The Woodpecker

Thursday, June 29, 2017
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Listen while you read: "Stand Up And Bless The Lord"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 119:103-104 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (NIV)

Acts 17:28a – For in him we live and move and have our being. (NIV)

The woodpeckers are back. I hear their insistent rat-a-tat-tat from morning until evening. At home or in the bush while I am walking, they are hard at it, looking for the fulfillment of nourishment as they drill into trees in search of food.

Every once in a while, though, I hear the most alarming rat-a-tat-tat that rings out for great distances as a foolish woodpecker seeks to drill into one of the numerous metal roofs so popular here in the north. Sometimes, that same woodpecker will go at that same roof, day in and day out. What futility!

Yet, how often do I — do we — sometimes do likewise? We are all seeking fulfillment in one way or another. We are all hungry: hungry for achievement, acknowledgement, love, acceptance, advancement, enjoyment, or the next best thing that the manufacturers come up with. If we are not careful, such hungers can become our gods, gods who can never fulfill us for any length of time, gods who leave us just as hungry as before — or even hungrier.

When the apostle Paul was in Athens, he recognized a spiritual hunger in the people with whom he rubbed shoulders. He saw that they had altars to numerous gods, including one to an unknown god. Paul saw and knew the futility of seeking after such gods, and so he proclaimed to all who would listen the fulfilling gospel of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection. For in Him and only in Him does mankind live and move and have our being. In Him and only in Him does mankind find everlasting fulfillment amidst the hardships and discouragements and trials of this life and the hereafter. How sweet His promises are to our taste, sweeter than honey in our mouths. Through His Word, we gain understanding and wisdom, and thus are able to hate and turn from every wrong path that ends in futility and pain.

So today, mindful of the woodpecker that is seeking nourishment from a tin roof, if we are feeling unfulfilled and futile within our lives, let us cease our insistent rat-a-tat-tatting. Let us take time to be still and know that He is God, and that in Him we live and move and have our being. Let us prayerfully and praisefully seek the One Who can guide us back into a nourishing life of fulfillment.

Prayer: Father God, how foolish we can be at times. How futile are our attempts to fulfill ourselves when we look to anything and everything but You. Remind us that it is in You that we live and move and have our being, that we might be still and know the best way to go as we seek spiritual nourishment and fulfillment, now and forevermore. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Lynne Phipps <>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:


    Thanks, great reflection.

    That happens down South also. Good application.

    I don’t know how you manage to write as often as you do and such helpful material.

    Dear Lynne,
    Thank you for a gospel-filled and nourishing devotional.
    You can use this one anywhere you have opportunity to speak.
    I’m also thinking of what we see close after what you quoted Paul (from Acts 17:23,28,31 NIV).
    I pray for God’s continuing inspiration for you.

    Yes, Jesus is our only true spiritual nourishment. About that dumb woodpecker, could there be insects beneath the metal roof if it had been installed over an old wooden one without removing the old roofing materials first which was how my metal roof was installed. From time to time I see insects flying around the roof and wonder if I’ll need to redo it. Hmm. Blessings and thanks for writing this devotional.

    Thank you for today’s devotional Lynne. Please don’t read this as a criticism, but woodpeckers don’t drill on metal looking for food. They are establishing their territory and trying to attract a mate. I only bring this up as we have quite a personal association with Flickers this year, moreso than in years past.
    Keep your devotionals coming.

    Thank you, Lynn, you’ve done it again. The Lord sure has gifted you with art in creating a devotional from things and situations you see, hear, read, etc. Here in the high desert of So. Cal., we never hear wood peckers, but mocking birds, ravens, and gazillions of geese once a year when they come for their annual visit. There is a park near our house and that is one of their encampments. They like to find the open fields where they can feed and leave their little gifts. The clean ups in some places where people and children walk, have to be done. That’s my bird story.
    Keep on writing as they always gift me a lift. God loves you and so do I.

    I just read your meaningful devotion about seeking God’s guidance. I know what you mean about the woodpeckers drilling for food. I had heard if they are calling for a mate they will find something hard to make more noise.
    We have a small bush and lots of trees and we enjoy all the birds.
    Earlier this month we had a very unusual sound from our roof. It was a Flicker drilling on the metal top of our chimney. Not sure what that was all about as they usually dig in the lawn for worms.
    Nature is such a wonderful relaxing place to be and meditate, pray, and give thanks to God for all of Creation.
    Thanks for all your devotionals.

    Thank you Lynne. I really needed your devotional this morning While leading the last Bible Study for the summer, I was criticized yet again for the umpteenth time by one of the ladies. Feeling so discouraged, at the end of our lesson, I informed the ladies I would not be leading them when we reconvene in the fall. I guess I’m the woodpecker who is rat-at-tat-tatting on the tin roof.
    Thanks again Lynne. I get so much out of your Devotionals.
    God has truly gifted you.

    Good morning Lynne:
    Would you believe it, you have “pecked” out another interesting and proverbial Devotional! ( all puns intended) Yes, woodpeckers are beautiful Amazing birds. However, they are also very destructive! Our friend built a beautiful camp on their waterfront homestead lot on our Island. They came home for four days, and when they returned, woodpeckers had riddled the west walls looking for bugs in the knotholes! Also, it appears that woodpeckers adore green treated hydro poles! In some cases, a pole worth thousands of dollars is taken out of service in three weeks! They are now putting up plastic wrapped metal ones which are much more expensive, but cheaper in the long run.
    I really enjoy your writing – please stay at it. How is your zoo doing? No more stress attacks on the part of the goats, I hope!

    Hi Lynn, So many of our efforts to be “happy” are futile indeed.
    Thank you for wriitng as always.

    Thanks, Lynne.
    What a great lesson from the woodpeckers!

    A good one.

    Woodpeckers, like teenaged boys with loud cars or drums kits, make loud noises to attract potential mates. So food is not the only thing they are thinking about. It happens here and since the pipe goes down through the attic next to my son’s bedroom, there are certain weeks of the year where he is not be able to sleep in. There should be a devotional idea in this but I’m not sure what it is! Thank you for your contributions.


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