The Great Graduation Ceremony by Emma Foster

The Great Graduation Ceremony  ~ by Emma Foster

“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8 KJV)

Once there was a family of common wood pigeons that lived deep in a large forest. The father and mother, David and Susan, had three children, Billy, Louisa, and Will. The children had not been in the nest for very long, but were now almost old enough to fly from the nest to make their own homes.

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

One day when Susan was flying through the forest searching for worms, she met an owl named Winston who was casually sitting on a branch. Because Winston was considered the wisest owl in the entire forest, all of the birds and other animals came to him for advice on how to solve their problems. When Susan explained to Winston that her children were nearly old enough to begin flying to find their own place to live, Winston immediately suggested holding a graduation ceremony.

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

Susan, confused on what exactly a graduation ceremony entailed, waited patiently for most of the afternoon as Winston slowly explained every detail of what a graduation ceremony was, what must be done, and the reason for it. Susan almost wished she hadn’t said anything because Winston had a history of being extremely long-winded. From what Susan gathered, however, graduation ceremonies were for people who had reached a certain point in their lives. They left a place called ‘school’ where they learned everything they needed to know before being given a piece of paper and going to another place to learn. Susan thought it was almost like the way her children would fly from the nest.

Common Rock Pigeon Pair ©ARKive

Susan quickly flew back home and told David everything that Winston had said, and David thought it was a great idea. They began to prepare for the ceremony by inviting all of the birds and animals in the woods, though they were informed that the turkeys couldn’t attend because hunters had been spotted and the turkeys were not taking any chances.

That Saturday, Winston flew over to a large nearby branch while all of the pigeons and several other birds and animals gathered around to listen. Winston’s speech lasted a very long time, and by the time he was done Billy, Louisa, Will, and most of the others were fast asleep.

David and Susan quickly woke their children up so they could rise for their diploma. David and Susan both decided that the perfect substitute for a diploma would be the biggest worms they could find. Winston called out each of their children’s names one by one, and, while the rest of the birds and animals all cheered, Billy, Louisa, and Will took their worms. The ceremony was officially over. Everyone had a party afterwards with all of the birds bringing worms and all the squirrels volunteering to bring nuts and berries for the others. Some of the animals even gave the young birds a few graduation presents. One kind squirrel brought the largest nut he could find, while a raccoon brought an assortment of leaves she had found that would look nice in a nest.

Bok Santuary Squirrel

Bok Santuary Squirrel by Lee

When Billy, Louisa, and Will began to prepare to fly away to make their new nests, Susan tried not to cry. Finally, all of the guests left and her children flew away. She hoped they would come home to visit soon, and that they would not fly too far.


Lee’s Addition:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit….But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 11 KJV)

Our young writer, Emma Foster, has been growing up and has just graduated from High School. We trust you have enjoyed her Bird Tales over the last 5 1/2 years. She started writing for us on the blog in January of 2012. Her stories have continually improved as she has matured. I still chuckle over her first story of the parrot, Mrs. Patterson’s Parrot, that was too large to come home in the car.

About a week ago, I asked Emma to write a story about birds graduating. This was her answer to the request. I wanted to honor her for her graduation and the wish her well as she starts college and the future.

Now that she has graduated, she plans to work on a degree in writing. She has also assured us that she will continue to send more Bird Tales for us to enjoy. I look forward to those and will continue praying for her as she enters this new phase of her life.

Emma’s Stories

Some of my favorites: (All of them actually)

Mrs. Patterson’s Parrot

George The Hummingbird

I give up, they are all my favorites. Thank you, Emma, for all these enjoyable Bird Tales.

Orni-Theology and The Nest

Say’s Phoebe Nest and Nestling

While working on that last post, Say’s Phoebe and Nest, I got to thinking about that nest. Did you really look at it? Click the photo to enlarge it and really LOOK at it.

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

What do you see? All kinds of different material. There are weeds, pieces of paper, strings, lint, feathers, and even some “weed-eater” line (blue).

It is amazing what goes into a nest, yet it turns out to be quite comfortable for the baby birds. Each piece of “stuff,” though different, seems to blend together.

Our churches are the same way, or at least they should be. I Corinthians 12 has much to say about the body and the church.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV)

Scripture goes on to name different gifts, then says, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:11-14 KJV)

Weed-eater Line

Weed-eater Line

Just as there are different things making up that nest, the Lord gives us a part to do in the church. Some are good at one thing and others another. That weed-eater line reminds me of those willing to mow and clear out the weeds around the church. Some like to sew things and could have provided the strings. Not all of us can be preachers, deacons or teachers, but the Lord has some talents He has given all of us. It is up to us to be willing to use it for Him.

