Tag Archive | dog

Religious Freedom Joshua 24:14-15

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It really bums me when Buddy doesn’t want to hop onto my bed and sleep with me some nights and, instead, runs to a family member’s room to spend the night. Sometimes I know the reason–my electronics beeped and scared him off–but often I don’t know the reason why. However, I don’t force him to stay in the room with me by closing him in the room. (He’s yet to figure out how to turn the doorknob.) If I force him to stay, I know he’ll be unhappy, so I let him go. He’s free to make his choice.

Joshua warned the Jewish nation that it was best for them to serve the Lord God of the Bible, the great King who led them out of slavery in Egypt and into the land promised to Abraham’s and his descendants many centuries earlier, a land of great bounty and blessing. Abraham’s father was a pagan and the Israelites had been surrounded with false gods while in bondage in Egypt. (The 10 plagues were judgments against 10 of the important Egyptian gods.) Yet, despite the pillar of Fire at night and the Cloud by day (the visible presence of God) that led the people to the Promised Land, they carried false gods from Egypt with them.

The below is one of the first great statements of religious freedom in the Bible, and I think maybe, the World (but there’s lots I don’t know about religious history).

Joshua said to the Israelites:

“…fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua made it clear where he stood, but he declared that the Israelites had a choice to serve God or not to serve Him.

God created us, loves us and sustains our lives every day. But He doesn’t force us to love and serve Him. We are free to make our own decision whom we will serve.

Then people blame God when people choose evil instead of following Him and doing good.

That’s the price of freedom.

Lingering: Genesis 3:1-2

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Our area received nearly 7 inches of beautiful snow Sunday evening, while many local areas received almost a foot. Oddly, it snowed all day Sunday but didn’t start to stick to the ground till after dark. Buddy tried to walk around the edges of the snow in our backyard to find a place for “relief”. Finally, he had to trot through the snow, but he didn’t linger in the frigid cold but kept moving.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he (the serpent) said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?'” And the woman said to the serpent…”

Often, when I buy something I don’t need it’s because I linger too long looking at it. If I’d merely glanced and moved on, I wouldn’t have spent money on something I really didn’t need. But if I stop and gaze–whether on the Internet, an email I should’ve deleted, a catalog I should’ve tossed, a store’s window or display stand I should’ve continued walking by–then I’m far more likely to give into temptation and pull out the credit card or check book.

Eve apparently wasn’t surprised that the serpent spoke to her, so she must’ve had at least a prior encounter with the snake. The problem was, when the serpent questioned what God had commanded her, she stopped to continue the conversation. But Satan was the most crafty of all creatures. Once Eve lingered to speak, she was halfway toward questioning God’s good intentions toward her and losing the presence of the Holy Spirit in her life. If she had run away, Satan would’ve been denied that particular opportunity to tempt her to destroy her intimate relationship with God.

So the moral is: Don’t linger unless you really want to buy the goods that are being offered. Something I need to remind myself of more often.

No Fear In The New Year: Psalm 121:7-8

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Buddy isn’t so thrilled about the New Year because it’s a war zone in our neighborhood. Fortunately, this year the neighbors celebrated for fewer hours, perhaps because it was so cold this winter or maybe they just ran short on funds after the multi-day fireworks extravaganza last Fourth of July. He spent most of the evening hiding deep in the closet under clothing or sandwiched amongst the stuffed toys stacked on my bed with just his face showing, just like ET.

Every New Year reminds me of how unknowable my future is. This year could bring great joy or great sorrow, a likely job lay-off or illness, a fabulous overseas European adventure or reduced circumstances. I don’t have the ability to predict the future, only to make my best guess.

However, whatever the year brings, I can rely on God’s promises in Scripture. One of my favorites, when facing the unknown, are these two verses from Psalm 121:7-8:

“The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.”–NASB

Whether I leave a job, my home, or the old year behind, I know that the Lord Jesus will be with me, guarding me and watching over me.

Whether I begin a new job, move to a new home, or enter a new year, I know that the Lord Jesus will be with me, guarding me and watching over me.

Whether I go or come, leave or stay, He will be with me.

As you wake to each new day or rest your head onto your pillow in the evening, if you are born-again and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, remember that He will be with you.

Happy New Year from Dawn and Buddy.

PS. Due to inclement weather (high winds), this greeting was a bit delayed.

Preparing For Life’s Storms: Psalm 62:7b-8

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In the Puget Sound area we’ve been warned by the local news media for several days that a dangerous windstorm was coming, perhaps the worst in 10 years with potentially 70mph winds. The last time the land was soaked with rain for several days and then the wind blew furiously, tens of thousands of trees came down. I couldn’t drive to my home after work till the few hundred trees that had come down across the main street in front of the openings to my housing development were cleared.

It was supposed to hit at 3PM. It’s 5:30 and we’re still anticipating it may arrive.

Since it’s so difficult to find a raincoat that fits Buddy, I snapped up a raincoat last month when they were first set out onto the rack at the local Mud Bay pet shop. Buddy is a Silky terrier, which means he has an extra long back like a Corgi, so it’s difficult to find a coat that covers his rear area but isn’t too wide around the waist. This little coat has straps that wind around his legs and snug ties around the waist. You can see from the photo that Buddy is a good-natured dog.

Sometimes, no matter how well we think we are prepared, the storms in life come and catch us off guard. There is no weather service to warn us about the trials or temptations that may arrive in the future to derail us.

