Things my dogs teach me: Standing at a distance from God

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crystalpic

Before I continue I must thank Crystal  http://networkedblogs.com/Qpmvr  for this picture. I did a search on trying to find a photo for this post. I was actually looking for one of a dog standing in a distance, but found this. I told my husband, “Come here, this picture looks just like Dixie and Dolly.” Come to find out, it is! Thank you, Crystal. Great pic and thank you for the kind words for my girlies.

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One thing I take great pleasure in, is giving my dogs treats. When we first got our puppies, I told myself I was not going to give them anything but dog food. As the last dog we had, Jethro, a Blue Tic Beagle would drool all over the place until you gave him a bite of whatever you were eating.

However, that has changed. I still can not eat in front of an animal without feeling some sort of guilt. Maybe it’s their cute little expressions, their patient waiting, maybe it’s the way Dolly sticks her little head in the refrigerator… I don’t know. I try to fight off the guilt sometimes by telling them, “Look, I don’t sit and stare at you when you are eating.” It means nothing to them. Not only do they not understand, but they are oblivious to anything around them until I am done eating, because they know they are going to get some kind of treat. After finishing my meal, I give my dogs a “tastie” of something or the other. They wait expectantly, without drooling.

I have found it peculiar that both dogs behave differently. Dolly, the little one, comes to me very expectantly. Dixie on the other hand, sits quietly alone off to herself, watching me as I prepare a treat. My little Dixie, stands at a distance from me, when all I want to do is bless her with a treat. I’ve done nothing to make her fear me, yet, she stands from afar.

One day God showed me I am sometimes like Dixie. Why? I’ve had to search my heart to know the answer for myself. Your answer may be different. But I will take the liberty to speak as if it may be the same answer for some of us: We may find ourselves standing at a distance from God, just because of the way others have treated us. We think because someone else does not like/love us, then God must not like/love us also. This is not true, Beloved. If we aren’t careful, we can get to a point where a person’s opinion of us can become more important than the opinion of God. This should not be.

Perhaps it is because we see others being blessed in such a way and we ask ourselves, “Why God? Why not me?” That could be covetousness. But let us say this is not the case. It could be you have been praying for something over and over: for that loved one to come into the Kingdom of God and it only seems to get worse and worse, or perhaps your finances are not where you need them to be, or you are dealing with some kind of illness, or you are house bound for whatever reason. Or just plain lonely. You may see these things in your own life and realize there is literally nothing you can do about it. Let us say, you have done all that you know to do. All that your own personal resources will allow you to do, anyway. Now you are just plain tired. You have given up. And you find yourself still believing in God, still loving Him, because you know in your heart of hearts, nothing will ever change that. But somehow you are distant with Him. He’s not gone anywhere. Some will say at this point: Right. It is you who have left God. But I say, if your heart is still with Him, you haven’t gone anywhere. IF you can still see Him preparing a blessing, no matter for who or what it is, if you can allow yourself to be happy for that person, then you have not left Him.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. — Hebrews 13:8 —

He’s not stopped loving you just because life has not been what you thought it would be.

Only God knows what you go through on an every day basis. He knows every single thing, every detail of your life. He knows when you are feeling poorly, He knows the things that bring you anxiety, He knows those loved ones you are concerned about, He knows, He knows, He knows. And… He cares. Others may not, but God does.

After preparing the treats for my little girlies, I call for Dixie who unlike her excitable sister, has been waiting patiently. She happily runs to me when called. Excited to get not only the treat, but mama lovings from me as she knows I mean her no harm.

If you find yourself standing at a distance from God in the way I have described, do not allow yourself to be under condemnation. There is nothing wrong with watching and waiting, if your heart can be glad for those around you.

Things my dogs teach me: Let the Master take the Yoke Off

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“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”                         — Matthew 11:28-30 — 

My husband is the one who takes our dogs for their walks. Knowing their behavior and what to expect while out, he tightens their collar before they leave the house. I used to tell him he had the collars too tight. He explained it had to be tight or they could slip out of the collar. I used to complain until we had a horrible incident some time back:

https://redeemedhippiesplace.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/things-my-dogs-teach-me-run-to-the-master/

Since then, I no longer tell him that it is too tight. I trust his judgment. Yet, I still hate to see them with a tight collar.

