What Dogs Teach Us About the Kingdom of Heaven
Precious Light Bearers in the Sacred Images of Divinity

Sample

Excerpts From Introductory Comments and Chapter One.

This book is about the spiritual virtues found within dogs likened to those from the Kingdom of Heaven.  For example, all dogs have a deep love for their master, just as Christians have a deep love for Jesus.  Additionally, Christians need to be faithful followers, obedient and submissive to the voice and words of our master, Jesus, abide in His love, draw near to Him, be full of unconditional forgiveness and love, and express adoration and worship.  These spiritual virtues, along with many others are found within the heart and soul of dogs.  Those that love and hold their dogs deep within the heart know these spiritual attributes exist.  My hope is that the reader will be attentive to all the different divinity traits weaved within the following pages of this work.

        There are going to be instances that I am sure some of the servitude traits in particular will not apply to every single dog or at the intensity of the description to the reader‘s experience.  Attributes such as this are probably more dependent upon the character and personality of the dog or a specific breed, although dogs of the same breed may not have them to the equivalent as others within it.  Additionally, it is dependent upon the interaction, love, affection, and attention given by the owner with the right mix and balance of discipline, dignity, honor, and respect.

        If by chance you do not see any of these within your dog, in my opinion, there are a couple of reasons why.  If you are a Christian reading this book, I strongly suppose you are a Bible believing one and familiar with the scripture references used throughout the book, so that is probably not the reason.  However, this could be one explanation for those who do not proclaim Christianity or any other religious belief.  In the majority of cases, I believe what has taken place is the inconsistency involving a relationship with the heart of your dog.  To experience and see the spiritual nature your dog possesses take a lot of time, attention, and love-just as any relationship.   It very well could be that the kingdom of God traits within your dog were there all along, and reading this book opened your eyes unto them.

        Although we have found a truth dogs have likenesses to heaven instilled within them, it certainly does not mean anything discussed drains all the mystery from the subject to any level of perfection.  Most likely, we will have to wait for that fine day when we become residents of God’s Kingdom.

 

Traits of the Highest Friendship Love

 

While delivering a speech to a jury in 1855, George Graham Vest coined the phrase “dog is man’s best friend.”  The majority of people most likely perceive this ageless expression as the single defining attribute to these beautiful creatures.  The reality is that a dog’s spiritual characteristics extend far beyond that traditional view.  Dogs have numerous Kingdom of Heaven strengths and virtues that even those who deem themselves dog lovers rarely think about or perhaps Christians have never contemplated.  As the Lord Jesus taught throughout the gospels that “the greatest of these is love”, this chapter discusses the aspects of friendship love that occurs amidst people with people, a dog and the master, and the Son of God, Jesus Christ, with the world of man.  The comparisons noted in this portion of the book specifically parallel the disciple “Whom I love”, John, the beloved.

        Before delving into the divinity traits of the dog, what attributes between people characterize the highest of friendship love?  How deep is the love of a real friend portrayed?  What endears a person to one unrelated by blood?  Although there are probably many more, a friend that becomes dearly beloved is a loyal companion through life’s journeys; present at the time of rejoicing and the one found side by side in the valley of suffering.  This caliper of person may choose to be close at hand more in times of trials and tribulations than celebration for that is when support is most needed.  Outside opinions and murmurings by others have no effect or can influence the heart’s desire to remain steady and faithful to the friend that needs them.  The nature of this person is to act; not solely express beautiful heartfelt words that become lifeless without true application.  A highly prized friend extends a hand of abiding companionship based entirely upon a heart who desires to do so without care of outer appearance, residence, occupation, financial status, etc.  All conversations are held in the strictest of confidence without condemnation and a heart quick to forgive while offering sound advice, wisdom, and direction that brings forth great trust to the relationship.

By comparison, a dog’s love is fiercely devoted with a loyalty of the highest standards and everything they do is because of it.  Their lives revolve upon all things and in all situations that involve the master’s daily walk.  Ready to take up the call of protector, guardian, and companion to the depth sometimes never experienced by or with a person.  A friend for all times and seasons.  They bow their will to the wishes and instructions of the master.  They seek always to be in the presence of the master through whatever crossroad life may take them.  Dogs live in eagerness to please to find favor in the praise of the master.  A dog wishes that the master never go where they cannot follow.  Dogs learn the boundaries and rules set forth by the master and their love and devotion set the path of obedience.