“The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”–Psalm 62:7b-8 NASB

One way God is a refuge for us is when we pour out our hearts to Him. There is no one who understands our situation or knows our mind like God does. There is no one like Him who listens so attentively without condemnation (Romans 8:1) and has the power to lift our spirits and change our circumstances. He is our mighty Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and Helper (John 14:16).

In the midst of life’s storms, God is your best friend, ready and willing to listen. “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”–1 Peter 5:7

If you’re weary: Matthew 11:28

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Buddy is enjoying some rare sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. He is peaceful and at rest, relaxing near the back door, because he isn’t worried about his safety. He knows he’s living with people who love him.

When we keep our focus on Jesus, we too can be at rest from our anxieties and fears, because He loves His children.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (NASB)

Please note that Jesus GIVES you rest if you ask for it. You don’t work for it, don’t earn it. But you must come to HIM. And you learn from Him by reading the Bible.

There’s a reason it’s the most banned book in the world. Because through it we discover how God’s power can operate in our lives.

This Labor Day weekend, I hope you find rest for your souls in Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

Fences: Proverbs 1:32-33

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Buddy is inspecting the posts for the new fence about to be set up. He’s still suspicious of the fence and, fortunately, stays away from it. He doesn’t realize that the fence is there to keep him safe.

The same with God’s Word. The Lord doesn’t give us rules of living to keep us from having fun, but to keep us safe. We’re free to run anywhere we like as long as we stay within the fence line. But when we disobey His laws for living in the Bible, then we come to harm.

Like Buddy who almost got hit by a van in the nearby street, sometimes God is merciful and protects us when we act foolishly. But sometimes, if we persist in disobeying, we may be disciplined or do ourselves harm. It doesn’t always come immediately as I’ve found, in my experience, He gives His children a chance to repent (which merely means to “change your mind and go the other direction”) before allowing the consequences of disobedience to occur.

“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,…But he who listens to me (God’s wisdom) shall live securely and be at ease from the dread of evil.” NASB

Watching My Path: Psalm 142:1-3

 

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Buddy and I recently went to Ocean Shores, Washington State. It was fun to watch him find his own way from the beach along the various paths through the dense brush back to the hotel area. I tried not to guide him but, holding onto the leash, allowed him to find his own way.

Sometimes it seems like we’re just wandering through life all alone and no one cares enough to walk with us. But the invisible Lord is watching over us at all times. If we’re a child of God, (the Holy Spirit dwelling within us), then we can be certain that when we call out to Him, He hears us.

“I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk…” NASB

Wandering: Hebrews 10:23b-25

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Buddy gets a daily walk. In our neighborhood is a small pond, habitat of ducks, crows and on occasion a blue heron. Every Spring the large flock of ducks scatter to other areas while a few stay and begin families. This year one mother duck had 7 eggs but four were destroyed somehow. Three ducklings survived to hatch.

When walking Buddy around the pond, I checked on the three survivors. Two ducklings always stuck closely together while the third wandered alone, circling around the pond. I feared greatly for this adventurous duckling, because occasionally bald eagles would perch in the limbs of the cedar trees in the small park above. Last year a family member intervened to prevent an eagle from carrying off a small duck.

Just as I feared, one day the third duckling was gone. I never saw her again. The other two, nearly grown now, still stick closely together and rarely are out of the mother duck’s watchful eyes.

I feel sad every time I walk past the pond because I think about that little duckling who didn’t survive, who may have been carried off by an eagle or raccoon or some other carnivore.

Because she would not stick close to her family.

“He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” NASB

There are some Christians who don’t believe they need to attend a church; they can go it alone. But we not only need the encouragement of other Christians, but our brothers and sisters prevent us from straying away and getting “eaten up” by a world system that is hostile to our faith. It’s also easier to engage in good deeds as a group. For instance, the Protestant churches in our area rotate, taking turns providing fresh (usually homemade) food for the homeless in a Catholic Services program that provides shelter and training to help them get back onto their feet. That way, the burden does not fall onto just one group of people. Most churches, such as ours, also has a benevolence fund to assist Christians in need.

We need each other. Try not to get eaten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking the Lost: Luke 19:10

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I’ve many experiences with Buddy, my Silky terrier and best pal for almost six years, but I’d like to make another comment about his great escape.

After Buddy had climbed out of our backyard due to fear of fireworks, I spent hours searching for him, finally giving up at 12:30AM when I was too exhausted to keep looking. I tried to place him into God’s hands, but couldn’t sleep, as I was near the front door and was subconsciously listening for him to return and scratch at the door to ask to come in. The next morning I got up at four AM and spent an hour before work searching for him before driving to work.

I was not going to give up till Buddy was found.

Because I loved him.

Same as the Lord Jesus. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Because, for some unfathomable reason, this fabulously intelligent, powerful, wise and kind God loves us.

Fortunately, a dog-loving couple in another neighborhood across a fairly busy street had discovered Buddy in their backyard that evening and gave him a safe haven. A local dog rescue site on Facebook was able to connect me to them the following day. (Thank you, Facebook.)

Because Jesus loves us, He came down to seek us. He was not content to remain in Heaven and leave us wandering like lost sheep, because we are unable to find Him on our own. “All of us are like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”  Isaiah 53:6b (NASB)

“So [Jesus] told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing….I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:3-7 (NASB)

Indeed, I greatly rejoiced to see Buddy excitedly greet me at the front door after work. (My family had picked him up earlier that afternoon.)

Fortunately, God does not grow weary and stop looking. He’s waiting for you to open your heart to Him, if you haven’t started your journey with Him yet.

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