Monthly Archives: October 2018

MOLLY AND ME – ALLERGIES

Molly has developed a skin condition which the vet and I are still trying to identify and treat. She has an allergic reaction to something, but the question is….what? It could be from the environment or from her food. When it’s really bad, the poor little thing scratches and licks continually and she breaks out in a nasty rash. She has been treated with cortisone twice that has temporarily relieved her problem, but I am looking for a permanent solution.

Now….the big problem is that Molly is spoilt! Yes, I know it’s my fault. Like all dogs, she adores treats. Biltong (dried meat) is her all-time favourite with chicken coming in a close second. Now that she’s on a strict diet of pellets made of duck and rice, she thinks her world has come an end. She gazes mournfully and hopefully at me when I eat what she used to share with me. She is thoroughly convinced that I no longer love her. If only I could get her to understand that it’s because I love her that I withhold everything that could trigger her allergy again.

Isn’t that just like our interaction with God? He knows far better than we do what is good for us and what is not good for us. We beg and plead, and sulk when we can’t get our way, complaining that God doesn’t love us while, in the meantime, He is protecting us from the very things that will destroy us.

Take, for example, His laws about adultery, fornication, theft, murder etc. Although we may never do these things in real life, what about the times when we do them in our hearts, wishing fervently that God would turn His head away for a moment? Even if we are not tempted by the grosser sins in life, there are many things we do that are destructive to ourselves and to those we love: greed, jealousy, anger, resentment, bitterness, and so on.

Jesus offered us the kind of rest that frees us from shame and guilt if we would just live in union with Him. Indulging in the appetites of our flesh, like Molly would love to do if I gave in to her, does nothing but trigger spiritual “allergies” which are uncomfortable and irritating.

Let’s heed Jesus’ invitation to learn from Him so that we can live free from habits and practices that harm us and produce rifts between us and our Father and us and our fellow men.

MOLLY AND ME – NEUTRALISING THE ENEMY

When Molly and I began our daily walks, I noticed that she regarded every passer-by; jogger, cyclist, pedestrian, dog walker, employee from the nearby supermarket, casual visitor from out-of-town, and even the guard dogs in the properties on the way, as potential enemies. She would “see them off”, big or small, with a flurry of barks and yelps.

However, as the months passed, she has become selective in her enmity, depending on the reaction of the stranger concerned. Some stop to talk to her, some laugh at her enthusiastic defence of her owner and some squawk or jump away in fear at her bravado. It is to the ones who show fear that she reacts the most, trying her best to attack (naturally from behind), against the constraint of the harness and leash with which I control her.

Now, I would never call Molly a devil or compare her antics with the devil’s devices but, as I strolled along and pondered her behaviour, a thought came to me. In an uncanny way, Molly is able to recognise fear and capitalise on it to intimidate any person who happens in her path exuding (to a dog), the odour of fear.

Our enemy, the devil does the same to us on a spiritual level. Fear is one of his most potent weapons to lure us off track in our walk with the Lord…and he can smell fear a mile away and he is quick to respond.  He is subtle in his suggestions when we are faced with an intimidating situation. What if…? Is God really for me? Did He really promise…? Does He love me? Does He even exist?

Before we know it, our confidence in the love and care of a Heavenly Father is engulfed in the clouds of doubt and fear. We view our Father through the troubles we face and we either don’t see Him at all or He seems far away and out of touch with our very real problems.

When Molly and I walk, I have her firmly under control in a harness and leash which restrain her every effort to do harm to a stranger. She can make noises to deal with the “enemy”, but she can’t touch them as long as I have her in hand.

Despite what we may feel or think, the Father also has the enemy of our souls firmly in His grip. He promised that we would never be tested beyond what we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). He is not only our place of safety but also the source of everything we need. Our role is to neutralise the enemy by refusing to give way to fear. When fear comes knocking on the door, the truth of God’s promises will keep the door of our hearts closed to the lies of the enemy.

The battle between fear and faith takes place in our minds. We must first redirect our thoughts from the uncertainties of fear to the security of God and His truth. Replace the lies with the truth by purposefully focusing on what He has said, not what the devil suggests.

From there, it’s easy because God takes over and His power kicks in to bring a conclusion to the matter at hand.