        In the gospel of John, 21:25 records; “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”  The importance of the statement is that John, one of the twelve disciples of the Lord writes this in first person, eyewitness testimony; he knew it to be so.  With that said, the Bible was not compiled to give an account of how much people personally loved their dogs.  Instead, the scriptures are about the gospel of salvation, the ministry and teachings of Jesus and how they affected individual lives, the law, a nation of people, the prophets, etc.  However, there is no doubt that people are people and were the same as now although nothing is recorded regarding any special love bond for a dog or any other beloved pet.  It is a strong and personal belief that the divinity traits discussed throughout this book were as real during biblical times as evidenced today.  This conviction further extends to the very moment of its creation that God placed these heavenly virtues within the heart and soul of dogs.  Just like every parent passes some inherited trait onto a child, God certainly does the same for all He creates to reflect something of Himself whether it be in plants, animals, the heavens, or mankind.  These likenesses were meant to be a constant reminder and life lesson to those who dwell upon the earth of His never failing presence, existence, love, mercy, grace, and righteous judgments.  Man was further gifted with a created desire to worship intended for His perfect purposes.  Since this is true, then the heart is created to love God with all the might and strength of it.  The mind was first to seek earnestly and learn of God.  The eyes are to be ever focused and fixed to follow His ways.  The ears of man are created to pay heed and listen for His voice of direction, and the mouth to utter praise, worship, and thanksgiving into Heaven’s gates and courts.  Dogs perform all these things for the love of the master, just as humans are to do all these things for the love of God.

 

Pictures of Heaven’s Divinity

       

When a Christian desires to read of the love of Jesus as the Son of God, they generally open the Bible to the Gospel of John.  Penned throughout its pages is the love of the Son for the Father, the love of God and Jesus for a lost and sinful world, and the perfect, beautiful plan of salvation and redemption.  John, also known as the disciple that Jesus loved, did not see Him as the Son of man, a servant, or as King of the Jews, but as all deity divine.

        Dogs symbolize John the beloved virtues to a depth that some dog owners may find surprising while others have already experienced this bond of love, loyalty, companionship, and faithfulness to some degree; Christian or not.  For those that believe ‘a dog is just a dog’ and that is it, are limiting the Almighty Father’s complete and total love for the human race and the gift God created and purposed for them as a side by side companion to the most cherished of all His creation-mankind.  It is a belief shared by many dog lovers including myself that God did not intend a dog’s service to be limited as hunter, laborer, and protector, but gives them an enormous capability of heart to be a life support, companion and comfort as well.  There are probably thousands of testimonials and stories shared privately and published, professing how the love and companionship of a dog helped someone endure a crisis when the situation became too unbearable to accept and withstand; perhaps even live through.  A dog will share in the burdens, grief, and agonies; not exactly as a beloved human friend would express, rather as God created and purposed them to be.  My life‘s story bears witness to this like so many others.  Perhaps those reading who have not experienced the precious treasure of it will come to understand what others intimately know as reality.  What can be agreed upon by all is when a true friend is found; one that sticks closer than a brother or sister, it is considered a most wondrous and priceless prize.  This is the love of a cherished friend in action; the same exhibited by John with Jesus.  Preachers in the pulpit and expert after expert state if one person like this is found during an entire life’s journey, consider it a blessing.

        The Father and the Son love with an everlasting love and the gospel of John is considered to be the greatest recorded love story on earth as it tells of the living sacrifice, Jesus; while detailing the simple plan of salvation.  Many people who have come into this saving knowledge of the Son of the most high God do not have to look much past John 3:16 for this evidence.  There are thousands who believe this one scripture alone encompasses the forever love of God and Jesus for all people; “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall never die, but have everlasting life.”  This passage, read before the invitation to come and receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, is quoted above all the rest as it so simply defines the endless mercy God extends to the inhabitants of the earth.

        Jesus can melt the hardest of hearts, shatter it into little bitty pieces, remold it, and make it new and pure with His light of love.  When this happens in a person’s life, the testimonies of thousands state life was never the same again because the author and creator of perfect love entered their heart and life.  A dog will edge its way, ever so slowly and deeply into the life of the master when it is least expected.  It seems to go un-noticed until the time a person is searching for something to love and feel love in return when no one or anything else will do.  That adoring gaze which shoots from the deep recesses of intense eyes that tend to follow every movement are suddenly recognized and appreciated.  Dogs so completely surrender to the love they have for the master, just as Christians are to surrender in love to the Lord.  Jesus knows just how loud and long to knock for the door to the heart to come bursting open.  The dog knows just how quickly or slowly to reach out and enter the open door, and how deep it can make its way into the master’s heart.  A dog will love a person when no one else does, just like Jesus and the Father.  A dog will follow all the way up the mountain and down every dark corridor out of nothing but total devotion, adoration, and love.   This is not to the perfection of Jesus by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it equal to the love of a beloved human friend.  However, it can be described as a picture of one of the virtues of Heaven’s divinity created by Jesus who is the author and finisher of everlasting love; He who is love defined.

