[CF Devotionals] 2013-06-14 - Mockingbird Teachers

Author's Note: First I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who write us to tell us how you feel about the devotionals we write. They are a labor of love. We work sometimes for many hours on them, editing, re-editing, add this, deleting this, adding that - always trying to follow the Spirit's lead. We don't ever know when we hit "send," just how God will use them. But it means a lot when you write and say things like "that was just what I needed," or "God used your devotional to teach me" etc. By far the majority of notes I have received through the years have been about what God teaches me in my everyday life. As a fellow devotional writer/friend told me years ago (he is no longer with the staff), the best way to follow your calling as a devotional writer is to simply let God use your everyday experiences. That's what I do. I know I have never, a single time, begun a devotional by thinking, "how can I write about a bird or a dog?" And yet in my life, God often does use his creation to speak to me and to others (though last week, He put an idea in my head about stoplights, and that will come soon); what He uses is HIS decision, not mine. These devotionals come naturally out of what I'm doing; right in the middle of my everyday life, God will suddenly surprise me with an analogy etc.

I can't tell you how many humbling letters I have received from people, saying how God has used my creation-related devotionals - and I thank you for letting me in on that. Thank you, CF readers; I know that I speak for many of my fellow writers - for they have told me themselves - when I say that your notes letting us know how God used our devotionals - those mean a lot to us! Now "without further ado," on to tonight's devotional:

1 Corinthians 4:15-16 (Holman) I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

It amazes me, how often God uses his Creation to teach us, and has been since the Bible was written. This is especially true of animals. See Proverbs 4, Proverbs 30:24-31, 2 Samuel 12, etc. When one of my spiritual mentors passed away recently, her son surprised me by telling me how much she had enjoyed telling all her friends the story of one of our Mockingbirds, who imitated our car sounds so successfully that he was able to fool us! So that "set me to thinking," as the country saying goes, and after studying, I learned that God has gifted Mockingbirds with a lot of intelligence, and it has been estimated that any given Mockingbird can learn at least 400 different songs! As a lifelong choir member, I am impressed by that!

If you aren't a birdwatcher, you still probably have deduced by the name of the bird, that most of its songs are learned from other creatures of all kinds. They can master any sound, because they listen to the sound and then imitate it.

That's how it is in our spiritual lives, too. We could all do well to follow the example of the Mockingbirds. We should be spending time with and listening to seasoned Christians, soaking up their wisdom, and imitating their godly lifestyles. Should we avoid hanging out with unsaved friends? Of course not; Jesus spent a lot of time with so-called "sinners" (So-called because we ALL are sinners), and he was lambasted by legalisic people for it.

Bottom line: Day by day, hour by hour, we need to always attempt to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in this, as well, and when we are with unbelievers, we need to be the ones imitatED rather than the imitator.

[email jan] Janice P. Moser

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