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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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bird Struck! Magpies

Family Devotional

Day Fourteen

“Do not judge others and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.” Matthew 7:1

Worldwide, magpies are known as chattering birds. A yellow-billed one in California was said to have a noisy voice, almost like a whine.

Stories diverge though as to whether people regard them as good or bad. Despite several attempts throughout history to poison them, they continued to remain abundant. So in folklore they were sometimes thought to have supernatural powers.

Unfortunately, many people groups in history have also been regarded as good or evil and attempts were made to exterminate them when others felt threatened by them.

In Jesus’ time the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin decided through an illegal trial to crucify Him. The early Christians were hunted by Roman authorities and died for their faith. The Jewish people and Gypsies were among those targeted during the Holocaust. And sadly, even today, many ethnic groups are regarded as good by some and evil by others.

But good or evil is not due to the ethnic race of a people group, but by individual choices that each person makes in their heart and by their actions.

“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).

The only one who can honestly judge or know each person’s heart is God. And through Jesus’ gift of grace, each heart that has been evil can be changed towards good and transformed by His sacrifice for every person.

1. Listen for unkind words this week, said either to you or to others.

2. Write down the reason those words were being said. Did they have any truth in them or were the speakers being mean?

3. Think of some ways you can say kind words to those who are mean to you or others for no understandable reason.

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Matthew 7:1-5           
John 3:18-21

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bird Struck! Orioles

Family Devotional

Day Thirteen

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

The Latin word for “golden” is aureolus, and it became the root for the word “oriole.” When Lord Baltimore was the governor of Maryland in the 1700s, his coat of arms used the same colors as the orioles’ plumage.

Emily Dickinson has a poem about them.
                        “To hear an Oriole sing           
                        May be a common thing
                        Or only a divine.”

Orioles are also known for the beautiful hanging nests they make. Jesus told His disciples, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).

Our common everyday lives can be divine also when we live by the golden light of God’s truth.

Whether we’re doing an outside work that people can see, like helping to build homes or feeding the homeless, or doing an inside work on our hearts, like forgiving a friend who said unkind words to us, we are creating something beautiful.

And creating beauty helps everyone to see God’s light.

1. Build a small birds’ nest for your backyard or windowsill.

2. Or make a colored paper one to give to a friend and fill it with some special treats to let them know you appreciate them.

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Psalm 90:17
Matthew 5:14-15
1 Peter 2: 4-6

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bird Struck! Kestrel

Family Devotional

Day Twelve                                               
“I am the Light of the world.” John 8:12

Although a kestrel is often called a sparrow hawk, it is actually a small falcon. They have a harsh cry “to rattle” or to sound like a “ringing voice.”

Often in the Middle Ages they were kept near to the dovecotes as protection from hawks because their cries would keep the predators away.

But another characteristic of the kestrels has been identified by modern means. Due to cones in their eyes they can detect ultraviolet light which enables them to catch prey they otherwise would not see.

The Bible tells us: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5).

Sometimes we can’t see the danger around us because harmful things can disguise themselves as fun at first. What at first might seem like a silly prank becomes dangerous if someone gets hurt.

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity” (1Cor 13:12).

We need to examine suggestions and ask Jesus for His light to give us wisdom when we’re not sure if it’s safe. When we ask, He will sound an alarm in our thoughts and feelings if we need a warning.

Sometimes it’s as if we have ultraviolet sight too when He gives us guidance to recognize danger.

1. What do you wish you could see with ultraviolet light? Why? What else might help you see clearly?

2. Write down some verses about wisdom and choose one to think about each day for a week. Does your opinion about some things change?

3. Do you know someone who is danger of making a bad decision? What information can you share to help them see the possible results?

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1Cor 13:12-13
John 3:19-21

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bird Struck! Woodpecker

Family Devotional

Day Eleven

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14

Although they differ in length, all woodpeckers have a straight chisel-like self-sharpening bill and straight stiff tail feathers, which help them to lean against tree trunks.

They are like living electric drills similar to the jackhamers workers use to break up sidewalks for repair. The woodpecker can pound up to twenty some blows a second on a tree. That’s a lot of hard battering.

At the back of their lower jaw is a muscular pad that acts as a shock absorber. They are specially designed for the work they do.

Not only do they drill into branches and trees to eat insects and grubs, but the holes they excavate often become nests for other smaller birds such as nuthatches, wrens, and elf owls.

Jesus tells us that God knows when each sparrow falls and how many hairs are on his head. We are each unique to Him—a one-of-a-kind design that has specific abilities for special tasks.

