After years of having literally up to 17 dogs at a time when I was in the thick of my extreme dog rescue work, I am down to my last 2 for now anyway. They are not the most ordinary dogs. I drove hours years ago to pick up Miss Mercy at a rural animal shelter where she had been taken after likely being hit by a truck. She was left paralyzed. On the way, I stopped at a gas station and was told of a young dog dumped there who had been hit by 2 cars on the same day and left with a badly broken leg. Long story short. Miss Mercy and Gracie have been with me for years now, and herein is a sweet little story with a big beautiful message.
My spoiled special needs ministry doggies do not like drinking plain water. I have to add flavoring from food, and if the flavoring isn’t just right they won’t drink it. After all the years of extreme rescue work, one more thing to do feels like way too much sometimes. Just a little while before writing this, Gracie would not drink the flavored water because the flavor wasn’t just right. So I passed the bowl over to Miss Mercy who lapped it up and gulped it down as fast as she could. She approved. She liked it.
I just didn’t feel like doing an ounce of extra work. So instead of modifying the flavoring of the water, I passed the bowl back to Gracie. Now that Gracie had seen how thrilled Miss Mercy was drinking the water, she didn’t hesitate to lap up a whole bunch of water and was perfectly happy and content. She enjoyed it thoroughly.
The beautiful example? If you are a Jesus follower, people are watching us. How we talk about God, how we fear, love, revere, honor, and adore Him, that we praise and worship Him, how we invest our hearts and time into our relationship with the Lord, how we love and serve Him and love and serve others in His name, the joy in our hearts and on our faces or the lack thereof, the kindness and love we extend to others or lack of it, how we respond to struggles in our lives, how our faith in Him deepens as we pursue God and His will for us or how our faith weakens when we are lukewarm about Him and begin to turn away from Him. This they are watching.
They are watching too how we handle being confronted about sin in our lives, whether we repent or not, how we enjoy our relationship with the Lord, how our love for Jesus is evident or how we lack genuine love for Him, whether Jesus is really #1 in our lives or not, that we cry out to God in prayer continually or pray only once in a while when we’re desperate, how we conduct ourselves in a world with countless people with their backs turned to God, how we shine with the love and light of Jesus or walk around negative, complaining, self-centered, whatever it may be, people are watching us.
Gracie was drawn to the water by watching Miss Mercy. People can be drawn to God through us and our hearts and lives. Or they can be turned away from Him when we say we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord but don’t live our lives accordingly.
I would love it if people when they see my heart and life, when they hear my words and see my countenance, become hungry and thirsty for the Lord and for His ways and His will for their lives. That they yearn to be a Christ follower. That if they already are, that they long to be totally devoted to Him if they are yet to be on fire for Him. That if they are already unfathomably in love with and devoted to Him that they are encouraged to press on. That they are encouraged to deepen their commitment to the Lord if need be. That God touches people’s hearts and lives through me. Do you feel the same way? Oh, I hope so!
In the Bible, water sometimes represents the Holy Spirit. Just as Gracie was influenced by Miss Mercy’s love of that water I set before them, my heart’s cry for you and I and all of Jesus’ followers is that people would be encouraged through our lives to come to the living waters, to come to Jesus, to come hungrily and thirstily, and to drink of the “well of salvation”, to drink of the Lord and His ways, to feast on the Bible, to drink of the Spirit of God, and through their lives to help others desire to come and drink of the Lord! Oh, yes! Amen!
My sweet special needs ministry dogs are such a beautiful example of how one can influence another in a powerful way. Let the same be said of you and I and us all when it comes to loving and following the Lord. Amen!
Please be greatly encouraged reading all the wonderful, powerful, life-changing words below from God’s Word, the Bible!
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NKJV
“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”” John 6:35
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 NKJV
“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ ” Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:2-3 NKJV
“”I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:16-17 NKJV
“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”” John 4:7-15 NKJV