Golden Retriever

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!

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

A Different Set of Circumstances

“The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.”  – Elisabeth Elliot

Christ in Me

As a young adult struggling to figure out my place in this world, few people offered the guidance and wisdom than the writings of Elisabeth Elliot.  Her words comforted me, challenged me, strengthened me, and grew me into a better person.  I read her writings of her life by the ocean and dreamed of one day meeting her at her sea side home.  Her love for animals and belief that they too are eternal beings deepened my admiration for her.

During a particularly difficult time in my life I wrote to her telling her how her daily devotions arrived to my inbox each day to tell me exactly what I needed for that day – as if she watched my life and knew – even though most of the writings were written some twenty years earlier.  I never expected to hear back from her but was greatly encouraged when I received a handwritten postcard from her and her husband, Lars.  Along with a brief message the instructions were given, “Trust and obey.  There really is no other way to be happy in Jesus.”

She has now passed Through The Gates of Splendor, has been reunited with her first two husbands, and has met face to face the love of her life – Jesus.  I look forward to joining her there one day.