I’ve noticed over the years all the different yokes we put on one another. Husbands put them on wives and wives put them on their husbands. Family puts them on one another and friends can do the same things. It usually looks like this: I want you to be more like such n such so I can get this or that from you. THAT is a yoke. Another one: I want to lead you here so I can get this from you. THAT is a yoke.

Rarely, if ever is it something to make you free. Rather, it causes you to be chained to someone, desperetaly seeking their approval over and over. Which leads to idolatry.

The Church has been especially guilty of this. You must do this or that to prove yourself, before we let you do this or that. An example: My husband has a teaching gift. A few years back, he was asked to teach in the Church of a few members he was going to. He takes this seriously, seeks the Lord, and prepares for it through both prayer and study of God’s Word. He speaks with logic and reason, able to expound on things that I and others may miss.

He was told by the pastor that all teachers would be required to clean the bathrooms before they got to speak again. If this pastor knew my husband he would not have expected this from him. Not because my husband thinks he is too good to be a servant of this nature. But because, I am the one who has cleaned this house from day one of our marriage. My husband would not know the first thing about cleaning anything. It is my job. My job meaning, something that I want to do. He takes care of things I want no part of and would not know the first thing about.

If we had been much younger, I would have went and done it side by side with him. But, I had/have my own health issues to deal with and was not/am not going to take on anything I did not/do not sense the Lord leadings. At the time my husband worked a full-time job, whereas the pastor had quit his job and was depending upon God through faith to supply his needs and the needs of his family. THAT is wrong. What it really means is he and his family were depending upon the flock to support their needs. Sorry, but that is what it is. And it is wrong.

I rather bluntly told my husband, “Let those who do not work, clean the bathrooms. The pastor has kids old enough, his wife doesn’t work, let them do it.” Even the women, the teen-agers, and those who played the guitars and the drums could have done it. We are not talking about dozens of bathrooms, for pete sakes. Just two.

Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” — Acts 6:1-4 —

The above has to do with something the disciples had to deal with during their day. They were teaching/preaching the Word of God. An issue came up of who was going to serve in another area. They thought it best they not be tied down to both. So they left it in the hands of others to decide who would be suited best. Note, not just anybody, but of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. It was a serious matter, not to be taken lightly.

Do not get me wrong. I do believe in being a servant. Especially, if you are being blessed somewhere, then by all means, find a way to be a blessing in that Church/Building/Relatioship/Fellowship. If you know how to do a little plumbing, then offer your services. If you are gifted with an ability to use your hands, then do it. If you are good at painting, do it. However, my husband is not mechanical by any means. We both saw what this pastor was doing, as a control issue. The pastor already knew who the faithful were. He knew my husband was one. The pastor was putting a yoke upon those who were called to minister in the gifts they were called.

Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? — Acts 15:10 —

Many times, people expect us to behave a certain way just for them. This is wrong. It is putting a yoke on us.  We expect someone to perform. This is wrong, too. It is a yoke. Others do it to us by watching our every move, expecting us to jump through some kind of hoops. Once we get their approval, only then do they accept us. Let the reader know, I am not talking about issues of sin, but issues of feeling you have to prove yourself to mere man through acts of performance.

Yokes enslave us. They cause us to be led only so far by others. We are to be led by Jesus, not having the yokes of man/institutions put upon us.

I believe it is going to be very important in the days ahead for the Bride of Christ to get the yokes off. If we are yoked to men, they can mislead us. What if the very thing we are yoked to appears to be a good thing? What if it were taken away from you? Would you be able to be led by God or would you need man? What if the yoke leads to deception? The day is coming when we must hear the voice of our Shepherd. No other voice will do.

As soon as my dogs hit the door after their walk, they come straight to me. They know I will stop whatever I am doing, bend down and release them from that hard restraint. They want those collars off. Dixie, the biggest one, is especially quick to come to me. As soon as I remove the collar, she melts like butter in my arms. She is so relieved to get that thing off. Her eyes express such a relief, such gratitude.

How much more, the good Shepherd desires to take the yokes off of us!

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. — John 8:36 —

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. — Galations 5:1 —

Things My Dogs Teach Me: Run to the Master

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withdaddy

Above picture: Our little Beagle/King Charles Cavaliers in their daddys’ lap when they were just a few months old.