 

Constant Companion (Sacrifice of Self)

       

Using John the disciple as an example of the constant companion trait of the Lord Jesus, he, like Christians today, have to learn to sacrifice self.  The first evidence of this with John was the willingness to give up life as he knew it to embark on a three-year mission with a stranger.  Ultimately, John put aside all things that had molded and guided his life up to the point of following the Lord.  Secondly, was the humble submission of placing and aligning his life to that of the Lord’s and His ministry.  John was brought up to love, walk in, and pattern his life upon the law of Moses.  The witness of his testimony and others in the scriptures envision the words and acts of Jesus supersede and fulfill the old law making it a living, breathing entity not merely words recorded by scribal hands.

        In like manner, a dog becomes a constant companion in the life of its master and family.  It is no easy task for a puppy or young dog to adjust to new surroundings, come into a house of strangers, and get accustomed to a new way of living aside and different than the innocent beginnings of play, eat, and sleep.  Sooner than many humans would have the capacity to do it, the newest member of the household eventually settles into daily life with the family.  For an older dog it takes more time, and in some instances it is difficult, challenging, and complicated, but through personal experience, it is not impossible.  What the dog and John have in common is the ability to submit to each one’s master through humility and sacrifice.  This is a beautiful and priceless commodity in people that seems to go hand in hand with dogs.  A person set in their ways would find it difficult to toss aside belief systems and traditions, but an older dog can be retrained to new life with a different master.  It all seems to come down to the divinity traits of meekness and surrender because of love.

        John’s ability to understand and act upon the commandment written in Matthew 11:29 to “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” and become teachable as a little child began the process of the new birth of John.  Once the decision to follow was made, there was no turning back.   John was not a perfect man; the changes did not happen any easier or with fewer obstacles to overcome than Christians meet with today, nor was he faultless in his quest and resolve to throw everything he had ever been taught or contemplated away.  A dog obeys this commandment in the sense they spend their entire life on that road by following and observing the master in all ways so that their purpose in life can be fulfilled.  A dog has the innocent characteristic of a child as they allow themselves to be trained, molded, and instructed into the ways of the master.  Everyone who has trained a dog knows it is not precise in the ways of obedience in the beginning either.  Success in obedience and behavioral training is measured in small steps with the ultimate outcome and reward of having a dog eagerly wanting to please the master because it loves the master.  This is the same for John, his brethren, and experienced by believers today-the desire to want to please the Lord in obedience and sacrifice because of love for the Master, Jesus.

        John and the other disciples walked with Love Created; immeasurable in its absolute, unequivocal presence in Jesus.  John learned of and lived with the heart of God for three short years; totally investing and giving his life to the Lord.  His writings tell the glad tidings of his experience in all the glorious purity of it.  Not only did John and the other disciples live with Jesus, the twelve were present for all His teachings and witnessed the miraculous life changing healings, the raising of the little girl and Lazarus from the dead.  John along with Peter and James viewed the transfiguration of Jesus with Elijah and Moses.  John deposited all these things in his heart and never doubted the deity of Jesus, or the words He spoke to be the full truth.  As he began to embrace and allow his life to wrap around them, John became a consistent and constant companion to the Lord and with it came the ability to offer welcoming comfort in unspoken presence.  The greatest of rewards for all the faithful and loyal following to give forth his life and heart was to be so close in spiritual brotherhood that he could lean upon the chest of the Lord at the last supper.

        In a similar fashion, a dog becomes love twined into the life and heart of its master through an obedient and eager to please spirit as John’s obedience and existence became intertwined with Jesus.  Once a dog understands the directives of the master and learns to trust, follow, and obey, a deep loyalty of tangible devotion develops.  The very same spiritual traits that John produced to grow into the disciple who Jesus loved are the same cherished characteristics recognized and loved by the master for the dog, and people with people.  A dog who has been accepted into the depths of the master’s heart also has the capacity to give comfort in silent presence.  One of the most endearing expressions of affection experienced with Aunna is putting her head in my lap, or resting what I call “that sugar nose” on leg or foot.  This is especially loved when accompanied by her deep sigh of contentment that all is well as both she and I drift off to sleep.

