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Christian Living Truth

A Surprise in the Fireplace

A friend in need…

It had been a long weekend at the church where I served as an associate pastor. I’d spent most of the day, and all Saturday night, with a family whose father was in intensive care at a local hospital. Sunday was, well, Sunday—the busiest day of the week for me.

So on Monday (my day off), I slept in for some much needed rest. But even with the extra sleep I still felt frazzled; folks in the ministry call this “compassion fatigue.” Feeling emotionally depleted from the long weekend of pastoral ministry, I decided to take a walk at a beautiful Christian conference center nearby.

But as I made my way around a scenic tree-lined trail, wouldn’t you know, it started to rain! I quickly went from a stroll to a sprint, ducking into a nearby multi-purpose building—that just happened to be unlocked. It was a gymnasium with a kitchen and reception area: a “cafegymatorium.”😀

Wanting to stay dry, I continued to walk laps around the basketball court, using a massive stone fireplace as a waypoint. But then I heard something: a fluttering sound coming from behind the darkened glass doors covering the hearth. A bird had somehow fallen down the chimney and was unable to escape.

I cautiously opened the doors. Stepping back quickly, I felt the breeze as he flew past me—into the empty gym. It was a male cardinal, flashing brilliant red! He circled near the ceiling, trying to figure out where he was.

Tip-toeing over to a side entrance, I opened the door. The rain had stopped and the sun shone brightly—bathing a corner of the building in light. But mister curious cardinal wouldn’t take the exit; he continued his holding pattern, looping the gym over and over. So I stepped away from the door and froze, still as a statue. Finally, my “brother from another mother” flew out the door to freedom.


I call my hapless bird friend “brother” because I’ve been where he was: trapped and unable to free myself alone. Leaving full time ministry, a failed marriage, both were impenetrable doors blocking my escape. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from your own life.

The point is, Jesus Christ is the only person who can truly set us free. And He opens the doors with one word:

So Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31 (GNT) emphasis mine

Kind reader, may I remind you that all the truth you’ll ever need is found in Christ Himself? At the cusp of His own crucifixion He comforted His dearest friends with these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”— John 14:1 (NIV) And when Doubting Thomas questioned this, Jesus answered with a one sentence summary:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 (NIV)

It’s 2022 and Jesus is STILL the way; we don’t need another road map. God’s best to you always. Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

65 replies on “A Surprise in the Fireplace”

Thank you, Rainer. I didn’t share the back story, but the incident with the bird happened during a difficult time in my life-a situation where I thought there was no escape. But God knew differently and here I am, over twenty years later.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Blessings!

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Thank you, Tina. All three of the grade schools where I’ve worked have cafegymatoriums. They are the ultimate multi purpose room. Just watch where you step after lunch.😳
Thank you for your kind comment. Blessings!

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I love it how you say that Jesus is still the way. As we begin a new year, we may try to change a lot of things but the fact that Jesus is the way can’t be changed. Thank you and I wish you an amazing 2022.

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I appreciate your reference to the healing value of psychotherapy (professional and between good friends). It has been invaluable in freeing me from the jaws of betrayal trauma. Yet Jesus remains the only one who is able to set body, soul, and spirit totally free.
It is so refreshing to know a professional, like yourself, who believes in the power of people AND God to heal.
Blessings to you as well in 2022.

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You’re right, Beth. This story WOULD make a great children’s book! Youngsters are often shocked by unexpected and unfamiliar loss: the death of a much loved family member, etc.

I am always grateful for your kind and encouraging thoughts. I look forward to reading your thoughts this year as well! Blessings.

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It’s always a blessing to read your posts David. And I completely agree … talking to someone who is caring and understanding … facing and working through trauma and grief … all of these things help us to slowly recover. However, at the end of the day, Jesus Christ is the only person who can truly set us free. Blessings on your day, week, month and year!

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The story of your cardinal would make a great children’s book. Your words “All the truth you’ll ever need is found in Christ Himself” and “Jesus is STILL the way; we don’t need another road map” are important truths that every Christian needs to stand on as the world insists we buy into its faulty maps and truths. I look forward to reading what the Lord lays on your heart to write in this new year to come.

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Yes. The poor bird was frantic to get out! But, without intervention, his escape was unlikely. God used this incident to save a feathered friend, but also to teach me a valuable lesson—only He can truly set us free. Thank you for your comment, and for reading my ramblings. Blessings!