One day my husband had taken our dogs for their walk. He called me to tell me to come right away. Two big dogs were after our little girlies, and terrified, had gotten out from under their collars. I jumped in the car, my heart pounding and managed to find them not far from home. My husband had Dolly in his arms, but Dixie was loose. Two huge mongrel dogs that looked something out of a horror movie were running loose. One dog, barking and snapping, was jumping up on my husband trying to get to Dolly. The other dog was threatening our Dixie. I called for her and she came to me right away with bad dog following her. I picked her up and the dog started jumping on me, trying to bite us. A few people were standing around watching all the commotion. I yelled out to them, “Don’t just stand there, Help us!” A woman came over and grabbed that dog while I put Dixie in the car. As I was trying to get her in the car, the huge dog got lose and then tried getting into the car before I could even get the door shut! It was terrifying. Then the dog was trying to get in through a window and I had to manage to get back in and roll the window up with this hound from hell snapping at me the whole time. My husband still holding Dolly, with the other hound from hell, jumping up trying to attack him and little Dolly. I don’t know what emotion was greater — my fear or my anger. I got out of the car after rolling up the windows and went around to the other side to open the door for him so he could get in with Dolly. Both demon dogs after us both. I got the door opened and he got in as I was going around the other side to get in to drive away. I get in and see he had not been able to close the door because both dogs were still trying to get in the car! My husband was trying to shove them out with his leg. Oh, I got so mad. I picked up a magazine laying next to me, leaned over and smacked one of the dogs a good one telling him to “GET!” It was just enough to stun him long enough for my husband to pull his leg in and shut the door.

People stood by and did nothing. EMS happened to drive by during part of this and they too did absolutely NOTHING to help. Might not have been very Christian of me, but I told them all a thing or two before I drove off.

As I begin to start the car up, to move on, the dogs outside still would not move! I was blowing the horn and inching along and they still would not move! It was like an attack from hell. I have never seen anything like it in all my life. I was so angry, I actually wanted to run over them. But I didn’t. For the record: both our dogs were spayed when they were much younger, so this was not a case of male dogs going after female dogs.

I finally get us home, we take the dogs in and my husband says the leashes are still back where he lost them, so he goes back to get them. Meanwhile, I collapse in the chair with what was probably an angina attack. I did nothing but sit and cry, trying to breath, thanking God that none of us got mauled or bitten. Also praying that those dogs would not attack my husband when he went back to get their collars and leash.

That day, our dogs ran away out of fear. Before I had gotten there, they both ran in different directions. Dixie had planted herself under the front wheel of someone’s van. The woman not seeing her, almost began to drive forward, until my husband started shouting, “NO! NO!” The driver, not speaking English, did not know what he was saying, yet could hear an alarm in his voice that caused her to be still long enough for my husband to go and drag Dixie out from under her front wheel. Dolly on the other hand had ran down towards the main street where if she had gotten close enough, no doubt would have been hit by a car.

By the time I had gotten there, my husband had managed to get Dolly, yet Dixie had gotten loose. I had set myself up to be the Alpha dog with our dogs when they were just little babies. That makes me their master. I do not know how they would have behaved if I had been there. I’m guessing their behavior would have been no different as it is in their basic instint to either fight or flee from danger. Our little girlies, being timid little dogs, chose to flee. I can’t blame them.

I’ve thought of that incident many times. I see myself in those dogs at times. Maybe some of you can too. Our behavior being no different than theirs. When there is danger, we sometimes get so spooked that the last thing we think of, is running to the Master. Tornado warnings have been something that has terrified me since childhood. I immediatedly panic. I am not quite as bad as I used to be. I think it has more to do with I just do not have the extra adreneline it takes to get all that upset. However, I do take it serious and can feel fear that almost borders along terror. I try to stay calm for the sake of those around me and even for my dogs. In that first stage of panic, the very first thing I think of is running for cover. I’m much too frightened to even ask God for help.

There have been times when someone has playfully come up behind me and smacked/poked/pinched me for whatever reason. My first instinct is to turn around and knock their head off. I do not like playful activities like that. Some people can play like that. I am not one of them. It seems I don’t have time to ask God to help me, it all happens so fast. Thankfully, I have yet to knock anyone’s head off, but have told them never to do that to me again or else.

Satan loves to use fear to keep us from running to the Master. He is very good at it. That old devil knows exactly how, when and where to strike.

