Text Size: Zoom In

The Ways of the Cuckoo Bird


Photo by: Jurgen Otto

In a list of latest headlines this morning I found one that stood out from the rest, being different in kind— yet similar in nature.

Appearing in the BBC Nature News, the headline is Cuckoos’ Shameless Egg-laying Tactics Revealed.

Before reading the article, I thought of the cowbird that is known for laying its eggs in other birds nests. The twist on this article, though, is that scientists have confirmed that the female Cuckoo doesn’t wait for an empty nest to lay her eggs, but forcibly shoves a sitting bird off it’s nest in order to leave her own.

What seems a bit unprincipled in nature, might be a good occasion to remind ourselves of the ethics of the Spirit. On several occasions the New Testament reminds us of a non-violent strategy that is quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry, patient, gentle, winsome, even knowing when to be shamelessly kind—to the point of appearing scandalously gracious.

This is not to say that the Spirit of God is weak, unengaged, passive, or unable to endure the weight of great effort, burdens of love, or rejection.

Am hoping that the lowly ethics of the cuckoo will give us a smile and a chance to compare thoughts–on the way forward.

By the way, was out of town last week, but thoroughly enjoyed catching up on all that you said in the last conversation. Thank you for your friendship and helpfulness to me and one another.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+16 rating, 16 votes)

93 Responses to “The Ways of the Cuckoo Bird”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    After reading this through a few times a couple different thoughts came to mind.

    The first is the contentious debate in environment vs breeding in creating the desired behavioral results.

    The old story of Dr. Doolittle and his experiment “Eliza Doolittle” was a take on this “argument”.

    Apparently everything that the Cuckoo needs to know in becoming a Cuckoo is already processed there in its DNA and what it will become, intact there in the egg.

    Nothing the feeding and nurturing parents provide for the Cuckoo has any effect on changing its nature at all.

    Second is the comments about the Spirit of God laid out by Mart.

    “Quick to listen” “Slow to speak” “Slow to get angry” “Patient” “Gentle” “Winsome” “Shamelessly kind” “Scandalously gracious”.

    I have to assume that we are talking of the Spirit within us.

    Quick to listen…Is everything we hear good for us? Is there a point when we’ve heard enough? Which brings me to…Slow to speak… This is a big one.

    It is a well-known fact that most of us suffer from an itchy trigger finger of the tongue, but even when we enforce a slow response time unless we just walk away, we will eventually speak. Once we begin to talk the ensuing conversation or consequences are shared by those to whom we may be speaking to.

    Patience…This could be an entire topic.

    God didn’t seem to be patient at all when Adam and Eve disobeyed, though He did wait a few thousand years before offering a rescue. And what occurred during those years while He patiently awaited the proper time for Jesus to come? Disaster on a “Biblical” scale.

    I defer to the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:1 in that there is a time for everything and everything has its time.

    Patience has a limit. Even God’s as evidenced by the story of the future of the world found in Revelation.

    I think I will pick this up from here later as I am out of time for now.


  2. bubbles says:

    “. . . a non-violent strategy that is quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry, patient, gentle, winsome, even knowing when to be shamelessly kind–to the point of being scandalously gracious.” I have known a few people like this in my life. They are spiritually mature, truly controlled by the Holy Spirit. I love being in their presence; they are a treasure.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles Matthew is back to his exercise this morning and we are between his bench presses and riding his bike. He needs the rest and especially me…

    Picking up where I left off this morning it occurred to me that I skipped over “Slow to anger”, I wonder if that was a “Freudian” slip.

    This is an issue I work on all the time and if any of you can understand it, Matthew has helped me enormously in this area.

    The best of us get angry, but the special gift from the Spirit is to have a slow fuse, the bigger issue then is how big the explosion after the fuse reaches its end.

    The hope is that with “patience” the heat of anger will have extinguished itself given enough time.

    The thing is that everyone gets angry at something the difference becomes what we do with it.

    There is an entire science dedicated to studying the effects of holding anger in or expressing it immediately. Which causes the worst or better result physically on our health.

    Sometimes a seething anger over time results in a much worse reaction then just getting mad and saying so. Sometimes whatever made you upset is forgotten as time passes; it would seem every situation would create the best response.

    One only look to how the last topic started to heat up to see that anger is always there under the surface it only needs an opening to get out.

    For the record I was not angry nor angered at all during the last topic, but it looked to me that some may have been getting frustrated and that is only a step away from anger.

    Well once again I went further than planned and after being interrupted several times I will leave things here until I come back, most likely tomorrow morning.

    I do hope all of you enjoy the day and none of you are in the flooded areas in the Mid-West.


  4. street says:

    scandalously gracious

    ethics of the cuckoo

    itchy trigger finger of the tongue

    very much enjoyed these word play.

  5. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all!
    I too love the way you write Mart…so full of metaphor and gentleness.
    Thank you for this post as with all the others that get me thinking and allow me to read others’ thoughts and exchange ideas with them. I so appreciate your gift to the Body and your faithfulness in ever learning and growing your gift. A good example to me to keep on learning and growing my own gifts for the work of the Kingdom.
    As ever, blessings, Grace

  6. cbrown says:

    Good morning all! Sitting in the mountains of North Carolina on vacation listening to the birds talk to each other and it is so peaceful. I know that the Cuckoo bird was created by God and he does all things good in his time so the Cuckoo bird has its place in His creation. A problem that I have though is the use of the word “scandalous” with gracious. Scandal is such a negative word that I shudder whenever it is used in relationship to God the Father,Son or His Spirit .I think more in terms of beautiful or glorious.

  7. cbrown says:

    “he does” and “His time”

  8. cbrown says:

    Sorry, “He”.

  9. quietgrace says:

    Hi Chris! I wonder if Mart doesn’t mean that it’s scandalous to non-believers?

