Every dog is different, but each loves his or her human in a special way. Often they are brave, noble, and strong. Sometimes they make us laugh, at them and at ourselves. Always they make us feel less alone and more loved. These ninety devotions will encourage and inspire you as you see how God is revealed in the antics and actions of our four-legged friends.
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So God Made a Dog
90 Devotions for Fog People
By Michelle Medlock Adams, Rachel Britton, Heather Creekmore, Michelle Cox, Linda Gilden, Carlton Hughes, Trish Mugo, Diane Nunley, Dalene Parker, Dee Dee (Michelle) Parker, Leigh Powers, Sandy Kirby Quandt, Ramona Richards, Shelia Stovall, Tammy Van Gils
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Worthy Inspired
All rights reserved.
Charlie and the Kitten
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
EPHESIANS 4:32 NLT
The first meeting between Charlie and the new kitten was, to put it mildly, explosive. The kitten, removed from her mother far too early, arrived at her new home a terrified ninja, lashing out at anything and everything with razor-sharp kitten-claws. This included, unfortunately, Charlie's nose.
Charlie yelped but resisted retaliation. A large German Shepherd-Collie mix, Charlie had a soft heart and a kind spirit. He seemed to sense the kitten wasn't mean, just scared. He never held the injured nose against her. Instead, he became her surrogate mom.
At first, he lay quietly next to the big blanket-filled box that kept the kitten, now named Tillie, secure. Tillie remained in the box about a week, being handfed, with tenuous excursions around the den or patio. Charlie almost never left her side during these trips, although he stayed out of the reach of her claws for a few days.
Soon, Tillie realized that the other warm, furry creature in her new home wasn't going to hurt her, and the two bonded. Charlie replaced the box as Tillie's favorite bed. She would clamber up on Charlie's side and fall fast asleep. Charlie would peer at her, sigh, and lie still until Tillie woke with a startled mew. He would then nuzzle her to give comfort. As she grew older, she would answer by kneading his back with tiny paws that barely penetrated his thick fur.
When their owner worked in his garage, Charlie would stretch out on the cool concrete, Tillie tucked between his front legs or curled against his tummy. The older she got, the more remarkable this picture became as Charlie would sometimes wrap his long legs around the tall, lanky cat, hugging her as if she were a child. Tillie never objected, and only occasionally looked annoyed, the way a teenager might when Mother insists on one more public kiss.
The tenderness between them never abated, and as Tillie became an adult, they would romp around the backyard like old friends, chasing birds and squirrels — which they never caught — and tennis balls — which they did occasionally. Tillie could stab a tennis ball with her claws and fling it halfway across the yard. The sharp claws that had once wounded Charlie now created hours of unbridled joy.
Watching them one summer afternoon, their owner commented, "Makes me think the lamb really will lie down with the lion."
When we embrace forgiveness and compassion toward others, great friendships will emerge. And, as Charlie and Tillie found out, endless possibilities can come from those bonds. Most importantly, we can begin to see others as God sees them — as His children, beloved and cherished, just as we are.
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Lord, revive Your love that lives in my heart. Help me show compassion and friendship toward all, for we are all Your children. Amen.CHAPTER 2
We know that in all things God works for the Good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
ROMANS 8:28 NIV
One of my earliest memories is discovering a box on our porch one cold winter morning when I was five years old. I clasped my hands together. "Someone left us a present!"
Mama opened the screen door and looked inside the box. "A puppy." She lifted him, and he snuggled under her chin. "He's cold."
Daddy looked over her shoulder and shook his head. "He's all ears."
"Can we keep it?" My voice lifted. Mama's eyes met Daddy's, and after a few seconds, he nodded.
Later that day, I sat next to the heater in the kitchen cuddling my new friend and tried out different names. When Mama removed an iron skillet from the oven, the pup started howling, and I noticed the color of his coat matched the cornbread's crust. "His name is Cornbread."
Cornbread grew, and his long ears almost touched the ground, which caused many to speculate his daddy was a Basset Hound. Every afternoon we'd walk first to Mrs. Harris's home, as she often had warm cookies waiting, and after that we'd stop and see Mr. Elliot. Our elderly neighbors enjoyed seeing Cornbread as much as I did.
When school started, I worried about Cornbread being lonely, but he continued to visit our friends. I'd jump off the school bus and rush across the street to Mr. Elliot who sat waiting in his lawn chair with his gnarled hand on Cornbread's head. The two spent many hours together. Cornbread seemed to have an instinct for the neighbor who needed his company the most. He lavished love on everyone else as well and he grew fat on the extra treats given to him, but he always returned to our house at the end of the day.
It's sad that someone abandoned a helpless puppy on a cold winter morning, but God used this tragic event to bless many. Who knows what the person's intent was, but God was able to use this incident for the good. I've had my own piteous moments too, but God knew the paths I would take and He made a plan to guide me back to Him.
