“Does God Work Through Our Pets?”

I know that there are differing beliefs on whether animals have a soul or just run on basic instinct, but there is something I believe 100%. God puts animals on our path just as He does with people. These animals are usually otherwise known as “pets”.

I have experienced as well as witnessed how we learn to live and communicate with these pets. Sometimes I question whether they belong to our “pack” or whether we belong to theirs. Over time our pets also learn to communicate with us in ways that many of us don’t always understand, but it might be possible to at least understand at a basic level what they are trying to show us.

With my own dogs, I can just tell by the way they look at me that they want a treat or want to go outside. They don’t need to bark, whimper or jump around; just a look with their eyes tells me. No, I am not a dog whisperer, but I think most people understand a little body language. You can count on one thing for certain; our pets rely on it almost 100% when trying to understand what we need or want.

If there is anything we can learn from our pets it is that they will always show us affection the best way they know how; excluding some animals that are just plain mean regardless of how they were raised. I personally think a great example of loyalty is with Service Animals. These animals take their job as one of caring for a member of their pack; at least it appears this way on the surface. I simply call it as I see it.

So how does God come into all of this. Well, if you are a pet owner and have seen or felt the affection given by that animal to you when you most needed it, you are a recipient of that love. Or how many of us have simply encountered a very friendly dog, cat or other pet that simply made your day after spending a couple of minutes with it. Even if a person doesn’t like animals, I would be willing to bet that they have experienced this at one point in their life. If you have not, you are missing out on a joyful experience. God in my belief can work through any of His creations, so to limit Him to just working through humans is a shallow and vain way of looking at God’s capabilities.

For those of us who have pets, we can give many examples of when they have simply made us smile or given us comfort just by snuggling up to our feet. Or that time when they laid their head on your lap and looked up at you with “those eyes” and made your heart melt. In my own experience, I have had bad days I am certain that by my body language my dogs knew it. Their actions told me so, since the first thing they did was greet me with wagging tails and running small circles in the kitchen or whimpering for a pet. They also told me they knew by just sitting next to me as I sat down; almost like they wanted to be ready to help if they could.

I am not a cat owner, but have heard how some cats make it known that you are supposed to give them attention because you might need it more than they do. The cat owners or cat human owners I do know, love them dearly and are content many times just by their presence. I also know that cats seem somewhat aloof to what is going on with humans, but I have personally witnessed them come up to someone at the opportune time to ease their tension.

Regardless of my experiences, I am quite certain that God puts these animals in our paths for a reason and that reason is many times very well-known to us if we are honest with ourselves. Whether we accept the animal as a gift from God really doesn’t matter, what matters is if we are willing to accept the gift the animal is trying give us. Since these animals live much shorter lives that we do, it seems that most of them give all the love they have whenever possible because of this.

Wonder why we as humans don’t do the same to each other?

If you have a pet story to share, please feel free to share your story in the comments.

 

 

Have a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

The Koifish Christian

“Tomorrow’s Flowers”

You carried me in your soul before that day,

A glimmer of hope seen in your dreams,

God’s gift is in everything you do or say.

 

You are special to me only in ways I can know,

Your soft voice and warm touch are treasured,

Your inner strength keeps me from getting low.

 

As I learn from you I see the truth you guard,

Passing along your dreams as only you can do,

Sharing a piece of heaven not spotted or marred.

 

My life and dreams I owe only to you,

As you gave up yours to carry me,

Doing my best as you taught me to do.

 

Imagine the fields of flowers brilliantly on display,

God weaved you perfectly just for me,

Each colorful petal gives me hope for a new day.

 

Lovingly, I do my best to appreciate your ways,

These are Tomorrow’s Flowers that I give to you,

To my Mother and her love, I owe all my days.

“What Was the Final Score?”

In the world of marriage there is this thing known as the “What I did vs What you did” scoreboard. To begin my monolog, I will say that this can be one of the most destructive anomalies found in a marriage.

There is nothing more destructive to a relationship than attempting to compare yourself to another person and then try to change that person into yourself; it doesn’t work. As a matter of fact, it is a very destructive cycle found in marriages.  I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up, but if I were a betting man, I will bet that you can recognize this in your own relationship or know of one like this.