  10. quietgrace says:

    So glad to hear you are enjoying a relaxing vacation-you deserve it from the important and stressful at times work you do for the Kingdom!

  11. poohpity says:

    Chris could it be referring to an outrage arising from how grace filled a person is. (i.e. They are so full of grace towards others that it is outrageous. The person really should be full of anger and hate rather than being what appears to be the weakness of charity and mercy that is really scandalous.)

  12. street says:

    scandalously gracious

    Our God is a scandalous God. Do you remember Mary being found pregnant while engaged? Or the father who ran to receive his son back? who can ever forget the scandal of the cross? Scandalous is the grace we receive from a very loving and compassionate God.it is life changing to the core. it is to be given to all who are in need by the children of God.

  13. poohpity says:

    Mart, doesn’t it take a selfless way of life to be lead by the Spirit. Willing to trade resentments for forgiveness, self rightness for the righteousness of God, thinking of others above ourselves, considering what is in the best interest of others while stepping aside and depending on God. A friend once said it is a process and that is so true but do we struggle against that process by holding so dearly to something that causes hard feelings. The bird that allowed the cuckoo to take it’s nest did not cling to it’s rights.

  14. saled says:

    Yes, street, God is scandalously gracious. Rahab included in the lineage of Jesus. And it was scandalous to touch a leper, to heal on the sabbath, to speak with the woman at the well. I think God makes it a point to do the unexpected, to break the rules, and include the outcast.

  15. cbrown says:

    Grace,I needed a vacation but the Prison ministry is refreshing. It is the frantic pace of this world that wears me down. The first time I heard the word scandal used to refer to God offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world I went and looked up the word. In my thinking describing what HE has done as a scandal is blasphemy.

  16. cbrown says:

    I did it again “prison ministry”

  17. quietgrace says:

    Chris I may be wrong but I think the use of the word ‘scandal’ is part of the Emergent/Postmodern Church movement, which has coined a lot of new words to catch the attention of the culture. It certainly can be confusing but I see where it could be blasphemous to some.

    Glad you are able to get away from the world for a while and that your ministry is not burdensome at all.
    Rest in Jesus. Grace

  18. poohpity says:

    Chris, is that what your thinking is regarding how Mart used it in describing non-violent strategy which would seem scandalous compared to human logic?

  19. belleu says:

    I’m not too sure I have this right, but I get the image of the Holy Spirit being a bird who nudges the world out of my mind and fills my mind with goodness. Either I can rule my mind, or I can let the Holy Spirit take over and build a home there.

    An empty nest is not good either. Jesus says worse evil will fill our minds if we are converted and then leave our minds empty of God. Luke 11:26.

    The ethics of the Spirit, as Mart points them out, are beautiful. I also like the image of “scandalous” because it is so true of God. Jesus was always causing a scandal of some sort.

  20. cbrown says:

    I am conflicted. Mart used the phrase “appearing scandalously gracious” but I am adverse to the Light referring to God’s glorious grace as a scandal and appearing is usually not included in the reference.We the Church are the Light.

  21. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Just back from family camp on the seashore! Look at the little currawong parent feeding the gigantic cuckoo chick! Whatever the devious methods of the cuckoo mother, the host family is faithful to include the “foreign” baby in the household.

    Are we not like the cast-off cuckoo chicks? We are welcomed into the family of God and nurtured to grow up and flourish by grace and unconditional love!


  22. remarutho says:

    Hey Pooh!

    Thought something was resonating in my memory from the previous conversation. That non-magpie egg in the nest is bound to become a well-nourished member of the species that conceived it; yet it is transformed by its cuckoo-brain imprinted with the image of a magpie mom and dad. Pooh, you wrote:

    “The egg however represents the New Life or New Covenant which not only brings us closer to God but empowers us to change through the Life giving indwelling of the Spirit. That Spirit could not live in us without the sacrifice of Jesus. If our eyes, hearts and minds are so focused on the wondrous work of Jesus it is life changing nothing we can brag about it just happens.”

    The cuckoo hatchling opens its mouth and receives the nourishment that sustains its life. It becomes a cuckoo bird that probably flocks with magpies. I like the image. We are transformed in heart and mind by our dependency upon Jesus!


  23. SFDBWV says:

    I had a good smile at the attention the word “scandalous” attracted, as I too thought it a little out of place when I first read it, but then thoroughly enjoyed everyone else’s take on it.

    It becomes almost mirror like in how we all read Scripture and go away with so many different views.

    It isn’t because the Scripture say’s anything different it is because *we* are all different.

    Jumping ahead a little, Mart wants us to get a smile out of “the lowly ethics of the Cuckoo and a chance to compare notes along the way forward”.

    Because I watch nature a lot, I see too often what I consider human traits in the creatures I observe. I find myself not liking certain animals because of their too human habits.

    What happens as a result is that I try to feed only the animals I want and try to keep the others away, but what I find is that the “lowly ethics” of some animals are too persistent for me to win and I end up becoming frustrated and teetering on giving up feeding any at all.
    The whole process reminds me of how God cares for people and how people of “low ethics” survive among the very people whose ethical living provides a safe and productive environment for all.

    In my attempt to produce a feeding haven for only the animals I enjoy, it becomes evident that the only way I could keep out the riff raff would be to kill them off, but then once again I would be kept busy just keeping guard and selectively killing off species I didn’t like.

    And once again I am reminded of how this is what God plans to do, create a world with no “riff raff” or unrepentant people.

    Unless the Cuckoo’s of the world have a change of heart and adopt the nature of the more ethical creatures of the world, it remains a Cuckoo.

    This is what the miracle of *Rebirth* is all about. When we accept Jesus as Lord He gives us a new birth and we become a new creature…Even though we may have started out a Cuckoo we are now not only a creature of better ethics, but take on the ethics of our creator.

