out of the house while the door shut in Bee’s face as we left on our three mile
walk. No longer does Bee take the walks around the neighborhood. Instead, she
is left alone while Carl gets to strut himself out in public.
standpoint, life is not fair. Questions of why float around in her mind as she
lays on the porch waiting for everyone to return. Bitterness and resentment
would be natural tendencies if she was a human.
How often in
life do we become swallowed up with anger when we observe the success of
others? We work so hard but the fruit we expect never comes. Joseph must have
felt anger when he was stuck in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He probably
spent many nights asking God for answers when the jail doors slammed in front
of him while others walked out and forgot him.
and then one day, he was called by Pharaoh to interpret a dream. A dream that
Pharaoh had struggled with and demanded someone to interpret. Once Joseph stood
in front of Pharaoh, he clearly told him that interpretations are from God.
dream was interpreted, Pharaoh knew that Joseph was the only one that could
lead the nation out of the famine that would occur.
years that he had been in jail were for a reason. God had been preparing Joseph
for this role by allowing him to suffer and live through difficult times. And just
as God instigated the trials for Joseph, He can be doing the same thing for all
Bee is not
being intentionally left behind because we don’t want her to come. Her airway
was not created like Carl’s. His snout is a little longer which allows him to
endure long walks in warm seasons. A couple of months ago, we thought Bee might
not live after a long walk down the trail. We love her too much to take chances
with her life. In the same manner, God who is all knowing, may allow suffering
because He has a special purpose designed just for us.
Carl was in
a fight and lost. It wasn’t with another dog or even a cat. It wasn’t with a
squirrel or even a bird. But a frog! Carl thought he would take a good bite out
of the brown bumpy reptile but was immediately horrified by what he experienced
have a toxin on their skin that keeps them safe from all the Carls out there.
And it was definitely effective. Immediately, Carl released the frog. He began
to foam at the mouth and his eyes began to water. Our little Frenchie was
clearly unhappy with his decision.
How often do
we make quick decisions that are not thought through and have unpleasant
repercussions? How many times do we wish we could go back and redo what has
been done? All of us can think of regrettable moments that we wish we could
erase from our memory. If only we had a huge eraser that could take away all
And that is
exactly what happened when Jesus chose to die for us on the cross. During the
hours that He hung there dying, he took each regret and gave it over to God to
forgive. Jesus did this so we could move forward in our lives with humility and
It was clear
that Carl wished he hadn’t bothered the frog this morning. His eye drained all
day and he slept more than he usually does. But thankfully, dogs don’t dwell on
their bad decisions like humans. My guess is that tomorrow Carl will wake up
ready to go out into the world and take on whatever comes into his path.
Carl. He has been removed once more.
First he was taken from his home where he resides as the king and taken to my
daughter’s home for the week we were on vacation. After spending less than two
days with her family, he was taken to doggy daycare to finish out his days
until our return.
luxury of cameras to give us a clear view of Carl’s actions, we witnessed his
removal from the play area after an altercation with another dog. We understood
the decision to send him back to his cage, but the thought of him being
secluded, hurt our hearts.
of hours we would turn the app on and seek out our little dog among the others
only to see void space where Carl would be. Void space can also be found in our
hearts where God should reside. Ecclesiastes
3:11 states that God has put eternity into our hearts. A space where nothing or
no one can fill.
strive to fill the space with things, power, or success. They will even try to
occupy it with a relationship or two. But no matter how much is crammed in, it
just won’t fit. Given a square won’t fit into a circle peg, anything outside of
the will of God, will not fit into the space that God has placed in our hearts.
hours later, we turned the app on once more to see Carl wondering around the
large room among the many dogs. The girl in the room seemed to have her eyes
set on him to make sure he behaved. Carl even seemed cautious as he wondered
around, making sure that he could stay in this space that once was void.
I walked in
the door after being away for a day and Carl was there to jump up and welcome
me. I admit that I love the unsolicited encouragement that both he and Bee
lavish upon me, no matter how long I have been away.
Dogs are so
wonderful when it comes to demonstrating their unconditional love for us
humans. Particularly when we don’t
deserve it. They don’t keep a record of wrongs.
All they want is to receive a little attention and stroking of the fur
and they’re good to go.
encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that
none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
Wow, if we
could take a lesson from our four legged friends, everyone would be in such a
better place. If every day, we could
encourage (pour courage) into the ones that are closest to us, what a better
world we would live in.
through the doggy door and made his way from room to room in search of his male
companion. Little did he know that my husband went out one door as Carl was
waiting for the electronic door to open for him to come inside.
made it through the door, he was confused and was in a state of despair. But
instead of dwelling on the disappointing circumstances, he settled for a good
petting from me.
How often do
we go through doors in our lives, with certain expectations, only to find the
rooms void of what we long for? Then when we are in the space and don’t find
what we hope for, we sulk or become angry with God.
Numbers 11, was given the responsibility of leading the Israelites after they
were freed from the Egyptians. He may have thought that being delivered from
their enemies would have humbled these people but instead he was left with
millions of complaining people. Feeling totally overwhelmed, Moses prays to God
to take his life.
entered a space in his life that lacked any hope or peace. His plea to have his
life taken was clearly an indication that this wasn’t where he wanted to be.
