I am usually an early riser. It doesn’t matter if it is the weekend or a day off, I love a good sunrise. My mantra has been, “the early bird gets the worm”. Plus, I love long days.
In the spring and summer I tend to play a little game in the morning called, “who will rise first”. This game is played with the neighborhood birds and me. I try to rise before the first bird rolls out of the nest and let’s out it’s first chirp of the day.
You may think this is a little strange, especially to all of the night-owls reading this post after noon when you roll out of bed. All I am doing is raising my awareness of the beautiful creation God has given us. In fact, as I sit here on this beautiful sunny Saturday morning, I do not hear any birds chirping. My little friends have started to head south for the winter.
I challenge you to sit in awareness today. Let me know what facet of God’s creation piques your awareness. Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Mark 1:35 (NIV)
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
I spent December 31, 1997 all alone. I had neither anyone to reminisce about the old year nor anyone to make plans for the new. I sat cuddled under an afghan watching television.
December 31, 1997, as I sat at the feet of Jesus, my Lord, singing praises to Him, I heard my name paged over the heavenly intercom. I went as quickly as I could to get my message and found out that I needed to spend time with a woman named Kristine.
It was one cold New Year’s Eve. The weather forecast predicted 14 degrees with -12 as the wind chill. As I sat watching television, I heard a dog barking out front. Upon opening the door, I saw a Dalmatian sitting on my front porch. Thinking he got out during someone’s party in the neighborhood, I yelled at him to go home and shut the door. Minutes later, the dog continued to bark.
I flew to Kristine’s house and peeked in her side window. She was sitting on the couch, wrapped in an afghan, and she was talking on the telephone. When she hung up, she started to cry pretty hard. I wasn’t sure what the conversation was about, but it broke my heart to see her all alone on New Year’s Eve.
As I paced the driveway trying to come up with a plan to be with her, I had a brilliant idea…I would turn into a Dalmatian and bark on her front porch. Surely she would wonder what was going on and open the door. I’d show her my puppy-dog eyes and she would melt.
“Woof, woof, woof”, I barked on the porch. Sure enough, the door creaked open and she saw me, but she told me to go home and shut the door. “Woof, woof, woof”, I barked even louder.
I am usually afraid of big dogs, but this one seemed different. I opened the door again and looked for a collar and did not see one. I felt bad for the dog being out in the cold, so I allowed him in my house. He followed me down to the basement as I gathered some old towels so I could give him something to curl up with on the back porch. I didn’t have any food, but offered the dog a bowl of water.
The door opened again and I turned on the puppy-dog eyes. She noticed I did not have a collar on and wondered who my owner’s were. As she patted me on the head, I could tell she was feeling sorry for me because it was really cold outside. She let me in the house! She let me in the house!
I followed her down some stairs and back up again. Kristine grabbed some old towels for me to curl up with and sent me to her back porch. She apologized for not having any food for me, but brought me a bowl of fresh water.
I checked on the dog frequently, wondering if it was too cold on the porch. Knowing the porch is not insulated, I allowed the dog into the house. He seemed content to be with me and really did keep me company and took my mind off being alone.
Kristine kept checking on me because she thought it was too cold for me. She let me in the house with her. I was so happy to be near her.
We rang in the New Year together and soon it was time for bed. “What do I do with this dog?” I thought to myself. He seemed pretty intent on keeping me company and followed me up to my room. Even though I begged the dog to lie on the floor, he insisted on lying at my feet. We slept until daybreak.
We watched the ball drop in New York City. Kristine wished me a Happy 1998 and said she had to go to bed, so I followed her up to her room. She kept telling me to lie on the floor, but I wanted to be close to her and remind her that she was not alone. I curled up at the foot of the bed and we slept until about 7:30 am.
I could not keep a dog in the house so I told him he had to go home. I opened the back door and had to push him out. He sat looking at me in the driveway. I had to practice tough love and shut the door without looking back. I did; however, run to the side window to peek at him to see what direction he would head. He walked to the front yard, barked at my house and ran over to the neighbor’s manger scene set up in their front yard. This dog barked like crazy at the baby Jesus and ran down the street and out of my sight.
Kristine told me it was time for me to leave as she walked me to the back porch and said her good-byes and shoved me out the door. I just stared at her as I sat in the driveway. She shut the door and went in the house. I could see her peeking out the side window to watch me. I slowly made my way to her front yard. I barked “thank you” and ran over to the neighbor’s manger scene in their front yard. I love seeing baby Jesus so I barked like crazy at Him. I saw Kristine watching me and I turned and walked down the street and out of sight.
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
1998 was a pivotal year in my life. God became real to me and he continues to bless me in great measure.
Happy New Year Everyone!! May God be real in your life and bless you in great measure.