I take the dog out every night around ten or so that he can take care of his needs before we head off to bed. As with our last dog, I used to simply open the door and let Fiver go out and do his thing. That process worked well for our 13 year old dog who simply went out, took care of her business and quickly returned to the comfort of the home. But Fiver… well, he did well until the middle of summer’s muggy heat and rain which turned our backyard into a menagerie of sounds, smells and movements!
It is interesting how much the environment changes out here with the weather differences during each of the four distinct seasons. In the heat of the summer it seems as if every creature within a few miles of our yard comes out and wants to make their presence heard… if not seen as well.
Let’s see, we have the frogs that croak and the ones that quack like a duck before and during a storm, the rabbits who come under the fence and try to stay in the back shadows of the yard, the various birds that call to each other, the chatter of the squirrels in the trees that line two sides of the yard, the crickets and of course the ever present cicadas. With all those sounds invading the yard it is no surprise that Fiver just seemed to go wacky when let out. He would run from side to side and back to front with his nose in the air and his big ears peaked upon his head.
Needless to say, he would get thoroughly distracted, forget what he was supposed to be doing out there and of course… completely ignore my ever increasing calls for him to return to the house! That’s when I decided that it would be best for him and me if I were to take him out at night on the lease. And you know… he does really good! He goes out to a particular spot near the patio, takes care of business and then turns and leads me back up the stairs to the deck and into the house! This makes life a lot more peaceful for me, for when we return to the house, I can easily focus on helping my wife to prepare for bed.
On clear nights, I love to look up to the bright expanse of the stars that are on display in the heavens above our home. Sometimes I like to turn the patio light off when we go out the door so that there is no artificial light to dim the scene unfolding in the skies. On many occasions I’ll find myself mesmerized by the sight I am viewing with my upturned head and then am rudely interrupted as the dog has finished his job and yanks me back to reality in his desire to return to the deck!
Every time I look at the stars I am reminded of Papa God’s words to Abraham concerning the number of offspring that He promised him. I also consider the many times throughout the scriptures that the stars are used to remind men and women of heaven, the presence of God and of His faithfulness to us, His children. At this time of year I also think about the star that led the wise men to the baby Jesus.
As I read from the account of Matthew over the last few weeks, I found it interesting that it seemed like nobody else saw the star except these men! Matthew 2:1-2 tells us that once they got to Jerusalem they asked all around the town to no avail for assistance in finding Jesus while they explained how the star had led them there. Even Herod didn’t know anything about what they were talking about… except that the talk of another king definitely scared him!
Then after leaving the presence of the local king, the star miraculously reappears and goes and sits right over the house where Mary, Joseph and the baby resided… but the story doesn’t say anything about others in the town seeing the star and gathering around the home to find out what was going on! I mean let’s face it… a bright light like that would definitely attract a crowd around here! Just look how on-lookers are drawn to flashing red and blue lights.. or to the effects of a spot light flashing across the evening sky.
That insight into the story got me to thinking about all the times that the Lord has spoken through that small-still inner voice to Piper and I over the years. That small-still voice has probably also spoken to all of you at one time or another in your lives. Sometimes you recognize it, and at other times you might not. Over the years I find the Lord usually working in a familiar pattern and have become faster in my recognition and obedience to His voice and directions.
What I have also discovered is that just like the star that led the wise men, not everyone else around you will see what you have seen or heard! But like the wise men, I have learned to persevere no matter what others may say or think about our obedience to the call of the Lord. After all, I can’t necessarily expect other folks to understand what we are doing as the Lord has spoken to us and not them! And He usually works through each of us in relation to our level of faith and Christian maturity, our lifestyle, the unique set of circumstances that surround our lives, our background and history and maybe more importantly, through the expectations and dreams in our hearts.
After finally reaching their goal of finding Jesus, Matthew 2:10 reports of the wise men that “They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!” (The Message Bible) I was telling someone just the other day that even though we went through some rough times while staying faithful in our following of the Lord’s call for us to pack up and move to Oklahoma so that I could finish my Bible College education, that everything ended up happening just as He said it would! With all that in mind I can heartily agree with the wise men’s sentiments saying with great exuberance that “We were in the right place and arrived at the right time!”
So for the rest of this holiday season and into the New Year, I would heartily encourage each of you to listen for and obediently follow the leadings that the Lord has specifically for you! And while it is good to seek counsel from others with whom you trust … in the end, make sure that you are following His wisdom and not that of man… for they might not know all the intricate details of your lives and have the faith-filled confidence in you and your abilities as Papa God does!
Have a great rest of 2016 and as you do, keep asking yourselves… “What adventures am I expecting to embark upon with the leading and direction of the Lord in 2017?”