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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FOCUSED ON FOLLOWING

“So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less that total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision-you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Philippians 3:15-16, MSG

I recently spent a week dogsitting Lilly, an English pointer, who loves to play ball. Pointers replaced greyhounds in England in the 1700’s due to their skill in hunting and tracking. Their ancestry is thought to include bloodhound, foxhound and greyhound. Whatever Lilly’s heritage, she is a wonderful tracker.

Lilly drops the ball in front of you, anticipating your next move. She stares intently at the ball, resembling a worried old man. As your release the ball, Lilly starts running. On the off chance she doesn’t catch it in the air, she quickly retrieves the ball and has it back at your feet, watching you with her fixed stare. A few times she has had to follow her nose to track the ball but she always finishes her task and is ready to start over in whatever direction you send her. Lilly is focused on following.

Unlike Lilly, I get sidetracked too often. I sit down to read my bible and something I have to do pops in my head and off I go. Soon it is bedtime and I realize that I have not been focused on following Jesus. I am not studying him in his word and speaking to him in prayer to find out what the next move is that I am to follow. II Timothy 2:15 tells us to, “Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

I need to focus on my master, to watch him and know him so I can hear his voice. John 10:27 states, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. The more I focus on Jesus the better follower I am.

To follow means to go or come after a person or thing proceeding ahead. Jesus is our head. We are told in Colossians 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy”.

Is Jesus your leader? Are you his follower? Jesus reigns supreme and he has won the victory over sin and death. He wants to lead you to his heavenly kingdom and in paths of righteousness. Focus on him and his word today that you might excel at following the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING, ESPECIALLY THE MOUSE!

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”. Luke 2:13-14 NIV

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

All the creatures were stirring, especially the mouse.

Burt and Lucy sniffed at their stockings hung high in the air.

I hoped that no treats would fall prey to the pair.

The mouse ripped through the house with dogs in pursuit

Fur flying, ears flopping, tails wagging; I’ll admit they are cute.

Away to the closet, under the door, behind the piano, and down through the floor.

The hound and the husky stood not a chance; a mouse being little and dogs two foot or more.

Quiet restored, the pups climbed on the couch, breathing soon set to a snore,

When what should disturb them but noise on the roof!

Santa had come while the hound and the husky dreamed of more proof.

What proof did they need but presents piled high ?

Packages that smelled perfect for dogs stacked up to the sky.

There were pull toys and squeakers, stuffed ones and bones;

Treats that they sat for and tricks to be done.

Oh what a morning; truly a delight,

For a husky and hound dog who’d been good all year long

Or Santa had looked at his long list quite wrong!

The naughty dog list had been chewed by the hound;

Buried by the husky deep down in the ground.

They happily chewed till their hearts were content,

Laid down for a nap, their Christmas wish sent:

Merry Christmas to all from the husky and hound and yes, even the mouse that they had found!

A BABY’S LOW CRY

“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”.  Isaiah 7:14 ESV

A puppy whimpering is quite common, I am told.  They are learning how to communicate what they want and need.  Puppies may whine for food and attention.  Lucy has a mix between a husky howl and a growl that sounds quite sad.  It’s not something that another dog would take seriously.  She’s not a puppy but she manages to express herself in her own unique way.

I am the Bread of Life Jesus states in John 6:35 and yet he hungered.  Luke 2:7 tells us that, “she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them”.  The one who states if we come to him we will never go hungry came into this world as a baby crying for physical food.

Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty Jesus again states in John 6:35 and yet he was thirsty.  In John 4, he tells the Samaritan woman that if she would have asked him, he would have given her living water to drink.  John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”.  The Messiah born as a baby cried due to thirst.

The lyrics of the Christmas song, “There’s a Song in the Air” start out:

               There’s a song in the air,

               There’s a star in the sky,

               There’s a mother’s deep prayer

               and a baby’s low cry.

Jesus was born as a little baby.  He cried, he hungered and was thirsty.  He experienced life as fully God and fully human.  He knows what you are going through and can sympathize with all your needs.  Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”.

Jesus understands your happiness.  He celebrated at a wedding (John 2:1-12).  He knows your loss.  He wept at his friends tomb (John 11).  He knows your loneliness.  His friends couldn’t even stay awake with him the night before his death (Mark 14:36-45).  He knows everything you are going through and promises to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

He came as a baby for you.  God sent his son just for you.  This year, may you see Christmas through the eyes of a baby.  May all the wonder of the story be new and the glow of the twinkle lights fill your heart with the warmth of his love.  Christ is Born!

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GOLD

“Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh”.  Matthew 2:11b ESV

All of our dogs have Christmas Stockings.  They are filled with toys and treats for them to enjoy and fight over on Christmas morning.  Danni always enjoyed hers, savoring one item at a time but when there was more than one dog in the household it wasn’t that calm.  Everyone had been up late Christmas Eve, including the dogs.  This makes for some grumpy, tired doggies who are jealous anyway so the gifts ended up high on a shelf to stop any potential fights.

