Tag Archive | Silky terrier

Are You Waiting For Something Good to Happen? Psalm 27:13-14

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Buddy was jumping up on me the other night, begging me to take him for a walk.

“Buddy, it’s too hot. ¬†You have to wait. We’ll go later when it cools down a bit.”

Then it suddenly hit me: I’m like Buddy.

Many hundreds of times the past years I’ve cried out to God to answer two particular prayers which seemingly go unanswered. I feel like Buddy in this picture: tied to a post and not able to escape. I want my circumstances to change, to improve, but for some reason God is keeping me “stuck” in place.

When I get frustrated, I try to do three things:

  1. Recall my blessings;
  2. Remind myself of times I didn’t trust God’s timing, forged ahead and regretted it; and
  3. Remind myself of who God is.

The first two don’t need any further explanation. But regarding #3:

I have to remind myself that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He knows the future and I don’t. His plans for me are good (Jeremiah 29:11) and I have to trust that He’s making me wait because I’m either not ready for the blessing at this time or He’s still arranging the circumstances in my favor. (God normally works His will through the natural realm of things and not with a spectacular miracle.)

Additionally, there may be people He wants me to influence or help where I’m at currently. Or the experiences I’m enduring now, or have yet to encounter, will bring glory to Him and help others. It’s not always about me and what I want, but what God wants to do in the lives of others around me, too.

It could also be that I need to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and the only way for God to encourage me to become a better person is to make me endure some suffering or hardship.

This is one of my favorite verses, which I quote when I feel discouraged and stuck:

“I would have despaired unless I had believed¬†that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”–Psalm 27:13

It doesn’t build your faith when everything goes your way. Only when things seemingly go awry or our plans are frustrated or we’re opposed in some manner in reaching our goals do we need to rely on God’s promises detailed in the Bible.

It’s hard to trust when you can’t see an invisible God at work in the background. God knows waiting is really hard.

“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”–Psalm 27:14

God never promised us an easy path in this life (Jesus, John 16:33).

In Psalm 27, the Psalmist David reminds himself why we can wait upon God with confidence:

vs. 1, 5: We don’t need to fear because He’s our light and salvation and our defense. He will light our path and rescue us.

vs. 2-4: Evil people WILL oppose us. But we can be confident that God will cause them to stumble and fall.

vs. 8-9: God promises to answer us when we seek Him.

vs. 10: Even our family may abandon us, but God never will forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

vs. 12-13: Evil people may rise against us, outnumber us, lie about us, slander us, threaten us, but God will arise to our aid if we are

WILLING TO WAIT.

And I tell you what: Waiting is HARD, HARD, HARD!!!

Eventually, when it cooled down, Buddy got his walkie.

***

Experts claim that memorizing poems is good for you. I decided to memorize some Biblical psalms because it is not only good for my brain, but also my soul. So many times I’ve felt distressed and felt better after reciting a psalm to myself or praying through it aloud to God. Please give it a try. Psalm 100 or 23 are good poems to start with as they are fairly short. But Psalm 27 is also a very good one to memorize too.

God bless you from Dawn and Buddy

 

 

 

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How Do You Handle Insulting People? Matthew 5:11

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Buddy, like many dogs, is loving and sweet-natured. He’s slowly learning not to stand so close to my heels because I tend to be klutzy and accidentally drop things on him. He doesn’t retaliate, by growling or biting me on the shin, but he will step back a few feet further away.

But, for most people, it’s very difficult not to “return evil for evil, or insult for insult” (1 Peter 3:9, Apostle Peter). It’s my first instinct to want to retaliate when people treat me poorly. Fortunately, the longer I’m a Christian, and the more I learn about how loving God truly is, I’m becoming more self-controlled.

When I was in high school, and before I was a Christian, a guy walked up to me and said, “You’re ugly.” His clique of friends were observing him. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he had hurt me, so I replied, “So what?” He was so taken aback, that he was speechless and his face showed utter astonishment. After he had recovered himself, and apparently to salvage some dignity in front of his friends, he pronounced, “You’re weird” and walked back to join his group. It didn’t feel good to be insulted, but I had the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t take his bait.

Jesus, also, taught not to let people bait us. But how do we accomplish this? Even with “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), it’s usually our first instinct to retaliate with unkind words (unless you’re one of those unusual, easy-going people whom are never rattled by anything).