    I can’t do that on my feeding areas, but have learned that all my efforts only make the unethical wiser in being unethical.


  24. remarutho says:

    It occurs to me the characteristics cuckoos and magpies are not subject to human ethical standards!

    Seriously, can birds have high or low ethics?

    If the cuckoo is opportunistic in laying its own eggs in another bird’s nest, then we have to consider the habit of magpies (and crows in general) of stealing shiny objects and hiding them somewhere in the woods! Watch your glasses, gum wrappers and loose jewelry! It seems to me both species have interesting habits that are fun for humans to watch.

    I recall another subject at BTA considering the carelessness of the ostrich, laying her eggs where they could be destroyed by predators, then sticking her silly head in the sand. What a marvel an ostrich is!

    There is a mysterious affinity between birds and humans. We are both bipeds, making us similar in our ground-level mobility. Guess we have to include the kangaroo in our group as well…

    Just musing on the topic.

    Heat wave coming into the Pacific NW — up to 95F today. Must go set some sun-tea for later in the day


  25. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I once had a friend who had a pet Raven, most people confuse them for the crow, but this one was a raven.

    If you weren’t used to its habits it could scare the life out of you.

    Many years ago as I would wait out in front of my house along the street for my ride to work with a friend the bird would swoop down out of the morning sky land on my shoulder or the ground in front of me and try to unlatch my lunch pail.

    Without hesitation as I reached down and opened it to get it something it would only step off a foot or so and wait for me to find it something.

    Right away it would take it in its beak walk away to the edge of the sidewalk pull up a patch of sod and bury it, look up at me and fly away.

    Thanks for the memory.

    Going to be a hot one here today also, with afternoon thundershowers. We had 6.60 inches of rain last month which is way over the normal for us, but then it was raining when the “dog days” began so it will keep up the wet weather until they are over.

    I hope your camping adventure was a pleasant one.


  26. quietgrace says:

    ‘This is not to say that the Spirit of God is weak, unengaged, passive, or unable to endure the weight of great effort, burdens of love, or rejection.’

    In reading this sentence I am reminded just what a rock-solid base we Christians stand on. It gives me hope and strength in a world tossed too and fro by the enemy and those who listen to him. And even Cuckoo’s that sometimes get in my private ‘space’.

    Another thought is that with enough love and grace applied the Cuckoo’s in my life eventually move on, either out of rejection of that love and grace, or with the ability to move on with their own wings of grace.

    I have my AC off now for the past 24 hours as the temps have dropped from the 80’s to the 60’s! Wow, I can really hear the birds now with the windows open and am enjoying it immensely!

    Blessings, Grace

  27. remarutho says:

    Sheesh! A ginormous raven on your shoulder! It does sound scary, Steve! What a hoot, though. Pesky bird!

    Walking in the woods of the Pac-NW, you can always tell if there is a predator on the ground. The ravens (and jays) go to the treetops and fuss loudly at the danger on the trail, for all to hear. Mysterious and wonderful! Angels on assignment?

    Camp was a blessing. Migrant farmworkers and their families out boating, playing on the beach, doing crafts — and fellowshipping at meals and leisure. Muchos ninos! Good fun. And supported by the church for the folks.


  28. quietgrace says:

    Maru congratulations on the success of your camp and praise God for what He is doing in the lives of those campers!

    Steve I too enjoyed the story of your daily visit with your raven friend!


  29. quietgrace says:

    Maru your statement regarding the birds and how they could be angels on assignment reminded me of something I read recently about fallen angels.

    1/3 of the angels of heaven fell with Satan, but that also means that 2/3 of them are still around and doing God’s will. I thought that was encouraging and what a reminder of how God takes care of us in unseen ways. God has built into nature ways for all species to protect themselves. I think we can learn a lot from God’s creation as well.

    blessings, Grace

  30. poohpity says:

    To all our friends north of our border Happy Canada Day!!

  31. belleu says:

    Thank you, Pooh. It is a beautiful warm Canada Day where I live.
    Steve, I liked your story of the raven. Animals are so interesting. It reminds me of a time I was in my back yard near the fence and I saw a baby bird walking on the ground. I tried to catch it so I could perhaps keep it and feed it till it was grown. But the bird kept running away from me and going in and out of the fence. It finally hopped away.

    This made me think of how God tries to save all the people in the world but most run away, afraid of what God will want or do to them. He wants to give eternal life but people don’t seem to understand that.

  32. remarutho says:

    Agreeing with you, Grace.

    God’s creation bears the mark of God’s grace. It seems to me there is a strong argument for the existence of a moral universe, because the Creator is just and good and loving. Have to agree that God’s ways are often unseen, as God cares for all that has been created.

    Bird behavior falls into that same moral universe, though birds do not “think” about it as we might do…except for ravens maybe… ;o) They seem so smart sometimes. (“Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.'” – Edgar Allan Poe)


    PS Hoping for a safe and festive 4th of July for all at BTA!

  33. remarutho says:

    …should say, for those who observe the USA Independence Day! Maru Best wishes to all as the second half of 2014 begins!

  34. foreverblessed says:

    Hello everyone, have been away, and safe home again. right now the World Cup Football, USA against Belgium, will the US score within 5 minutes? It is past midnight here, but have to watch the game. It is a big thing here in our country.

  35. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry guys, the USA didn’t make it, but Belgium is very proud about their team winning 2-1.
    But the Us was fighting very well right unto the end, very well done, not giving up! This is the world cup football, and a great thing for the rest of the world.

  36. foreverblessed says:

    Last topic there was some discussion whether nature can teach us something… well this cuckoo nest thing is one great lesson!
    Jesus also told us many lessons out of nature “the vine and the branches” is one of them.

