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Staying In Step with the Spirit Via A Well Placed Pooch

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 28 }

She stayed a few steps ahead of me, pushing her baby stroller with baby Rapunzel in tow. 

It wasn’t long before Rupert, our 11 year old Lhasa Apso decided to join in the stroll. Unfortunately, aging Lhasas aren’t always the best companion for little ones, especially when their wee feet are in motion. Rupert has never hurt Piper but he’s growled and nipped enough towards her toes to make her understandably nervous at times. (Let’s just say he’s seeing his crate increasingly more when the grands come for a visit.)

Rupert, our ornery well loved Lhasa.

I stayed between her and Rupert as we strolled throughout the rooms but with every few steps, she’d glance back to make sure Rupert wasn’t following too closely. Each time, I’d reassure her:

“Don’t worry, Pipes.”
“I’m standing between you and Rupert. He can’t touch you.”
“It’s okay.” 
“You just keeping looking straight ahead. I’m watching out for you.” 

My reassurances to Piper came naturally, like grandparent to child. I smiled and continued patting her petite shoulders when the Lord whispered, This is a picture of you and Me. I reassure you with My promises during your times of fear but like Piper, you often spend more time glancing over your shoulder rather than enjoying our stroll together. 

Sweet Pipes and her pigtails.

The tone of His voice wasn’t condemning or else I’d know it wasn’t my heavenly Father (Romans 8:8). Instead, it was the voice of a Father desiring more for His daughter, much like I wanted Piper to enjoy her stroll and simply trust me to protect her from an ornery but well-loved pooch.

Staying in Step with the Spirit: Sometimes staying in step with God’s Spirit is simply recognizing how closely His steps are to ours. 

Heavenly Father, help us to trust Your promises at all times, especially when we can’t “see” you at work in our lives. Thank You for being a loving, firm, always-wanting-what’s-best-for-His-children kind of Father, and not a condemning One. Because You have our back, we no longer need glance over our shoulders in fear.

Your turn! Do you have a favorite promise of God you’d like to share?

{ Day 15 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Paper Bookmark
{ Day 16 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Fresh Start
{ Day 17 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Spontaneous Service
{ Day 18 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via God’s Creation, Wk. 3
{ Sunday } 
{ Day 20 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Mini-Getaway
{ Day 21 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Piped Icing
{ Day 22 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Knock at the Door{ Day 23 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via The Book
{ Day 24 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Breath of Prayer
{ Day 25 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via God’s Creation, Wk. 4
{ Sunday } 

One of God’s Greatest Gifts: Repentance

 

Guess it goes without saying that our granddaughter is rarely in the background, and for good reason!

On those rare occasions, however, when she realizes we’re not tuned in to her every word it doesn’t take long for her attention-antenna to intercept with two words that snap me back into full attention mode: Meeee-me! Meeee-me! (i.e. Grammy)  

You would be hard-pressed to find words that so quickly melt this heart but I was reminded of another one during yesterday’s sermon on discipleship: repentance. Yes, it can be painful and heart wrenching but it is a powerful and magnificent gift made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

As children of God, our attention antenna need never rise because His Word assures us that we never escape His notice. When we call out to our Father, He leans in to hear His children and stands ready to forgive and cleanse those who desire to turn away from their sin. It’s not about getting our act together or becoming more religious, for both come up empty—but it is about becoming humble and real on an ongoing basis before a living, loving, active, and holy God who desires His best for His children. 

“The mark of a true disciple is joyful and regular acceptance of 
God’s gracious gift of repentance.” -Kyle Estepp

(The
purpose of this blog is to share snippets of life and truth along the
way. To listen to our sermon series on discipleship and this week’s
sermon on repentance, please visit Summit’s site. It should be posted by Wednesday.)

Are You Settling for the $3.49 Blessing?

Brian and I recently had a blast keeping Piper for part of the week while our kids were in Florida. They may have had the Disney passes, but if the truth be told, we felt as if we were the ones on the magical carpet ride.

We played hide-n-seek in her pink tent, read lots of books, and enjoyed the great outdoors together. One of my favorite outings was a mini shopping trip to Target. I’ve always looked forward to taking my grandchildren to pick out a little something special for themselves. (I have my sweet Aunt Shirley to thank for this desire as I’ve never forgotten how it felt when she purchased a baby doll for me “just because” while shopping at a NC mall eons ago. Thank you again, Aunt Shirley.)

So there we were. The three of us strolling the Target aisles. Brian and I took turns picking out toys we thought she’d enjoy. And she did! For about 3 seconds. None of the toys we showed her were extravagant but I’ll admit we did try to choose those we felt would bring a smile of delight.

Among other things, we “offered” her:

  • A practically life-sized Minnie Mouse
  • Pink push mobile with all the bells and whistles (literally)
  • A toddler-sized guitar with real strings to strum

But this is what Piper refused to release after the normal 3 second drop:

Two of the homeliest and cheapest baby dolls Target had to offer.

I couldn’t help but wonder how Piper ended up settling for these two dolls when we wanted to give her so much more. 

And yet, all too often I find myself doing the same thing with my heavenly Father. While I’m not a name-it and claim-it kind of girl, there were many years my spiritual pendulum swung too far in the opposite direction, suppressing the joy that came from fully embracing all God had for me as His daughter. 

I’m slowly learning that when I settle for the “good enough” blessings in my life I’m not only cheating myself out of God’s best, but I’m also cheating others out of them as well for nothing we receive is to remain in us — they are to flow through us for God’s glory. 

Is there an area in your life where you’re settling for the $3.49 blessing even though your heavenly Father stands ready to pour out His priceless gifts to you — not only for you, but for the benefit of others and the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to
those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 ESV

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