Golden Retriever

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!

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