Americans sure love their pets, some almost as much as their kids, and others in place of kids. In fact, senior citizens live longer when having a pet to take care of. We all must feel needed, no matter how young or old we are.

Some people are avid cat lovers, and even though we grew up with cats and hunting dogs on the “farm” I always loved dogs.

As an adult, I have seldom been without a house dog. They have been all sizes, genders, and breeds. I’ve enjoyed them all, from Dobermans to a snippy Chihuahua. My current “fur-baby” is a 7 lb. Peke-Pooh, and this little cutie brings such joy to my life!

Having raised big dogs and little dogs, I have observed they differ in their eating habits. Experts say dogs will eat the same thing everyday their whole lives, and have no need for variety. Large dogs will eat the same thing every day, and are glad to get it. They will gnaw on a bone all day long, but by evening, they want a big meal. The little ones have to eat 2 or 3 small portions daily, since their tummies are small. However, they have gourmet taste, and quickly get bored with a repeated cuisine.

When “fur-baby” moved in, it wasn’t so bad. She had been the runt of the litter, so the breeder kept her until she was 3 months old. She ate whatever I served her in the way of puppy food, and seemed happy with it.

I don’t recall when it happened, but little “baby” began to develop menu preferences. I would reheat the same little serving a couple times, and end up throwing it out. I remember getting so frustrated, that I’d tell her, “You know, there are dogs in Africa who would love to have this for dinner”! But she would not be intimidated. She would be so hungry that she’d throw up bile, yet still refuse to eat. Then I’d panic because she was so small, and I was afraid she would dehydrate! For 3 years, I bounced back and forth between buying the most expensive dog foods for the “finicky” pet, and the cheaper brands; but she would not have any of it. I was spending a fortune on dog food only to throw most of it away.

Somehow I had lost control. I remembered a neighbor who used to chase her 2 year old child around the house with her food dish and spoon, trying to get her to eat. (“Can you say Spoiled Brat, boys and girls”?)
Finally, when the companies recalled the pet-food, that was the last straw! Now, “fur-baby” gets cooked beef and chicken, doggie vitamins, and dry kibble.

Like most things in life, the natural realm is a counterpart of the Spiritual. You can see a sermon in these life lessons. Jesus is still using earthly stories with Heavenly meanings…the Bible calls them Parables. I have noticed a parallel between the nature of pets and people and this current Church Age.

Many congregations are made up of the “big dog/little dog” types. The “big” dogs have very little vision, and only want the same old message served up the same old way, their entire lives, and are content to eat only once a week. Yet, they want to be in control of everything, because they either do a lot in the church and/or give the most money…the rest of the pack seems to be there to applaud and comply (much like High School).

Every once in awhile, God sends a little dog into the pack. This one is welcomed as he finds his place in which to serve. After settling in, the little one decides he cannot tolerate the same menu day after day, week in and week out. Even though he is eating, he’s getting little nourishment…he is spiritually starving, but has no appetite for what is being served.

Obviously, although there are similarities between people and pets, we are different beings. The Bible uses a different analogy, which refers to shepherds and sheep. Sad to say, some pastors dominate rather than emulate the Shepherd who leads, (not drives) the flock. Some are tantrum throwers that everyone caters to just to shut them up. Or you may have encountered the pouter or complainer who “guilts” everyone into submission. It all boils down to control.

Why do people stay in these situations? Many won’t and are libeled after their departure.
Others are attached to the church building where they grew up, and where their parents and even grandparents attended. They know pastors and people come and go, so they endure until better replacements come along.

I have had occasions to observe denominational as well as independent assemblies. I’ve concluded there must be a balance of power, where church government and affairs are concerned. All leadership positions must be limited to the God-led, spiritually mature members, with the complete Word of God, as their final authority.

The Church belongs to God. His leaders are under-shepherds, and must lead by example. Pastors and teachers are worthy of respect, as we must stand to a higher accountability before God. We must also earn that respect, by being faithful to God, our calling, the Word, and to the people we are called to serve. The pulpit is sacred, and standing behind it is not to be taken lightly. Too many have lost the reverence that should be given to God, His work, and His House.

