Monday, July 31, 2017

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #351 Going to the Birds

This year Jan and I went to the birds!

Well, we started feeding them, a little. We got some suet and a cage, and hung it from our clothesline. For those who don’t know, suet is a mixture of seeds mixed with hard fat. It took a little while, about a month, before the birds found it. Now we have a regular entourage of chickadees, finches, bluejays, magpies, and brown thrashers.

The brown thrashers are interesting. They migrate north from the southern US for the summer, and apparently have about 1000 different songs, the largest repertoire of the songbirds. Several are nesting in our lilac hedge, and we see them coming and going.

Some birds knew instinctively to perch on the cage closest to the suet in order to reach it. We watched others, however, who landed on top of the clothesline and then tried to reach the feed, without success. They simply could not bend low enough below their feet. They were so close, but so far away.

I talk with people all the time who feel this way about God. They are close, but not quite there. They want to believe, but something holds them back. For them it seems that others get the privilege, but they miss out - they’ve done too much, gone too far, turned their back for too long, and they missed their opportunity. The best they can hope for is to stand on top of the wire and watch while others feed below.

This was not so different from the situation faced by most in the Old Testament. Only the high priest could pass through the heavy curtains into the holy of holies, the innermost part of the sanctuary, while others had to be content to wait outside.

This changed with Jesus. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,… “ (Hebrews 10:19-22*)

The lesson for us is that God is within reach of the ordinary person. We should not think that closeness with God is only for someone else. Rather, because of Jesus, we can all experience closeness with God.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.


OnFire is a letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis.  Married  to Jan, Troy is a chaplain and has more than 20 years of pastoral experience. This letter published July 9, 2017. *New International Version. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or reply, email Blog located at

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