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Monday, August 21, 2017

Bird Struck! Raven

Family Devotional

Day Twenty-One

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way before you.” Matthew 11:10

Ravens also have the ability to mimic human speech. Stories about them include them being sent as messengers and prophets, both good and bad.

A single raven sits quietly on a tree branch, very regal, very beautiful. But smaller birds do not scatter into flight the way they do when a hawk approaches. The raven is not seen as a threat.

It was the ravens that God called upon to feed His prophet Elijah when he was in the wilderness. Ravens keep their surplus food hidden and often have extra resources in times of drought.

Elijah had done a great work of witness for God, but now he needed both food nourishment and soul nourishment because he was exhausted. After he slept and the ravens fed him, Elijah was ready to hear God’s words again.

Sometimes we also need God’s messengers through our friends and family to comfort us when we are sick or sad or disappointed. They share themselves with us and give us their strength until we are ready to take care of ourselves again. Other times God might ask us to be a messenger to someone in need.

When we listen and repeat God’s words so that they are true and familiar to us, then we have the right resources to share with others.

1. Every day for a week, look for someone who needs a message of hope.

2. Share with them words of comfort, or time to listen, or food to cheer them.

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Malachi 3:1
1 Thessalonians 4:18
1Peter 4:9

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bird Struck! Elf Owl

Family Devotional

Day Twenty

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

In North America, Elf Owls are found in desert regions. They can be as small as a sparrow and often nest in old woodpeckers’ holes. They can also camouflage themselves up against a tree when they suspect danger. They are known as the smallest owl in the world.

Like all owls they see extremely well in the dark because of extra-long light- gathering rods in their eyes. But to look around, they need to be able to turn their heads. They can move up to 270 degrees.

Because the edges of their wings are fluffy, rather than stiff, they are able to fly without making a sound. Their prey doesn’t hear them coming because the softness of the wings muffles their approach.

Since their size makes them vulnerable to predators, these attributes of stealth make it possible for them to hunt for their food and keep hidden at the same time.

There is wisdom in silence. Sometimes it is as uncomfortable as when we see an elf owl turn its head and suddenly see its gleaming yellow eyes. Yet if we learn to listen carefully in silence, we will have a clearer understanding of where we are to go or how we are to act. No matter how small we may feel we are.

Our lives are often so busy that our feelings and thoughts need time to catch up with us. So the silent waiting of an elf owl gives us a good example to watch carefully.

1. Turn out all the lights in your bedroom and stay very still. What do you see and hear that looks different?

2. With an adult’s supervision, play a game of hide-and-seek using camouflage. Who did the best?

3. Next time you have to wait for someone, wait in complete silence. What do you notice?
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Psalm 130:5-6

Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bird Struck! Hawk

Family Devotional

Day Nineteen

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” Matthew 13:16

Hawks have precise vision. They can see from a distance eight times clearer than people. Some have been measured from as far away as a mile. They are also ferocious hunters and swoop down on their prey almost in an instant. In ancient times men often used hawks to hunt for them. A hawk that became attached to a master loved him and would always return.

Jesus asks us to see the world through His eyes. Only we are not to swoop and hurt like a hunter, but rather to see with love and understanding.

It takes a special perspective to see past actions and attitudes that to recognize someone who needs a friend. Or who needs a kind word. Sometimes all we can see are people acting grumpy or sarcastic, and it annoys us. But maybe it is because they are hurting inside because of mean words or a problem they don’t know how to fix.

However Jesus can see what is in each person’s heart. When we are willing to be His servants, He will show us who to talk to and give us the right words to say.

And when we are tired and confused ourselves, we know we can return to Him and find rest. In Psalm 23 the psalmist says He restores our souls.

1. In a safe place at home try putting some wax paper or see-through paper over your eyes and look around the room. What can you see clearly and what is blurry?

2. Over dinner wear a set of earmuffs and don’t talk but try to listen to the conversation around you. How many words do you have trouble hearing correctly?

3. Choose two days at school this week and for the whole day say something nice to whomever you talk to, especially if they are rude to you.

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Luke 11:34
Luke 20:23
Proverbs 29:18

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bird Struck! Heron

Family Devotional

Day Eighteen
“Be still, and know that I am God!”  Psalm 46:10

Great blue herons and egrets often look like statues as they stand watching and waiting for food. If they move it’s barely visible—just a fraction of motion. Time seems to stop. And sometimes it appears that they decided to take a nap.

But when their meal swims by, they strike like an arrow—straight and accurate.

It takes time to wait so patiently, and it takes time to learn to stand so still. And everywhere around us people are busy and moving so it seems odd to stay quiet. It’s hard to block out noise and to focus on one thing only. Even when you need to take a test in school, there are still people shifting in their seats or rustling papers. Or there are sounds out on the street or playground that distract us.

