The best berries

WP_20160707_08_23_51_Pro_LIRomans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering  produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love  has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Today, I walked Anita through the tall grass. I was so proud when I found some wonderful blackberries for her to collect for her human dinner tonight. But it really got me to thinking, humans want to be great: smart, beautiful, strong, famous, and rich. I am not so sure dogs want these things.

But it does seem like humans spend a lot of time running around searching for things they cannot have, or are out of reach, or things they do not really need.

God wants me to put my trust in Him. To seek Him first. I admit, I love steak, backrubs, and lots of attention. I want to guard the house and be the best dog I can be.

And then there were those berries. I noticed some things about getting those berries (the good fruit): they are not found everywhere outside (they are rare); they are very juicy and tasty (to humans, not to dogs like me); they have stickers (they come at a price); they often have chiggers, spiders, and snakes around them (to keep predators away, or eat them); and they are worth the price paid for going after them.

Jesus and Christianity is like that:  it is rare, it comes at a price, satan wants to steal and rob our joy. I think all Christians want to be “good” Christians. We all would love to be Giants in the Faith, respected for following Jesus wholly and sacrificially (if not, those are issues for another post, not this one).

But all the strength of character, godliness, wisdom comes at a price. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering  produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love  has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Wow, who wants to suffer and endure? We all what character and hope and the Holy Spirit…but must I suffer to achieve it? Does all suffering produce this fruit? We all know the answers to both questions….pruning is not pleasant, but it is necessary. We cannot grow without pain. But, if we do not press into Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and trust God wholeheartedly, we just suffer. He wants us to sore, not sick. He wants us to need Him so much, we get to taste the delicious blackberries of His word (good fruit!)

Father, Thank you for loving us enough to carry us, while you are teaching us. Thank you for the Holy Spirit to guide us. Thank you for the good fruit you give us. We love, Lord.

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Control is an illusion

WP_20160607_08_16_34_Pro_LIPsalm 32:8 ESV, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

I just love out walks. Heading out into my neighborhood, it is my job to patrol, keep order, and inspect to make sure all is well.

Anita goes with me every day. I help her by showing her which way to go. I keep the big cars, trucks, motorcycles, other dogs, and crazy birds from hurting her.

I choose if we walk left or right, or take the road straight ahead. It is her job to clean up after my messes, and hold on tightly to the leash so she does not get lost.

She does pretty well at following me. Some days she tries to get bossy and tug on the rope. She just seems to get confused about who is actually in charge.

Anita tells me that life is like that: we think we are doing our own things, heading in our own direction, and just occasionally checking in with God or others. But in reality, God is in control. He allows me to make choices (do I go to the left or to the right). But,  “I now the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Our hope is in the Lord. Our future is in His hands. He desires good things for us and He will really let us take the wrong road. He loves us enough to let us sin, fall down, and learn the hard way. “Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”1 Peter 1:3 ESV

God is in control, we are not. Once we surrender our will to Him. Let him lead our daily walks, there is hope and a peace, like never before.

Father, I am sorry I try to lead you, instead of allowing you to lead me. Thank you for holding me, loving me, guiding me. Thank you for the HOPE that is in Jesus Christ. In You name, amen. I love you, Lord.

 

At His Feet

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Luke 10:39:  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

It has always been hard for me to sit still. I love to run around the house, the pool, and the neighborhood. Being active just helps me to feel alive.

I have often heard that if the “devil cannot make you bad, he will make you busy.” I think much of life is just so fast paced:  chasing birds, chasing other dogs, chasing rabbits, chasing butterflies, chasing people, chasing little kids, chasing….you get it, everything.

What am I running towards? To feel important?  What am I running from? myself? God? close relationships?

I do know that I am happiest when I am close to my human. She pets me, feeds me, gives me toys to play with and treats…probably too many. But, no matter where she is, I just want to be at her feet. I don’t want to miss a thing in her day.

She often tell me that she is striving to do this with God. She wants to try to stop running and start sitting at the feet of Jesus and just bask in His word. I often hear her praying, as she is on the treadmill, as she is laying by the pool, as she is on the treadmill, and as we walk through the neighborhood.

I know it is hard for her to sit and let God talk to her through His word. But she never gives up. She keeps trying, and I think that is what makes God smile:  that we keep pursuing a relationship with Him.