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-20 KJV)

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Corinthians 12:27 KJV)

I think that nest looks a mite “rag-tag” from my point of view, but to that little bird, it is “home” and he seems quite comfortable. We are fortunate that we have a great church “home” at Faith Baptist and I trust you have a great church “home” also. No matter our age or abilities, there must be something the Lord would like you to do. Just be willing and pray for His leading.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

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Sunday Inspiration – Variety

The photos this week are from the Pin It (Pinterest) website. Thought sharing some of their great variety of bird photos would be enjoyable to watch. The ones selected do not even begin to show the photos they have in the various topics.

As mentioned in the latest article by Emma Foster, the Lord gives varying gifts, just as the Lord created the birds with such variety. May we use our varied talents to serve our Fantastic Lord and Creator.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:3-8 NASB)

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“For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV)

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“The Love Of God” – ©The Hyssongs

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Sunday Inspirations

Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation

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Birds at the Ladies Retreat

Singing - Broken and Spilled Out

Retreat Choir

We had our Ladies Retreat this last week-end. I got involved in it and became one of the coordinators. Jill, our pastor’s wife, was the other one. We have spent hours preparing for it over the last month or so. For me, I have had to depend on my other writers and an occasional article from me to keep this blog up. Now maybe we will get articles out a little more frequent.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, (Romans 12:6a KJV)

Our theme was “God Gives Good Gifts.” The retreat was Friday afternoon through late afternoon on Saturday and almost 80 ladies attended. The Lord blessed us with great weather (we had 6 inches the week-end before), lots of sweet fellowship, laughs, singing, testimonies, exercises, and challenges from His Word during three General Sessions.

There were workshops to choose from breadmaking, couponing, birdwatching (me), parenting, scrapbooking, card making, singing, Bible study with e-Sword (me), prayer journaling, organizing, how to handle trials, and make-up inside and out, all with a Christian emphasis. We have many gifted ladies in our church.

Ladies Retreat - Singing

Ladies Retreat - Singing

So how did birds show up at the Retreat? On Friday afternoon while not feeling well, I was told to go put my feet up for awhile and rest. I did, but my view from my lounge chair looked straight out at the lake. A Great Egret was fishing along the bank. Then, I taught a workshop on Saturday about Birdwatching. I shared birding tips and how and why to make lists. Binoculars were brought and we learned about them and how to properly adjust them to their eyes.

During my devotional on “Discover Your Gifts,” I had plenty of bird photos in my Powerpoint. They were all different and pointed out that as they are different, all of us are different, but the Lord uses those differences for His glory. They were challenged to find or discover their talents, gifts, and abilities. The other two devotionals by Jill and Lisa, our other speakers, challenged the ladies to “Develop”  and then to “Demonstrate” those gifts.

Ladies Retreat - Skit

Helen's - Too Many Hats

We had many others that talked about prayer, trials, gave testimonies, opportunities to serve, and even the skits left you with a challenge. The singing was sweet and the specials were fantastic. Kathy sang one of my favorites, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” just before my devotional.

It was a very good retreat, and even though I came home physically drained, my heart and spirit were totally filled up and over-flowing with blessings. God DOES Give GOOD Gifts.

Of course, the greatest gift of all:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)

More articles about the Retreat:

Article in the Fountain – Our Church Blog

Related Posts in the Fountain:

God Gives Good Gifts: A Ladies’ Retreat
Ladies’ Retreat – Workout Time & Break-Making Workshop
Ladies’ Retreat – Scrapbooking & Encouragement Through Card-Making
Ladies’ Retreat – Parenting & Prayer Journaling
Ladies’ Retreat – Couponing & Organization Workshops
Ladies’ Retreat – Joy in Trials & Singing Workshop
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Article in the Fountain – Our Church Blog

Lee at South Lake Howard watching Wood Storks

Lee at South Lake Howard watching Wood Storks

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8 KJV)

Birdwatching is not the only thing taking up my time these days. If you read the following article about our upcoming Ladies Retreat, you will discover another of my “adventures.” Just when you think you have discovered all your gifts and talents, the Lord gives you a new challenge and then He helps you accomplish that new task.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

The Fountain’s article – God Gives Good Gifts – A Ladies Retreat was written by Jonita Barram, also a contributor to the blog.

The Fountain is our church blog, Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven. That is where this whole adventure of doing The Birds of the Bible blogs got started. And then this site.

The Lord is gracious and is helping us get the retreat ready. I knew our church was loaded with ladies with various gifts and talents. Much more than mine. Many have stepped up and are presenting workshops and talks, plus doing the many behind the scene projects. I praise the Lord for everyone who is helping and for all the ladies who will be attending.

God does give good gifts through abilities and a desire to use those. To me also, one of the Lord’s Gift is His Creation of all these birds we get to watch and observe.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalms 28:7 KJV)