What we have to do is change our focus: keep it on Christ and the future and not on the present trouble.

Jesus endured the torments of the Cross by setting his focus “on the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2); He looked beyond His pending death and kept his focus, instead, on the millions of people who would be drawn into a personal relationship with Him for eternity because He suffered the punishment for their sins.

Peter successfully walked on water when he kept his focus on Jesus; when he began to look at the wild waves and the wind roaring around him, he began to sink. (Matthew 14:28-30).

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Jesus). Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.”–Matthew 5:11

So this is my plan when someone yells at me, or criticizes me, because I hold a Biblically-based opinion and not a worldly one:

“Thank you very much for blessing me. Jesus says that when you insult me because of my belief in Him and His Word, I’ve got a big reward in Heaven. So thanks very much.”

I guarantee you that is absolutely NOT the reaction they are expecting. They want to provoke a fight. Don’t let them have their way.

Give it a try and see how they react. And let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear your story.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week. God bless from Dawn and Buddy.

***

Late last year someone insulted me because my politics differed from theirs. Mindful that I was a guest in someone’s home, just as they were, I calmly responded that I still loved them and gave them a kiss on the cheek. It totally diffused the situation. I give the Holy Spirit credit for that one.

But how do you have the Holy Spirit at work in your life, helping you to react in ways that are more godly? By humbling yourself and admitting that you need His leading and guidance in your life. Jesus had to die for our sins because God demands perfection to enter His presence. None of us can ever be perfect. But because God loves us and desires a relationship with us, Jesus took the punishment for God’s wrath against sin so that we can draw near to God. Once you admit you’re a sinner and invite God into your life to guide you away from evil and to walk in His ways (as detailed in the Bible), the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you and guide you into all righteousness.

It’s not an instantaneous process. You don’t suddenly become perfectly good. It’s a lifelong journey. As you well know, Christians often fail but God helps them to dust themselves off and resume their journey toward Heaven.

Dear Lord, I admit that I cannot come into relationship with You and enter the Kingdom of Heaven by trying to be good. I can never reach perfection or ever be good enough. I admit that I’m a sinner and have fallen short of Your standards of goodness. Please forgive my sins. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh (Matthew 1:23), became human and died for my sin. I ask the Holy Spirit to enter my life and lead me and “guide me into the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

If you said this prayer, welcome to the family of God. Please find a Bible-based church where you can fellowship with other believers and grow in a knowledge of Who God is.

 

How to Fight Evil, Ephesians 6:10-18

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As much as we love our pets, they are not made in the image of God, as we are.

Buddy does provide me with unconditional love, his companionship, and another listening ear to keep me from feeling afraid at night when I’m alone. He would risk his life to protect me from someone far bigger and stronger than he is.

But Buddy cannot protect me from supernatural danger.

Based upon the story of the prophet Balaam and his donkey, it’s possible that the animals are able to see spiritual entities more easily than we can. (Numbers 22:21-33) But this is speculation on my part.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day…”–Ephesians 6:10-12

So what is this armor? The summary is: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). (versus 14-17)

And how do we do that? Pray (vs 18) at all times and “be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might” (vs 10).

Please note: HIS MIGHT, HIS STRENGTH. And we access His power and might through prayer, reading and memorizing the Word of God (Holy Bible), and believing what the Bible says (faith) and acting according to its instructions (obedience).

Faith in the Word of God: trusting in the hard times that God is faithful, loves us, and will keep His promises to us. Obeying and acting according to God’s ways, although sometimes it FEELS better to do something else. But we cannot know what those promises or instructions are if we aren’t reading the Bible, the source document for those promises.

The Word of God is our only offensive weapon against evil. It’s really important, in these difficult and deceptive times, to meditate upon the word of God day and night (Psalm 1:2). Its our filter to recognize lies.

Jesus gave the example of how to defeat the devil and his deception, by quoting from the Old Testament, and relying upon the Word of God when Lucifer came to tempt him after his 40-day fast. After successfully passing the three temptations, Christ began his earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).

And it’s vitally important to pray that the Holy Spirit guide us before we begin reading a Bible passage. It is spiritually discerned, requiring His guidance. (I Corinthians 2:13)

The world offers lots of distractions: movies, video games, YouTube, Facebook, the Internet (blogs–EEK!), cable news, etc. that can keep us from taking some time to read the Bible.

