Are There Demons in Your Closet?


So what do you think about spiritual warfare?

Does it really exist and just how prevalent do you believe it is in our world today?

If you've been a Christian for any length of time, you will no doubt leap right in and declare that you absolutely believe it exists and is actively at work in our lives today.

But do you live like you believe that?

Did you know that the Bible speaks more about the "powers of darkness" and how to overcome them than it does about Heaven? If God took that much time to warn us about it, maybe we should give it a little more thought.

When you think about demonic activity, does your mind go straight to stories you've heard about witchdoctors or occult activity? We're certain Satan and his cohorts are flourishing in deep-dark-Africa, in drug-infested inner cities, and even in some so-called churches in America. But what about in your home?

Kinda creepy to think about, isn't it? We prefer to think of Satan attacking nonbelievers and those outside the will of God. We'll even inch a little closer and acknowledge that he most likely tries to thwart the good work of dedicated Christians and we'll pray for them.

But...get back there to the original question. What about in you? How much of your daily struggle is the work of Satan's fiery darts rather than your own failure?

Some Christians become overly excited about this issue and start calling everything they find unpleasant "demon-inspired." They see a demon behind every sniffle or stock market plummet. All this does is dilute the truth, like the little boy who cried wolf too many times. And we can't blame Satan for our own sinful choices. Scripture says we are tempted when we are "drawn away by our own lusts and enticed."

However, there are times when we need to step up and recognize that something we're facing goes beyond normal human experience. If there is an area in your life in which you are unable to gain victory, there is a good chance you are under attack.

I had been plagued with anxiety attacks and unreasonable worry for the past several years. No amount of prayer or Bible reading seemed to help. I thought it was just me--I was doing something wrong. Granted, this past decade has been a veritable pit of worry-inducing situations for me, but as a dedicated Christian, I should have been able to gain victory over it. And I could not.

Only recently, through fasting and meditation, God showed me the problem. I was under attack and had not realized it. Whenever I was weak, either physically or emotionally, the spirit of Fear attacked me and refused to let go. The more I believed the fear, the stronger it became. Even when the situation resolved, the Fear remained, holding me in such a grip I could not find peace or joy.

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," states the Bible. "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind." That phrase popped into my mind as God coached me through it.

I was stunned when I realized the problem. I had not resisted. I had not rebuked. I had not taken command over a power already defeated. I had gone right along with it.

Satan knows that as a child of God, you have power to resist him and he cannot harm you without your consent. He also knows that most of us don't realize that.

Why is it we are so easily captivated when we have the truth right there in Scripture? I believe the strongest weapons Satan uses are doubt and our natural inclination to think anything that pops into our minds is our own thought. So we keep it to ourselves and wrestle with it in our own strength.

You are no match for the devil. But you also do not have to put up with it.

When, with God's authority, I spoke aloud to the demon of Fear and refused its thoughts, its ideas, its lies, and quoted God's truth--it was gone. Just like that! Not a trace left of it! No anxiety when I wake up now. No gripping, unnamed fear haunting the shadows of my mind. Just the peaceful presence of God.
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Now I know to be on guard and resist the first fiery dart of fear that pelts my mind. When we resist those thoughts and replace them with truth, they leave. They don't have to take root.

Maybe your weakness is low self-worth. Or a sense of failure. Or confusion. Wherever you are weak, Satan finds you. You don't have to put up with it either. You do have the responsibility to get yourself in the best possible spiritual shape first, or Satan knows you don't have God's power in your life and without that, you can't resist him.

But with a heart totally dedicated to God's service, you can command the forces of darkness to leave you alone and they will. You have such overcoming power at your command. Don't waste it!
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How to Improve Your Life for Free!


Do you ever have the sneaking suspicion that your life isn't working like you think it should?

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Even as a Christian, do you wonder if there is more you should understand about living a victorious life the way God intended for you to live?

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I'm going to do you a favor today and put in a plug for a great site I've discovered.

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As a supplement to my training in lay counseling, I'm taking an online program from Word of Life Counseling center in Wichita, Kansas. Because of distance, I will earn my certification from another place, but the extra training is great and the video lessons are FREE!

