Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feast like a Flamingo

I woke up this morning thinking about flamingos.  (I have no idea why flamingos would come to mind at 6:30 in the morning...my mind just works in mysterious ways, I guess.) 

Aren't flamingos beautiful creatures?  Did you know that the female only lays and cares for one egg at a time.  And unlike most birds, which regurgitate food in order to feed their offspring, both male and female flamingos actually secrete a milk-like substance that provides the young bird with the proper nourishment until it's beak has fully developed, at which point it can begin to search for food independently. 

Isn't it equally amazing that a flamingo can stand so still and lifeless on one leg while the other leg is tucked neatly underneath it during periods of sleep or rest?  And, a flamingo has the ability to fly up to 35 miles per hour.  Crazy!!  Can you imagine flying with such an awkwardly long neck sticking out in front of you and two long spindly legs trailing behind?  If I were a flamingo, I think I would be tempted to keep both legs safely on the ground!

Then, there is the unique way in which a flamingo eats.  I mean, have you ever thought about the fact that a flamingo eats with it's head positioned upside-down and backwards?  Yup!  Watch next time you see one.  A feasting flamingo appears to be standing on it's head!  Quite funny, actually!  The flamingo takes water, mud, and food from shallow shorelines while "standing on it's head", gently it rocks it's head in a back and forth motion to filter out all of the "yucky" stuff, and sucks the nutrients down with it's vacuum like tongue. Simply incredible!

But, in my opinion, the most amazing characteristic of a flamingo, is that a flamingo's diet is responsible for the beautiful pinkish salmon color of it's feathers.  If foods rich in carntenoid pigments (like the pigments of carrots) are eaten regularly, the flamingo's feathers become more vibrant and colorfully pinkish.  On the other hand, the fewer the carntenoid rich foods being eaten on a regular basis, the paler the coloring of the feathers, often times resulting in birds that appear virtually "colorless".  This "lack of coloring" is often an indication that the flamingo is a very sick or malnourished bird.  Only God can create such an incredible characteristic!  Simply amazing!

It may appear that as humans, we share no commonalities with this unique bird.  However, I think that as Christians we are quite similar to the flamingo.  I mean think about it...  

As Christians, we require a steady diet of God's word to remain healthy and well-nourished spiritually.  Without spending time in the Bible, we begin to become almost colorless...our consciences may become dull, our ability to hear from the Lord decreases, and we begin to hunger and thirst for things that may cause further weakening to our already sick bodies.  

But, what makes the Bible so special?  

I mean, how does the Word of God really keep us healthy spiritually?  

How does a steady diet rich in God's Word provide Christians with the nourishment needed to stay vibrant and colorful throughout our lives?  

I am glad you asked! :)

1.  A steady diet rich in God's Word protects us from sin:
 "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11
2.  A steady diet rich in God's word equips us for every good work:
 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
3.  A steady diet rich in God's word encourages us with the truth:
"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."  Romans 15:4
4.  A steady diet rich in God's word provides wisdom in daily life:
  "Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
         For they are ever mine.
   I have more insight than all my teachers,
         For Your testimonies are my meditation.
  I understand more than the aged,
         Because I have observed Your precepts."
  Psalm 119:98-100
5.  A steady diet rich in God's word reminds us of Good News of Jesus Christ:
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." II Corinthians 5:21
 A flamingo needs to eat foods rich in carntenoids to produce bright and beautiful salmon colored feathers.  Without it, the feathers will turn nearly "colorless".

As Christians, we need a steady diet rich in God's Word to produce a strong and enduring faith in Christ...
                 I guess we are not so different from the flamingo after all. 

My prayer is that everyone reading will begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness, through feasting upon the Word of God...and like the flamingo, that all of us would would be visibly changed as a result. 
"Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering it over and applying it to our hearts." George Mueller

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