        When a person deeply cares for and is interested in the well-being of another begins to learn all the ways of that individual; good, bad, better, or worse.  Many times the mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and sins are what the judgment is based upon, but Jesus says He seeks what is in the heart; making His judgments righteousness above men.  Because John sought to do these things for the love of Jesus, this is how he took up residence into the deep places of that mighty heart. This same faithfulness and loyalty goes straight into the deep, hidden part of anyone’s heart with people of that character, and those that own and love a dog.  John was the disciple in constant tune and companionship to the glorious end of getting to know the heart of God by his close walk with Jesus.  A person with this kind of sacrifice becomes a beloved friend.  A dog that loyally chooses to follow the master everywhere without waiting to be called; always wanting to be close in touch or proximity, has the same capacity of heart and soon becomes the side by side constant companion that can be readily relied upon no matter the season in life.

 

A Comfort in Times of Trouble

       

The Father instilled upon the hearts of man the works of compassion and empathy for one another.  In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus responded that the second greatest commandment to loving God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength is “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”  As recorded in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  Although the gift given to mankind to exercise sympathy and understanding far exceeds what any other entity of creation has, a dog will exercise a need deep within the heart to carry forth this deed.  Many times this outpouring seems to supersede the efforts of men.

        When a person is in the very depths of mourning and agonizing suffering, the one wanting to minister at the greatest hour cannot do it if this part of the heart is not developed.  It is not enough to try and think of the most beautiful words in the human language to express condolences.  Personally, I do not have the vocabulary.  Furthermore, humankind does not meet or can be very effective; perhaps that is why sympathy cards tend to share the same pretty word sentiments.  A dog does not have to try-it is almost as though it comes naturally.  As discussed previously, a dog becomes such a great student of observation and learning the ways of the master, it will adjust to those emotions more quickly than a lot of people do.

        In some cases just being in the presence of someone is not enough, and as much as a person is well meaning, possessing the right amount of sensitivity in these circumstances are at times most lacking.  At this point, trying and wanting to help become mute works in the sense that needed action goes unmet.  It is when the desire to minister becomes a need that the heart is prepared to give of self.  Then, the hurting person can be met at the place they are especially when the wounds begin to open and bleed.

        I truly believe the reason a dog can give more comfort in these situations because the vast majority of them are a living presence in the home.  In the case of the elderly and retired, a dog is a companion 24/7.  Even those that are married with children, or single people with full time careers and busy lifestyle outside their jobs open the door to that energetic, happy rejoicing only a beloved dog can provide.  It is as though every living molecule and outward breath extols gladness in the reunion with sweet kisses of uncontainable abiding love.

        I believe that God put spiritual support blessings inside a dog reserved just to be an added act of loving kindness to the masters who love them.  I cannot help but stop to give all the glory to the Father.  Additionally, Christians believe that in difficult times, Jesus and His Holy Spirit are always intended to be the carrier of our burdens, comfort, rock, and salvation.  Perhaps more than Christians would care to admit, there are periods when it feels to human minds and emotions, He is not there, and the heavy cares of life are not lifted.  Instead of persevering and enduring; waiting upon the Lord to give of His mighty joy, peace, and comfort to fill the soul, people go their own way.  This is the time to remain stalwart and faithful before the throne of grace and mercy.  However, humans tend to run to distractions and escape into worldly things and pleasures of the flesh.  Some get lost in movies, view or participate in sports activities or other entertainment.  Others go shopping, over eat, over exert the body in exercise, and more.  There are people who may seek out family and/or friends to fill a lonely void.  Whatever gives some form of temporary respite and everyone, including me all try to do something “in our own strength”.  A dog looks to and trusts in the master for everything.

        When people sometimes fail in encouragement, emotional, and/or spiritual support, there is a little fur dog angel, full of sweetness and comfort that will always be there for its master.  Of course, this is not the Father, Jesus, or the wondrous miracle of their comfort through the Holy Spirit, but it is Their gift to humankind even with all the frailties and weaknesses.  I may not be able to adequately describe or define it, but what I do know is that all dog lovers understand this blessing of comfort.  It should not surprise any Christian that God will use a beloved dog or other pet considered a part of the family in His place to be a picture of Heaven’s love and comfort.  It makes total sense that His love was given and instilled to other parts of creation.  If parents do it with children, how much more will God do it for His?

