11:00 am: The Bird

11:00 am: The Bird

Balungao District Jail, Balungao, Pangasinan

January 22, 2024 (Monday)


The word “bird”

The word “bird” came to me late last night while I was asking the Lord what to share with you today. I needed a personal and direct word from the Lord to share with you, not just a “copy-paste” one. I was reminded of the same word early this morning. It is about the bird.

What is a bird? What does the bird represent in the scriptures?


The right photo shows the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco while on your left is a photo of an undisturbed dove with a vague object behind it. What is that vague object nestled in the middle of the waters?

The vague object is called “Alcatraz.” I visited this island in 2000 and went inside Alcatraz Prison, dubbed the “most notorious in American history” according to Odier (1982). This prison is nothing compared to the present jail where you are now.

Alcatraz Island is a small island 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. In the mid-19th century, it was a lighthouse, military fortification, and military prison. In 1934, the island was converted into a federal prison. The strong currents around the island and cold water temperatures made escape nearly impossible. The freezing waters surrounding the island ensured that any escapee might survive a gunshot but not hypothermia. The prison closed in 1963, and the island is now a major tourist attraction. It was closed down when one escapee managed to survive the cold waters and exposed the severe maltreatment of its prisoners. Alcatraz is like a hunter’s trap.

Why did the word “bird” come to my mind? Perhaps it is because among you are 142 PDLs (Persons Deprived of Liberty) who were arrested recently while your alleged Chinese employers posted bail and got temporary freedom. You are being trapped in a cage like a bird.


A bird

Psalm 124:7 (NLT): “We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free.”

Are you like a bird trapped in a hunter’s trap?

Birds are among God’s first creations of life in Genesis 1:20, which says, “And God said, let the waters bring forth abundantly moving creatures that have life and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” “Fowl” in Hebrew, “oph,” means “flying creatures, fowl, insects, or birds.”

Bird in another Hebrew term is called “tsaphar,” meaning “to go early, to depart early,” and that is why we hear the chirping of birds when we open our eyes early in the morning out of our deep sleep. “Tsaphar” is also defined by the scriptures as “dubious.” Webster defines dubious as “hesitating, doubting, and suspecting” creatures. Though some birds are sociable, more are often “hesitant and very suspicious,” so they fly away immediately when they sense another presence other than their own kind. A bird is somehow elusive.


God’s judgment

While many scientists declare that natural disasters today result from astronomical and geological phenomena like Global Warming, atheists deny the fact that God uses natural disasters like the Great Flood during Noah’s time.

The words “fowl” and “bird” are mentioned in the Bible among the flying creatures that Noah brought inside the ark before the flood (Genesis 7:14).

In Genesis 8:7, Noah “sent forth a raven” after the floodwaters had subsided. Then again, Noah sent “a dove” (Genesis 8:8).

Birds, as flying creatures, are like drones or space explorers scanning vast surroundings. They are meant to spread their wings in the spacious skies to scan everything their eyes can see. Birds, especially eagles, have sturdy wings to navigate the heights and lengths of the firmament. Man, like a bird, is a navigator and is meant to be free.

And Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”



Some time ago, I was totally worried when December 25 was fast approaching in just a week's time, and we did not have the money to pay for the employees’ 13th Month Pay as the Government mandates.

I was walking to and fro in our church backyard under the mango trees when suddenly a bird dropped dead in front of me. I looked up at the mango tree and profoundly thought. Instantly, the Lord spoke and said, “Aren’t you far more valuable to them than they (birds) are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27). Why worry? You too are more valuable than the sparrows.

From there, I decided to sell my 5-year-old Toyota Vios for P300K just to pay the P280K for the 13th Month Pay for 18 staff. And just two days later, I got a new car through a bank loan.



Remember what I earlier quoted to you?

Psalm 124:7 (NLT): “We escaped like a bird from the hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free.”

What is the background of Psalm 124:7?

Psalm 124:7 is one of the notes or lyrics of King David’s song. It is a “song of pilgrimage” addressed to the Jews who had been on a long, long, long journey of oppressive lives until they finally reached the Promised Land that God had promised to them. Without God’s love, help, grace, and deliverance, the Jewish people could not have made it to their destination, which we call Israel today. Psalm 124 speaks of God’s Presence from the start of the Jewish people’s journey from the time of Moses. That is why they are called “pilgrims.”

The subtitle of Psalm 124 under the New Living Translation (NLT) reads this way: “A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.”

So you are a sojourner, a pilgrim, or a traveler in this most difficult time. Where you are right now as a traveler is just a stopover. This is not yet your destination. As Alcuin of York says:

“Man, a passing wayfarer, a guest upon earth.”



The word “pilgrimage” is mentioned twice in Genesis 47:9. It means “magur” in Hebrew, meaning “sojourning place, a dwelling place, a temporary or permanent residence, sojourn or be a stranger,” originally derived from Hebrew “gur,” meaning “a stranger, sojourner.”

Webster defines a “pilgrim” as “one who journeys in foreign lands; a wayfarer; one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee.” Merriam-Webster defines pilgrimage as “a journey made to some sacred place, as an act of religious.”

Oxford Dictionary defines pilgrimage as “A journey made to some sacred place, as an act of religious.”

Of all the places, you go and follow where Jesus goes! From the time you were arrested till now, you are on a pilgrimage.

If you are on a pilgrimage or a journey now, then this prison cell isn’t your destination. It is just a stopover because the Scripture says: Psalm 124:7 (NLT), “We escaped like a bird from the hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free.” And Jesus said …

“And you will know the truth, and that truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).

And Jesus also said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (John 14:6).

The Greek word for “way,” “hodos,” means “a road, a journey, a course of life.” So this place is just “passing through” because you are “strangers and exiles in this world” (1 Peter 2:11).


The dove

Before Jesus Christ began His ministry, He was baptized in the River Jordan. When Jesus rose from the water, the Holy Spirit “descended like a dove and alighted upon Him,” (Matthew 3:16). What? The Spirit like a dove descended. That’s a bird again!

And in verse 17, it says: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.” What does it mean, a beloved son?

Have you been a son or daughter of God? Have you experienced the Spirit of God descending on you like a gentle dove, calling you “son” regardless of anything you’ve done?

Being called a son denotes affinity, endearment, relationship, and intimacy with God. The Lord is giving us an opportune time like this. He said:

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:12-13). That is who you are when you acknowledge God – sons of God!

Will you call Him, “Father?” Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name…”


Darkest Darkness

In this darkest darkness of your life journey, when your whole world suddenly stopped, and things you were hoping for vanished into thin air, turning your life void and empty and dark, will God still be there?

Will God still be with you when your life turns “without form and void and dark?”

And God will say to you: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” - Genesis 1:2.

True! Even when life is without form, even when life is void, even when life is dark, and even when life is so deep – God, like a bird, scans, the Spirit of God scans and moves right where you are, and He would say:

“Let there be light!”