Revue: Who Dat?

“Who Dat?” © 2015 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2017 Lynn Abbott

He’s making a list, checking it twice…Gonna find out who’s naughty and who’s nice…

It’s a familiar Christmas chorus.  And if I didn’t know the rest of the melodic line, I’d say the lyrics describe my dog perfectly.

Yup.

Come a visiting this Christmas and you’ll soon discover that my Labradoodle conscientiously fulfills his role as director of homeland security.

Come what may, he will ascertain the intentions of all who approach…

Gonna find out who is naughty and who is nice.

Nothing gets past Bentley.  He may be sleeping soundly under the kitchen table, but the slightest sound will draw him forth from his den.

When paws hit the floor and scramble for traction, my dog inadvertently carries the table with him for several feet.

Like Atlas and the world.

Such is Bentley’s fervor.  Such is his calling.

Of course, if I welcome my guests and invite them into the house, he’s all wags.  Even so,  Bentley subjects all who enter to a thorough “sniffing.”

I shoulda named him Sherlock.

And even though I frequently giggle as the kitchen table gallops toward the front door, I also recognize the wisdom that my dog so well models…

Assume nothing; like the Bereans, examine everything to see whether these things be so, (Acts 17:11).

In fact, you and I are commanded to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil,” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Nothing gets past Bentley.

After all, not everyone who knocks is a friend.  All who smile are not without guile.

Some don’t play by the rules.

Some deceive.

It’s wise to sniff things out.

Indeed, at this time of year, I’m especially reminded of those who long ago exercised incredible wisdom.

You know the story.  You’ve seen them represented in nativity scenes year after year.  And while the number of the Magi likely exceeded three, their three principal gifts have inspired crèche artists all over to depict them as three royally clad easterners.

The wise men…scholars of the ancient east.  Were they Jewish?  No.

However, they undoubtedly studied the writings of the Hebrews, and therefore, were familiar with the prophecies regarding Messiah, the coming king.

The Magi not only did their homework–exploring Scripture, seeking spiritual discernment–but they also sought to verify their findings.

Thus, when they observed the appearance of the unusual star, they traveled to Israel to confirm their faith.  In addition, they brought gifts for the expected Hebrew king.

It’s wise to sniff things out.

Although Scripture actually doesn’t give us the number of wise men in the convoy,   it must have been a significant because Herod took notice.  Likely a little uneasy, Herod “secretly called the Magi” for a meeting, (Matthew 2:7).

The Magi probably didn’t initially question the request.  Herod’s invitation, after all, seems reasonable protocol for foreign dignitaries.

And rather than reveal his plans to eliminate any new potential rivals, Herod feigned enthusiasm for the Magi’s quest.

“‘Go and make careful search for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, that I too may come and worship Him,'” (Matthew 2:8).

Not all who speak fair have friendly intentions.  Wolves often masquerade as sheep.

Yet, the Magi exercised extraordinary faith.  It’s clear they cultivated their connection to God.

Scripture records that God warned them of Herod’s intentions in a dream.  For this reason, after worshiping  Christ, they did not return to Herod.

No hesitation.   They obeyed Yahweh.

I fully appreciate the wisdom of the Magi.  Matthew reveals what at first was not apparent.

Herod was foul, not fair.

Or, as Shakespeare penned, “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain,” (Hamlet, Act I, scene 5).

The Magi’s caution bought Mary and Joseph time.  Having received God’s warning in a dream, they fled to Egypt and fulfilled yet another Old Testament prophecy concerning the Christ, (Matthew 2:15).

Matthew writes that Herod demanded the slaughter of all male children under two in the Bethlehem area.  But Mary, Joseph and Jesus had already escaped.

Grace always wins. Ultimately,  our omnipotent God has the last word.

Ultimately,  our omnipotent God has the last word.

The Magi’s story proves once more that God, in His gracious sovereignty, thwarts the enemy’s ongoing schemes to curse  humanity.

Christ lived to face the cross. There, as our redeemer, He fulfilled the Father’s purpose.

And the Magi played a significant role in our salvation story.  They were truly wise men.

I wish I could say I am as wise as they were. I have to admit, though, that in times past I have listened to some dubious characters.

But the more I study God’s Word, the easier it becomes to distinguish the scent of the false one.

Indeed, armed with God’s Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I choose to sniff the truth out; to investigate all knocks at my door.

You betcha.