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Dr. Troy Reiner is a licenced psychologist as well as a Bible scholar and much of the course is deep Scriptural truth from which any believer could benefit. The section of training I'm linking you to is called Principles, Here Dr. Reiner explores 44 basic principles given in the Bible---from salvation to walking in the Spirit---and what each means for you, what happens in your life when these principles are being violated, and how to apply them.

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I'm coming to understand that there is so much more than I realized to living life the way God intends us to live, and unfortunately most Christians never fully experience all that God has for them because they miss the truth of these principles.

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If you have a little extra time each day, I highly recommend these classes. You can view them on your own schedule. The training will not only help you wherever you are in your spiritual walk, but you can better help others God brings across your path.

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Check it out! Click here.

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Knowledge and More Knowledge...

There is SO much to learn !
From infancy, we are so focused on education and gaining knowledge that sometimes we forget that's not the real goal of life. Many people even think that learning more and more about God is the highest goal on earth.



IT'S NOT????






Surprise!

We are tempted to think that. After we receive Christ and God's wonders are unveiled to us little by little, we hungrily go after truth like a starving dog with a food wrapper. There is so much to learn, so many marvelous truths and promises and commands to get our minds around that fervor for them can become consuming.


This is all good. For a while. Knowledge is one of the vital steps of spiritual growth outlined in 2 Peter 1: "...add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue knowledge..."


The problem comes when we stay there. I Corinthians 8 warns us that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds others up." Nothing is more annoying than a know-it-all. Especially a spiritual know-it-all. But the knowledge step is one where many Christians choose to live, because it seems so right.

Learn those rules, memorize those commands, develop God-honoring convictions---and then look around for everyone else who needs to know what I know and "lovingly" set them straight. OR...I'll just live it around them until they see where they are in error.

Funny thing is, the list doesn't stop with knowledge. If knowledge was the goal, you'd think God would have put it at the end. Instead, the building blocks keep going up. "...and to your knowledge, add self-control, and to your self-control, endurance, and to your endurance, godliness, and to your godliness, brotherly kindness, and to your brotherly kindness, love."

If we don't move on past the knowledge step, we run the risk of becoming legalistic without even knowing it. Pharisees in the New Testament were great little legalists. They had the rules down pat. Couldn't stump them on Bible Jeopardy. And the rules became their god, rather than God Himself.

Are you in danger of staying in the Land of Knowledge?

Here are some handy little questions to ask if you're wondering:

  • Do I believe God accepts me more when I'm doing what I should?

  • Do I study all the do's and don'ts so nothing catches me off guard?

  • Do I have a mental list of what a "good" (Christian, church, family) looks like that isn't clearly stipulated in Scripture?

  • Do I consider myself more spiritual than others who don't have my same convictions?

  • Do I tend to be more accepting of other Christians who think like me?

  • Do my convictions ever get in the way of connecting with and loving new Christians?

  • Am I ever afraid to be my real self around certain people for fear they would not think me spiritual enough?
If you had to answer yes to any of those, you might be stuck in the knowledge step without realizing it.

God doesn't want us to stay there. Notice what he puts at the end. What he considers the ultimate goals: compassion for our Christian brothers, and then when we get that down, Agape love. The kind God has. The kind that would die on a cross for people who were spitting on him.


It's easy to settle in on the knowledge step and plan to stay, but God doesn't want us to stay there. It's really not much fun. It's exhausting trying to be perfect in your own strength, criticizing everyone who is not like you, being right all the time...

I should know. I was great at it!

Thankfully, God didn't let me stay there and with his help, I've moved on to the greater steps. You can too. Gaining knowledge is important, just don't get comfortable there. "...add to your knowledge..."
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A Lament from Babe Ruth


