The little dog frenetically threaded himself through his owner’s legs and around his doggie friend. He hardly seemed to notice the surrounding plants, the smells of the morning, or the excitement of being out of the yard. The large dog walked sedately in a straight line. He was undistracted by the little dog, undisturbed by the traffic, and undaunted by the heat.
Dogs fall into clear categories on walks.
The Pullers -- The dogs whose entire goal on a walk is to take their person as fast and as far as they can.
The Jazzercizers – i.e. the little dog above.
The Sniffers – These puppies are content to wanderer linger at plant and fire hydrant searching for any whiff of previous visitors.
The Zig-Zaggers – Dogs that rush from one scenic smell to another as quickly as possible during their walks.
And the Amblers – like the large dog above.
God is my “dog-walker”. I wonder what kind of dog I am. Am I running ahead – pulling as hard I can? Am I running around frantically – glossing over everything that is meant to be enjoyed? Maybe I am hanging back – distracted by the past? Or possibly I am trying to pack in everything I want – while pretending to be focused on God’s plans?
I hope I am the Ambler. He is the big dog who could pull, but doesn’t. The energetic dog who could go in all different directions, but resists. The lazy dog who would love to just…not walk at all, but does anyway. And the self-consumed dog who chooses to put their walkers plans first. The Amblers are sensitive to the movements of their “Dog-Walker”, content to go at His speed and in the direction He desires. Wherever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants.
There is a way to happiness, but sin is a lie – promising things it cannot deliver.
There is a way to be at peace with reality (i.e. God). Sin is a farce – taking things it cannot replace.
Sin is a master thief. If only we understood how cunning, we could understand more clearly how wise our Redeemer.
There is a way to be loved for who one is, but sin is a whore – saying what everyone wants to hear.
There is a way to be satisfied, but sin is a twisted key – a problem, masquerading as solution.
Sin is a manipulative lover. If only we understood how deceptive, we could understand more clearly how trustworthy our Lord.
There is a way to live a purposeful life. Sin is a trap – a pit to die while still alive.
There is a way to find confidence, but sin is a labyrinth – a place to lose one’s soul.
Sin is a cruel master. If only we understood how ruthless, we could understand more clearly how kind our Savior.
Why are flowers beautiful? Why is fruit sweet? Why are puppies soft?
It’s like the world has been designed for our enjoyment.
The dirt after a rain. Fresh bread baking. Fresh cut grass. It smells like joy.
Music. Singing. The wind in the leaves. It sounds like joy.
The cool of water. The warmth of the sun. A baby’s smooth skin. It feels like joy.
The yellow of a songbird. The white of snow. A rainbow. It looks like joy.
Tangy raspberries. Spicy chiles. Sweet as honey. It tastes like joy.
God’s world bleeds joy. And joy witnesses of God’s love for His world.
Nothing but fear. No path forward. No way out. Our days look dark. All hope appears lost. And everything seems unredeemable.
Just like the lives of Christians who have lived before us.
William Tyndale translated the Bible into English at the price of his life. He watched friend after friend burned at the stake, thrown into prison, and lose everything at the hands of the “church”. The Catholic Church had a strangle hold on Europe’s governments and faith. The Pope’s word was law. And the scriptures were outlawed. Salvation was through works, and church's forgiveness was purchased with money. Worship was directed toward “things” – a splinter from the cross, milk from Mary’s breast – not God. Leadership of the church was corrupt and immoral: Pope to bishop to priest with few exceptions.
The church looked unsalvageable. There was no hope. The days were dark. But God stepped in. Courageous men preached, wrote, and laid down their lives. The sparks from their martyr stakes set Europe afire for Jesus. The church’s first love was rekindled and hope arose from the ashes.
God pierced the darkness with light. He took the impossible and made it happen. God reached down, rescued the unredeemable and claimed the victory.
God saved the day then, and He can do it again now.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.