I am not going to go down the path of psychology, but rather the path of practical and common sense. Regardless of our upbringing we have become familiar with the term “Teamwork” and the Bible is probably one of the first written documents to comment on the relationship of a married couple as a team; “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis 1:28.

Being fruitful, multiplying and having dominion over the earth and everything it is going to take some serious teamwork on every married couple from that point up to today.  In the book of Mark 10:8 it says; “and the two shall become one flesh.”  I realize that some might take this to mean in a reproductive sense, but I think it is much more than that.  The wife and husband in essence wear the same color jersey and have different numbers, but they are on the same team.

As with any team there will be differences, but in actuality this is what makes the team strong.  Their individual strengths intertwine like the teeth on gears to make the team successful and when faced with adversity it is very difficult to separate them; or at least it should be.

When one of those gears attempts to go in the opposite direction and tries to make the other perform just like it, the teeth on the gears tend to wear down and create friction, which in turn produces negative results.  If the gears are working together, they stay together whether they are running fast or slow; one might have to help the other a little, but they are still together.

So as it pertains to keeping scores; DON’T.  Concentrate on what you have to do and not what the other does or does not do.  There might be underlying reasons that things are not going the way they should and this is where the two work together to find the root cause of the problem, eliminate it and move on.

In today’s world we are bombarded by multiple and complex external forces that in some cases can quite easily derail a marriage.  In my simple mind it seems to me that a healthy marriage requires maintenance and if the two take the time to show the other that their promise to the other means the world to them, the gears will simply keep turning and produce the wonderful things God had planned for both of them all along.

“Where is Your Bucket?”

In my response to those of any political party or any affiliation to a group or groups who desperately oppose one another after our much disputed Presidential Election, I would offer the words of Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Speech given in 1895 on September 18th.

His words were directed primarily at newly freed African American Slaves and the South which in some part included the white population, but in my opinion he was speaking to the America as a whole. The country had just gone through a devastating Civil War and healing was needed in every corner of the nation, regardless of the color of one’s skin.

Our faith in God will and should always be the most important aspect of who we are as a people, but more importantly we should also try to understand that we may not always be able to control the people or circumstances around us. However, what we can control are those things we are responsible for as citizens of a community.  The healing takes place in the smallest of them and begins with the hard work that is ours to do, a helping hand and a smile.

Mr. Washington was telling us then to put our differences aside and simply work together for the greater good, thereby, improving our own station in life. He never promised easy, nor has God for that matter when it comes to what He has called us to do for His Kingdom.  So I will leave you with the story and some words from Booker T. Washington that I hope will bring things into some sort of perspective for you if you are struggling to move on, forgive, befriend or simply get back to some sort of normal in your life.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, “Water, water; we die of thirst!” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time the signal, “Water, water; send us water!” ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: “Cast down your bucket where you are”— cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man’s chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour, and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.” (Harlen, 1974)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/

Louis R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 3, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583–587.

“At the Front Door”

How many times have you been at the “Front Door”?  The “Front Door” being that of a loved one, a friend, a stranger, school, work, etc.  Now ask yourself this; “How excited was I to be at that Front Door?”

Throughout my own life the “Front Door” has taken me to many places; each one a new story waited regardless if I had been through that door many times before. Within some of my memories I can still see my hand grabbing the door handle to open the door and enter the structure it happened to be attached to.

As I think through all the “Front Doors” I have been through, none excite more than going through the front door of Heaven, but until I get to that door, there are two that I look forward to opening; my own home and the home of my mother.

So now that you know which “Front Doors” I cherish you might think that I will ask you which “Front Doors” are important to you, but that would be too easy.  My question to you is; “Why are these front doors important to you?”  As you think about why, also think about how many times you have been through the “Front Doors” you love the most.

Regardless of your answers know that God is the one responsible for those “Front Doors” you cherish the most.  However, he is also responsible for those that challenge you and make you a better person.

 

I hope you never open the “Front Door” the same way again!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

 

“Build Your Road”

Each day we roll out of bed and make our way (half awake) through the house to start our day.  First it is to the coffee pot or in my case downstairs to let the dogs out of their kennels so that they can start their day.  I must admit seeing their wagging tails does perk me up a bit.  As far as this scenario plays out I think you know the rest, because eventually I get into my vehicle and head to work.

