LIVING BY FAITH: Our Portion

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“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  (Rom 12:3)

The Bible teaches that this gift of faith, this God kind of faith, is given only to those born again believers in Christ in whom the Holy Spirit has come to live.

The Bible teaches that when we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our heart that God raised Christ from the dead, then we are saved and become born again. (Romans 10:9)

The Bible says in Romans 8:9 “… Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells inside of us and with Him comes this measure of faith. It is His fruit. It is, among other things, what He produces. (Galatians 5:22)

Understanding that God through the Holy Spirit is living inside of you right now, and that the Holy Spirit is producing God’s faith inside of you right now, is the beginning of operating in His faith right now.

There are those who say to “release your faith”. This is not Scriptural. God’s faith does not need to be “released”. It is not bottled up inside of you or in prison. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that even our unbelief cannot make the faith of God of none effect. (Romans 3: 3 & 4)

It is God’s faith. It is inside of you. It is right now a miracle working faith. But Jesus compared it to a mustard seed.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Mat 17:20)

It is the measure of faith. It has miracle working capabilities. But it is like a mustard seed. And as a mustard seed, it needs to grow.

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” (Luke 13:19)

The Gospels tell of an occasion when Jesus was with his disciples in a ship upon the sea and a storm arose. As the storm blew, Jesus was asleep inside the ship. When the disciples feared for their lives, they awoke Jesus and he spoke three things concerning their faith.

To those who were still not believers (remember Judas Iscariot) he said, “How is it that you have no faith?” These were the ones who asked Jesus, “Carest thou not that we perish?”

They didn’t believe that the Lord even cared for them, that He was unaware or could care less about their situation or what was happening to them.

Then there were those to whom Jesus said, “Oh ye of little faith.” These were the ones who said to Him “save us, we (including Jesus) perish.” They were believers in Jesus because they had been given faith.

They knew Jesus loved them and cared for them, because He stayed with them during the storm. They knew that He would never leave them even if it meant that He would sink with them. They knew that He could save them, because they asked Him.

However, they were unsure if it was His will to save them. This is the position of many Christians today. They believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been born again and have received the measure of faith.

They know God can do anything and that His power is able to deliver from any situation, but they do not know what His will is concerning that situation.

These are those of little faith. They have the mustard seed of faith, but it needs to grow. They may think they know God’s will, or they may hope that it is His will, but as long as there is any doubt then it cannot be the fully grown God kind of faith that sees something come from nothing.

Next- LIVING BY FAITH: Growing to Maturity

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

LIVING BY FAITH: God’s Gift

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“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”  (Eph. 2:8)

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6

FAITH. The Bible says that it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Simply put, it is the ability to believe in something or someone without any evidence of the existence. (Heb. 11:1)

No taste, no sight, no sound, not anything to prove the reality, yet you still believe with all of your being, even to the point of eternity. This is real faith. This is the God kind of faith. This is the faith that never doubts.

Just as there is a God kind of love (agape love), there is a God kind of faith. This is the kind of faith that calls those things which be not as though they were, and then they are. This is the kind of faith by which God framed the worlds.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)

Unwavering, unshakeable, undeniable faith.

There are those who think they don’t need it. That if it can’t be seen, or felt, or touched with the senses then it doesn’t exist. Such is a miserable existence.

There are those who think they have it, or who hope they have it, or who work hard to try to get it. Such is an uncertain existence.

And then there are those few in whom it actually dwells. Those who walk with God. Those who, as it says in the book of Daniel, do exploits for their God. These are those who live and walk in real joy, and peace, and the anointing of God.

There is only one way to obtain it, and that is to receive it. And there is only one you can receive it from, and that is from God.

God is the only one who can create it, and He is the only one who can give it away. God is the source of faith, and it is His gift. This ability to believe and never doubt is a gift from God.

And there are few who have it.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat. 7:14)

Next- LIVING BY FAITH: Our Portion

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

LIVING BY FAITH: Introduction

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“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  (Heb. 11:6)

The next few posts are not about a formula, or a method, or a step-by-step progress to achievement. They are not about a self-help book nor a how to manual. They are posts about a day-by-day, moment-by-moment relationship between you and God.

They are posts about a relationship so close to your creator that it is no surprise to you when His presence, His anointing, His love and power are manifested in your life on a daily basis.

Elisha, the servant of the prophet Elijah, had asked one thing of Elijah before he was to be taken up to heaven. He had asked that he could receive a double portion of the anointing that was upon Elijah.