But, if we consider ourselves a bond servant/slave to the Lord, should we not run to Him in any event, at all times? Many times, we automatically trust in our own resources we may have at the time. Once there was a time where I could head down the stairs in the event of a tornado warning and not think much of it. I was younger, able to go quickly, not concerned whether my feet would get me there or not. But now, it takes a little longer. I figure if I can get down without falling and breaking my neck, it is a good thing. I have to be more careful, more cautious as my legs do not have the strength or the speed as they once had. That is when I find myself calling out to God now. On my way down the steps. Whereas before, it was after I had gotten down the stairs and prepared myself. I believe the weaker we become or the more frail we see ourselves before an all mighty God, only then it is when we begin to fully trust in Him. We begin to see HE is the One keeping us and not ourselves.

It is easy to trust Him when all is well. Not so easy when things are not all that well.

What is the thing that may stop you from running to the Master? Has the enemy of your soul so blinded you with such horrible things to come (I speak as one who personally knows what that feels/thinks like) that somehow you find yourself running for cover, yet not calling out to His Name? Are you trusting in your own resources? What if those resources were taken away? Then what? Are you so angry (again I speak as one who knows what that feels/thinks like) with things you see or have had happened to you, that you have failed to run to the Master? What if those things get worse?

I believe that God is calling His people to a place of knowing Him in ways some of us have yet to know. If we don’t learn to run to the Master now, then how in the world will we be able to run to Him when things get worse? No doubt, there will be those who will never seek God, never run to him. At the same time, there will be those who will wait until things get worse — then, they will seek God, then they will run to Him. Do not wait. Run to him now.

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon. — Isaiah 55:6,7 —

Things my Dogs teach me: Spending time with the Master

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I’ve never been much of a morning person. Just ask my family, or an old roomate or my husband. Over the years they would have more than likely said, “Leave her alone in the morning.” “Don’t even ask her to pass the salt.” “She might bite your head off.” They would be correct. Being a night owl at one time, I found mornings the least favorite time of the day.

However, that was then, some years ago. I don’t know if it has something to do with my body aging or not, but I find, all in all I don’t need as much sleep as I once did. I now find myself waking before the break of dawn. I suppose it may be a selfish thing, but I still like to be left pretty much alone until I actually wake up.

I notice the very first thing Dixie and Dolly do when they wake up, is come to me. They know I stop what I am doing to give them their morning lovings. Not only that, but I get morning lovings from them. When I bend down to pet them, they usually go into an instant submissive stance, rolling over, showing me their little bellies, waiting to be rubbed.  All that matters to the three of us, is that moment.

I think God wants us to be like that towards Him — that we desire Him first and above all. The very first thing we are to think of when we wake up is not the cares of the world, but Him. We are to automatically let Him be in our thoughts, desiring to run to Him, loving Him, receiving His love and yes, even rolling over in an act of submission to Him.

Could there be anything wrong with taking time to worship God in the morning? In the stillness of the morning, before the day begins, should not our first words be, “Not my will, but Yours, Oh God?”

During the activities of my day, my dogs will come to me for affection, attention, etc. I don’t always stop what I am doing, but God is always ready to listen, to spend time with us, to make our path straight, if we acknowledge Him.

Be still, and know that I am God;… Psalm 46:10 —

Please, if anyone finds any leaven in the following, please fell free to tell me.

Kekskruemel14:

Things my dogs teach me: Let the Master Touch You

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And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
— Matthew 8:2,3 —

When our blue-tic Beagle, Jethro, began to get eye infections, I had to put ointment in his eyes. I dreaded it because this dog did not let you touch him if he thought you were checking something out on his body that needed care. He never bit me, but he would try if I somehow didn’t trick him into letting me. When it came time to put ointment in his eyes, I had to think of a way to make it “fun” for him in order to get him to submit to my care. I began by muzzling him. Or at least try. He was not going to have it. But when I grabbed a little can of sausages and let him see me go through the little ritual of opening the can — making sure he got a good wiff — laying the little sausages out, cutting them into pieces, he watched and waited as his slobber drooled on my kitchen floor.

I began to train him with the bits of sausages. Making it a game. He got muzzled, let me put ointment in his eyes and after we were done, he knew he was going to be rewarded. It did not take long for him to not even need the muzzle. He was perfectly content to come to me and let me do what needed to be done. Knowing he had little sausages waiting for him.