  37. poohpity says:

    Most often nature is unprincipled, even to the point of being unkind or unethical looking out for the survival of the fittest. Sorrowfully mankind often follows that same pattern. Those who have been abused, abuse; the oppressed, oppress because the human psyche has been damaged and fails to be able to identify emphatically. Treating others how they have been treated rather than how they would like to be treated. Animals have no conscience they act like they do to live and could care less about consequences or about whether their behavior has any impact on anything/anyone else.

  38. poohpity says:

    In my neighborhood there are 134 apartments ranging from 1 to 3 bedroom places. Every race, nationality, gender, religion, social economical status are represented here. The one thing that all have in common with the rest of humanity is the desire to know they belong, are needed, accepted and loved. It is so odd that in those desires they gossip talking about others as if they do not matter, they spread rumors, they lie doing many things to stop others from experiencing the very things that all human beings need. There are cliques which tend to exclude others who do not think or act like they do denying the same basic needs so the thought of being shamelessly kind–does appear to be a scandal when grace is considered.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed your enthusiasm and comments concerning the World Cup soccer games caused me to have a look at the news story, thank you. It was said that the fans thought this the best game, because of the close game and talents of both teams’ players.

    Welcome home and congratulations.

    Nature and I have an interesting coexistence here in my little world, Mart has graciously shared many of the photos I have concerning the many visitors that come in to feed.

    What is strange to me is that some of the wildest of creatures seem to sense there is no danger to them and act accordingly, though always cautious they just seem to know they are welcome.

    Even stranger still is the plant life that thrives and like the morning and evening songs the birds sing, the plants seem to lift their faces toward the sky in an appreciation and glory to God.

    I have told the story before of a bush that grows outside our living room window that for 30 years never bloomed nor bore fruit, that I remember, until these past 15 years of our current situation of Matthew’s struggles.

    The bush is growing to enormous size and produces a beautiful red bloom in the spring, the very first such flower of spring and in the late summer and fall produces an apple like fruit that when placed inside will dry, not mold and has a most fragrant and pleasant odor.

    Two years ago a giant (four feet) strange fern appeared and I have allowed for it to spread and grow as I wonder what it may represent.

    Nature, like God, is an amazing thing to ponder and if we allow for it sometimes they both speak to us, we just have to learn to listen.


  40. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all!
    Foreverblessed so nice to hear from you and I too looked up the story of the games and saw it did raise quite a stir among many. I’ve never been much of a sports follower, but their enthusiasm and disappointment can be contagious.

    Steve thank you for the walk through your garden this morning, very beautiful!

    When I was experiencing my spiritual awakening several years ago, about 30 now, it was an article in the Readers’ Digest that really got me thinking about God. It was about how science views the universe and could explain how everything came into existence down to the very first atom, but it couldn’t explain where it (the very first atom)came from. It really made me think and start looking toward a Creator of creation.

    Since that time God has used His creation many times to tell me how much He loves me. Once when I was severely depressed (I am given to seasonal depression) I was sitting in church and around the pastor were a couple Ficus trees. As I struggled to listen God said to me, I love you more than the leaves on the Ficus trees. Wow! I had to buy one to keep as a reminder of His love for me when I am down.

    Another time as I sat watching the snow fall and struggling through a long winter’s depression God spoke again and said, I love you more than all the snowflakes! Wow again. So now when it snows I think of God’s love, although sometimes I have to tell Him I am weary of shoveling His love for me! LOL!

    Blessings to all this beautiful day!

  41. street says:

    the ostrich, laying her eggs where they could be destroyed by predators, then sticking her silly head in the sand. What a marvel an ostrich is!

    I think you fell victim of the 6 second sound bite! the ostrich sticking it’s head in the sand was a advertising gimmick from the sixties i think. They made a platform with a guy under it. He held the ostrich head under the sand. they filmed the release, and for the commercial filmed it backwards. it was very successful and to this day people still remember it. hope you all get a chuckle out of being duped. we all suffer from the ethics of a cuckoo. God bless His children.

  42. poohpity says:

    street, duping people seems to be common practice now a days but no one can dupe God.

    I look at this topic as if this blog is Mart’s nest.

  43. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, not football, but soccer. We call it -voetbal-: football. It was indeed a good game, I had to go to bed, but didn’t want to miss it.
    But what impressed me so much was the spirit of the US team, they fought back so vigorously, till the last minute. It is a good example for us christians, and we have to remember their figthing spirit, not saying: o well, this society is going down, lets sit down and wait for the Kingdom to come.
    Like the cuckoo bird, not working yourself, but giving the work of growing up a young bird to someone else. Till the last breath be a good tool in Gods hand.
    Let God work in us, and as Mart said, God is not forcing anything on us, He waits for us to ask, lets ask more, -ask, seek, knock-
    Ask for more love, more wisdom, more grace.
    Or maybe, it is otherwise: if we are connected to God, and are in line with His way of love, that His life will automatically flow through us.
    Only so much of my old old man is in me, hindering the Holy Spirit. I pray that God will refine me, and make me useable.

  44. foreverblessed says:

    I have been reading all the comments on my cell phone, but not enough wifi to be able to post anything.
    This is a very good topic: God is not like a cuckoo. He is sooo gentle with me, He does not force me to do anything I do not want myself, so He withdaws when I do not cooperate.
    So should I be with unbelievers. I have met many last week, and I was thinking: Do I really love this person deeply? Without love thing I say or do, have no value. Love gives it eternal value, I mean Gods love, not just human love. And I have said many things in the past, thinking it to be truth, Gods Truth, being upset about people who look for help in the spirit world, or in eating certain foods, I would tell them that only in Jesus is there real life eternal life. But it was like forcing it on others, God’s Truth above His love. Like a cuckoo, God forgive me, and make all that talking of me of that time new, and into real life in those I talked to. Turn these things around, my God, in Jesus name’.
    Now I shut my mouth,or be very careful in speaking, and ask for Gods love. -Let me love this person that I am meeting now-, and then I start praying for them, asking God to bless them. And if I hear no words coming up in my mind, I do not say anything about God’s Truth. (last topic we talked about being letter from God, and I couldn’t post, these are my thoughts about it, but they intertwine with the new topic.)

