There are some Sundays when I find it very interesting what resonates with the audience from the sermon. Sunday was one of those days. As Peter is taking the gospel to the Gentile audience at Cornelius’ house in Acts 10-11, I was talking about the difficulty in the relationship between Jew and Gentile. I said that Jews would often refer to the Gentiles as “Gentile Dogs.” I said that dogs were not regarded in the ancient world as they are today. I said, “We love our dogs. I love my dog, but that was a term of derision in that culture.”
No fewer than 3 dozen people grabbed onto that and inquired about our dog. Let me tell you the story. Scarlett, pictured above, was my Father’s Day present from our kids. She was a total and complete surprise, and I was shocked when she was given to us. She is a St. Bernard Doodle – and yes, she has the potential to be a big girl when she reaches adulthood. (Currently 7 months old.) Our previous dog, Moe, died on March 9 of 2021, and I had steadfastly declared that I was done with dogs. Must not have been terribly convincing in that assertion. The kids knew I really missed having a dog, so they took initiative and solved the problem. I am very grateful, and she is a sweet dog, very intelligent.
Characteristic of her breed, she is very loving. She wants to be with us. If we move to another room, she is there. She sticks very close, and welcomes us warmly when we come home. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that she longs for a relationship with us.
I have observed some things in Scarlett that apply to my relationship with the Lord. More than once I have said to the Lord since Scarlett arrived – “I want to have a relationship with you, Lord, like Scarlett desires with us.” I want my relationship with the Lord to be one of dependence upon him, like Scarlett is dependent upon us to put food in her bowl. Scarlett overtly expresses her love for me, Diane, the kids and the grandkids. I want it to be evident to the Lord that I love him and I want to be overt in the expression of my love for Jesus. Just like Scarlett is eager to please, I want to walk with the Lord in obedience. As Scarlett will put her head in our laps and want affection, I want to have closeness and intimacy with my Abba, Father. Don Moen has written a praise chorus, “I just what to be where you are, dwelling in your presence.” Scarlett demonstrates a desire to be in our presence – and I want the Lord to know I desire to be in his presence.
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.”