Bird Feeder Bullies

IMG_4062 (600x800)When I am washing dishes or preparing food at the kitchen counter, I love to look out the window and watch all the different birds feeding at the bird feeder. Spring is even more exciting as I look forward to seeing each new species that have returned to their summer breeding area. Each new day brings the anticipation of seeing yet another kind of bird.

The different species of birds have different feeding habits. A few, such as the chickadees, will land on the feeder, take a seed or two and then fly off to the nearest tree to eat. The sparrows, cardinals and juncos feed from both the feeder and the ground beneath, while the mourning doves seem to only eat the fallen seeds on the ground. I love having them all come to the feeder with one BIG exception – I hate the grackles!

The grackles are nothing but bird feeder bullies! They travel in “gangs” and don’t wait their turn at the feeder but rather, use their raucous cries and puffed up feather moves to intimidate the other birds and scare them away. Then they swarm the feeder and the ground below. The grackles on the feeder just throw the seed out everywhere while the ones beneath gobble everything up. Depending on the number in the “gang”, the grackles can totally empty the feeder out in about a day! They also have a nasty habit of robbing eggs from other birds’ nests!

While doing some research on grackles, I found some interesting, and accurate, terms used to describe grackles. One, is that they gather in large numbers to “mob” other animals that they don’t want in their territory – a bit of Alfred Hitchcock?? Another is that a large gathering of grackles is popularly known as a “plague” or an “annoyance”. I definitely concur with those adjectives!

Bullies have been around forever – probably since Cain killed his brother Abel. In Wikipedia, bullying is defined as ” the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.” Now one would assume that there wouldn’t be such people in Christian churches, after all, Jesus preached “love thy neighbour”. Unfortunately, history has shown that bullies can be found in “church” as well as in the world. The Spanish Inquisition, Oliver Cromwell, and the Salem Witch Trials are just a few of the terrible examples of how the Word of God was twisted and perverted in order to persecute and prosecute those who were not “like-minded”.

Perhaps not as dramatic but just as damaging are the bullies that can be found throughout the Christian church today. I once heard them called “Bible thumpers” because they use scriptures to figuratively “thump” people with. Judgement, criticism, condemnation and guilt are used to threaten, frighten, and manipulate others. Church bullies want to be first. They want to be heard and noticed. They want to be in positions of power and authority. They want to decide what the pastor can or can’t preach and what kind of people can or can’t belong to “their” church.

Jesus called these self-righteous, self-important kind of people “vipers” and “white-washed tombs” – poisonous and filled with dead and unclean things.

Mat 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Mat 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Jesus said that those kind of people do not have the love of God in them.

Joh 5:42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.

Jesus said that those kind of people have nothing to do with him and will have no place in his kingdom.

Mat 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!

Instead of the Kingdom of Heaven, the “Christian” bully’s reward will be the condemnation of hell.

Mat 23:33 Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

At the bird feeder, the grackles are bullies while the mourning doves are quiet, gentle and companionable.

Some who call themselves Christians are no better than the grackles – bullies. Rather, we should be like a gentle mourning dove – one who displays the fruit of God’s holy spirit.

Gal 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control;


The Mustard Pot

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Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

When my mother was a young child, she and her parents emigrated from England to Canada – twice – each time crossing the Atlantic by ship. When you do trans-Atlantic moves of house and home, you often don’t get to bring a lot of things with you. Consequently, my grandparents didn’t really have a lot of “family heirlooms” to pass on to us when they died. I like history and I am sentimental so I would have really enjoyed inheriting a trinket or two.

Recently, my mother was sorting and organizing for the purposes of downsizing when she came across such a wee trinket, that had belonged to my Nana,  which she gave to me- a small china pot hand-painted with blue and yellow violet-like flowers . It also had a brass-coloured lid and a small silver-plated spoon. I thought it was either a jam pot or a sugar bowl.

Curious as to it’s origins, I did some online research using the information from the stamp on the bottom of the pot. It was made in England by Burgess Bros. of Longton and was part of their Carlisleware series made some time during the Art Deco period. To my surprise, I found out that it was not a jam pot at all but a mustard pot! (The English do like their hot mustard!)

I guess a little mustard pot is not much in the way of a family heirloom and it certainly isn’t worth anything as a valuable inheritance, but every time I look at it I am reminded of my beloved Nana and Mom and the adventures, trials and tribulations they experienced as they tried to make new lives in a new country.

While I may not have a monetarily valuable inheritance, my mother has passed on to me a treasure worth more than silver and gold, and that is the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and salvation through His son, Jesus. She also taught me how to forgive and how to love others, which is the “prime directive” of Christianity.

I tried to pass on this rich inheritance to my children but I know that I somehow missed the mark by teaching more about the “do’s and don’ts” than the truth that ” God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”(Joh 3:16)  My children were young at a time when I myself didn’t understand the difference between “legalism” and “love”.

As I continued to search for “truth” and a better, deeper understanding of my Heavenly Father, I have come to understand the deep love that my Father God has for me. I have also found out that through faith in Jesus Christ, I have received an inheritance more valuable than all the riches of the world added together! In fact, I am a joint-heir with Christ.

Eph 1:11 in whom [Jesus] also we have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will,

Col 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ.

Heb 9:15 And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new covenant, so that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

So, what is the wonderful inheritance? Read Ephesians chapter 1 and you will see treasures such as:

vs.2 – grace and peace from God

vs. 3 –  every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies (!!)

vs. 5 – adopted as sons and daughters of God (!!)

vs. 6 – acceptance

vs. 7 – redemption and forgiveness of our sins

vs. 13 – sealed with the holy spirit of promise

vs. 17 – wisdom and revelation

vs. 18 – enlightened understanding and hope

and of course, eternal life! Whew – what an incredible inheritance!!

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you

My prayer for you today is from Acts 20:32:  “And now, brothers, [and sisters] I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  In Jesus name, Amen.