I’m planning to blog more on these verses, but please note that in these trying times, when we see so much fake news and anti-Christian bias (and anti-Semitism) increasing in the USA, to remind ourselves not to be angry or hateful toward those who who are in bondage to untruth.

For instance, I just read this verse recently:

Apostle Paul adjures us to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents, which is a sign of destruction for them…”–Philippians 1:28

I really needed to be reminded of this admonition. When I hear the news, it’s easy for me to be alarmed. The Holy Spirit has to check my thoughts frequently some days as I get frustrated with deceived, or deliberately deceptive, people who spread lies and seem to get far more media attention than the good people trying to protect our laws and Constitution. I have to remind myself that it’s a sign of their ultimate destruction, their pending separation from God forever, and to feel sorry for them, rather than be angry, and pray for them to repent and escape judgment.

By praying for someone else in spiritual bondage, I am blessing not only the other person, but also myself: My spirit calms down and someone is getting prayed for who really needs it. Following God’s instruction is better for my health, because I’m not stressing my spirit with anger. Also, I am reminding myself, when I pray for those I feel frustrated toward, that I too was once deceived and separated from God and His life-giving Spirit, and needed mercy, before I finally believed that Jesus was Immanuel, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), Who died for my sins and was resurrected to give me everlasting life through the power of the Holy Spirit. It helps to humble me and not “virtue signal” or feel superior to someone else.

God bless you.

Please stay cool in these hot times.

Dawn and Buddy

PS. I do believe animals go to heaven. I’ll blog on that one day. (Revelations 5:13) And once again, where I was intending to go with this posting, I meandered elsewhere. But I pray what I should blog about before writing one word. I have to trust that this is what someone who reads this posting needs to “hear” right now.

Can You Understand Who God is? John 14:7-10

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For some reason this year Buddy has decided to watch me when I vacuum or wash the floors. I don’t know what he finds so endlessly fascinating about observing me clean the house, but I enjoy his company. However, sometimes he gets in the way and I keep asking him to: “Buddy, please move.” He doesn’t move out of the way. So I say more emphatically, because I don’t want to hit him with the vacuum cleaner or sponge, “Buddy, move!” And he doesn’t move, so I gently nudge him out of the way.

It suddenly occurred to me this week that maybe Buddy doesn’t understand what I’m saying. He might just hear, “Buddy…yada yada yada yada,” and is thinking to himself, “You’re calling me. I’m here.” He might just think I’m asking him to be near me, not that I want him to move out of the way.

People often say, and I believe quite wrongly, that the Old Testament God is a very angry and unkind God, different from the New Testament God. But the New and Old Testament Gods are the same Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit):

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)–Genesis 1:26-27

“Us” refers to the triune nature of God.

So how does that relate to the Buddy story?

When you look at the natural world, it’s broken. There’s earthquakes, floods and famines. Nature is cruel and arbitrary. Animals hunt down and kill each other. Cats torment and play with mice. Good people suffer terribly and die young while evil people live long and do great harm to others. It would seem that God is cruel. When we look into outer space or at grand mountain peaks, we can understand that God is magnificent or very powerful, but how can we understand that He loves us and wants a love relationship with us? That God is love? (1 John 4:8)

Jesus didn’t mince words. He wasn’t always lovey-dovey. His first sermon was to call people to “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). He warned about Hell. But also He healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, drove demons out of people who were tormented by evil, provided wine at a wedding (His first miracle) to save a family from embarrassment when they were running out of the beverage, fed thousands and healed the lame. He also eased people’s conscience’s by forgiving their sins (Mark 2:1-12).

Yet, even the apostles often didn’t get who Jesus was after all the miracles and the great patience He continually showed to them, even when they acted petty and boastful. And their needs were always met during the three plus years they spent following Him.

Jesus said to His disciples after the Lord’s supper, shortly before His Crucifixion:

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”–John 14:7-10

It was so difficult to comprehend that the Father loves people so much that He sent His Son to dwell amongst us, that even after His resurrection, some still weren’t getting it:

“When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some were doubtful.”–Matthew 28:17

Jesus walked amongst us to demonstrate that He loves us and wants to fellowship with us. Imagine, this Almighty God Who created the vast universe and our planet, knows every thought and action we’ve ever had or will have, notes every sparrow that falls and even knows how many hairs are on our heads (Matthew 10:29-30) wants to be in relationship with us and show His love to us on a personal level. He showed how valuable we are to Him by taking on human flesh and dwelling with us.

