Fred & I enjoy going for some leisurely walks - well his leisurely walk is more like a quick walk for me because he has long legs and as I have mentioned previously "I am Petite".
Walking along one day (around a not so well known lake) I could see some large birds in the distance.
I asked Fred "Are those swans or geese?"
I was a town girl, he was a country boy!
Fred said they were swans.
Now something you need to know about Fred is:
Swans he likes - we often stop to watch them on our walks and take some pictures.
Ducks he likes - we have a lovely memory of Ducks from our life in Belgium
Geese he does not like!
I said "Are you sure they aren't geese?" and we both laughed.
You see Fred has long since told me and our kids the story of the day he was attacked by the geese on his family's farm and apparently according to Fred geese can be very aggressive and when you are a small boy they can be very frightening if they turn on you en masse and chase you, snapping at you noisily. He has never liked geese since then.
Now Fred is quite mild-mannered but when it comes to mentioning those geese on the farm you could almost say he becomes stern. He is also very cautious any time he is around geese because he knows he cannot trust them.
It's easy to see the difference between Geese and swans in these pictures above, the shape of the heads, beaks and necks but not so easy to see this when they are on the edge of the other side of a lake.
Often it is hard for us to tell the difference between things from a distance.
We need to be closer to objects to tell more clearly what they are like.
We need to be more familiar with certains things to tell them apart.
We need to remember the differences between geese and swans to recognise them.
When it comes to people we need to get to know them well rather than just being acquaintances to know what they truly feel or think or believe.
We need to be in their company in different situations to know by reactions and more casual words just how their minds work and what they really feel about things.
Another thing is we need to listen and hear properly what they say, not just presuming how they will finish the sentence they have just started.
From experience we will learn to know who to trust and who not to trust and from that we can make good decisions about who to spend our time with and who to not allow ourselves to have to be in the presence of too often.
I also relate this to people who are well known preachers.
Just because they are
or have a large church
or sound entertaining
or are talked about by many other people we know;
they may not be actually saying what we would expect them to say,
they may not actually be leading or pointing to Jesus,
they may not actually be preaching the truth of the Word of God but instead be preaching their own ideas.
We need to get familiar with the differences between the men and women who are out there truly promoting Jesus
and the ones who are really out there promoting themselves.
We need to get familiar with the differences between those promoting Jesus and those promoting themselves
Just because there may be crowds of others who live and breathe by everything that a well known preaching might say, does not mean we have to do the same.
What we have to do is
make sure we keep ourselves grounded in the true Word of God,
keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,
and ask the Holy Spirit to be that still small voice within us that cautions us away from the falsehoods and towards the truth.
The Bible tells us we need to be alert to those who do not speak truly in the Name of Jesus.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us to know the truth.
The Bible is the Word of God so let's get familiar with Jesus through the Bible so that we can know the differences between true men of God and those who are only of themselves.