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Listen while you read: "How Firm A Foundation"1 (Lyrics)
Leviticus 19:33-34 – When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (NIV)
I have dogs. My daughter has cats. We each have our own house, but we share the same property. My dogs have thus not grown up with her cats, and her cats have not grown up with my dogs. So, when the dogs go up to the big house with me from time to time, there is bound to be a little excitement.
The dogs know that the cats are in the house, as they have seen them through the windows. They are therefore immediately on high alert looking for them. The cats, being cats, have no intention of allowing these interlopers to be boss in their territory. In the end, a chase is the inevitable result. One of the dogs will begin to chase one or more of the cats, but then, the cats will often turn on the dogs and go after them. There is a lot of barking and hissing and even some snapping from a distance, because each creature is afraid of the other ones. They see each other as posing a threat to their existence as they know it, for they are different from one another, and they find this disconcerting.
I have learned from experience, however, that when cats and dogs spend enough time together, they not only get to know one another, but they also discover that they have nothing to fear, and they usually become great friends, even protectors of each other.
Similarly, when new people move into our neighbourhoods, towns, and nations, taking the time to get to know them is very important. God calls us to treat strangers well. We are not to seek to chase them away by means of our words or actions, but to love them as God loves.
We are to love them as ourselves. We are to welcome them and make them feel at home. Their culture, customs, and language, even their skin and looks, may vary greatly from our own. This may even be disconcerting at first, but we are all people created in the image of God. We are all people whom Christ loves and died for so that we could become one body of believers, reconciled to God, and living in peace one with another.
Whom might God be encouraging you to welcome into your life today?
Prayer: Father God, thank You that mankind, each and every one of us, has been created in Your image. Help us to love one another as You have loved us through Christ Jesus our Lord, that our world may live more and more at peace one with another as You desire us to be. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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To this devotional this I say AMEN!
Thank you for this beautiful example.
Excellent thoughts, Lynne, and well expressed. Thanks for the food for thought.
Thanks Lynne – met more in hospital of “mankind” than ever before! “Welcome the stranger” indeed!
Good morning, Lynne,
Thank you for your devotional over the years.
Thank you, Lynne. Great example of how we’re to treat one another. My daughter has cats and my son has dogs, so I get to see how both operate–vastly different!
Lynne, you write such word pictures! What a great way to help us remember the difference it can make to get to know our ‘neighbours’ and to treat them as Christ does, with love, care, and compassion.
Wow! Good one! Not that the others aren’t. When our current dog arrived a few years ago, in her previous life, she chased squirrels. Our cat is a black Persian with a long fluffy tail. There was a lot of chasing, etc. Now they sleep on the couch together. Well, apart but together.
Good morning my friend in Christ,
This is so true and when a person gets to see the transformation from a threat to a friend it is amazing and heartwarming. The same when someone says no to Christ and thanks to the Holy Spirit they change their mind and accept Christ, it is so amazing and beyond heartwarming. One of scriptures used below is one used today in “Jesus Today”…from Joshua 1 v9.
Have a blessed day!
Oh Lynne, I just opened my devotionals and was delighted to see it was one of your writings. I always enjoy reading your submissions as you have a special way of correlating actions or happenings with your pets with our everyday life activities. Yes, it is so important that we reach out to others, especially new people in our community and show them the type of love and care that our Lord shares with us.
Blessings for your very special and most meaningful writings and may you enjoy an uplifting day watching the interactions of the dogs and kitty cats.
Good morning, Lynne,
Great message with a very unique way of illustrating the importance of getting to know and to understand others. I noticed your use of the word “fear”. I had not related that to why people do not accept others. It does make sense because you might fear they are taking away jobs, or fear that they won’t like you, or fear that they have different beliefs. It gives me something to ponder about my own thoughts.
As I join in your prayer to start my day, I thank you for continuing to inspire others to be a good and thoughtful Christian through many examples of everyday life with your animals and grandchildren. Blessings.
Loving your neighbor….well, in Texas we are struggling with that. You probably know about our more-or-less open border. As people of God we feel compassion for these folks; however, my friend lives in Brownsville, Texas, which is close to the border of Mexico. Three or four years ago she told me that there have always been illegal crossings of the border but now the quality of people is different. She and her neighbors used to keep the doors unlocked, etc. Not any more do they do that. Guns are prevalent…and, of course, there are those who just want a better life. One more inscrutable problem about which we pray.
As for dogs and cats… our dog and cat tolerate each other. The cat came to live with us about a year ago. The dog is a sweetheart. He sniffed, barked a couple of times, and decided the cat was not of interest to him.
Thank you for your thought-provoking devotional. Easier for me to love the neighbors, new and old, in the country! The immigration situation is challenging.
Thank you, Lynne, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today.
Praise God for cats and dogs! Blessings.
This is a very important message. Living in Toronto, I greet neighbors with a smile, a wave as we don’t share the same language, but we are all God’s children.
Thanks, Lynne. We enjoyed your devotion. Those cats must get outside sometimes and a video would be interesting!
Keep well and look forward to spring.