FROM PASTOR DONALD’S DESK:
In August I made a decision that sometimes I think was great and other days I wonder what I was thinking. That big life altering decision was adopting a 3-month old German Shepherd/Labrador mix. Since that day in August my life has been a lot different. I now have somebody happy to see me when I walk in the door, somebody to talk to, a shadow that never leaves my side, and just a good all around dog. Well, I guess there are times she isn’t that good. Like on my day off when she cries at 6 AM because that’s normally when my alarm goes off and she knows that’s time to go outside and eat breakfast. She also likes to playfully bite me and sometimes that really hurts. More recently since she is getting bigger, she likes to see what she can find in the garbage can. And sometimes she has accidents in the house that I really don’t enjoy cleaning up. But I really do I love her despite those things. It’s hard to stay mad at her because she is a cute puppy.
In these few months I’ve learned some things. First, is that she doesn’t always listen to me. She ignores me when I tell her, “No.” But I forgive her quickly and continue to love her. It’s because of that love it makes it easy to forgive her when she doesn’t listen. As I think about that, it is similar to what our Heavenly Father does for us. We ignore His commands. We choose to ignore what He has called us to do. But He forgives us because of His love. Romans 5:8 describes that love perfectly, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I love that verse because it’s a great reminder that God shows His love to us now as sinners. He doesn’t wait around until we jump through a certain amount of hoops. He loves us despite the times when we think we know what’s best for ourselves. God’s love is truly amazing!
Another thing I’m learning more and more about is sacrifice, albeit a small sacrifice. I used to enjoy being able to wake up on my day off whenever my body naturally told me it was time to get up. I don’t like hearing the sound of my alarm going off. But I don’t get that luxury anymore. Instead of being woken up by the sounds of a song on my cell phone like my typical day, I’m awakened by the sounds of Madison crying in her cage. She’s crying because she wants to go outside and then come inside for her breakfast. She hasn’t figured out the concept of a day off. On those days I hope that it will just be one little whimper and that she will go back to sleeping. No such luck. When she starts I know its time to get up and get the day underway. Once again, as much as I don’t want to be annoyed, I realize that I love her. It’s that love that makes it easier to sacrifice that little bit of sleeping in. It also helps that I might fall asleep in the recliner later on in the day with her napping on my lap as well.
As I said, that is just a minor sacrifice in the grand scheme of life. It doesn’t even compare to the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross roughly 2,000 years ago. Ever since Adam and Eve ate the piece of fruit in the Garden of Eden, mankind would have to face death. There is nothing that we can do to reverse that. One day all of us will breathe our final breath. That’s where Jesus stepped in so that even though our earthly bodies will one day give out, we will have eternal life in heaven. In the Lutheran Hour Devotion that was sent out for November 26, Rev. Ken Klaus wrote, “He would do what was necessary to save us. Nobody asked Him to make a sacrifice. He did what He did because — along with being a just God — He is also merciful. It was that attribute, along with grace, which had Him send His Son to save us.” Jesus made that sacrifice because of His love for us! If you ever question that love, think about this…Jesus was willing to die so that He could spend eternity with you. How incredible is that!?
Adopting a puppy was a decision that definitely has changed my regular routine. Even though I might complain about some things from time to time, I don’t regret that decision. She has been a good pup. I have learned from this short time and I’m sure that I will learn some more. Those lessons can be both good and bad. But as you see, I have learned some valuable lessons, or, maybe better put, it has helped reinforce things I already knew. First, that we will sin from time to time, but ultimately we have a God who loves us and forgives us. Secondly, we have a Savior who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so He can spend eternity with you and me. We are truly blessed to be loved by God!