

 

 

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Optional reading. Here is a fuller context to the sparrow verses. Pretty? not exactly. Inviting? Not exactly. Hard to hear? Yes. Ask Holy Spirit to breathe on you if you choose to read it. And FEAR NOT!

Persecution Will Come

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

Have No Fear

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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2 thoughts on “Chickadees And Persecution

  1. Andrea, your words have come as such a comfort to me. I am aching over a suicide at work and so many layers of news that are disturbing on such deep levels. I have been trying to move into God’s love. Your blessings helped. Thank you.

    • Thank you Wendy! God always knows what we need when…. You will be in my prayers as He leads.
      Andrea