“When others condemn, Christ stands fast. When others moan, He who is Mightier than all, prays.
Be as He who is on high. Give praise to everything. Rejoice in times of peril, for He is with you. Cling to Him for He shall guard and protect.
Do not subject yourself to the cruelties of evil, for you are a child of the King. By His authority you have immense power and stature. Stand tall in the face of satan and he will depart.
Let not others dictate what is to be, for He on high is the Master of all, even the lowest of lowest.
He shall guide your steps so remain solidly planted on His foundation.
God, O’ Mighty God, let there be peace in all nations and all people’s. In Jesus name, I ask.”
This past Friday, the Atlanta, Georgia area got an early December surprise, SNOWFALL! I realize that people in other climates are used to frequent snow so it doesn’t make the headlines like it does down in the southern part of the U.S. But in our area, where it’s not unusual to have several years with no frozen precipitation at all, a dusting of snow is cause for lots of attention (especially from the suddenly self-important meteorologists). Normally here, the weather forecasters see themselves as radar-reading prophets as they herald impending doom and traffic jams anytime there’s the slightest possibility for the white stuff, but this time there was barely a mention of it, let alone accurately predicting the 6 to 8 inches that blanketed some areas of the city.
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I hardly know where to begin on this “rainy day in Georgia” to explain a moment of enlightenment straight from the Throne Room of Heaven.
While watching the last few minutes of a Hallmark Christmas movie on the TV, my little dog, Sassy, insisted on joining me for a scratch and a warm place on my lap to curl up and sleep. We enjoyed her request and my mind started remembering a statement given to me recently about this little dog. “The bonding between you and that little dog is remarkable.”
Why was this comment profound in my mind? You see, Sassy, is a little 8 ½ pound rescue dog. No personal knowledge on our part of her life prior to her coming to be part of our family, but the results of that life was evident to all that came in contact with her. She was a Survivor!! She was skin and bones. Had been given a good grooming and we were told she was matted to the skin, full of oil and grease. She had a fondness for parked cars and hiding beneath them. She snarled, and broke out in defense mode whenever there was any indication on her part she was about to be hurt. Fearful of everything around her and she sharpened her teeth quite often on human flesh. No one would have her, except us. Several had tried, which is why she was groomed, but they ran out of time, and patience and she was discarded and the days were being counted off for her removal from this earth. She was headed back to a shelter that would keep her only a short time. She was very much in the snarl and bite mode, who would want her?
It took 3 years and today she is curled up in my lap, sleeping. That statement about our bonding started rolling around in my head and a question came to mind. How, if said to me again, would I answer it today? The one asking the question had observed our little bundle of fun in the beginning days and was making a today observation.
A today observation, hmmm, “Father how would I respond?” My communication door had been opened and Father started speaking to me in that wonderful, calming, soft voice that I have grown to love. “She, my child, is not unlike you humans. You are all so loved by Me and yet such a daily challenge. Just like she was hiding under cars, man hides behind many things not as obvious as her hiding places but hides just the same. And the hiding places are a result of fear. What, this day, are you fearing? How are you any different than our little friend nestled in your lap?”
I thought about that question and He discussed my thoughts with me. I agreed with the change in her and then was asked another question. “What are you running from and where are you wanting to get to?” Another question only He can ask and one I will listen to. I don’t often ask that question of myself as I scurry from one needed project to another and try to care for those around me. Little dog Sassy showed signs of doing a great deal of running. She was very hungry, lost and not sure of a destination but running hard to find something different and hopefully better than where she was. Initially she was watched to great lengths as we did not want to have her try to escape the home we were trying to provide because we had learned that she not only was needing shelter and love, food for her worn out body and soul, but she was also very sick.
Three days after she came to us, she started having serious Epileptic seizures and they were serious beyond anything we had ever seen. A week in the doggie hospital resulted with a discharge of “Maybe.” Doc, at the time, did not hold out much hope for her survival let alone her having years to function and be happy. At this point all seemed so against her. Personal tears flowed for something so small and innocent and so terribly abused by humans that were created to care for the animals. Love, care, sharing and happy days had been taken from her and all she knew was pain, hurt, great grief and unbelievable fear.
