Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Max’ism: Wash Me Clean

Psalm 51:1-7

One of Max’s least favorite activities is bath time. He hates it. The moment I say, “Let’s give you a bath,” Max is hiding under the couch. Unfortunately, he doesn’t always give me choice.

Take, for example, last Saturday. My family and I were busy doing yard work. Max came outside with us, but since we couldn’t pay much attention to him, it wasn’t long before he found his way to the pasture. The cow pasture. Where the cows are. And the cow patties.

When I finally realized that Max wasn’t in the yard with us, it was too late. He’d found every mud puddle and cow pie in the area, and he wore the evidence proudly. Disgusted, I carried Max inside, at arm’s length mind you, and plunked him in the tub.

“Bad dog, Max,” I scolded as I scrubbed, and rinsed, and scrubbed some more. At last, I was able to wash away the stench. Max was clean, but not happy. The moment I lifted him from the bath, he bolted for the living room, dripping and shaking all the way.

What is about getting a bath that he hates so much? Why does my washing away the grime make him want to run and hide? Can it be he’s actually content to wallow in the filth?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that was exactly right, and we are not much different. Our sins cling to us, covering us in an unholy stench that must disgust our God and Savior. Yet, He does not hold us at arm’s length. Instead, He bids us come to let Him wash away our sin, and though the process can be uncomfortable, I’m learning to love bath time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Max’ism: Learn to Prioritize
Exodus 20:1-6

Max is a jealous dog.

No matter how much time and attention I give him, it’s never enough. If I’m on the phone, he sits at me feet and whines. If I’m on the computer, he nudges my hands with his cold little nose until I’m forced to either pet him or turn him out of the room. In which case, he sits at the door and scratches. If I pet Newly. . .heaven forbid I should pet Newly in Max’s presence. It absolutely drives him crazy to think that my love could be split between the two of them. I’m just grateful he likes the kids and I haven’t had to choose

But all that clamoring for my attention got me thinking. The Lord is a jealous God. He flat out said it.

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

And yet, I do. At home, in the office, at play, God has not always been first in my life, even though He deserves all of my love, honor, and attention. I have allowed the god of sports, the god of wealth, the god of children. . .yes, children, to come before Him, and the list goes on.

Forgive me, Father, for letting other things come before You. Help me, oh Lord, to prioritize, and to keep You first in all things. May I always love You most.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Max’ism: Know Your Weaknesses

Genesis 39:1-12

Miniature dachshunds are known for many things. Loyalty. Unwavering devotion. Back problems.

Yes, unfortunately, these playful, active, bundles of energy are susceptible to injuries with their elongated spines. My husband went online to research the problem after a couple of the men he works with told him there were steps we could take to help prevent any future trouble.

Apart from surgery, he found several websites that offered some pretty simple solutions. Watch your pet’s diet. Keep their weight under control. Don’t let your pet jump off furniture.


Max doesn’t “jump” off furniture, he leaps. Literally. If we strapped a cape on him, he’d be Underdog. So for the last week and a half, we’ve been following him around the house, like parents with a toddler, trying to keep him from jumping off anything higher than a footstool. It hasn’t been easy, or successful. No matter how many times I scold him, he just likes to jump.

Which got me to thinking. I can trail Max around the house from dusk to dawn, but unless he realizes that jumping can harm him, and chooses not to do it, my efforts are in vain.

So it is with sin. There are just some things that are a greater temptation to me than others. Conquering that temptation sometimes means avoiding certain situations. Does that involve soul searching? Absolutely. Does it involve honesty? Definitely.

But more importantly, it means staying close to my Lord and Savior, who knows me even more intimately than I know myself, and asking Him to show me those parts of my character that I need to recognize and deal with.

After that, it’s as simple as knowing what my weaknesses are.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Max’ism: Too Many Toys
Mark 10:17-23

Max is like a child in many ways, among them, his toys. He likes to scatter them around the house. It’s not enough to get one toy out and play, he wants them all out at once.

I couldn’t sleep one night. Trying not to wake my husband, I slid from the bed without turning on a light and tiptoed my way to the door. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize Max had left his favorite squeaky lying on the floor. I stepped on it, and the most horrendous wail I’d ever hear echoed through the room. Max started barking, thinking someone was playing with his toys, and I frantically started shushing him. Finally, I had no choice but to turn on the light.

Needless to say, there sat my husband, blinking sleepily. “What happened?”

I held up the squeaky.

“That dog has too many toys,” he grumbled, flopping back onto the bed and throwing the blanket over his head.

I stifled a chuckle as I doused the light and backed out of the room, squeaky in hand. He was right, Max did have too many, but I didn’t have the heart to throw any of them away.

Which got me thinking.

Most of us can easily be accused of having more than we need. The real question is not what do we have, but what have we done to get it? Have we made God second to our pursuit of material wealth? Have we sacrificed our time with God for time at the office? When all is said and done, can we be accused of having too many toys?

If I looked closely, I’m afraid the answer for me would be yes. I am learning, however, to throw those things away.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Max’ism: Love One Another

Romans 12:9-21

“You kids fight like cats and dogs.”

Mom used to tell us that all the time. I never really understood it until I had my own kids. I understood it better when we got Max, and my daughter got a cat.

Those two go round and round. The pitter-patter of little feet? It’s more like the growling, hissing, and tromping of sworn enemies. Up the stairs, down the stairs, through the kitchen, over the couch—they fight and chase until one of them gets exhausted, or until one of them wins.

After a particularly extended brawl, Max came trotting down the stairs, a tell-tale bit of fluff dangling from his mouth. He looked downright smug, and the cat had a little less fur. Don’t worry. The cat got her revenge one day when Max lay on the floor napping. With all the stealth and cunning cats are known for, she climbed onto the couch above Max’s head, timed her leap, and pounced! Woken from a peaceful slumber, Max yelped, jumped up, and the chase was on.

It was so funny, so ridiculous, and so. . .familiar. Instead of being the brothers and sisters Christ wants us to be, we sometimes squabble amongst ourselves over trivial things. We allow little issues to disrupt the unity of our fellowship, and we put our own wants and desires above the needs of our brethren. How it must grieve the Lord to behold our selfish attitudes, when He specifically commanded us to love and care for one another. I hope we consider His words when we’re tempted to fight…like cats and dogs.

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