When You Don’t Have a Dog in the Fight

dog in the fight
The dog in the fight

There was more than one dog in the fight. We heard the commotion late one night outside on our deck. The pack of dogs that run together in our neighborhood decided to visit our place. The crash we heard was the grill shoved against the door. Tables and chairs were shoved aside by the bodies of the dogs, and we knew disaster was at hand. By the time we got there, the trash can was overturned and its contents scattered. Underneath the mass of black and brown was a tan dog, smaller than all the rest. He howled and tried to get away, but he was no match.

A bucket of water on their backs did not deter them, so Dave shoved them apart with the first object he could get his hands on. In seconds, they were gone. The dogs ran off together as though there had been no scrape. The chaos they left behind proved what had taken place. The dog who lives at our house stayed behind, probably glad to see them gone. The only marks she sustained were the piles of froth on her back from the mouths of the other dogs.

No dog in the fight

We didn’t have a dog in the fight, and I was not happy that these dogs invaded my territory. We didn’t even have a dog in the fight, I thought. Why did they have to come to my space and unsettle the quiet? Then I found myself wondering what that phrase means. This I found: “If you have no dog in a fight, you are not concerned and will not be affected either way by the outcome of something.”

Basically, if it doesn’t affect me, or mine, I do not need to (or intend to) concern myself with the matter. It is also saying that it’s really none of my business, and therefore I won’t get involved.

The problem with this logic is that there is always an effect to someone, even if it is not to me. There are others who have dogs in the fight and there’s nothing they can do about it. Since I don’t have a dog in the fight, do I really need to care? Does it need to matter to me?

dog in the fightThe fight

We must, instead, model to our children and to others what Jesus taught: to do to others what we would want them to do to us. When we are down and out and being kicked about, we need someone to help rescue us. So this year, let’s look for folks we can help rescue. We begin by looking for the needs of others and  helping our children understand those needs as well.

To prepare our kids for life, we should involve them in ministry. Whether we’re singing for elderly neighbors, visiting in the nursing home, or reaching out to downtrodden in our community, it matters. Beyond the walls of our community are villages and people who need our help. We might not be able to travel to those places, but we can send others who can. We can partner with other ministries, and our children can help partner with us. This is something I wish we would have done better with our kids. 

No matter where or how we’ve failed in the past, there is still today – and tomorrow. So go ahead. Do something about the dogs in the fight.

Don’t turn your face the other way. Do not ignore abuse, poverty, prostitution, or trafficking just because you don’t have a dog in the fight. Help your kids think about others instead of themselves. Encourage your teenagers to reach out to those who need a friend. Ask God to give you a heart to minister to those near you. 

In this New Year, consider what God wants you to do – who He wants you to reach – even though you have no dog in the fight. Make a difference so there won’t be any debris left. Do your part to help get rid of the dogs in the fight. Don’t do it because I said so, but because Jesus did.

Pinterest No Dog in the Fight

Organizations that make a difference

There are many organizations helping in the name of Christ.  Some of them are more familiar than others. You certainly can find places to contribute and to help physically.  Here is a list of organizations with which I have personally had experience. Each one of these is near and dear to my heart.

Compassion International.  A child-advocacy ministry pairing compassionate people with children living in extreme poverty to release the children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty.

Good Hope. Equestrian and Regenerative Farm. (Local to this community.) “Where the hope of healing the soul and soil come together!” 

Kingdom Channels.   Making disciples of Christ and establishing assemblies which uphold all HIs teachings among every unreached people group of the 10/40 window.

O.U.R. Operation Underground Railroad. “We exist to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. We offer freedom and healing to survivors of human trafficking and exploitation through direct intervention and aftercare.”

Plain Compassion. Resources and leadership to humanitarian disasters in the US and around the world.

Preemptive Love. Fear leads to violence. Violence leads to war. Preemptive Love unmakes violence. We stretch across Iraq, Syria, Latin America, the United States, and beyond, working together to unmake violence and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. 

Samaritan’s Purse. International Disaster Relief. The mission of Samaritan’s Purse us to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel. [think Christmas Shoeboxes].

 

 

The One Thing About Las Vegas

vegas

vegas

When immoral doesn’t seem so wrong

We are an immoral, desensitized people. I don’t even know the half, nor do I want to know.

