Many of you know I’m an animal lover, protector, defender. In ancient times, people talked about the conflicts they had in their lives by telling animal stories. Today, in this message, let’s focus on a few animals and their impact on many truths. about two wolves, three pigs, one reindeer, one burro, one camel, one horse, two dogs, sheep, cattle, and underdogs of every species.
Here is our first.
“There was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them.”
Here is a mother who has fallen on hard times. A lot of people can relate to this today. Her whole life is crashing around her. Perhaps, she had it worse than any of us can imagine, she was going to have to give up he children because she did not have enough money to keep them.
And the rest of the story focuses, as we know, on what the three little pigs did with the little bit their mother gave them. I’m sure you remember.
There is an ancient saying: “The wolf is at the door.” This means that some type of a bad situation has come to your household. Exactly what happened to our little pigs.
What kind of choices are we going to make to build our lives? We are given the power by God to build a house out of straw, sticks, or bricks.
It’s our choice how easy, or difficult we make our lives. We can use the same God-given power to make our lives seem easy; but sometimes it takes us a little longer to build our houses, as the Bible says, on a firm foundation that will stand throughout time.
“The Three Little Pigs” is a story – not about building a house – but about making soul choices. We need to realize that we can have bricks – we don’t have to settle for straw or sticks – but IT IS OUR CHOICE.
We can get instant gratification in life and take the first thing that comes along, or we can take a little longer period of time and, using prayer, make the right choices that in the end will make our life a lot easier.
“So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them. So the wolf came, as he did to the other pigs, and said: ‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’
“The pig says, ‘No, no, by the hair on my chinny chin chin.’
“The wolf said, ‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’
“Well, he huffed, and he puffed, but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he thought he would outsmart the pig and said: ‘Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips.’
“’Where?’ said the little pig.
“’Oh, in Mr. Smith’s farm, and if you will be ready tomorrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together, and get some for dinner.’”
“’Very well,’ said the little pig. ‘I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?’
“‘Oh, at six o’clock,’ replied the wolf.
“Well, the little pig got up at five, and got the turnips before the wolf came (which he did about six) who said: ‘Little pig, are you ready?’
“The little pig said, ‘Ready! I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner.’
The little pig continued to outsmart the wolf, to the undoing of the wolf.”
This could be a story of the economy today.
But, this story is about you. It is about how using your God-given power you can outsmart the wolf that comes to your door. Many stories are written about the wolf at the door (like “Little Red Riding Hood.”) The purpose of these stories is to give you the idea that when the wolf comes to your door, in whatever form it may, it is NOT the end. It’s another new beginning for you; it’s a chance for you to have a second chance by having Christ guide you through the challenges.
By going to God, and having God within clearly giving you the direction in which to go, you will be able to get out of the maze in which you might find yourself. You have the choice. You have the choice to build your life aright, in the precise way in which a life will succeed.
“The Three Little Pigs” is a story from 1620. It was translated from German to English at that date, and it was hundreds of years old then. It is a story about people and life then, but it is also a story about people in life today.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-25: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”
What does it mean to build your house on the rock? It means to have a firm foundation for your life. It means to build your life every day in a spiritual way, block by block, thought by thought, prayer by prayer.
Whenever the wolf comes to your door, or someone says something to you that upsets you, turn within in prayer and go to God. That is what builds your house and builds your life on the right foundation. It spiritually empowers you in the moment, giving you the power to live your life as you wish to live it.
[Continuing with Matthew 7:26-27]: “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!”
The way you build your house says everything about you.
Matthew 7:13 says: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it.”
We do have so many choices. It seems like the easy choices would be the best decisions. We look around and see so many easy choices. When we look at the gate that is wide we think, “That gate is wide; most people are going through it; I’ll just go through it too.” Then we realize we have made a choice too quickly, and that road leads to destruction.
In other words, it means that by making choices in your life, you can have a life that is built like a palace or a life that is built like a shack. If you are living a hard life in a shack, that is not the way God wants you to live.
[Continuing with Matthew 7:14-20]. “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”
When someone says something that really makes you angry, you have two choices: You can punch the person in the nose or you turn to prayer and go to God for peace. Punching the person (the way of anger) would be the wide gate. But there is another narrow gate that is almost invisible. This gate is inside of you. You close your eyes for a moment and say, “God, I am feeling a lot of anger. I want to alleviate this. I want to stand on Your firm foundation.” And, as you turn to prayer, you enter something that is beyond your own mind. You enter through an opening within you to God – His mercy and grace – and His answers. When you go through that opening, the narrow gate, you have a life that is filled with peace and beauty.
