I ran across an article about a breed of chicken called the Golden Comet. That struck me as quite a name for a chicken breed. The Golden Comet is one of the more recent hybrid chickens that has been bred for great egg production. It has moved into small farms and backyards across the world and is possibly the most widely kept hybrid hen. They are reported to be very friendly, so as any good grandmother would do, I thought about my grandchildren. One of my daughters raises chickens so I gave her a call to have her consider the breed for her next chicken purchase.
My husband, Dave, and I raised chickens for eggs. There is a downside to raising chickens. Every varmint on the hill wants to eat them. Years back, when we were living in the cabin, we were having a tough time keeping the chickens safe at night, even though we had them in a coop. One warm summer night, we were trying to catch the critter that was somehow getting in the coop. We had the front door open for a quick rescue. Dave had his shotgun loaded and ready to charge out at the first sound of distress from the coop to put an end to the midnight raids.
Things were quiet at first but then in the middle of the night a ruckus brought us out of our sleep. Dave started cussing as he thrashed his way out of bed. I instinctively knew this wasn’t what I had envisioned. Dave was supposed to slip out of bed, grab the shotgun and stealthily, like a ninja, rescue the chickens. I shouted his name a few times to try to get him more fully awake but to no avail. When we had gone to bed, we had trimmed the wick on the kerosene lamp so the house was very dimly lit. It took him a few seconds to find the gun. I rolled off the bed onto the floor in an attempt to distance myself from the mayhem as Dave lifted the gun to his shoulder. The explosive sound of the gun crashed through the house and I heard the lamp’s glass globe shatter as I hit the floor.
It was quiet for a few seconds. The sound of the shotgun had woken Dave up fully. He had apparently shot the gun out the open door. The chicken coop was a hundred yards away but our car was parked twenty feet in front of the door. Dave cussed again and then said, I think I got the car.
Now I was mad. I got the gun from him. It turns out he aimed high and got our door frame instead of the car and the cabin’s logs absorbed the rest of the shotgun shell’s pellets.
We didn’t have much in those days.
As the Apostle Paul wrote: “2 Corinthians 6:4-10 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We can have little or nothing but we can possess everything.
Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Faith or the lack of faith is the difference between heaven and hell. There is no way to over-emphasize the necessity and value of faith.
Charles Wesley wrote, “Faith, mighty faith the promise sees, and rests on that alone; Laughs at impossibilities, and says it shall be done.” Only faith has the audacity to believe in the impossible and be hopeful in a hopeless situation. What could be more hopeless than to be dying on a cross as a thief.
Luke 23: 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This dying thief, after rebuking his criminal companion for his lack of faith, and after revealing his awareness of his own sin and guilt, turned to the center cross and said, “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.
If ever a man had reason to be pessimistic about the future it was this dying thief. Tradition gives him the name, Dumas. He had no future whatsoever according to the eye, but Dumas saw the future through the eye of faith, and he had hope. He did not say to Jesus that he wanted to be remembered if he came into his kingdom. He said he wanted to be remembered when he came into his kingdom. He had complete confidence that Jesus would one day rule over a kingdom. That conviction was based on faith.
Jesus was dying just like he was. He had nothing to build his faith on except the presence of the suffering Jesus. The one positive factor that gave birth to faith, however, was the love of Christ in the midst of hate. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” It was very possible this attitude of Christ’s love for His enemies convinced Dumas that Jesus was more than a man.
The present facts are often negative, but faith recognizes that the play of life must be judged by the ending, and not the difficult scenes along the way.
Dumas saw none of the miracles of Jesus, but only His misery. No lepers were cured. No blind were made to see. There was no mass feeding, no storm stilled, no raising from the dead, and no walking on water. All the evidence to his eye was negative, and yet he had faith in Jesus. If ever a man had faith in the unseen, it was him. There is a simplicity of faith.
Faith is trust in Christ and a confidence that the future is bright because He will remember you and receive you into His kingdom. Faith is always optimistic about the future because it is a trust in the power of Christ.
FAITH IS THE VICTORY Lyrics: John Henry Yates (1837-1900) Music: Ira David Sankey (1840-1908)
1 Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies;
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, That overcomes the world.
2 His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints before
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.
3 On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.
4 To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav’n;
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring name. Amen.