I have a 40 lb. toffee colored dog named Taffy-Lou. Louey is a very headstrong little girl and it is a constant battle to have her mind her “mommy”. With keen eyesight and an even keener sense of hearing, it startles me to have her wake from a deep middle-of –the-night sleep , bolt from her bed, and shoot out the pet door to investigate some nocturnal offense that is taking place in her backyard. It is her unofficial duty, it seems, to patrol the fence perimeter and clear her yard of anything that she determines is out of position.Sometimes, if I can catch her while she is still in the bedroom, she can be persuaded to return to her dog bed and be still. But … if she makes it out into the hallway before I have become coherent enough to give her a command, she seems to have justified in her canine cranium that the instruction has too late, and that she MUST proceed with her backyard reconnaissance mission. It is that way with us a times; in response to a command given by a sovereign GOD. When we stay close to HIM, in quiet and rest, we are most receptive to his guidance and, ready to comply obediently to the direction HE gives. But, if we drift down life’s hallways, --- away from HIS presence and promptings, --- we can be led blindly onward by our own impulses and into that yard that is this world; --- racing headlong into all manner of trouble as we are led out into the darkness of our own desires. Now, in the backyard, my dog can be goaded into a great frenzy of activity by something as harmless as a possum; who merely bars its teeth in a ferocious, albeit frozen pose on a fence post. Happily, the possums hold little danger to Taffy . The encounters amount to lots of barking and a flurry of useless energy, but , ultimately, the nocturnal patrols end painlessly --- though always disappointingly for Louey. Historically her little dalliances have remained 100% fruitless and the possum goes on its way, untouched and undeterred from its mission to get over our fence and into the neighbor’s yard. That can be us too. There are endless opportunities for us to chase worldly “possums on the fence posts”! We can become, like Taffy-Lou, distracted and lured away from following GOD’S careful direction in our lives. In some cases not much harm is done --- nothing more than wasted time and energy, and no profit for the labor. But in the world’s yard, if the boundary fences get knocked down, we can be blind-sided by worldly rascals that we never saw coming. The world’s yard is full of many proverbial skunks and porcupines.

A good “ skunking” will leave us with an unmistakable aroma; the faint scent lingering long after the event. We will not soon forget a “skunking “---the gasping for air, --- the stinging eyes, ---the head spinning. Porcupines pose a different set of problems --- There is no way to engage these type of folks and not get bloody. Porcupine people leave us howling in pain & tending festering wounds. Many worldly adventures of this sort leave scars that are perennial reminders of some whipping we took in the yard!! GOD, like Taffy’s mommy is trying to keep those HE loves --- safe.!! HE does not give us instruction to spoil the fun or harm us. HE instructs us to protect us. The moral of the story is …. “ Stay close to the MASTER!” Pay heed to HIS instruction. Hold fast to the boundary lines HE has drawn. Be still in HIS protective care. Be confident that HIS plan is to prosper us and not harm us …. To give us a hope and a future.

Lynn Parker 2015@