Dog Lessons: How to Love God
Dr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, have taught conferences on marriage and ministry in 35 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of Preach It, Teach It providing free resources in 10 languages to 5 million visitors in 229 countries and territories. The Barriers pastored 35 years at Casas Church in Arizona, Julie has served as a worship minister, concert artist and adjunct professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. She has authored or composed of over 500 published works.
- 2014 Oct 10
Your dog can teach you to love God more. Look into your puppy's eyes. He might have something to say.
Four lessons I've learned from my pooch:
We are all pound puppies. Scraggly, sinful, smelly and in need of rescue. God looked down at our “waggeldy” tails, wet noses, and flea-filled fur. He released from our captive cages, vaccinated us from sin, and adopted us into His family. Mutts no more. He even gave us pedigree-papers we can present at the Pearly Gates.
We can learn a lot about loving God from our furry friends.
Loyalty. Your doggy sits at your feet, follows you everywhere you go, and sleeps at the foot of your bed. Cats own people. People don’t own them. (Sorry guys, I’m a dog person). I love the story of Ruth. When the chips were down and her grief-stricken mother-in-law Naomi prepared to return to her home in Israel, Moabite Ruth refused to abandon her:
“Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!” Ruth 1:16-17 The Message
God deserves no less from us. Clinging close to Him is what we were designed to do. Believe in Him. Rely upon Him. Never, never leave His side.
Celebration. My pooch Penny practically leaps out of her skin when I return home. Retrieving my mail from the street takes less than a minute. She acts like I have been gone for eons. Jubilant jumping, licking, wriggling and barking accompany her glee at my return. The father of the prodigal son ran to hug as his wayward boy limped toward home, broken and ashamed.
20-21 “When he (the wayward son) was still a long way off, his father saw him. His Father-heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ Luke 15: 20-24
Do you rejoice in God’s presence? Are you glad to spend time with Him? Celebrate your Heavenly Father with a grateful heart.
Protection. Even a Chihuahua vigilantly guards his Master; fiercely growling and howling his tiny head off. The squirt has no idea that even a child could squish his bony body with a sneaker. Dogs zealously guard their owners. They patrol the yard, circling the perimeter, listening intently for the slightest unfamiliar sound. If a stranger approaches, they yap incessantly to keep danger at bay.
Jesus was zealous to protect the name and glory of His Father. Whip in hand; Christ drove out the moneychangers and charlatans from the Temple of the Lord.
13And Jesus said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:13 NKJV
Do you guard God’s Name and His holiness? Or do you sit idly by and let a corrupt society continue to contaminate and defame His Name? Love Him enough to hate evil.
Affection. My mini-cocker spaniel is a lap dog. That is an understatement. Every time a bottom hits the chair, Penny takes a flying leap to the lap and snuggles down as closely as her fat, furry body can. She licks my hand and strokes my leg with her paw, gazing at me with adoring brown eyes. Just like cuddly Penny, worship is our expression of affection toward God.
The most common word in the New Testament for “worship” is proskuneo. This word occurs 60 times in the New Testament, 57 of which are in the four gospels, Acts, and Revelation. It originally carried with it the idea of subjects falling down to kiss the ground before a king or kiss their feet. The literal definition means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand, to fawn or crouch to, homage (do reverence to, adore): worship.” The elders in heaven worship as God intended:
Revelation 5:14 – The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Lick His Hand in worship today. Lie in the lap of His presence without hurrying away.
Give your pup an extra pet today. Learn to love God from your furry friend.