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It's Wednesday night, 7:00 p.m. The Tigers had finished an exciting game earlier with a late afternoon, walk-off homer. Blue Bloods was about to morph into Cops (time to change the channel), and we were near North River watching with our granddaughter, Brooklyn, and grand dog, Bully (the shih tzu). Monica was getting Brooklyn ready for bed while I took Bully out for his evening walk. Soon there would be a baby in bed, two bodies on the couch, and a shaggy little dog asleep on the floor.

The routine of life is good. The day had started with me finishing an article for publication before joining our men's early morning FHL group (Great conversation ... empty chairs if you wish to join us ... 6:30). During the discussion I was also texting with my sister in law, as one of Monica's younger cousins was called home overnight. The day was then filled with visits with the home-bound, conversations with a variety of young, growing leaders, and quite a bit of time spent in trying to figure out the best way to provide our new staff person with what he needs to get rolling in something that is new for him and us. When my last appointment of the day was postponed until Thursday, I even got to watch the exciting end of the Tiger game while working on my laptop!

The previous week was not quite so routine, as our daughter-in-law saved her father's life (through intervention at a hospital), Monica and Joel spent many extra hours with Brooklyn, and Matt held the pieces together, while I was on the road most ever day ... and ended the week with a graveside funeral in the pouring rain on Saturday.

The words of Psalm 23 flowed through my mind. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. ... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23.1-3, 6) This is followed by the next Psalm. "The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord; for he laid its foundation on the seas and established it on the rivers." (Psalm 24.1) And then another. "Lord, you have been our refuge in every generation. Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God. ... Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands - establish the work of our hands!" (Psalm 90.1-2, 17)

I find it interesting that originally the term "a dog's life" referred to the hard life of a working dog: sleeping in a damp barn, chasing rats and other intruders, and living on scraps. Now it means the complete opposite: a life of doing what one pleases, like a pampered pet. In a very similar way our lives are changed by Christ. Though essentially the same person, living the same life, as Christ works in us through his word and Spirit, our view of that life changes ... from seeing our life being filled with misery and hard work to noting how every day overflows with opportunities that are continually filled with God's goodness and mercy.

I do not mind seeing myself as a 'pampered pet.' I rejoice that I am living the "new dog's life." And I am wondering how to best express to my master both my affection and my appreciation. Don't be surprised if you hear something about that from me later today! ... I promise I wont's bite.

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