Hello. This is Babe again. Since it's the weekend, my mom let me have the computer. Well...actually, she's in bed and unless I leave paw prints on the keys, what she don't know won't hurt her. Or me.
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I have a problem. I just wanna know why my boy I love so dearly won't let me sleep on his bed with him. I thought that was my job. I came here to keep him company in his big room by himself, but do I get to share the nice soft bed?
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NO-O-O... I get the ratty blanket on the floor and I just wanna know why.
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I'm warm, they keep the stickers mostly out of my fur, and I love to cuddle. Absolutely LOVE to cuddle.
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That first night I was all ready for bed and I got to stay maybe...maybe three minutes total! Can you believe that? Three minutes!
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So what that I tend to drool a bit, I kick in my sleep, and prefer to lay ON my boy rather than beside him? Is that any reason to banish me to the cold lonely floor?
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I've scratched my ears repeatedly over this, shoved my nose in his neck when he's asleep, and moaned mournfully but he won't budge. I gaze with great longing at the nice soft comforter and imagine my big beautiful paw prints all over it, making it nice and comfy. How I would slowly crawl up his legs after he goes to sleep until we are curled like two puppies in a pile.
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I accepted it without complaint when Mom banned me from the new living room sofa. I've stopped jumping on her bed since she makes such a big fuss over it. That's just the kind of dog I am. But this...
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This I cannot accept and I will continue to express my sorrow over this cruel decision until he gives in. Every night I forget I can't sleep up there and I leap joyfully onto OUR bed and curl up in a tight ball on his pillow, hoping he won't notice me. But he always does and down to the floor I go.
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Does this sound fair to you? Here I am, loyal and true, loving and faithful. I come mostly when I'm called and hardly ever grab food off the counter...well, not usually...
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If you are as outraged as I am, join me in my crusade for fairness. Let him know how you feel. Maybe there is justice out there somewhere in this cold, cruel world.
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Bark once if you agree!

My Theme Song


Today's post is much better stated in song, so slap on the head phones and click here .

Close your eyes and listen with your heart. I would sing it for you, but I think Darlene Zschech does a much better job than I could, so we'll let her do it.


This is my goal each morning. It's the only one I can control and know for a fact will happen.

Is it yours?

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What About Aliens?


So what do you think about the possibility of intelligent life forms on other planets or galaxies?
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Some would argue that we have a shortage of intelligent life forms on THIS planet, and there are days I would agree. My son Sam and I have had many lively discussions on this topic and he loves the idea that there COULD BE...

I have to agree. Anything is possible when we get into the unknown. We do know from Scripture that there is definitely life in the spirit world. Angels, demons, Satan, and who knows what else that we cannot even fathom. Even God is described as a spirit, so there is clear evidence for intelligent life outside the human realm. But that's usually not what is meant by "aliens" on other planets.

However, when it comes to aliens, I strongly doubt that such "little green people" exist on any realm. As I've explained to my son, I believe the Bible gives a pretty clear picture of God's focus in creation when he created the heavens and the earth. Granted, he could certainly have created other realms at other times. However, we know that only on Planet Earth did he focus his attention and affection in the sending of his only Son. Human beings were created in the "image of God," and had that occurred before or in another galaxy, I think it would have been mentioned at least in passing.

If such little green men do exist, they are in no way equal with mankind, because they were not created in the likeness of God nor did Jesus go to redeem them. I believe much of the hoopla over the idea of aliens is quite evolutionary in origin. After all, if man simply evolved from ancient slime, then it stands to reason that the same thing could have happened on another planet as well.

There is a strong push in our world to cheapen the meaning of human life. The politically-correct attitude of late has reduced the status of the human soul to the level of a technologically-savvy chimp. What better evidence of our evolution than to find human-like creatures who are not really human? Or even better, a life form more advanced than ours.


So that's my take on aliens. I could be wrong, but I see absolutely no reason to think so.
Had you ever thought about it like that?
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Do You Believe in Aliens?

My eldest son loves the idea. Anything a little "out there," a little spooky, the hint of paranormal lights a spark in him. Since he was a toddler, he's asked my opinion on it and we've had some thought-provoking discussions. Now that he's bigger than me and at nearly 21, he's headed toward being smarter than me (!), but he still loves the idea.

What do you think? Is it possible that there are other life forms out there in the universe somewhere, living their lives on another galaxy? Would they try to contact us as the UFO-sighters claim? What would such a contact consist of? What type of life forms are we talking about? The Hollywood version or could they be spirit form? Are they human-like or monsters? Advanced or primitive? Do you think it's possible there would ever be a meeting between the inhabitants of our planet and the citizens of theirs?

Nearly everyone has an opinion. Tell me yours. Give me some reasons to support your ideas.

In my next post, I'll give you mine.
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Man, This is Hard!

Imagine that tomorrow you get ready for work and go out to your car. You get in, put the shift in Neutral, and toss your briefcase, jacket, and keys on the seat. Then you get out, slam the door, and cross to the trunk. With a mighty heave, you throw all your weight against the trunk and the car begins to move.

