More Like Bubba

If you ever visit our Cross-Dubya ranch, there’s one character you’ll never forget, Bubba, the chocolate lab. He’s our friendly, fierce, funny, and fluffy farm dog; and he constantly teaches me what my relationship with God should be like. Countless times, I’ve heard myself think or exclaim, “Help me be more like Bubba Lord.” Please let me explain why.

I’ve heard folks say that dogs are just dumb animals, but this devoted and patient companion has taught me as much as all the theologians I’ve read or listened to. The simple truths Bubba’s life reveals show me how I should live my life before God.

A Longing to be With His Master

Bubba’s greatest desire, even more than eating, I think, is to be near me. He chooses to live his life at the threshold of the door leading to the garage. In fact, we have to ask him to move, to even step outside. Choosing to lay on an old mat with his rug tucked under him rather than his ventilated, padded dog house and shaded pen, you’ll find him by the door. Bubba surrenders his comfort to be closer to me. When I see him there, I almost always think of this verse.

“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.”
(Psalm 63:1)

Living a Joy-Filled Life

Perhaps my greatest joy comes when he gives me one of his famous “Bubba Smiles” during a tummy rub. Watching him chase a ball, aggravate the barn cats, or explore the yard and pastures; he finds joy in everything he does. I so want to live my life in Christ with wild abandon and complete joy.

I’ve wondered if Bubba lives such a joy-filled life because of the hope and love he’s been filled with since we brought him here. Before we adopted him as a family member, he had been abandoned in the country as a small puppy. With a collar and no one who would claim him, our friends suggested he needed a home. They understood I needed a companion around the ranch after the loss of another stray we had taken in, Diogi (D-O-G). I think of one of my life verses whenever I see how he enjoys his life.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13)

A Life of Doing

No matter what the weather is, if I’m going out to work around the ranch, I can depend on my “Number One Helper” to be there beside me. Well, he’s there to encourage and inspire me. I’ve watched Bubba follow my tractor for an entire day as I’m plowing a field. He’s logged countless miles, following me back and forth. He keeps a safe distance, and will make his way to the pond to go for a quick swim or get a drink. Keeping his eyes on me the entire time, I am never out of his sight.

When I’m on the UTV, he climbs onto the bench seat beside me, wiggles his way under my right arm, and puts his head on my chest. Sometimes it seems that he can’t find peace until he feels my heart beating. When I get off to put out hay, grab a tool, or repair a fence, he waits patiently for my return. And if I’m away for too long, he’ll hop down and stand beside me. My buddy reminds me of this verse with every project we undertake.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’
Show me your faith without your works, and I will
show you my faith by my works.”
(James 2:18)

He Rests in My Presence

Because Bubba chooses to live in the garage rather than in the custom doghouse I made him, when the temperature drops below freezing, I bring him inside with me. On those early mornings, I’ll open the door and he follows me to the sofa in the family room. After starting the fireplace, I sit on one end of the sofa with a cup of coffee. Upon my command, he joins me there. Placing his head on my lap, he lets out a sigh and falls asleep. You can feel him relax at my ministrations as I scratch his ears or stroke his head. Honestly, I’m not sure who is at peace more in those moments.

Taking up two-thirds of the sofa, I often slip from under his head and make my way to the den for “God time.” He continues sleeping under the warmth of the fire and seldom stirs when I come in for more coffee. I’ll often walk over and give Bubba a pat as he snores softly. It’s another opportunity for me to praise God for this life He has led me to.

As Bubba sleeps peacefully, head on my lap, I think of these words written upon my heart. They remind me of where my true rest comes from.

“My soul rests quietly only when it looks to God;
from him comes my deliverance.”
(Psalm 62:1, ISV)

A Life Surrendered

Anyone who has met Bubba can tell you his favorite pose is one of complete surrender. Within seconds of meeting you and sensing your goodness, he rolls onto his back, thrusts his legs into the air, and invites you to give him a tummy rub. In this most vulnerable position, I think about the trust he shows when I’m around.

Bubba reminds me that when I’m trusting in God and can feel His presence near me, I can completely surrender myself to Him. In this vulnerable position of trust, I am saying to God, Your will be done. My trusting friend reminds me of how constant this verse should be in my life.

