Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Heads held high

by Dean Gardner

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
Leviticus 26:13, NLT

My wife Gemma and I first met our dog Sid nearly nine years ago. He was four years old and we’d overlooked him when we walked round the rescue centre looking for a dog we could offer a home to. We’d come that day thinking that the best age dog for us to adopt would probably be two years, or younger, but none of the dogs in that age range seemed suitable.

When we shared that with the woman working in the centre reception she asked, “Have you thought about Sid?” We hadn’t, but we agreed to meet him properly, and take him for a walk along the lane outside the centre. As he was brought out to us, Sid’s furry brown head was down towards the ground, and we couldn’t get him to lift it up to look us in the eye. We couldn’t imagine what he’d experienced in his four years of life, and why he was found running wild in Ireland, before being brought over to the UK.

Gemma and I fell in love with him that day, and duly adopted him and gave him the quiet home and comfy bed we were told he needed. We’ve treasured his faithful companionship and playful character since then. His quiet sympathy when we have gone through times of difficulty and pain has been a great comfort to us both.

We’ve just come back from a few days away from home and, as we walked through a public park, I overheard a man say, observing Sid, “Look how proudly he walks”. It struck me how true that is. Sid is confident now, and he looks right into your face instead of looking away. Being adopted, loved and accepted has changed him from being a homeless wanderer to a secure and happy little dog.

That so reminds me of how the Lord wants to heal and change each of us, whom He’s rescued and adopted into His family. He wants His love and acceptance to reach the deep places of our hearts, so we can walk through life with Him, head held high, unafraid to look the world and circumstances in the face.

Maybe you still find that your head is down, even though you’re a Christian. Perhaps you struggle with shame or lack of worth. Why not come to your Father in Heaven? Let Him lift up your head to see the love in His eyes as He looks upon you.

Prayer: Father, thank You for choosing me and adopting me when I didn’t feel lovable or wanted. Please help me to let down every barrier to Your love so I walk through life, head held high, as Your precious child. Amen.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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