  45. foreverblessed says:

    Just a side story: I was in South Tyrol, that is in North Italy, in the Alps. Last Sunday, June 29, they had a national day: the Heart of Jesus Sunday, the third Sunday after Pentecost. Never heard of it before. But the Bayern people, (South of Germany)had invaded Tyrol, and the Tyroler people fought back in 1809, very brave guys, just like the US team,who didn’t win. They did win one battle, but lost it in the fourth battle, near Innsbruck “Schlacht am Bergisel”. Now Tyrol is divided in an Austrian part and an Italy part, but these people still talk about Tyrol. I was in a local church on that day, and they talked about Christ’s heart, and Gods love for us. But it was intermingled with national things, traditions, history of a country that once was. The love for God was put in one line with the love for your country.
    I was thinking, did not Jesus say: My Kingdom is not of this world? And did not Paul say, I want to lose everything in order to gain Christ?
    If I have Christ I have everything.

  46. foreverblessed says:

    typo: without love, ANYthing I say or do, has no value.
    (God’s love, that is.)

  47. street says:

    But it was intermingled with national things, traditions, history of a country that once was. The love for God was put in one line with the love for your country.
    I was thinking, did not Jesus say: My Kingdom is not of this world? And did not Paul say, I want to lose everything in order to gain Christ?

    It breaks my heart knowing God will destroy America some day and all the other Nations, except Israel. He is right and just in doing so. It is important also to remember He will destroy our temporal, sinful, bodies. I am so glad I can trust Him for the outcome no mater how bad that it may be. Looking forward to a perfect place with perfect people and One awesome God! Time spent in His presents is time well spent.

  48. belleu says:

    “without love, ANYthing I say or do, has no value.”

    I believe this also. Love is the most important thing since God = Love. I also ask myself, “Do I love this person?” and fall short of that love. I’m thinking of politicians I vehemently disagree with. I’m thinking of someone I know who is cruel. I’m thinking of a terrorist. Can I love them? Yes, by God putting his love inside me as foreverblessed was saying.

    Wonderful statements here on how nature teaches us about God and how he speaks through it. I will never forget the 5 day vacation I had with my husband in Jasper National Park. I thought about God constantly as I looked on the mountains, waterfalls and greenery. I wish we could all live in tents as Abraham did and be close to nature and actually see the stars at night.

  49. bubbles says:

    Belleu, you reminded me of a meteor shower that I saw one summer night. After a long while of watching, I began counting and saw over 100 meteors. I don’t know how many I saw before the count began. A large one shot across the sky with a tail of glowing green smoke trailing behind. It was the most awesome sight I’ve seen. I laid there and prayed, thanking God for eyesight and for His handiwork.

  50. remarutho says:

    Good Evening BTA Friends –

    Mart, your stated purpose in observing the behavior of the cuckoo, laying her egg in the magpie’s nest, apparently is to take advantage of:

    “…a good occasion to remind ourselves of the ethics of the Spirit. On several occasions the New Testament reminds us of a non-violent strategy that is quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry, patient, gentle, winsome, even knowing when to be shamelessly kind—to the point of appearing scandalously gracious.”

    James writes:
    “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

    That egg is the transforming factor – not asked for, not detected by the magpie parents, glaringly out of place in the eyes of the discerning human student of nature. Still, salvation is imparted in the mystery of God’s kingdom. The wonder of Christ’s saving sacrifice is revealed in the magpie’s indiscriminate nurture of the baby cuckoo. The phenomenon does not depend upon any rational analysis. It is a scandal – the prodigal gift and disrespect of propriety in God’s grace! I have certainly been the inheritor of God’s blessed generosity in Jesus!


  51. poohpity says:

    Maru, that is just scandalous that a person like you and me received God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace. :-) When we deserved death, separation from God, His punishment and His wrath. Thank you Jesus for that scandalous action on the Cross. Thank you also for blessing the whole world and help us to pay it forward tenfold everyday for the rest of our lives here which shows we are your disciples. Especially to those we feel are enemies. That indeed seems cuckoo.

  52. remarutho says:

    Yes Pooh!

    God is taking away the curse of our fallen nature! Hope awakens when the cuckoo egg cracks and another soul is born into the kingdom of God. Hurray for the cuckoos! And hurray for those eggs! Hallelujah! :o)


  53. SFDBWV says:

    Way back in the 70’s there was a late night TV show hosted by Tom Snyder called “Tomorrow”. It came on right after the “Tonight Show” which is why I suppose they called it “Tomorrow”.

    It was enjoyable because the people Tom had on were “different” not the high profile celebrities most see on TV and not the sleazy types seen on several “reality” shows today.

    Honest to goodness there was one fellow who actually wore a bag over his head with holes cut in it for the eyes and to be able to talk, he did this because his wife didn’t want their friends to learn that he earned a very good living as a pan handler on the streets of New York.

    However the reason I have brought up all this was that one night there was a fellow on talking about “subliminal advertising”; according to this fellow whiskey advertisers used haunting and tortured faces hidden in the ice shown in the glasses of whiskey they advertised.

    The target audience were the type of people who are themselves tortured souls and drink to either forget it or perpetuate it.

    Of course the ensuing conversation was about how we can all see what we want in many images, like clouds or melting snow or a mud puddle or yes in “ink blots”.

    What we see is almost always about us not about what is pictured.

