Category Archives: Uncategorized

Could Carl Be Possessed?

I used to think that Carl could be demon possessed. I couldn’t trust him and wasn’t sure if we would growl or nip at me. The months that followed his tail removal surgery were difficult for all of us. We didn’t know if Carl would grow out of his distrust for us and we had to even question if we should keep him. InkedIMG_1328_LI

The months have now turned into years and other than a couple of occasions when he has been awakened by a nightmare, Carl has become a gentle little boy. We even commented the other day about how sweet and obedient he has become.

Being demon possessed has been a controversial topic since the beginning of time. Since it is mentioned many times in the Bible, I must believe that it is a real condition that plagued people, particularly before the innovation of modern medicine.

Mary Magdalene was one of these individuals that was stated to be demon possessed. And not just by one demon but by seven! Just the thought of the torment she must have lived through is incomprehensible. Today, she would probably be homeless, distrusted by her family, and living on the streets.

We don’t know the time or day that Jesus healed her but we know from Luke 8:2 that He drew seven demons from her. But it isn’t so much the fact that she was cleansed from the demons that is so amazing but what she did with her life after she was healed.

This woman is mentioned several times throughout the life and death of Jesus. She apparently turned her life around and not only hung out with Jesus but also helped finance his ministry. She was so grateful for what He had done that she devoted the rest of her life sharing the Gospel and how He had changed not only her physical life but also her eternal life.

Luke 7:41-43 states, “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.”

Mary Magdalene had been forgiven much.  She knew there was nothing about her that deserved the loving kindness that Jesus extended to her. And in response, she spent the rest of her life sharing what her savior had done for her.

I have a lot to learn from this woman.

As for Carl, he has been reaching up and literally yanking on my shirt with his teeth. I am not sure what he wants but his annoying persistence is making it difficult to write.  Maybe I am wrong about the demon being totally gone.  It just comes out less often. Got to go.  Carl won’t stop pulling at my arm.

 

Getting Out of Our Lane

Carl is notorious for budging Bee from her position as they walk down the road. Sometimes it can be a nip to the ear and other times it can be an outright push with his body. Either way, when he gets out of his lane, it makes walking the bullies awkward for all of us.

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When I was in high school, I wanted to participate in all the sports that I could. Since I was short, I knew that track would be challenging but I thought I would give it a try. With little training and understanding of running long distances, it quickly became apparent that this would not be the sport that I would excel in.

One particular race will never be erased from my memory. I started off well.  I was even in the lead around the first quarter mile turn. But then it all changed. I could hear the breathing of my opponents drawing closer and closer to me. Instead of staying focused on my race, I started looking to the left and right of me.

Before I knew it, the other racers started passing me. And instead of being first, I was drawn back to the very back of the pack. To this day, I think about the fact that I took my eyes off of my race and was consumed with the racers around me.

Hebrews 12:1 states it beautifully, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

How often do we do this in life? We start off well, focusing on what we need to focus on and then someone runs beside us and appears to be passing us. Instead of staying focused on our particular race, we start looking in their direction. Then, it happens. The bitterness of envy and jealousy seep into our hearts and our race becomes entangled.

Because of Carl’s determination to lead, his leash has gotten entangled and we now have to stop and untangle the leashes before moving on. As I struggle to break apart the leashes, I have to smile and think about how often I have been stopped in my own walk to untangle the mess that I have created. Once the leashes are free, Carl puts his head straight ahead and we are back on the race that has been marked out for both of us.

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Can Angels Sing?

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Carl is not an angel.  Far from it.  Every day, my little fawn colored bully does something annoying that initiates a reprimand.  He wants to please but his desire for attention can out way any good intention.

Just yesterday, he jumped up and nipped my knee which wasn’t pleasant in the least.  Even though he didn’t mean harm, Carl can appear more like a little demon than an angel. But don’t get me wrong, I love this little guy and wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Since I have had a tendency to compare others to an angel, I thought I would do a little Biblical research on what an angel is and isn’t. And what I found was shocking!

I know we all have a tendency to think of angels as these little fairy like females flying around protecting their assigned humans as we go about our business. And whenever they aren’t doing their heavenly duties, they get together for a little singing practice of the Halleluiah chorus.

Okay here is the first fact that may surprise you.  There is never a mention of an angel being a female.  The only three names of angels mentioned in the Bible are Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. And if angels are referred to without a name, a masculine pronoun is used.