As that day begins each decision we make no matter how small builds upon the path we are on.  For those who believe in God we believe that no matter our thoughts, it is He who guides our feet.  Now this does not mean we walk around like zombies waiting for the next message to come down from God and then act upon it.  This merely means that for us there are little clues or even large ones that help guide our feet; the rest is up to us to make the right decisions.

When I look at the things I decide to do, each one is a pebble to be placed in front of me that will create the road I walk on.  Some pebbles are bigger or smaller, but each one nonetheless causes the road to be built.

For some people the decisions they make will be some of the hardest of their lives and it might seem like that pebble they have to place down in front of them weighs a ton.  Regardless of its weight it must be put down; we are the builders of our road and at times we will have to ask for assistance.

If you find that the pebbles to be placed on your road are too heavy, know that God sent down a stone that is the bedrock your road is being created on.  Jesus Christ is that foundation and with Him all things are possible.  Knowing this we must also see those times when we are too weak and must ask for help; it is okay.  This is exactly what God expects from us because He has already directed someone to be on your path to be that blessing.  Allow them to be the instrument God has intended them to be by receiving the blessing God has intended for you through them.

So think for a moment about all the pebbles you have laid down to build the road you are on today.  Is it wide enough?  Is it smooth enough?  Does it have a lot of curves or is it simply straight?  Is it built on flat land or in the mountains?  Whatever the attributes of your road; no one road is perfect.  Each are unique to the builder which makes them all the more interesting, thereby making the travel on them a wonderful adventure with God.

Don’t worry about the width of the road too much because God will always make sure that there is enough room for someone to walk on beside you and behind you.

Have a great day builders!

The Koi Fish Christian

 

“Rolling Up Our Sleeves for God; it’s not a fashion statement”

I am going to make this one short and sweet.  Jesus Christ has called us to service by asking for our lives if necessary and there are many who truly live their lives for Him.  Giving up our lives is much easier said than done when you think about all the things we have going in our lives.

If we had lived during the time of Christ I wonder if many of those He encountered felt the same?  I know that we do have an example of the prince who could not leave his wealth or those who Jesus challenged when He spoke of giving up their lives for His sake.  With both of these examples I think it is very obvious that we today in our “modern” time are no different.

We are to be working in God’s Kingdom now, not later, so how do we start?  First we believe, then we love, then we roll up our sleeves.

Praise God for all that He has given both great and small!

Here is a link to a great discussion concerning God’s Kingdom.

“Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?” at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAKOfGZ3a8U) from Apologia Studio & Radio (http://apologiaradio.com/)

“Castle Trust”

Today was one of those days where everything just seemed to be off a little for me.  Not sure that I have put my finger on quite yet, but with God’s help tomorrow will work out a bit better.

Towards the end of the day of course as per my usual routine I was getting one my lovely headaches and it was giving me fits as I was trying to focus on the printed documents in front of me.

Of course when these headaches come on I get a little short with people and I do my best not to offend anyone or say something that might be taken the wrong way.  If you happen to be the recipient of one of these times I will apologize now and in advance as it is never anything personal.

One comment I made today concerned the idea of trust and how we talk to people.  I might be wrong here to some people, but in my experience talking with someone is relative to the amount of trust I have in them.  Simply saying that we “have” to talk to everyone might miss the mark as it relates to human interaction and relationships.

Do we just blurt out everything to everyone or do we pick and choose who we tell what?  I think in every instance our communication does come down to a level of trust.  This trust also has differing levels as it pertains to friends, family, coworkers and the people we work for.  I do believe that in every instance there is opportunity to grow and develop lasting relationships or ever increasing level of trust.

Speaking for myself I created some defense mechanisms early on in life based on a few things.  One of them was the fact that I was picked on from a very early age because of my weight.  After years of crying myself to sleep as a kid I started to grow callous towards people as it was obvious that I could only trust a small circle of people.  Now I see some of these same types of people in my daily life and automatically my defenses go up.  Many times it just happens and I don’t even notice it until I recognize that person within me that puts on the mask of callousness that in fact might push people away.

