Christianity 201

August 2, 2013

The Two Crows


Sometimes a certain scene or series of events will remind you of a Bible story, and many times that memory trigger is something you need right at that moment. That’s true of today’s story.

Joni Eareckson Tada is a popular author and speaker. If you don’t know her story, you can (and should!) read more about her at this link. Her devotional page changes daily, so I don’t have a specific link for this one, but you can access them regularly at this link at the website Joni and Friends.

The Two Crows

“The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” —1 Kings 17:6

The morning of my trip dawned. As I got ready to leave, I couldn’t shake the blues. I felt ashamed for being down — what did I have to be discouraged about?! I prayed, “Lord, please brighten my spirits. Grab me by the scruff of the neck and show me Your goodness.”

We packed up and headed to the airport. We flew to Dallas and after our plane landed, I sat by the curb waiting for my friend to get the van. I heard a “caw!” behind me. When I turned my wheelchair around, two ugly, big crows were sitting on the roof’s ledge. They remained there for at least five minutes, looking down at me. It was so odd, I stared back at them.

As I did, God brought to mind the story of Elijah. The prophet had become depressed after he performed spectacular miracles just the day before — Elijah had announced the end of a drought and was the people’s best friend. Still, he had a bad case of the blues. The record shows the angel of the Lord touched Elijah and even agreed that “the journey is too much for you.” Elijah rested and had something to eat and drink. At another point, God sent ravens to feed Elijah.

All the Lord’s provision came to mind as I stared at those old crows. I knew God had placed them right there when I needed to be reminded that the Lord wanted to give me rest and refreshment.

The lesson of those crows and of Elijah is for all of us. The Lord gives us gentle reminders of His intimate concern over every detail of our lives. We just have to open our eyes to recognize that, yes, He may even use a couple of crows to make His point.

God, give me physical rest and spiritual food. Enable me to recognize Your signs of encouragement even when they come in strange forms.

Taken from More Precious Than Silver. © 1998 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530.

Back in February, Daily Encouragement profiled Joni as an example of how God uses “treasure in jars of clay.” To read that blog post, click here.

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Scripture portions from various translations quoted at Christianity 201 are often in green to remind us that the Scriptures have LIFE!

January 14, 2011

Hunger as a “Gift”

Today’s post is the daily devotional from Joni and Friends, the ministry founded by Joni Eareckson Tada.  The first link above is a general one that will get you a new devotional reading each day, not necessarily the one printed here.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  –Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Humans get hungry, and not just for food but for a whole range of desires and dreams. Hunger to have hopes fulfilled and longings answered seems to be built into us.

Sometimes our hunger gets us into trouble, and we wish we could curb our appetites. But in Deuteronomy 8:2, you’ll be surprised to learn who gives us these longings. The Lord is the one who causes us to hunger. He is the one who has put within us our desires and yearnings. At first, this seems odd. Doesn’t God know that the “hungries” often get us into trouble?

God has good reasons for giving us such large appetites. He has placed within us desires and dreams in order to test us and humble us, to see what is in our heart, to see whether or not we would follow Him. He causes us to hunger so that we might learn to feed on the Bread of Heaven, to live on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

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To hunger is to be human, but to hunger for God is to feed on Him. Hunger and thirst after His righteousness and feed on Him in your heart. Taste and see that the Lord is good; it is He who will fill you to satisfaction.

I am prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. I’m prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, please take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above. 

Want to get more out of the devotional and teaching blogs you read online?  When I’m preparing Christianity 201 entries for each day, especially the ones where I’m reposting something that someone else wrote, it’s easy to just say, “That one looks good;” and do a quick cut-and-paste.  What I find causes me to really slow down and consider what I’m reading is preparing the “tags” that accompany each blog post.  If you blog, you know about these, but if not, you can pretend you’re editing a site like this one.  What keywords or “tags” can you think of to attach to what you’re reading?  The tags don’t have to be words in the actual text — I use “Christianity” and “devotional” most days simply to attract readers who are looking for those themes — but the tag can be something else that is suggested by what you’re reading.  We often find ourselves so hurried that it’s easy to miss the essence of what we’re reading.  Slow down and look for the tags!