When I hear the noisy clatter, I choose to ask one, all-important question…  Who dat?

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth,” (2 Timothy 2:15).

53 thoughts on “Revue: Who Dat?

  1. Love dogs and the name of your dog is so cute. We had a cat that I named Mr. Bingly after a character in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. You and Julie both have a marvelous way of taking the ordinary or not so ordinary for that matter and leading us right into Scriptural truths/warnings/wisdom/etc. And I love it.
    It’s helps all of us to remember that He is a daily and constant Presence in our and in all that we do or are or have. Have a great weekend. Love, N 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this image! My dog does the same thing. He’s a huge German Shephard/Husky mix, so he looks terrifying, especially when his hair is all bristled and he’s barking. But he’s the friendliest dog! It seems like he can tell if I’m expecting someone, somehow. If one of my friends stop by, even if he’s never met them, he’s all wags and excitement. But if it’s someone I’m not expecting, he goes all “guard dog.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, dear Julie! Bentley is a wonderful dog. He’d love you as much as I do, I’m sure. And yes, you are right. I do sell my work. For 5-10 years now, I’ve been attempting to make a go of it as a professional fine artist…trying to disprove the starving artist stereotype 😉 Sometimes, I go a bit crazy trying to keep up with producing for galleries and writing a blog. Thank you for your encouragement! You are truly a wonderful friend! ❤ and hugs!

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      • well—I think you probably are not starving—your stuff is great! It actually makes me miss my time working—when I retried I just put it all away…I mainly worked with watercolors but really enjoyed printmaking as well.
        I enjoyed clay…but as a teacher loathed when we we’d start the clay unit as it was a disastrous mess—6 weeks of dust and mud with teenagers who wouldn’t clean as they should…the kiln was in a back closet in my office—which meant in the tiny office I would be inundated with pots, plates and “things” with a parade of those choosing glazes etc….I’m getting nervous just writing this and it’s been 5 years!!
        The wheel was fun…but it just left the biggest mess in the room, as it would take half the class period just getting them to clean it…And then there were the paint brushes—I use to read the kids the riot act on paint brushes. I had a professor in college that said when it came to budgets and buying, spend your money on good brushes—which I would do—but the kids would not wash them out, leave them wet, bristles down, or miss the one or two coated in paint…always acrylic, as I’d later find in some forgotten corner a lovely brush stiff as a board glued in dried paint to a pallet–aka plastic lid.
        I don’t know why it was so hard for them to “get” the notion of cleaning up after themselves….plus they would squeeze tubes of paint like toothpaste–I’d always say a little dab will do you–meaning just a smidgen and not a glob—but glob they would and wash half of it down the sink—-
        and administrators wonder why art program are some of their most costly programs 🙂

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      • You are right, Julie. No starving here…but not because of my art. My husband, the Chick-fil-A franchise owner, ensures that I don’t go hungry! Ha! 😉 Thank you for your very kind words about my work! I love the pieces of your work that you have posted! I would love to see more of your work. And I hope that one day that you will return to your first love–art. 🙂 I can well imagine the difficulties with the students and clean up! You must have the patience of a saint. I couldn’t have dealt with all the mess in my office. Ugh. The pottery wheel would have made my head spin! :-/ And you were very generous to buy such beautiful brushes for your students. They were very fortunate for so many reasons to have you as their art teacher. Yes, art program materials are bound to be expensive, but the arts make such a difference in kids’ lives. It’s worth it. 🙂 Hugs!

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  3. Thank you Lynn, for a timely and yet universal message. You have brought out so many aspects of the search for truth and due carefulness along the way to verify the intentions of one’s associates as embedded within the story of the Magi. I appreciate the way you wove into the narrative your faithful and protective Bentley bird-dogging the callers to corroborate friend or foe (while back-carting a table, no less, which must be yet another euphemism for something). You have made us all think why it is that the Lord often appears to hide or at least be hard to find, perhaps because great treasure demands a great hunt, and that only the most forthright and farthest seeking star followers need apply.

    The wise do indeed still seek Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen, RJ! Thank you for your extremely thoughtful comment. You’ve offered so many profound insights here that I don’t know where to begin! And so I will simply say that your encouragement means the world to me. Thank you with all my heart!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Linda! I’m so glad you like this painting. I had so much fun creating it. It’s a bit out of my normal subject material, but Bentley inspires me. 😉 And I totally agree with you. I so wish that I were more wise. But I’m grateful for God’s grace and His loving care of me even when I make foolish choices. Hugs!

