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LESSONS LEARNED FROM SANDY, OUR GOLDEN RETRIEVER

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. “

Isaiah 53:6

I Want to Do Right, But…

I recently shared with you that our beloved Golden Retriever, Sandy, is now permanently asleep.  We still grieve him, but we still have the memories – and some are lessons the Lord taught us through the sweet dog’s life.

One day we were walking on the beach and Sandy ran on ahead of us, as usual. He always came back when we called, and this time was no exception. The first time he came as soon as we called but was obviously not too happy about it. A second time he took off but only came back after much kicking and screaming on our part. The third time was the clincher –  he took off again after spotting a pretty little thing down the beach a-ways. This time we had to chase him down and leash him and haul him away from his new girlfriend. He wasn’t happy. His facial expression went square-nosed and angry. Rebellious he was.

Straight home we went. We marched him right up on the deck – put him in the corner and locked the gate behind us – or so we thought. A while later we went to free him from his misery only to find he had flown the coop. Gone.

We walked and called for him. No Sandy. Called the neighbors, no Sandy. Finally, we called the Beach Dog Pound, which was at the police department (little southern beach town) and lo and behold, they had Sandy in lock-up. We had to leave our beautiful vacation house to physically go and rescue him and pay the penalty for his escape – $200.00. He had done the wrong, but we had to pay the price because he belonged to us.

Sandy was so glad to see us! His tendency to wander – like a sheep – had gotten him into trouble. The consequences were not pleasant.

Jesus calls you and me sheep – did you know that? We, somewhat like Sandy, tend to wander off the path God has placed us on and we, too, get into trouble.  Isaiah 53:6 states:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. “

Jesus made us. It says so in Genesis and the first chapter of John. We wandered away. We rebelled and didn’t come when He called. So, He left his beautiful home and came to get us.

Jesus came to rescue us from the bondage brought on by our sin. He did nothing wrong, yet He paid the price of our rebellion, and it wasn’t $200. It cost Him His very life. All He asks is that we turn from our wanderings – get over our madness – and “come home” to Him. Why? So that one day, when this earthly suit we live in wears out, we can spend the rest of eternity with him in His beautiful Home by the Crystal Sea.

Now, that’s one offer I can’t refuse. How about you? If you have decided to turn from your rebellion and return home to Daddy God, click here for the road map.  

https://www.zmiinternational.org/peace-god/

God bless you dear one.

Until next time,

Brenda

MEMORIES OF SANDY

“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:

https://www.zmiinternational.org/peace-god/

Blessings,

Brenda

Go and Tell

“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. “
Luke 2:17, NIV

It was only one line, but I executed it well.

Standing as tall as a preschooler could stand, I looked across the crowd of adoring parents packed into the small chapel. It was my moment—my opportunity to shine—to proclaim the birth of the baby Jesus.

“While shepherds washed their sheets by night….”

Oops! Not exactly the message I was expected to convey, but one I spoke with delight and with words that certainly brought joy to the faces of everyone who heard them.

The Christmas story reminds me that God first entrusted the news of his Son’s birth to men on the lowest rung of society—outcasts, who slept on the ground and smelled like sheep. Shepherds considered so untrustworthy their testimony wasn’t allowed in court. If I’d written the script, I’m sure I would’ve chosen a much more flamboyant conclave of men to be the first evangelists.

But God got it right. And so did the shepherds. Over two-thousand years later, we’re still talking about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Though we can only speculate as to why God chose the shepherds, we can learn from the things this band of unschooled men got right. Take a moment to read the Christmas story in Luke 2, and let’s make the shepherd’s response our own this Christmas season.

The NIV translation relays that the shepherds were nearby (v.8). They were positioned to hear a revelation that would awaken a nation. May we position ourselves to hear the words of our Heavenly Father—words that will awaken our hearts and impact the lives of others.

They kept watch (v.8). The shepherds were alert and prepared to care for the sheep and handle whatever took place on their watch. May we live in expectation as we prepare for and carry out the tasks that God has assigned us.

They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby (v.16). The shepherds sought to confirm the angel’s message for themselves. May we not settle for second-hand information but move without hesitation to confirm the things we read and hear.

They spread the word (v.17). The shepherds boldly proclaimed Christ’s birth and all who heard their words were amazed. May we understand that we’re all valuable to God and have a story to tell. It’s our responsibility to share the Gospel; God is responsible for the response.

They returned glorifying and praising God (v.20). Elated, the shepherds returned to the fields with a new sense of purpose and worth, knowing that God was who he said he was. May we realize that it’s not our position in life, but the position of our hearts before God that will make a lasting impact in a world that needs a Savior.

This is your moment—your opportunity to shine. Go and tell!

Merry Christmas!

Starr