Biting The Hand That Feeds You

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  —John 3:17

I remember a couple of years ago, it was the last day of school and there was an air of excitement as we headed to the school bus. Beginning of summer vacation is always a special time, and the boys were wound for sound. My plan was to put them on the bus and then head off to work, hoping to be done early to spend the afternoon with them. Things went really well up to the point where the boys got on the bus, and I was heading back to my truck. But then I took a detour from my usual routine and, as they say, best laid plans.

I noticed that the other school bus mom was leaning over the drainage ditch looking at something. She called me over, and I discovered a kitty trapped down under the steel grate. We tried to lift the grate up so the cat could escape, but it was pretty heavy. At one point, she had it up and I was trying to grab the kitty, and it ran from me and fell into the cesspool that was in the back of the ditch. The poor thing was squealing and crying and drowning, and we were desperate to save it. It finally found its way out of the murk and was crouched on the edge of the pool.

We found a big stone to wedge under the grate, and once more, I attempted to dislodge the kitty. My hand was the only one that fit in the opening hence I was elected to grab the cat. I reached for it again, and this time, I got a hold on it by the back of the neck and lifted it out. I was wondering what I was going to do with it when all of a sud- den I got my answer. It flipped its head around, grabbed my finger, and bit me very hard in my knuckle, scratching and clawing me in the process. And I did what came naturally: I dropped that cat and grabbed my finger. But the damage was done. Blood was gushing everywhere, and the cat had disappeared into the woods.

As I saw it running off, it occurred to me that I had not rescued someone’s pet but rather a wild cat, and immedi- ately, the thought of rabies ran across my mind. Oh my. There I stood, on the street corner, with my finger bleeding terribly and the cat gone and the other mom looked at me and said I better get my finger looked at, then she left me there to fend for myself.

I’m not so good with blood, and I figured I’d probably faint, so I knew I had to get home. I jumped in my truck and dashed home, running up the stairs and into the kitchen to run water over my wound. One look at the blood pouring out, and my head got all woozy, and I made it to the couch just in time to make a quick call to my neighbor for help,   and then I passed   out.

My  neighbor  came  over  and  doctored  me  up;  then I decided that I best go see the real doctor. I kept having visions of that scrawny little kitten biting me and the question “What if it had rabies?” just wouldn’t leave my mind. It was not a house pet, it lived in the woods, and who knew what disease it might carry? I needed to get my finger checked  out.

The good news: no rabies shots. The doctor did want me to go on an antibiotic; cats carry a lot of bacteria, and infection is prevalent in their bites. My finger hurt for a long time. The cat had got me right in my knuckle, but no infection, no rabies came from it.

I couldn’t help but think how I had saved that little kit- ty’s life, and then it had turned around and bit me. And if it had given me a chance, I probably would have brought it home and taken care of it. I wasn’t going to leave it in the street. I had wanted to make sure it was okay. But it hadn’t given me the opportunity. It had turned on me and attacked me.

And at first I was really annoyed. That cat had really put a damper on my day. Instead of heading off to work, I had to go to the doctor’s. Instead of excitement for the day ahead, I was concerned about the damage the cat had done to my finger, praying that there would be no long- term consequences.

But then I started thinking about the way I treat Jesus.

He died on the cross for me. So that I could have life eternal with him. And no, I didn’t physically bite him, but I hurt him worse with my rejection. I would not acknowledge him or let him into my life. He had so much for me, but I ran away from him.

I was just like that kitty, ungrateful to my Savior.

I’ve forgiven the cat. I’m so thankful Jesus forgave me.

Excerpt from If God is So Good, Why Is My Life Such A Mess?  by Joyce Schneider 

Available on Amazon.com  

 

 

Killer Snakes

If God is So Good Official Picture (663x1024)

Isaiah 43:1–3 says, “But now, this is what the lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have sum- moned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through   the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not  set you ablaze. For I am the lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’”

Life will have struggles. We will pass through trials. But with our hope in Jesus, the trials will not overcome us; we will pass through them.

