Robber With A Bad Smell

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Search Me, O God"1 (Lyrics)

Revelation 3:3 – So don't forget what you have received and heard. Obey it. Change your hearts and lives! You must wake up, or I will come to you and surprise you like a thief. You will not know when I will come. (ERV)

For many years, I ran a small out-of-print bookshop from the bottom floor of my home. My training came from managing a similar business in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Shortly before I left the city, a woman about my age was murdered by a robber who came into her little shop near mine. So, when I moved away to start my own shop, I kept a Doberman behind the counter.

When a person is knowingly gearing up to do some wicked thing, their adrenaline gets high. This is a bad smell to a dog and causes its hackles to rise. On a quiet, everyday morning, just such a robber, wearing sunglasses to keep me from seeing his eyes, came into my dimly-lit shop. Even though I saw him pause to lock the door behind him, I wasn't really aware of what was happening until he came at me, left hand in his pocket, fingering a weapon (knife or gun, I never knew). Leaning on my counter, he said mockingly, "I like these little mom-and-pop operations."

He didn't see my dog. I stood there like a dummy, paralyzed, unable to believe that this was going on. My dog gave me an impatient look. "Do something, you idiot!" my return look said. "Don't you smell what's happening?" Then, shouldering me aside, she bared her teeth and sailed over the counter at him.

My would-be robber turned around hurriedly and ran to the locked door, fumbling as my dog got a firm hold on the back of his pants. Then he tore himself away and took off down the street, my dog at his heels till he was gone. Only recently did this story begin to teach me.

When we indulge in the bad-smelling actions of bitterness, anger, hatred, or pride, or when we begin seeking revenge for unkindness (calling it "standing up for ourselves") or employing sarcasm rather than humility, forgiveness, and love, then we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to let God change us into His likeness. Are we willing to accept God's help to change our response to others and thereby grow daily in the Spirit?

Romans 12:2 – Don't change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (ERV)

Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, forgive us when, through our desire to be always right, we let pride and self-will control our lives, which belong to You. Mold us into the creatures that You intend us to be, as we learn and grow in Your service today. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for a wonderful challenge.

    Thanks, Rose, for the encouragement.

    Thank you, Rose, for this important lesson.

    Thank you for this story which I really needed to hear today.

    Thanks for sharing this instructive devotional, Rose. Blessings.

    You have had many interesting experiences Rose. Thank you for sharing!

    You had a good dog Rose! Great application.

    Thank you much for being a writer.
    Your writing today was meaningful and to the point.

    Wow! Did I ever need these words today!
    Thank you, Rose, for your willingness to allow God to speak thru you.

    Wow that’s quite the story, Rose. Thanks for sharing it and the lesson that it teaches. Blessings.

    Rose: how adroitly your devotion invites me straight into the action. I look forward to more of the same throughout 2019.

    Hello Rose,
    Thanks for this devotional. Thankfully you didn’t suffer any physical injuries from that robber. What a nicer and safer world we would have if everyone followed the teaching of our Lord to be at peace with each other rather than being unforgiving and resentful.
    Blessings for your writing.

    Hi Rose,
    Today was another exceptional devotional that I enjoyed reading very much!
    It is my prayer and heart’s desire to implement into my life what you wrote in the following paragraph: “Are we willing to accept God’s help to change our response to others and thereby grow daily in the Spirit?”
    Thank you.

    Good Morning Rose,
    I always enjoy your devotions, and today brought back a long forgotten memory.
    We lived on the edge of town near a dairy farm. My wife was a small woman, but with our husky dog I never worried about leaving her alone. One day the herd of cattle from the farm got loose and started to wander in our yard “to cut the lawn for me”. Seeing the cows coming she rushed out to ‘save’ Jock the dog who was chained up.
    Friends who knew how fearsome Jock could be to strangers said they would fear for the cattle, not Jock.
    Keep up your fine writing,

    Hi Rose:
    Wow, what a story! I actually said that right out loud when I read it. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing your amazing story.
    I was with some people from church for our Book Club Meeting and I am still finding after many years that I have a difficult time relating to them. My life experiences have been so different from them. They don’t like really sharing anything deep. So, this morning I read your beautiful words and I know I can talk to God about things. It’s just that it would be nice to have someone say something about themselves and how they feel.
    I pray the good Lord blesses you Rose always and keeps you safe.
    I hope you gave that Doberman some good treats after the hard work he/she did for you.

    What a picture you painted with words!
    The comparison is so true between foul smell of bitterness, unforgiveness … and God’s way.

    Hi Rose,
    Read your devotional. I like the passage you quoted from Romans 12. Up until a few months ago, I was the volunteer president of a Seniors apartment complex as well as townhouses “Geared to income” housing. A number of town house tenants, most of them on some sort of government program, caused the staff and the board a considerable amount of grief and so often I used to tell the board and all who wanted to hear, ‘You can throw money at the problem till the world looks level, but people have to change from the inside out.” We tried so hard to look after the people and it is indeed difficult to not become cynical.
    I always enjoy your devotionals.

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