My 6-month-old miniature schnauzer, Bentley,

has been dragging leaves and sticks inside the house.

Lots of them.

Enough to open a green house.

And if that’s not enough—

he eats them.


I think he believes they’re the same thing

as the rawhide chew sticks I give him.

or the Greenie sticks.

And while those actually help him

(by cleaning his teeth)

these leaves and twigs are a very poor substitute.

They hurt his tummy.

He can’t digest them.

And no matter how many times I say “No!”

and remove them from his mouth,

it’s a never-ending battle, because my backyard

will always have leaves and sticks.

As he ages, I think he’ll eventually learn . . .

but until then, I’m a frustrated doggie-mama.

I can’t be mad at him—he’s too cute!

(Check out the photo posted here.)

I wonder if God often feels the same way about me.

How many times have I tried to find a substitute

spending time in the Word or prayer or sharing my faith

or . . .

Well, this is really a good book with good morals,

so it’s kind of like spending time in the Word.

Or Maybe I don’t really need to ask my non-Christian friend

what’s keeping her from giving her life to the Lord—

perhaps just letting her know I pray for her is enough.

The older I get, the more I realize there are NO substitutes

for spiritual growth.

Other things may look as though they could be a good option,

but just as leaves and twigs have no nutritional value,

nothing is as good as God’s Word.

I’m glad He just keeps loving me.

And guiding me.

And holding me close.

He has truly given me a genuine thirst

for more of His Word and spending time

with Him.

I’m actually glad there aren’t any substitutes.


Please pray for me this weekend as I’m speaking in Fowlerville, MI.