Eventually, you may actually get to work that way. But it will be no fun, you'll be worse for the wear, and you certainly won't look forward to doing it again.

Are you living life that way?
Just as the car was not designed to be powered by human strength, so life was not designed to be lived in your own strength--yet everyone tries it at one time or another. Rather than striving to please God, we work to appease God. And it doesn't work very well, does it?

The statistics show that failure is as prominent among people who claim to have a faith as those who claim none. Divorce rates, sexual promiscuity, porn addictions are as high among professing Christians as they are among those professing no faith at all. Why is that? Does faith in God not work for some people?

I believe the problem is found in the passage in 2 Peter we discussed in the last post. "And add to your faith virtue..." We are not adding to our faith virtue. We stop at belief, and then take over our own lives: directing our own futures, chasing our own goals. But without virtue, we cannot proceed to the following levels of maturity.

Masses of confused people repeatedly rededicate themselves, attempt to "straighten up," vow to clean up their acts, and make futile, frustrating efforts to "be a better Christian"--all efforts quite exhausting and none lasts very long.

If you were learning to fly a two-seater airplane and the engine began to sputter, would you want to hang on to the controls or hand them over to the plane's designer sitting in the pilot seat?

With the tangible presence of God in your life, you don't have to try to be a better Christian. Living in harmony with God is not work--it's what you exist to do. God's very real presence in your life changes you: your interests, your desires, your habits. YOU don't change yourself, God does it for you.

Take a long look inside your secret soul. Are you trying really hard to be what you ought to be?
You'll never make it. It's impossible and will make you utterly miserable in the process.

God offers you a much more pleasant option: Stop Trying So Hard. Just give up. You lose the right to dictate your flight plan, but you gain the privilege of being piloted by the designer.

And he's pretty good company during the ride!
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Duggar-mania


The latest tabloid buzz centers around the Duggar family from Arkansas, the stars of the reality show "19 Kids and Counting."
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According to my vast research on the subject--which involves watching several episodes of the show and approximately seven minutes in line at the WalMart checkout--public opinion has turned against this non-traditional family with the premature birth of their nineteenth child, Josie.
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Everyone seems to have an opinion and what strikes me as odd, everyone seems to think they have the RIGHT to have an opinion. When anyone goes against the average, everyone else can't wait to chime in--regardless of how uninformed or unqualified they are to voice their thoughts.
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  • Do these people have the right to bring 19 children into the world when so many children are starving and homeless?


  • Can two parents effectively raise that many children?


  • Why on earth would they want to?
Like everyone else, I too have an opinion:
None of us as the right to have an opinion
on somebody else's business
that does not in any way affect society's morals or us personally.
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I cannot fathom what it would be like to parent 19 children. My four have taken all I've got and more. But just because I don't believe that is best for my family, why would I think for a moment I know what's right for someone else's?
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These people are self-supporting, debt-free, contributing members of society. They do not rely in any way on government subsidy, welfare, food stamps, or tax breaks. And their children are not clogging up the court systems with juvenile crime, truancy, or vandalism. Their premature baby's medical costs are being paid for by them and their private insurance--not medicaid. With those facts in mind, why isn't public opinion encouraging people like them to have as many children as physically possible?
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We are so quick to rush to judgement when most of the time we have failed to consider everything involved.
  • Where is the public outcry against multi-married movie stars, creating children with each other's spouses?
  • Where is public outrage against the immoral lifestyles of our so-called idols polluting the minds of America's teenagers?
  • We scratch our heads in confusion over the skyrocketing teen pregnancy, suicide, and violence rates--while we criticize people like the Duggars who are quietly showing us another way to do things.
If people are willing to take the full responsibility for their choices, their decisions have no immoral or illegal overtones, and their results are as praiseworthy as the Duggar's--then I say, "Leave them alone!"

You Mean That's a Virtue?


When you think of admirable virtues, what comes to mind?

I'll bet it's not the pink bunny!

We instantly think of the virtues we can see: love, joy, patience, gentleness...

All those traits we admire in others and wish we were known for.

But there is one character trait that often goes unacknowledged and undervalued. Oddly enough, God thinks very highly of it and mentions it throughout both Old and New Testaments.

James chapter one talks about persevering through trials and choosing to be joyful. The King James version translates this word patience, but I think in our culture it would be better read endurance.