This great and awesome God took on human flesh! This all powerful, omniscient God.

So that we could understand what He’s been saying for thousands of years to humankind: I love you. And I love you individually.

***

If you’d like to be in relationship with this loving God, please say this prayer: “Lord, I want to get to know You. You are holy and perfect and I am not. So please forgive me of my sins and enter into my life. Show me how much You love me. Please help me get my life straightened out. And help me learn to love and follow You in the “paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3) as my loving, all-powerful Shepherd.”

Congratulations on joining the biggest family ever: believers throughout history and throughout the earth. Please find a Bible-believing church to fellowship with Christian believers. Also, get a Bible and begin to read it, starting with the book of Matthew, so that you can begin to understand Who this God is Who loves you.

 

 

Taxes, Nehemiah 5:4-5, 14-15, 17-18

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One burden Buddy doesn’t have to carry is calculating his income taxes every year. As a dog, he is reliant on me to provide him with his food, water, clothing, medical care and shelter. I carry the burden for his care. I bathe, walk and brush his teeth too.

Jesus told us to pay our taxes. When Jesus and the apostles arrived in Capernaum, the local tax collectors came over to Peter and asked if Jesus paid the two-drachma poll tax. Peter answered “yes” and then asked Jesus about it. Jesus produced a miracle to pay the tax: “So that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.”–Matthew 17:27

Additionally, when the Pharisees and Herodians ganged up on Jesus with to test Him to try to get Him into trouble with the authorities, they asked Jesus if it was against the Jewish Law to pay the poll tax to Caesar or not. But Jesus knew that they were hostile toward Him and not sincere in their inquiry, so He asked them to hand Him a coin that was used to pay the poll tax. After handing Him a darius, Jesus answered, ‘”Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”‘–Matthew 22:20-21

I imagine that Matthew mentioned these two instances because He was sitting in his tax booth when Jesus called to Matthew to follow Him. That tax collector immediately got up and followed Jesus. At that time, tax collectors were some of the most reviled people in the Roman world.

However, I truly believe that godly people try to decrease, not increase taxes upon the populace, when they are in political office. Nehemiah is a great example. King Artaxerxes appointed his cup bearer, Nehemiah, as Governor over Judah and sent him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city’s walls. A city without walls, at that time, was considered a disgrace. When he arrived, he found the Jewish remnant (who had remained after the Babylonians had carried most of the population off into exile) in dire financial straits. One of the reasons is that the ungodly Babylonians kings had levied heavy taxes on the population. “Also there were those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and on our vineyards…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to someone else.'” (Nehemiah 5:4-5)

Nehemiah became very grieved and reprimanded those Jewish wealthy who had lent money to their fellow Hebrews and exacted usury. He appealed to them to return the fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses, and also to return a “hundred part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.” (Nehemiah 5:11) And they did, freeing their brothers and sisters from slavery and financial bondage incurred as a result of heavy taxation.

For 12 years Nehemiah also relieved the people of Jerusalem from the burden of paying the governor’s food allowance that Nehemiah was permitted to exact from the population while acting as their governor. He paid for it himself.

“But the governors that were before me laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine besides 40 shekels of silver; even their servants domineered the people. But I did not do so because of the fear of God…Moreover, there were at my table 150 Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us. Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox and 6 choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in 10 days all sorts of wine were furnished in abundance. Yet for all of this I did not demand the governor’s food allowance, because the servitude was heavy on this people.”–Nehemiah 14-15, 17-18

Godly leaders try to relieve the burden on those they govern, while those who do not fear God increase the burden: “when a wicked man rules, people groan.” (Proverbs 29:2b)

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon states that those who do not know God believe that “money is the answer to everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Haven’t you been baffled by the fact that the solution most non-Christians come up with to solve social problems is always to increase taxes and throw more money at it like it’s a magic panacea? I believe it’s because those who don’t know God cannot understand that all of society’s social ills have their root in disobedience to God’s Biblical solutions to life’s problem.

