Sunday, December 18, 2016

God and Dogs Are Best Friends!

God and Dogs Are Best Friends!
I know you dog/cat lovers LOVE the title of my post today! So this post is FOR YOU -- AND those of us who accept and support our animal-loving friends.

Yesterday (Saturday), I headed out for my morning run and I noticed so many dog walkers out. I'm sure not having go to work AND the 60+ degree temperature drew them out of their homes. My inspiration for today's post came from those people who are so devoted and in love with their pets. Yes, I've noticed those of you who have accepted the 5 days of Dogs of Facebook Challenge, and I've loved those pics!

We had dogs and cats in our home as our children grew up. We even raised Persian Angora cats. The last dog was Desire (Desi), a precious Cocker Spaniel, that was Staci's dog who went with her when she married Larry. After that, we were DONE! It was the final "baby" in our home.

When Ryan and Staci were elementary school ages, we owned a ranch with 75 head of cattle, a roping horse, a white German Shepherd (that was our ranch's protector), and that adorable cat and her kittens. We always encouraged our kids to have pets. Our place was most certainly "pet-friendly". By encouraging our kids to be a caretaker of pets, we taught them the meaning of responsibility, consistency and even love.

So, I was thinking, what would God answer if I posed the question, "Do YOU love dogs?" My little research revealed that dogs are the only animals in Exodus 11:7 that receive a reward for their actions. When the Jewish slaves fled Egypt, it states "not one dog barked". As a reward for that, God said in Exodus 22:31, "…and flesh torn in the field you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dogs." Literally, lucky....er....blessed dogs!

The fact is the Bible seems to suggest that God made animals for not just food, but for companionship and relationship with humans. Anyone that has a beloved pet, will assure us of that.

And, with the vastness of God's creative genius, I would suggest that His sheer diversity and beauty of animals leads us to appreciate Him even more, which causes us to proclaim, "How great is Your work, O Lord" (Psalm 92:5).

In the beginning......(Genesis 2:19) God created animals for Adam -- even before Eve. We might say that the Creator has placed us, the descendants of Adam and Eve, in His beautiful garden to be the "caretakers" of God's garden and all the animals, too. We humans are the masterpieces of God's creation and we are the beings created in His image. When we act with compassion and sensitivity, we become more like God. The more like God we become, the more we realize, that He really made us to be caretakers of this world and those in it.

Imagine what message it sends a child when Daddy and Mommy teach that God wants all our animals to be fed before we even feed ourselves. Imagine what message it sends our child when Daddy and Mommy teach that God watches us to see if we are being compassionate to our animals. And imagine what message we leave to our children when we say that to become truly righteous and spiritually fulfilled, we must cultivate a sensitivity towards animals, as it says "A righteous person knows the needs of the animal" Proverbs 12:10!

Maybe that's why God specifically asked Noah to build an ark to save all the animals during the Flood. After all, He could have easily made a miracle where the animals were saved without Noah needing to slave away for 40 days and nights meticulously tending to the care of each animal in the ark. We could also say, the way we treat animals is a reflection of the way we treat people. Repeatedly in the Bible, we hear about a loving Shepherd that cares for His flock.

I'll admit, I don't have the same love for animals that I once did, but after studying God's love for animals, I have assumed a new appreciation for those in my own little world -- in my daughter's home is Buddy, a big, beautiful AND bold Australian Shepherd, Emma, a tiny, adorable, spunky, alpha in dominence to BIG Buddy, and then there are the animals in my son's home -- a white, gentle, and loving Bichon dog, Bentley, and in the stable and pasture is the horse, Boogie, and donkey, Biscuit and 5 goats (who have names, but I don't remember them!). I have the opportunity to resist the love for animals or to embrace God's creatures because, after all, they have breath and if God says "Let EVERYTHING that has breath, praise the Lord...." Psalm 150:6.....so we ALL -- dogs, cats, horses, goats, pigs, birds......every creature should praise Him and love each other....because He Master-planned it that way!