I guess in a way you could say, he had his eyes set on the prize before him. 🙂

Dolly, my smallest dog sometimes wakes up with an infection in her eyes. The first time it happened, it alarmed me. I didn’t want to have to muzzle this sweet little timid dog. It would confuse her, making her more timid. I never want my little girlies afraid of me.

I decided I would not muzzle her and just see what would happen. As I got the ointment, the dogs being curious little creatures, were under foot, hoping it was to be a treat for them. I got my reading glasses to use as I can’t see up close without them. The whole time speaking in a low soothing voice telling them what good girls they were.

They went to their bed where they followed me, and laid down. Instantly rolling over. Perfect sign of submission. Dolly let me put the ointment in her eye without trying to bite or wiggling out from under me! Dixie on the other hand, seeing what I was doing to/for her little sister, hid the upper part of her body under the bed. As if the master couldn’t see her rear end sticking out!

Aren’t we like this sometimes? We either allow the Master to touch us or we don’t.

We all hurt at some time or another. Either through sicknesses, circumstances or things that have been said or done to us. We have done things to hurt others (intentionally or not) that may may end up being the very thing to come back and bite us. Our human nature — our flesh, tends to go off somewhere and nurse our wounds. We may try to find ways to bring healing to ourselves through things that lead to types of death — physical or/and spirtual. We may go here or there looking for that one thingone person that can “fix” it. Yet, on the other hand, we may reach the point of not wanting anything or anybody touching us. Eventually we come to a place where we realize there is nothing that can. We even stop running to others, even to other Christians. It is then, we more or less throw in the towel, giving up, perhaps feeling a sense of hopelessness. We find we are not running anymore in seeking that perfect “fix.”

You wonder if you will ever see the light of day, if there is anything good under the sun at all. We realize all our running to – and -fro has done nothing but wear us out. Friend, would you believe me if I told you that is a great place to be!? His desire for you is to bring you into the place He wanted you from the beginning of the moment He began to create you in HIS image. His desire is to make you whole, to heal, to bring restoration, to REDEEM. The Master desires to touch you!

Perhaps you have said “no” in your heart, thinking, “I’m too rotten. I’m unclean, vile before the eyes of a holy God.” I would have to agree with you. Yes, you are. You are rotten and unclean. God already knows. Just as He knows it about me and every other human being on the earth.

There is only One who makes clean. Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice.

Or perhaps you have thought, “But you don’t know the things done against me.” You would be right. I do not. But God knows. Isn’t it enough that He knows?

He sees us trying to hide. I think we probably look ridiculous to Him when we do that. Just as goofy as Dixie with her butt stuck out from under the bed. I, as Dixie’s master, did not come up behind her and kick her. Nor did I reprimand her harshly, trying to force her out from under the bed. For one thing, she was not the one who needed the ointment. If she had, I would have found a tender way to deal with her. I don’t want my girlies hiding from me when I aim to do them good.

God does not want you trying to hide from Him, either. You can’t. So you may as well come out in the open with Him anyway and admit you need HIS touch. Not those whom you may have been running to. Not that one special prayer that Christians sometimes look for in their time of need. Not that one person who we have run to on occassion. Not that one new book which you hope has all the answers. Not that one revival meeting. Not that one conference some may say you need to attend.

God is jealous over you. Not in a bad way that some people like to portray, but in a good way. He wants you to know HE is the one who heals, HE is the repairer of the breach, HE is the one who redeems. Not because He is some selfish God who needs us to know these things for His sake. But because of who He is. A loving God, a merciful God, a kind God. He knows the only way you can be safe in your soul, is if you submit every hurt, pain and suffering to Him. To trust in anything else is idolatry. That is sin.

Whatever you are facing, whatever your circumstance, take it to the Cross. Be willing to die. You are not alone. He will show you how as He is right there with you. He is willing to touch you in spite of any foul and festering wounds. Let the Master touch you.

Things my dogs teach me: how to receive the blessings of God

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Note: This is not about us doing this or that to receive the blessings of God. There are plenty of people who will tell you they have the perfect little wrapped up package of merchandise that will tell you how — you just have to buy it. No, this has nothing to do with that. So if that is what you are looking for, you will be disappointed.

