Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Following Jesus Has Taken the Fun Out of Sinning

By Shiloh The Shepherd’s Sheep Dog
Mommy - Cheryle M. Touchton

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:14

I had a slip today. I didn’t mean to do it but it happened so fast. I saw the opening and I just took it. A few weeks ago, I finally understood my job. Mommy follows Jesus and I follow Jesus by following Mommy. We tell people about Jesus. When I started listening and obeying, life became good. Mommy is happier and gives me more freedom. I’m also getting a lot more treats.

So what happened today? It all started with going into Camping World. Mommy turned on the generator and then surprised me by pulling out the leash. Camper World is Dog Friendly and that meant I was Camping World Friendly.

They didn’t have the light bulb Mommy needed so we went back to Hallelujah. The generator was off. 

“I thought I left that on,” Mommy said as she pushed the button. It didn’t work.

“On no! I can’t leave you in the camper with no generator. I need help.” We rushed back inside.

“It’s OK,” a nice man wearing a Camping World shirt said soothingly. “It’s broken at just the right place. Come on back and we’ll check you in right now.”

It was easy. Mommy was already in their computer. They took Mommy’s keys and we sat down. For the first two hours, I had fun doing my tricks and helping Mommy tell people about Jesus. Then, I got tired of being on a leash.

I barked. Mommy ignored me. Then I howled. She shushed me. I twisted to get out of the collar and she scolded me. She started reading her book and I tried to chew my way out of the leash.

“Stop it Shiloh!” Mommy commanded. “Leave it.”

Finally, the nice man sat by Mommy. “We have your generator running. It’s perfect for now. Your fuel pump had gone dry and we had to prime it. We think it overheated and shut off. It probably means the fuel pump is going bad but we can’t be sure. It may work fine for 6 months or may break tomorrow. It’s expensive to replace because we have to take out the generator. What do you want us to do?”

“I leave my dog in there. I can’t take chances. I can’t do my work if I can’t leave her in the camper.”

“I understand,” the man said sadly. “A bad air conditioner cost me the best dog I ever had.”

“In a camper?”

“No, it was a garage shed,” he said with tears in his eyes. “It was too hot outside so I put my dog in an air conditioned garage shed. I was trying to keep her safe but the air conditioner broke." Best sales pitch ever (just kidding - he was nice and sincere) but Mommy had already decided to replace the fuel pump.

“It’s too late to put it in today. You can stay behind our building. We have hook ups and everything. I’ll drive your camper around back.”

“Stop it Shiloh!” Mommy said as we walked to the camper. Didn’t she understand that I wanted that leash off?

“Walk with me!” I quit pulling but wasn’t happy.

Mommy opened the door and I jumped in. She took off the leash while she was stepping in. We both spotted the open refrigerator door at the same time.

“How did that door get open?” Mommy wailed trying to beat me to the food scattered all over the floor. In her haste to keep me from eating everything, Mommy forgot to close the camper door.

This was when I lost it. Freedom was within reach. Mommy grabbed food and never even saw me leave.

 “Shiloh, Shiloh, where are you? Here, here!” I turned and looked but ran.

She ran and called louder and I could tell she was scared. She pulled the treats out of her pocket. “Treat, Shiloh. Treat!”

Really? I’d passed up the chicken salad and bacon for freedom. Did she think I was going to give up freedom for mere treats? The campers were bigger than Hallelujah and I ran under and around them. A man tried to catch me. Mommy kept running and yelling. People were staring. A big truck drove by pulling a camper and Mommy screamed. I looked but ran again.

Here’s the problem. Running away used to be fun. I’m fast and I forget about Mommy. Everything was different now. I still ran but it wasn’t as fun. Mommy says that following Jesus might not stop you from sinning but it will ruin it for you. I found that out. I kept looking back at Mommy and pinned my ears back. I made sure I could always see her.

All of a sudden, Mommy ran in the opposite direction. “Bye Shiloh. I bet you can’t catch me.” I chased after her. She slowed and tried to catch me and I jumped back just in time. She started running away again. She stopped and I backed up. She showed me the treat and I ran away again but she ran away from me again. This time I got too close. She lunged and right there on the cement, she fell on top, picked me up, and carried me back to the camper.

