Meet Joey, our new 5-week old puppy.  A friend called me about two weeks ago and said her daughter has a friend that had some Rottweiler puppies to give away.  Pam knew how much we love Rotties.  Since Shiloh our nine-year-old Rottweiler is getting older, we thought it might be good for her to mentor a new puppy for the family. Joey was brought to our home and naturally, we all instantly fell in love with little Joey.  The breeder didn’t tell us that he was only three weeks old, at that time, and there was not an option to send him back for a little while to stay with the momma.  Unfortunately, we were told Joey would have gone to the pound if we didn’t take him.  Of course, we did not want that to happen so we took Joey in as one of the family.

In our excitement, we forgot what it was like to have a new puppy, especially one as young as Joey.  The first few nights he cried pitifully for hours when we put him in his crate to go to bed.  Then, in the morning, he cried for someone to come get him.  He seriously sounds and acts like a newborn baby.  Joey is all boy and a little rascal until he finally crashes out for a nap. I can’t take my eyes off him even for a second without finding him doing things like; dumping over the water bowl, chewing on a cord or trying to eat Shiloh’s food; even after devouring his own food. Shiloh is a trooper though and a good mentor.  She warns him but I think she realizes he is a puppy and backs off.  When she walks away from her food, the invitation is open to eat her leftovers and little Joey is head first in her bowl.  Ha! ha! ha!

Potty training is a BIG task.  Since this isn’t my first rodeo with a new puppy, I am constantly jumping up at the first sign of what I call the pee pee sniff.  You know what I’m talking about?  It’s that search for just the right spot to do his business.  When I notice the right clues, I hurry over to pick up little Joey and we run outside and I place him into the grass.  We must stay there together until he finds the perfect spot to do his business.  Shiloh walks out with us, too, and she demonstrates how to get her business done!  Of course, there’s a huge reward of praise of “good boy!”, after he has done the right thing.  Joey is then so proud of himself and he wants to play with me by biting my shoes or pant leg.  Ouch!  Those little teeth are sharp, too.  It only seems to phase Joey for a split second when I tell him, “No!”  Then he just runs off to explore something new.

Speaking of something new, I just wish he would stop falling into a small hole in my yard that my husband made a few days ago, digging up an old sprinkler head. Every day, Joey walks up to the hole and KERPLUNK, he falls in. Yesterday, he stopped and crouched down to look inside the hole.  He avoided the fall that day but I was hoping he would remember today and walk away from the hole.   But no! He fell for it and KERPLUNK there he went, into the hole, again.  Poor little Joey, he flops and rolls over trying his hardest to gain his feet under himself.  As his loving parent, I feel compassion for him and rush over to help him back up and pull him out of the hole.

This hole reminds me of what it’s like when baby Christians (new Christians) fall into temptation.  As a seasoned Christian and mentor, we know it’s not good to even look into the hole and we know it’s going to be hard to get out if they fall in. We can give direction and warn to the baby Christian but because of their old way of thinking, they often fall back into the hole.  It may be something done by innocents at first by the newly reformed Christian but soon the hole must be recognized as a trap or distraction. If they are not careful they could fall for that same temptation and find themselves falling into that hole even deeper.  That is why it is imperative to have someone walk beside them to teach them the Word of God and how to avoid the traps set by the enemy.  As the wiser, we must walk with them and coach them along the way.  When they get it right, be there to praise them for overcoming the temptation.

Joey is only a puppy so it is natural for him to make mistakes.  I would never get upset with him for doing something he doesn’t realize he shouldn’t do.  However, there will come a time that going pee pee in my house and falling in holes will change based on his ability to recognize right from wrong. My expectations will be higher for him and I will want him to stop doing those things that he did when he was a puppy.  Until then, it is our job as a family to train and teach Joey how to live in our home and what is expected of him.  I know that in the next few months and even years, he is going to make mistakes.  That’s ok as long as he continues to make progress and grow up to be a good dog, just like Shiloh.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Philippians 3:14-16 NIV

If you are a seasoned Christian and are mentoring a new brother or sister in Christ, be patient with them as they learn but make sure they are making progress by holding them accountable.   If you are the new Christian, stop falling into the same holes and please listen to your mentor.  Learn from your mistakes and keep moving along.  Don’t look back to who you used to be and to the things that would cause you to fall.  Press on toward the goal and win the prize.  The prize is what God has called you to do here on earth that reflects your eternity in heaven.

Oh, did I mention that Joey is so CUTE even when he falls in the hole?  Well, he is!

Big hugs,

Papa God and Ashley

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