“And those who know Your name will put their
trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken
those who seek You.”
(Psalm 9:10)

Perhaps if we all thought less and trusted our instincts more, we could find a closer relationship with God. Click To Tweet

My prayer for each of you this week is that you’ll consider what lessons my furry pal might teach you through the way he lives His life. I’m convinced he is one of God’s messengers, sent to bless my life and teach me to live out my life before God in complete trust and surrender.

God’s blessings,

 

All scriptures referenced are the NKJV translation, unless otherwise noted.

 

72 thoughts on “More Like Bubba

  1. I miss having a dog around the house for all the love they provide. I think God made them special so they would remind us of Him. Bubba is a blessing and thanks for sharing him with us today.

    1. I think so too Ms. Yvonne. We have been blessed to have several who has shown us unconditional love and affection. In ways, perhaps, they have shown me how I should love God, unconditionally. God’s blessings ma’am, and excited to see you’ll be sharing on http://www.pjnet.tv this Thursday, February 3rd at 9:00pm Eastern.

  2. Oh, J.D., this is my absolute favorite! You have used the perfect analogy. Bubba exemplifies how to love God with reckless abandon! When I was growing up, my dog, Tippy, would dance with me, joyfully smiling the whole time. My prayer today is to love like Bubba and Tippy! Well written, friend!

    1. Oh my, Tippy sounds like she gave every but as much love as she received Ms. Evelyn. I hope one day in heaven, my pals Emma Rose, Diogi, and Bubba will be able to say the same thing; that they felt as loved as they loved me.

  3. Bubba epitomizes what it means to be in full surrender to God, J. D. There’s no holding back on his part whatsoever. He wears his emotions on his “sleeve,” and that’s lesson we should all learn when we approach our Father in heaven, who wants only the best for us at all times and in all places.
    And just as an aside, the dogs I’ve had throughout my life have taught me the same valuable lessons.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Yes! What a great way to characterize Bubba the chocolate lab; he lives his life wide open. Seems we have both been blessed by some wonderful furry friends that God has used to help us learn and grow. God’s blessings my friend.

  4. What a beautiful, accurate picture you paint of your devoted Bubba. I think the first post I read on here about three years ago introduced me to your companion. What an inspiration he is to you — and now to me. Give him a belly rub from me.

  5. This is absolutely beautiful! I smiled the whole time while reading your message. Bubba is a wonderful blessing to you and Ms. Diane and to everyone who learns about him. What a great gift from God! Bubba is touching the lives of many. 🙂

  6. J.D., this is such a wonderful post. I so agree, Bubba has brought many wise and valuable lessons. I am so grateful you shared them. And the photo of Bubba “smiling” made me laugh. I love when dogs look like they are smiling. All creatures, great and small, each can teach us and bring delight!

    1. Aww… thank you Ms. Joanne. I’m so very pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. It’s difficult to keep up with all the great posts you share each week ma’am. I think God must be on a first name basis with you some days. 🙂

  7. Thanks, J.D.–you’ve given one of the most enlightening illustrations about what it looks like to “keep ourselves in the love of God” that I’ve ever been privileged to see. Diane and I don’t have a dog at this point in our lives, but all our children do and we’ve had them in the past. I’ll never forget a lesson God taught me with a German Shepherd I had years ago. It didn’t didn’t make it into the heartwarming list you and Bubba gave but the lesson has stuck with me for decades. I don’t recall what Dynamite (a misnomer if there ever was one) had done to upset me, but I was angry and scolding him pretty harshly. Instead of running to get away from my reprimands, he came up to me, dropped his ears, got as close to my feet as he could and laid down prostrate on the ground. I can still see him in my mind, his chin on the ground and his eyes rolled up as if to say, “I did wrong, so just do whatever you need to do.” It melted my heart then, and it continues to do that now. If only I had displayed Dynamite’s unconditional trust and compelling desire to get as close as possible even, maybe especially, when I displeased God, I would have found forgiveness and restoration a lot sooner than I did. There’s no better reaction when God confronts me about the sins in my life than falling at His feet in surrender. Once again, my friend, you leave me inspired, encouraged, and a little bit jealous. God bless you for sharing Bubba, your stand-in teacher, with us, and for the reminder of what loving Jesus looks like.

    1. Oh, my friend, if only we would take the lesson from your “Dynamite” friend and submit to the Master when He corrects us. Instead, for me at least, I tug at the leash, strain against the collar until I choke myself, and plant my paws in stubborn non-compliance. Thankfully, God has more patience with me than He gave me (to this point anyway). Thank you for sharing that wonderful blessing with me sir.