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  4. I’m glad I sniffed out this post, Lynn (sigh for bad joke). The key is when you wrote: “But the more I study God’s Word, the easier it becomes to distinguish the scent of the false one.” Too many believers don’t bother reading God’s Word, and are easily led astray by the “Herod” of bad doctrine. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David, I’m so incredibly grateful to you for stopping by and reading my post. When I sat down to write this post, I found that I had so much to say. And the post grew longer and longer. I decided that I needed to edit out nearly half of of what I had written, and suffice to say, I worried that my primary point got lost in the shuffle. But your comment here encouraged me so much because you completely understood what I attempted to say in this post. You got it. And I’m much relieved. Thank you with all my heart. I may use the portion I cut from this post as a Part 2 post later this week. However, in the meantime, you have allayed my concerns about this particular post. You are truly a blessing. I hope your weekend is wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry about your dog. I totally understand about waiting for a new one. We waited 10 years after the death of our previous dog. I just couldn’t bear to replace him. But Bentley is his own “person.” And I love him. Thank you so much for your kind words about my painting. God bless you greatly!

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  5. Great story about Sherlock (err, I mean Bentley)! Being that we are dog lovers in our home I was entertained by Bentley’s shenanigans, and his inquisitive nature. I love how you paralleled that message to our lives, and God’s Word. God provides us learning and inspiration in so many creative ways. Great Post!

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  6. Such a beautiful picture of your Bentley and the lessons God gives you in him, Lynn. I can just see that table rise and head towards the door as you giggle. 🙂 Yes, as the wise men did, too, it’s always wise to sniff things out. I’m so grateful our omnipotent God always has the last word! Thank you for this encouragement! Also for the smiles as I read your description and soak in your painting. I love the little bird on the snowman’s carrot nose, too! Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you with all my heart, dear Trudy! I’m so glad that Bentley makes you smile, too. He continually entertains me. 🙂 And thank you for your very encouraging words about my painting. I’m so glad you like it. God bless you, my wonderful friend! Love and hugs!

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  7. There is much wisdom here, Lynn! I was literally just talking about the idea of “testing everything” with a young lady I meet with 2-3 times a week. It is absolutely crucial if we are to navigate in this strangely twisted world!

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  8. G’day Lynn, hope you had a good weekend.
    1. Your painting is awesome
    2. I really really love dogs, they truly are a gift from God! I like the way you have used your dog to illustrate how we should check things out.
    3. You write the way you speak and I really dig that!
    And ament to what you said here “But the more I study God’s Word, the easier it becomes to distinguish the scent of the false one.” The word is alive right so it would make sense that it helps us see everything the way it is. We should want it more.

    Thanks for posting

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    • Thank you with all my heart, Evad! I always look forward to your posts. I truly admire and respect the way you communicate truth so clearly and profoundly… so you can well imagine that your encouragement means a great deal to me! God bless you big time!

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  9. Such a great painting Lynn and on top of that, the story of the wise men. I really liked when you said, “Not all who speak fair have friendly intentions. Wolves often masquerade as sheep.” because that is true. Herod, although feigning to want to see the Messiah, really wanted to kill Him and the Devil is the same way.

    I remember this quote from poet William Blake that said, “When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.” and that is the Devil; he will try and be your friend in order to kill you. We have to arm ourselves to the teeth with God’s Word in order to “sniff” out the tricks and lies of the enemy.

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  10. Hi Lynn, I’m laying here on the couch with Sam on the floor beside me still smiling at the image of Bentley and the traveling table. You crack me up. In his younger days Sam was a jumper no matter what we did. He was a puppy whenever the doorbell rang until he couldn’t hear it and calmed down at 13. For someone who’s forever trusting, I love the wisdom in this story/Message. I agree the more we dig into God’s Word and draw near the more discerning we become so Truth meets and shapes our trust. Thank you for the beautiful painting that takes me right into the world of your writing. love you, Deb

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    • I love your Sam, dear Deb! One day, I hope, Bentley will mature 😉 He’s just four years old… and the Lab in him means he has endless energy. I have trouble keeping up with him sometimes 😉 Thank you for your kind, caring and encouraging words. You are so good to me. You are such an amazing and talented friend! I thank God for you. Much love and huge hugs! ❤ ❤

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