Discussion continued between Father and me and answers on my part started coming forth. Like all of us, there are pockets of lacking emotions in all of our lives that may have once been there and tragic moments in life either destroyed or were never recognized. Sometimes those hurts and lacking have a way of truly destroying today and tomorrow. But, an example of something He was trying to tell me was curled up in my lap!!
I found myself being more and more quiet and more and more in the listening mode. “Father, there is a message here in our discussion and I have a strong belief this is a message of importance, at least to me.”
His response back to me was slow coming and I determined that was preparation for my giving Him my full attention. I waited and I listened. He then spoke, “Child, what has happened between the then and now of this little dogs life? Name steps along the way where you remember change in her and what was taking place to cause that change.”
Out came the Kleenex once again and I was beginning to see where I thought He was going with our conversation and I could not believe before my opening eyes what He was teaching me and the door He was opening before me. His timing is so “on time” and I so want to sharpen my awareness edge in my life to not miss His timing. Here I sat, in my own home, quiet and safe from the changing season outside and a cold rain to receiving a message straight out of the Throne Room of Heaven.
I chattered like a small child excited about a new direction and that child having a small piece of insight heads out with strong emotion and a lot of “I see, I see, Lord”. Well, like that little child I quote, in His world “I see” little!
However, His grace gave me the freedom to tell Him what I was seeing and where He wanted me to go. Of course I was pretty much wrong, but that was OK with Him because He was going to straighten my thinking out. No time to waste with my personal insights I so easily grabbed and started telling Him about, with much wisdom and assurance, of myself. As I said above, I was pretty much not as far on board as I thought.
He showed me patience and love. Kind of like that Fatherly pat on the head.
Then we got down to the message for the day. “Child, I too care, watch over, and love. I love way beyond anything you can even imagine. You have heard a statement for many years about being able to know My love for humankind and most particularly how much more love there is to tap when you are one of Mine. Now, True love requires abandonment. True love requires trust, True love requires commitment. True love wants to be with one another. True love wants to share. Examples of True Love are many but are you starting to realize just a little what I am speaking to you about?”
“Yes, Lord, I do.” “Sorry, child, not sure you do. I have not given you a beginning list of things necessary for you to have a relationship with Me. Understand this!! I am telling you the opposite. These are some of the ways I LOVE YOU. All that is necessary from you is acceptance. Your little dog asleep on your lap has now accepted the love provided to her in her home. Accept, child, that no matter where you are, no matter what you are confronted with, no matter what happens in this fallen world, you cannot get away from My love for you any more than that little dog can. She is healing from her days of abuse. She is being cared for and all she knows is she feels better and that the old days and her ugly past are not here today. Your love for her is solid. So is Mine! She is accepting more and more each day the love provided to her in the home she lives in. You and your husband show her what her life can really be while with you and I show what your life can be for Eternity with Me. How is there any difference between relationship with that little dog and relationship with Me? It all starts with Love and it all ends with Love. There is no measure of dialed in acceptance of love and you are done. No way to see that you measure up. No way to cause you envy when you see others further down the path than you are. All this Love thing needs to super charge your life is acceptance!!! The defiled world about you can cause ugliness. I can give the very self-same world beauty and hope. Sassy just accepts!”
It takes a bit of time to get over a gut wrenching. I went back to the statement given to me by an observer. “The bonding between you and that little dog is remarkable.” Is bonding with the Almighty beyond your understanding? Is it a foreign language to you? Are the horrible cares of this world tearing at you and you find yourself wanting to scream, “God, where are You?” Are you wanting to find a parked car of your own to hide under? Are you so like me filled with “yes, but”? And, oh, so many more mountains of questions. How would I answer my question today. I would gently scratch behind the ears of the little one asleep on my lap and smile and say, “She just learned to accept.”