Elijah told his servant that if he saw him taken up, then his request would be granted. From that point on, Elisha was diligent to always stay by the side of Elijah so that he would not miss the sight.

Elisha had heard the promise. He did what was necessary to receive the promise. Therefore, when Elijah was caught up to heaven by a whirlwind and his mantle fell to the ground, Elisha seeing the sight picked up the mantle knowing that the promise was his.

He struck the waters of the river with the mantle of Elijah and said, “Where is the God of Elijah?” and the waters parted so that he could walk across on dry ground.

Elisha was not surprised by what happened. He didn’t jump up and down and act excited about what he had just seen. He simply knew that the promise had been received, the anointing had been given, and that the parting of the waters was to be expected.

We are going to be revealing a revelation of faith which results in a relationship with the Holy Spirit to such a degree, that you will never again be surprised when the waters of your life part, when the need is miraculously met, and when you see that the deliverance has already been provided for in advance.

You will know what it is to walk in the faith and power of God, for He will go before you, His glory will be your rearward, and you will live your life in His presence.

Next- LIVING BY FAITH: God’s Faith

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure (Part 3)

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  (Prov. 17:22)

That night, Dad was awakened by a loud mooing that was coming from the field next to ours. It seemed the mama cow that lived there was going to have her baby.

When we woke up the next morning, it was still dark outside. Mama lit some candles and began to fix breakfast.

Daddy said he thought that he heard the sound of a baby calf just as he was waking up.

“A baby calf!” I thought. I had always heard that being born was a miracle. Was it too much to believe the Creator would give us two miracles in the same night?

I went to the door to go outside. Mom opened it and as fast as I could, hopping and running through the snow, I made it around to the back patio.

There was the cage just as Mom had left it. Nothing seemed changed. “Hey Marvin, are you in there? Are you dead or alive?”

A familiar squeaky voice answered me saying, “Jake, is that you? Where am I?”

Hooray!

My friend was still here. God did give us two miracles!

“Don’t be afraid, Marvin. You’re in a cage on the patio. Part of a tree fell on your house, and my family rescued you. Are you alright?”

“I…I think so,” Marvin replied. “I can’t move my tail. I think it may be broke.”

Just about then, I heard Mama unlocking the back door.

“Listen Marvin. I don’t have much time. When they take the blanket off the cage, no hissing or snapping or showing your teeth. Mom and Dad will help you. Don’t be afraid, everything will be alright.”

Mom, Dad, and Brother all came out on the back porch. I was so happy; I just had to let them know.

I barked and grunted, “Hey everybody, it’s wonderful news. Marvin’s alive!” But as usual, they didn’t understand me.

“Well, I wonder if our little friend was playing possum?” Dad said.

Dad pulled the cover off the cage, and there sat Marvin huddled in the corner. His little pink nose and black eyes looking out from under his torn dirty blanket.

His tail was curled around the inside of the cage but something didn’t look right. Instead of being smooth and straight, it looked swollen and crooked in one spot.

“Look Raymond,” said Mom. “He’s alive but I believe his tail is broke.”

Dad bent over and looked closely in the cage.

“You’re right,” replied Dad. “And look how calm he is. He’s not showing any signs of aggression. He knows that he’s hurt and needs help.”

“You know, a possum’s tail is very important to him. They use it like another arm. He’ll never survive in the woods with it broke.”

Mom and Dad decided that they would make a splint and tape Marvin’s tail to make it straight like it should be. He could stay in the cage and they would take care of him until he was well enough to go live in the field.

I must say that I was very proud of Marvin. He followed my advice and was a perfect gentleman.

He never complained or made a noise all the time that Brother was wrapping the two little pieces of wood around his tail.

Brother had that effect on animals. At Brother’s touch we just felt calm and loved. He seemed to have a special gift with us creatures.

It was three days before the men came out and fixed the power line.

The snow melted and the days were beginning to get warmer. Dad said that you could feel spring in the air.

The grass was starting to turn green and little green buds appeared on the tree branches. Things were definitely beginning to change.

I would go out and sit by the cage with Marvin so he wouldn’t be lonely.

We would watch the little calf run and play in the field that was next to us. He was white with big brown spots, so Marvin and I decided to call him “Spots”.

The daddy cow had said that he would teach Spots how to speak pig as soon as he was old enough. It seemed that Marvin and I would have a new friend.

Marvin was different after the accident, too. He used to grumble and gripe about everything. He would become grouchy for no reason.

