Sunday, August 31, 2014

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Yesterday morning, Frank caught and killed a bird.  Tilly wanted the bird.  There was a fight.  This happened:
Poor Frank.  Poor Sparrow.  Poor me who had a phone call and three kennel appointments at the same time a bloodied cat was running through the kitchen.

Fortunately, the bite didn't hit his eye (though it was close) and he stopped bleeding quickly.  In fact, things returned to normal pretty quickly.  Except for the sparrow.  It was dead.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care."  (Matthew 10:29 NIV)

This verse inspired a popular gospel song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" with the line "And I know He watches me."

When I am distressed, I remember this verse.  So much of life is confusing and beyond my understanding.  God understands.

"His eye is on the sparrow."

No wonder the song was popular among African Americans struggling in post-Civil War America.  Struggling with feeling hated and insignificant, the words were a comfort in the big picture of life.

"And I know He watches me."

As our world gets smaller and we hear of every atrocity happening, we get overwhelmed and experience compassion fatigue from the non stop tragedies and injustice.

"His eye is on the sparrow."

Today, you may feel lost in the universe.  That no one cares about your problem.

"His eye is on the sparrow."

Need more proof?  Further on in the book of Matthew, chapter ten, Jesus adds "Surely you are worth more than a sparrow."

And we are.  Despite our mess, the Lord looks at His people as the crown of creation.

Pick up your crown (or tiara) and wear it, knowing that God has His eye on you. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Going Home

Vacation is wonderful.  The fun, the relaxation, and often a lot of delicious food makes us all look forward to time away from The Grind of our "ordinary" life.  Most everyone is happy when they are on vacation.

When owners come back from their trips to pick up their dog(s), EVERY dog is ecstatic to see their owner and go HOME.  Case in point:  Brutus
Isn't that a great picture?

Probably just over half of the dogs that stay at the kennel treat it like puppy camp.  They play, they get special treats, they play, they get special treats.  But more than anything, they want to be home and be with their people.

And as fabulous and distracting as vacation is, life is meant to be lived in the ordinary.  When we return to home, to laundry, to bills, we truly reveal our character. 

The Lord loves our vacation selves, but He also loves our ordinary selves.  He cares about the details that drive us crazy.  He can provide the power and wisdom we so often need to push through what can be drudgery, or simply "not fun."

Now that most people are on "back to school" schedules, we return to our ordinary life and our ordinary selves.  Make it a good one.  If you find that difficult, call on the One who makes the ordinary extraordinary, and often supernatural.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Not Getting This One Back

This is Tyson (hi Tyson!).  During Tyson's recent stay at the kennel, he found one of Tilly's toys while we were out for a walk around the yard.
Once he picked it up, he didn't want to let it go.

Tilly saw him.  I don't know if she realized this was her ball, since she'd been "waiting" in the kennel with the other dogs who were out stretching their legs.  However, Tyson would not drop the ball.  Eventually, I distracted him with a particularly tempting treat.  Tilly had her ball back but Tyson was without.  He had a toy from home, but you know how that is....

We don't want what we have because we are busy wanting what someone else has.  The whole "grass is greener" syndrome.  Covet, covet, covet!

Is the reason that God tells us not to covet because He wants to control us or because He knows that spending time and energy wanting something else can destroy us?  I'm betting on the latter.  When I am busy focusing on the "perfect" thing/relationship/job/etc. someone else has gratefulness flies out the window.  What about what God's current provision?  Can I be thankful for it?  And is it really much better?  Who's with me.....anyone else have this lack of reflection and gratefulness?

Like Tyson, we often can't pick up the blessing that is ours because we are busy holding onto the idea of what SHOULD be ours.  Let it go.  Wait, I think there's a song in there somewhere.

"Drop it!" 

Then pick up something better.  Pick up what God has given you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Water Everywhere, but not a Drop to Drink

Fresh potable water is vital to human, animal, and plant life.
Summer is a busy time in the kennel, and occasionally the water in my own pets' water bowls is low as I'm focused on the paying customers' bowls.  If this is the case, a certain bossy cat named Olive (who is also a little senile) brings it to my attention with very low, insistent yowls.
Perhaps I should be grateful that I have a "helper" to remind me of my duties.  Mostly, it's just annoying.

Yet we all need water.  If  you live or were passing through Toledo the first weekend in August, it was a little scary as people were without safe water.  Suddenly, we all appreciate the necessity of it.  It was so easy to get before, open the tap, water fills the glass, you're set.  Suddenly, this wasn't the case.  Speaking of "case", cases of water were gone within hours of the notice.  Restaurants closed for the day, even the Zoo was unable to open.

We take water for granted.  I don't know about you, but I do the same thing to Jesus.  Yes, Jesus.  I was fortunate enough to grow up with the knowledge of him always in the background of my childhood.  When I went through religiously affiliated junior high, high school, and college, I still thought about him - I mean, it wasn't like he was going anywhere.

But then I had a crisis.  I realized I needed the Living Water that Jesus called himself.  I needed refreshment from pain, and I needed the life-sustaining flow of the rescue only Jesus could provide.  I took Jesus for granted.  Fortunately, realizing my mistake and repenting, I found Jesus was right there, waiting as I ran to him.

Since then, I don't take Jesus for granted.  Every day I remind myself of the thirst only Jesus can quench.

As I write this, the rain falls, refreshing the plants and crops that need it for growth.  The farmers don't take rain for granted.  The people in Toledo don't take drinking water for granted.  And we should all remember (or find out for the first time), how only Jesus offers us the flow of cooling, life giving water for eternity.

And, you may want to throw a case or two of drinking water in the basement.  Just in case.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Don't Put Your Head in the Sand

Recently, Tilly has developed a fixation with drain pipes and sewer grates.  I mean, VERY fixated:
Do you get up in the morning, turn on your media of choice, and have the same general reaction?  "Make it go away!"  "Stop with the conflict!"  It's much easier to bury our head in the sand than try to make sense of the world when it has careened into chaos.

The good news is, we don't have to make sense of it.  No, this isn't an argument to adopt an attitude of "Fiddle-dee-dee, God's in control."  While that IS true, sometimes we have to listen to what is happening and recognize that there are many broken people breaking things and making it worse.  Sometimes we have to let our hearts break too.  How else can we relate and build relationships to people who need to find peace and rest?  If we know the God of Good News, we can share it.

It may not change the world, but it may change theirs a little bit.  And yours too.