Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Love To Tell The Story"1 (Lyrics)
One Friday, a work colleague spoke to me regarding a stray dog which she had found on the grounds of her church the previous Sunday. I thought, Perhaps the dog was left by the owner who didn't want to care for it. The colleague was looking for someone to befriend the animal. Since I had always wondered what it would be like to have a dog, I volunteered to take the dog home, which turned out to be quite a challenge. However, I was told that if for any reason things didn't work out, the finder of the dog said that she would take the dog back.
The dog was small, very scruffy, and with long, black hair. Its appearance made it very difficult to ascertain its breed. All of a sudden, I became a proud owner, scheduling an appointment with a posh pet groomer in a nearby upscale community. It was determined by the groomer that my pet was a male. I left the establishment with a fine-looking poodle with a beautiful red ribbon in his hair!
What followed was close to being horrendous! The disgusting behaviours of the dog were unimaginable to me. Whether during the process of going for a walk or attempting to adjust to the environment, he caused such a mess both inside and outside of the house. He got into the closet and chewed up my favourite slippers, and strewed newspapers all over the house. I was in a constant state of being frazzled. To top it all off, when I returned to work on Monday, the dog barked all day, which caused a neighbour to present me with a note full of unfriendly remarks and ultimatums in my mailbox. Although I'd never had a chance to name my dog, this nicely groomed poodle and I had to part.
This occurrence brought to mind the Scripture where Jesus was speaking to His disciples and the multitudes:
Matthew 23:27-28 – How horrible it will be for you, experts in Moses' Teachings and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed graves that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity. So on the outside you look as though you have God's approval, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (GWT)
Taking a stray animal, which had most likely been neglected, and making him look presentable on the outside, did nothing to improve him on the inside. This is much like our lives as Christians. Although we can dress ourselves up on the outside, our hearts are often not attuned or brought into a harmonious or responsive relationship to our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us consider our relationship with the Lord by praying with the psalmist:
Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (ASV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to examine our hearts for attitudes that prevent us from having pure motives in what we say and do. Reveal to us how we should present ourselves so that others will know that we are children of God. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Good analogy Parise and so true.
A strong and delightful piece of writing.
Great picture for each of us — inside and out!!
That’s a big amen sister!
Good thing the Lord has more patience with us than you had with that little dog. (Just kidding!) I enjoyed your story – it was a great analogy. In agreement with your prayer, may the Lord open our hearts that we may see ourselves through His eyes.
Oh Parise I truly enjoyed this devotional. I loved the fact you took this stray in, that you never had a dog. How awesome the dog looked with the “red” bow. To the sadness of having to pray with him. I am so grateful that God gave you this opportunity, it will bless many people. What a wonderful testimony for the unsaved. God bless you.
Good word Parise. Obviously you learned a lot from this situation. Dog behaviour and managing it can be quite a science. I had to laugh when I read about the dogs behaviour which sounds like perfectly normal behaviour from a dog in such a situation! Hopefully the dog found a good home in the end.
What a surprise this AM to read your new devotional.
You are so right. You can look good on the outside and be dark on the inside. I know that there is a lot of this in all our churches. We need to look inside first and when that is corrected, the outside will shine very bright.
Thanks again, continue to let our Lord use your talents for His good.
The story of the dog was going so great that I got so curious as to what did you eventually did with the little fellow.
Moreover this is so true of us that we all pretend to be what we are not at times and tend to judge the book by it’s cover when we are no better.
This is sad because we see it even in our churches, in fact, all around us.
Your devotion is very inspiring and I thank you for it.
Yesterday when I was in a local grocery store I met a young lady (my checker) who bore your name. I asked where she was from and she said Iran. Isn’t amazing of where we are allowed travel and learn. I was not raised in a Christian family but now I have been a Christian for over 30 years.
The thought for today below your devotional:
Opportunity is often missed because it looks like work.
I have also become the care giver for a young dog and so far have spent many dollars caring for her. I call her Poppy as she came to live with me close to Remembrance Day in November. I feel there are many many unspoken, unwritten lessons still within the piece you wrote and wonder how our experience with our rescue dogs compares to God’s experience with us/with me. I will keep trying and am sad that you found you could not keep your little fella.
Thank you for your prayer and lesson here.
Thank you for today’s devotional. Rarely would I ever actually write when I disagreed with a devotional thought, and though I know you had the best of intentions, and I get the point you are making, one needs only look further down the page at the “Thought for today” which states “Opportunity is often missed because it looks like work”. While I know it would have taken a considerable amount of work to change the little dog’s behavior, you perhaps missed a beautiful opportunity to have a loving, loyal companion in that dog, which also would have changed the devotional, to illustrate that rather than discard those who are “pretty on the outside but not on the inside”, we need to change the inside as well. Just my thoughts. I do appreciate yours.
Parise, As a dog lover and owner, I can sympathize with adopting a ‘rescued’ animal. They always come with baggage, just as we do when we come to Christ who not only cleans us up on the outside but washes us clean through and through. Thanks for writing and reminding us of that. Blessings.
What a sad, disappointing message! Where would we all be if, instead of treating us with love and patience and trying to help us become better people God got rid of us as soon as we showed our imperfections, especially if those imperfections were most likely the result of neglect and/or abuse?