There is a story in Numbers 21. Moses was leading the children of Israel  through  the  wilderness. And  they  were so much like we are today. Some days they would be really faithful and follow God, but other times, they wanted to do their  own thing.

The people were constantly grumbling and complaining against God. They would not listen to Moses. And God needed to get their attention. So he sent venomous snakes into the land, and many of the people died.

But God loves us so much he always provides a way out of sin and death. The people repented for their wicked ways. And God had Moses make a bronze snake that was erected on a pole. And anyone who was bitten could look at the bronze snake, and they would live. They looked to the stick, and they lived!

We are just like the Israelites; we have snakes in our  lives. They can be drugs, lust, depression, infidelity, financial issues—the list goes on and on. You know what your snake is, but God provided a stick to save you! He sent his one and only son for you, to die on the cross, so that you can live! If you look to the cross, if you believe and receive Jesus, you too can live!   (Excerpt from If God is So Good, Why is My Life Such a Mess!)  

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Blessed

blessed areI hear many people talk about being blessed.  They usually are referring to their family, their finances or their health. And yes, there are many blessings that God bestows upon us.  But today I was reading a story in Matthew about how Jesus referred to being blessed.  It was a little different.  He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12)

 

Poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for being righteous, being insulted, and treated wrongly.

That is quite a different list of blessings.

The Jesus Way is always the opposite of the world’s way.  I want to be blessed.  I will endure whatever it takes.   Help me to see life through your eyes Jesus!

He Said / She Said – Who Are You Listening To?

He Said – She Said – Who Are You Listening To?

he_said_she_said_banner_v2In I Chronicles 19, the king of the Ammonites died. King David had a good relationship with him, so he decided to send some of his men to the King’s son, to express his sympathy for the father’s passing. But the son’s advisers put ideas in the son’s head, that the men were coming to see him to do harm to him and his country. So when David’s men arrived, the Ammonites treated them very disrespectfully and embarrassed them greatly. When David heard of this, he sent his soldiers to attack the Ammonites and they ended up defeated by David’s army. They lost their freedom, their homes, their families. And it could have all been avoided, had the King’s son not listened to his friends, but simply spoke to David’s men to see their intentions himself.

So many times, we listen to the wrong people and we get the wrong information and we make decisions based on untruths. And those lies destroy. They destroy families and they destroy friendships. They destroy jobs and finances. They destroy lives.

The Word says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! I want to listen to Him! I want to be free!

A Tribute To Zeke

Zeke

December 25, 2003 – November 8, 2014

zeke 1Zeke, you’ve inspired so many stories, you deserve one more.  If feels so odd to not have you at my feet.  But you aren’t here anymore.  In fact, there is a fresh mound of dirt I can see out my window, you are there now.  What an awful day this has been, truly one of my worst.  I did not find you gone, I had to make a decision that even now, I wish I could undo.  But that is selfish on my part.  You are now at peace, I am the one suffering.  All the pain you have endured now seems to be in my heart.  Crazy, I know.  But isn’t that what love truly is, suffering the pain for another?

I love you Zeke.  From the first time I saw you.  You were eight weeks old, the runt of the litter.  We were getting a puppy for Carson and Chase, and for me.   I had experienced a year of loss; a baby born without life, a grandfather’s sad passing, an aunt who left this earth too soon.  I was tired of pain, of loss, and I wanted a new life to love.  And what better to love, to bring joy to a family then a cute little puppy.

We didn’t pick you first, we had your brother all picked out.  Then I looked over, and I saw your eyes and you tugged at my heart and I was yours.  Ten minutes later, you were in the car with us, lying between the boys, excited for your new adventure.

And since the boys were too little, 5 and 6, I was the one who took care of you.  And even though I wanted you to sleep with them, each night, I found you with me, curled up at the foot of my bed.  And I loved it.  I loved you.

zeke 2

You learned pretty quickly that the house wasn’t your toilet and down the steps you would trot, so very cute.   I think because you were so little, I tried extra hard to make you grow, and grow you did!    You ended up at 120 pounds, a far cry from the little 8 pound runt we brought home that day.