Not so that first Christmas.  The wise men journeyed from afar and their gifts were presented before the newborn king with worship and adoration.  They bowed before him as they presented their gifts.  The gift of gold was a gift for royalty.  The wise men were acknowledging Jesus as King.  

The royal king of heaven had been born in a lowly stable.  The angel proclaimed that he would be given the name Jesus as he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).  Now, we can come boldly into the Holy of Holies to offer our gifts (Hebrews 10:19).

The Old Testament records the priests going into the inner sanctuary to present the sacrifices.  I Kings 6:20-22 tells us that the Most Holy Place was overlaid with pure gold.  Solomon covered the inside of the temple with gold and gold chains hung across the front of the inner sanctuary when he built the temple.  The whole interior was gold and the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary was also gold.  The King of Kings resided there.

The King  humbled himself and became man  (Philippians 2:8).  He left his heavenly home and was born in Bethlehem.  The wise men presented him with a precious metal befitting his kingly status.  He grew and willingly hung on a tree for you and me.  He ascended to the Father and presented the perfect blood sacrifice in the Holy of Holies for our sin (Hebrews 9:12).  Now as we come boldly into the presence of God we can worship and adore him at Christmas and everyday. 

What gifts can you offer the king?  We can bow before him in adoration and praise just like the wise men of old.  An offering of ourselves to worship the newborn king!

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LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  Isaiah 9:6

On nights when Burt and Lucy have been to Doggie Daycare, they each pick a couch and climb up on it.  There is no fight over bones or tug of war with pull toys or Christmas decorations.  There is no barking as a noisy vehicle drives by or another dog enjoys his evening walk.  Peace reigns in our household.  It might be a fleeting peace but it is definitely enjoyed while it lasts.

The Prince of Peace came at Christmas so that peace might reign on earth and in our hearts.  Isaiah prophesied of his coming in Isaiah, Chapter 9.  Verse 7 states that there will be no end to the peace that Christ brings.  In John 14, Jesus tells us he will leave us his peace.  John 16 tells us that in Jesus we can have peace and Romans 5:1 states that since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God.  In Colossians 3:15 we are told to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

Peace is defined as freedom from disturbance.  It is a tranquility.  In this world of drama, tranquility is a desire of many.  Just as it is nice to have peace in your home, it is wonderful to have peace rule in your heart and mind.  To not let the problems of this world upset you because you know Christ is in control and no matter what, He will take care of you.

Isaiah 11:6 states, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  At my house, the dogs living together in peace is infrequent but Christ will bring peace to this world so much so that dangerous animals will live in harmony and be led by a little child with no fear.  Until that time comes we can keep our minds focused on Jesus and trust him so that he will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)

Is drama taking over your life?  Do you long for peace and contentment?  Invite the Prince of Peace into your heart as you  celebrate his birth.  

Peace on earth begins with us.  Just like the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”.

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GIVING

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.  John 3:16 NIV

Mallory and Bella appeared as Mary and Joseph this Halloween.  Duke the Chihuahua was Baby Jesus and Lainey wanted in the picture so her role was an angel.  It was an unlikely Nativity but so was the first Nativity.  

Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem while she was ready to give birth.  Arriving, every hotel was booked.  There was no vacancy but an innkeeper offered his stable.  So maybe it wasn’t so unlikely.  The witnesses to the birth of Jesus were many types of animals.  All creation rejoiced from the animals, the stars, shepherds in the fields, angelic choirs, to the wisest of men.  God had given the first Christmas gift, followed by the Magi bringing the finest of gifts.

No matter how fine the gifts we prepare for those we love during the Christmas season, we can’t out give God.  We make out our list and check it twice.  We try to find the perfect gift.  Once in awhile, someone is forgotten and we rush to find something last minute or, perhaps, you purchase a few generic gifts so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised.

You don’t have to worry about being forgotten this Christmas or anytime during your lifetime.  No one is forgotten by God.  He worked out the salvation plan from the beginning to include everyone in every generation.  John 3:16 tells us that God so loved us and everyone, that he sent his own son to draw us to him and if we believe we shall not die spiritually but have eternal life.

This Christmas when you purchase the perfect gift for those you love, remember God purchased the perfect gift for each of us. Salvation is free to all who believe that he sent his only son who was willing to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross that we might never perish but live eternally with Him.

Jesus wrapped up in swaddling clothes, came to earth as a baby, for you and me.  He was born humbly with no kingly fanfare but worshipped by the humble and those who bowed before him during that first Nativity.  Bow your heart before him today that you might truly celebrate  this Christmas.

