Tag Archives: owl

A Lesson in Survival From Ollie the Owl

On a recent cold winter evening my husband David was delivered a wounded screech owl from our area of West Virginia. It had been hit by a car, and a 6.5 oz. owl verses a 4000 pound car survival story certainly speaks of the tenacity of this little creature. But when David brought it to the house I really thought he brought it home to bury. It was not in a good way. The first day it sat lifeless with an occasional opening of one eye. I guess to see if the humans taking care of it were still there. The second day he was more alert and obviously in pain, but by the third day it was apparent it was going to survive! But the quality of survival was still iffy. Probably the only one more shocked than we were about the survival was the owl. I named it Ollie, it just seemed like a good fit. We attempted a release but Ollie could only glide to the ground and then couldn’t take flight from there. We then called the WV Raptor Center to ask what we should do, because keeping an owl is a federal offence and wild creatures shouldn’t be caged anyway. That’s a no brainer. The center was very helpful and got in touch with raptor transporter who came in a few days to retrieve Ollie for assessment and owl therapy. Who knew! that owls could have therapy?

Our last few days with Ollie at our house were spent letting it perch on our hand, scratching its head and rubbing our fingers down its feathers. It made no attempt to bite us, it was gentle as a pet, but the better it felt, the less it encouraged us to touch it. I fed it raw hamburger (not the best diet) but I couldn’t do the frozen mice thing. According to the Raptor center raw liver would have been better. But Ollie loved the hamburger that I would spoon feed it. Needless to say, I grew quite fond of this little creature of God’s.

Historical Job’s Temple in Route 5, Gilmer County, WV

Karen, the raptor transporter assessed Ollie for a few days and then called to say it seemed apparent that it could fly and she invited us to take part in the release. The release had to be in the same area for which it was hit by the car, and that happened to be at a historical site in our neighboring county of Gilmer called “Job’s Temple.” A  Methodist Church building built between 1860 and 1866 and is constructed of poplar logs. It’s a beautiful location.  And too ironic not use for a correlation between Ollie’s rescue and faith.

Because of the condition of Ollie’s eyes it was apparent that it had a concussion. I feared that it couldn’t see at all. When our hand would pass by its eyes there was no reaction.

I Once was Blind but now I see…

A few days following his collision with the car.

I was in that same state of condition prior to my salvation in 1996. The walking dead. I was a part of the problem with religion. I professed but didn’t possess the Spirit of God. And that sad part is, I wasn’t even aware; I just knew something was missing. That missing piece was the Spirit of God! It caused me to soar in life… wait… I’m getting a head of Ollie’s story. Ollie didn’t know or care who David and I were, only that we were caring for it. Feeding it, nursing it back to health. Oh how very grateful I am for the church people that took me under their wings and discipled me when I finally was rescued through salvation. Please don’t ever underestimate the importance of helping a new convert find their way through Christian faith. Just like Ollie, if people hadn’t protected and spoon fed me for a while on the ways of Christianity I would have been devoured by the beast of Satan. I wouldn’t have been lost… but I could have very easily been discouraged from flying.

Your Grace Still Amazes me!

Salvation is amazing! But much like Ollie I fear the captivity. If we’d have gone against the law and kept Ollie caged, it would have continued to heal and had the ability to fly but its flight would have been constrained to the area for which it was kept. Sad. So many Christians are constrained to the walls of the church when it comes to experiencing the full power of God’s amazing grace!

Everyone is at risk if they don’t take risks.

Ollie trusted David and I for a few days as it was healing. I was under the direction of several people in our church for a time, until they were certain I could take flight on my own. It was then that I was encouraged to branch out into the ministry and take my spot on the branch. I began devouring the word of God until I felt I understood it enough to share it and then I began to teach. I began on the very elementary level, junior high and high school classes for which I needed. Slowly I progressed into the adult ministry. I came up through the ranks of every age class in our church. And with each one I learned more and more.

Ollie was a mature adult bird. It should have known better than to fly in front of a car. I was brought up in a Christian home, I should have known better than to be lost. But I did not. It doesn’t matter our age, it matters how we react to Rescuer. And it matters if you’re in the right place of rescuing.

I won’t say that anyone else couldn’t have done what we did for Ollie. But they couldn’t have possibly cared more. And that’s how I felt when I found my church family. I’d never been cared for in such a way. If you’re not in that church… find it. Find the one that will encourage and strengthen your soul until you fly!!!!

I’ll Fly Away

Ollie’s release was bitter sweet. It was the right thing to do, but I had so enjoyed the company of God’s precious critter.

I met Karen at Job’s temple and we trekked up the hill behind the church. She allowed Ollie to familiarize with the area again. It posed on her hand like it was waiting for us to get one final picture, and then within a few minutes, Ollie took flight! Oh my stars what a wonderful sight! I rejoiced to have been a part of the process.

If you’re a child of God, you too should rejoice in being a part of the process of seeing another child of God take flight.

Just like Ollie and the car, the world can hit us when we’re off guard or on guard. We need to encourage one another to stay strong in the faith. We all have times when we feel faith waning and that we’re not sure if the journey is going to end well. If you’re a child of God, it ends so much better than “well!” But the journey also can be amazing. Study and learn the word of God, learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, and when it’s time to take flight, soar like you’ve never flown before. God’s got a plan for you. Nothing just happens.