What we hear often enough, long enough and loudly enough, we will eventually end up believing as truth. What used to be considered “immoral” has changed to “okay” because so many others are doing it. Even advertisers try to make light of sin. Instead of reckoning with the consequences down the road, sin is beautified. Instead of calling it what it truly is, today’s messages offer immoral behavior as a logical and thus an acceptable alternative.

Why else does a billboard inside the Las Vegas airport have a sign like this?

vegas

To deny, in this case, is to lie. Yet, the wrong of lying is minimized by these words, “Deny, deny, deny.”

Why does this sign not say, “Lie, lie, lie.”?

If we’re honest, we know why.

This sign is one of the first things a visitor sees and one of the last he notices when he flies into and out of the Las Vegas airport.

Allow me.

Sin City

Las Vegas. Where people go to gamble, spend money, and participate in events. Where prostitution is rampant, but legitimized by using terms for harlots like “ladies of the night.”

Men who would never consider spending a night with a whore willingly enter “gentleman’s clubs”. What is there about adultery or spending a night with a female that makes it seem right when he enters a gentleman’s club instead of a whorehouse? There’s no difference except for the title, yet somehow, it doesn’t seem so wrong, now does it?

A man has sex with a female who is not his wife. It doesn’t seem so wrong when she is referred to as “a lady of the night.”  Let’s face it. She’s not a lady and he’s not a gentleman.

Airport billboards post signs that encourage men (or women) to be unfaithful to a spouse. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” one billboard proclaimed.

Vegas is touted as the “sin city” – another way to make what is wrong seem okay, or even something of which to be proud. Is it? Who wants to be a part of a sin city?

What happens in Vegas does not stay there. Even if it’s not talked about after Vegas and even if no one else knows, it stays with the person. Always, there is that conscience that troubles a person. For deep down inside, he or she knows that what happened there was wrong – or else why does he or she not want to tell the world?  Why is it even supposed to “stay in Vegas”?

Little wonder then that, inside the door of the ladies’ restroom in the Las Vegas airport is a sign encouraging girls or women who have been “bought” to get help at a hotline number.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful that there are places to go for help. I’m just sad that we need to have these places. These signs tell us how sick we really are.

vegas

Embarrassment is excused with a Laugh

In our effort to hide our embarrassment, in our inability to know what to do, we laugh. It doesn’t just happen in Vegas. It happens everywhere. A husband flirts with another woman. The wife, in her uncomfortable state, acts like it doesn’t bother her, and laughs. It’s easier to do that than cry.

Girls aren’t sure how to respond to the catcalls of other guys, so they just shrug it off with a laugh. Soon we become desensitized to what is happening. It doesn’t seem so wrong. Women defend their husbands, girls defend their guys, all  in the name of “that’s just the way he is.”

Folks have been harassed and fractured to the point where they think it’s their fault and not the fault of the truly guilty party. People have become “things and possessions” instead of being viewed as a person with an eternal soul.

It’s no laughing matter and we ought not to participate in the downward spiral by pretending it’s okay when it isn’t. As believers in Christ, we should be offering light in this darkness instead of hiding behind our uncomfortable laughter.

It Happens Everywhere

Las Vegas is not the only city or the only town where infidelities and discrepancies occur. It’s just more noticeable there, for there is no attempt to deceive and hide what is happening. Rather, it’s plastered noticeably in many places and so easily noticed that soon it becomes familiar and starts to seem okay; for, after all, that’s just what happens in Vegas.

It’s not okay and the sin of Vegas is everywhere. Sin is never okay. Exploitation is wrong. Objectifying is wrong. So are fornication, adultery, and unfaithfulness.

To deny is the same as to cover up or to lie.

To laugh is saying it’s okay.

It isn’t. Sin is never okay.

Redemption is Free!

Faithfulness is a treasure which many cannot claim. Redemption can claim and restore that treasure. When we are redeemed, we return with singing to Jerusalem. And everlasting joy will be upon our heads. Every single one of us can be free, for the ground is level at the cross of Jesus.

When we are truly redeemed, Vegas will never have its hold on you – and on me.

Vegas