  8. I heard someone say that dog is God spelled backward, but inprefer your perspective, that if we attain more of the qualities of a D-O-G, we’ll grow closer to G-O-D. Thanks for the smile today.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Lori. I sometimes wonder how my pal Bubba (and several that have come before him) communicates with God, but I’m certain they do ma’am. God’s blessings my friend.

  9. I’m not sure why, but this blog brought tears to my eyes. Such a precious and faithful dog you have! Thank you for this moving and lovely post!

  10. Having had dogs and now 2 “granddogs” I just absolutely love this post my friend. If we pay attention, our God uses all His creation to teach us His truth and I happen to be very partial to dogs and children!!

    1. He surely does Ms. Ann. It’s so wonderful out here in what I affectionately refer to as “God’s Country”, as I seem to find God in everything I see, hear, and do. I am always so thankful for His leading us to this little place in the country; and for all the great spiritual lessons He brings to me.

  11. I agree with Lori, the backward spelling thing. We all know when you use your cell phone, at least the ones as old as mine, the background I’d backwards, especially words. So, looking at Bubba through That lens, shows how perfect a reflection of God our dog is. Always a pleasure to read your accomplishments for the day.

  12. Unc, Love this!I truly believe these furry friends of ours help bring us closer to our Lord.We loved meeting Bubba on our visit and think about him often. Take care, Bob, Kim and the guys

    1. So glad you enjoyed sir. I loved looking at the photo (bottom) of me, you, and two of your three boys. I something think Camo and Emme are teaching you and your sweet family many of the same lessons my big ‘ol lumbering buddy is showing me. God’s blessings sir; and Auntie Di and I can’t wait for everyone to return again soon.

  13. I’m blessed to have my own sweet girl, Heidi, who reminds me daily of the gift of unconditional love. No one (except Jesus) loves us as much as our dog. Loved the lessons you shared today, my friend. What an inspiring message to remind us of God’s love for us and what our response should be.

  14. You are blessed to have such a faithful companion. He appreciates your love because he didn’t have that where he came from. Jesus said those who are forgiven much love much and the same applies to those who haven’t known love will love much when they receive it. Bubba knows what he has with you. Such a touching picture of how our Father wants us to come to Him. Thank you for sharing those sweet pictures.

    1. Yes ma’am. I think I am the most blessed man in the world, and certainly blessed much more than I could ever deserve. Of course, I bet Mr Latta feels the same way my friend. It is a wonderful feeling to look back at the preceding year and see all the wonderful lessons God has brought my way. I love being able to share them with everyone. God’s blessings my friend.

  15. Right now I have a furry friend sitting next to me. He came right up to me when I walked into my daughter’s house and I hadn’t seen him in months. What a lesson for humans -an unconditional welcome to those we meet. Thanks for sharing your sweet story and the lessons it brings.

    1. What a great way to read this post Ms. Marilyn; with your own version of a Bubba next to you. Thank you so much for sharing a smile with me today ma’am. God’s blessings my hope-inspiring friend.

  16. I love this! Thank you (and Bubba) for reminding us how we should rest in Christ and live a joyful life filled with the Holy Spirit. God bless you both!

    1. I’m certain you know exactly how this feels ma’am. Between your own “gentle giants”, BB, Mr. JDubb, the calves, and all the many farm blessings God has entrusted to you, I just knew you would appreciate this post ma’am.

  17. Good stuff here, JD!!! (I LOVE the name Diogi! How clever!!!) Bubba is a blessed doggie to live with you and Mrs. Diane!! Love the lessons you’ve learned from your sweet Bubba, and we could all stand to incorporate those lessons in our walk with God.

    1. I think I’m the one who is blessed Ms. Julie. Beyond my greatest expectations ma’am. Family, wife, animals, land, home, church, and Savior; I am in awe of how God can love me so much to do all He’s done for me, as unworthy as I consider myself to be.

  18. The lessons and love gained from a beloved animal are the reason it hurts so deeply when they pass. Grateful the Lord blessed you with Bubba and gave you a teachable heart, JD. Hugs and thanks to that sweet canine!

    1. Yes ma’am. Without question, losing a beloved pet is suffering the loss of a loved one ma’am. Thank you so much for all your kind and encouraging words. I pray that one day I might be worthy and able to return the great honor of friendship you share with me ma’am.

