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“Unexpected Birds of Prey”

Seagulls are everywhere at the beach…everywhere’s there’s someone with a bag of chips or a ham sandwich that is. Throw one Cheeto and you’ll attract a dozen birds. They lie in wait (or fly in wait) hoping for anything. They are somewhat birds of opportunity, maybe even birds of prey. Not like hawks or eagles, but maybe more like buzzards and crows. They are really unsuspecting birds of prey as they wait patiently for prime opportunity you to leave your food unattended and then they swoop in to help themselves to your leftover pizza!

I witnessed this yesterday as a lady left her sandwich on her beach chair to cool off in a quick dip in the ocean. No sooner was she halfway to the water when the seagulls attacked. It’s almost like they can see you unwrap your food! The sandwich was too heavy so they dropped it in the water right beside the lady and fought over it. She finally realized it was her sandwich, but it was way too late. They had snatched it away! What was meant to feed her was stolen away to feed the seagull. She should have been like another lady I saw who covered her food with her beach towel. It was there when she got back.

This reminded me of the time Jesus told the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. He said as the sower threw out seed along the path, he dropped some and the birds came and ate it. He explained later what this meant: “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path (Matthew‬ ‭13:19‬).”

Perhaps, like the unsuspecting lady, you are being robbed of God’s word that has been sown in your life to feed you spiritually. Like the seagull snatches the food away, the devil wants to snatch God’s word away because “those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (v.12). Believe me seagulls are a great illustration for the devil as one pooped on my arm yesterday!

What’s snatching God’s word out of your life? Is it the busyness of this life? Is it the good things of this life that have so consumed you that you don’t have time for God anymore? Are you distracted by things that are pulling you away from church fellowship or time reading God’s word? Are you being devoted to the word or devoured by the devil? Is someone snatching the truth away that you used to believe and consume? That can even come in unsuspecting forms such as news reporters and celebrities feeding you anti-biblical rhetoric, or it can even come in the advice of a trusted friend who has strayed from the principles of the word. Be alert! Test everything, hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21)! Don’t let the devil sneak in and devour (1 Peter 5:8). Hide Gods word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Let the word of God dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16).

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea.” -1 Thessalonians 2:13-14

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Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.

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