Often when we pray, we have a hard time to wait so patiently and watch in stillness for God’s answer. We can get distracted or feel sleepy or forget to wait for an answer.

We swim around and around like the fish in the pond and maybe miss the answer when it comes. The discerning fish recognizes the heron’s shadow waiting to strike and swims in another direction. When we copy the heron and stay still in prayer, God gives us discernment too so we will recognize danger warnings.

1. Look at a clock to check what time it is and then get into a comfortable position and stay very still. How long does it take before you get uncomfortable and want to move?

2. Now try again without watching the time. Instead stay very quiet and listen. What sounds do you hear? What do you smell?

3. Next think about your day. Thank God for the good things that happened. Then talk to Him about a problem you had or a worry that occurred.

4. Did you become still on the inside and the outside?

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Exodus 14:13
Psalm 62:5-7
Romans 12:12

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bird Struck! Hummingbirds

Family Devotional

Day Seventeen
“Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35

All through each day hummingbirds are in constant motion. Although they are very small, they need the nectar from the flowers to keep moving. The smallest one of all is the bee hummingbird and it has to eat all day long too. Whatever it eats, it uses as fuel immediately. They are like little motors always going fast.

We don’t move as fast as the hummingbirds do, but in some ways we are always going too. We read or watch movies, sleep and dream, talk with friends, or do homework. Just being ourselves requires lots of energy to keep our bodies, our minds, and our hearts healthy and active.

“Abide in me,” Jesus said. When our bodies get hungry we feed them. When we are tired we sleep. When we lean on Jesus for our heart energy we never get empty. Sometimes when we are really physically hungry we eat snacks to fill us up quickly, but they wear off us as quickly as the hummingbirds’ nectar does.

Jesus’ fuel for our hearts never leaves us hungry or thirsty. No matter whether we are having a difficult day or a very happy one, He is listening to our thoughts and prayers. He is ready to fill us up with His personal nectar that refreshes with truth.

1. For a few days keep a food diary. Write down what you eat. And also write down when you get hungry and tired.

2. Do you see any patterns between times you eat and times you are hungry?

3. Ask your parents for permission to eat only fast food for one day. How did you feel at the end of the day?

4. Then spend a day eating only healthy food. Do you see any differences?

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Matthew 6:11
John 6:32-33
John 6:48-51

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bird Struck! Pink Flamingos

Family Devotional

Day Sixteen
“For he satisfies the thirsty, and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107: 9

What color would you like to be today? If you knew that eating blueberries would turn you blue, or lemons yellow, or peanut butter brown, what would you choose for your breakfast?

Pink flamingos stand out in a crowd of birds. Sometimes they are also red or orange but they are best known for being pink. The interesting part is that without a particular substance of carotenoid in their diet they will be plain white. They can get the carotenoid from eating shrimp and algae. Some captured flamingos are also given carrots and beets in their diet to help them maintain their colors.

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:5).

We can show our colors each day by the words we use, even when we don’t talk. A scowl shows grumpy colors. A smile is friendly. Sometimes we can change another person’s colors by acting with kindness.

Jesus said, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

What kind of spiritual food might help us change our dull hearts to beautiful hearts?

1. Make a list of colors you think would be fun to be for a day.

2. Write down actions that show how nice that color can be.

3. Choose one of the actions to practice for a week, or try a different one each day.

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Ezekiel 36:26-27
2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bird Struck! Parrots

Family Devotional

Day Fifteen
“Let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word.” Jeremiah 23:28

Author Diana Wells states that “tame parrots learn to speak with uncanny accuracy, and can even be taught to count.” They also can live for nearly a hundred years.

Parrots are usually sought for their ability to talk and entertain. They are often considered of no value if they keep silent. However, their silence does not mean that they don’t understand, and often the words they hear they will repeat much later, sometimes with embarrassing consequences.

The apostle Paul often admonishes new believers to watch what they say and how they act. Life with Jesus means following His example and His words rather than the culture around us.

It’s easy, and sometimes fun, to learn new slang and new ways of communication. But we too need to pay attention to the meaning behind words.

“Set your mind on things above,” Scripture says. We’re not to repeat random words like parrots, but instead to think about what we are saying and why.

Others may be listening or overhear us talking. If we are always speaking words of truth and hope and encouragement, then we can reflect and repeat Jesus’ character. People value others who speak honestly.

1. Choose three or four of your favorite Bible stories. Write down what words best describe them.

2. Use those words whenever you can this week to encourage others.

3. Or use them to pray silently.

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Colossians 3:1-2
Hebrews 4:12

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