Ole Steady Dog.
That's what I say to my awesome Red Heeler every morning as I go out to see him.
He always has his tail wagging and I swear he has a smile on his face as well.
He is mostly well behaved, because Heelers are always working.
That's the reason I got him, so he could help protect the homestead. And protect it he does!
He can be heard at any time of day running out to face danger head first. This month alone he has killed one raccoon, fought with another, chased down and killed a squirrel, and has managed to get full on sprayed by a skunk. I tell you, there is nothing that he will not face down when he thinks that it is a threat to his family.
Being that a Red heeler is an Australian cattle dog, you must know that he has an affinity for the cattle farm across the street. He watches those cows intently as we make our way out of the drive, and off he goes into the pasture and scares those poor cows away from the fence. I personally used to think he did it just to show off, but as I was cutting grass last summer I noticed him trying to bite at the wheels of my mower. This wouldn't be a big deal except that the mower is a BEAST and he would lose that battle. I began to understand that he thinks the wheels are taking me away.
He is loyal, brave, and steady; willing to lay his life down to save Crystal, the kids and I. What more could you ask for?
Remember about the skunk incident? Yeah, well me too. He has literally been reeking for the last 4 weeks. It's so bad that at times I can barely bring myself to pet him on the head. But there he still sits, covered in skunk smell, smiling, waiting for me to show him love.
Isn't that just like you and I? Think about it for just a minute, we are God's children, hopelessly broken by sin. We are saved only by the grace of God Himself, by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross and be raised so that we could have the salvation that saves us from hell itself. We come to God covered in all manner of sin, (insert a billion choices here), and He loves us even though spiritually we smell like a skunk.
Stetson knows that I love him, he knows through the love I show him through feeding him, petting him, and playing with him. The one thing that Stetson doesn't like is a bath. Even when he stinks like a skunk he doesn't want a bath. It's like he wants to have this repulsive stench on him, and he knows that I will love him anyway.
How often do we thank God for feeding us, answering our prayers, and giving us grace? How about when God wants to clean up our act?
The last time that I went to give Stetson a bath, I suited up with a pair of long rubber gloves. As soon as I donned the gloves Stetson ran under the trampoline. How many times when we are apart from God do we run and hide when we sense him near? My only goal for Stetson was merely to clean him up so that I could restore my ability to play with and love on him more. God can't fellowship sin, so He wants to clean us up to restore that fellowship. He eventually came to me, but after I started to clean him he resisted. I had to literally hold him by the collar to soap him up.
It reminded me of Peter the night Jesus washed his feet. He resisted until he found out the reason Jesus was doing it, then wanted Jesus to wash his head as well. Stetson finally submitted and let me clean him up. I used a ton of soap doing it too. There he was, forty-two pounds of clean animal, I just couldn't wait till he shook himself off and was dry because I wanted to play fetch and hug on him, I had missed that. That's how God is. He wants the fellowship to be restored and to grow so that we can experience His love the way it was designed to be.
Unfortunately though, Stetson, like so many of us, ran right into the yard and began rolling in the grass and covering himself in dirt and grime.
He is a dog, and that's what they do, but the bottom line is how long is it until we get covered in the grime of sin just like before? The goal is to be more like Christ, it doesn't mean that we will not fail. When we do fail, we have a gracious Master. He is always patient, always kind, and always has our best interest at heart. In this way, and every way, He is better to us than we could ever be to anyone or anything on this earth.
I learn a lot from my dog. I learn about myself, and that my Lord is indeed the most loving master I could ever hope for. I don’t have to run from Him, and I, unlike my dog, have the choice to overcome what comes natural through God's power. I don't have to continually go back to the dirt and roll around.
How about you? What lessons do your learn from your animals?
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