I have decided to re-run this post that I first put up last December. Please enjoy.
A Lesson Learned From a Smiling Dog
First, let me draw your attention to the picture of my old dog. He is smiling. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s not a smile, that’s a snarl.” No, it’s not. He is a gentle beast and in almost 12 years of life has never snarled. He only smiles when he’s happy; he smiles a lot. A couple of years ago we went through a real rough patch when his sister (a litter-mate) died. The grief in our home was tremendous. And yes, my old dog was sad. For several weeks I was worried about him and constantly in fear of his inevitable demise. Until one day when we got back home from our evening walk, I reached down to un-hook his leash, and he looked up at me and smiled. It hit me like a ton of bricks! “Hey, don’t be sad or worried. I am here, now! Enjoy it.”
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
We spend an awful lot of our precious time thinking about the past and worrying about the future, but how often do we really draw our attention to now? Right here; right now. Everything in your life is in the present. Every experience and observation; every thought and spoken word; every relationship (both good and bad); every sin and act of righteousness; every tragedy and triumph; every action and reaction. All of these things have led you to this very point in time. So, what do you do with that?
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
When you get so caught up in scheduling every second of your day, and you get so busy and worried about what task is next or what task didn’t get done, you end up stressed. All of this stress can lead to acts of silly spontaneity and impulsive idiocy, that often lead to regret. How many times in your busy day do you take a deep breath, look around and appreciate the blessings of the moment? Are you clothed? Have you eaten? Are you breathing? God loves you, and if you just take the time to notice, He will fill you with joy, right now.
For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
What’s done is done; what’s done is forgiven. What is to come, comes from God’s perfect will. So, now is the time of His favor and salvation. Look around you and know that you are loved, forgiven and blessed. I’m not saying that we should just forget about the past; we should learn from it. Nor am I saying we should not prepare for the future. But, we should always be aware that our loving God is with us now.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12)
He has showered righteousness on you, through the blood of Jesus Christ. For ‘He so loved you, that He gave His only Son for you’; all you have to do is believe. He used a smiling dog to bring instant joy into my heart. Open your heart, now, and enjoy the beauty of His love. You won’t regret it.