But now he was never upset or complained. He even realized that living in a cage until he was better was for his own good.

After a few weeks, Marvin’s tail had gotten completely well and Brother took his cage out into the field to let him go free.

Daddy had already stacked the pile of branches back in place, but not before he and Mom had built a little house under them with a clean new blanket in it for Marvin to come home to.

We all watched as he waddled back to his branch pile to settle in.

I had heard Daddy say that God gives people second chances.

Perhaps Marvin felt that this was his second chance at living, and he was going to try to be better at it this time.

I know the Creator had given me a second chance when Mama and Daddy found me under the cedar tree by the grassy field.

The tree limb falling made me realize just how quickly things can change, and I made up my mind that every day I was going to be glad and thankful for my family, my friends, and for this wonderful life that I had been given.

I think that I was beginning to grow up just a little. (But not too much, not yet. “Oink, Oink”)

Next- LIVING BY FAITH

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PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure (Part 2)

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  (Prov. 17:22)

We were going outside to have some fun. I was already dancing at the door by the time everyone was ready to go. Dad sat in a patio chair and watched as we all went out into the snow to play.

I soon found out that if I would hop through the snow with my mouth open, I could scoop up the snow like a shovel.

I loved the snow. It was cold in my mouth, and cold on my face, and cold on my feet. It felt so good.

While I was busy hopping and making Daddy laugh, Mom and Brother were building the snowman.

They rolled up big balls of snow and piled them on top of each other. They put on a hat and stuck some sticks in it for arms.

It was so funny it made me laugh, but my laugh sounded like a “rowrr, rowrr, rowrr” that made everyone else laugh. We were having a great time.

Mom started throwing snowballs at Brother and Brother started throwing them at Mom. I tried to run and catch the ones that missed but they just came apart in my mouth.

Then they both started throwing them at Dad. We were all laughing and playing when suddenly there was a loud cracking sound in the treetops above Marvin’s house.

Dad turned and said, “What’s that noise?”

A huge limb that hung out over Marvin’s pile of branches was breaking from the weight of the snow.

With another loud crack it broke loose from the tree and fell right down on Marvin’s house. CRASH! Snow and dead branches went flying everywhere.

“I’m sure glad none of you were over by the storage building when that fell,” Dad said. “Somebody could’ve gotten hurt. Luckily it just landed on that old pile of branches.”

“Oh No!” I thought. “That’s not just a pile of branches. That’s my best friend Marvin’s house!”

I hopped through the snow as fast as I could and went to the fence behind the storage building.

“Marvin, Marvin! Are you alright?” I grunted, but there was no answer. I listened carefully, and then I heard a faint little squeak.

“Mom! Dad! Come quickly, Marvin needs your help!” ARF, ARF! I barked as loudly as I could. “Brother, help. Hurry!” ARF, ARF!

“Jake, what is it boy? Jake, come here!” Dad called and whistled. I always came when Dad called and whistled, but this time I just couldn’t. I kept barking. I had to get help for Marvin!

“Brother, you ought to go and see what Jake’s barking at. Something must be wrong for him to not come when I call,” Dad said.

Brother came around behind the storage building where I was barking at Marvin’s house.

“Hey, Dad.” Brother yelled. “You and Mom might want to come over here. There’s a noise coming out from under this pile of branches that the limb fell on. I think there’s something underneath there.”

Dad got his walker, and he and Mom came around to where Brother and I were. “You know, I believe you’re right,” Dad said. “I think there is something under there.”

“Oh Raymond, we’ve got to do something,” Mom said. “Whatever it is, it sounds hurt. It could be a puppy or a kitten.”

“No, it’s my friend Marvin. He’s a possum.” I tried to tell them, but all they heard were the oinks and grunts.

“Well, first we’ve got to move that limb. Brother, you get the rope out of the storage building, and Mom, if you’ll take the cover off of the lawn tractor and unlock the gate, I’ll get the key and we’ll see what we can do.”

It wasn’t long before Dad turned the key, and the funny red horse came to life. Vroom! Vroom, Vroom!

The horse roared as Dad backed it out and headed toward the gate.

We all followed him out to the field where the limb had fallen on the pile of branches. Brother tied one end of the rope to the limb and the other end to the funny red horse.

“Stand back out of the way,” Dad shouted. “We don’t want another limb to fall on anybody.”

The horse roared louder, and the wheels started spinning in the snow. Slowly the limb began to move and Dad pulled it out of the way.

