He is poised, dignified, noble, patient, faithful, protective, intelligent, a good judge of character, friendly and forgiving. Who am I describing? Well, I chose to call him Max. He is my purebred German Shepherd Dog that I recently obtained from a local breeder. He has great qualities, and of course I knew that before deciding to purchase him. You see, I studied his kind and have been the proud owner of two other GSDs. My first was also called Max. He was a rescued, beaten, abused orphaned puppy of about six months. When I got him little did I know that he had a disease that is deadly to canines. Within three weeks he had weakened so much that I had to put him down. Heartbreak is the only description. A few years later I found another from a breeder and named her Reagan (after Ronald) and had her until she was six years old when I had to surrender her to a friend as a result of my divorce. So, as you can tell I love German Shepherd Dogs.
So, where in blazes am I going with this? Well, my little eleven-week-old Max is constantly underfoot. As careful as I am with my size twelves, I do occasionally step on his sensitive little front paw. He yelps and yelps and I gently pick him up and comfort him. Do you know what he does then? He licks and licks my face to let me know (in my mind anyway) that all is forgiven. A dear friend of mine recently said this on her Facebook page: "My goal in life is to be a person as good as my dog already thinks I am." I agree and I'll tell you why. It's a thing called unconditional love. Dogs are masters at this quality. Just that little example of my big foot with most of my 230 pounds of weight behind it should make my point.
Oh, to be a person as good as my dog already thinks that I am.
There are godly qualities in well-bred and well-behaved dogs. I listed some at the beginning of this article. The one I want to focus on for a little bit is forgiving. I wish, and more than that, pray to God that I (we) would be so gracious with each other. So often we cannot or will not let go of an offense suffered. Trust me I have been very guilty of this at times. But the longer I live, the more I realize the importance of being like my Max: forgiving. I know, I know, a dog does not understand the principle of grace and forgiveness. But does he really need to? We claim to understand it perfectly and many of us can actually quote the Webster definition. But do we practice it to the degree that we can define it? This is especially true for those of us that call ourselves Christian. What excuse do we have for not being gracious and forgiving? I've searched and searched and I can't find one in the Bible! As a matter of fact here is what the Apostle Paul said to the church at Ephesus: "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesus 4:32.
Wow, so the next time someone "steps on your paw" be sure to remember what your response ought to be. I sure will, especially since Max arrived.
Well, I think I'll "paw's" here for now. Until next time. God bless you.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
"Okay, so your heart's broken. You sit around mopin', cryin', cryin.
You say you're thinkin' 'bout dyin'? Well, before you do anything rash, dig this."
Those are the beginning lyrics from a great song by Aaron Neville, called Everybody Plays The Fool. So, why am I starting this blog off with that? I'm about to tell you. Sometimes we, okay, I think too much. Just like the subject in that song I sit around mopin', cryin'. Well, maybe on the inside. But my point is this: We are always talking to ourselves. For some of us, it's an art form that makes us look crazy! But, most of the time the kind of self-talk I'm referring to is internal. I do it...so therefore everyone must. The truth is that we do. Sometimes the things we say are good and true, and other times that are damaging and false. Sometimes those thoughts are creative and sometimes destructive.
I had this very experience this morning. Hence, this topic this afternoon! I was sitting on my back deck, preoccupied and deep in thought. My thoughts brought me back to my past, reviewing some mistakes and choices that caused me pain. My mind was being quite creative. Unfortunately the creations were negative and not truthful in the least. When I realized what I was doing to my beautiful morning and my opportunities before me, I stopped. When I put a halt to this stinkin' thinkin", the realization came to me that the problem was not my creative mind. It was the focus of that creativity. You see, I realize that God gave me this mind and it's up to me to maintain it like my new Dodge Ram: according to the specifications. One of the specifications for maintaining my mind is to remember to tell myself the truth and use that truth to glorify it's Creator.
Obviously, that's not what I was doing this morning. So, I told myself to stop using that wonderful creative mind to do damage, but rather do some good. Then, I started thinking about the very deck I was sitting on. Below it was treacherous for little puppies, of which I have two. There is a big opening that they have already explored and nearly got stuck in. What to do...
My creative mind saw some old pickets in its memory, found them and installed them. Problem solved!! Now, what next? I have a writing lesson hanging over me that I have been avoiding because it is very taxing to my brain. Okay, creative mind. Tackle it! I decided that while I was thinking properly I might even finish this project that was annoying me. (even moderately gifted writers get annoyed with writing sometimes) I went inside, to my study and opened my one-quarter finished lesson and put my committed mind to the task. About an hour later I was finished and my lesson on the way by electronic mail to my mentor.
Phew, what I can do when I'm thinking correctly.
Does this principle strike a chord with anyone else? I think it might. You see, the Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. So, my friends, you and I are what we think. I was being creative, but to my detriment. I decided to use that same mind to create something positive. I believe we can all accomplish much more when we are in our rightly focused minds.
Think about it, okay.
Until next time,
God bless you