    What does the “picture story” of the Cuckoo and its habits tell us about ourselves?

    We all can take such a scenario and make it segue into many examples of what we *want* to present.

    Astounding as it may sound this story of the Cuckoo to some may just be seen as *how Cuckoos behave* and nothing more.

    For many more, many different examples of how they see life and even the spiritual after life.

    Some may get angry at the Cuckoo.
    Some may think the Cuckoo smart.
    Some may see the spiritual example of God giving life to the undeserving
    While others may see God as the Magpie and Her eggs the people Israel, and the Cuckoo’s Christian Gentiles.

    My point is that we will and can see into such an example not so much what is shown, but rather what is hidden within us

    What is within us is exposed by what we see and when shared, what others see.

    What is exposed when we think of this example of the Cuckoo’s in us?


  54. street says:

    The wonder of Christ’s saving sacrifice is revealed in the magpie’s indiscriminate nurture of the baby cuckoo.

    Still processing the story. I kinda knew we were the Cuckoo’s! Just having trouble processing the nuances of the story and their practical application.

  55. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Steve, I see what you mean: worldview and all the pre-formed thinking that goes with it is a filter for what each of us sees and hears. It determines how we assign meaning to anything, it seems to me.

    So, if we honor God when we hear the larks greeting the morning — the doves cooing at noon — and the nightingales announcing the sunset, what does all this reveal?

    On the other hand, if we ignore the “noise” as a minor annoyance when we rise — eat lunch — and putter around the house at dusk, are we more (or less) human?

    The scandal is that God loves the whole of creation. For me, humans are part of the biosphere, and Messiah has come to deliver it all from destruction. Thomas Merton taught his novices that “being closely attentive to what is around you produces wonder.”

    I suppose each one chooses wonder or annoyance at the antics of the birds…


  56. cbrown says:

    ‘Our Father who is in heaven,
    Hallowed be Your name.
    10 ‘Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,’
    When I look at Jesus on the cross it is hard for me to comprehend His love for me.Praise God!

  57. poohpity says:

    Yes Maru, we can chose annoyance and try chasing off those we do not like but what if God has put them in our midst to reveal a heart condition. I was thinking about Mart over the years how patient and seemingly gentle he has been when attempts have been made to confiscate his nest. Or those who do not retaliate when back handed comments are made meant to be put downs.

    If we look at each person with the thought that Jesus died for that person and they really need to know then who are we to treat another unethical with no Godly principles. Are we really concerned with God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? What does being lead by the Spirit really mean?

  58. remarutho says:

    Hey Pooh!

    Have to smile — and agree 110% about Mart showing patience and gentleness with this quarrelsome flock! The English language has many idioms describing off-center humans in avian terms: odd duck, albatross around my neck, talks like a magpie, birds of a feather (flock together), silly goose — and in all languages “(s)he is cuckoo”!

    Still, Scripture is packed with positive images also:

    strength renewed like the eagle
    gentle as doves…wise as serpents

    Being Spirit-led, it seems to me, calls for radical surrender to Jesus of all personal agendas concerned with image, prestige, and one-upmanship. Just saying. Don’t we all have bits of pride and self-centeredness that still cling to us? I know I need a splash in the bird-bath from time to time! :o)


  59. tiysha says:

    Good afternoon, been thinking about this post since yesterday, and I’m still battling with the phrase “scandalously graciouse”
    To me I think the word scandal is a bit too harsh relating it to the grace of God. Every sense of the word is negative. Some definitions add sin to it. I think we can talk of unexpectedly, impossibly, out of the norm or ordinary. But the scandal part is a bit too harsh Mart.
    And yes, on one side its easier to argue that the bird who allowed the cuckoo bird to have its way did not violently take what belonged to it..”… and the violent taketh it by force.” One may ask ?hy should I allow anyone to take that which belongs to me in the name of being shamelessly kind to the point of being …….. graciouse.? So do I have to allow myself to be raped without being violent, resisting or calling for help because I have to be shamelessly kind….. being graciouse?.

    On the other hand, Christ being our standard endured the cross even though He is God in all aspect of it, did not defend himself when acused of blasphemy but was shamelessly kind to the point of being …….. graciouse.
    Again, Christ himself said we should turn the other cheek when we’re slapped on one side, go two miles when forced to go one

    Jesus Christ our standard lived what He preached, at the end He was victorious. Given the name above all other names.
    Difficult though to go the the extreme, do the unexpected for one to be converted, but Christ gave us an example.

    On the other hand you could also argue

  60. poohpity says:

    Maru, yes we do but not “admitting” to pride and being self centered what does that lead to? Failure to understand just how scandalous grace actually is. If we embrace that all of us struggle with one thing or another then we understand the ethics of the Spirit.

  61. street says:

    What does being lead by the Spirit really mean?

    Being Spirit-led, it seems to me, calls for radical surrender to Jesus of all personal agendas concerned with image, prestige, and one-upmanship. Just saying. Don’t we all have bits of pride and self-centeredness that still cling to us? I know I need a splash in the bird-bath from time to time! :o)


    it seems to me that,”image, prestige, and one-upmanship” need to be removed , yes! but something else needs to come and take up residence.

  62. poohpity says:

    In the story of the prodigal son the older brother thought it was scandalous that the father welcomed the lost son back with a big celebration. The Pharisees thought it was scandalous that a prostitute was allowed to wash Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Those around Jesus thought because of who He was that He should judge and condemn the sinners around Him rather than sharing meals with them and offering them a relationship with Him.

