Dogs

Year of the Dog

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

24294103_1780979458641513_353045090737977088_nOf all the lessons God has taught me through my Golden Retrievers, and dogs in general, the importance of living in the moment is pretty close to the top of the list.  Dogs do not wallow in the regrets of of the past, and they do not worry about things that may or may not happen in the future.  They simply live life to the fullest extent at any given time.  I believe God intends for us to live our lives in the same manner.

Everyone who has achieved puberty has regrets from their past, and we all have at one time or another felt that we were victims of a situation that was out of our control.  Shame and regrets and bad memories can become chains that imprison us to a jail of our own making if we do not submit them to God.  Likewise, reliving “the good ole days” without regard to what is happening now, also causes us to miss out on life.  When we live in the past, we never fully live in the present.  Dogs may live conditioned to a past experience, but they do not let it prevent them from enjoying today.  Neither should we.

We also forget to live in the present by spending too much of our time worrying about the future.  Whether it is worrying about things we hear in the news like threats of war or weather predictions, or things that hit closer to home such as health and finances, worrying robs today of its joy.  In Matthew 6, Jesus taught us to pray saying, “give us this day our daily bread.”  Further in the chapter Jesus teaches us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  My dogs do not worry about their future because for their entire lives I have cared for them daily.  They know when they wake up tomorrow, I will again provide for them.  We should have that same trust in our Father who provides all of our needs.

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According the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the Year of the Dog.  I would like to encourage you this year to live more like a dog!  Whatever has happened in your past or what you dream or fear in the future, do not become so caught up in it that you forget to live life now.  Do not miss the things in front of you.  You only get to live each day once.  Make the most of it.  Make it count.  Have fun.  Be spontaneous.  Make good memories.  Philippians 3:13,14 reads, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  That should be our goal, as well.

Have a blessed week, y’all!

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Colorblind

IMG_3751It is a common misconception that dogs are colorblind.  While our canine companions do not enjoy the vast array or vividness of colors that the we do, dogs can differentiate between certain colors.  Far more impressive than a dogs ability to discern colors is their ability to seemingly know what is in a person’s heart.

Most days that I work, my four-year-old Golden Retriever, Boondocks, accompanies me to the office.  He prefers snoozing behind my desk as opposed to being left home all day, and he always welcomes the opportunity to meet and make new friends.

Most folks that come into the office are friendly and stop by to say “hi”.  Without a doubt – and without guidance from me – Boondocks always seems to know who is here for what purpose.  Boon will sit behind my desk and whine if he hears Mr. Joe come in without greeting him, and yet he sometimes seems more suspicious of workmen that come in for routine maintenance.  His perception of people reminds me of a verse from the Bible,

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

Boondocks does not base his opinion of people by their ethnicity, by their social status, by their sexual orientation, by their beliefs – cultural or religious -, rather he judges by what is on the inside.  He was made to love, and he does so – for love’s sake.

1 Peter 4:8 says,

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

When we look at a person for what is in their heart, we are able to love them freely.  When we become more concerned about their soul than our opinion of how they live and how they sin differently than we do we are able to offer them the unconditional love that God has given us and asked us to give others.

John 13:35 says,

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Notice it doesn’t say “your approval of one another” but rather “love”.

I challenge you today to love like a dog.  Show other’s His agape love not for what they’ve done but because God has created them in His image and called us to do so.  If we all would commit to this kind of love, we truly would change the world.

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God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.  1 John 4:9-12

Broadening My Horizons

IMG_0002wm IMG_0035wm IMG_0055wm IMG_0075wm IMG_0099-2wm IMG_0104wm IMG_0123wm IMG_0151wm IMG_0195wm IMG_0207wm IMG_0274wm IMG_0278wm IMG_0314wmI had so much fun doing an after Christmas shoot for an entire family.  The session was their Christmas gift to one another, and it was such an honor to be chosen to capture memories for them.  In addition to the seven humans and six dogs, I also got to extend my photography portfolio to include goats!  This was such a fun group, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!!

Also, SIVILS and GOLD will be making a HUGE announcement on New Year’s Day.  Be sure to check back to see what we believe God has in store for us in 2015.