Monday, February 15, 2016

Deer Valentine

So it was a little chilly yesterday morning. It was fourteen below zero. on this February 14th, Valentine's Day. Warming up now, it's six below, as I am heading into town for worship (I am dictating this entire message).

I thought I would tell you a little story, a Valentine's story, that my wife and I saw last night. Three deer came into our yard after the sun went down. They stood around a little bit and then all three of them just settled down for a cold winter's nap . . . thirty feet from our house . . . in the snow. They spent the entire night in our backyard.

This morning my wife looked out the kitchen window as we ate breakfast. She was hoping the three deer would still be there. They were. But now there were four. Interesting.

She watched them for a while. One of them was pretty far off. But eventually my wife left for church so I took over as head deer watcher. What a treat! I happened to notice that this fourth deer coming closer was . . . a buck!

Now my wife and I had just spoken this morning about how we never see bucks in our yard. We have only seen one in our 34 years of living in our house. We always see does and now she wasn't around to see this big boy so I ran to get my camera and took some pictures to show her that, yes, there actually WAS a buck in our back yard.

I couldn't get a really good shot so I moved out into the sun room. Well, my focus being on the buck, I didn't notice the doe that was eating out of our bird feeder which is about ten to fifteen feet away from our sun room. The doe got scared by my movement and ran off down the trail into the distance.

I turned my focus back to the buck and I noticed he was staring at the fleeing doe that had run off. And he was staring at her rather intently. She continued to run, white tail wagging in the air. The other two does just continued to lie there but the buck was not focused on them. He just continued to stare at the running doe. Then he took off and he pursued her.

When he caught up with her she finally stopped and they both stood there together. He had left the two does behind to chase after the one that was frightened.

That Valentine's Deer story, played out in our back yard,  reminded me of the story Jesus told of the man who had 100 sheep and how he left the 99 sheep behind to chase after the one that was lost.

12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." - Matthew 18:12-14

Have you gotten frightened or "interrupted" in life? Have you run away from the flock, so to speak? Often we think there is no going back. That's not true. God loves us, He pursues us and He wishes that none of us should be lost.

How many times does it tell us in the Bible, "Do not be afraid" or "Fear not." Let the story of the deer be an encouragement to us this morning. He gives us examples of His love wherever we look. Even in the back yard.

God gave me that example of unconditional love Sunday morning, when the buck gave up his morning breakfast to chase after the one who was frightened. May God encourage YOU this day. May you not become afraid as you walk through this world. And may you stand boldly in the position of a child of God, through your faith in of Jesus Christ. Amen.

As The Deer

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