The Arctic tern is one of the most remarkable birds in the world. It makes the longest annual migration ever recorded in the whole animal kingdom.
During its breeding season, the Arctic tern is found far to the north, where it enjoys long summer days. In winter, it heads far south in the Southern hemisphere to enjoy the longest days there. This means the Arctic tern experiences more sunlight during a calendar year than any other creature on Earth.
The average roundtrip distance from Greenland/Iceland to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica, and back again, was recorded at 70,900 km, (ranging from 59,500 to 81,600 km) As Arctic terns can live to 30 years, the total distance flown in a tern’s lifetime may exceed 2.4 million km, which is equivalent to around 3 return journeys to the Moon!
The map on the left shows the most travelled route, while the map on the right shows the routes of all the tagged birds.
These small birds (average 95-125g with a wingspan of 75-85cm) make their long trip on nothing but the urgings and the endurance that God put in them at creation.
The force which drives them also empowers them for their long journey.
Similarly, with the new covenant, a contract between God and man, God places WITHIN each believer a new nature which both drives and empowers our lives.
This nature was not available from our human birth.
We get this new nature when we agree with God about our sinful condition and believe that the Lord Jesus Christ took our sins in His own body and died on the cross, bearing the penalty for our sin, and that because His sacrifice on our behalf was acceptable to God, God raised Him from the dead.
At the point of repenting of our sin and believing and accepting God’s Gift, we become a “new creation” born of God, adopted into His own family, indwelt by the Spirit of God, having a new, spiritual nature which desires to please God.
The Arctic tern endures the longest migration known in the animal kingdom,
on the basis of THE URGINGS AND ENDURANCE WITHIN THEM,
given by their Creator.
Just so, we, in our new nature,
are EMPOWERED BY THE URGINGS AND ENDURANCE
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN US
to live lives of victory over sin, satan and his forces.
Are we allowing that Spirit-nature to drive and empower us?
Are we using the power to endure – to ‘run the race’ – to ‘strive toward the mark’?
Are we experiencing His victory in us?
We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren
be steadfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
for you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord
The Alaskan Arctic Tern is currently nesting in our area. Quite a bird but the Holy Spirit is so much more amazing as he leads and guides us and changes us from within. Amazing!
There is no doubt about the power of the Arctic Tern. It leads all animal life in its power in migration.
But the HOLY SPIRIT’s power far, far, far, far exceeds that. In fact, all the power of all the animals and power houses of the world together wouldn’t even scratch the surface!
Truly, an amazing God!
As you know I’m a bird lover, and especially fond of terns. Our local Estauary resounds to the scratchy scratchy call of the Sandwich Tern, and the odd migrating Arctic & Common Tern too. The latter pair are so similar that birders often call them “Comic” Terns to avoid guessing the wrong type.
I’ve been attacked by Terns on the Farne Islands, but for me being a christian is surely more difficult than it is to be an Arctic Tern. The tern has instinct for survival, but my first inclination is to comfort and ease.
Even the apostle Paul struggled with ‘the flesh” so I suppose I’m in good company.
Yes, Stephen, we struggle, but when we ‘rest’ in the Lord, having submitted to Him, the new nature, with all its divine attributes takes over and we find that through Christ we have the victory.
The problem is that sometimes I don’t want to submit! How I long for that day when we will be wholly submissive, without any distractions! And we are one day closer! ! !
We serve an amazing God who has given us the victory through Christ.
Wonderful reminder of our Lord’s greatness that can be seen in both nature and the new birth. Thank the Lord for a Christian’s innate ability to continue on inspite of our sinful flesh, the fallen world and the powers of darkness. Through Christ we can strive knowing that He has already won the victory for us! Lord bless, thanks for another great posting
Victory is guaranteed the Christian when we submit to our amazing God and allow HIM to work on our behalf. We are ‘more than conquerors’ but only through Christ.
What an amazing God!
Mentor Angela . .this has really blessed me tonight. The subject of dreams and goals has come up with a friend . ..and it can get confusing to me. I don’t dream and do goals very well. Then I read this, and to me, it was like Him speaking to me . . .”to live lives of victory over sin, satan and his forces.” That’s my dream and my goal! :)
God bless you as you share these special messages with us from Him! love and prayers!
Hi Debbie. I’m afraid I’m very much a goal setter. I have long term goals and short term goals, and intermediate goals detailing the steps to reach those goals. Sorry!
When it comes to “living lives of victory over sin, satan and his forces” we SHOULD count it as an accomplished fact, because in the eyes of God, it is. His power within, which we already have, is all we need. (Note I said “SHOULD” – not that it is automatic or that we actually DO, because I know I too often fail) But the fact remains, we have no excuse. He has supplied all we need.
What an amazing God!
You are so wonderful! Don’t be sorry because you have all kinds of goals!! haha! Go Mentor Angela! And hopefully I can learn more along the way here yet! :)
Amen! The Holy Spirit inside of us embodies all that we will need to make this journey. Without Him, we would surely have been blown off course over and over again. As a thoughtful blogging pal would say: “what an amazing God!!” ;-)
Hi Ann. Only an amazing God could take this useless lump of humanity and make it into a vessel through which He can work. Only an amazing God would continue His work, shaping and molding me into His likeness. Only an amazing God would persevere with one who so often disappoints Him. What a truly, truly amazing God!
We have a bird that I’m beginning to wish was in an arctic nation. :)
Amazing analogy! The new creation not only has the ability but also the desire to love God and walk with Him. Blessings.
You will cry when that bird decides to leave.
The new creation is just that – NEW! Everything changed. The old desires disappeared. Not only was I given new desires, but I was given the ability to exercise them.
What an amazing God!
The Arctic Tern is an amazing bird. However, even more amazing is the love Jesus has for us. The apostle John says it best: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Amen! There is no love like His.
The arctic tern has amazing capabilities, but they were given by their Creator.
All the superlatives in the world could not express the greatness of our God. Neither can words express the incomprehensible love He has for us, nor the way He cares for and undertakes for His beloved adopted children, nor the things He has prerpared for us in eternity.
What an amazing God!