He Loves Me?

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I recently read “A Dog’s Last Will & Testament”. It reminded me of how great it can be to rescue a dog and provide for it a wonderful home and life. But the task is not that easy. My family’s last rescue has been our greatest challenge. From the dog’s perspective, all it had seen were commands, scoldings, spritzings of water to the face, being separated from family and friends by being put outside and being forced to wear a muzzle. Why treat the dog so unkindly, you may ask? Because we love him.

Shortly after adopting our rescue, my sister-in-law came to visit. While there, the dog would not give her a moment’s peace. After repeatedly nipping at my sister-in-law, we found that the negative reinforcer of water spritzing kept the two separate. For clarification, we spritzed the dog and not my sister-in-law. We discovered that the function of his nipping behavior was that he had experienced a great deal of trauma ranging from being hit by a car, having a broken hip and being abandoned for two days. It appears that while he was wounded and abandoned, he must have been either frightened or teased by people on bikes and skateboards. His nipping was his response to being afraid. He was afraid of my sister-in-law, so he reacted by nipping at her in an attempt to keep her at bay. As she and others would visit my house, our training methods slowly helped to rescue reduce his nipping behavior.

Visits to the vet were an experience in themselves. One of our lasts visits had the vet, the technician, my wife and myself knocked around the room as we drew blood for tests, swabbed his ears with treatment and dealt with other annual health inspections. All the people heard in the waiting room was smash, bang and people being slammed against the door. Why? Because we love him.

It has been a little more than a year now since we have had him. He is much more calm and is developing into a strong, independent German Shepherd and less trauma reactive. Most people would have put him down and written him off as not salvageable. But, we saw something different. Through it all, I wonder what the dog thought? At the vet’s office, he more than likely thought we were trying to hurt him and when being trained not to nip or bite, he probably saw us as mean. But all we did was love him.

What is God trying to do in your life? As he works, how do you see him? Are you seeing his dealings as acts of love or is your perception skewed by the training experiences that he brings into your life. He is working you into what he sees you can be. Be patient and remember, he loves you.

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How Did It Happen? (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

You have heard of people who lived a terribly wicked life and then for some reason became a Christian. How did such a thing happen? Some credit it to circumstances in the individuals’ lives and in response to them, they make a turn to God hoping that things will get better. Other people attest it to a fear people have of dying and being judged for their sins. Both of these situations may be factors in their decision, but they only have a minimal impact. What brings people to God, whether it be to Christ for salvation or to the father in Heaven, is the working of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the word of God.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

It is the Holy Spirit that does a work of drawing us to God. He works through conviction, guidance, comfort, intercession, teaching, directing and overseeing our lives. His work is done in conjunction with truth or the word of God. As lost sinners, he brought truth to us by various ways. He then used that truth in our hearts to bring us to repentance and a calling out to Jesus. He continues to work upon us in that same manner. For situations that we face in our lives today, the Holy Spirit performs the same work by using the word of God. From truth and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can gain the strength that we need to face the trials and troubles.

What we must do in the midst of difficult times is continue to expose our hearts to the word of God. Without truth in our hearts, we limit the work that the Holy Spirit wants to accomplish. Sadly to say, most who struggle with trials give up. They stop exposing themselves to the word of God in the many ways that God wants to bring it to them and because of that decision, they weaken themselves and limit the Holy Spirit’s liberty working in their lives. But if we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and expose ourselves to truth through God’s word, he will accomplish the plan that he has chosen for our lives. The work is accomplished by God: our part is to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading to his precious powerful word of truth.

Fruits of Righteousness (Philippians 1:11)

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)

Have you ever felt that you cannot live the Christian life? Do you see yourself as inadequate in being able to respond to life’s problems in a spiritual manner? If so, you are right where God wants you to be.

Many believe that living the Christian life is accomplished by making up your mind to live for Christ and then do it. It may sound right, but it is far from the truth. Years ago in a bible college class, I heard a young man present an assignment on sanctification. In short, his message contained two thoughts: “I am sanctified positionally in my relationship with God. This is God’s part. Sanctifying me practically (or lifestyle) is my part.” So he believed that his position in Christ was done by God, but his work at living more holy was done by him. How far from the truth this is. It is God who sanctifies me positionally and also makes me holy. Without him, I can do nothing and will be nothing.

This passage declares that the fruit of righteousness, which God wants to see in our lives, comes by Jesus Christ. If you are at the point in your life where you recognize that you cannot live the Christian life, you are at a good point. You will only come to Christ for him to perform your practical sanctification after you have recognized your inability to accomplish it. God wants to sanctify your life and as a result receive all glory and praise.

I have a saying that I would share with people as I presented the gospel. I would tell them, “You need to stop trying and start trusting.” They needed to stop trying to get to heaven and start trusting Jesus. Along the same lines, we need to stop trying to be holy and allow Jesus to perform the work in us that we cannot do. If I do it, I am only making the outside of the cup clean, but if Jesus sanctifies my life, I will be changed from the inside out.

Ask yourself, “The fruit that people see, is it my fruit or Jesus’?”

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566