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Large families and extended families are no longer the norm in the USA. This being the case, how do we learn about taking care of babies and the elderly? How do we learn to cope with giving care to either age? What replaces that joy of giving and receiving from those age groups? Dogs fill in some of the gaps.
The big change in dogs has only taken place in Christian countries. In most of Africa and China, dogs have almost disappeared or at least are in the same place they were a couple of thousand years ago. Even in America, while used for work, dogs were often kept mainly for food up until it was settled by Christians. The biggest improvement for dogs has taken place in Western Europe and America during the last 300 years.
Oh Lord, of the many wonders your hands have created for our enjoyment, dogs are one of the most fun and interesting. They have distinct personalities. They not only look different but have as many different personalities as man.
Many dogs are steadfast and faithful while others are true flakes. Some can pout or whine better than any spoiled child. Others will tease you and play with you. Dogs cannot talk but they understand a lot of what is being said.
Some dogs are good at getting their points across without the English language. Hungry, they may mouth your arm or nibble on your sleeve. Some will go and stand in front of where you keep their food. Others may go and drop a toy in their food bowl, hoping that you get the idea. A dog that wants to go for a walk may bark or go stand in front of the door or even go get their leash. If they want to play ball, they will go find the ball and when tired, they will drop the ball out of your reach.
The letter's d—o—g stand for Do Only Good or Do Obey God. The letters in reverse stand for Gift of Delight. Believe in God and you will find that he gives us many delightful gifts to enjoy, including our dogs.
These worldly delights are just a sample of what God will do. He promises if we believe in Jesus, we will have eternal life. Jesus says, "Whom ever believes in me will have everlasting life. Come live with me in heaven where my Father has many mansions."
The Dog is mentioned in the Bible at least eighteen times. Dogs were one of the first animals to align with and assist man.
A famous Harvard man once wondered why rural Americans cling so tightly to their Bibles and dogs. It is because in rural America, it is easy to see how great God is and enjoy his many wonderful gifts. The Bible is God's word to us. We can see his many beautiful works in the country. The Bible tells us what God is saying to us and what he wants us to do. The Bible tells us how a Christian is to act. A rural man or woman clings to their Bible because they know there is a God and the Bible is one of the ways he communicates with us. They cling to their dogs for the following reasons. Dogs in rural America are tools that are very useful land often necessary for survival. Dogs protect the homestead from many dangers. They warn of dangers such as wild animals, snakes, storms, fires and unknown humans. They often have jobs such as herding, hunting, hauling and guarding. In low population areas, dogs are great companions.
Dogs often model how God would like us as Christians to act. Dogs are continuous visual signs from God that shows us how to behave. With God's word ringing in our ears and a million examples of God's love and power in addition to all of the living reminders before us as to how we should act—is it any wonder that rural folks tend to sometimes be more religious than city folks?
Since it has worked so well for the rural areas, there are now millions more in America who have in their homes living examples of God's love and what he expects of us. After reading this book, it is hoped that your eyes will be opened to God's many wonders and you will read your Bible more often, and look at your favorite pet and friend in a new light. If one idea in this book brings you closer to God, it will have served its purpose.
Your dog loves you and will sacrifice his life for you. He will work tirelessly for you as well. The cynic will say, "of course he loves you and works for you, he was bred to do so." My point exactly! Dogs since Jesus' day have been bred to be kind, loving, loyal and helpful companions to their masters.
Dogs have been hanging around man for thousands of years. Often, they served as food for man. It is only in the last couple thousand years that dogs have become such close companions to man. Is it a coincidence that the relationship has become really close since the preaching and teachings of Jesus? It is very strange indeed that most dogs now display the characteristics that God wants to see in us.
Love God, your master, above everything.
Love your neighbor as yourself
Be willing to sacrifice everything, even your life for the ones you love,
Be cheerful and have a good attitude
Do not worry about things you cannot change
Do not worry about yesterday or what happened
Do not worry about tomorrow, live for today.