It’s a bit baffling that there was a large protest recently by US citizens to increase the taxes upon the American people. Apparently they are unaware that there were record tax receipts during the George W Bush administration after a tax cut.

So, in summary, God commands that we obey our rulers and pay our taxes. We should be godly people who obey the law and not cheat and deprive the government what it is due. But whenever possible, we should support solutions that relieve people’s financial burdens, not increase them.

Come Lord Jesus.

God bless you. Dawn and Buddy

***

If you don’t know the Lord Jesus, please consider reading the Bible to learn what God says about money and how to live. A great place to start are the books of Proverbs in the Old Testament and Matthew in the New Testament. You will learn some great principles on how to live life successfully. If you’re ready to allow God to help you put these principles into practice, please pray:

Dear Lord, I thank you that you want to give me life and life abundantly. I’ve struggled in life because I haven’t been living my life according to your principles as stated in the Bible. I believe that is because I’m a sinner and need Your grace and help. I accept that Jesus was God in the flesh Who lived amongst us, died for my sins on the Cross, and then rose bodily from the grave and is alive. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. Lead me and guide me as my good Shepherd. Thank you for hearing my prayers and giving me eternal life.

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations on becoming born-again. Please find a Bible-based church where you can grow and fellowship with other believers.

 

Evil for Evil, 1 Peter 3:9

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I have an elderly neighbor named Fran that loves Buddy, so we try to visit him most nights so that he can have some dog time. His daughters have been visiting and brought a little Chihuahua-Chow mix with them called Sammy. Sammy is one pound of fur, one pound of dog and a hundred pounds of nasty. He growled and snapped at Buddy’s nose when Bud walked over to him to say “Hi”.

Now Buddy considers Fran’s house his second home. Sammy is an interloper. But how did Buddy respond to having his nose nipped? Surprise. He didn’t snap back, growl or attack the little runt. Everyone in the household enthusiastically declared what a sweet dog Buddy is.

Now, as you can see, Buddy has a better attitude than I do. I was not at all happy that this “little runt” attacked my dog. I love Buddy and am very protective of him. But he’s more noble than I am. He didn’t even bark at the dog but I feel irritated that Sammy tried to hurt Buddy.

I wish I could be more like Buddy. Both the Old and New Testaments command us to “treat others the same way you want to be treated,” Apostle Paul exhorts us to not to “return evil for evil” (Romans 12;17), and Apostle Peter wrote:

“not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead;”–1 Peter 3:9

Too often my first impulse is to retaliate when someone insults or mistreats me. Even though I know that Proverbs says, “sweetness of speech increases persuasion,” I still want to verbally thump someone who says something I think is ignorant, ill-informed, or just plain wrong.

Sometimes I think God put dogs into our lives to show us that it really is possible to be kind when others are unkind, to love unconditionally. Often Buddy shows more mercy and kindness than I do.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:44-45

When I take a moment to reflect on Jesus, I realize how the majority of people ignore or hate Him. Being omniscient, God knew that most people would reject Him, yet He still chose to give up His glorious home and restrict His divine power to live as a human being and die on a cross for our sins.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”–Romans 5:6-8

God did it so that He could turn enemies of God into children of God by removing the sin barrier between us. God cannot tolerate evil and must punish it. Yet, instead of destroying the human race, He chose instead to suffer horribly and take our punishment for our sin.

What keeps me from being kind at times is a lack of humility.

Because when I’m rude and retaliating when someone is unkind or selfish, I’m forgetting that I once was an unbeliever till God had mercy on me. Who knows what kind of person I’d be today, or what foolishness I’d believe, if Jesus hadn’t convicted me of my sins on March 7th many years ago. Or “there but for the grace of God go I” the old saying goes.

“…to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…”–Titus 3:3-5

And, sadly, what keeps people from knowing God is a lack of humility, the inability to admit that they’re sinners and need a perfect God to die on their behalf. Most people think they’re good enough to get to Heaven and don’t need someone to pay for their sins.

But God only accepts perfection to get into Heaven. “Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:48

Personally, I know I fall short and cannot justify myself before a perfect God on Judgment Day. I just need to remind myself, before I’m tempted to “return evil for evil or insult to insult,” that God commands that I be kind, because He is kind to all.