God saw this and instead of answering his prayer, he gave him seventy men,
filled them with his spirit, and lightened Moses’ load.
what Moses had asked for but thankfully, God knew what Moses needed more than
he did. In the same manner, we can be praying for a specific answer to a prayer
that isn’t what is best for us. So instead of sulking when life doesn’t look
like we think it should, trust in the God who knows what is best for us.
As for Carl,
he became content after I scratched under his ears for a minute. He then laid
on the floor and rested until the sound of the opening door woke him.
Carl is very
intentional in what he does. He knows what he wants and doesn’t waiver from
doing everything he can to get it. Take for instance his desire for treats.
Carl will sit, lie down, or stay in order to get a piece of food. If he wants
attention, he will take his paw and claw at your arm until you pet him.
intentional as Carl is for food, Jesus was more so for the purpose set before
him by his heavenly father. A great example of this comes in the fourth chapter
of John when he travels through Samaria.
Most Jews never would go through this region because they knew the
people hated them. But Jesus intentionally walked to Sychar and sat down at a
specific well and waited.
ever been in a time of life where you felt hopeless and that God was nowhere to
be found? This is what Photina felt as she went to get her daily supply of
water. Stuck in a cycle of searching for fulfillment through men, this woman
had no understanding of how to get unstuck. Deep down in her soul there was a
yearning for something more than the men that she slept with. But she was
drowning with no way to save herself from the life that she had created.
she know that a man was waiting for her at the well that would change her life
forever. A man that had intentionally walked through a forbidden land until he
was tired and hot just to have a personal encounter with her.
I have a
hard time understanding the compassion that Jesus had as he waited. Compassion
for a woman that others had rejected and saw nothing good in. But not Jesus. He
saw something in this woman that would cause him to deliberately walk out of
his way and wait.
And if Jesus
would intentionally go many miles out of his way for this woman, why shouldn’t
I believe that he will go out of his way for me?
never the same again after her encounter with Jesus. Her two sons and five
sisters were known for their outspoken confession of Jesus as Lord. And as
ironic as it is, Photina was ultimately thrown into a well by Emperor Nero’s
orders where she died for her faith.
Carl just scratched my leg so that I would pet his coat and give him the attention he believes he deserves. His intentional actions are a good reminder to stop and think about how Jesus deliberately searched for Photina and is now searching for me.
enjoy reading this blog, you will enjoy my new book, Empty Hands. It will be on
Amazon on September 6th.)
Carl and I
are very different when it comes to walks. Our little dog absolutely loves to
go out into the world and stroll down any path or road near our house. It doesn’t
matter how long he and my husband go or even what the temperature is. Just call Carl’s name and follow it with the
word, “walk” and we have a happy dog.
Now for me,
I will join Carl and my husband on a regular basis but it isn’t something I
really enjoy. I find walking a little on the boring side and choose other kinds
of exercise to accomplish my fitness goals. I particularly don’t like going when
I am not sure of the final destination.
This is why
when I think about the amount of walking the disciples of Jesus did, I become
amazed. There is one particular walk that blows my mind when I consider how far
they went without having a clue of the purpose of their journey.
It is a
story that is easily overlooked and most people don’t even consider the
circumstances surrounding the walk. It begins with Jesus being bombarded by a bunch
of religious leaders trying their best to prove that He is a farce. His disciples are beginning to wonder about
who Jesus is and so instead of trying to convince them with words, Jesus plans
a field trip.
start walking. I am sure the disciples were like most children we know and
asked Jesus countless times if they were close to their destination. Given how
I felt yesterday when walking four miles, I can’t imagine how they were feeling
after two days of trodding down a sandy path in the middle of nowhere.
days, they finally come to a small town near Sidon which is between fifty and
sixty miles from where they began. The disciples must have been a little cranky
as they waited for some incredible miracle to happen. But all they saw were
Gentiles that looked at them like they were scum off the bottom of their shoes.
anything worth coming this long way was probably causing these men to become
frustrated. To top it off, a woman’s persistent scream for Jesus could be heard
over the crowd without any signs of stopping. As the woman drew closer, the
disciples began to become extremely annoyed.
disciples were probably getting a little aggravated with Jesus. The woman
wouldn’t be quiet and Jesus acted like He didn’t hear her. Even after several
disciples tried to get her to be quiet, she continued. They then turned to
Jesus, but He didn’t seem in the least bit interested in addressing the woman.
woman makes her way to Jesus and kneels down in front of Him and calls out,
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon possessed and is
makes a statement that most people would have thought would be insulting. He
replied, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to the dogs.”
responded, “Yes it is Lord. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the
looked down with incredible compassion and stated, “Woman, you have great
faith! Your request is granted.” (Matthew 25:25-28)
So why did
Jesus and his disciples walk so far into Gentile territory? There is no other miracles recorded here.
There is no interaction with important people or famous landmarks. Why would Jesus take at least ten days out of
his busy schedule to travel so far?
only one answer. To celebrate the faith of this one Gentile woman. This woman’s
declaration of who Jesus was demonstrated a stronger faith than any of his
disciples had shown since Jesus started his ministry. And Jesus wanted his
disciples to witness it first-hand.
future while I take my walks, I will spend some time contemplating the distance
these men covered. But what I will remember the most is how Jesus was willing
to take the time out of his busy schedule to seek out this woman of faith and
the miracle she received.
think Carl thinks a lot when he is going on his walks. But even so, I can learn
from his walking attitude and try and seek out the miracles that maybe right in
front of me.