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Jamie Johnson
July 2016

Observant

Haven

Our dog Haven is a creature of habit and an expert at figuring out how we do things. If my wife mentions the word, "Walk," Haven's ears perk up, her eyes focus and she prances around my wife looking up. She knows what it means and what it involves. She anticipates it with excitement.

Whether or not my wife and Haven go on a walk, when I leave for work in the morning, I leave the bedroom door open so she can go into the room with my wife and have doggy cuddles. That is part of Haven's day and as much as possible, it is a part of Haven's day every day.

One time, Haven got in the routine of pawing at our door early in the morning and waking us up. It was at this point that I decided to lock her downstairs where she could sleep in my son's room. It didn't take long when after a few nights, she would bound down the steps and go into my son's room when it was time.

This past spring, Haven experienced change again. She had surgery and was unable to jump for a while. Her bed was moved to the dining room and once again, it did not take long for her to figure out that this was the routine. She would lay down and fall asleep there at night without a prompt.

Haven, like all dogs, is an expert at human routine. They are observant of human behavior. They anticipate it and respond to it and adjust accordingly. They seem to study it in a way. They certainly pick up on it.

Now, consider us and God. Are we observant of what He has done, is doing and will do? I heard a sermon at the dawn of summer where the preacher mentioned that sometimes we have to walk backwards. He used this as a metaphor to look back in your life where God has been faithful. We are all here. That means a journey occurred between your birth and right now. Think about the endless times God was faithful to you or where life may have seemed to go in a direction you would not want, but He used it for good. What are some of them? Consider these verses:

Romans 8:28 (NIV):

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV):

[I]f we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

For Haven, seeing her food dish or her leash moved or us packing for a trip can cause stress. For us, the stressors are much bigger things. However, God doesn't change. Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." He is consistent and reliable when life is not. Are you tuned in to that which is God's routine? When the waves of life crash all around, do you look at them and sink or do you look to Jesus and walk?

Another thing about dogs. When compared with wolves in studies, dogs look to humans for help in solving a problem. Dogs are fiercely loyal to and dependent on their human masters. Are we fiercely loyal to and dependent on our master? The answer for us all is, "Yes." However, don't get too excited about that because there is a more important question to answer: Who is your master? You can be fiercely loyal to Jesus or you can be fiercely loyal to sin. One cannot server two masters. Matthew 6:24b (NIV) says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Which master do you love? To which master are you devoted? We are to be devoted to Jesus, love Jesus and serve Jesus as we loyally look to Him for help. He is there for the believer as He says in Scripture.

Consider in Hebrews 13:5b (NIV):

Never will I leave you;
     never will I forsake you.

This echoes Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV):

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

And remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20b (NIV): "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Where does your help come from? Where does my help come from? Where does our help come from? Consider Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV):

I lift up my eyes to the mountains‐
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Can we say that with confidence? In the Spirit, we can.

Dogs are mere animals, but to us they can be very special and loyal companions. We are mere humans, but in Christ, God calls us friends. Are you observant of Him and looking to Him? Are you loyal to Him? Are you seeking help from Him? Are you obedient to Him? Study His Word, rely on Him, adjust in Him, trust in Him and look to Him for help as your Master. Know and be observant of Jesus now and look forward to Him in the future.


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