See God's Care

Focus Verse
Luke 12:24 (NKJV) Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 

 Focus Words
All of the words found in scripture are important – and at Bible Stories from the Heart, we find that if we choose a few KEY words to focus upon as we read, we are able to feel the amazing power and love of God even deeper. 
Try reading this week’s verses a second time totally focused on these key words: 
Consider - (verb) to think about (something or someone) carefully especially in order to make a choice or decision.  Original word: κατανοέω- to observe well, to understands. 
Sow - (verb) to plant seeds in an area of ground.  Original word: σπείρωI- spread, scatter. 
Reap - (verb) to cut and collect (a plant, crop, etc.) from a field.  Original word: θερίζω- gather, harvest. 
Feeds - (verb) to produce or provide food for (someone or something).  Original Word: τρέφω: nourish, bring up, rear, provide for. 
Valuable - (adj.) important, worth a lot; costing or bringing a high price.  Original word: διαφέρω- surpass, excel. 
In this chapter of Luke and the chapters directly preceding this, Jesus is traveling with his disciples to Jerusalem. Jesus knows that once he reaches Jerusalem, his life on earth will come to an end. Because of this, he spends much of his traveling time engaged in teachable moments. Jesus intentionally looks for opportunities to share both earthly warnings and heavenly words of encouragement with all who gather near to him. 
As he traveled, Jesus would often stop to interact with individuals who approached him. Many of these people would come to Jesus seeking advice or asking him to settle disputes. Jesus used these occasions to publicly share Godly wisdom with the crowds and to teach Godly truths to his disciples. 

Verse 24 of this chapter in Luke is a teachable moment specifically given by Jesus to his disciples. This particular verse follows an earlier moment where Jesus directly taught the crowd surrounding him.  Because these two moments are related, let's take a few moments to read both. First, let's go back in the chapter of Luke just a few verses to read about Jesus' earlier teaching. 
Luke 12:13-21 (NKJV) 
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 
Notice in these verses that Jesus was asked to settle a dispute.  A man had approached Jesus with a monetary issue.  This man was concerned about his earthly wealth. He was asking Jesus to step in and help him obtain more wealth/possessions. 
Jesus used this opportunity to teach the crowd about earthly possessions. Because this particular man was only concerned about building up his earthly wealth, Jesus called him a fool. Jesus knew this man was acting like a fool because he was spending his time attempting to store up things which were simply meaningless. Jesus knew that at the end of life on earth, earthly possessions stored up by a person for their own use are in fact totally worthless. 
Now let's look at the second teachable moment (our focus verse for today) 
Luke 12:24 (NKJV) 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 
After the crowds dispersed, Jesus spoke to his disciples.  His thoughts were still on the greedy rich man. The greedy man was concerned about all of the wrong things. The fool placed all of his faith in himself and his possessions instead of in God. This possession obsession was a very common problem among the people of that day, and Jesus did not want his disciples to fall into this earthly trap. 
Jesus wanted his disciples to remember God's deep love for them even when he was no longer there to remind them. Unlike the rich fool, Jesus wanted his disciples to remain
focused on God. To do this he knew that they must continue to live their lives totally trusting in God's provisions. Jesus wanted them to understand that even when he was no longer physically with them that God would still provide for them. He wanted them to live lives completely focused on God; totally free from possession obsession! 
As a visual reminder of God's ever present love and provisions, Jesus told his disciples to consider the ravens. I think Jesus knew that after he returned to Heaven, that his disciples would continue to need encouragement from him. I think Jesus provided them with this needed future encouragement by having them consider the ravens. Jesus knew that if considered in the right way, the sight of the ravens could encourage and fill his disciples with peace during times of despair. 
Jesus understood that unresolved worry often leads people away from God. Jesus did not want this to happen to his friends. He did not want them to end up trapped in possession obsession like the greedy rich fool. Jesus wanted more for his followers. He wanted his friends to stay directly connected to him and his Heavenly Father at all times. 

 Connection to Us
It has been thousands of years since Jesus first taught this lesson to the crowds, but sadly our world is still full of greedy rich fools. We need to be careful that we do not begin to compare ourselves to them. Instead of focusing on what others have and what we have not, let's intentionally focus on GOD! 
God will provide everything we need. Trusting in God daily brings PEACE and JOY! Listen to the beautiful songs of the birds. Their songs are full of happiness, peace, and joy. Our lives can be filled with those things as well. 
We must stop looking to earthly possessions to bring us peace and happiness. Instead we must learn from the birds. They do not have storehouses. They do not concern themselves over their next meal. They rely on God to provide for them, and they SING! 

 Nature Walk Activity
It's now time to take a nature walk. If you are unable to take a nature walk today, here is an awesome video to watch/listen to:
(It is quite long, only watch as much as time allows) 
During our walk, let's work on feeling and seeing the LOVE of GOD through a close observation of BIRDS! Through our observation let's try to get a good understanding of God's CARE for all of his creation (including us) 
Our goal during this study is to learn new truths about God's amazing LOVE by observing nature.  Who better to lead us on this LOVE discovery walk than God himself! 
Before we begin our walk, let's invite God to join us. As we walk let's ask God to help us to feel His love for us in new and powerful ways. Let's ask Him to reveal new truths to us today through nature. Today's mission:  To notice God’s loving care by deeply considering the lives of birds. 
For us to get a deeper understanding of birds, let's take a few minutes to walk through nature and actually observe and listen to the various forest birds. As we begin our walk, let's focus our eyes and ears on God and his extreme LOVE. Everything we see, hear, smell, and feel was created by God himself! God is LOVE! So in essence, everything in nature is a visual of God's LOVE! 
During our walk let's stop every few minutes and attempt to locate various birds. To help us understand our focus verse on a deeper level, let's take the time to pick out ONE particular bird and work to visualize God tenderly caring for this specific bird. 
Just like us, the bird we are observing depends on daily food, water, and shelter for its health and survival. The bird we are observing obtains ALL of these things directly from God! Unlike us, this particular bird does not have any greedy rich fool bird friends or silly media to lead him astray. 
This particular bird was born and remains to this day totally depending on nature (God) for its survival! Like this bird, we were created by God. Like this bird, we are LOVED by God.  And, like this bird, GOD will provide for us! 

 Related Verses for Reflection
Psalm 50:10-11 (NKJV) 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  11 I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 
Psalm 147:8-9 (NKJV) 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. 9 He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens that cry. 
Luke 12:6-7 (NKJV) 6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 

Art Reflection Activity

Bible Stories from the Heart adds coloring pages to each lesson for a specific purpose:  to help us SOAK in the love of God. As you color this week's sheet, take the time to talk to God. Ask him to reveal himself to you in a new and powerful way. Thank him for caring so much for all of his forest creatures. Thank him for caring for you.  
** As you color ask yourself...  Do you truly believe that God will provide for you? 
Now is the perfect time to reflect upon all of the times that God has provided for you in the past.  Take a few minutes to thank God for each one of those times.  Ask God to increase your faith in him on a daily basis.  Ask him to help you feel bird-like peace as you live each and every day peacefully dependent on him. 

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