The Lord can take anything, even our tragedies, and turn them into blessings. What could have been a disaster for Cornbread turned out to be a gift. God can transform our worst moments into miracles. Consider how He used the brutal crucifixion of His Son and turned it into a victory over death and made a way for all mankind to be saved. God's ways our higher than our ways, and even when it seems I've been abandoned, I know I can trust in Him.
* * *
Thank You, Father, for making all things work for Your good. I know You will never abandon me, and that You have good plans for my future. Amen.CHAPTER 3
Expectations and Inconsistencies
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
JAMES 3:10–11 NIV
Whenever Bear, our chocolate Labrador-American Pit Terrier, rides in the car and we slow down to speak with someone inside the open window of a building, he has certain expectations. Because of past experiences, Bear expects the person at the window will hand him a puppy cup full of creamy vanilla Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream when we reach them. Usually, Bear is correct about what he can expect, but not always.
The bank teller does not hand out puppy cups. Neither do the employees at the taco restaurant, nor does the pharmacist at the drug store. Each time we pull away from one of these places without his puppy cup, Bear looks at us as if to say we forgot something. His disappointment is evident. Bear's expectations were not met, and he can't understand what happened.
The difference between driving to an open window and receiving a puppy cup and going through the exact same motions and not receiving a puppy cup can be downright cruel. Who knows? This inconsistency could cause Bear to distrust and be disillusioned. But drive-through windows are not the only inconsistencies in life. People can also be inconsistent in their behavior and in their speech.
Each of us comes into relationships with expectations, especially if the person we interact with calls themself a believer. There are certain things we expect them to say and certain things we expect them to do. When we come face to face with inconsistencies, like Bear faces when the person inside the drive-through window does not give him a puppy cup, it can leave us confused, distrusting, and disillusioned. We expect one thing, but get something totally different.
Thinking about Bear's expectations regarding puppy cups got me thinking about my life story and what it says about me. Am I consistent in my message? Do people know what they will get when they enter into a conversation with me? Can others believe I'll do what I say I'll do? Am I consistent in my witness for God?
As the saying goes, the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. If I am truly a child of the one true and living God, joint heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ, shouldn't my life reflect the image of my Father? Can people see Jesus in me by the way I live and the way I talk? I figure the best place for me to be is tucked under the branches of my Creator, raising my branches up to praise Him and imitate Him.
* * *
Father, help me be a consistent witness for You so that when others see me they will know I represent You and know what to expect because of that relationship. Amen.CHAPTER 4
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
PSALM 121:3–4 NLT
If the U.S. military gave out purple hearts to our canine heroes, there's no doubt that Lucca would have earned one. The German Shepherd has won many awards for her gallantry in combat and deserves every one. She was also the first American dog ever to take home the prestigious Dickin Medal, instituted in 1943 to honor the work of animals in service to their countries.
One touching photo shows Lucca wearing the medal, standing tall and gazing into the eyes of an equally decorated marine. The scene is striking not because the marine is kneeling at eye-level with a dog. The scene doesn't pull on heart strings merely because Lucca only has three legs. No, it's the way the soldier looks at the dog. His gaze holds gratitude, and maybe a hit of admiration.
"I owe her my life," the marine said. Christopher, a gunnery sergeant, was Lucca's handler while she sniffed out roadside bombs. Perhaps no one knows better than he how many countless lives Lucca helped save during her tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the course of six years, this German Shepherd went on more than 400 missions. Christopher was with her for most of that time. Thanks to Lucca and Christopher, no soldier ever died under Lucca's watch. She did, however, lose her front leg to a bomb in Afghanistan. Lucca's injury and recovery touched many hearts.
Her story, however, points to more than canine bravery and devotion. In Lucca, we see traces of God's character and unwavering devotion to His children. Everywhere we look, God's handiwork raises voices in praise — creation magnifying its Creator. And creation, including dogs, whispers to the listening heart all about the character, trustworthiness, and goodness of God.
In Lucca, we see traces of God's overflowing faithfulness, a God who goes to incredible lengths to save us. Lucca's sacrifice echoes of an even greater sacrifice, one that has saved and continues to save countless lives. We're reminded of the God who sacrificed His Son so that we could live.
Through Jesus, God rescues us from death and brings us into new life. In Christ, we not only receive eternal life after our time on Earth ends, but we receive abundant life here and now — a rich and soul-satisfying life in relationship with God.
When I look into the eyes of a dog, I see shadows of another world, a world without harsh judgment and criticism. A world of total acceptance and love. Perhaps that's what Christopher saw that day when he looked in Lucca's eyes.
* * *
Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through Your creation, and help me reflect Your character and life-changing love to everyone I meet. Amen.CHAPTER 5
I Want That One!