  63. street says:

    One may ask ?hy should I allow anyone to take that which belongs to me in the name of being shamelessly kind to the point of being …….. graciouse.? So do I have to allow myself to be raped without being violent, resisting or calling for help because I have to be shamelessly kind….. being graciouse?.

    physical and emotional abuse are great terrors to the soul. I do understand that Jesus taught non-resistance in the face of evil. Like banks giving robbers what they wanted and letting them go. I also understand God protects His Children and will hold accountable those who cause stumbling blocks for them. I also understand the world will not convict you of killing some one for protecting yourself or even your property if you could prove they were an eminent threat to you life. the rub is weather we want to endure evil in the hope good will come out of it. Jesus always confronted evil with love and truth, something we can not do when filled with image, prestige, and one-upmanship. this may not be of help but i hope while you wrestle with it that truth and love in Christ Jesus prevail.

  64. street says:

    yes poo. the story of prodigal son was all about the scandal of Father Love. :)

  65. street says:

    you could say the fated cow was Jesus.

  66. remarutho says:

    Dear All —

    Jesus said:

    “You know that you have been taught, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek. If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.”

    It seems to me, after we have hatched out into the kingdom we learn unlimited grace because we experience unlimited grace. Likewise, we learn unconditional love because we are shown unconditional love. We are still cuckoos — receiving deliverance from our fallen heritage through Jesus’ willing sacrifice.

    Doesn’t the Father see to the matter of justice?

    Incidentally, not meaning to be political here, but anybody is free to email or call their congressional representatives to speak out for the children from Honduras and Guatemala who will have no hope when they are returned to their home country.

    How might we promote justice and end oppression in those countries where drug cartels are more powerful than the police?


  67. poohpity says:

    There has been no distinguishable rise in any problems in those countries. The current administration by pen signed into law the dream act without considering the consequences. All the people coming over have the same scripted story according to ICE agents during questioning don’t you find that a bit odd? All the border agents are so over taken by this influx of people that they are unable to do their jobs of security, what can happen due to that? There are threats here for our power grids, etc and if the agents are to busy guess what happens?

    Churches in our area and other areas are doing their best to care for the 50,000 people with an estimate of another 50,000 to come. This has never happened before and the consequences of so many children without parents. In other countries parents keep their children and find a way to care for them. If they had $5,000 dollars to pay coyotes that is enough to feed, house and cloth them for a year in their country. This is way bigger than what the media is feeding us.

  68. poohpity says:

    The boiling frog anecdote is what is happening in our country right now. Destruction coming from within so slowly by dividing, demonizing and not acting except unilaterally. Being informed is not against our faith.

  69. remarutho says:

    Dear Pooh —

    If you or I had to try to motivate the Congress, would we not be a tad frustrated also? Just asking.

    What about our promise — put forward since 1886:

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
    by Emma Lazarus

    Have never thought these were idle words…should we take down that brass plaque on the Statue of Liberty?

    I suppose it is a lot of cuckoo eggs all at once!


  70. poohpity says:

    What happens to wisdom and discernment? Is it wrong for parents to send their children with coyotes who sell young people into the sex trade? I will not even attempt to explain all the areas that this is wrong. It seems ideals are replacing reality. SAD!

    What stops one from applying for a student VISA or a work VISA legally?

  71. street says:

    there was a guy on U-tube who gave a demonstration on population and immigration and came up with some ideas on it by just thinking it through. it was very good. he used gumballs as aid to give you a true idea as to what really going on.

    yes Maru it time for the Church to step up.

  72. quietgrace says:

    Good afternoon all,
    Reading the conversations about the children coming to the US and the responsibilities we have as a nation and as the Church I suspect there will be more and more seeking shelter from the rampant evil caused by drugs.

    I watched a documentary last night where a Mormon Elder is selling thousands of dollars a week of illegal drugs in Utah excusing it by saying someone is going to do it so it may as well be him, and he can also use local dealers instead of outsiders as they are harder to spot. He tithes off his income also.

    I know for a fact that the cartels are operating on Indian Reservations up north.

    I really feel for these parents that are so desperate to send their children thousands of miles to escape drug violence in their own countries….We as the church need to step up and take care of these little ones while we can. Hopefully something will change, but in the mean time, and as I said, while we still can, we have a responsibility according to God.

    Times are getting worse and worse as we get closer to Jesus’ return.

    No matter what the politics are in this nation, prayer and action is our best defense against the wiles of the devil and his minions.

    Blessings, Grace

  73. bubbles says:

    Please pray for a cousin who lives in the OBX. Thank you.

  74. remarutho says:

    Prayers going up for your Cuz, Bubbles, and for all the folks in the path of Arthur.


  75. poohpity says:

    Have any of you ever taken in a homeless person or persons you have never met before providing shelter, food and clothing and helping them to get a job so they could get their own place? Or do you leave it up to others to do like our government or a church?

  76. poohpity says:

    Have you even just taken a street person to lunch or dinner all by yourself or picked up someone who looks lost to give them a ride? Have you ever just sat and talked with someone who has a mental illness or taken them out to dinner? Have you ever worked at a homeless shelter or gone into a prison (excluding Chris)? How about sharing the gospel with anyone you do not know? Have you stopped to help a person who’s car is broke down or even asked if they needed help? Call your representatives for action, Jesus did.

  77. quietgrace says:

    Bubbles I too am praying for your cousin. Also thinking of Chris; hope your vacation wasn’t ruined and that you are safe. Also praying for other BTA friends that are in the path of this hurricane.

  78. SFDBWV says:

    Today is the 4th of July, how apt that yesterday we lost another American hero and that today people will be talking of him. I am speaking of Louis Zamperini an Olympic runner and WWII veteran we all can learn from.

    For those of you who haven’t read his story let me just say that after being tortured for two years by sadistic Japanese solders he returned to Japan and tracked down his tormentors to tell them he forgave them and was a part of evangelizing Japan for Christ.

    Happy birthday United States, and welcome home Louis Zamperini.


  79. bubbles says:

    Thank you all who prayed. My cousin is safe and sound and staying put this morning.

