April 20, 2011
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. ... Romans 8:14-15a
Patrick is a pit bull, a breed of dog many people try to avoid.
Apparently, Patrick's owner should be included in that group. I say that because the individual, who will remain nameless in this devotion, tied Patrick to a railing in her Nevada apartment building. Then she went to visit some friends.
For a week she visited her friends.
While she visited, Patrick waited. Patrick waited for his owner's return. He waited to be fed. He waited to be given some water. Eventually a mailman found Patrick at the bottom of a trash chute. By then Patrick was curled up into a ball, unable to stand.
Patrick was rushed to a veterinary clinic.
The vets examined the dog and experience told them Patrick was a goner -- a dog without hope. They agreed that Patrick would die as he had lived: unwanted and alone.
That's what logic said should have happened.
What did happen was quite different. The doctors felt sorry for Patrick. They gave him therapy, a special diet and some transfusions. And Patrick responded. He put on weight. Before long a grateful Patrick started following his benefactors all around the clinic. Indeed, appreciation became a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week kind of job for the rescued pooch.
And at this point I probably don't need to say Patrick's story ought to be our story.
Because of sin and Satan we were chained up -- doomed and destined to die eternally.
Logically there was no other choice. After all, Scripture says the soul that sins will die. But God's Word also tells us, in spite of this logic, a gracious God sent His only Son into this world to rescue us. By living the perfect life that was beyond us, by dying the death we deserved, Jesus took our place and carried our sins.
Because of what Jesus has done for us all who have been given faith in Him will not perish but are given everlasting life.
This ought to take us to one other similarity between Patrick and us; like the rescued, no-longer-unwanted dog, grateful Christians ought to live their lives in thanksgiving to our Divine Rescuer and Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, please accept the praises of those whom You have rescued. Because of Your grace, Jesus was made both our Substitute and Savior. May I be filled with a sense of gratitude for His sacrifice? This I pray in His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries