Friday, February 16, 2018

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 65: Cardinal Praise




Key Verse

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV

Lesson

On a wintry cold December day not too long ago as my wife and I walked through the woods she said, “Listen to how quiet it is.” We both stopped and listed for a few moments, there was complete silence, not a bird or bug, or even the wind could be heard. This is normal during the winter months in most of the world, especially where it gets below freezing. Most birds fly south for the winter to warmer weather. The ones that stay behind and endure the cold rarely sing in order to save their energy. Not until early spring do they begin singing again.

The Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is different. Cardinals are fantastic and accomplished songbirds. They are also hardy and do not fly south for the winter and are able to endure the long cold winters as far north as southeastern Canada. They are undeterred by thick snow, long nights, or biting winds. Lack of food sources does not even drive this small red bird south. Despite all the difficulties faced in the long cold winter they can be heard singing. They are one of few birds that can be heard year-round, even in the dead of winter, offering songs to their Creator.1

What a wonderful example how we can continue to praise God even in the trials of life. God is our fortress in which we can take shelter and find hope in the darkest of times (Psalm 59:17). Because of this hope we can know that God has not deserted us. We can be sure that everything will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). For these reasons we can meet trials with joy as James encourages us to do (James 1:2).

Paul and Silas were missionaries for Jesus. They preached about him wherever they went. In many towns they were told not to talk about Jesus, yet they continued to do so because they knew others needed to learn about the salvation he offers. For this they found themselves in prison chained to the wall with their legs in stocks. Yet in this most difficult time and place, they were able to sing hymns to encourage each other and as praise to God. They, like the Cardinal, held a hope of the coming spring.

Questions

What are some benefits of praising God even when we are experiencing trials and may not feel like it?

Does praising God mean we cannot or should not feel sad?

What are other ways we can praise God besides singing?

Why does God allow us to go through these hard times?

Sources

1 John Bull and John Farrand Jr. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. (1990): 578. Alfred A Knopf Publishing, New York. Print.



Written by David F. Garner

Photo Credit: David F. Garner

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