THE FALL OUT

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“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.  Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.”  Acts 15:36-40 NIV

Mallory and Seneca are the best of friends.  They get along great except once in awhile, they let something come between them.  That something is usually food, treats, or a new toy.  The disagreement can quickly escalate into a dogfight with two Alpha females demanding their own way.

Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the good news of Jesus everywhere they went.  Paul suggested that they return and check on the new converts in the towns where they had preached.  Barnabas wants to take Mark with them but Paul doesn’t want to because Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 13:13.  In Colossians 4:10, Paul calls Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, so it’s family and Barnabas believes in his cousin.  

The Bible says that they have such a sharp disagreement that the two men part ways.  Barnabas gets with his cousin and heads to Cyprus and Paul travels with Silas to Asia Minor.  God used the split to reach more territory.  

Acts 4:36 states, “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means son of encouragement).”  Barnabas was an encourager and just as he encouraged John Mark in his ministry, he had done the same for Paul.  He was the one who took up for Saul when the disciples didn’t trust him.  Acts 9:27 tells us, “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.  He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”  

Paul eventually comes to rely on John Mark.  In II Timothy 4:11 he requests, “Only Luke is with me.  Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry”.  Reconciliation has taken place and Paul values Mark as a vital part of his spreading the gospel message.

 Garth Brooks sings the song, “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House”.  One of the lines in it says that sometimes we fight just so we can make up.  I would never recommend that especially in the church but when God is in the midst, he can bring about the most amazing things.  Reconciliation can occur and the gospel message can be spread to the ends of the earth.

Just like our dogs when they fight, the fall out from sharp disagreements among believers is not pretty.  Trust all your relationships, good and bad, to God.  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:6).

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Sometimes we fight just so we can make up

DANCING IN THE SKY

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

On May 12, 2021, we lost Seneca. She had been fighting a losing battle to liver cancer for over ten months. About six years ago, we lost Buffy and our hearts broke. Bruce had many health issues and was peacefully put to sleep when the time was right. Danni left us on July 27, 2019 after a month long battle with an unknown, mysterious illness. Yesterday, Duke breathed his last after losing the loss of his legs and all we were told was he had three slipped discs.

Death and loss come to each of us. We cry and we cope the best way we know. Hebrews 6:19 -20 states, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”.

We are not walking alone. We are following Jesus to our eternal home. It is not an unknown place with no one we know. We know Jesus and it is filled with our loved ones. They are called “a great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews. They are our witnesses that heaven is a better place with no pain or crying and where Jesus is the light. Revelation 21:23 tells us, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is the lamp”.

The song “Dancing in the Sky” asks questions about heaven and tells of our emptiness here without those we love. It talks of a hope that they are dancing in the sky. With Jesus, we can be assured of that fact. Our loved ones are home cheering us on so let us run the race God has set before us until we are all reunited and rejoicing in heaven.

CLICK HERE TO HELP ANIMALS https://www.seniordogsanctuary.com

I’M FREE!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

I took Burt out and hooked his collar to the lead that runs from our house to our neighbors and then went inside to get Lucy. I brought Lucy outside and Burt was standing in the yard where I left him. The only thing different was he was not hooked up to anything. The hook had not latched and he was free as a bird but he didn’t know it. Burt was standing there thinking he was bound in a limited amount of space.

That is the way I act a lot of the time. I’m free in Christ but I walk around thinking I’m restricted by my own limitations. I’m bound by my sin that has been forgiven and forgotten by a loving savior. I display disbelief by my actions and unbelief by my inaction.

John 8:36 states that if the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed. James 1:25 tells us, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do”.

Jesus paid the price for our freedom. We have been set free. He has instructed us to stand firm and not become burdened by the weight of sin that has been forgiven. Don’t be bound to the law of sin and death but walk in the freedom of Christ’s Holy Spirit.

Don’t waste your freedom standing in one spot. Run free with Jesus and reach the world for his glory.

CLICK HERE TO HELP ANIMALS https://www.noahsark.org

EUTHANASIA

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed”. I Corinthians 15:51-52 NIV

Animal euthanasia in the Greek means “good death”. Methods of euthanasia cause minimal pain and are often referred to as “putting to sleep” or “putting an animal down”. Reasons for this procedure are usually incurable and painful diseases. A veterinarian will aid in making the decision as to when euthanasia is best for your pet. It is truly as if the pet is put to sleep and out of their misery unlike their humans who are left behind in mourning.

