Sprawling Dog

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Listen while you read: "The Church's One Foundation"1 (Lyrics)

Ecclesiastes 4:10 – If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (NIV)

We have had a Yellow Labrador Retriever from the age of six weeks. We brought him into the house as a pet for the boys when they were little. Well, if the truth be known, it was I who wanted a Lab, as we had had a black one when growing up. Anyway, for the past fourteen years, this Lab has called this his home. The boys are now men, and the dog is aging gracefully — well, maybe not so gracefully, as the stairs are giving him some trouble. A common sound in the evening is the dog's nails clicking on the tile at the bottom of the basement stairs as he paces. He is trying to decide if it is worth it to make the climb to join us in the living room. It not an easy task for him to make the climb; he often requires help. I have noticed that, at first, he would struggle and make the climb himself; he seemed reluctant to take the help offered. Now as he paces on the tile, it is like he is saying, Okay, help me. Today, he almost made it to the first landing. Our son, who had come ahead of him, glanced back and saw the dog sprawled with his front paws on the ceramic tile and his body hugging the stairs, unable to pull himself forward. He was at risk of sliding back down the stairs. Our son called back to the dog and told him to hold on, and the dog stopped struggling and waited for him to come and help him.

Isaiah 33:2 – O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (NIV)

There are some lessons for us in this. Just as our son is fully aware of the dog's needs and always waits close by to assist if needed, Jesus is always aware of all our needs and remains near and ready to assist.

Even though the dog at times didn't seem to need the help, our son still lingered nearby and continued to offer help. Jesus often remains silent to us, allowing us to call out to Him. Yet He is always with us.

Oh, how often we have been in similar ways, not wanting to accept help, thinking that we can do it on our own! The next time we find ourselves in a situation of despair and reluctance, instead of pacing and looking for other ways to go about getting what we need, why not allow someone to help? Even better yet, be the one extending the help and grace. Let us always turn to Jesus, and allow Him to lift us from our sprawling state.

Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (NIV)

What rejoicing there is when we turn to Jesus! His hand is always extended to help us up.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all the times when You provided comfort and care in our need. We want to recognize and declare our thanks to You today. Help us to come quickly to You at all times with praise and thanksgiving. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Julie Bowles <julieanni@rogers.com>
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good one Julie, Thank you.

    Thanks for this devotional. It is so true. We also need Jesus with skin on!

    Thanks for your devotional today. Just what I needed after a really rough day.
    Thanks for writing!

    Excellent analogy and story.
    Thanks for writing and submitting it.

    Hi Julie,
    Just wanted to say Hello and to also Thank you for all your devotions. You have had quite a wonderful life.

    Good morning, Julie,
    You always know how to give me a good start for the day, and today you have done some a great job. I want to thank you for your writings. So, thank you so much for the way you share illustrations of life, turning them into spiritual encouragement for us. May the Lord continue to use you for His Kingdom.

    Thank you…lessons I have learned so far:
    1. Labs do not want to be alone!!!!!
    2. Growing old gracefully is perhaps life’s greatest challenge. (I’m over 70).
    3. If one has no faith in Jesus Christ, I wonder how does one face aging gracefully or otherwise?
    Thank you again, Julie.

    Good Morning Julie:
    What a nice family parable, such a kind message, a message showing us the loving compassion your son had for his pet friend. This story reminded me of the Parable of The Good Samaritan and it was your son who was the Samaritan, ready to assist his loyal pet whom he saw in need.
    Another lesson learned: Jesus is always aware of all our needs and remains near and ready to assist when we call upon His glorious name.
    For me, a great message, thank you.

    Julie: I love your analogy. I think I can see the standby assistance our Lord is giving my wife as she slowly ‘disappears’ from my sight from her hospital bed. Prior to admission she had periods of discomfort but those no longer exist. I believe Christ is standing by to allow her physical comfort during the few days/weeks she has left even permitting her to smile at times as I hug her.
    I am so much more comfortable with this thought trusting it was my talks with God about my wife who has accomplished so much throughout her years.
    Thanks, Julie, for your Devotional that has given me the basis to express my thoughts during the sorrow I face, joining so many others under the same or similar circumstances.

    Oh how I can relate!
    I really enjoyed your devotional as it reminds me so much of my own dog. It also reminds me of God’s help.
    We are involved in prison ministry and that is the one thing we emphasize with the men — that God is there. All they have to do is turn to him and he will help them.
    Thank you and God bless.

    The devotional was well analogized with Scripture. Well done Julie.
    God Bless.

    Thanks, Julie,
    What a timely devotion for us as my husband had bi-pass surgery today. We are also dog lovers and the senior years are not always “golden” for us or the animals.
    We are inspired by your devotionals.

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