Americans go to church less than they use to. Suddenly Americans have more dogs for companions than ever. God used to use church to show us what was the right way to live. God has now put an example in front of our eyes in the majority of households. If you will not come to Him, He will come to you. Before long, you will seek more knowledge of Him and other people who also believe in Christ.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE GOD?
You recognize God when you pray to him. You also recognize God by singing and worshiping him.
By standing up for him, when it isn't always the popular thing to do.
How do you know there really is a God? Take your dog for a long walk in the country or a park. Get away from the house and you will find God's beautiful earth: clean air, scenery, sunsets, sunrises. When you see all of this glory, you do not have to be a priest or minister to know someone much greater than man built this wonderful place.
A meadow full of wild flowers or a grove of trees are signs of God. You seldom hear of people who live in the mountains not believing in God. Rainbows, and other natural beauties, as well as the birds and wild animals remind us of God's greatness. God is everywhere you look. Many of man's wonderful buildings and inventions were inspired by a man's belief in God.
Genesis 1:27-28 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, He created him; male and female, He created him. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
If you want to get to know Jesus, you need a small group of good Christians around you. This will keep up your faith and create excitement to be in the fellowship of God. When you cannot be with your group, pay attention to your dog and she will remind you how you should be acting if you are a good Christian.
To your dog, you seem to be able to perform miracles and have great powers. If it were not so, explain how you control the huge and soulless monsters we call cars and trucks. With them you can whisk both yourself and your dog to faraway places that she could never reach and at speeds that put her best running to shame. How about getting food out of a sack or the refrigerator and having it ready to eat in minutes. No fur or feathers, no fuss or muss.
About the fire thing. To see you start and control the most feared thing in the animal kingdom is a true miracle. Instead of fear and running away, you use it for all kinds of things.
Call into some little toy looking object and in just a few seconds, someone shows up. This is all amazing. Your dog is impressed by many of the small everyday things you do that she can not. You are able to: turn on the water, open locked doors, know what time she likes to be fed, and the list goes on and on.
You will also be amazed by the many miracles that Jesus performed. The New Testament is full of them.
John 2: 1-11 Turning water into wine
John 9: 2-11 Curing the blind
John 5: 3-11 Curing the lame
John 11: 32-43 Raising the dead (Lazars)
John 6: 5-14 Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish
Mark 5—Walks on water
How do you recognize God? (Page 6)
1. How did you first discover God? 2. Have you ever had to stand up for anybody or anything? 3. What would convince you there is a God? 4. What feelings do you have when you see all of the beautiful things in the world? 5. Have you ever seen a miracle or something that you could not explain, unless it was a miracle? 6. What would you think if you met someone who could perform all of the miracles that Jesus performed?
Related Bible Readings: Genesis 1: 27-28 John 5: 3-11 John 9: 2-11 John 6: 5-14 John 11: 32-43 John 6: 16-21 John 2: 1-1
TEMPTATIONS AND SINS
Sometimes, we drift away from God and are miserable but are not sure why. We get into trouble and drift aimlessly joining others who are also lost for comfort and companionship. Seldom do we feel any better. Oftentimes, more trouble comes our way and your so called friends disappear.
We will never be happy and content until we find our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ in our lives again. A dog running loose and without a master is often hungry and alone. They are also afraid of everyone and may even be hostile to anyone they meet. If they start running with a pack of dogs, they may be killed as a danger to livestock and humans.
Mean and distrustful dogs are often without a master or have an evil master. We must be careful if we do not have Jesus that we don't pick the devil to become our new master. He will only lead us to certain misery and death for eternity.
We would rather keep our dogs penned up or in the house than take a chance on losing them. God hates to lose us to the devil more than he loves to see us happy. This might explain our dissatisfaction with the results of most of our sins.
Does your dog ever disobey you and do something she knows is wrong? Man is the same way. Mark 7:9 And he said unto them. "Full well you reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own traditions."
Why do dogs get in trouble? It is because they usually do not know any better. Why should we read the Bible and attend church? Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge." Remember, the Bible is God's word and one of the ways he speaks to us. Church is also a great way to learn about God and what he expects of us.