When my mother died, I lost the presence and loving support of the one I turned to in celebration and sorrow.  After attending the memorial and funeral services, I returned home emotionally spent and alone.  My Quincy met me with the eye of her heart wide open and I collapsed into it.  Although many times I have imagined what it would be like, I could not physically hold onto Jesus or fall into His loving arms, but I could and did substitute Quincy.  This heart says I am not alone.

        Even without much effort, a dog will meet the need of those that are lonely and fill the emptiness in their heart for someone to love and feel love in return.  A dog will lead the blind and pull the wheelchair of the disabled, crippled, and maimed.  A dog will be a caretaker to the sick, a friend to the imprisoned and shut-in, a companion to the downtrodden and forgotten, a comforter to the widow and those that mourn the loss of a loved one.  Christians are to look to Jesus for everything to sustain and give Him all praise, honor, glory, and worship for His everlasting love, grace, and mercy.  He gave gifts of like compassion to man to be His arms and voice to give comfort, hope, etc.  There are so many testimonies from people that have said when they cried out to Jesus, He answered; giving them His great comfort.  Others have said the family dog saved their emotional and mental life.  There are probably just as many who have said both are true as it is in mine.

        Let there be no misunderstanding; the Lord is in whom people are to trust to be the anchor of the soul.  The dog is not the anchor, but it will be the constant companion at the master’s side; up on deck, below deck, or anywhere, and will not abandon the sinking ship.  There are times that people have watched family and friends launch the life boats and leave a suffering member behind for what are considered safer shores, but not the dog, and of course, not Jesus.  For a dog to be with its master in the very darkest of times is definitely a spiritual virtue from Heaven.

 

Mutt Love

       

I have known and experienced the beauty and sweetness of mutt love.  There is something so special about the nature of those not chosen first-the mixed breed and heinz 57.  Perhaps it is because there is no pretense about a life bowed before all.  They are without disguise in needfulness, a fragile heart that never seems to give up reaching out for acceptance, to give love.  A light of hope coming forth from the heart-reflected in shining eyes and humble demeanor as if to say, are you my master?  The personality is reserved and plain in a somber, thoughtful way; almost a melancholy aura might be a better way to describe it.  They do not stand proud and tall, even in kingly courts for there is no forgetting where they came from.  Because of personal experience, I have no doubt dogs such as these have a special appreciation and deep gratefulness for life and family.  There are times perhaps Heaven intervenes and grants special blessings and protections.  I can compare my shelter dog (Quincy) to Aunna (GSD), and immediately see complete opposites in personality.  This is not to say that pedigrees do not love their master to a fault-another truth that can personally be attested to, nor the call to loyalty or devotion any less diminished.  What is being referred to more than all is the level of grateful appreciation characterized by the sweetness of a broken, submissive spirit.  I tend to think it would be difficult to have a high level of thanksgiving if the dog had never experienced anything but acceptance, love, and care beginning in its earliest stages of life.

        Many people will pass by the mutts to get a pedigree, probably truer in the case of shelter dogs.  People have all sorts of preconceived concerns-some of which seem legitimate such as the dog’s background, not willing to take on special needs or behavioral issues and other associated ’baggage’.  In my community, there are non-profit organizations with volunteers who bathe, exercise, and do their best to evaluate dogs and puppies in an attempt to match them with the right family or person.  Most pedigrees surrendered to shelters do not remain long due to the many breed specific rescue groups that are contacted rather quickly.  The majority of these organizations provide foster homes that offer love, affection, right discipline, training etc. to ready the dog for adoption into the appropriate home.  One rescue group I am personally familiar with has a contractual clause that the dog must be returned to the group if at any time the inability to care and keep it should ever occur in the life of it.

        Mixed breeds in the same situation are placed in the confines of a city or county shelter.  In February 1989, there were no volunteer programs in place to interact with the animals that I am aware of.  Quincy, my shepherd-collie mix was four months old the day I took her home.  Unbeknownst to me, she was suffering from serious dehydration and the beginning stages of kennel cough.  I will never forget those golden eyes that peered into mine; laden with the sadness of the world, its cruelty that left her abandoned and rejected.  Quincy’s humble, deeply grateful spirit carried through the entire fifteen years of her life, and this heart says the day I came and saved her was never forgotten.  Just as the person who is forgiven much, loves much, a mutt/shelter dog loves much for it was saved from much; its very life spared in a high percentage of cases.

