Friday, August 26, 2016

Oh Samson! (Life Observations from our Lab) *National Dog Day

Yesterday was #NationalDogDay.
Dog lovers rejoice!

I hope you enjoyed some time with your best pet pals.

I love dogs and you are bound to come across indicators of my favorite furry friend, Samson Augustine Robinson, in conversations with me or on some days in social media posting. He has my heart.

My husband named him and I'm sure you can tell that Samson was named by a minister who is also a historian.
This is my first dog to have a middle name.
I'm an Augustine fan, so I won't complain.

Samson is handsome, loving, kind, smart and strong. Very strong!

He adds sunshine to our home.
He is our "son" and our strong sun child.
He certainly lives up to his biblical name.
One moment he is sweet and one moment he is not.
One moment he is calm, obedient, cuddling or running happily and another moment he is looking like a busy, out of control cartoon character or wild child.

We are smiling one moment with him and chasing him another moment.
Rewarding one second and correcting the next second.
Proud of him. Then frustrated by him.

Samson reminds us of ourselves.
He is imperfect.
He is curious.
Making mistakes.
Being good. Being bad.
Enjoying life.
Being rewarded.
Being corrected.
Learning who he is.
Coming to understand his limitations.
Unlocking his potential.

That is the story of most dogs.
I have had about 7 to 8 dogs in my lifetime but this one is the first one that I've reared with my husband, so he is extra special to us.
Besides, we have a soft spot for Labs.

What joy the development of pets bring puppy parents.

As one of Samson's pet parents, I find it unusual that he can have so much strength and yet have had many vulnerable moments that have called into question his awareness of his own power.

I've seen him very aggressive when he is in protective mode and I've seen him run away from bullying neighborhood cats.

I've seen him run confidently through the yard and neighborhood and I've seen him be chased out of his own yard by strays.
We have often stood in our kitchen watching him out of our window in the backyard and are bewildered because Samson is a big dog whose presence is commanding, but sometimes he doesn't know his own strength.

He has the power to scare off intruders with his big teeth and loud bark but often resists chasing away intruding animals in our yard or is protective or defensively asserting himself at the wrong time.

Labs are considered America's most popular breed. They are bred to be intelligent, agile and friendly working dogs.
They enjoy having a job to do.
They love swimming, fetching, helping hunters or fisherman and take pride in pleasing their master.

Ours is the same way. He thinks, works, runs, plays, protects and strives to please. He is also coming to understand that in his circle of neighborhood furry friends, he has nothing to fear.
It would be like the lion being afraid in the jungle. He's learning something about power.
The trouble comes when Samson forgets this: 1. Power is often abused. 2. Power is misappropriated or 3. Power is under utilized.

How are each of us like Samson?

Are we striving to please our Master in heaven?
Are we fully aware of the power that we have been given through Jesus Christ?
Do we exhibit power in some things and act like cowards when we are afraid?
Are we allowing circumstances to overwhelm us and chase us away when we have the power to stand?
Are we 'barking' at the wrong people at the wrong time?

Are we being bullied when we really are stronger than our enemy?

Don't spend another day living beneath your potential.

Know what you were born to do and to be.
Live with boundaries.
Work. Play. Live intelligently and with purpose, but be sure to know your power.
Don't apologize for it.
Don't ignore it
Don't abuse it.
Don't fear it.
Just dedicate each day to using it.

Jesus died on Calvary, but didn't stay dead.
Jesus got up from the grave in victory!
That same power is at work in you and me.
Why have phone chargers if you never use them?
Why have lamps if you never turn them on?
Why would we be a Christian and never use the power given to us?
Tap into your power today.
Know who (and whose) you are.

The world celebrates dogs this week and so do I.

But the greatest celebration takes place every day of every week and year.
Celebrate the power of Christ made available to you and me.


Dear Father,
Forgive us for abusing or under utilizing the power you have given us.
Make us faithful in striving to please you and thank you for moments of grace and everyday life illustrations that remind us of your amazing patience, love, commitment and mercy given to us.
Thank you for granting us your power in Jesus name. Amen.

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