Another fact that may also shatter your thoughts about these spiritual beings is that if you ever encounter them, you would never think of them as cute.  They are far from it.  Every time an angel appears to someone in the Bible, the first thing the human does is fall to the ground in fear.

But the one fact that I learned just the other day is that angels don’t sing. Many think of angels singing around Christmas time because of the verse in Luke 2: 13.  Many of us just scan right past the verse, thinking that it states, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and singing.”

The only problem with this is that it doesn’t say “singing”. It says, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying.”

The angels were saying, not singing. Which means that humans are the only ones given the ability to sing as a way to worship God, not angels. When we get to heaven, we will be worshipping God through singing, and what a beautiful sound it will be. Yes, we will all be able to sing on key and make a joyful sound to the Lord.

But until we get to heaven, Carl attempts to sing and I can tell you, it is NOT a pleasant experience for any of us. Just take a listen.

Carl’s attempt to sing. Bless his heart!

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Glamping with Carl

Glamping with Carl has its own unique challenges.  Our little camper found its way to Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia. This cool park is known for stones that can be found only in a couple of places in the world. The hilly incline and tall oaks surrounded us during our stay. Temperatures were unusually cold and the winds were gusting up to 50 miles per hour. IMG_3423

The cold temperatures and blustery winds didn’t stop Carl from enjoying his one on one time with his human companions. The little bully cherished the walks through the woods as he scoped out squirrels, raccoons, and other canine species. Once spotted, the ego centered bully would go crazy until he was pulled away from eye shot. IMG_3422

But it was the sleeping arrangement that was the most challenging for us humans. Instead of sleeping on his own chair at home, Carl found a spot right between the two of us and planted his little body for the duration of the night. No matter how hard we pushed him to go down to the bottom of the bed, Carl didn’t budge.

How often do we refuse to budge when we have planted ourselves in a certain situation that we just don’t want to move from? Even when we are being encouraged to move, we refuse to dislodge ourselves from our position.

It could be a bad relationship, a job that isn’t going anywhere, or a dream that has no potential of becoming a reality.  No matter the nudging, we stay planted in the hope that something could change.

So when do we really know it’s time to move on?  How much pecking at a situation do we need to do before we need to start pursuing other options?

Every situation is different which makes answering this life question so difficult. I can personally tell you that there have been jobs that I left too late, dreams that I wouldn’t let go of, and relationships that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens_ a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time

Even the Bible tells us there is a time for everything under the sun but it never tells us specifically when that time is. This leads us back to our initial question without a clear answer.

When do we reap and when do we sow?  When do we embrace and when do we push away? We may never actually know but one thing we can be assured of, if we do the things we do to glorify God, He will create good from it.

As for Carl, he didn’t budge while we were camping but once we got home, he knew that he was destined to be sleeping back in his chair.  No one had to tell him.  He just knew.

The Power of a Voice

Carl has been screeching for some reason for the last couple of minutes. It may be that he wants my attention or that he wants to be fed.  But for whatever reason, his familiar voice can be clearly heard by everyone in proximity of our home.

Everyone who lives close to us, knows this voice.  Whenever he pitches up, I am sure they say, “That has to be Carl.”

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We all have a distinct voice if you think about it. Each of us have a different sound that comes out when we speak. Some of us can be identified as soon as we open our mouths, while others may not be as easily recognized.

Joe, my deceased father-in-law, has one of those distinct voices that could be clearly identified, even after two years of his departure from this earth.  So when my sister-in-law placed her phone up to my ear and let me hear a message from the past, I knew without a doubt that it was him.

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It was after listening to him ramble about the need for toothpaste and how if he didn’t get it,  he would have to retreat to soap, that I began to laugh at the memories of his final days. I was surprised at the inward feelings that arose from hearing his familiar voice. Emotions spurred by the events that took place between he and I.  Some fond and some downright draining.

I was startled by the uprising of sentiment from hearing his voice. Startled that after so many months that my heart still hurt for this man that was such an important part of my life.

But if I was emotionally stirred when hearing my father-in-law’s voice, I can’t imagine how the disciples must have felt when they heard the voice of Jesus, days after he had died on the cross.

The voice that they had heard on the mountainside as He preached the words to the multitudes.  The voice that they knew when He reached out to the lepers and spoke the words, “ I am willing, be clean.” Matthew 8:3.