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We got Dixie and Dolly when they were barely 8 weeks old. Dixie weighed 2 and a half pounds and Dolly — the runt of the litter — weighed 1 and a half pounds.

After having Jethro, our blue-tick beagle, who was rambunctious and a mind of his own, I decided early that I would try to train the new pups in ways I had not with Jethro.

Jethro would never come when called. Instead, he would look at you and then run off barking that obnoxious hound dog bark. Even though he was a house dog — twice, we received letters from some secret disgruntled neighbor complaining about his barking.

Not wanting to go through that again, I began teaching the pups at a very early age to come to me when called.

Another thing I wanted to teach them, was not allowing them to run ahead of me. Especially when it came to stairs. I had already had my fill of that with Jethro. It was clear he was alpha in the household and one of the ways he showed it, would be just about knocking me down a flight of stairs as we both were using them.

I wanted to train the new puppies to either walk beside me or behind me. Especially on steps.

They have learned well. They even watch my foot steps, turning their little heads, looking to see when their master moves, and will wait for me to take a step before they do. They rarely overstep their bounds.

However…

When I walk up the steps with treats in my hand, Dixie, the biggest one will walk right beside me. Never in front, never behind, but right beside me, like the little lady she is. Dolly, the little one however, runs excitedly ahead of me waiting for me at the top of the stairs. It is the only time she runs ahead of me. I don’t discipline her for it. She is excited and I can not take that away from her. She knows I have something good to give her. She can not wait for me to get to the top of the stairs. But, she still has to wait for me to get there before she gets the cookie.

One night I saw something — this is sometimes how we have received the blessings of God. There are times when we have walked right along beside Him. Step – by – step, patiently, keeping the very same pace as our Master.

Other times, we may try and and run on ahead at our pace. I don’t know if it is disobediant or not. I guess it depends upon what one does when they get to the place where they think God is going. In Dolly’s case, there is nothing more for her to do, but wait for me, tail wagging, full of expectation.

It’s too bad sometimes, that I am not a dog when it comes to receiving the Master’s blessings. Because unlike Dolly, who will run on ahead and wait, I sometimes decide to run on ahead and bless myself any way I see fit. Some examples of that over the years has been grabbing an alcoholic drink after working hours in the yard. After all, I deserve it.

No longer able to physically work hours in the yard like ten, twenty years ago — I do good to go at it for 15 – 20 minutes at a time — I come in and collapse in a chair. My reward now is simply being able to tell the Lord, “Thank you, God, for helping me get that done and not letting me drop dead out there.”

Other examples of blessing myself have been getting a chore done and then mindlessly veg out in front of the TV. All the while telling myself, After all, I deserve it. Why anyone feels they deserve hours of some TV marathon while there are things to be done, is beyond me.

One particular way I blessed myself, was get all my work done and then sit down and work a jigsaw puzzle.  After all, I deserve it. I would not do anything else until that puzzle was done. No cleaning, no ironing, no doing laundry, no dish washing, nothing. You have any idea how long it takes to put together a puzzle of 500, 1000 pieces? Long enough where everything around you starts piling up and the place starts to look like you have pigs living with you.

One of the worst ways I blessed myself some years back, was playing a computer game. I finally came to realize it had actually began a process of re-wiring my brain! I dared not even say it outloud back then because at the time it was much too embarrassing. Who would even believe such a thing, but I tell you it is true.

Having our brains re-wired for anything but the Word of God, just will not do, my friends.

The Word of God says to be transformed — changed — by the renewing of our minds.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. — Romans 12:2 —

I was not blessing myself, instead I was allowing myself to come under the influence of something that ended up cursing me.

I know we are to be like Jesus in all things and God knows my heart when I say this: If I could be more like my dogs in receiving the blessings of God, that would still be an improvement over where my impulsives have led me over the years.

Impulsives, for the most part are sin. If something is not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then it is sin. I didn’t have that right to bless myself. Not only is it self-centered and selfish, it made me a robber, a thief. I stole that from My Father who wanted to be THE ONE to bless me, however, whenever He saw best.

Are you using ways to bless yourself in ways that God has not desired? Please know, they ultimately lead to bondage. You become addicted to the very thing you run to to bless yourself. Some people end up being alcoholics and drug addicts for rewarding themselves. Others go in debt because they spend, spend, spend, trying to bless themselves. Some, like I, end up having our brains re-wired. It is a curse we bring on ourselves. It is sin.

