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Living Together in Unity

Psalm 133-1

It was like a Beatrix Potter story come true in our own back yard!

Two squirrels were fighting high up in our tree. My son turned to look just as one threw the other to the ground. The victim landed on his back and stayed there, stunned. As Seth was thinking about going to check on the squirrel, the neighborhood cat, who likes to hang out in our yard, beat him to it. The squirrel came to his senses just in time, jumped up, let out a screech of horror, and raced back up the tree.

I’m sure the brother squirrel apologized. The mother squirrel scolded. And everyone drank some chamomile tea.

Because the little squirrels couldn’t get along with each other, they left one of their number vulnerable to another threat. Thankfully, the drama in our backyard had a happy ending—for everyone except the cat.

Sometimes Christians struggle to get along, too. We’re still human after all. There are just so many different ways to not see eye to eye!

Yes. It’s challenging. But when we don’t make the effort to live in unity, we leave each other vulnerable to an even bigger threat:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” –1 Peter 5:8

Not to mention the damage our disagreements do to our testimony.

It’s good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity. It’s dangerous to all, though, when they don’t. Let’s learn a lesson from the squirrels: be thankful for our shared refuge (for us, in Christ, rather than in a tree)—and stock up on calming, chamomile tea!

Father, thank You for all our brothers and sisters in Christ, for adopting us all into Your family. Though it’s sometimes hard to get along, help each of us with this. Please give us patience with each other and the ability (and desire) to forgive quickly. Show us the bigger picture: we’re vulnerable to Satan’s trickery whenever we fight. Give us a Spirit of unity to stand together in You, come what may, for the glory of Your Kingdom and the good of all humankind. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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Braking for Squirrels

Wildflower ThoughtsThere are a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood. I like them. Family members know I think of the ones that visit my yard as pets. This, they don’t understand.

“They’re vermin,” they’ll tell me. “People exterminate them.”

Not if they live in my yard, they don’t!

Besides, I know all about Cinderella and Snow White. Sometimes, having furry rodents for friends can work in your favor.

One day, a few years back, I was driving out of our neighborhood with my youngest son riding in the passenger seat. Suddenly a baby squirrel darted in front of us. I gently stopped the truck to let the cute, little critter pass. (Seth says I slammed on the brakes, but he’s wrong. And Daddy, if you’re reading this, I know you’ll take his side, but really, I gently stopped the truck. This is true—this time.)

The squirrel hesitated, so I said, “Go ahead, Baby. Cross the road.” Seth’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped, and he looked at me like I’d absolutely . . . lost . . . my . . . mind.

The squirrel stood up to look at me, too. He cocked his head curiously. I think he was trying to decide if I was friend or foe. (Or maybe he had a little power complex and wanted to enjoy the thought of suddenly stopping such a big truck all by himself. No—he was too sweet. I’m sure that wasn’t it at all.)

“It’s okay,” I said, waving him across. “Go ahead.” He did; he safely crossed the road.

Seth looked at me incredulously and shook his head. “That was wrong, Mom. That was just wrong.”

I smiled and wondered, “Do they make bumper stickers that say, ‘I brake for squirrels.’?”

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin has corrupted all people. It has turned us into vermin awaiting extermination (or, more accurately, eternal banishment from God’s Presence by our choice not to trust in Him).

But God loved us so much that He sent His Son, not to condemn the world, but to save it. (See John 3:16-17.) Through His own death, Jesus stops the extermination truck for all who trust in Him. When we look to Him in faith, He gives us a nod and waves us across, “It’s okay. Go ahead!” He invites us to safely join the Kingdom of God with assurance we will live eternally with Him.

I think I feel a power complex coming on. But it’s okay. It’s Christ—no power of my own. None at all. No, no. (Consider 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Galatians 2:20.) I trust in the One Who can stop the great, big death truck for me—and for everyone else on this human life journey.

Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

Note: Clicking the highlighted Bible verse references will take you to Bible Gateway where you can read the verses for yourself, read them in context, and find study helps for learning more about God’s Word.