I was lucky enough to know four of my great-grandparents! My mom's dad's parents (did you follow along with that?!) were the sweetest people around. I loved visiting with them. Except for one thing...
They had a very mean parrot!!
Her name was "Polly." Ordinarily, the image I think of when I hear the name Polly is, well...that wonderful old Hayley Mills movie "Pollyanna." Pollyanna was such a sweet, lovely young girl. I even looked up "Pollyanna" in the dictionary. Know what it said? "...a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything." Yup, that's what I thought. So, this parrot, Polly, should have been a nice bird! No way...
Think of the scary witch in "Snow White" - enough said!
My best recollections of Polly are how big she was, how pretty her colors were, and the words I inevitably heard the minute I walked in the front door: "Don't get near the cage!" I also remember my grandfather pulling me aside one time, and telling me his deepest secret - "It's OK. She doesn't like me, and I don't like her either!"
Then he winked at me...
I once asked my mom about the story behind this remark. Evidently, my grandfather and this parrot had a loooooong history. My grandfather was one of only two children in his family - the oldest of two brothers. The parrot played favorites. She LOVED Walter, the younger brother, and hated my grandfather. He told my mom that he couldn't understand it - he had never done anything to warrant such malice. Never teased her, never poked things at her, never said, "I really wanted a parakeet." It was just one of those things!
But, my grandfather had a VERY good reason for not liking Polly.
She was really a "stool pigeon" in disguise.
Growing up, that parrot would tattle on my grandfather. When he would try to sneak home late (which, knowing him, wasn't very often), Polly would squawk at the top of her little avian lungs, "Donald's home...Donald's home!" Yeah, you get the picture!! Polly was an annoying, accusing, threatening, mean old parrot.
But, she was caged!
A couple of months ago, I was in the middle of taking a Christian speaker's training class. Six long months of study, preparation, and giving speeches. The whole experience really tested me. It's hard enough to give a speech in front of people (read the "back story" on that in my entry, "Knockin' Knees") - but then to get "critiqued"...PAINFUL!
I didn't exactly "soar" on my first speech. The critique was difficult. I took it very personally, internalizing every comment, and convinced myself that, yes, just as I had always known...
I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH!
I went to the depths of discouragement and defeat. And then began the internal dialogue:
"What are you doing, Sharon? You can never be a speaker. C'mon..."
"No wonder no one listens to you..."
"I'm no good. God will never be able to use me for anything..."
ON and ON and ON...
One night, when I couldn't fall asleep, God gave me a tremendous insight. These thoughts were DEFINITELY NOT coming from God - they weren't even coming from me! Satan was at work. And then a picture came to my mind (Thank you, Holy Spirit!) - Satan is nothing more than a parrot squawking away on my shoulder!
What a glorious revelation! It completely freed my spirit. The three mistakes we can make about the devil are these: 1) think he doesn't exist; 2) underestimate him; and 3) give him more power than he has. I have always been afraid of Satan. But now, God has brought him "down to size." He's just an annoying parrot on my shoulder - always accusing, threatening, and mean.
But, he is CAGED!
How did Jesus resist the devil?
He used Scripture!
- "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil...Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." (Ephesians 6:11, 13b)
- "...hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil." (Ephesians 6:16b)
- "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7b)
- "We capture [all] rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5b)
- "Stand firm against [the devil], and be strong in your faith." (1 Peter 5:9a)
- "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Romans 16:20)
- "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, 'It has come at last - salvation and power and the Kingdom of God, and the authority of his Christ...[Satan] the one who accuses them before our God day and night...[has been defeated] by the blood of the Lamb...'" (Revelation 12:10, 11)
So when that mean old parrot, Satan, sits squawking on my shoulder, "Polly wants a cracker!" - I'm going to give him a little "bread of life!"
Take that, and BE QUIET!!!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"