The Bible refers to death as sleep in many verses. I Kings 2:10 states, “Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David”. In Acts 7:60, Stephen’s death is described, “Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them!’ Having said this, he fell asleep”.

Our verse today tells us that not everyone will fall asleep in death before Jesus’ return. Some will be eagerly awaiting his return and hear the trumpet call and witness the transformation into heavenly bodies that are imperishable. It truly is a mystery.

Our days are written in His book. Psalm 139:16 says it this way, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”.

We all have an incurable disease called sin. Jesus took on our disease at Calvary and paid the price for us so that we might experience a wonderful transformation. Unless we are alive at the last trumpet call, we will all die the “good death” of falling asleep but in Jesus we will wake to a wonderful transformation and eternal life with our heavenly Father.

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FOLLOWING FLUFFY BUTT HOME

For Seneca, my Halloween Parade Partner

Fluffy Butt went home today

She crossed the rainbow bridge

‘Twas the first time I couldn’t follow

But I did until the end


I remember walks a plenty

I followed close behind

Her tail was high while trotting;

left to see the squirrels, and right to chase a bunny

Sometimes we jumped high to reach the sky

When birdies would fly by


She patiently waited while I had crutches

And recently our paces matched as her pace slowed with mine

I followed her quite slowly

But I remember days gone by where we played and chased and ran

We’d howl the husky howl and I would rub her belly

till husky hair was everywhere


How many roofs were climbed?

How many fences jumped?

How many car rides, walks, and parks?

We have done so many things

Now she journeys on alone,

But with her goes my heart

Someday I will follow there

And reach the gates of heaven

Where husky hair lines the streets of gold

I will be greeted with that husky smile;

Her eyes alert and bright, she’ll turn and lead the way

And once again, I will follow as we walk for miles and miles.


I will follow Fluffy Butt once more

Pain will be forgotten as now she runs and plays

But here on earth she’s loved and missed

And will never be forgotten.

CLICK HERE TO HELP ANIMALS https://www.bestfriends.org

DEATH ROW

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only son”. John 3:17-18 NIV

Seneca was diagnosed with a liver mass last summer. She had been having trouble with her back legs giving out. She suddenly started vomiting along with diarrhea. At that time, she was given an estimate of four to six months. We immediately tried every supplement available to improve her life and she is now on her tenth month.

Seneca’s diagnosis was much like a death sentence a prisoner receives who is placed on death row. Of course, our precious pup has been loved and adored throughout and has had much more freedom to enjoy her final months than an incarcerated inmate.

Much like a convicted felon awaiting the fulfillment of our sentence, John 3:18 tells us that whoever does not believe in the Son of God is condemned already. The good news is that Jesus has already purchased our pardon. He died in our place and the prison doors swing wide open so we can walk in freedom all the rest of our lives.

I Timothy 1:15 states, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst”. The Son of God came to save us and set us free from condemnation. He bought our pardon and though we will die physically, our spirits are alive in Christ and we will live eternally with our Heavenly Father.

Don’t just sit there on Death Row, ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins. He will set you free. You will be loved and adored by God all the days of your life!

CLICK HERE TO HELP ANIMALS https://www.ASPCA.org

LIFE AND DEATH

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants. Deuteronomy 30:19 NASB

Our dogs mean everything to us. We choose what food to feed them for their health, weight, and age. We pick the veterinarian they will see and take them to appointments to have the appropriate supplements, medications, and vaccinations. We take them to the beach or the mountains for vacations and assure they get the exercise they need. We are their providers and protectors.

When they become seniors and are ill we take care of them to the best of our ability. Sometimes, we are called upon to make the decision between death and life. If they are suffering and their quality of life is deteriorating, we call the vet and accompany them on their last car ride and let them go peacefully even though our hearts are breaking.

God gave the Israelites the choice between life and death. If they would obey God and love him with their whole hearts, they would have life and blessings. If they didn’t they would have death and curses. Unlike the decision to put your pet to sleep, it seems like a no brainer but every day people are not choosing God and his heart must be breaking.

We try to be our own protector and provider. We can do it ourselves and don’t rely on God to help us with our daily decisions. If we don’t see immediate repercussions, we think we are doing fine on our own.

God tells us to obey. Obey in the small areas and obey in the big areas of life. God is our provider and He is our protector. If we look to him in every situation, we will be blessed. He is our creator and He alone knows what is best for us. He has our good in mind.

John 5:24 states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life”. Who wouldn’t want to live eternally? Who wouldn’t choose life?