Father God, I know you love us and love to give us good things. Thank you for giving me to my humans, Rick and Anita. I know they love you and I know they love me. Help me to be a better puppy, not only seeking what I can get, but seeking what I can give. I love you, Lord

Selfishness

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Psalm 34:  …7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. 8O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.…

I know I look like a dog that possessed in this photo. Some of Anita’s friends may think I am possessed. However, I am truly sorry to those of you that I have bitten!! (especially Ms. Robin, sorry).

Honestly, I get up every day, trying to be a good Christian dog. And I read my Bible, pray (well, Anita helps me. I have no thumbs, you know). I try to follow the rules.

It just all seems so hard, you know.

Sometimes I get so mad I could just spit. Why cannot I not walk when I want?  Why cannot I not eat when I want? and what I want? Why cannot I not sleep when I want? Why cannot I not get in Anita’s face and lick her nose? Why?

It just seems to me that there are far too many rules in life. Far too many things that I just want to do, when I want to do it.

Anita talks to me about selfishness, satisfaction with what I am given, being patient and waiting on her, and the Lord.

I pray and try to stop myself, I truly do.

Father, please help me die to my selfish desires. Fill me with your spirit so that I can be loving, patient, and kind. I want to reflect you to those around me. I just seem to make mistakes every day. I need your help, Father.

I love you, Lord!

He chose, I chose

buddy

2 Peter 3: 9 New International Version
The Lord is not 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.

Ephesians 1:4For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love 5He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One.…

I am not a theologian puppy dog. I am nothing but a dog that was running away from my life. Someone picked me up, took me to a small house. Then a nice lady cam and picked me up to take me to my forever home.

All of my life I lived life doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. That did not really seem to work, I got into all kinds of trouble. Now I wake up and submit my day and life to God. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Do I understand it all? No God’s ways are higher than our ways and understanding.

Do I understand why God picked the Jews as his chosen people? NO?  I know that as a parent, I prayed, “God, give me the children you want me to have.” God makes choices that are not for me to understand. Just accept.

He loved the Jews. Often they loved Him. Often they did not.

Just like me. Just like my children.

So, God adopted the Gentiles into his family. Some parents are given children from God. Some are adopted into the family. God loves them both. We as parents love them both.

God chose me for Rick and Anita. Anita was searching for someone to love. I was wanting to BE loved. They adopted me into their family.

I do not understand all of God. I know that He loves me. He chose me. I chose Him. That…is beautiful. That is hope. That is peace. That is joy. THAT, my friend. Is eternity.

Father,  thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to love you. Thank you for providing me hope and a future with you, forever. IN Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Be Still

WP_20160413_20_25_20_ProBe Still and Know that I am God

Psalm 46:10New International Version (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

I see lots of people, and dogs, on my morning walk every day. They seem to be like ants:  scurrying around in every direction, all day, frantically.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love to go on my morning walk; run around the house like a guard dog should; chase my favorite orange ball; chase all kinds of people, toys, and things that need chased.

But, I do also like to balance my life with rest. Just to sit and listen to music, the birds singing, take my morning, afternoon, and late night nap.

It must be balanced. I cannot run all day. I cannot sleep all day.

The moments when I get to sit and hear my pets read scripture, when I can close my eyes and think of heaven, and when I can close my eyes and dream. Just breathe and dream.

Those are the moments when I feel connected to God. The God that is the creator of all good things: food, life, health.

He does not need my praise. He does not need me to sit still. I need it. I need to stop life. Stop the noise and the busyness and focus on Him.

Dear Father, thank you for creating all good things. Thank you for helping me see I need time in my day to relax and focus on you. I love you, Lord.

It’s Hard

WP_20160419_11_29_23_ProThe Christian Life is Hard

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

I have been a Christian now for one week, and boy, let me tell you, 
it is much harder than I thought. Honestly, I know my pets, Rick and Anita love 
me; 
I know that want what is best for me, but it is really hard to be a good dog.
They told me that once I asked Jesus into my heart I would experience love,
joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. And I 
believe
that God lives in me and gives me His spirit to guide me, but it is so hard
not to bite, not to bark. I get really scared sometimes.
I really try to get up, read my bible, pray, and be a good boy....that lasts up until
she is getting my breakfast....
you know, it seems like it would be easier, right?
They tell me that they put me in the fence because I love to chase cars (and 
people, and birds)and they do not want me to get hit by a car, but wow. 
Right now it seems like there are just so many rules to follow.
They tell me as I continue to hear God's word and hide in my heart, and
continue to seek God's ear in prayer, that life will feel smoother.
So, today, I listen to Anita sing praise music, and trust that what she is
saying is true. Because I know she loves me and wants what is best for me.

