One year ago we welcomed two dogs into our family. Chesed (right) was 6 and a half years old and a rescue dog.

The Tail of Two Pups

The Tail of Two Pups

One year ago we welcomed two dogs into our family. Chesed (right) was 6 and a half years old and a rescue dog. He had been the sire at a puppy mill and lived in a kennel, by himself. When we met him he nervously slunk around the edges of a dimly lit garage. He was pathetic. Our original purpose was to find a dog for our special needs son, but as my wife watched this bedraggled dog her heart reached out to him and a day later we brought Chesed home. 

For those of you familiar with Hebrew, Chesed means lovingkindness, faithfulness, or mercy. Lovingkindness in the Old Testament is grace in the New Testament. Sandi and Chesed bonded beautifully in a matter of days. 

The same night that we were introduced to Chesed, we went to another farm and met some six weeks old puppies. After some sweet deliberation, John picked out his favorite and two weeks later “King” (left) joined our family. He had been lavishly doted upon by the seven children at the farm since he was born. King has never met a stranger and joyfully welcomes all he meets with a wagging tail, a bounce, and if you bend down, a lick. He makes friends instantly and is a favorite in our neighborhood. 

The dogs have enriched our home and are a joy to us. However I see the differences in their upbringing almost daily. When I am working on my laptop computer, King will bound onto the couch and plant himself next to me, or on my shoulders, or if he needs more attention will stand on my computer and lick me, demanding affection. I can’t resist his pluck and confidence and will stop and give him a warm hug.

Chesed will see me working, and quietly walk around the back of the couch (he still cowers when approached by men) then humbly but hopefully sit before me until I invite him up. Then he gently hops up and nestles close to me, often with his head on my arm. I melt. Such a dear pup.

Abide in Me
What is your response when Jesus invites and exhorts you to come-sit-and abide in Him? Does your heart leap in your breast like John the Baptist did when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting? Do you then run and bound into His arms like King? Or do you carefully walk around behind Him and gaze expectantly, hoping He will invite you to sit next to Him?

For most of my life, I have been Chesed. More comfortable with God from a distance. Thankfully, the Word of God and the Spirit of God have transformed, my mind and heart until I am almost King. When I hear God invite me to abide in Him, or draw near to Him, or come into His presence, my response is becoming like David in Psalm 27:8, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.’”

May God so transform each of us, that when Jesus invites us into His presence, our spirit leaps within us and we run to Him, knowing that He will welcome us into His lap with a great smile and a long meaningful hug.

In the previous newsletters we have discussed this word in three contexts, abide in My love, abide in My Word, and now abide in Me. All three expressions are similar, but abide in Me, is an invitation to live-dwell-pitch our tent, next to His person. I love reading and abiding in God’s Word, for it is alive, brings hope, increases my faith, transforms my mind, and encourages me. My heart is full as I learn to abide in His love, and meditate and study the depth of His care and affection for me.

Abiding in His presence, in Him, in His person, is a deeper invitation. I can abide in God’s word and in His love, from a safe distance. To abide in His presence, face to face, is exhilarating and awesome. When Jesus says abide in me, He means come and live with Me and plan on staying. 

These two Psalms of David, a great lover of God, express with words, what my puppy King expresses in actions:

As the hart(deer) pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 AMP)

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord.” (Psalm 27:4 AMP)

We were created and designed to commune with God just as Adam and Eve did in the garden. They walked and talked with God in the cool of the evening (Genesis 3:8). They abode in His nearness. For the past three years I have learned how to draw near to God and come into His presence based on the eternal principles of Psalm 100. I love being close Him. I am learning to stay connected and abide in Him. I am tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. 

The more I learn about this delightful mystery of abiding, the better fruit I see being formed in my relationships with God and my family. I sense that I am living as I was designed to live.

Gratefully abiding and pressing into His presence,

Pup Update: Chesed no longer cowers when I reach down to pat him. When we meet new people on our daily walks, he doesn’t hide behind me but stands and wags his tail. He is being transformed by love, just as I am. Consistent with his character, King just bounded onto the couch where I am typing and is now sitting next to me 🙂

Recent podcasts may be found here.

As you can see by the titles, I began a series on finding Jesus in the Tabernacle.
300    It is Written
301    Bear Witness of Me
302    Tabernacle of Witness
303    Jesus is the Gate
304    Jesus in the Curtain
305    The Shoulders of the Gate
306    Pillar of Fire and the Cloud

Documentary Video of John

Rylee, a friend of our family, had an assignment to create a video for her high school class. She chose to do a documentary about John at work. Enjoy!

Speaking Calendar for 2022