October 21, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Like a Puppy
by Van Walton
Certified Speaker and Director of Spanish Ministries
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 (NRS)
Benjamin and I stepped into the large concrete warehouse. The heat, noise, and stench were enough to turn us around, but we had a mission, so we stayed the course. Stretched out before us was an aisle with cages on either side. What I saw broke my heart. Each kennel held a dog. No two canines were alike. Some slept on the hard wet floor. Others paced and barked. A few wagged their tails. Some just sat and stared. Most were pitiful. I was overwhelmed. The dogs were either exhausted and sound asleep or begging, in various ways, for attention.
My son and I were visiting the animal shelter because we wanted to adopt a pound puppy. We had no idea which dog we would choose, so we searched and searched. We walked past a kennel. Tucked in the back corner was a cute black and white dog. He looked shy. He didn't even seem hopeful as we stopped to look at him. I opened the gate and reached out. Putting his head down, he averted his eyes. As I gently rubbed his head and spoke to him, he rolled over and submitted. I knew this dog was the one we would take home.
Adopting this puppy was not a mistake, for he has taught me much about the meaning of relationship with Jesus. Let me give you some examples:
We found him in an animal shelter. There was nothing particularly outstanding about the puppy. We just chose him. He was a lost little dog and very scared when we spotted him. Do you realize that God chose you? Even though there was nothing you could offer Him, He reached out and touched you. Have you submitted your life to Him?
We decided we wanted this puppy, so we gave him his first command, "Come," and he obediently followed. Do you realize that God has called you? He has said, "Come." Have you obediently followed?
We took the dog home and gave him a name, Air. He was allowed to live in our house. He was a lucky little dog, moving from the pound to the palace where he was free to roam wherever he chose. He was free because he was obedient. Do you realize that God has given you a name? He has called you daughter, beloved, child, princess. If you have been obedient to God's invitation, you are now a resident in His household. You have experienced freedom because of your obedience to Him. You have submitted to the Lord, admitted the error of your ways, and agreed to follow Him. Now you are free to roam in His kingdom.
It didn't take long for Air to adapt to our home. Today, he follows me everywhere. He never takes his eyes off me. In the kitchen, he remains as close to my side as is physically possible. He knows that the closer he is to me, the greater the possibility is of finding blessings - all over the floor - blessings in the form of crumbs, scraps, treats, head scratches, and verbal affirmations. Do you realize that it is not a difficult thing to adapt to God's loving kindness? It is a simple process. Keep your eyes on Him. Stay as close to the Shepherd as possible. Accept the precious truth that you are totally dependant on Him for everything.
Air's every need is met through me. He has two bowls of fresh water at any given time, one inside and one outside. I feed him everyday. I make sure he gets exercise. I play with him. I teach him and give him treats. Air is even dependant upon me for his most basic needs. The first thing I do every day is let him out. Before the family settles in for the night, I make sure he takes one final trip to the back yard.
Do you realize that I have just given you a very real picture of our relationship with the Lord, our Shepherd? Next time you look at your pet, give thanks for lessons learned from the creatures around us, lessons of dependence, devotion, and desires fulfilled.
My prayer for today:
Jesus, You are my Shepherd who called me to follow you. I never want to take my eyes off You. Don't let me stray, for there is no other place where true blessings can be found.
Read the 23rd Psalm with the idea that it is about daily life and Jesus' care for His own.
Ask God to help you develop the total confidence that He alone can provide for you.
What is my focus?
Have I committed to follow Jesus wherever He calls me to go?
Have I surrendered my life to Christ?
What will it take for me to become totally obedient to the Lord?
How does my life reflect one of devotion to God and His Word?
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
"Jesus said, 'If you wish to be complete ...come follow Me.'" Matthew 19:21 (NAS)
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." John 15:16 (NKJV)
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1 (NIV)
"What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
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