“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (AMP)

A tribute to Sandy – our Golden Retriever

Born November 11, 2003 – Died – January 30, 2018


  Sandy, our Golden Retriever loved our yard…he was convinced this little piece of land belonged to him. He especially claimed the back yard as his domain. He knew every daisy that grew there as well as every squirrel that lived there.  He didn’t comprehend that this little piece of land was really God’s domain. It was given to us, and we in turn provided it for Sandy. He just went about the process of fulfilling his purpose for being here.

One day we heard him barking like crazy, went outside to check on the commotion, and found him standing over a baby squirrel that had fallen out of its nest. As soon as we were on the scene, he’d look at us, then look at the squirrel, and whine. Getting the message, we wrapped the squirrel in a baby blanket and gently carried it to the house. Sandy was on our heels the whole way. You would have thought he was its mama the way he whimpered and carried on. Once inside, we had to separate Sandy from the squirrel so the poor little thing wouldn’t die of fright with that big black nose hovering over him.


Sandy wasn’t a squirrel, yet he cared about that very different little creature. Likewise, we’re very different from Sandy, yet we love him and take care of him. When he was upset over the struggle of his little friend, we cared enough to help him.



In a much greater way, God is not like us; He is holy, sinless, and perfect. We live in His Domain, yet not only does He care about us, He loves us enough to rescue us from spending eternity without Him. When He sees us hurt, broken by the struggles of this life, He cares enough to help us through them. He is the only true and living God – Who answers our prayers – and that makes all the difference!

I’ll never forget a woman I met in Brazil the first year we were there on mission. I had just shared how Jesus died so we might live, and how He cares enough to answer our prayers. She came up to me crying, “I have served Buddha faithfully for 15 years. Can you tell me why he has never once answered my prayers?” In a flash, I heard the words rush from my lips, “Because dead men can’t answer prayers, but Jesus is not dead! He is alive! When sinful men crucified Him, God the Father raised Him from the dead. Dear sister, He hears you, He loves you, and He wants a relationship with you! Will you receive Him today?”

She did – and so can you. Here is how:

Until tomorrow,

Your Traveling Companion



“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.”
Isaiah 53:6 NLT

Lessons learned from Sandy, our Golden Retriever

What Do Sheep, Dogs, and People Have In Common?

On January 30, 2018, we were forced to put Sandy, our beloved Golden Retriever, into permanent naptime. I know he was “just a dog” – but he was still one of God’s creatures, one He allowed us to care for and love for 14 years. He was like a quirky family member for sure, but one who was loved by all of us. It hurts. At this writing, it’s been six weeks, but we’re still grieving. We miss him and his sweet presence every single day.

Sandy was a joy, but sometimes he would drive us crazy! He was sweet to a fault, beautiful with soft blond, curly hair, and had the friendliest face ever! We never knew a dog could show so many different facial expressions! In any given situation, we’d see expressions of joy, anger, affection, and humor.  Sometimes he seemed to be making fun of us! When angry, he’d get a square nose look.  When embarrassed, he’d turn his face away. We called him Mr. Personality Plus.


He was the most obedient dog we ever had. But there were two propensities he had that always got him in trouble! One was to grab something in his mouth when excited. His preference was dirty underwear, one of our shoes, my purse, – or his bed – which he would shred to pieces! These propensities would get him in trouble every time, even though he knew it was wrong. He just couldn’t help himself.

All those traits are now only memories in our hearts. One of my favorites is a scene from 2010.

One day, as I opened the door to let him inside, all I could see was a cloud of white polyester fiber floating in the air all around him. He was covered with it – which he loved by the way! His bed lay shredded like a heap of snow, all around his body. At the sound of my voice, his square nose look appeared.  Then the embarrassed turn-his-head-away look emerged.  He knew it was wrong, but he’d done it anyway – again.

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinfulnature.

I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” Romans 7:18

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on Him
    the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:6 NLT

So, what do sheep, dogs, and people have in common? We are all in the same boat, no matter what our inclinations for doing wrong are. Left alone, we can’t control them because they are inherent to our DNA, passed down from the fall of mankind.  That’s why Jesus came to earth. He came to teach us, to love us, and to rescue us from the penalty that was ours to pay.  So, He paid that penalty for us.  After we turn to Him in faith and repentance, He will give us the power needed to overcome those propensities. That’s real LOVE people. Jesus said this in John 15:13:

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

He did just that.  I pray you will thank Him today by asking His forgiveness. Here’s how:








Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be stilland know that I am GodI will be exalted among the nations, 

I will be exalted in the earth.”

II Corinthians 9:10

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

One day, after long weeks of crowded time schedules, worry, pressures, people, and everything in general, I sat down to write a Daily Dose of Encouragement. God spoke above all the racket in my life and  simply said, “Be still and know that I am God.” So I sat and listened as he reminded me of a lesson I desperately needed to remember.

A yearling squirrel sat no more than 8 feet away as I sat on my front porch writing a Daily Dose of Encouragement.  Timidly he approached the corn feeder eyeballing me every step of the way. At first, he only got close enough to nibble on the scattered kernels around the outskirts of the pile. Fearful of his human benefactor he longingly eyed the plentiful pile of corn just beyond his reach.

I sat frozen in place, hoping he’d think I wasn’t even there. But nothing changed. Even in his hunger he continued to sit in doubt. Finally, he inched over to the pile. Slowly, as he saw he could trust my presence, he moved into the full bounty we had put before him. Every once in a while he’d stop, look my way as if to say, “Are you going to hurt me? Did you put this here for me? Can I trust you?”

The more comfortable he became, the more I moved around and let him see my hands at work. I made louder breathing noises, moved my feet, rocked in my chair, and pounded on this keyboard.  Finally, he stopped eating and turned his whole body straight toward me. He looked directly into my face and just sat there quietly. It was as if he was saying “thank you”.  He sat close for so long that my back began to hurt and my dangling feet fell asleep. As the computer flashed a low battery warning, I eased from my chair and slowly walked into the house. The little one scampered away – filled to the brim on the provision given him.

Sometimes in our well doing we forget to just “be”.  Be still and pray…be still and listen for God’s voice.  Realize Who He is. Follow what His still small voice whispers in our heart. He is our benefactor – our provider of all good things.

In my time of intense stress, he used a tiny squirrel to say “slow down” – refocus on what is most important. He reminded me Who He is, and not to be anxious, because He will bring peace to our hearts as we take all our burdens to Him in prayer.

Until next time,

Your Traveling Partner,