Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Scent of Puppy-Breath

Proverbs 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

This week our family was blessed to get a new GoldenDoodle puppy named Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement.” Yes we had ours on order long before President-elect Obama thought of getting one. We like to think we're "trend-setters" now. It has been a long time since we've had a puppy in the home, but it doesn't take long to be reminded why. It's like having a toddler and infant all rolled up into one cute fuzzy energetic package.

This precious little toot is in constant expeditionary mode, seeking that which he can destroy or "mark" as his very own territory. But of course he does so in a very gangly-but-cute gait-then-squat sort of way. Only puppies and babies can bring the “Oh, isn’t that cute?” observation to excretory exclamation. When he’s older it won’t be so cute. “Wait! That’s my rug!” Visions of Toby come to mind.

Some of our friends came over to see him the day after we picked him up. We sat him in 4 year old Jack's lap only to witness young lad Barnabas excitedly “bladder baptize” poor Jackson. I'm pretty sure Jack doesn't share the same high opinion of Mr. Barnabas as we do now.

So we have to be ever mindful of such things as electrical cords, shoes, and even our steps as puppy is ever-present beneath our feet.
What a wonderful picture of how we should be in our pursuit of the Father. (Suffer the little children unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Luke 18:16)

One phenomenon that I have yet to grasp though is this notion that “puppy breath” is a pleasing experience. My wife, one of my daughters, and one of my sisters all proudly proclaim the virtues of puppy-breath. I don’t get it. It has the aroma of dog food and feces, and for good reason!

I am currently working the 2:30 pm-to-somewhere in-the-middle-of-the-night-shift. When I get home, Barnabas and I do the dark-thirty test-of-the-wills dance in the backyard to ensure his crate training is up to date. Most nights, he’s pretty compliant, but some nights it can be a real challenge.

Our current ritual is that the rest of the family take care of his needs in the morning and then most days they put him in bed with me when they leave. So guess who gets to experience the puppy breath blessing up close and personal? Ed Zachary. Mois. I still don’t get it totally, but there is an odor of innocence about it.

When Barnabas crawls up on my pillow and snuggles up next to me, I am again reminded of the need to protect the innocent, watch out for the na├»ve, reach out to the fragile, and be patient with each “mistake” they make. God brings me puppies periodically to continue MY crate training.

When I feel “boxed-in” and I want to howl and whine and be all about me, I can rest assured it is for my benefit. The waiting, then anxiety, the restlessness is washed away when I realize “playtime” is (He) is coming. I can also exhale in His face with the understanding He loves me and embraces my temporary halitosis.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

So who among you all likes puppy breath?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Valley of Decision

Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

I have wrestled with sharing this “politically” flavored subject in this space as I really want to use this blog to encourage build the Body of Christ, yet today I find there must be a voice added to the outcry against the deception taking place in both the church and society as a whole.

As I sit here typing away on my laptop, millions of people are voting today to determine who will be the next leader of the United States of America. I chuckle and mourn at the term "united" as we are anything but. Such is the climate of a very diverse society. We have traded the notion of E Pluribus Unum for E Unum Pluribus.

We have "diversity councils" and "affirmative action" and "minority initiatives" all trumpeting the virtues of our differences. We can't even decide on what official language to speak. Does the tower of Babel come to mind? Who is the author of confusion today? So as we plummet headlong into the extreme whole makeover of our government, I have a few things to say to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom of God, and our allegence should be to our King above all else. How anyone could choose a "party" over our principals is beyond my ability to comprehend. You are hereby given notice our God does not sleep but watches closely his children and the citizens of His government.

Many of you who call yourselves “Christians” seem poised to cast your vote for a candidate that stands in direct opposition to the scriptural principals you profess to uphold. I know of many “brothers” who are gleeful at the prospect of an Obama presidency, and the messianic message and aura he has tried to project.

It indeed appears that Barack Obama will be our next "president." I put that in quotes because of his many stated positions that are patently anti-American and decidedly "unconstitutional." I have been following politics since 1968 (I was 8 years old). Since that time the cultural war has been in full engagement, and many of his ideas that were once deemed radical, are now being sold by the media as “mainstream.”

Being the political junkie that I am, I have never seen a more hateful and bitter candidate than Obama. He is prone to arrogance and incitement of the worst within his followers even encouraging them to"...sharpen your elbows and get in their faces." So Barack Obama - henceforth will be referred to simply as B.O. because I think his ideas and persona have the rotten odor of the flesh.

Consider the following truths and comments that were glossed over by the "arbiters of truth" as you witness the masses standing in the valley of decision:

So given the dynamics of the political landscape, and the propensity of mankind to look to the flesh for comfort and provision, it is no doubt a foregone conclusion that we are about to embark on a tumultuous journey with dire consequences.

Proverbs 6:16-19
16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

He who sows to the flesh reaps from it destruction. Our country is poised to choose one who seems bent toward all of these qualities; the things that Proverbs tells us that God hates. Our job as sons and daughters of the Kingdom is to intercede for our nation that it will repent and have the spiritual awakening it so desperately needs. We will be the hospital to pick up the pieces as the civilian and spiritual war rages.