His disciples must have also been moved  when He looked deep into their eyes and pulled off a piece of bread from the loaf and stated, “Take, eat, this is my body.” Matthew 26:26.

But as moving as all of these times were,  it must have been when they heard his voice after the resurrection that consumed them with emotion.  A heart throbbing emotion that would take them to their knees and place a motivation in their hearts to follow Him into eternity.

It is this voice that I want to hear one day.  The voice the disciples heard so many years ago. The voice that Paul heard on the road to Damascus. But most important to us, the voice that will say when we see Him in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Carl’s screeching voice has penetrated through my thoughts and has brought me back to the here and now. And as painstaking as it is to hear, I can’t help but smile and thank God for this little dog’s voice along with the  voices of the past, present and future.

 

The Disenchanted

If I could go into the mind of my little dog, I wonder what he thinks about the life that he has been given.  Is Carl truly content with how it has all worked out for him? Is he thinking about a life that he wishes he could have had?  A life full of frolicking with his Frenchie siblings?

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Could Carl be disenchanted with his life?  If so, what would he do to be able to change it? Would he run away in search for the life that he thought he should have had? Or could he find contentment in his life with my husband and I?

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We will never know. But what we do know is that everyone has been given a unique life to live. It is like a card hand that has been dealt and how we play the hand will determine are character and integrity.

One of the saddest stories in the Bible has to do with a man that had been dealt an amazing hand but he didn’t see it.  For three years, Judas walked beside Jesus and witnessed incredible miracles and heard messages that were spoken with great authority.

He believed that Jesus was going to be king and over take the Roman Empire. And as Jesus took over, he would become rich and powerful. But that didn’t happen. As the days drew closer to the death of Jesus, Judas knew that he had to take a different approach if he was going to become rich and powerful.

So Judas went to the religious leaders and was given thirty silver coins to betray Jesus.  Instead of finding satisfaction in what he had done, Judas felt a need to go back to the religious leaders with the hope that they would give him a place among them. But they only treated him with contempt which was too much for him to bare. At this point, Judas felt there was no other recourse but to hang himself.

All because he was disenchanted. You see he couldn’t see who Jesus was because he was focused on who he wanted Jesus to be.  Can’t we all relate to this?  If something goes terribly wrong in our life, don’t we all become disenchanted with who God is?  Thinking that we know best, we can easily become angry with God and in some cases deny his existence.

When we are in our darkest hours, we need to take our eyes off of who we want Jesus to be and place it on who Jesus is. You see there were others that died that day and one man’s outcome was totally different from Judas.

Three men hung from crosses, two robbers that deserved their punishment and one that was God. And as they hung there, one of the robbers realized who Jesus was and asked for forgiveness. And it was granted. This criminal that knew he was guilty and deserving of death was forgiven and taken with Jesus into Paradise.

This is the Jesus I know. Enchanting isn’t it?

 

 

The Act of Pruning

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Carl was not happy about being on the other side of the fence.  But he needed to be there as my husband cut down the grape vine that we recently discovered last summer. As Carl made himself known to us by his loud whine, we cut off the branches, pulled off the long thin climbers, and chopped the large vine down close to the ground.

Just like the grape vine, many plants need to be cut back in order to reach their full potential. Year after year, we have cut back our fig tree to see it come back with beautiful leaves and delicious fruit. So even though it looks almost impossible to believe that new vines will grow back and produce grapes, we just have to believe that they will.

It is interesting how God created plants to flourish when they are pruned back.  So why shouldn’t we think that He wants to do the same with us?

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2

The word pruning means cutting or thinning. So when you think about how God prunes us, you probably aren’t thinking of a pleasant experience but one that will include some form of suffering or pain.

No one likes suffering and the physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial hardship that comes with it. But if we read this scripture again, we know it is for our good and God’s glory.

I personally would like everything to go as I plan but in the times of suffering, I can be encouraged by the fact that God is pruning me so that I will produce more fruit. And as I reflect on my life, I do believe that the hardships have molded me into someone who relies more and more on God.

Carl has also been pruned on several occasions in his life and I do believe that it has helped him to become the sweet little fella that we all love.  Having his tail surgically removed was probably the severest pruning he has lived through. But even though it was extremely painful and he no longer has a tail, Carl has adjusted and become an inspiration to us all.