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Character 101
By Shannon Parish

Scanning the horizon with my friend's binoculars, I stood on the deck of their home, enjoying the view of open space that connected with their back yard.  As was my habit, whenever I got the chance to visit with them. I had grabbed the binoculars that sat by the sliding glass doors and was watching the local wildlife in the field beyond their garden wall.

 On this particular morning, I was lazily observing some cows grazing a short distance away.  One cow in particular caught my eye as it leaned against a fence post to be enjoying a long vigorous scratch while rubbing its neck up and down the fence post.  Focusing my binoculars on the cow, I was horrified at what I saw!  "I can't believe my eyes!  I exclaimed to my friend.  You need to come here and look at this and tell me what YOU see!

 Holding the binoculars up to her eyes, she too gasped and said, "I can't believe my eyes either!"

 The reason for the furious scratching was more than clear.  The poor cow was in pain!  For some unknown reason, the cow's horns had not been trimmed.  The left horn had grown up, twisted, turned down and was growing into the skull, just behind her eyes.  The open wound was caked with dried blood and swarming, stinging flies!

 We immediately called the Humane Society, and unfortunately, never found out what happened to the cow.

 Later that day as I was driving home from running some errands, I passed by another field, in another part of the city.  Rimming the field was a barbed wire fence.  A fluttering commotion caught my eye as I drove by, and in a moments glance, I took in a most amazing sight!  "I can't believe my eyes!  I thought.

 There on the barbed wire sat a little tiny sparrow, and on top of the sparrow trying to mate with it was a large black bird!

 "Man!  This is a weird day!  I said out loud to the Lord as I drove on.  "What are you showing me?  Silence hung in the air.  Slowly shaking my head and pondering the strange events of the day, I drove on home.

 Later that evening, while in our Wednesday evening worship service, I couldn't shake the memories of what I had experienced during the day.  You know how it is. . . you think you are having a "normal" day, but keep having something played over and over in your mind, as though a patient teacher were showing you something that you needed to grab a hold of in answer to something else.

While my heart was turned toward the Throne, the events of the day mentally replayed once again, but this time I gained an understanding.  "The cow represents us as Christians.  As we graze in our green pastures, we continue to grow and enjoy life on this earth.  Like the cow's horn, our thoughts continue to grow, constantly churning and mulling things over.  And, like the cow, if we do not submit ourselves to the Masters touch, those thoughts can become out of control without being pruned back.

 Unchecked, our thought life can turn on us and affect the way we see things, causing great open wounds for the enemy to torment and feed upon.  If left to our selves, without the surgery of God's cleansing Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, our thoughts will eventually cause our demise.  We will be destroyed by our own imaginations, pain, and misconceptions.  Frantically we try to fill the void caused by the unknown affliction, either by laying blame, accepting the spirit of offense, self punishing ourselves by impulsive shopping or eating binges , etc. .  .  or heaven forbid, by sexual sins.

 This is represented by the black bird that was trying to mate with the sparrow.  The sparrow (again, representing us), was allowing the black bird (sin and every evil work) to mate with it.  This is an abomination to God and is an unnatural thing for a child of God and resident of God's Kingdom to allow to happen.

 Jer 17:10 says, "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."

 Ezek 38:10; "'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan:"

 Rom 1:28-2:1; "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;           who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

 Rom 8:7 states, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be."

 Phil 2:3-5 encourages us by reminding us, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . ."

(NKJ)

 It doesn't matter what has been done to us, or perceived to have been done to us.  Our responsibility lies in judging our own hearts and minds.  Casting down vain imaginations, and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  And don't we know that this is sometimes a moment by moment thing?  Thoughts and intentions grow much faster than horns, and are much more deadly.  Because they not only affect ourselves, but those around us.

Next time an offense comes, or an accusation against a brother or sister in the Lord, TRIM YOUR THOUGHTS!  You may be passing judgment on someone in an unrighteous manner.  How can you, being flesh and blood, know the intentions and motives of another's heart?  Aren't we only commanded to love one another?

 I sigh as I reflect upon all that God has shown me.  My hands are full just cleaning up and trimming up my own mind.  Who has the time to dwell on offense or judgment?  Let God do that. . .  He does a much better job anyway. . . .

Oh, and, uh. . . . . welcome to CHARACTER 101.  (Class is NEVER dismissed!)

 

A Cartoonist, Graphic Facilitator and Creative Life Coach, Shannon Parish devotes her life to encouraging those who are fed up with the 'status-quo' and are determined to discover and pursue their purpose and destiny in life through one-on-one mentoring, facilitated workshops and retreats.

 

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(c) copyright 2010 All world rights reserved, Shannon Parish, Living Stones Center.
For reprint permission, please email me.

 

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Sarah's Tent (Est. 1997)
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