Summary: It does not take extraordinary abilities to make it in this life. It only takes ordinary people doing the extraordinary.

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Romans 5:3-8 - Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

A few years ago, I heard a minister friend of mine tell a story about a little house bird who lived in a gilded cage. The little bird’s name was Chippie. Chippie was a canary that lived a good life in a good home in a good neighborhood with good owners. Chippie had everything that he needed and could ever want. His cage was kept clean. He had plenty of food and water to eat and drink. And he received just enough sun light to make him feel alive and well. Chippie had a lot to sing about, so he spent his days singing cheerfully and boldly to the glory of his owners.

But one day, while Chippie was securely locked in his gilded cage minding his own business and taking a nap, the new maid, who was vacuuming the drapes near his cage, was startled, for moment, by the house cat that ran near her feet.

In her startled condition the maid jumped back with her hands raised in the air and she accidentally placed the open end of the vacuum cleaner’s wand into the cage where little Chippie was sleeping. Unknown to the maid, little Chippie was sucked into the vacuum cleaner system and ended-up in the waste bag with all of the filthy dust and dirt that had been picked-up during the cleaning process.

It was not until the maid later dumped the dust and dirt out of the vacuum cleaner bag that she discovered the filth-covered frame of poor little Chippie. The maid, afraid of what the owners might do if they discovered Chippie in that condition, rushed to the kitchen and placed Chippie under the faucet and turned on the water. The maid washed and scrubbed Chippie until his feathers started to look like they were getting clean again. But Chippie’s appearance still presented a problem. For now Chippie was soaked and wet and his feathers were all frizzled.

So the maid took out the blow dryer and blew its cold air all over Chippie until his feathers became somewhat dry. Then the maid placed little Chippie back into the security of his gilded cage and left him there.

When little Chippie’s owners came home later that day they approached Chippie’s cage and greeted him as they usually did. They were expecting to be greeted by the sweet sounds of Chippie’s cheerful singing. But they noticed that this time there was something different about him. Chippie was still in his gilded cage with all of his conveniences nearby, but Chippie wasn’t singing like he used to. Chippie had been sucked-in, washed-over and blown-out with a cold wind to such a point that he just didn’t feel like singing his song any more.

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