And oh how you loved to play ball.  You were born to fetch.  You would play as long as I threw the ball.  Again and again and again, I just could not wear you out, as much as I tried.  Because you were such a handful, my goodness Zeke!

You not only loved balls, but you loved shoes.  Nice leather shoes! I don’t know how many pairs you went through.  Too many before I learned to never leave my closet door open, nor leave a shoe in the living room.  And how many times I tried to hide the shoe of Bobby’s that you chewed, because I knew he would be angry with you.  I remember one time I had to go to Bible Study wearing two different shoes.  Thank you for chewing up one left one, and one right one, so I still had a pair.  Boy did the girls laugh that night.  And so did I.  Cause no matter how many shoes you destroyed, you were my boy, and I loved you.  And I always forgave you.

And you loved me.  So much!  You were so faithful to me.  You would follow me everywhere I went.  You never left my side, if I was at home.  And if I shut a door, without you with me, you would sit and bark at me until I let you in.  You loved me so much; you never wanted to share me with anyone.  If the phone rang, you would bark and bark and bark until I went outside and threw balls for you while I talked.  I never had a normal phone conversation in eleven years Zeke; they always occurred while I was sitting on the stairs, throwing balls for you.

And you would always fetch them and bring them back to me.  Always.

I remember when you were ten months old and you started getting very sick.  Nothing stayed in and you lost weight and when I took you to the vet, they discovered that you had eaten something that stuck in your intestines and was blocking you up.  And I spent $2500 getting it out of you.  And I didn’t care, I wanted you well.  And you came home and you didn’t even have your stitches out and you ran out the front door one day when Chase opened it.   And you loved running so much, you ran straight into the road and right before my eyes, a big truck hit you, square in the head.  And you did flip flops and then you jumped up and ran to the house.  And the guy in the truck cursed me out for letting you run free.  He didn’t know you had a mind of your own.  And I thought you were dead, but you weren’t.  It was late and I knew either you would live or not, so I sat with you all night, praying for God to save you, and He did.  And in the morning, I took you to the vet, he pumped you full of medicine and two days later, you were playing fetch with me.  Nothing could not keep you down.

Dogs are not to eat chocolate, it is dangerous, but you didn’t know that.  You ate so many of my chocolate cakes.  I lost count.  You loved chocolate as much as I did!  And it never fazed you.  Nothing stopped you.  You ate so many sandwiches, loaves of bread, cookies.  All I had to do was look out the window, and I would see the wrapper or the container in the yard where you would take your booty to enjoy!  Ah Zeke, I just couldn’t ever get upset, not truly upset with you.  No matter what food you would eat.  I just learned to not leave things out.  But just last week you found that stick of butter, and it was yours!

I don’t know how many times we would come home and the trash can would be all over the kitchen.  So we would put it on the counter, but then you figured out a way to get it down from there.  So then Bobby began the battle of the trash can with you.  And boy, was that something.  He tried everything, and you would always get to that can.  Carpet nails on the lid, strong spring action lid, Tobasco on the wood, nothing deterred you.  You were like Houdini, but instead of breaking out, you always broke in.  And trash would end up all over the floor.

But I never hit you, I never got angry.  Oh, I would yell at you.  And you were always sorry.  You always had that look on your face when you knew you did wrong.  You always knew, yet you continued … sounds like me Zeke.  Sounds like a lot of people I know.  We know we should stop, we are sorry when we get caught, but let me just do it one more time.  Your one more time was always innocent; unfortunately, sometimes our one more time ends in a lot worse scenario then trash on the kitchen floor.

We spent a lot of time at the vet, you and I.  I remember the time the boys were practicing casting their fishing lines in the driveway, and then Carson took them into Bobby’s shop to untangle them.  And I thought it would be a great family bonding time, so I brought you down too and in about a minute you had that fish hook caught in your tongue.  And then what a mess!   Me lying on top of you, holding your mouth open while Carson tried to pull it out.   And you trying not to bite me, and blood everywhere and Chase crying, oh what a disaster Bobby came home to that day.  And he couldn’t retrieve it either and off to the vet you went, once again.

