Total Dependence

Sheba in CarrierYour enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour…[but] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  1 Peter 5:8b & John 10:27-28

Without me, Sheba would be in big trouble; lost, alone, starving, too hot or too cold, or even dead; because, considering where we live, a coyote would most likely have her for dinner. In fact, four of them rushed us one night when we were just outside our front gate, and had Sheba not been on a leash so I could pull her to safety she would’ve been gone.

I am also totally dependent on my master.  Without Him I too would be lost, alone, starving and dead—Satan would ‘have me for dinner’.  I would have nothing; no peace, love, or joy; and, especially important, there would be no everlasting life with my Father.  With Him, I am truly safe.

I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.  Psalm 92:2


Sheba on grass

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not only look to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

Kevin has a poster—perhaps you’ve seen one like it—a cute little pug wearing a crown, quite obviously a queen.  In fact, we often refer to our pug as the ‘Queen of Sheba’ because it sure seems as if she’d like to rule our home!  She even gets away with it occasionally because she’s so cute that it’s sometimes hard to say no.  But in reality, though she may think she’s in charge, it’s an inflated perception of who she is.  While her apparent desire is to do whatever she wants, regardless of time or place, as if she were royalty; the truth is that when she misbehaves or does something unwise, we stop her.

How often do I act this way?  Wanting to be the queen of my life, insisting on what I think is best, trying to rule over others, perhaps even expecting them to treat me special.  How often do I try to manipulate things in order to get my way, attempting to manage my own life without anyone else’s assistance?

The more I focus on myself and on what I may get out of a given situation, the more likely I am to make a big mess of things.  Oh, there may be some successes, but they’re likely to be outweighed by the failures: the poor decisions, the hurt feelings (my own or others), the feelings of rejection when I don’t receive the attention or respect I think I’m due, the disappointments when something I’ve planned doesn’t turn out to be as perfect or meaningful as I’d thought it would be.

What a difference when I climb down off of my throne and recognize God as the true ruler of my life; when I abdicate to him; when I surrender all.  Then I receive all of the things I’ve tried so hard to make happen: joy and peace, acceptance, answered prayers, results far better than anything I could design. Just as Sheba receives more from us when she is being sweet and submissive, so I receive more when I submit to God: more love, more power, more of Him in my life.  And the neat thing is, I really am royalty, for I’m a child of the King of Kings!

How Shall We Pray?

BibleWhen Jesus walked the earth, his disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, and He responded by giving them the Lord’s Prayer.

Today, God still shows us how to pray, and such direction may occur in many ways; it may be a still small voice, an impression, a thought, a dream or vision–whatever way He chooses to speak to us.

This morning, I got up pondering a dream I’d just had in which it was obvious that someone was plotting against me.  As I prayed about what it meant, the Lord quickly showed me who it is and what is happening.  I asked Him how I should pray because He is the only one who could possibly intervene in the situation, and I remembered that in my dream there had been a reference to Psalms.  I knew then, that I was to pray as David prayed, and was led to Psalm 35 and 59. I wrote the prayer in my journal:

Lord, I choose to bless this person who is coming against me, for You have told us to bless our enemies.  But Lord, I now pray your scriptures:

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Psalm 35:1

Kill them not, lest my people forget;
make them totter by your power and bring them down,
O Lord, our shield!
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,
consume them in wrath;
consume them till they are no more,
that they may know that God rules over Jacob
to the ends of the earth.  Psalm 59:11-13

As soon as I finished writing, The Lord impressed me to go back and pray out loud the entire text of the two chapters.  I did, and almost immediately I heard these slightly re-arranged words from Psalm 23 :

Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me in the presence of my enemies
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

As I pondered what had just happened, the Lord also impressed me that these are the prayers I am to offer for our country tomorrow, the National Day of Prayer.  It is a welcome instruction, because to say that our nation needs God’s intervention ranks right up there with the biggest understatements ever made, and I’ve about run out of the words to pray.

Please consider how the Lord wants you to pray, and join with others across the nation and around the world to pray for the USA.  We need Him desperately!

Honoring My Mom on Her First Mother’s Day in Heaven

Mom's Final Slide

My mother went home to Heaven on August 18, 2014.  In her honor, as we approach Mother’s Day 2015, I’d like to share one of the last things she experienced while still here with us.

About a week before Mom died she saw a party going on.  It was a heavenly celebration, and she described everyone there as being very excited and happy. As we questioned her about the details, she described decorations—like banners or balloons—and recognized faces of loved ones who had gone before.  I asked what the party was for, thinking she would say it was a welcome-home celebration for her, but her answer was quite a surprise!

“It’s a big party for all of the people who were saved today, and I’m going!”

Well, she didn’t get to go for about another week, but her vision of the spiritual reality confirmed the scriptural truth that:photo 4.10.53 PM

…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15:7

Phony Fear

Kev & Sheba

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.  Proverbs 29:25

Funny thing about Sheba; she’s always been afraid of other pugs.  Either that, or else she just doesn’t want anything to do with them.  But put her up against a Doberman or a Rottweiler and she’ll most likely wag her tail and want to play.

The first time we noticed this we had taken her to a large gathering of pugs in a local park—a pug convention.  It was funny to watch as she pulled on her leash, desperately trying to get away from every other pug that we encountered.

Later we noticed that she would even shy away from her own reflection in a mirror, apparently thinking it was another pug.

On another occasion, we were camping and a couple came by with a pug puppy, only 6 weeks old and cuter than cute!  Sheba was not a happy camper; all she wanted to do was get away from that puppy who, held securely in its master’s arms, didn’t even resemble a threat.  She barked and whined and pulled on her leash, trying to get us to walk away.  But maybe she wasn’t afraid; maybe she was just jealous; maybe she thought we’d like some other pug better than her; maybe she wasn’t secure in the love we had for her.  Perhaps she didn’t know that she is priceless and that no other pug could ever replace her in our hearts—that we could never trade her for another.

Am I ever like that?  So insecure in my relationship with God that I’m threatened by others who are similar to me?  Am I afraid a co-worker is going to do a better job, or jealous of another Christian who has a bigger ministry?  Am I threatened because I think another person is better looking, or smarter, or more talented?  Do I try to escape the presence of those who make me uncomfortable?  Am I plagued by phony fears?

Perhaps what I really need to do is learn to accept who I am, the person God made me to be.  Perhaps I need to accept his love and the assurances in his word that I am special and unique.  Perhaps…just perhaps.