  80. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Praying for a happy and safe Independence Day for all USA friends, wherever you are today. Rejoicing with your cousin, Bubbles, and all who made it through the night.

    Thanks for the reminder of Louis Zamperini’s scandalous forgiveness and love for his Japanese torturers, Steve! I pray we will think deeply about how Jesus lived his brief human life — healing, feeding, loving all those he met and traveling around teaching and preaching his Father’s kingdom here among us.

    Our risen Savior is seated in glory at the right hand of our Creator God. We are nesting for a few seasons here in the earthly tree. It seems soon we will fly away to nest in the Tree of Life on the shores of the River of Life.

    Am enjoying the reading aloud of the Declaration of Independence on the radio this morning. At the risk of seeming to wrap my Bible in the American flag (which I do not do), I am grateful to hear again:

    “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”


  81. poohpity says:

    I went and watched the movie, “America; Imagine What the World be Like Without Her” tells of the Judeo Christian principles and ethics that were, at one time, what our nation was founded on. 1776 Independence from tyrannical government control. With the ever increasing government over reach that we are seeing today “We The People” with the freedoms given to us by our Creator still have freedom of choice. Having been to others countries I still believe we live in the best society ever founded. I am not in anyway saying we are perfect far from it but our compassion towards other countries/peoples is remarkable because of God.

  82. phpatato says:

    To my American neighbours to the South

    May God keep His face shining upon your great country. May our countries continue to value the friendship they have with each other. May our borders always be open; our welcome always warm.

    Happy 4th of July! May each of you be blessed as you celebrate today and may you enjoy your long weekend.

    I am thinking of those who are not able to enjoy holiday festivities today because of the cleanup efforts caused by hurricane/tropical storm Arthur, and by the tornados that made their way through Indiana/Illinois a couple of days ago. I pray that damage is minimal and cleanup is swift.

    To those who are in the path of tropical storm Arthur, may God tuck you safely under His wings.


  83. quietgrace says:

    Hi all..

    Bringing the conversation back to nature and the antics of the Cuckoo I was reading in Job and reminded how Job says that he ‘saw’ God, where before he had only ‘heard’ about Him- Job 42:5 NLT He’s talking about how God had just pointed out to him through creation that God is so much more than what we experience in our daily lives, whether usual or unusual, as Job did. He can be seen in all of creation, yet knows our struggles whether we are acting a bit cuckoo, irritating, or even sinful.

    Unlike the poor Cuckoo though, we too, again like Job have the option of repentance Job 42:6 NLT And the knowledge that we are heard and forgiven. I John 1:9 NLT

    Wishing all shalom today,

  84. belleu says:

    Happy Independence Day to everyone. Hope you had a wonderful day!

  85. bubbles says:

    52F here early this morning. I could see my breath when I sat on the porch around 7:00 a.m.

  86. street says:

    I was reading in Job and reminded how Job says that he ‘saw’ God, where before he had only ‘heard’ about Him- Job 42:5 NLT

    Matthew 5:8
    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    I pray we would all see God before we depart for eternity.

  87. poohpity says:

    I have often wondered if people feel it is weak to be slow to anger, gentle, kind, a good listener, grace filled and patient. The strongest people I have ever come in contact with do not need to prove their strength much like the characteristics of our Savior. Will people try and take advantage people who display those characteristics? Sure but trusting and depending on God takes way more strength than being a bully.

    Bullies are scared and insecure so they push others around, that is where oppression seem to grow from. The need to control takes away the rights and freedoms of others.

  88. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles it was 40 here yesterday morning and is 44 as I write this, 68 on the 4th and 71 yesterday; just perfect weather.

    The old saying is it’s because we pay the preacher, but there are a great many more who don’t and enjoy the same weather as do we.

    Not to worry though nature thrives, as the grass keeps growing and the critters keeps coming in.


  89. foreverblessed says:

    One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
    there is no cuckoo’s nest

  90. foreverblessed says:

    God bless all of us, where ever christians meet, may God bless us all!
    And may we be a blessing to all around us,
    that we be like the magpie, who is doing what the cuckoo didn’t do.

  91. poohpity says:

    Having a non-violent approach does not mean we have to be passive and unengaged. Right now as our religious freedoms are being trampled on we can be strong and courageous in standing up for those rights. The principles and ethic we use to go against those who wish to quiet our voice is so very important.

    In yesterday’s ODB even back in the 1st century people were misinterpreting God’s Word to lead folks astray. (2 Peter 3:16 NLT) We are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord, a spiritual growth that leads us to engage in a manner that reflects Jesus in our lives. No name calling, respectful, willing to listen and hear but with courage to stand on our convictions.

    We can allow others to share in our nest even if they are unprincipled or unethical but it seems we end up molding ourselves to act like them rather than us holding to our model.

  92. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon All —

    We also heard a message about the comparison of 1st c. and 21st c. in our fellowship, Pooh. With the “bread & circuses” mind-set, people in all times of history are pulled off center and distracted by the surrounding culture/worldview. What are the things in our own society that act as anesthetics and substitutes for the Gospel work in us and around us?

    Are we simply buying into the hands of power brokers? Or are we making a difference for the Good News of Jesus?

    Empire is a way of thinking and acting, it seems to me. Whose kingdom am I promoting? — that is the operative question in my mind.


  93. poohpity says:

    Maru, hopefully for the Christian that is a given as to which Kingdom we are promoting. Sadly that is what is being sabotaged from within, expecting others to live up to anything or something but grace which it seems we fail at miserably. There seems to be many people that are turned away from Christ because Christians display everything but grace.

    I can not say what others buy into but my hunch is denial. Power over rights or power denying freedom but the odd thing is the weaker the person the more power they want. It would seem no one can be pulled off center or be distracted unless they have yet to experience that center.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.