God sent Ollie to David and I because He knew the end of the story. He knew that He would be glorified. Will He not do the same for His children.

Luke 12:4-9

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

What are you hatching in 2018?

I’m forever and a day plotting and planning life. Likely at least 99% of the time my plans never come to fruition. I’m a dreamer and a planner. But the question is, “Do they line up with the Master’s Design?” The one from the foundation of the earth. I tend to omit that theology when I’m in my scheming mode? Opting for the Shari approach of design and destruct.

The verse to follow in Isaiah caused this to come to mind as I was planning for the adventures of the Jesus Chick in 2018.

Isaiah 34:14-16

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

God’s got a plan. He has one for the wise owls and even the nasty vultures that lay in wait to eat the spoils of the dead. He has mates for both and a life span of days, months or years. Only He knows.

So how does our planning and hatching of schemes come into play with God’s design? Does it matter? As we’re nesting, hatching and gathering, what’s God’s role? Good questions…

The Nest (Where we reside)

Funny thing about the nest building birds, they don’t need credit cards to get the job done! They’re not concerned with the latest trends or whether or not the carpet and drapes match. Without a plan, they just build with what’s on hand and God never fails to provide.

As 2018 stands just a few days away I’m thinking about where I reside in life right now. What has God placed within a hands breadth to make myself home where I am. Apostle Paul said that “ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11 and he told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Contentment doesn’t come easy in my nest. I want stuff… lots of stuff. I’m a gatherer of bells and whistles, also known as basses, guitars, fiddles and such. Songbooks galore and a coffee cup with the reminder of an adventure gone by. Stuff. But none of that stuff makes a nest or makes me content. It quite often clutters the nest and makes me feel claustrophobic. So what is it that I need in my 2018 nest to make me content? I ask God that very question. For me the answer was “security.” It’s what I have lacked since God put me in full time ministry without even so much as part time money. The is no money for stuff… or sometimes even bills.

The Hatching (Where we plan)

This is where I must seek God’s guidance. I need to feel productively satisfied. I need to see the fruits of my labor.  That sometimes comes in the form of web statistics. I love knowing that I have reached people with the gospel and encouraged their spirit. But counting isn’t always healthy psychologically; numbers do not always prove the fruit.

When I began to plan for the Minnesota mission trip, I didn’t even seem to have the support of many in my church family. As the time quickly approached and I wasn’t funded it left my heart sickened that people didn’t believe in me. The funding ended up coming from outside sources that were a huge blessing in the end.

As I begin planning for the 2018 mission field, that faith test is a reminder that it is God who provides, not people. If God says go and do, I have to leap forward believing it will be done, because His will, will be done.

The Gathering (Where we reap)

As the year came close to an end, I sat in church on a Wednesday night and my eight year old nephew looked up and me and said, “I want to be saved.’ I went through the plan of salvation, just as I had with his ten year old sister a few months before. I reaped the reward of seeds being sown in his life. That feeling never gets old. They are young and who knows who might be saved through their lives serving Christ.

It’s my prayer that my 2018 mission field is filled with souls along the path that God will design and the path that I follow will be without detour so that no soul, blessing or intent of God goes un-gathered. I pray that my ministry gathers support, so that I may freely serve without a financial burden. But if it does not, I pray that I will understand and believe in God’s design to go in faith and watch Him provide.

Ministry needs/desires (God knows which):

Three things that you can pray about for God’s provision for my ministry.

  • Recording equipment for podcast and music recording that would expand my ministry reach
  • A new computer that “thinks faster,” my HP has brain damage most days causing delays, reboots etc. Mainly frustration.
  • A new iPad… mine I fear is is on the verge of crashing and I use it often as a source of speaking notes and music.

What about you… What’s God hatching up for you in the coming year? I’d love to hear, I’d love to pray and connect to even more with people serving the Lord, or desiring to know more about Him.

 

 

 

How to take the hard licks in life

In 1970 Tootsie Roll Industries came up with the classic commercial “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop.” You too probably remember the ad where the wise old owl when ask that question only made it to 3, but with a more disciplined audience the answer ended up being 144-252, it varied person to person. That ad came to mind this morning when I read John 1:16 – And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

I know… strange how my mind works isn’t it?

But I began to wonder when examining that verse a little closer, about what it is that we have all received. I can’t even fathom what “His fullness” looks like; meaning everything that makes up Who Jesus is. Even though we are “made in his likeness” and it is He who dwells within the heart of a believer, Jesus is everything to everyone. I can’t even be who I need to be for any one person. I’ll let you down, quickly. Jesus will not fail you ever. And an even harder concept for me to grasp is “grace for grace”, which means we have received grace, heaped upon grace, piles of it… the fullness of Christ, which is immeasurable.

That thought brought great gratitude to my heart this morning because I need heaps of grace. But when doling out grace, I fear I’d be like Mr. Owl. How many licks does it take to get on my last nerve? Three. And then you’re out. But oh, when I need grace, I’m begging for the endless supply. That is why I don’t understand the concept of John 1:16. You can’t get what you don’t give – heaps of grace. This is a valuable lesson that I’d like to learn and I only know one way to learn it… taking the hard licks in life a little more gracefully.

I wonder if I could see the grace I’ve received stacked up against the grace I’ve been given, what would it look like. Shameful for certain. Christ is set before us as the example and I am without excuse. Lord, I pray that I’ll be quick to give that which I’ve received today. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.