        It is no coincidence that Jesus’ first public sermon known as the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount would be to the outcasts, poor, the lepers, crippled, blind, maimed, deaf, etc., as recorded in Matthew 5:3-11, which I will liken to the mutts.  Jesus said there are rewards for the humble and broken hearted that would far exceed any earthly riches for “theirs was the kingdom of Heaven.”   The cries of the people that mourned, those that were meek and full of humility had the attentive ears of the Father and were blessed to receive healing and witnessed miracles through Jesus, the Son.  These are the people who embraced the Lord, and therefore received the greater miracle of His presence and the greater gift of humility in grateful spirit and heart.  Jesus’ ministry was rejected by the pedigrees, which I will liken to the Jewish leaders, along with the rich and powerful.  Very few would listen and fewer still believed.  Because of this rejection, the shelter dogs and mutts, which I compare to the poor and the gentiles, received an overabundance for they were chosen to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

        Even in the brokenness, rejection, and abandonment, the unwanted dogs still reach out in welcoming love, hope, and affection.  When a mutt or shelter dog is adopted, the wonderful trade-off is receiving deeper humility and gratefulness.  I cannot be swayed in the belief Quincy remembered the day I came and saved her, nor will I ever forget the joy she brought in the midst of mourning.

 

Doggie Kisses

       

I do not believe I have ever met a true dog lover who does not love doggie kisses.  It is like baby love in all its adorability; Heaven’s healing sugar comes down and the lonely feel less alone and the joy in the laughter of good times intensifies.  With that said, are there any situations, emotions, or circumstances  that doggie kisses are not welcomed with love, joy, and an innate ability to bring forth a smile to the face of those that love them?  This is a most treasured expression of a dog’s affection to the master and is a priceless, precious love gift.  People give kisses of gratitude, friendship, greetings and farewells, those between the parent and child, husband for wife and vice versa, and then there are the kisses of a dog for its master.

        Dogs have kisses for all occasions as well-at least that has been my experience.  Aunna gives fast, short kisses affectionately called ‘shotgun kisses’ because they are quick with generally many in succession.  This kind of kiss is given as “Hi! Hi! Hi!, I love you, I love you, I love you” when I return home.  The kisses of “Thank you, thank you, thank you” occur at the door right before going out to play and after ball.  After misbehaving and subsequent discipline, she does this also as if to say “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”  During grooming, she slowly kisses the free hand and gives sweeter, sleepy kisses before bed.  The kisses that come from the deepest part of the heart are the times of undivided attention; when I am kneeling next to her on the bed or favorite chair.  Gently stroking her head and giving kisses on her sugar nose; telling her how much she is loved is when I receive the return look of deep adoration.  Every word seems to be taken deep into that love vault and locked away; the key to that sacred portion is given and opened only to me.

        One reason for giving this outward sign of affection is that the receiver know how special and sacred they are.  When I kiss Aunna good-bye, a piece of my heart remains with her-assuring her position of importance and I will soon return.  Should something happen to delay it, or I cannot return, this is how Aunna will remember the mommy master.  Perhaps this is one reason people say goodbye with a kiss and should the person never be seen again, this is the loving memory that shall always remain.  Of course, kisses are given as an expression of love, an act of endearment bestowed upon those who are special, close, and given freely without there being a special occasion or time to do so.

        Paul’s letters command to “Salute one another with an holy kiss.  The churches of Christ salute you”, (Romans 16:16), perhaps has a like meaning in the sense of greeting and departure.  It was also used as an act of caring and an expression of holy love by way of obedience to a commandment, disciple to disciple.  The early church was highly persecuted; her members killed and tortured for their belief in Jesus Christ.  As they gathered and departed, should they fail to meet again, this last act of remembrance would be of love and honor one to another.  A kiss is not to be used in betrayal, deception, usury or malice although Jesus was betrayed with a kiss; His identity confirmed for the temple guard in the garden.  Dogs do not betray their love with a kiss.

        The disciples greeting with a kiss to one another was of brotherhood; but the kiss bestowed to the Lord Jesus was one of holiness in its deepest form of worship, adoration, respect, honor, and love for who He was and is.  The kiss from a dog to the master has this likeness in cherished bonding times.  There is no way Aunna can hide the love and worshiping adoration for me, nor can I deny the precious innocence of its presence or the heart behind the giving of the gift.  No matter what, to dog lovers, doggie kisses are holy ones right from Heaven’s lips.

