The big concrete birdbath in my yard looks solid. It is solid. The big fluted bowl sets sturdily on a stout, yet artful pedestal and looks substantial and immovable. However, I have noticed since my arrival a few years ago, the entire thing is listing to the starboard like a ship taking on water in a stormy sea. The tilt of the Moore family birdbath has rendered it practically useless and only a cup or two of water would remain in the darn thing to help any thirsty bird who happened by.
Upon closer inspection the problem was clear. The birdbath was sitting on a bed of topsoil, wood chips and pine needles rather than rock. It was destined to be wonky- and get wonkier- because it wasn’t resting on anything solid. No matter how sturdy a vessel may look to the naked eye and regardless how level it initially was upon installation, if not situated on bedrock or a firm foundation, eventually winds and inclement weather will start breaking things down, erosion will begin to have an effect and soon birdbaths (and lives) will start to breakdown and list starboard or port side.
It took a little teamwork but my husband and I realigned the unwieldy, extremely heavy birdbath, backfilled with dirt to level the ground, and set the entire thing on a flagstone. Getting the foundation right set the entire thing straight and within minutes the big bowl was filled and a shocking number of birds immediately began to gather and drink.
Aside from a foundation on the Word of God, we may entertain some nebulous idea that one can control or at least keep the lid on our inevitably messy lives by compartmentalizing our stuff. It is all too easy to pigeonhole various areas of our particular world: Marriage, relationships, jobs, finances, entertainment, politics, education and what we really live versus what the Word or the world says. Birdbaths don’t move from a firm foundation but people surely can and do.
We may be dismayed at the enormity of issues and swinging volatility of politics (certainly a good example in the wake of the recent presidential free-for-all) or current career prospects and consequently shelve introspection, running to the safety of an escapist novel, football game, hobby or movie. Often the tricky currents of marriage causes participants to abdicate and focus entirely on parental priorities instead- or cling to the company or accolades of friends who would like to see your life as wonky and uncertain as their own.
Sometimes the pain or chaos of relationship or family baggage drives us to the sheltered shores of career tunnel-vision and the perceived financial surety of a job well done. The ease of a controlled environment where numbers add up, expectations are defined with few surprises and a paycheck every two weeks lures many to that safety zone.
You get what I’m saying. None of these scenarios are particularly bad. Everyone appreciates a place where the waters are smooth, easy and predictable. But if the foundation is not balanced and solid, running to alternate shelter in any of these little boxes will eventually throw the birdbath of your life and that of your family out of whack. With every rain the water splashes out and begins to erode your shifting, muddy base. Soon, what was first a gentle tilt is now a precarious angle of no return. The first blast of winter wind is going to blow the whole thing over and what was perceived as stalwart and immovable has cracks that can never be repaired.
I’m a Christian blogger and my audience is generally one with at least a basic knowledge of the Word of God. However, over time the world has infected the Christian, Biblical worldview and message. Full Gospel truth, over time and under the influence of a dark world, has given way to watered down theology, situational ethics and blindness to sin. Christian believers who don’t study the Bible for themselves have left many oblivious, unaware and possibly uncaring they have ventured far from biblical True North.
We are not called to look like the world. We are not called to agree with people and be liked, and get along and compromise. We are called to love those people we work alongside, and live in the midst of. However, we ARE called to be Salt and Light to them. We are called to deliver a message, HIS MESSAGE with power and authority. Everyone needs Jesus. Everyone needs to hear about his love!! Every single one. My bowl full of water needs to be totally full so that I can offer that to everyone I encounter. It is not to be filled with anything but water. Jesus sent us out with the Gospel of the Kingdom, to preach it, using it to heal the sick and cast out the demonic in no particular order. We are called to put on the righteousness of Christ because we have none of our own. We are to wear armor because we carry vital refreshing water to an active battle-field. If our foundation is not sure nothing is going to work well.
Let’s get foundational: Are you saved? If you were to die today do you KNOW that you are going to heaven and will spend eternity with The Lord? Lots of pews are filled with people who come every Sunday who never hear specifically that they need to make a public profession of faith and be baptized in water, and maintain a true, ongoing actual relationship with Him. If you wandered off and got lost or disillusioned?—well, it’s getting late and its time to come on home.
Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Acts 19:2– The first church taught that there are two separate steps to take when becoming a believer, one is for salvation, and there is salvation in no other name but Jesus. Please don’t misunderstand me. Folks often like to think that I am saying they are not saved and not really a Christian. Not at all. Saved is very different than being empowered. If you are not seeing the relevant big stuff, the power stuff we see Jesus doing and that was recorded in scripture which changed the world then your birdbath might be a little wonky!
That next critical step many have abandoned is that of asking for the Holy Spirit to fill you. In the book of Acts, the people gathered to lay hands of new Believers to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not miss this step. If you have been a Christian for 5 minutes or 50 years you need to now, take this step in obedience. Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t important, not needed any longer or that you “got all the Holy Spirit you needed the day you were saved.” This stuff was foundational Christian pre-school, basic ABC’s in the Bible and we’ve abandoned it in many circles. This is scary and it’s dangerous.
We must have this Holy Spirit power to accomplish what Jesus tasked us to do. If you are saved but lacking the Holy Spirit filling then your birdbath is whonky. It is tipping and not holding the precious water you so desperately need to serve yourself, your family and others.
Jesus is our Rock. Our lives, every single aspect of our complicated, messy lives needs to set squarely in obedience to him and be viewed only from HIS foundational cornerstone. Christians like to think of “we versus them” or the unsaved. I am not responsible for the unsaved other than to love and be willing to share the Good News. However, often we neglect to take the hard and regular evaluating look necessary to make sure that we, our families, our church families and pastors are completely level and sitting solidly on that flagstone of Truth. Sometimes when we see that we have erred in our doctrine we lack the wherewithal, the spiritual gumption, to do the uncomfortable repentance work to lug our unwieldy birdbath back to a solid standing that is total agreement with the Word.
We are beginning to see those first blasts of prophetic, end-time chill winds blowing. Is your birdbath square and level? Is your bowl of water full to take care of the wildlife when the weather shifts?
Resources for further study:
I have several tabs on this website entitled Holy Spirit 101 & 102 which are chock full of details and references.
I highly recommend the book by pastor Bill Johnson entitled When Heaven Invades Earth. It changed my life and made a lot of puzzling pieces fall into place. Available on Amazon.com and Christianbooks.com
Most of us are very familiar with the Gospels outlining the life and times of Jesus but many are less familiar with the Book of Acts. I encourage you, as my good friend and brother in Christ, Chuck Chetwin, likes to tell people, ” Read Acts 3 times and call me in the morning!” I encourage you to just read it. Not with the Bible notes, references or concordance, just read it. It means what it says and it isn’t overly long or tricky, one doesn’t need to be a Greek scholar to see it for the Holy Spirit primer it truly was intended to be.