Here’s the real truth. I was glad to be in that camper with Mommy. It was hot outside. I ran to the water bowl and drank. Chasing Mommy was just what I needed to get her to carry me home.

Mommy and I meet people all the time who are running from God. They are doing things that the Bible says in sin. Mommy says sin is missing God’s mark. These people try to act like they are having fun but I’m a dog. We sense things. They aren’t happy. Sin is like that. It sucks you in by promising fun and then traps you by whispering that you can’t get out.

If you are running from God, try chasing someone running in the opposite direction. Jesus will joyfully fall on you, put His arms around you, pick you up, and carry you back to safety.

Follow the Journey

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rough Road Ahead

By Shiloh The Shepherd’s Sheep Dog
Mommy - Cheryle M. Touchton

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

“Traffic jams in the mountains usually mean something terrible has happened,” Mommy muttered as we sat there. We waited for over an hour as one by one, they turned each car around. I warned Mommy about everything passing us but she didn’t seem to appreciate it.

“I have no idea how to get where I’m going,” Mommy told the man when it was her turn to turn around. Since Mommy usually tells people how to get to heaven, I knew she probably wasn’t talking about heaven.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

Mommy, I thought. That’s what you usually ask.

“The KOA Campground.”

 “It sure is going to take you a lot longer to get there,” he said.

Mommy sighed. “It really will take a long time if I don’t how to do it. I don’t see but one way there on the map and I tried reprogramming the GPS with a roadblock but it just says route unavailable.”

The man rattled off a series of several highways, towns, and turns. I’ve traveled enough with Mommy to know she still didn’t know how to get there. It sure would have been easier just to tell him how to get to heaven.

“Please say that again,” Mommy begged. The man looked hot and tired but he repeated it.

Mommy turned Hallelujah around and immediately called Daddy.

“Reroute Tom Tom using the roadblock feature,” Daddy suggested.

Mommy sighed again. “That was the first thing I tried. Tom Tom doesn’t think it can be done. The worker seemed to think it could.”

“Where are you?” Daddy asked.

“I don’t know. Hang on.” I knew Daddy was sighing. Everyone is happier now that Tom Tom has a Where Am I? button.

When Mommy finally told Daddy where she was, he was quiet for a few minutes. “It sure is going to take you a lot longer to get there.”

 “That’s what the man said. I know the first two turns but remember nothing after that.”

“What are the turns he told you about?”

“I’ve already made them.”

But what where they?”

“Bob!” Mommy said. “Breathe. I can hear your blood pressure rising through the phone. I’m safe.” She told him what the worker said.

“OK,” Daddy said. “I see what he’s doing. Here’s what you do.” He repeated the instructions a couple of times. Mommy kept getting confused and suddenly lost cell coverage. Poor Daddy and Mommy.

“Shiloh, we’ve got to do this on our own,” Mommy said. No we weren’t. We had God. He would help Mommy remember. Besides, eventually Tom Tom would find us.

“This road sure is bumpy.” She didn’t have to tell me that! Mommy quietly concentrated on navigating the bumpy twisty roads, remembering what Daddy said, and avoiding colliding with the bumper-to-bumper frustrated drivers in both directions having the same problem.

“Oh no,” Mommy wailed. “The sign says rough road for the next 3.5 miles. How much rougher can it get?” I’m young but even I have learned not to ask that.

I thought about our first year together. It was like that bumpy road. We thought it was bad with all the twists and turns but along came a sign that said Rough Road Ahead and sure enough, the road got rougher.

When I first moved in, Mommy had been on a bumpy road. She was still sad about my older sister Belle and her Aunt Ka Ka dying. Mommy tried to train and play with me but it was hard to enjoy my puppy antics when she was so sad.

Just as she was getting better, the road got rough again when Granpap got sick. We rushed to Jacksonville to take care of him. Mommy went to the hospital and I spent most of my days in the laundry room. When Granpap got better, we went back to State College and I was happy because I had Mommy back.