Mom and Brother gently moved the branches until we could see an old torn blanket with a skinny tail sticking out from underneath it.

Dad had taken the rope off the limb and driven back to where we were. “Oh Raymond,” Mom said. “I believe it’s a possum.”

Brother slowly pulled the blanket off the little body.I’m afraid he may be dead. He’s not making any noise and it looks like he’s not breathing.”

I pushed between their legs to see, and there lay Marvin. His lips were pulled back showing his teeth. He looked stiff and there was a strange smell coming from him.

“Oh no! Marvin,” I thought as tears filled my eyes. Next to my family, he was my best friend.

“I wouldn’t stand too close,” Dad said. “Haven’t you ever heard the expression ‘playing possum’?”

“What’s that?” Brother asked.

“Well,” Dad said “When a possum is injured or feels threatened, he goes into a kind of trance. Kind of like a bear in hibernation.”

“His body gets real stiff, he appears to quit breathing, and he sends out a terrible smell to make other animals think that he’s dead.”

“It’s something God put in their nature to protect them.”

“How do we know the difference?” Brother asked. “You know, whether he’s really dead or just ‘playing possum’?”

“You just have to leave him alone. After a while he’ll wake up and if the danger is gone, he’ll just run away.”

“We just can’t leave him out here in the cold,” Mom said. “He may be playing possum, but what if he’s really hurt? We have to do something.”

Dad said, “There’s a cage in the chicken coop. We can put him in there until we find out if he’s still alive or not.”

Brother got the cage, and Mama put Marvin’s blanket in it. They gently lifted Marvin and put him inside.

Mom and Brother carried the cage back into the yard and set it on the patio, while Dad put the funny red horse back in his place.

Mom put a little bowl of water in the cage and covered it over with another blanket for the night. As we were going back inside, I looked at the cage and grunted.

“I hope you’ll be alright,” I said. “I hope the Creator will let you stay and be my friend.”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure (Part 3)

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PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure (Part 1)

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  (Prov. 17:22)

I love the winter.

The brisk air makes me feel frisky and want to run as fast as I can.

I was outside playing on a cold winter’s day. When I would breathe it would make little puffs of smoke in the air. Sometimes I would run until I couldn’t even catch my breath.

On this particular day, I saw something that I had never seen before. It made me stop and look up.

Beautiful white flakes began to fall gently from the sky. I didn’t know what they were, but they were cold as they landed on my nose and eyelashes. Then they melted and I realized they were water.

Cold, frozen white water.

I had to run and tell Mom and Dad. I wondered if they had ever seen anything like this before.

I ran to the front door and barked and barked for them to come and see. Mama opened the front door to let me in, but instead she said “Oh my,” and stepped out onto the porch to look at the beautiful sight.

“Mama, Mama”, I said. “Look what’s falling from the sky. Have you ever seen anything like this before?”

But as usual, the only thing she heard was a lot of grunts that sounded like a pig. “oink, oink.”

Yes, that’s me, Jake the little pig dog. I’m the little black dog who grunts like a pig.

“Raymond, come look! It’s beginning to snow,” she said. “And not the little light stuff we usually get. They’re great big flakes, and they’re beginning to cover everything. It’s starting to come down harder, too.”

“So that’s what it’s called,” I thought, “snow.”

My feet started dancing and prancing as I got excited.

“Don’t worry Mama! Those white things won’t hurt you. I was scared too at first, but they turn into cold water when they touch you. Look, you’ll see!”

I ran out into the yard and started running around in circles as the snow flakes began to cover the ground and me, getting my fur white as they began to stick.

“You have got to come see this, Raymond. Jake just loves it,” Mama said. Daddy came out on the porch leaning on his cane. I ran up next to him to show how I could shake the white stuff off of my fur.

“Jake! Jake stop! You’re getting us all wet.”

Brother had come outside by then, and they all laughed as I ran out into the yard and started running in circles again. After a while, we all went back inside the warm house.

Night was falling, but instead of getting dark, it got strangely brighter as the white snow started covering everything in sight.

It must have snowed all night long.

When Mama opened the door the next morning, it looked as if someone had stolen the yard and replaced it with this strange world of white. Everything seemed taller somehow, too.

The ground used to be lower than the logs that were around Mama’s garden, but now the ground was white and as high as they were. Even the bushes and the bird feeder had tall white hats on them.

Everything looked taller except for the trees. The branches that once reached to the sky now bent low to the ground, heavy with the piled up snow.

Even the wires that stretched from pole to pole down our street and to our house hung low as if straining from the weight.