Pass from death to life. Each morning choose to obey God. He is on your side and only wants to bless you. It’s your choice.

CLICK HERE TO HELP ANIMALS https://www.bestfriends.org

THE LOOK OUT

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“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain”. Psalm 127:1 ESV

Our dogs are not true guard dogs. They like to look out the window and watch. There are a few dogs in the neighborhood that are not favorites so are treated to loud barking signaling annoyance that they are walking by their property. Most of the time, you could come in the house and they wouldn’t lift their heads unless it was to be petted.

A true guard dog or watchdog is trained to guard property against, and watch for, unwanted or unexpected human or animal intruders. Sometimes you find yourself with a guard dog because of the breed characteristics and sometimes your little Chihuahua has the loudest and scariest snarl.

As with dogs, a human watchman keeps guard and a lookout watches for the enemy to approach and is looking with careful observation. We can only do so much in our human strength and ability. The first verse of Psalm 127 states the watchman labors in vain without the Lord’s help.

In I Peter 5:8, we are told to be sober and vigilant because we have an enemy called the devil and he thrives on seeking to devour us. We must be careful to be on guard and aware of our enemies, weaknesses, and temptations. We must also realize that in our own strength we will often fail.

I Corinthians 15:57 states, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I John 2:1 tells us that we have an advocate with the Father- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. We don’t have to worry because Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”.

We must be on guard and set lookouts for our protection in this life. We must not worry but know that God is on our side. We need to pray and share our requests and concerns with the living God who himself is our guardian. He is our leader, our creator, our protector, and our friend. “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). Our watchman is on duty 24/7 and with him you will not labor in vain. The victory is yours!

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LITTLE LUCY AND BIG BURT

“There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ”. I Corinthians 12:12 NIRV

Burt and Lucy are as different as night and day. One is black and one is tan. Lucy has a high bark and mixes it with a howl. Burt’s bark is low and unrelenting in it’s monotone sound. Burt drinks out of the commode and tub faucet and Lucy has to watch and drink from her water bowl as she is not tall enough to reach. Lucy is short and Burt is tall. The list could go on and on.

Does the differences between Big Burt and Little Lucy make one better than the other? No. Does their differences keep them from being a part of the same family? No. They have been selected and accepted into our family just as they are. Do we hope they will listen and follow our guidelines for a happy family? Yes, but we are still working on that!

God accepts each one of us into his family despite our many differences. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences but he loves us and adopted us into his family. Does he want us to stay just as we are? No, but he is still working on that so that we will be a happy family according to his guidelines.

There are many types and sizes of dogs and there are are many different Christians but God is our Father. We all are in different stages of our faith walk. Hebrews 6:1 tells us to continue walking towards perfection which is good exercise for each of us.

Ephesians 4:5-6 states that there is, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”. Christ is our head and we are his body. He loves each of us just as we are. If we are covered by the blood of Christ, our differences make no difference, we are perfect in his sight!

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HIDE YOUR CRAZY

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.  Psalm 34:17-18 NIV

Mallory has always watched television since she was a puppy.  The only problem  is she does not approve of other animals appearing in shows or commercials.  Mallory does not even like Mickey Mouse.  She goes crazy and jumps up and down, barking until the creature is gone from the screen.  She has even broken one television.  Needless to say. the new television is hung higher.

The other dogs (except Seneca) act the same way when people and dogs pass their house.  Delivery people of all types drive them crazy and the barking is non-stop till the threat has passed.

Miranda Lambert has a song called Momma’s Broken Heart.  One of the lines in it is, “Hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady”.  This is her mother’s advice to her after she goes off the deep end after a break-up.  She is told to, “line her lips and keep ’em closed”, “never let ’em see you cry”, and “gotta keep it together even when you fall apart”.  It sounds like good advice from a well-meaning momma. 

Thankfully, God does not expect us to always hold it together, never ask him questions, or to hold in our tears and heartaches.  We expect that of ourselves sometimes or we do not think we are handling our emotions in the “Christian” way.

God tells us to call on him in times of trouble.  Our verse from Psalm 34 states that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 56:8 tells us that, “You keep track of all my sorrows.   You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book”.

Psalm 139:1-4 puts it this way, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

Whatever you are going through today; you do not have to hide your crazy from God.  He sees you just as you are and created you in his image.  He longs for you to share your troubles with him so that he can deliver you from them.  Be transparent in his sight and watch your crazy turn to faith in the God who knows, hears, and loves you!

 

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