The better a dog works and the more loving they are, the better we like it and the better we take care of them. Galatians 6: 7-8 "Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature, will reap destruction." A dog who runs off or is mean-spirited soon ends up being sent to the pound or abandoned.
If your dog messes up, she may be in the "doghouse" for a while. When she becomes sorry and contrite, you soon forgive her. It is the same with God. If we make a horrible mess of things, he forgives us. Unlike humans, God will never abandon us, only we by our own free will may leave Him.
With Jesus, as soon as we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven. If you sin, get down on your knees and ask for forgiveness.
Don't you just love puppies? They are so innocent and happy. God loves little children for the same reason. Jesus said, "let the little children come unto me." We are all sinners, but we can become like children with Christ's forgiveness, all we have to do is repent and ask for his forgiveness.
Romans 12: 17-21 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. If your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Dogs that live with one family are usually very loyal and loving to their family. They love the master and obey him and his family. However, if two or three dogs become separated from their family, they start to follow the lead of the strongest or smartest dog. Sometimes, this is one who never had a master or had one that treated him badly. If he becomes evil and bad, the other smaller ones, will follow his lead. Normally wild dogs will chase and kill livestock and may even attack humans. They will soon be hunted down and killed.
The same type of thing happens to men. The Bible is full of examples where men started following each other instead of God. When they became evil, they were destroyed: The Great Flood that covered the whole earth, Sodom and Gomorrah were cities that were totally destroyed.
Temptations and Sins
1. Have you ever been in trouble? 2. Have others ever gotten you into trouble? 3. Have you ever been alone and afraid? 4. What makes you feel safe and secure? 5. Do you ever go ahead and do something wrong even when you know it is wrong? 6. Have you ever gotten into trouble because you did not know something was wrong?
7. What do you think of the statement: A man reaps what he sows? 8. Have you ever forgiven your dog or someone else? 9. What do you think of the statement: Live at peace with everyone? 10. By feeding your enemy and giving him something to drink, do you think this would hurt him? 11. Can you think of any other examples where men became evil and were destroyed?
Related Bible Readings: Romans 12: 17-21 Hebrews 4: 14 James 1: 14 Luke 22: 28 I Corinthians 10: 13 Proverbs 15: 10 Proverbs 15:15 Proverbs 18:24 Mark 1: 12-13 Mark 14: 38 Genesis 5: 1 Genesis 9: 17 Genesis 19: 1-29
PRAYER, SPEAKING TO GOD, ANSWERED & UNANSWERED
Dogs have no sense of time as we know it. What is an hour or a day to us seems like forever to a dog. Likewise, what seems like a day, a month, a year, even a million years to us may only be a moment to God (the Supreme Being who created the universe). This may explain why some of our wants and prayers seem to be unanswered. It is just not time yet.
My dog wants something from me. She does not go stand in front of a tree or hide in the garage. Instead, she comes wagging her tail and stands in front of me until she is sure she has my attention. If she wants out, she barks. If she wants in, she barks. If she wants to play, she brings me her toys. If she needs food or water or treats, she begs and only a dog can beg so well.
God also wants you to talk to him. He wants you to ask for things. It gives him pleasure to grant things. God does not always want the same prayer. Try a new prayer from your heart. If you have a poor memory, write it down or make some notes to help in your discussions. Go prepared when going to talk to God, one on one. When you pray once a day, allow yourself enough time to review your day. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. Live your life in direct communication with God. Make sure you ask forgiveness for your sins and praise for the many blessings, God has given you. Ask God to help those you know who are in need. Be like King Solomon, ask for wisdom in dealing with problems. Do not always expect God to do everything. He wants you to do your part as well. You can pray more than you think. Remember, Jesus spent forty days and nights praying in the wilderness. Don't get hung up on this time thing, just talk to God as you would a friend.
Excerpted from LESSONS IN CHRISTIANITY FROM MAN'S BEST FRIEND by MARK A. RUSSELL Copyright © 2011 by Mark A. Russell. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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