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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pure Devotion?

A few years ago I wrote a piece for Chicken Soup about Dudley, our dog. (If you want to check it out, it's in Chicken Soup's book, "What I Learned from the Dog." (I believe it came out in 2009).
Dudley, the dog, was way too smart for his own good. . . and our good, too. My title in the Chicken Soup book was "The Houdini Dog" because Dudley seemed to be able to escape any enclosure, dog-proof or not.
Dudley also learned mucho tricks. But that dog had an independent spirit. He didn't wait for you to say which trick he should perform. He simply performed each trick, one right after another. All the time he'd be watching to see which trick would elicit the reward response.
It would go something like this. Me: "Dudley, sit!"
Dudley: sit, stand, bow, speak, roll over, raise paw, twirl in a circle, watch my hand for a possible treat, repeat whole litany of tricks, etc.
Me: "No, Dudley. Sit, Dudley."
Dudley: excitedly repeat whole repertoire of tricks and watch for expected treat.

Dudley apparently thought he could manipulate us to get his food treat simply by doing it all. He didn't understand that the treat we wanted to give him was dependent on his obedience, not the trick itself.

Sometimes I think our relationship to the Lord is kind of like Dudley's relationship to the Netherton family:
"Just do something, anything, whatever for God and He'll surely bless me."
Never mind listening to God and finding out first what He wills for me to do. Just do stuff."

I loved Dudley, and his comical efforts to get a doggy treat so amused me that he'd usually get a treat anyway.
But I hope my relationship to God is first and foremost about pleasing Him, not working for a silly "treat."
I hope my eyes look up to the Lord out of reverence and devotion, not what I can manipulate God into giving me.

". . . acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts." (1 Chron. 29:9)


  1. Oh, Dena, what an awesome point! It's not about pressing the right buttons, but a love relationship with the Lord.

  2. Thanks, Susan. Dudley the dog helps me remember that!