Make Yourself at Home


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Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise.   Colossians 3:16

Robert Stroud spent more than fifty years of his life in prison for violent crimes he committed in his youth. In fact, he spent forty-three of them in solitary confinement.

Yet people don’t remember Stroud for his crimes. Early in his prison career, Stroud became interested in birds, supposedly when a stray canary flitted into his prison cell. With the prison warden’s permission, he began raising birds in his tiny living space. When birds became sick, he requested books on bird diseases and doctored them back to health. As the years passed, he continued to study birds and bird diseases and eventually became one of the world’s biggest authorities on the sub­ject—all while serving a life sentence for murder.

Robert Stroud’s life story was dramatized in a 1962 film starring actor Burt Lan­caster. Since Stroud served part of his sentence in Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay, the film was titled Birdman of Alcatraz.

How did a murderer from Alaska become the Birdman of Alcatraz? It all began when he turned his prison cell into a home for little birds. As he cared about these creatures and dedicated his life to curing them, he changed. Providing a safe haven for birds, he became a bird lover. And even though he spent most of his life in prison paying for his crimes, he is most famous as a birdman, not a criminal.

That’s a story cool enough to make into a Hollywood movie, but it has a huge spiritual point: Whatever you create a home for in your life will influence you big-time. If you entertain yourself with music or videos or Web sites that aren’t appropriate … if you hang on to friends who pull you away from Jesus … if you spend your whole life on hobbies and leave nothing for God . . . then that is what will roost in your life.

And like it or not, whatever you start spending time with eventually starts bossing you around. An old proverb states, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.” You have complete control over the things you allow to be part of your life.

According to Colossians 3:16, the Word of God is a good choice to let nest in us. When we let God’s Word into our life as a permanent resident, it changes us. Then, no matter what we were when we began, at the finish of our life we will be more like Jesus.

TALK: How are you letting God’s Word nest in your heart? How is it changing you?

PRAY: God, we want your words to live in us and change our life.

ACT: Make a plan to make more time for God’s Word in your life—even starting with five minutes a day.


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