 

In Love There Is Courage

       

In this text, there appears to be three different kinds or levels of courage that cause someone to sacrifice their life to death.  The first would most likely be the ultimate sacrifice to give up life to save others.  This is the greater sacrifice according to Jesus and every person who believes in Him as told in John 15:13-14; “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  Secondly, it might be the one who against all opposition, danger, and risk of death never gives up to be at the side of the one they love.  This is the sacrifice of John, the beloved to be at the side of Jesus at the crucifixion.  Third would be the one who would die trying to protect and defend those they love.  This sacrifice of the human life could pertain to Peter’s defense of the Lord, and many other people in the world.

        A dog will not give its life up willingly in defense and protection of the master without waging war against an impending foe.  There are dogs that will fight to the death for those they love and those under their protection (for example, a flock of sheep) without hesitation or thought for their own safety.  There are stories of dogs and other pets that take great risks to be reunited to the master after something unfortunate occurs that separates them.

        John allowed his entire focus to be upon following Jesus; willingly taking no thought for personal comforts, needs, and desires, but gave away that life to learn and sacrifice for his Master, Teacher, Savior, and God.  To deeply love is sacrifice, becoming selfless, bring compassion and empathy, bear one another’s burdens, present in life’s trials, tribulations, and to joyfully celebrate without envy.  The words of Jesus penetrated the very heart of John and he became a new creature in Christ; the very same life altering changes that many Christians experience in heart living actuality today.  A dog has this likeness in the way they too learn to put aside their life to become totally absorbed in the master.  It is with great interest and intensity that speech inflections and patterns, moods, movements, life’s schedules, body language, eye contact, hands, how slowly or quickly the master walks, daily regiments, in sickness and health are observed and remembered.

        John came to understand that the greatest of all gifts is love.  When the other disciples scattered, John placed his own life at risk to follow Jesus all the way to the cross.  He was present at the crucifixion and took upon himself the grief stricken agony of a mother’s sorrow for a son; putting aside his own broken heart.  Sometimes all a person can do is be a silent presence at life’s most tragic moments;  having no power to save, help or make things right, and John was in that place.  I believe John sought for Mary after Jesus was arrested and taken to Pilate because they were together at the cross.  Additionally, I believe that Mary witnessed the deep loyalty and faithfulness of John for Jesus and that captured her heart.  Mary’s favor was no different from mothers today that come to love their children’s true devoted friends.  It cannot be denied when a dog exhibits like virtues with the master that people take notice of the specialness of it and favor the dog more.  John’s loyalty in loving devotion was rewarded as Jesus entrusted the gift of caring for Mary until her death to him at the cross

        Dogs have the capacity to become a pillar of quiet strength in the midst of life’s most grievous periods when others are unable to be in attendance.  The loyalty expressed is without prejudice in the sense no care is given of the master’s station in life-rich, poor, sickness, healthy, a grand house, or one room shanty.  The love and devotion is not based upon the outward appearance of beauty or lack thereof.  A dog will not leave the master behind for better food, or more comfortable lodgings.  It is not an accident that God purposed a dog to become a cherished family member.  For millions of people, a dog proves its worth over and over again in this capacity just as John did for Jesus.  How I pity all the breaking hearts of dogs made to live outside apart from the companionship of master and family.  How much more I pity the masters that the hidden treasure of the dog’s heart will never be exposed to the fullest, laying dormant and tucked away; never to receive the blessing of it.  The very heart of a dog does not become lukewarm in its love, affection, and devotion; instead, it only grows deeper in intensity-this is the greater treasure.

        John’s love for the Savior of the world was consistent in bringing the courage and fortitude to lose his life if it came to that to follow Jesus after the arrest, but he was not totally alone.  Peter’s courage and determination to follow Jesus, even to death was on a different level.  I do not think that Peter’s ultimate denial of the Lord had anything to do with fear for his life.  Peter told the Lord at the Passover or last supper, he would die for Him, and he proved those words by cutting off the ear of a temple guard during Jesus’ arrest.  Normally, this act would have resulted in Peter taken into custody as well, injured, or killed in retaliation.  According to John 18:15, one of the disciples, who I believe was John, and Peter followed Jesus to the home of Caiaphas’s father-in-law.  This showed great courage considering the act Peter had just committed.  Perhaps Peter stayed in the outer court to survey the situation hoping that an opportunity would present itself to free Jesus.  Peter seemed to be acting more upon what he believed was best for the Lord and not taking into account the higher scope of His mission.  Strength in courage comes from a heart filled with deep love and with it no fear can be found.  This is what gave both disciples the will and determination to act.