Why did the Bible say that the road is hard if you go through the wide gate? Because with our human eyes we view a wide material world – the world of effects. We need to turn within through the narrow gate to see the causation of all that we see with our eyes.
False prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing may be the man on TV who says, “Buy this item, and you will be happy. Just sign on the dotted line, and your life will be better.” And you think, “If I had that, I would really be happy.” That is not the case.
You never have to pay God for God’s gifts. God is always free, and always available to you.
If you are the underdog, you have tried and tried to succeed, but you have not. You may feel that you cannot turn things around yourself. You may feel like there is nothing you can do to make your life better. That is the time to go to God, and receive the spiritual gift of nourishment and achievement.
Let me tell you a story about an underdog. It is about a fellow who felt he never got any breaks.
This is a story about an underdog with a nose unlike normal noses of his breed. Secondly, socially he is a misfit. Thirdly, he has a psychological problem. But then came the foggy night. When the foggy night came, a break came for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer whose shiny nose was the way shower and light-bearer for Santa’s legendary team. He had the honor of guiding Santa’s sleigh through the uncharted skyways of a murky Christmas Eve.
Many a touching fable has been told about animals and the unexpected acclaim that came to them.
There are legends about a burro that was rejected for being too docile for any good. He was pawned off on a man named Joseph and eventually bore upon his somber back the mother of Jesus on her way to Bethlehem.
There is a legend about a camel that didn’t have a beggar man’s chance to become famous but was chosen by Mohammed to bear the Prophet to the his holy city of Mecca.
There was the lowly steed that pulled the chariot that brought the Buddha out of the confinement of his father’s palace, and there was a dog that became a companion to the prophet Zoroaster, and there were the animals of the forest who, hunted by men, became the special wards of St. Francis.
All through history there have been stories of lowly animals who were given a special chance. There is a story of Fija, a German police dog that went to school to become a Seeing Eye dog. Fija loved her master and led her just fine except in town. The blinking lights and the noise of the traffic undid her, and she became very nervous. She failed the tests to become a seeing-eye dog. It always seemed as if Fija had a knowing that she didn’t make the grade. She was very depressed about it.
A few years later she was watching over a little boy she lived with. She fell asleep on the back porch. All of a sudden, smoke started bellowing out of the windows. As she saw the smoke, Fija began to bark and claw at the door. The mother and father were able to get out of the house, but they were unable to get their little boy. In a moment of personal glory, Fija jumped through the flames and pulled the child out. Thank God Fija was not a seeing-eye dog but was at that house at that particular time.
When Jesus Christ was born, He was born into a stable with animals. There are stories of the animals and of how they were aware of the specialness of what was happening on that night. I think they did. What living creature wouldn’t have a sense of the birth of Christ? We have to have a sense of specialness for what is going on in our lives.
Look at Ephesians 2:19-22: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”
When you turn to God a new construction occurs within you – not just your foundation, but also every cell of your body and every thought of your mind. The Creator re-creates. Regeneration under the Divine blueprint follows.
But much more is under-construction than your physical body. Your entire life is being restructured and rebuilt totally and completely.
The mistake we make as humans is we say, “It’s too late for me. It’s NOT too late for the young people, but it is for me. I have tried so many times, and have failed.” This is exactly the second chance you need this day – the second chance is a choice you make. God is a God of second chances, and always offers additional chances to you to succeed, and become better than yesterday.
II Timothy 2:19-26: “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.”
“In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils…”
Imagine for a minute that you are the utensils. As you look at life, you know some of the people around you are the utensils of gold and silver. You may be thinking, “What a life they lead! If only I could lead a life like that, I would be complete.” But, you know, all people who turn to God spiritually, and pray to God to rebuild their lives, become special utensils in the household of God.
. . . “dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.”
Who is the owner of the house? God. Now it says what you must do: “Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.”
So, when you have the urge to do something that you know is not right – you have the urge to build the house out of straw because it is right here, but you know it will not last, and you know it’s not right for you – don’t do it. Wait, instead, and build upon the firm foundation of God.
“. . . along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth…”
What an opportunity we have in life to experience choice! Turn to God and know that the best is yet to be. We have that choice as a human being.
Let us pray:
Dear God, Help me to turn to You and that Power that is You. Help me to turn away from the wide spectrum in front of my eyes, and turn within in prayer to Your Divine power and authority. Thank You for the ability to turn to You anew today and have Your wonder work its spiritual power in me.
In Jesus Christ’s name I pray . . . Amen.