I love this photo I came across of Facebook today.

I think it speaks for itself – a neglected and perhaps mistreated dog has been rescued from a shelter and adopted by a loving family. From the shelter ‘death row’ into a loving home where he will be cared for, taught to be a good boy, fed but most importantly loved!

There is such a strong spiritual dimension to this image that I want to share with you. Before I knew God, I was headed for neglect and destruction. But when I sought after the living God, he rescued me from my death sentence and adopted me into his family. Wow the Living God has adopted me into his family & I can now call him my ‘Heavenly Father’. It says so in the Bible :-

(NLT) Romans 8v15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

But this does not mean my life is now plain sailing until I die and go to heaven. I don’t know about you but my family life is not all biscuits & roses ( though there are some great moments & thankfully good biscuits too)! Being part of a loving family means learning to live with your new family – this is old fashioned ‘discipline’. Learning not to leave a doggie ‘present’ ?? in dad’s trainers might be a challenge for this dog and we too need to learn to be kind & loving, learning the family rules. Today’s parenting is a real challenge (I have 3 teenagers!) but I think it can be summarised best by the phrase ‘you children are loved so much that I won’t always give you what you want’.

Did you notice the dog’s lead in the photo? He willing submitted to collar & lead because while it limits his freedom and brings discipline, the benefits of family outweigh the limitation.

Our Heavenly Father says much the same thing

(NLT) Hebrews 12v7

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?

And a few verses later

(NLT) Hebrews 12v10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

This isn’t an advert for any particular dog shelter but if you need a reason to adopt – this also came up on my Facebook memories today.

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