        Aunna sometimes thinks that her protection and bravery are best, similar to what Peter displayed.  She has that unmistakable look of sheer magnificence in the spirit of duty stance; body motionless and fully tall with ears slightly cupped forward.  Aunna is on the alert, on the job, responsible to do it without formal command or to inquire of the master.  Impeccable without argument is the innate desire to perform this self-appointed obligation.  The nostrils seem never to stop moving as the wind leads the aroma gently through the nose gate, ears upright to catch the sound of anything unusual and eyes fixed in an ever-watchful mode.  Without a voice of warning, she leaves my side to face firsthand the thing that intrudes upon her senses.  Gently, she is called back to be molded into obedience and only when the word ’protect’ is uttered and not before.  How many times did Jesus have to admonish Peter that is not recorded and bring him back to the reality of His ministry?

If Peter would have been in the company of a dog like Aunna or any other of that character or guardian breed, it would have stood its ground in protection and led the charge against the infiltrating strangers as soon as Peter drew the sword or voiced a command.  In addition, a dog of this caliper would have immediately sensed the changes in Judas’ demeanor, not allowing movement toward Jesus, much less plant the kiss of betrayal upon Him.  Further, it would have been alert to scents and sounds of the mob before any came into view or the disciples awakened.  Only the Lord Jesus knew what was coming before animal or man.  A dog would have tarried more than one hour with Jesus without invitation.

        Soon after adopting Aunna, I met an elderly lady accompanied by a beautiful golden retriever in the vet’s parking lot.  It was plain to see the deep devotion and love each had for one another.  When I commented on the beauty of it, the lady’s eyes welled with tears as she relayed the story of how the dog saved her life.  A few years back, she was alone at home and suffered a stroke.  If the dog would not have continually licked her face, which kept her conscious until help arrived, the doctor who treated her said she probably would have died.  This came as no surprise for how many dogs have recently, or in the past, made news of their courage in risking or losing their life to save the master?  There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories just like this and as long as people share their lives with this beloved creature, many more will be recorded.

        I know of a dog that fought to the absolute last breath to stay with her master, although she never had to charge an intruder.  The fight was against a critical illness that was winning and with each breath, the battle waged was noble and courageous.  She suffered in meek and mild silence.  Her gaze never left my face, looking in the direction of the master’s voice to catch every gentle word that fell upon those soft tulip-shaped ears that I stroked tenderly for three days and nights.  I shall never forget witnessing the most beautiful display of love in its purest form, and I thank God above for the experience although my heart was broken and the cherished presence of Quincy was sorely missed.  It is said that loved ones will linger; waiting for someone to arrive before death takes them.  Others will fight to get past a special occasion so that their passing will not mar a holiday, or other traditional, celebrated day.  I realize it does not always happen that way.  Having said this, I always wondered why God would allow Quincy to die within the same hour and date as Mom.  A few years after Quincy died, it is a personal belief I now know what He was trying to say.  I hope readers will forgive me for not sharing it, but will understand that sometimes things like this need to remain in the pondering silence of the heart.

         Dogs are loved and cherished by millions for the loyal, faithful, and obedient nature of their character.  More importantly, there is no place a dog would rather be than in the master’s presence just as John wanted to be nowhere else in the world but by the side of his master, Jesus.  This causes me to wonder how many instances John was found at the side of or leaning upon the chest of the Lord other than what is recorded in scripture.  It probably goes without saying this was most likely not an isolated event.

        A dog becomes beloved to its master in the same ways John became beloved to the Lord Jesus.  John could have chose to follow another, or at the critical key moments when needed most, fled, went into hiding, or perhaps voicing denials like Peter.  Instead, John’s faith led him to Jesus, and his heart led him to the cross.  A dog will follow at the side of its master if a Golgotha road experience awaits them without hesitation just as John and Peter followed that fateful night that would change the world forever.

        The vast majority of people will never have to make the choice to jump on a bomb to save comrades in war, or race into a burning building to save a child risking death, nor do all dogs have the physicality to protect a flock or perform guardian duties.  What a fair and loving God to not only give people, but His creation dog the best opportunity to live out and complete their purpose.


Please click on this link to listen to the radio interview conducted on September 22, 2010:http://www.animaltalknaturally.com/2010/09/22/dogs-and-heaven-show-332/

Web Hosting Companies