An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on a Mexican Sunflower.
As the butterfly takes nectar from the flower,
we must take spiritual sustenance from the wisdom of the scriptures.
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
Article by Norma Beaird
2 Timothy 3:1
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For the last few weeks, I admit that I have had a very difficult time posting an article on our blog. To be quite honest, the constant barrage of bad news has really gotten to me. I don't know where to start with the news. It just gets worse. From the attacks on the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge to the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, Nice and Munich, the sadness just seems to consume everything. Then, I buy a copy of the Savannah Morning News and read that the 30th homicide this year has just occurred.
If that isn't enough, we have the constant barrage of political circus, to include the conventions, debates and controversy. It seems that we live under a cloud of deep spiritual oppression. You don't know who you can trust. Is it possible to even go to the grocery store and feel safe anymore? Is it possible to buy a carton of eggs without fear that there's a lunatic on the same aisle looking at the low fat milk?
You wake up in the morning and attempt to motivate yourself, but then you learn that something else happened while you were asleep. More shootings, more death, more protests, more terror and more scandal. Walking to the coffee pot for that first cup of coffee doesn't begin to soothe the tension that lives in your soul. For years, you heard them preach about it. You read about it in the scriptures. You know it's coming. From what you can tell, it's already here.
Matthew 24: 4 - 8
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled:
for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
In the midst of the madness and sorrow, there is life and hope. In the last few years, our birds have been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. As I inhale the aroma of freshly made coffee and open the blinds, I look outside the kitchen window and see the adult Eastern Bluebird bring his immature toddler to the feeder. This instantly brightens my day and helps to relieve the pressure of a world gone crazy. God's glorious creation once again brings peace to my spirit.
Papa Leonardo and his immature bluebird!
Some days, it seems that the media doles out large doses of doom and gloom. If you read the comment sections on social media or under any online news article, you can see that fear and the anxiety of "what may happen" in the future is epidemic. People are prepping and preparing, locking and loading and even moving out of large cities. They are very worried, tired and frustrated. And, I can understand how they feel. Things are not going well. If the shootings and protests are not bad enough, we have the serious problems of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, unemployment and a common mistrust of the government and Wall Street.
As it has been said before, it seems that the inmates are running the asylum. Of course, if you're rich, highly successful and living in the lap of luxury, you may not be spiritually aware that we're living in a very dark world. Somehow, when everything is going right, it's much more difficult to see that everything is going wrong. Money and success cover up a multitude of problems. Why? Because you have the ability to separate yourself from a lot of misery. How miserable can you be if you're in a hotel suite somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean? As a matter of fact, if you're floating somewhere in a deep turquoise sea, you're probably feeling pretty good right now.
On the other hand, if you're not on a vacation or a yacht, if you're not checking on your dividends, you may be more tuned in to the chaos that ignites on the evening news. Living paycheck to paycheck and suffering through financial shortages will tune us in to worldly struggles. However......rich or poor, black or white, young or old, no matter who you are, it's time to tune in to the cloud of oppression that hovers over this nation. It's time to become spiritually aware in a very dark world. Our very life depends on it.
It's time to pray, read the Bible and ask God for spiritual wisdom, discernment and guidance. It's time to walk outside and listen for the the bird song. It's time to enjoy the colorful flowers, the fluttering butterflies and the sweet little rabbit hopping through your yard. Prayer, Bible reading and observing God's glorious creation will make you more sensitive to spiritual matters. When you pay attention to and learn about bird migration, cloud formations and moon phases, you become more aware in every area of your life, and this is very important. God can use His creatures and creation to teach us very important lessons about life and spirituality. God can even use metaphors of weather to help you understand the wrestling of the soul.
Meet Oliver, the Eastern Cottontail, is taking a break next to the Rabbit Hole!
At the risk of sounding apocalyptic, things are going to get worse. It's Biblical. We're living in perilous times. There is a storm brewing over this country. So many people can feel it and sense it. The spiritually aware know that it's coming. The clouds are gathering and the demons are planning while some poor souls continue to fret over the color of their granite countertops. What a shame. They are the ones who will suffer the most when the Category 5 storm makes physical and spiritual landfall.
In the past ten years, I have wondered why the Lord opened the door for me to move to rural Georgia. At times, it has not been easy, not at all. The rural South can be a challenging place to live if you're originally from another part of the planet. Culturally, it's different from anywhere else, but God wanted to teach us a few things. Over four years ago, around the time our house was burglarized, the Lord began to open doors to birdwatching and bird photography. This has been a blessing beyond anything that we could have imagined. We have seen wonders of nature that we would not have seen in a large city or town. We have fed birds that we would not have fed if we lived in the midst of high rise buildings.
Peanotta, our female Red-bellied Woodpecker and defender of the buffet.
We have seen birds nesting, migrating and taking care of their young. We have seen different species of birds enjoying a lunch together at our very own Le Avian Cafe. We have discovered that our birds have personalities, and from this discovery, we have given them names and stories. Our birdwatching has fine-tuned our senses, making us aware of weather patterns and how they affect avian movement and migration. In addition to the joy of birdwatching, we have become more tuned in to moon phases; and, because we're not in the middle of city lights, we are blessed with clear pictures of the moon. Our senses are no longer on auto-pilot because God has taught us to pay attention to everything around us, above and below. Consequently, being aware of nature has placed gratitude in our hearts for what the Lord has created for us. Through watching birds nest and raise their young, God has taught us about faith and provision. These lessons of faith will be very helpful in the coming seasons in this nation.
Matthew 10: 30-32
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men,
him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Peanotta, the Red-bellied Woodpecker and the Duchess of Soperton, our Northern Cardinal.
No matter who wins the presidential election, dark times are coming. Many do not see this because they are not spiritually aware. For the most part, our culture has become pagan and our churches are secular. When you take God out of the equation, you will always end up with a minus instead of a plus. You can't go against the natural laws of God and expect life to work out for you. Even the birds live their lives according to the natural laws and seasons of their Creator. When it's time to nest, they nest. When it's time to migrate, they migrate. They don't go against the laws of nature. Therefore, life works for them on a level that is difficult for many to understand.
In closing. I must say this. It's time to become spiritually aware in this very dark world. This is critical. It's time to pray and seek God and read the scriptures. Pray for discernment, pray for protection, pray for your family and pray for this nation. It's time to let go of materialism and worldly desires and seek God's will for your life. The only answer to this nation's woes is God. Repentance and prayer will turn the tide of evil, not another political promise or declaration. Don't get caught in this storm without a spiritual umbrella. The clouds are gathering and the storm is brewing. Only God can save us now. It's time to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit. God gave us a promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14. However, it is up to us to reap the blessings of His promise. The ball is in our court.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Titus 2: 11 - 14
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Copyright 2016, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.