The “Toy” in My Dog’s Mouth

Sometimes you just misunderstand things.  You hear something differently than what was intended.  Or, as in my case, you wrongly identify an object— and in so doing miss its entire function and purpose..

Last weekend we traveled to San Antonio to speak at a marriage retreat.  We had a wonderful time with the church, and enjoyed some special time with our friends, Mike and Anne-Brigitte.   The church is San Antonio is warm and welcoming.  In fact, Anne-Brigitte sent us home with a “Texas basket” – full of goodies.  Inside the basket were scrumptious treats, mementos of Texas, a few books and even a wonderful toy for our dog(s).  I was amazed that these Texans even remembered our dogs—that they were lucky enough to be recipients of fine Texan hospitality.

We enjoyed the treats and our dogs loved the dog toy.  It was one of those braided toys—blue in color.  Our small dog is ten years older than our two-year-old golden retriever.  The little dog particularly loved the toy, so being the “alpha” dog he rarely let the big dog take a turn. However, we played tug-of-war and “catch” with the new pull-toy. You see, it was his favorite toy—ever.  I even snapped a photo to send to Anne-Brigitte, showing our little dog’s enjoyment of his new toy and sent her a text thanking her for the thoughtfulness toward our furry friends.  0218141750b

Imagine my surprise today, a week later, when I noticed the toy was unraveling.  I took it in my hands to see if I could fix it when I noticed that it was, in fact, not a dog toy but instead a beautiful blue scarf (creatively tied.)  Whoops!  Sorry, Anne-Brigitte.  At this point, I didn’t have the heart to take this beloved toy from my dog. And to be honest, it was well worn by then.

I thought about this scarf-dog-toy.  It’s all too easy to be given something of value—and yet fail to identify it as something as valuable as it truly is.  Then, the dog just ends up carrying it around in his mouth.  It would be a bummer to stumble upon a colorful old piece of paper in our attic and because it seems old use it to line the bottom of the dog crate—all the while not realizing a famous artist painted it.

I thought about the promises of God. How do you view his promises?   Do you see them meant for you, or for someone else.  Sometimes I can get busy and even miss the point of Bible study.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40  

While I did miss out on a beautiful new scarf because I didn’t recognize it was for me—what a tragedy if I were to read the scriptures—and yet miss out on a relationship with the author.

Dental Floss and Duct Tape

If you were stranded somewhere, what items would you most want to have in your pocket or your purse? I know what I’d want to have close at hand – dental floss and duct tape.

The versatility of these items is impressive.  Dental floss has helped me out of numerous jams.  Not only has it saved me from the embarrassment of a very unattractive “spinach or pepper stuck-in-the-teeth look,” but it is extremely useful. Several times I have been with my dogs without a much needed leash; however they were safe because I keep dental floss with me.  Floss serves well as a temporary leash. IMG_4615 And then there were times I went out to celebrate a birthday with friends, only to find that no one has a knife with which to cut the cake. Voila, dental floss delivers a nifty cake slice.

Not only can floss perform these tasks, but It can also be used to hang pictures, tie hair back when you can’t find an elastic, tie a shoe when a shoelace breaks, sew on a button, tie up wayward plants, hang Christmas ornaments, and serve as a makeshift clothesline.

Once as I readied to face several hundred children for a “Fruity Tunes” show, I faced the dreadful reality that the glue once attaching the “fruit” to my hat had disintegrated.

“How can Fruity Tunes face children without her fruit,” I ask you?

Then, I remembered the dental floss in my purse.  Yes, by forcing floss through the fruit and weaving it into my hat…Fruity Tunes was saved.

And what can I say about duct tape?  It has at times kept the fender on my car, held my rear view mirror in place (sort of), patched chairs, fixed a hole in my vacuum cleaner hose, repaired my suitcase, fixed my printer, held the batteries in the remote, and much more.  Why it has even saved lives of Astronauts (Apollo 13 mission). I have to say that the presence of nearby dental floss and duct tape bring me security….at least for outward things.

Unfortunately, these items don’t do much for my internal and eternal quality of life.

Two favorite Bible verses of mine are:

14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15  and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

3  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)

Over and over again I experience the truth of these scriptures… these promises.  The Bible, and the power of God in my life give me everything I need to find faith, salvation, training and victory to live the life God intended for me to live. Now that is something to never leave home without!

I see a lot of confusion, chaos, insecurity and unrest in the world around me.  How deeply grateful I am for these gifts from God that so greatly surpass dental floss and duct tape. If my rear view mirror falls off or my dogs have to be herded – it’s not the end of the world.  The promises of God, however, have truly changed (and continue to change) my life internally and eternally. Instead of confusion, chaos, insecurity and unrest I find direction, power, security and peace.