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There’s something heart rending about seeing a bird trapped… how much more so must our heavenly Father desire for us to be set free with His truth in Jesus!
Have a wonderful New Year David and thank you for this encouraging post!

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Thank you, Deb. I’ve been blessed to be a teacher (like you) for the past 17 years. If it weren’t for Jesus I wouldn’t be here–literally. Happy New Year to you as well, and a blessed second half of the school year!

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Thanks, Kathlyn! My desire to continue ministry—through helping and encouraging people—is why I started my blog three years ago. I realize the gifts and call of God are irrevocable. I just minister in different ways now. I am grateful for your encouragement!

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Thanks, Barb! Speaking of stories, I think I’ve found my gratitude jar. It’s not clear, but is large enough for lots of slips of paper. You are quite the idea person, book reviewer, and story teller to boot! I’m more of a one trick pony.🐴

I sincerely appreciate your encouragement. Blessings to you and yours in 2022!

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It is good for you to get away from your duties to spend time in nature with Jesus.
That is where he truly sets us free.
Being a minister is a real stressful profession.
I pray there is reconcilliation between you and your wife

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That’s wonderful, David. I hope it is obvious that, there is not a limit to number of cards on a given day. A person can easily add more to fit their specific situation. I made it with book rings, in part, because it is easy to add additional cards as needed or remove a card when not needed.

If you are reading the comments and are wondering what “prayer organizer” David references you can see it and how to make one yourself at this link. https://musingsofmanettekay.com/2021/12/07/a-prayer-tool/

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I appreciate your kind words, BG. Frankly, I’m sometimes discouraged that I don’t post more often and have greater traffic on my site. But then comments, such as yours, help me remember why I started blogging in the first place. Blessings to you and yours in the new year!

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“Jesus Christ is the only person who can truly set us free.”
So very true, David. How many passes must it take for us to notice His open door? For me it has been many. Great post, brother! Blessings to you and your family!

[Almost missed this. It appeared late in my reader.]

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Thank you, Manette Kay. It’s encouraging to know my thoughts make sense spiritually to a student of the scriptures like you. I sincerely appreciate your input!
On another note, the prayer organizer you gave me is filling up fast. Most of the days are already covered.

Blessings to you in the new year.

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I’ve been like the little bird wearing myself out in life’s lap after lap. David, the truth is in the precious Scriptures you shared. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. None of us can escape on our own we need Jesus. This is a great analogy.

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Me too, brother Gary. It took me several passes before following God’s opening to become a teacher. The reality is, I’m probably more effective as an educator than I was as a minister. Whatever the circumstances, our Heavenly Father knows best. Thank you for your input.

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Jesus is the way! That truth will always remain. The world changes, and people change. Jesus is always the same. We can count on Him. Thank you David. Blessings in the new year.

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Brother David, your post is so encouraging. When we are trapped and going on our feelings, we need to change our focus, from our feelings to Jesus. He is our door to the Father and freedom. Hallelujah!

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I’m glad you and Bette both brought up the power of praising God—no matter what. Henry Blackaby talks about how we don’t really know our true life situation until God tells us what it is. Some of my darkest moments have led to His greatest blessings. I am sincerely grateful for your encouraging thoughts, Simply B! God’s best to you in the year ahead.

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Thank you for this honest, beautiful, encouraging post. And I agree with Bette’s comments about the power of praising God. Once when I was a trapped bird myself and in deep emotional pain a good friend of mine said only three words to me. “Just praise Him”. Seemed like an impossibility at the time, but through broken-hearted tears I would offer him words of praise, sometimes just a weak whisper. Again and again and, yes, God healed my brokenness and lifted me out of the mess I was in. The truth set me free. Jesus is the truth.
Thank you so much for sharing your heart. And blessings on the new year!!

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Beautiful post David. I’ve done the same thing with pigeons where I work but I never made the association that you just did, and I should have! Jesus is indeed the door to our freedom in Him. I won’t forget this (or at least I don’t think I will). Blessings brother!

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Thanks for this, David. I too have been where the little bird was, and where you were. Gritting my teeth, I yelled at God, said mean things to him, then chose to praise and thank him no matter what. I even said, I don’t mean a word of this, but I choose to praise you anyway. After a while, the praise became real. God delivered me, and he delivered you, and he will continue to deliver those who turn to him. Have a wonderfully blessed New Year.

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