Even mannerly behavior in God’s house has all but disappeared. Children are permitted to run, yell, and even play in the Sanctuary. Teens walk in and out of classes in session as they please, bounce a ball, eat, or talk and giggle while the teacher is speaking. What is wrong with their parents, (or were they raised by wolves)? Even the pastors are afraid correct them, lest they don’t come back! In fact, the pastor’s own children may be just as guilty!

We pray for our kids, families, friends, nation, and even our pets. Who is praying for the Church?!
The Lord is coming so very soon, and the Church is not ready. Many assemblies aren’t even teaching the real Word of God. Our children’s classes are more babysitting than teaching the Word and the principles of God. Church activities seem more centered around fund raising and building up membership roles, than evangelism.

People are leaving the Church. They are weary of another anemic message, of seldom hearing a fresh Word, or not feeling the presence, let alone conviction of the Holy Spirit, nor having their spiritual needs met. We have become hard-pressed to hear even the “sincere milk of the Word”. The search for “meat” has become just like the last days vision God gave me over 40 years ago. I was given a plate full of starchy foods and the only meat to be seen was a few grains of hamburger in the beef-a-roni! I have lived to see that vision fulfilled.

Even our weekly prayer meetings have become just another formality. They are usually attended by the pastor, if he’s available, and 3 or 4 elderly ladies who go down a list of sick people in the church. Nobody goes to the altar…if they even meet in the Sanctuary. There is nobody interested in staying to “pray through”. No burdens for souls or a movement of God, seem to be on the prayer list.

I foresee many of these local churches falling by the wayside. They are too impotent to stand. They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof…and most are satisfied with their “religion”. Many have big, old, buildings and can’t afford the repairs and utilities, and without much of a congregation, their glory days have passed. The dedicated pastors are run and worked past exhaustion, trying to keep the youth together, repairing the church roof, and juggling a multitude of tasks and meetings, trying to keep up with their imposed responsibilities.

What can we do? First of all, we need some people who have a burden to PRAY. Not another sleepy church meeting, but those who are willing to dedicate themselves to seeking God in their own homes. Pastors seem to be a dime a dozen in some areas, but intercessors (and piano players) are an endangered species! Yet the Bible says we are ALL called to pray.

How do we pray? We have GOT to pray with a purpose…and that means, first praying for a keener sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, on behalf of our pastors, leaders, teachers and congregation. We must learn how He wants to move in our lives and churches, and we must pray toward that end. We have also got to pray that the Lord will move out those leaders and members who will not yield to God, and pray in those that will.

So many leaders have their own agenda, even to the exclusion of their own experiences with the deeper things of God. I have seen a denominational pastor deny a part of the Scripture that he personally knew to be the truth, because “we don’t teach that here”. The member who questioned him about it was told to go to another church…that was good advice! Even in Psych 101, we were taught there are only 2 outcomes for people who must submit to things that go against their own conscience…insanity or suicide.

May God deal with those who renounce any part of the God-head, even by willfully refusing to teach the complete truth of God’s Word, because their denomination “does not teach that here”.
If leadership will not submit to God, only the Holy Spirit can deal with them. Some are stiff-necked and will not consider anything we have to say if it differs with their own doctrine. If that is the case, we have no choice…we have to leave. The worst thing to do is stay on and eventually end up talking about it to others…which is human nature. If we do that, then we will spread gossip and negativity which always destroys a church. We don’t ever want to be a part of that. Let God have His perfect work…it is HIS church.

Jesus said when a place does not receive our God-given message, shake off the dust of our feet as we leave, as a sign we have left it to its fate…Mark 6:11 (TLB). There is a penalty to be paid for rejecting God’s Holy Word. Unfortunately, our disobedience usually causes others to stumble.

The Word says: “men ought always to pray” and to “pray without ceasing”. Prayer can change apathy into anointing. It can change an unteachable heart into a teachable one. God, through our intercession, can change a stony heart, into a heart of flesh.

May God STIR us all to seek His face and to live in His presence, and cause us to remember that PRAYER CHANGES THINGS and people. Amen!

Pastor Moser
April, 2008

W. O. W.

Religion is man’s approach to God. Christianity is God’s approach to man.