And quiet. It was quiet, too.

The thick snow seemed to muffle all the sound. Not even a bird was chirping. I couldn’t wait to jump over Mama’s garden and start running as fast as I could across this frozen land.

But when I jumped, I sunk.

Instead of being hard and slick as I thought, it was soft and mushy.

Suddenly, my legs had disappeared and I was up to my chest and chin in cold snow. There was no running to be done. I had to hop like a bunny from spot to spot just to get around the yard.

The whole family came outside and had a good laugh watching me jump and run in the snow, and after some “oohs” and “aahs” at how pretty it was, we went inside for a warm breakfast.

We had no idea just how exciting this day was about to become.

It was while eating breakfast that we heard the loud bang.

At first, I thought that it had thundered. I have always been scared of thunder, so I put my ears back and hurried to the safety of Dad’s side.

There was another loud bang, and then everything went dark.

“All the electricity has gone off,” Dad said. “The power line must have gone down from the weight of the snow.”

Dad looked out the window, and sure enough, a line had fallen across the street and lay on the ground sparking.

“There’s no telling how long the power will be off,” Dad said. “They probably have lines down all across the city. We had better get prepared in case it takes a while for that line to be repaired.”

Everyone began to hurry to get things done before the house turned cold. Mom and Brother brought out candles and flashlights while Dad got out his tools to connect a gas heater.

Brother brought the heater in from the green storage building and Dad got it connected and working. Soon the house was toasty warm again.

“The green storage building!” I thought. In all of the excitement I had forgot about Marvin. Marvin was the possum that lived under the pile of branches near the green storage building.

I wondered if he was safe from the snow. Mom got all of the food from out of the fridge. She took it outside to pack it in the snow and keep it cold.

As soon as she opened the back door I ran past her to go check on Marvin.

“Hey Marvin, are you all right? Are you safe? Do you know what this white stuff is?” I was so excited; I was grunting the words out as fast as I could.

I came to a bouncing stop as I neared the fence next to his branch pile, but I didn’t hear a thing. “Hey Marvin, are you in there?” A little pink nose poked out from between the branches.

“Yeah, I’m here,” Marvin said in his squeaky voice. “How’s a guy supposed to get any sleep with all that grunting going on? You know that I wander all night and sleep all day.”

“I’m sorry,” I replied. “But I had to come and check on you to see if you were all right. Are you staying warm? Have you ever seen this white stuff before? It’s called ‘snow’.”

“Of course I’ve seen snow, silly. I’m older than you are, you know. But I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this much before.”

“I am staying warm, though. Thanks for asking.”

“When I woke up last night and saw the snow falling, I wandered out to that trash pile past the other field and found an old blanket. I dragged it back here under my branches and I’m just fine.”

“Great!” I grunted.

“I’ll let you get back to sleep now. I just wanted to check on you, but now I’ve got to go help my family. See you later,” I grunted back as I hopped through the snow and up to the little gray house.

We finally got everything done that we needed to do, so now we just had to wait until the power got fixed. So we waited. And we waited. And it got boring real fast.

There was no TV for Dad, no computer for Mom, and no video games for Brother.

We all played “squeaky toy”, and “roll the ball”, and “tug the rope with Jake”, but even I got tired of that.

Then Brother went into his room, and came back out wearing his coat and gloves. “I’m going to go build a snowman,” Brother said.

“Let me get my coat and gloves and I’ll go too,” Mom replied. “C’mon Dad, get bundled up and we’ll all go have some fun.”

I didn’t quite know what a snowman was, but I sure understood fun. Hooray!

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure (Part 2)

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PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake and Marvin (Part 3)

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  (Prov. 17:22)

Over the next few days, I ran to the possum hole in the fence every time I was let out of the house. Marvin was doing a great job, and by the third day it was almost big enough for me to squeeze through.

I think Mom and Dad were getting a little suspicious though. I had decided that the next morning I was going to see if I could make it through the hole and get out into the field.

“Jake sure has been spending a lot of time out by the chicken coop when he goes outside,” Mom had said that night while Dad scratched behind my ears.

“I’ve also noticed him going out behind that old green storage shed. I don’t know what in the world he would be doing over there. It’s almost as if he has some friend that he’s meeting back there.”

I held my breath for a moment. Surely I hadn’t been found out the night before my adventure.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about it.” Dad said. “He’s probably just exploring. You know how dogs are.”