Then Mommy got sick. She was in the hospital a week. This time, I was locked in the apartment bathroom during the day. When Mommy finally came home, she had to rest. I kept doing what puppies do and Mommy wasn’t very happy.

Finally, Mommy got better and we left for our first journey. I’ll admit I didn’t behave very well that first week but in my defense, Mommy’s rough road had caused my training to be bumpy.

We had enjoyed the first 10 days of the trip when suddenly the phone rang and there was another sign –Rough Road Ahead.” Grandpap had had a stroke. We were in Texas and made a mad dash for Jacksonville. Mommy went to the hospital and I went to the laundry room. In just three days, Granpap went to heaven. I stayed in the laundry room as Mommy and Uncle Vaughan made funeral arrangements and tried to take care of Ginny.

I wondered if our rough road would get smoother but it got rougher when Ginny was rushed to the hospital. Just 29 days after Granpap went to heaven, Ginny joined him there and I went back to the laundry room while Mommy and Uncle Vaughan made more funeral arrangements.

Mommy was sad a long time. She leaned on God and gradually got better. She started training and playing with me again. I got to meet a Mommy who wasn’t having to concentrate so hard on navigating bumpy roads. This Mommy was fun and I wanted to learn from her. I got excited when I realized what an important job I had – I got to tell people about Jesus. We were both excited when we led the first person to Jesus together.

But back to the rough road in New York. We arrived safely and Mommy finally got to call Daddy. His directions had saved the day but you and I both know that it was nothing short of a miracle that Mommy found her way through dozens of mountain roads without Daddy or a GPS.

Since we left home 6 days ago, Mommy and I have led 5 people to Jesus together and talked to many more. I’m not perfect – I still get too excited about birds and Mommy doesn’t like it that I can get out of every restraint she puts on me but at least I’m listening to her. We’re a team! Mommy says all Christians are a team too and everyone needs to do their part proclaiming what the Bible says about salvation.

We found out later that like Mommy suspected, a terrible accident had caused our roadblock. I sure hope someone had told the people who died in that accident about Jesus. Their rough road either ended forever because there are no more tears in heaven or the road just became unbearably horrible.

Follow the Pocket Full of Quarters Journey

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Monday, January 13, 2014


by Shiloh the Shepherds Sheep Dog
He who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Rom 13:2

Mommy says I am incorrigible.  She says it because I won’t listen to her. I chew up carpet, shoes, and baby toys. What can I say – it is fun. If they leave a door open, I run outside and dare them to catch me. You have no idea what it feels like to streak through vacant lots, across streets, and in lakes. I bark – at stars, airplanes, geese, animals, and even the fog. Barking is the only way I have to express my joy, fear, or interest. I refuse to walk quietly on a leash and have been known to pull Mommy down. Is it my fault if I am stronger than her? I don’t like it when Mommy has her prayer time because she ignores me so I’m especially bad then. If I bark loud enough, she will eventually get out of her prayer chair and give me attention. I also steal food. I climb up on the table and stand up to counters to snatch anything I can find. Daddy says he isn't fast or smart enough to be be my daddy. What that means is that I stay in trouble all the time with Mommy and Daddy.

They have tried to teach me. They took me to puppy school. I know what the words mean but those silly words are meant to stop me from having fun. They have tried everything to stop me from chewing and barking. Squirt guns, shock collars, bottles filled with pennies, newspaper, and the word no don’t scare me at all. I have to admit that the muzzle stops me from barking and chewing but I know a secret – Mommy and Daddy feel guilty for using it so I’m not really worried. Mommy says I am the strongest willed dog she has ever had.

Here is the thing – I am tired of being in trouble all the time. I know Mommy and Daddy are supposed to be the boss but I want to do what I want. Mommy said according to the the Bible, if I am rebelling against authority, I am rebelling against God. That can't be good. I heard Mommy and Daddy talking and they say I am getting a little better but they still don't think I'm ready to be a Missionary Dog. I hope they are right that I'm getting better. I do want to be a Missionary Dog. I also like it when they cuddle with me or give me treats. The problem is that I don’t like cuddling and treats as much as I like chewing, barking, escaping, and stealing food. Would you pray for me?