Golden Retriever

Of Dogs and Men

“Dogs are quick to show their affection. They never pout, they never bear a grudge. They never run away from home when mistreated. They never complain about their food. They never gripe about the way the house is kept. They are chivalrous and courageous, ready to protect … at the risk of their lives. They love children, and no matter how noisy and boisterous they are, the dog loves every minute of it. … Perhaps if we husbands imitated a few of our dog’s virtues, life with our family might be more amiable.” – Billy Graham

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Cleaned, Redeemed, & Esteemed

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ’em?

IMG_6227Most people know that our family is particularly fond of Golden Retrievers.  (They put the “gold” in Sivils and Gold.)  We currently have three Golden’s: Cosmo age nine, Boondocks age seven, and Faith age two.  My daughter Dacey has always marched to the beat of her own drum and so required a dog from her own favorite breed of choice – the Border Collie.  Dacey saved babysitting money for the good part of a summer to purchase Flash.  When Dacey got Flash a couple of years ago, her plans had been to stay home and commute to college, and so we allowed her to bring him home.  Little did we know, Dacey would not be staying at home, but Flash would.

Flash is a great dog.  Border Collies are ranked number one in intelligence out of all dog breeds.  Flash is a grand representative of that breed trait.  One thing about Border Collies though is that because they are so intelligent, they require work.  If you do not find them something productive for them to do, they will often find something destructive to do.  While Dacey has been at school, Flash has become a mostly outside dog.  We bring him in to sleep at night but for the most part, during the day, he’s outside.  Dacey loves on Flash when she’s home on the weekend, but once she’s gone, back outside he goes.  While playing with my Golden’s this past week, I thought it was ashamed that Flash did not enjoy the same privileges and comforts of the Golden’s.  While he possesses the potential to be a great agility or trick dog, he’s been resigned to a life outside of running circles around the backyard.  I determined to spend more time with Flash and make him as much a part of the family as my beloved Golden Retrievers.  I brought him inside and gave him a bath.

Flash is a typical black and white Border Collie.  Months of going without a bath and playing in a muddy backyard had left the white part of his coat dingy and dull.  I took great care as I bathed him to restore his coat to pristine condition.  When I finished bathing him, he shined.  We brought him into the living room where he sat in my lap for a few hours.  He seemed relaxed and content.  When it came time to let the dogs back outside to potty, he rushed out with the pack.  But when the Golden’s returned, Flash stayed behind to run laps around the backyard.  We pleaded with him to come inside.  No amount of bribery was enough.  He was back wallowing in the mud that I’d just worked so hard to cleanse him of.  

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Titus 3:3-7 (NLT) reads, “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—  When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

Flash eventually came back inside.  Once he realized we were inviting him to be part of the family, that his days of running circles in the backyard had been replaced with air conditioning and all of the love and attention his heart could ever desire, he was able to rest confidently, secure in his place in our home and lives.  Because we as believers have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, we too can rest secure in the hope of our place with Christ throughout eternity.       

Don't forget yourbig appetite!  

 

Have a blessed week, y’all! 

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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The Prodigal Son and the Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Psalm 23:1

Shortly before my youngest son’s third birthday, he snuck out of the house one night.  I had left to run an errand.  Connor was playing quietly in his bedroom with his siblings and my husband was in the back of the house.  Several minutes pa76994_450758891510_579391510_5872822_2935834_nst before the older kids informed their dad that Connor was nowhere to be found.

Frantically they searched each and every room and nook and cranny in the house.  Connor had disappeared.  As they darted outside to see if he had indeed wondered from within the safety of our four walls, they were greeted by a kind police officer, Connor, and our faithful dog, Scarlet. Before leaving the house, Connor had let Scarlet out of her crate so that she could join him on his grand adventure.

The officer told my husband that he had found the pair about a block from home.  As he approached Connor to assist him, Scarlet began circling Connor not allowing the officer to come any closer.  The police officer asked Connor if he could take him home, and Connor walked back to our yard with Scarlet at his side and the officer close behind them.

Usually when Scarlet was allowed to roam free outside of a fenced enclosure, she was “gone with the wind”.  Her instincts carried her as she glided as though she were flying.  She was always soon to return, but first, she always ran to her heart’s delight.  Not this time though.  One of her pack was in danger.  She set her sights on safely guarding him and guiding him back home again.  She stayed in step with him preventing him from becoming lost or stolen.

Matthew 18 tells a similar story –  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

Are you the one that has wandered away and maybe even lost your way?  Jesus came to find you.  He is just a prayer away. When you ask Him, He will happily lead you 19984_10152593581416511_1696330286524250901_nback. Jesus came so that you wouldn’t be lost forever.  Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”   And 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord isnot slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Won’t you come to Him?

Have a blessed week, y’all!