“Still, we might ought to keep a good eye on him when he’s out. That fence is not in the best of shape. When I feel a little better I’ll ride the mower along the fence line and see if it needs any repairs.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t been found out, but that meant I would have to go in the morning for sure before my hole behind the bush was discovered.

I awoke in the middle of the night from a terrible dream about wires, and cages, and starving under the cedar tree, but I finally managed to drift back to sleep.

Soon, I was opening my eyes and the sunlight was peeping through the windows of the little gray house.

After we finished breakfast, Mom told Dad that she had to go to the store.

That will be the perfect time for me to get through the possum hole, I thought.

Mom wouldn’t be there to stop me if she saw me through the kitchen window, and Dad’s not able to walk out there fast enough.

As soon as she grabbed her purse and opened the front door, I slipped out onto the front porch.

“Jake’s out,” she said. “I’ll be right back.”

I stood on the porch and watched as she got in the truck and headed down the road.

I took off and ran around the side of the house to go wake up Marvin.

“Hey Marvin, you in there? Are you awake?”

“I am now” he grumbled.

“This is it” I replied, “I’m gonna try to get through that hole while Mom’s gone. Can you come around and help me?”

“You go ahead. I’ll be right there. You know I’m not as fast as you are.”

I ran around to the pen and pushed myself through the bush in front of the possum hole. I started to squeeze through the opening in the fence but it was too small for my belly.

“Too many snack bones” I grunted.

“Here I am,” Marvin panted. “I finally made it.”

“I think I’m stuck,” I said.

“Here, give me your paws and I’ll pull.” Marvin pulled and I pushed, and the next thing you know “POP!”, I was out in the field.

I watched over Marvin until he waddled back to the safety of his branches. It’s dangerous for possums to be out in the open during the day.

I ran to the cedar tree and stopped. That was the spot where I thought I was going to die.

I stuck my head through the barbed wire fence, and looking through the weeds I could see to the other side of the field.

There, just as Marvin described it, was a trash pile with a bent up broken cage in it. Hanging off the side of the cage was a broken rusty wire.

Just as I started to crawl under the barbed wire, I could hear Dad calling from the house.

“Jake! Jake! Come back boy. Come here to Daddy. Come on boy!”

I turned to see, and there was Daddy, walking on his walker across the backyard toward the big gate. He opened the gate, sat on the seat of his walker, clapped his hands and whistled.

“Come here Jake. Come on back boy. Please come back! You’re scaring Daddy. Oh Lord, please have Jake come back.”

I looked back toward the broken cage and the trash pile. As I lay halfway under the barbed wire fence, suddenly memories began to flood my mind.

I remembered hearing someone say, “I can’t afford to pay for heartworm treatments. I’m just gonna take him out and do away with him. He’s no good to me anyway, with all that gruntin’ noise he makes.”

I remembered a long ride in the back of a smelly truck, a big rock in the middle of the road, a bump and the cage flying through the air.

I remembered hitting the ground with a crash, flying through the broken cage door, and banging my head on the ground.

I remembered crawling through tall weeds until I came to a cool spot under a cedar tree and then everything went black.

I turned and looked back at Dad sitting in his walker with his arms stretched out to me.

And I remembered seeing Dad for the first time, mowing the field on his funny red horse, and Mama throwing me a weenie even though she was afraid that I might bite her.

I remembered them taking me in and hearing Dad say that it would take all of their savings to have me treated at the vet.

And then I thought of all the hugs, and kisses, and belly rubs, and food, and suddenly I was running with all my might to Dad.

With ears back and heart pounding, I couldn’t wait to get to him.

It didn’t matter what clues there might be in the trash pile. It didn’t matter where I had been born or what had been left behind.

All that mattered was this family, and this home, and their love for me and my love for them.

Daddy let me in the yard and closed the gate behind us. He gently patted my head and said “Good boy” as we went inside.

The next day Mom and Dad went out and covered the hole in the fence. They didn’t have to bother. I wasn’t going through that hole again, anyway.

The only time that I would go back out in that field was with Mom and Dad beside me.

Someone said one time that when God closes one door, He opens another. I heard Daddy read from the Bible that “all things old are passed away, and all things become new in Jesus Christ.”

The Creator had given me a new home, and a new life, and a new family, and I was never going to take that for granted again.

Oh, and I almost forgot. A new friend.

Marvin and I were going to have some great times together. I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Brother. And maybe even Mom.

She might even name him “eeeeek!”

Next- PARABLES FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART: Jake’s Snowy Adventure

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