Today at 3 PM, Last Straw Dog Training will provide the first in a series of dog obedience classes at our house. Any are welcome, but there is an underlying goal to this venture.
1 Corinthians 15:46 sums it up well for me:
The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life’s dilemmas, but we are often blind as to how that can be. We believe that pets are great instructors who can reveal truths in powerful ways!
The natural life is our ground for learning about Jesus. Pets reach hearts when people cannot. The tangible results of pet interaction for those with hurting hearts is well documented. Children are drawn to pets; old people as well. From family pets to therapy dogs to service animals, the potential of well-trained pets is phenomenal.
For those willing to invest themselves in partnering with their pets (to learn and share natural/spiritual truths) there are even greater rewards. The natural (our minds, our bodies) must meld knowledge and discipline. That is our responsibility. The spirit work is all the Lord’s. The natural life training will benefit anyone willing to exercise themselves to do it. The spiritual potential will be enjoyed by any willing to receive it.
Participation in actual therapy visits is not a requirement for attending the training. The cost is $25 per pet. For more information on how we see animals partnering to teach us, visit Heartsong Pets.
Our standards for life come from Scripture. Sometimes, though, God grants us the privilege of seeing what those standards look like when lived out well! We are never to idolize people, but learning from others is Scriptural. Paul encouraged believers to follow him as he followed Jesus. This week, a masterful portrayal of Biblical living graduated to heaven. It was a joy to research and write about her life. Here is a taste of that story.
Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren 12/21/26 – 06/15/15
A life lived in the faith of Jesus Christ continues eternally—in the heavenlies and on earth. Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren lived such a life. By definition, faith is the substance of things hoped for but not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The opportunity to see what a life of faith really looks like provides immeasurable help to those longing to leave a legacy.
A life lived in faith embraces all as coming directly from the hands of a loving God—a loving Father.
“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.”
A life of faith exudes integrity. God began preparing the world for Elisabeth Howard before her birth. Nurtured in a godly home, mentored and sharpened by others along the way, Elisabeth learned that the life lived is the message others receive. Speaking of a godly woman who mentored her,
Serving faithfully and living blamelessly only happens when we know the One who is All-Sufficient!
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. Genesis 17:1
I’ve been digging into the occurrences of words like ‘desire’ and ‘contentment.’ God really cares about what we want–even to the point of protecting us by saying, ‘No” when necessary. I was sort of surprised to learn that contentment implies completeness and sufficiency. Our only hope of sufficiency is God Himself. He revealed Himself as El Shaddai to Abraham in Genesis 17:1. The scholars say Shaddai is a combination of words meaning ‘who’ and ‘enough.’ Now, how cool is that?! Our God is Enough.
Worship Him for who He is and all else falls into place.
Godliness (aka reverence for Him) with contentment (His sufficiency) is great gain!
You can usually tell when someone feels good–or not–simply by looking at their face. Tucked away in Psalm 43:5 is an interesting look at a ‘name of God.’ The Psalmist says ‘I will praise the health of my countenance and my God.’
I find it fun to explore the roots of words and the tools of technology make that fairly easy. Here is the place I played with this verse. Here’s what I see–keeping in mind I am not a Bible Scholar, simply a lover of God.
Health in this verse is a name we know well: Yeshua. Our salvation. Face speaks to me of our direction, our future. And God is the beautiful name Elohim.
When our soul roars within us–when everything seems out of whack and not what we want, quiet peace comes to our heart and our face when we remember what Jesus already provided because it was the will of God. Let Him be the health of your countenance today!
Nothing quite captures the concept like this hymn–and the story behind it:
Sweet name to consider this morning: Lifter of My Head. Sometimes my eyes get stuck in the yuck. The heartaches, the sin, the stuff of life hold my gaze…and I fail to see the King of Glory. Ah, but Psalms 3:3 tells me, HE is the lifter of my head. I will wait for His touch and yield to it that I might see the next step! He who promised to never leave is always with us. In the mess, He can be seen if we let Him lift our eyes. Choose Faith!
Most everyone knows the title “King of Kings” but we don’t often live it. What a privilege we have when the King rules our lives: we get to bring His Kingdom to this broken world! We get to be used as the answer to our prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!”
Jesus told Peter the Keys of Heaven belong to those whom the Father reveals the Truth of Christ’s identity. The keys of heaven are not ours so we can determine what is right and wrong for the world–what is bound and loosed. That has been, is and will continue to be determined by God alone.
The King’s keys allow us to bring His view of Right and Wrong to a broken world in captivity to error. And as we look at this, a reminder from My Utmost helps me focus. Jesus also said don’t worry about the blind guides of the blind…they’ll fall into a ditch together. Just focus on walking toward Jesus, trust His goodness and power to guide not your ability to walk well :).
Another concept name to feast upon today…In speaking of the Kingdom of Heaven–the dwelling place of our Savior and the Father, He (Jesus) said,
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45,46
Just prior to that teaching is another equating the kingdom with a pearl. Isaiah used ‘diadem of great beauty’–a crown. Scripture abounds with references treasuring God. Here’s another favorite of mine:
And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. Isaiah 45:3
Diamonds and pearls (all precious ores) are created in the dark, either under great pressure or in response to an irritant.
Seeking God as our treasure requires us to press through the darkness, endure great pressure, get dirty and go through hard times.
Paul spoke of his limits–his humble human-ness–with great eloquence in Romans 7. Our desires, our hopes, our knowledge are limited–but Jesus Christ is not. When He is our focus, our desired destination, we live in His refuge. Enjoy the courage to live that comes with knowing Jesus by the Name of REFUGE!
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalms 18:2
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6
As LIFE, Jesus is the way we find God. From conception to the death bed, there is LIFE. Jesus Christ is life. Faith sees HIM in every detail of life.
Oswald Chambers says the “natural becomes spiritual through obedience.” A life of faith does not mean we live in a wacky, spiritualized version of ‘real life’–it means we seek reality–LIFE–Jesus–in the midst of our days. Faith is the substance of things not seen but faith is lived out in the nitty-gritty of every day.
Look at Life. Enjoy Life. Celebrate Life. And remember, Life is Jesus Christ, the way to the Father.