You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
DEUTERONOMY 14:2 NLT
Mama, please can I have one? Pleeeeease, Mama?"
I think every parent will know what I'm talking about when I say my son gave me the puppy dog eyes. That's the pleading look we get whenever our child encounters a dog, cat, gerbil, fish, or whatever else he or she wants to add to the family pet menagerie. Only the toughest most disciplined parent can resist those eyes. Why, I've seen my big strong contractor husband fizzle in mere seconds, and then I have two sets of puppy dog eyes to resist.
I love animals so that's not the problem, but somebody has to be the voice of reason before your family becomes like the ones featured on the evening news with fifty-five dogs or thirty-four cats.
Our four-year-old, Jeremy, had begged for a dog for many months, but we had waited until we thought he was mature enough to know how to treat a puppy with kindness and to help take care of one.
That day had arrived and my husband and I witnessed a scene of pure love as our overall-clad little boy knelt in the middle of a litter of active puppies. Tails wagged and tongues washed his arms as he hugged them close. Giggles filled the air as they all fought for his attention, knocking him over in their excitement.
They were what I'd call "a little of this and a little of that" dogs, with so many varieties in their heritage that it was impossible to determine their breed. I told Jeremy, "We can't adopt all of them, so you have to choose one."
His pick was the runt of the litter. Jeremy told me, "I'll take this one." And then he turned to the bright-eyed puppy in his arms and said, "You're going to be my dog now, and you're going to live with me."
I got Jeremy and the puppy settled in the car while my husband paid for the dog. And then Waggie Tail started his journey to his new home and family.
Just as Jeremy chose his puppy, God chose us to be part of His family. I'm grateful that there is no limit to His offer of salvation. And I'm thankful that when He looked into the sea of humanity and saw our flaws and scars it didn't matter, even if we were the runt of the litter. He wanted us! He saw us through His eyes of grace and said, "I want that one, and that one, and that one. I choose all of them." And then He paid the price so that we could belong to Him forever.
* * *
Father, thank You for choosing me and for making me part of Your family. Amen.CHAPTER 6
Search and Retrieve
For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep.
EZEKIEL 34:11 NLT
He lost his ball," my brother-in-law announced when he returned from taking Fink, my English Springer Spaniel, for a run. "Not possible," I thought, looking down at my dog panting furiously, his long pink tongue lolling from one side of his mouth.
Springers are known for having good noses. Hunters choose them to flush out or retrieve game birds. Police train them to detect narcotics and explosives. You'll often see a Springer working at an airport baggage carousel. My dog would never lose his favorite ball. The out-of-breath dog in front of me would persist until he had found it.
The next day I returned to the area of long, unmown grass where the missing ball lay hidden. I bent down, lifted the chain from my dog's neck and over his long silky ears. "Go find your ball," I said softly.
Fink shot off, nose low to the ground. Barely visible in the tall grass, I could only see his tail held high, wagging rhythmically as he worked. Every so often he stopped, raised his head and looked back at me. "Find," I shouted. He set to work again. I waited. Even I began to have doubts. Suddenly, Fink began to circle quickly in one location. He stopped. The grass rustled. Next, he bounded towards me, leaping high into the air. In his mouth he held a bright green object — his beloved tennis ball. He dropped it at my feet and looked up expectantly. "Good boy," I praised, ruffling his ears. He picked up the ball, and dropped it again. He was ready to play.
Just the same, God diligently searches for lost sheep. Jesus, who took up the title of Good Shepherd, told a story about a lost sheep. The shepherd looked for that one sheep until he had found it. When he had tracked it down, the shepherd released it from the snares and lifted the sheep onto his shoulders and carried it home, rejoicing. We are that sheep. When we are lost, our heavenly Father never abandons His search for us. When we are rescued, there is great rejoicing in heaven.
When you can't find direction in life, the Good Shepherd promises to be with you. When your days are dark and frightening, God will lead you along the right paths. When you have strayed a long way from the Lord, He will help you find the route back home to Him. When circumstances have left you hurting, the Lord God will comfort you. When you are unable to carry on and want to give up, the Good Shepherd will lift you into His arms. Your heavenly Father delights in saving you from the snares of life.
* * * Lord and my Shepherd, thank You for never giving up Your search for me when I am far from You. Amen.
Excerpted from So God Made a Dog by Michelle Medlock Adams, Rachel Britton, Heather Creekmore, Michelle Cox, Linda Gilden, Carlton Hughes, Trish Mugo, Diane Nunley, Dalene Parker, Dee Dee (Michelle) Parker, Leigh Powers, Sandy Kirby Quandt, Ramona Richards, Shelia Stovall, Tammy Van Gils. Copyright © 2017 Worthy Inspired. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
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