Even now there are some whom I have not allowed myself to trust, but this from my perspective is probably normal.  I have to chuckle because now with everyone having their noses pressed to a smartphone who really cares anyway?  The social aspect of our society seems to have slipped a bit from what some of us are used to, but the element of trust must still exist.  I would even say that it is more important now than ever as it concerns the online environment.

At the end of the day I will always do my best to find a reason to trust someone, but the second I am given a reason not to it will take awhile for me to get back to that same point we started at.  Some might call this a fault, but I call this a mechanism.  A mechanism created by an environment that never took the time to find out who I was as a person.  Either way I am working to improve in this area and look forward to every opportunity to trust someone new or regain the trust once lost.

For all of those whom I trust I am deeply grateful for that trust which means that you took the time to get to know me as a person and I truly hope that I have done the same for you.

May God bless you and may you always know that for Him trust was given the day He gave you His Son.

“I’d Like To Put The Moon On Lay Away Please”

Today is my wife’s birthday and with this comes the normal; “don’t get me anything” and “don’t remind me of how old I am”.  Actually, if I could I would give you the moon, but since it is out of my reach and made of cheese I don’t think you want me taking that dangerous of a trip along with the fact that too much cheese is unhealthy so I will have put it on “Lay Away” for you.

What I would rather do is tell you “Thank You” for all that you do for our family.  You always put us first and at times we have to argue with you to do something for yourself.  Along with that “Thank You” I will make a promise to do more to help you whenever you ask and even if you don’t.

In my eyes God has provided me with a wife who is my best friend and the woman who owns my heart.  We were soul-mates before we even knew it and with a little work on God’s part we were brought together and have been ever since.  For this gift I will always be grateful beyond any comprehension of the word.

Through the years I missed many of your birthdays and since we can’t get those back I want to cherish and be there for as many as God will let me have with you in the coming years.  So this is not about your birthday, even though it is a great day, it is about simply having one more day with you.

Happy Birthday Honey; I love you with all of my heart and soul!!!

Praise God for His wonderful gifts!!!

“A Story of Two Bobs”

This is one story about two men named “Bob”.  In my life I have had the privilege of knowing two men who unknowingly have impacted my life like no other.  The first “Bob” I will introduce is Bob Nordeen; he was a member in the church I attended in Oklahoma and we used to visit door to door witnessing to anyone who would listen to the Gospel of Jesus or others who were Christian, but just wanted to fellowship.  Bob was a retired Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army, a Vietnam Veteran and Korean War Veteran/P.O.W.

On every trip we took each week through the Lawton neighborhoods, he would always surprise me by his patience and tender heart.  He taught me how to not only try to understand people, but to take time to understand myself.  The more time I spent with him the more I realized that life will not always be what you think it should be and when we find ourselves facing tough times we must always maintain our faith in Jesus Christ, giving God the glory regardless of our circumstance.

Bob Nordeen went to be with our Lord before we left Oklahoma and it was both a sad day and a happy day because I knew how much he wanted to be with Jesus.  Sad, because I would no longer see his smile or listen to his wisdom.  I still miss him greatly to this day, but I am comforted to know that he is doing God’s work getting his instructions directly from God and joyfully getting them done.

The next “Bob” I will introduce you to is the man I now call “Dad”.  As he is married to my mother I guess you could say that I have to, but I use it more out of respect than because of marriage.  Technically he would be my Stepfather, but I consider that irrelevant.  Bob Larson is the most giving man I have ever met.  He will do anything for anyone at a moments notice if he is able and by this example I have learned that sometimes giving will hurt, but it is nothing permanent so just do it.

Bob is always concerned for others and is not afraid to let it be known whether by his words or actions.  The other thing I admire about him is his ability to share his feelings about his family and it is obvious that these feelings run very deep.  He is also found to be gentle yet strong, wise yet cheerful and patient yet passionate.

Not only is Bob a friend, he is a Dad to my wife, a wonderful husband to my mother, along with being a loving and kind grandfather to my daughters.  So again I will say that in my life there have been two men named “Bob” who have brought such a positive example into my life, which now greatly influences me.  Both are and should be the men that other men model their lives after.

I thank and praise God for these men who have given me the example to follow.  My prayer is to set the same example they did while still walking with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.