If you too have stolen from God, you must know, you are a thief. It is God who desires to bless you. It is not your place. Your way will lead to bondage and death. His blessings lead to freedom and life.

Things my dogs teach me: adoration

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I suppose the title sounds a little hokey. But dog owners all through the world will tell you the very same thing: They adore us.

I had a terrible fear of dogs. My mother told me it started at an early age. I don’t remember, but she told me a big black dog used to come around and I would love all over him. But one day, for some reason, that dog snapped at me and then the fear set in.

After that all I remember is being afraid of them.

A new girl moved in down the street from me. One day, seeing the neighborhood girls playing, I went down to join them. I was extremely shy back then. I liked playing with other kids and was flexible on what we played. That particular day, when I went to join them, they mocked me and ridiculed me. For what, I do not remember. Kids can sometimes be cruel for no apparent reasons. Especially girls. So as I stood out in the street merely watching them have fun together, she sicked her dogs on me. They began running after me, barking, teeth showing. I ran home as fast as I could as the girls laughed.

Years later as I was walking home from work, a Doberman came up to me and bit me on the leg. I tried to stay calm and managed to get myself to a nearby firehouse where the firemen came out and shooed him away.

I was leary of any and all dogs, until…

My husband and I got our first dog — a bluetick Beagle — Jethro — who lived almost 15 years. He was a faithful old dog. I like to say he was the dog for our youth, when we were younger, as he took lots of energy and stamina. After he died the grief was so terrible, we both said we would never get another dog. But…

We got Dixie and Dolly four years ago. These little dogs — part Beagle and part King Charles Cavalier are the perfect breed for us at this stage in our life. They are such sweet timid little creatures. Not an aggressive bone in them. My dogs and I spend a lot of time together. It does not matter to them what we do, just as long as we are together.

They follow me wherever I go. If I lay down through the day, they too go lay down in their little bed next to ours. If I go sit in the living room or the TV room, they come and sit with me. When I am in my writing room, they lay on a little bed I have made for them. If I am eating, they are right there. Waiting to get their after dinner “cookie.”

It does not matter to them if I have been out in the yard working like a horse coming in smelling like a pig. They are as excited as I just to sit with me when I finally give my body a rest. They do not care if my hair is combed or if I have on no make-up. They do not care if I am dressed like a slob sitting in front of the computer. Simply put — they love me.

Why, I will never know. I’m not some exciting master who is able to entertain them or take them on long walks. Their daddy (my husband) does that for them. I don’t play fetch with them as neither of them have learned to bring me back the ball. They want me to chase them and I’m not going to run all around the backyard chasing something with four legs who can run much faster!

So why do they love me? I suppose it is because I’m the one who feeds them. I give them fresh water and the treats. Not to say, they are stuck with me as I hardly ever leave the house.

I’ve heard it said that the closest thing to God’s love on earth, is a mother. I disagree. No insult to my mother or any mothers out there, but I disagree. Please do not get this mixed up with some kind of Pantheism, but I think when God created dogs, He put something of His nature in them. They are our friend no matter what. They adore us and just as they adore us, can we not adore the Master even greater? My little dogs have put me to shame when I compare their adoration of me to how I adore the One True God — Jesus.

Adore: to worship or honor as a deity or as divine, to regard with loving admiration and devotion, to be very fond of

The cares of this world can easily sweep me away. In so doing, I fail to adore, worship, to be very fond of the One who loves me. The One who for the most part just desires me to know He is there in the midst of everything. Still on the throne, still in control, still not forsaken me, still will feed me and give me drink. Who desires greater than anything, that I acknowledge His presence in my life desiring we spend time together.

The picture above was taken when Dixie — the biggest, and Dolly — the little one, were just a couple months or so old. They were driving me crazy, chasing me around the house nipping at my feet, chewing on the legs of the dining room table, all the while me trying to potty train them. I put them outside for a while hoping they would like to play. But I was wrong. They remained at the door whimpering wanting back in. I happen to see them in this cute little pose, ran and grabbed my camera, hoping they had not changed position, and they had not. I snapped the picture and then let them back in.

If you have shut God out of your life somehow, if somehow the cares of the world have caused you to forget to adore Him, you don’t have to be afraid of Him. This is what Jesus says:  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” — Revelation 3:20 —