Puppy Training - from Jeff Frazier

Puppy Training
by Jeff Frazier

This past December we welcomed a new member into our family, her name is Ivy, and she is a black goldendoodle puppy. Having a puppy changes things a little; actually it changes things a lot! We are devoting a disconcerting amount of time, energy and money on the health and development of our new pet. We have taken her to the vet three times, read numerous books on puppy training, and purchased a wide array of toys and other puppy paraphernalia. We do all of this because we want her to grow into a healthy and happy family pet. We have a vision, if you will, of the kind of dog she could become, and we are going to help her get there. God has a vision too; He has a vision for each one of us. God has a vision of the kind of man or woman He wants you to become and He wants to help you get there.

One of the things that I am learning about training a puppy is that puppies need constant praise and encouragement. The conventional wisdom from the puppy experts seems to be that positive reinforcement is far more effective than negative. My wife is constantly reminding me about the "tone" I use with Ivy, and I must confess that she (Ivy, not my wife) seems a little scared of me. I think that people are much the same as puppies in this respect. We all need a little encouragement now and then. When it comes to the area of spiritual disciplines, most people automatically feel bad or guilty. We feel as if we aren't doing all that we should or could. We may even feel like God must be displeased with us since we aren't very spiritually disciplined. The truth is that spiritual disciplines are meant to help us grow in our love for God and in our understanding of His love for us. In short, to help us grow into the kind of people that God has envisioned.

Throughout this series we have been providing weekly resources and spiritual challenges on our church website to help you grow. These challenges are not meant to make you feel guilty or bad, they are not meant to be a burden, a duty, or an obligation. They are simply tools to help you along the pathway toward the life God has for you. So let me offer you a little encouragement and positive reinforcement. God is not waiting for you to get yourself together or clean up your act before He will work with you. He is already at work in you...so why not join Him?

Pastor Jeff

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