And then it was time for you to be neutered and the first night home you chewed up all your stitches and what a mess I woke up to that morning.  Oh man and back to the vet we went and you had to wear that silly lampshade for a week until you healed.

Ahhhhh Zeke … you just constantly got into trouble.  Yet, your heart was so pure. So full of love.  We are so much alike, you and I.

I remember one night we came home and you were nowhere to be found, someone had left the gate opened and you wandered off.  I still remember the panic in my heart of looking for you, and the boys praying for your safe return and then when you were found, Carson saying, ‘See Mommy, God knew where Zeke was.’  Oh the lessons Zeke.

chase and zeke

And you loved to go on walks, and at first you would drag me to the canal and back, but eventually you learned how to stay with me and you loved those nightly walks.  How many nights … oh my, who will walk with me now?

And the night the pit bull came running out of that house at us, and me so scared you would get hurt protecting me.  Thank you Zeke for wanting to protect me.

And you learned to listen and obey so well, yes you did, that I didn’t need a leash any longer, you would walk with me.  I loved that you listened to me, that you obeyed me.  Just one word from me and you would come right back, never wandering off the sidewalk, always with me.  I know that is how God feels when I listen to Him.  When I obey, the first time.

I remember the night you started having seizures.  It was one of Carson’s Epic Birthday Parties, when he and his friends would play their version of hide and seek, in the dark, Manhunt.  And one of the boys kicked you in the head accidentally, and the next thing we knew, you were down and shaking and we thought you were dying and we didn’t know what to do.  And Bobby gave you CPR and I sat by you and cried and prayed for God to help you.  And He did.  And then the seizures came more frequently and it would take twenty, thirty, sometimes sixty minutes until, you were okay.

And I tried to give you medicine, but you didn’t like it and it made you sleepy and so we just asked God to heal you.  He didn’t take away the seizures completely, but you always got through them and they were further and further apart.  God answers our prayers in so many different ways, doesn’t he?  We always want instant healing, but Zeke, you were happy for the moment.  As soon as that seizure would pass, your tail would wag and up you’d go and back at it

And every single night, you would greet me at the door, so happy that I was home. And you would bark and bark and bark until we played.  Oh how you loved to play.

And no one could track a ball in the dark like you.  After all, you are a lab and labs retrieve.  And I would be in awe of watching you find a ball in the dark.  You would run a pattern until you found that ball. You would never give up. Sometimes it took you awhile; I’d even give up and go in the house.  But not you, you never came in until you found that ball.  What a lesson in perseverance.  You just didn’t give up.

And you didn’t give up on life … even with a skin infection that caused you so much pain; you would bite your legs until they were blood. You would scratch yourself raw, over and over.  And I would try this ointment and I would try that shampoo, and I would google and I would research and we would go to the vet, and nothing would help.  Or it would help for a bit, but then the infection would be back again. You were on antibiotics a very long time, hoping that maybe just maybe this batch would be it.  And as miserable as I know you were, you just didn’t complain.  You loved life, you loved food, and you loved Jack Jack.  And you loved me.

Zeke would still be here, fighting through the infection that would even run out his eyes, but his hips went on him.  A few weeks ago, he woke me up, barking.  When I went to find him, he was at the foot of the stairs, nothing was stopping him from coming up, but he couldn’t do it.  And I knew he was hurting.  If that big ole stinky dog couldn’t come up the steps to be with me, something was drastically wrong.

So, I made him a bed and brought him water, but he wasn’t happy.  And he would try and try and try and some days he made it up and some days he didn’t.  And Bobby tried to help him, but he was just too heavy.  And I knew, I had a decision to make.  Zeke had been miserable for a long time.  I would hear him night after night, long after everyone was asleep, biting and chewing and getting up and getting down and going in and going out.  He was trying to find peace.

Today, he found it.

I really don’t know if dogs go to heaven.  I was asking God that today, because I really want Zeke to be happy.  He deserves it.  Zeke and God have taught me so many lessons about love.  About unconditional love.  How to receive it.  How to give it.
Thank you Zeke for the lessons … thank you for the love.

zeke