Are You Doing the Flamingo?

We had a ladies “flamingo” fellowship and for the devotion I learned several things about flamingos and how we can apply many flamingo characteristics to ourselves as Christians!
When you look at a flamingo one thing we notice right away is that they stand up straight and tall even in the water. When Flamingos are standing in the water they use their long legs and their webbed feet to stir up the bottom. Then tiny organisms that flamingos eat float to the top of the water. Then the flamingo scoops them up to eat them. Like the flamingo, we need to stand firm and tall on the Word of God. We have to work at being fed. We cannot just stand and expect our food to come floating to us. When we are hungry we do not just sit and food just magically appear in our mouth. Or spiritually speaking only show up to church just sit for an hour each Sunday and expect to grow. We have to be like the flamingo and dig our feet in and stir God’s Word in our hearts. The way we feed on His Word is to set aside time to studying and grow and then APPLY IT! We have got to take time each day to feed. That growing is what grounds us as Christians so that we can stand firm when life’s struggles, trials and pains try to knock us around. 
Flamingos get their color from the carotenoids in their diet (shrimp, algae, plankton, and crustaceans). The richer the they are in their food the brighter color pink to crimson flamingos will be. So, ask yourselves as a Christians, how rich is your diet? What are you feeding on? Spiritually speaking many times we feed on things that don’t give us nutrients we need to grow in Christ. Just like our physical bodies, if we eat things that are not good for our bodies it has a negative effect on us. If we are filling our lives with the wrong kind of spiritual food we loose our beauty in Christ. The healthier and richer our food is the brighter we are in Christ. We need a healthy diet spiritually to keep us beautiful in Christ!
A flamingo spends up to 30% of the day preening their feathers. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what the definition of preen was so I looked it up. The definition said “Preen” means to straighten and clean its feathers with its beak (Or for a person it means to devote effort to make oneself look attractive). When flamingos preen they are actually moving oil around from a gland at the base of their tail to their feathers for waterproofing. Most of us like to check their appearance in the mirror. We straighten ourselves up before we leave the house or when we start the day. We like to look nice. As Christians we also need to preen. The way we preen is by concentrating on living a God-focused or God-centered life and bearing fruit of the spirit which is when Christ’s characteristics come out in our actions! Just like preening physically – when we look nice it gives us confidence. Preening spiritually helps us stand in confidence. Living and having a God-centered focus is what makes us beautiful in Christ. We need to live sensitive to the Holy Spirit that helps protect us from being pulled into or caught up in sin. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His direction is what moves the oil around and waterproofs us as Christians. That “waterproofing” protects us from attacks. So, as we think of a flamingo spending up to 30% of their day preening… can you ask yourself how much time do you spend making yourself beautiful in Christ each day?  I will be honest, I let distractions, keep me from investing and spending time in the Lord.
Flamingos are very social birds. Have you ever seen them in their colony and watched them move around? It’s incredible to watch! I watched a documentary on flamingos and it was fascinating to see how they move and how they are synchronized together. Marching is common behavior that you see in a large group of flamingos. They march one direction for a while then quickly turn and go the other direction all in unison.  What’s really awesome about the flamingo is that they are often doing the same behaviors at the same time!
Just like it’s a beautiful thing to see flamingos as they move  in unison, synchronized and together. God has given us a church family and Christians should be a beautiful thing to watch too. So often we are not. I think we need to be more synchronized when it comes to serving alongside our sisters in Christ. We should be working together in unison!
Flamingos find safety in numbers. Like flamingos are safe in their colony, we also need that fellowship with our church family. It helps keep us safe because we are not alone and vulnerable and we can fight together against an attack. Fellowship and encouragement with each other help make us stronger as we face trials, hard times, and struggles. Good Christian friends help make us stronger. Sometimes to even challenge us or hold us accountable. God brings people into your life for that very reason. Proverbs 27:17 says iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. I have heard so many times that there are givers and there are takers in life. I want to encourage you to be a giver. Be a friend, a sister in Christ, that gives more than they take from others. Give by encouraging, praying, kind words, and lifting each other up in the Lord.
Flamingos are water birds. They like lagoons, lakes, and swampy areas. Flamingos stay close to water. Like the flamingos are water birds we need to remember that we need the water. Christ is our living water. Jeremiah says the Lord is our fountain of living water. John 4 says Christ gives us living water.  We need to seek Him because He IS our water source to help sustain us. We need to draw close to Him. Physically we must have water to survive. Spiritually we also need water to live. Christ is that water for Christians! Psalm 73:28 says it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. 
I really didn’t know much about flamingos until I looked up information and studied facts about them. It is a blessing and really does amaze me how God can teach us so much from His creation. I hope that you have learned some new facts about flamingos and that you can and will apply many of those to your Christian walk. When we see a flamingo let it remind us of our Christian walk! Let it remind us how we can pattern our walk after the flamingo in so many ways!

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