Sometimes He has a very special job He asks us to do. If another bird tried to imitate the woodpecker, he would be badly hurt without the shock absorber. So it’s important not to imitate other people but be our unique selves.

When we follow Jesus, He Himself protects us and becomes our shock absorber. Then we can freely live our lives in His protection doing the work he asks us to do.

1. What are some special things you know how to do?

2. Is there someone you can help out this week—maybe with homework or chores?

3. Is there something you would like to be able to do but have difficulty? Ask a grown-up or friend for a way to learn.

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Job 33:4
Psalm 139:3-18
Ephesians 2:10


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bird Struck! Penguin

Family Devotional

Day Ten

“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you, as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” Joshua 1:5

We often think of penguins living in ice and snow and harsh conditions. But many penguin species live in regular climates. Only three species endure the severe Antarctic environment.

The movie March of the Penguins showed just how extreme their physical struggle is. These penguins endure amazing hardships to protect their eggs and newborn chicks. They are faithful in the very worst physical conditions we can imagine.

Although we rarely have to experience such difficult physical conditions we often have emotional and relationship problems.

Jesus promises never to leave us or forsake us. He remains faithful no matter what the conditions are, even if we are in harsh circumstances because of our own fault. When we tell Him the truth, He forgives us. Then He helps us to bear up under the consequences of our actions.

And just as He remains faithful to us in all our circumstances and protects us, so we can be faithful to our family and friends too.

Every one has had days when we need each other to stay around us and help. All the penguins gather in a large circle to protect everyone’s eggs.

Jesus surrounds us with His love and the love of family and friends for our protection.

1. Make a list of all the ways your family protects each other.

2. Every day for a week, do one of these things for a friend or classmate without them knowing.

3. Or pray for this type of protection for someone you know who needs it.

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Lamentations: 3:22-24
Hebrews 13:5
Romans 8:37-39

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bird Struck! Peacock

Family Devotional

Day Nine

“I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’” Jeremiah 6:17.

The female peacocks are quite shy, but the stunning male peacock is often quite comfortable strolling amidst people. However, if for any reason they sense danger, they let out a bloodcurdling cry to warn the others of their flock.

Because the peacock’s tails are so beautiful when spread out in full size, we often say someone who appears to be occupied with their appearance is “vain as a peacock.”

However the early Christian church saw the peacock as a symbol of vigilance. They strut their self-designated pathways much like a sentinel stands a watch.

Jesus told His disciple Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:31).

Jesus is always praying for us, and He gives us warning when we are about to do something that is not good for us. This gives us time to stop and think before we act. For example, we can count to ten before losing our temper.

And in the times when we’re not sure what to do, this helps us stop and take time to pray.

Jesus continues His words to Peter saying, “Strengthen your brothers.”

When we are vigilant, we can help protect each other just as the peacocks give their warnings for everyone to hear.
1.What causes you to lose your temper? Next time you are tempted, count silently to ten.

2.Choose a Scripture verse to memorize for times when you need to be vigilant and pray.

3.Who in your life watches over you and protects you? Give them a big hug today.

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Isaiah 21:8
Ezekiel 3:16-17

Habakkuk 2:1

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bird Struck! Dove

Family Devotional

Day Eight

“Gentle words are a tree of life.” Proverbs 15:4

Worldwide the dove, or pigeon, is known for its gentleness. Because it also heralds spring in some countries and is monogamous, it also symbolizes love.

In Scripture, the gentle dove heralds two amazing acts of God.

It was a dove that brought to Noah the news that the flood had ceased and that he could return to land. Several days later came God’s covenant to never flood the entire earth again, which He marked with a rainbow.

From that time until now, the rainbow can be seen everywhere in the world. Even though many people do not know the story of God’s love, God still keeps His covenant.

Another amazing announcement happened when Jesus was baptized by John and “saw the Spirit descending like a dove on Him.” Through Jesus came God’s covenant of redemption given for the whole world. And though there are still many people who do not know Jesus’ story of His love for us, God still keeps His covenant.

A small dove can still bring great news. It is not its size but the message that it carries that changes lives and brings hope.

In our world today we may feel as insignificant as gentle doves, but we too have powerful words from God we can share.

1.Who do you know that could use a gentle word about how much God loves them this week? Write them a note to encourage them. Or draw them a happy picture.

2.Or choose some Scripture verses and write them on strips of paper. Then hide them where they will find them, like in a book they are reading or on their pillow.

3.Share a favorite dessert with your friend as a surprise.

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Genesis 8:11-12
Genesis 9:11-17                       
Proverbs 15:1-4
Mark 1:10

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