Thank you, Love for loving me. Thank you for giving me people in my life who love 
me. I love you and want to be a good dog. I am sorry for biting my neighbor.
I am sorry for eating the neighbor's flowers and peeing in their yard, I 
am sorry for trying to eat the birds. Thank you for loving me, even when I mess 
up.


I am saved!!

2 Corinthians 5:17, New Living Translation: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Hi, I am Buddy. Guess what?  This week I was saved. I became a new creature. I got a new name. A new home. AND, I was baptized (in the bathtub). But I was cleaned, we washed away the old stink of my old life, and I am new. Brand new.

You know. I still have issues. There is no way to totally get rid of all my old baggage, but every day I wake up I am so excited to see what my mentors have for me. The first day I got two walks. The next day I got vanilla ice cream.

They tell me I am going to have to grow up some day and quit drinking milk and eat the meat, but right now I am just so excited to learn about my new life.

My old life was hard. It got so bad that I just had to run away. I ran and ran. Before long, I was totally lost. I could not find my way back. It was pretty scary. Some people picked me up, took me to jail. Then I was passed on to a foster care. It was better there. BUT, they gave me pills to try to make me better. Took me to surgery to clean my teeth, fix my hernia, gave me meds for my skin issue.

All of the things they did were great-they helped my outside. Nothing they did helped my insides. Nothing felt like home….

Until now. I am a new creature. I have a new life. There is hope, peace, comfort, food, life, goodness, mercy and grace.

Wow. God has been so good to me. When I was lost in my sin, He loved me enough to rescue me. To give me a new name (written down in glory). He gave me a new life (to live for Him). 1 Peter 1:A Living Hope “3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…”

Thank you, Jesus for rescuing me. For giving me a new name. A new home. A new life. For forgiving my past and giving me hope for a better future and tomorrow. I love you, my pets. I love you, My Lord.

We Say Good-Bye

Max by the poolEcclesiastes 3:17-19; 17I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. 18I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” 19For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.…

Genesis 9:9-10; 9“Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

Isaiah 11-6,9 6And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s deny, 9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

 

Revelation 19:11-14; 11And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

So, I researched all of that, to see what the Bible had to say about animals after they die. Are there animals in heaven? I guess after reading C. S. Lewis and many authors smarter than I am, it seems to indicate that God created them, and they will be in heaven with us.  I take great comfort that Max is now playing with Dad and Ryan. They are all having a great time eating ice cream.

Thank you, Lord, for the five years we had with Max. Thank you for the peace, comfort and joy he brought to our lives. Hold him close.  I love you, Lord.

Good-bye, Max. Love you!!!

Exhausted

Psalm 139: 7-12, 7Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

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Lately, I seem to have time really confused. Of course, all things are confusing to me right now.

My pets, don’t seem to get too upset, unless I tinkle on the furniture…they keep telling me I have outside and inside confused, and night and day confused.

Honestly, at night I get scared. I just want to know they are there. Anita says I am getting up at 1 am, 3 am, 5 am, and 7 am. I don’t know, I just wake up to see if I am alone.

I just need to know I am not alone. I cannot really find my food, the door, the puppy pads, or Anita, so I seem to walk in circles and bark, hoping she will hear me.

I walk into the walls, the corner, and have even fallen down the steps (until that darn baby gate went up.)

I am NOT a baby.

Rick did buy my diapers, but it is embarrassing to wear those things.

I know my life is winding to an end. I can sense God’s presence nearer than ever. I know that when I am afraid, I can call out to him. I know that he is always there to comfort me.

God’s hand is an ever present guide to my heart and life. Does not mean I don’t get weary, or scared, or even make mistakes. It means that I am a little old dog and I forget sometimes.

Father, forgive my lack of faith. Forgive my frustration when life is hard. I know I will come to see you soon and be well and whole. Thank you for my pets who care for me. Help me to focus on you and not the hard stuff. Thank you for being there, even in the dark.

I love you, Lord.