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New Pup, New Paths and For Me, New Depth

Don't write me off just yet, but I am learning a lot with this new, different as night and day, pooch. She, unlike our previous pound pup is a Schnauzer Poodle mix.

My former grandpup, named Coach, was a Beagle/Whippet/Jack Terrier type. He loved the woods just like me, she loves the lap!

He was well disciplined after 14 years, she loves forgiveness, followed by a treat!

Coach would lay in his own bed until we were awake. She too is quite comfortable at night, but only when gently placed in her pillowed cage. However, unlike Coach, her demanding Schnauzer yep goes off like an alarm clock every morning about 5:45!!

I am an early riser, but setting outside under a flood light watching for certain body motions that indicate a "business transaction" takes patience.

I appreciate what Paul has to say in Romans 5:4, "tribulations works patience and patience experience and experience, hope!"

We are hopeful of a day when....!

Sounding all carnal I know, which comes from the Latin word carnalis, which means "fleshly" or "of the flesh".

We are flesh, at times even animal-like, but seldom as loving as this bundle of fur now laying tight up against me as I write!

That seems the challenge of this elderly disciple of a late stage Christianity, now well infected with our own Laws, much like Paul attempts to free folk from, in his letter to the Romans.

Yes, I am "of the flesh" amd few things separate me from the lower creatures. Though at times I see hints of ego in CoCo (nicknamed after Coach), given her strong self will. Absent however is the aspiration for more than playing fetch when we are outside before sunup!

She does have an uncanny ability to often disappoint her master during our early morning ventures, reserving her movement so as to provide an unexpected gift in the corner when I bring her back in prematurely.

Sounds like my personal walk with Christ at times!

Then there is that other side of her, when she flops across my lap in total love, snuggling up against me as I attempt to reorient myself to my morning devotions. That's when I envy her species!

You can tell that I am letting "patience have her perfect work in me!"

The timing of all this is amazing as I do my annual read through Romans. You see, Paul was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a Pharisee of Pharisees, so religion was in his bones, much like this 4th generation Pentecostal.

Then there was that Road to Damascus moment when he and his horse, then likely Paul more like Baalim with his donkey story. Paul, just as I am beginning to had an aHa!

Suddenly he is aware of the reason for the Law, though not intended to cement anyone to strict adherence to a tradition, as that alone is insufficient for true righteousness.

His intent was to language his epiphany, his new found freedom from the law, an "imputed" a righteousness which interestingly had brought about means for fulfilling the Law through grace, one that to him was a free gift.

His challenge now was to frame a language that would fully communicated with those trapped in a religion, though inspired by design to foretell such a day as delivered by God in the flesh of a man named Jesus.

However, their allegiance to the Law was such that even though they couldn't keep it, except in their public persona, they would not leave it for fear of disobedience to the G-d it represented. One so impersonal that they dared not say The Name!

Now 2000 years later, American Christianity, seized upon by the independent culture of late stage capitalism, with its mosaic (hear the irony) of religious attempts at understanding the gospel, now resembles less the Christ and even perhaps a misunderstanding of Paul's words.

His attempts at relating to the Law ensnared religious lot of his day, is now taken out of context by the evangelicals among whom I was raised, their gospel now more aligned with Judaism than ever intended by the Christ.

We now have our own Laws, so often frustrated that we find ourselves justifying our spiritual failure by quoting Romans 7:24, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the Body of this death?"

His intent was only to relate the frustration of those following the Law, then following up a refreshing and revised insight, "I think God through Jesus Christ our Lord." The Gospel!

He wasn't saying that he was attempting to serve the Mosaic "law of God with his mind" but "with the flesh the law of sin." He was attempting to relate to the futility being felt by his audience.

His next words were even more glorious, though when written without breaks in chapters, now found in Romans 8:1-4:

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

As Jesus once said, "It is finished!"

Our pup (actually an adult) is still struggling to please her master. Yet, I better understand her than she understands me!

And likewise, God gets you, respects your flaws, knows you like no other and is working for your good. Just be you and trust a work of grace long foreordained.

Leave your religious attempts behind, they are dead in Christ. Now go do your "business"!

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In the summer of 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Fraser and their two-year-old dog set out from Oregon, Indiana, to visit family. When they stopped for gas at a service station in Indiana, the dog was attacked by other three dogs and fled.

They searched everywhere for him, but in the end, could not find him. They returned to Oregon heartbroken, believing they would never see their beloved dog again. After losing all hope, one day their daughter saw a skinny and exhausted dog on the street that looked like Bobby. After his joyful reaction, it turned out to be the missing dog Thanks to the people who sheltered him during the journey, they were able to reconstruct the complete route…

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