In a rambling sort of way, what I’m saying is, that I need to be reminded to be kind when other people fall far short of how I think they should behave, because God is kind to me and accepts me as His child although I fall far short of His standards every day.

It shows how fallen I am that I even NEED to be reminded to be kind.

Thank God for His kindness and great mercy to me.

And bringing such a sweet and loving dog into my life to remind me what unconditional love really is like.

Thanks for reading and for your time. God bless you. Love from Dawn and Buddy

 

 

Running in Fear, Proverbs 28:1

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There were many times, when I was walking Buddy, that he’d suddenly stop, plant his feet and refuse to move forward. Sometimes I can force him to relent and keep walking, but at other times, he simply refuses to walk and we have to return home. I couldn’t figure out why.

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Then one day I realized he planted his feet when I heard a crow cawing. I hadn’t made the connection before. I don’t know why. Maybe because my mind was elsewhere or it was too noisy till that time to register that it was the crow. Well, tonight Buddy planted his feet when we heard a crow cawing. I managed to prompt him to resume walking, but it was a bit of a struggle.

The oddest thing was, the crow wasn’t nearby. And if I’d listened to Buddy and returned the way we’d come, we would’ve been getting nearer, not farther from, the crow.

There’s a proverb that took some meditation before I finally got it, Proverbs 28:1:

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (NASB)

I’ve been blessed by God with a creative and vivid imagination, which suits me well when I want to write or draw a cartoon. But it’s not so great when I start imaging things that aren’t real and, therefore, intimidate myself into not starting a project or trying something new because of fear. I’m imagining it’s going to be really difficult and that I cannot meet the challenge. I’m denying myself the ability to excel or create something new.

But it’s really bad when I am imagining conversations that may never take place or situations that have never occurred. What I’m doing is slandering someone or lying to myself because it’s false. In Psalm 51:6, King David states that God desires “truth in the innermost being.” In other words, God wants our imaginative thoughts/self talk to be truthful.

I have a tendency to fear confrontation or that I may not be able to defend a particular opinion, so I set up imaginary debates in my mind. However, that’s not good because the conversations are not real and are very unlikely to take place in the real world. I’m putting words in a person’s mouth, which is a lie and slander. Or I imagine what a situation might be and then make myself afraid by imagining something that may never take place.

Yes, we probably all do it to some extent, but I want my self talk to be truthful and not frighten myself unnecessarily.

How much evil comes to pass because a person is speculating what someone might be thinking (and likely aren’t) or an action that person might take (and likely won’t) or imagining a person has a particular attitude (and they really don’t). I recently had someone assume I had a particular opinion about a public figure that was totally off.

So when I think about this verse, Proverbs 28:1, I ponder whether I’m taking a wrong direction or making a wrong decision because my thoughts are just wrong. So where to begin?

Am I thinking something that’s true or is it speculation? Do I really have the facts?

I have a friend who believes it’s always sinful to make things up, like doing caricatures–because it’s an exaggeration of reality–or to escape reality by reading fiction. I think this is going to the other extreme. Creativity is a gift from God. We couldn’t build bridges, for instance, or wonderful new buildings, if we didn’t imagine it firstly. We couldn’t be inspired to write beautiful songs or poems, if we lacked the ability to weave it in our minds firstly.

But I really need to test my thoughts frequently: Is this true? Because God is a God of truth and not lies.

But He’s also amazingly creative.

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You really cannot live a life based upon truth without a relationship with Jesus Christ Who proclaimed: “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”–John 14:6 (emphasis mine) If you want to stop feeling afraid of the future and have confidence that a loving God has you held in His hand, please pray the following: Dear Lord, I admit that I do wrong and fall short of your perfect standards. I can do nothing to earn Your favor, but just receive it in faith as a gift from You. I believe that Jesus died for my sins–past, present and future. I ask that You forgive my sin and give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. I ask You to teach Me and lead me into all truth. Thank you for hearing my prayer and giving me the gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, congratulations. You’ve joined the family of God. Please get a copy of the Bible, if you don’t have one, and start with the book of Matthew and read through to the end of the book of John, which tell about the life and ministry of Jesus and are easier to understand and interesting. And please find a Bible-based church where you can grow as a believer and find strength in the company of like-minded people. God bless you.

Dawn and Buddy