Every morning when the weather is nice I sit on my back porch with hot coffee, devotions, God’s word and my prayer journal. For the last four months I’ve added another element to my early morning routine, our five month old Boykin puppy Josie. Most of the time, she is quietly lying at my feet, but this morning I had to coax her to come out of the kitchen and join me. My mother is visiting and Josie decided Mom needed company at the breakfast table.

Standing at the threshold of the porch door, begging in my sweetest voice for Josie to come out, I was suddenly reminded me that Jesus does this with me.  He too uses his sweetest voice- gentle and not demanding- asking me to join him before I start my day.

Josie finally surrenders and hesitantly ambles out onto the porch. (Isn’t that how we sometimes respond to Jesus? “OK Jesus, I’ll come but I really want to stay in bed,” or “I really have so much to do today.”)  As she draws closer, Josie nudges my feet and I bend down telling her how much I love her, how pretty she is and that she is a good girl. As I stroke her glossy coat of curls, I realize Jesus longs to tell me these same words every day.

He declares His love for me, not because I am smart, good, pretty or anything else, but because I am his child and He cannot help but love. That’s who He is.  “This is real love- not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. “1 John 4:10

He reminds me that He thinks I’m pretty because I am his. “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:11

He reveals to me that I am a good girl even though I still mess up. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

 Along with all that affirmation, He lovingly points out areas I need to work on.  If I respond with confession and ask for forgiveness, He willingly forgives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 Wow! Why would I ever want to miss out on all of this?!

Josie calms down for a short while, then she’s back up misbehaving- jumping on porch furniture, knocking over water and food bowls, and chewing the potted plants.  Again and again, I have to scold her with a loud “NO!” or “STOP!”  I’m no different than my mischievous, disobedient puppy.  Many times as soon as I have been forgiven for a sin, I am up misbehaving again and Jesus’ Spirit convicts me, sometimes with a “NO” or a STOP!”  Like Josie, sometimes I obey and sadly, sometimes I ignore my master’s voice.

Oh, why can’t I just do everything the way God wants me to? Who will free me from this life in which no matter how hard I try, I’ll never get it perfectly right? Then I hear God’s voice reminding me that there was only one person that lived a perfect life and he’s the same person that has already set me free from this puppy-like journey.

His son, Jesus Christ.

Thank you Jesus for the realization that Josie will eventually become a mature, obedient dog and one day I will live in a perfect place with you.

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