Scripture

2 Kings 18:31-32 (NIV)

31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!

Observation

Since moving up to Sacramento I’m able to spend a lot of time with my brother’s dogs. We get up each day and spend time working out, playing, and walking in the yard. Compared to a lot of other dogs, these ladies have it made. There’s the huge yard, rivaling those of rural Maryland where I grew up, with enough trees to have an ample supply of sticks and shade. In addition to the large yard, the dogs have, not one, but three dog houses, one of which has an upstairs with a ramp leading up to it. Instead of one large container for water, they have three, one of which I move around for them depending on the weather outside. As for toys, they have loads.

However, despite all the comfortable things that the dogs have and their access to me, a daily playmate, they sometimes do bad things. Foxy and Blue, the 8-month-old husky mixes, and Molly, a pit-bull terrier mix who is much older, are good dogs. My brother got Foxy and Blue last year when Molly’s mate, Max, a mixed retriever, passed away. The dogs have one job, for the most part, that’s to bark at strangers and deter them from climbing over the fence and coming into the yard. In other words, do what dogs already do. For this role, they are called “guard dogs.” The other task that they have is to obey.

The Lord’s shown me a lot about myself during the time that I’ve been able to spend with the dogs. He’s given me a picture of what it means to draw closer to Him while He draws closer to me. Most often when I’m at one end of the backyard and the dogs are at the other end. I’ll call them, they see me, light up, and run towards me, often stopping short, as if they’ve gotten bored with the process. God’s shown me that, as I run towards Him, He’s running towards me with His arms open wide. I’m trying to model this behavior with the dogs, and the people, in my life.

Last week, when Molly managed to push through a layer of the fence and squeeze out through the secondary fence, disregarding me calling to her to stop, God reminded me that I’m not that different. Molly, enticed by evil squirrels, thought it would be better outside the safety of the fence, into another yard. She pranced and danced as I called to her through the fence, after she got out, knowing that she was doing a bad thing, but enjoying the freedom that she thought she had. Until she left that yard and headed towards the busy road. When I was able to get to her she practically jumped into my arms and didn’t squirm once on the way back home.

We’re not that different than Molly. God gives us everything that we need and often more. He puts His arms around us, sheltering us from the Evil One, and yet we hear sin’s whisper, telling us that we’ll be blessed, have freedom, we’ll live and not die, and sometimes, we believe. Even though we hear the Father’s call, we’ll disregard Him to do our own thing. When we turn back, He’s faithful. He picks us up, holds us and we know, in His arms, we’re going to be okay.

Although God is faithful we don’t want to be like Molly. When we’re approached by sin, that so easily entangles, we don’t want to run forward anyway, believing that God will bring us back. We never want to presume that God’s mercy, which is new each day (Lamentations 3:23), is going to be the same every day. We have enough unintentional sin in our lives, holding us back, that we don’t need to exacerbate it through deliberate rebellion.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.