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O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHELEHEM

“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel”.  Matthew 2:6

Little Lucy isn’t really food aggressive, she just wants to make sure Big Burt doesn’t get anything first.  If he does, she manages to distract him and take it away.  

None of our dogs like carrots which I am told is a good thing for dogs to chew.  Danni liked blueberries but Burt and Lucy leave them strewn over the dining room floor.  When it comes to bread, each of our pups have their own opinion.  Some will turn up their noses and walk away while others will sniff and try a small bite and a few inhale and it’s gone.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, means House of Bread in Hebrew.  It is fitting that Jesus was born in the House of Bread for he refers to himself as the Bread of Life in John 6:35.  After he feeds over 5,000 people with two loaves of bread and two fish, he tells them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”. 

Jesus is also declaring that he is “I am” in John 6:35.  God himself tells us he is “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14 so Jesus is revealing that he is God.  Just as manna came down from heaven to nourish the Israelites physically, God himself came down from heaven in the form of a baby, born in Bethlehem.  He feeds us spiritually and sustains us each day as we feed on his word.

John 6:32-33 states, ” Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world”.  Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). 

That first Christmas long ago, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Matthew 1:21 tells us, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”.  Mary did as she was told and gave birth to the Messiah.

The prophet Micah wrote in chapter 5, verse 2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times”.  The little town of Bethlehem housed the King of Kings in a small stable one starry night long ago.

The Bread of Heaven was born in the House of Bread so that we who call upon his name might be saved.  The Great I Am will sustain you now and always as you celebrate his birth as a baby this Christmas and everyday of the year.

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DRIPPING WATER

“Drip down, heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness sprout with it.  I, the Lord, have created it.”  Isaiah 45:8 NASB

Burt is picky about where he drinks.  Water bowls are not normally his first choice.  He runs upstairs, stands at the bathroom door, and barks until you come.  Burt then expects the door to open and the water faucet in the bathtub to be turned on cold for his thirst to be quenched.  He then turns and happily walks into the hall dripping water from his jowls.

I’m usually barefoot and follow Burt from his drinking hole.  I try to sidestep all the wet spots on the floor with no success.  I always end up with wet feet.

One of the definitions of drip is to overflow with or as if with moisture.  Another is to let fall drops of moisture or liquid.  Burt definitely qualifies as a drip but do you?

As you walk with Jesus daily, do you drip with the love of God?  Is the Holy Spirit overflowing from you that when others follow, they also get their feet wet?

Jesus said in John 7:37-39, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”.

Jesus longs for us to come to him to have our thirst quenched and when we do we can overflow with the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22-23).  The overflow of our words and actions will touch others and quench their thirst for God.

Do you ooze and drip the living water of Jesus so that others will follow and get their feet wet too?  Are you a dripping Christian?  Isaiah 48:21 tells about the Israelites journey to the Promised Land, “They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts; He made water flow for them from the rock; He split the rock, and water gushed out”.

Let God lead you in your daily walk.  As you follow and are filled with the Holy Spirit, you might not just drip like Burt, but be a gushing fountain of cleansing water that will overflow to others.

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DRAINAGE

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NIV

Burt was attacked by another dog at doggie daycare. He was being sent to have an extra day of play because they were taking Halloween pictures. It was susposed to be fun but it turned bad quickly.

I received the call that he had been attacked and was going to the doctor for stitches and would be sedated during the procedure. They needed my authorization and would call me when he was waking up.

I waited impatiently and the veterinarian finally called. Burt had done well but drainage tubes had been inserted at the wound sites. I was told I might see a little blood draining out but not to be alarmed. The tubes would need to be cleaned and Burt and Lucy would both have to leave them alone until removal in three days. He would not be allowed to run for two weeks until the sutures were removed. I was hoping we could all be sedated for the next couple of weeks!

Surgical drainage tubes allows the fluid to flow out that collects during and after surgery. If fluids are given a chance to build up, complications and infections may occur and the wound will not heal properly.

Psalm 147 tells us that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Sometimes we are left with a lot of drainage from these wounds. Bitterness, hurt, and hatred can swell up around the surgical site without us being aware of it. If we are not careful, infection will occur. We must let God drain us of all the ungodly leftovers so that we might truly be healed. We do not want ugly scars reminding us of things God has forgiven and forgotten.

1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. David prayed in Psalm 51:2 that he would be washed from all his iniquity and cleansed from his sin. Mark 7:15 states, “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them”.

When God operates on our heart it is a thorough procedure. Nothing is left to chance. Any and all detrimental emotions must be washed away by the blood of Christ. Anything that defiles is drainage to be released from the wound and discarded. Our hearts are left clean. He heals our broken hearts and binds up all our wounds.

Make sure all your drainage is washed away by the blood of the lamb!

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