When we think of patience, it's usually in relation to other people. We show patience when someone ticks us off and we don't respond in anger. We work on patience with our kids, our spouses, our co-workers. And that's all good. But patience is not exactly the same thing as endurance.
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Endurance means you keep doing what you're doing until it's done because it's the right thing to do. You keep cleaning up the messes, keep toiling like a slave for pennies, keep serving those unappreciative people with a smile on your face, keep believing the best when everyone is telling you it won't work.

Not much glamour in that. Not very attractive, flashy, or spiritual-looking. You don't win many awards, commendations, or publicity when you're stuck in an unpleasant situation and choose not to quit, even when it seems the only smart thing to do.

So why is it so special to God? Because enduring is a minute-by-minute testimony of God's grace in your life. You could give up if you chose to, but you don't. And the reason you don't is because God put you there and you're choosing to trust his plan and not your own.

In light of that, isn't it funny how we don't think of endurance as a Christlike quality? It's just something we do because we have to.

But look closer. Enduring is not the same as pouting. The virtue is not in finding yourself in a bad situation. Everyone does that from time to time. The virtue is in choosing to stay there with a good attitude rather than quit, curse God, or curl up inside yourself.

Scripture tells us that Jesus endured the cross, God's promises endure forever, Paul endured persecution, early believers endured suffering, and Godly people endure ridicule from the wicked. And we're not to be surprised when tough times come our way because they are God's tools to make us more like his Son.

The word endure paints a depressing picture. You endure surgery without anesthesia. You endure a root canal, childbirth, losing your job, a spouse, or a child. There's nothing fun about it. No spiritual highs, victorious elation, and you're often misunderstood by those who've chosen to give up--like Job's wife.

But God promises special blessing to those who endure under fiery trials. You may be stuck in an impossible situation and see no way out. Sometimes there is no way out, but God promises a way through if you'll keep your hand in his and let him lead you.

Enduring means you're in it until God pulls you out. You set your jaw, put a song in your heart, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to stick it out until. And you keep doing it until.

God knows where you are. It's not an accident. You haven't been abandoned. You're following Jesus' example and enduring, just like he told you to. So beat that drum and keep going, and going, and going...

He that endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12)
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Update from Babe McCombs

Hello. This is Babe again.
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I thought I'd check in with all you people who visit my mom's blog.
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I see her over here every day, typing away, and I wonder what she's saying about me. I decided I might need to defend myself. My boy says I'm paranoid, but I don't know what that means. I think it means I like birds.
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I want you to know, whatever Mom tells you that I do--it's not true. I'm a good dog (usually) and there is way too much emphasis on being smart these days. Intelligence is not all there is to life. If these people would stop throwing new commands at me all the time, maybe I could get one right. Those human words go right out of my head the minute I hear them, but they still expect me to know what to do.
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Take that "sit" business, for example. What's the big deal about me sitting? In the first place, I can't remember what it means and in the second place...I can't remember the second place...
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I had these photos taken as proof of what a spiritual dog I really am. As you can see, I choose to rest on the Word every chance I get. I would never chew up the Bible, but I do like to lay on it.

I just love Bible time at our homeschool. I get so excited when Mom starts reading aloud I just have to crunch my food and lap water right then. For some reason, they yell at me. I want to make them happy, so I quietly tiptoe over to my squeaky toy and chew on it.
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They don't like that either.See how hard they are to please?
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I'm very proud of the fact that I know how to make my toy squeak whenever I want to and Yankee doesn't. She acts like she doesn't care, but I see her giving me the haughty eye when I squeak away on our new Christmas toy. She can fetch and I can't, but fetching is not as smart as squeaking.
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I show my people all the time how smart I am. I squeak my toy while they watch movies, when they pray at the dinner table, and when they have quiet conversations. They all start shouting my name at once. I think that means they like it and it makes me proud.
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The most important thing is that I'm a happy dog who would do anything for my people--if I just knew what it was they wanted. I can't make heads or tails of those words they use, but when they speak to me, I just assume I did something bad. I show them how sorry I am by cowering down and licking their hands and in a few minutes, they're hugging me and telling me I'm a good dog. It works out great.
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So I hope you can see what a fine dog I am and anything that Mom may tell you in the future about me, just ignore it like I do the word "come."



Ya'll have a great weekend and may you catch every bird you chase!


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