  19. J. D., your descriptions of Bubba’s longing to be near you paint a clear picture of how we can long for God “as the deer pants for the water.” I appreciate the way you tied your observations to Scripture which encourages us to draw near.

  20. Dogs are so wonderful! The word for dog in Hebrew is כלב kelev or Caleb. I’ve heard it explained that it’s made up of two concepts: “kol” כל meaning all and “lev” לב meaning heart. Yes! Dogs are all heart.
    Thanks for sharing your Bubba with us this week. Sounds like he’s all heart.

  21. After reading this, I turned to see my constant companion, a small corgi, named Molly sitting and staring up at me. I though, “Did I read the post aloud?” I don’t think so, but somehow she related to Bubba and all the wonderful ways he keeps you company and teaches you about your relationship with God! Molly does that too! And sometimes, just sometimes, she teaches me how I shouldn’t behave in various life situations! Lol! Thanks for the wonderful pictures of Bubba also!

  22. There is nothing like the love and companionship of a good dog. Being a dog-person myself, I enjoyed this very much and saw these same characters in my own dog who passed away last April after being part of the family for almost 15 years. Dogs can indeed teach us a lot about a relationship with Christ.

  23. While reading about Bubba, I was petting our dog. He is the last remaining of seven we had on the farm. He is now 16. Every day I thank God that he is still with us. Dogs are so loving and giving,and seem to know what we need.
    Such a blessing to read this today. Thanks so much.
    Blessings to you and Diane.

    1. Thank you Ms. Joyce; and blessings right backatcha for you, Ms. Jan, Barb, Sawyer, and the “out of state” gang. Hoping you’re having nice weather on the east coast. Was pretty cold and nasty this week here in TX, but we’re coming out of it in pretty good shape. I’m so glad your “baby” was right there beside you, and has been with you for so many years. What a wonderful blessing is our pets.

  24. I’m so glad God gave us animals to enjoy, just like He does in heaven. I’m also a dog lover, but my last poodle passed away 14 years ago at the age of almost 15. She was so intelligent–I swear she understood every word I said! I’m glad you have such a wonderful companion in Bubba. Their loyalty and unconditional love remind me of our Father’s love for us. Have a blessed week, brother J.D. Praying this freeze is over soon.

    1. Me too Ms. Karen. I think each animal I’ve cared for in my life has taught me something. My wife and I had a little Bichon-Poodle mix (Emma Rose), who I am certain understood me perfectly. Oh, how I miss the way she would struggle to climb upon my chest and the wrap herself around the back of my neck and shoulders. I’ve never felt more loved by another animal than that little fluff-ball. As close to God’s example of love as I could imagine. Bubba comes very close though. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Like you, while I love all the lessons Bubba teaches me, his surrender is one that pays such great dividends as I let God have more and more control of my life. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  25. J. D., I loved reading this post and am honored to be able to say I have met your wonderful Bubba.
    He represents the epitome of love and faithfulness.
    You and Bubba are blessed to have each other.

    1. Awww… thank you ma’am. I’m pretty certain he blesses me more than I do him, but he does seem to appreciate when I bring him a soup bone or treat. 🙂 God’s blessings my friend; and Bubba and the crew all say “Hey”.

  26. I need a dog like Bubba! If I drew insights from the life of our beagle, I’m afraid they might sound closer to the story of the prodigal son. He’s sweet, but a lazy glutton prone to wander.
    This is a wonderful post, Mr. J.D. Insightful and encouraging.

    1. LOL… Your beagle friend sounds much like Bubba’s predecessor (Diogi) Ms. Sally. I’m so very glad you enjoyed the post ma’am; and thrilled that you commented. Thank you so much ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. He (Bubba) certainly does that for me ma’am. When he’s around, he inspires me to be a better version of me. He inspires me to be someone worthy of his love, devotion, and admiration. God’s blessings sweet, cancer-free, friend. Still celebrating with you ma’am.

  27. Ever since I saw this post come across my email, I’ve been anxious to read it. I totally understand about you and Bubba’s relationship as I have that kind of joy and love with my two furry wonders, O’Malley and Rio. Every single day I thank God for his loving care over them, for saving both of their lives at two different times, and for giving them health and comfort in our home. God teaches lessons through these creatures, and I love learning them. As a former pet therapist, dogs can offer so much value to our lives if we will just open our heart to love. I hope the Lord gives me some sort of animal duty in heaven!

    1. LOL! Yes, he is. I’m certain he, the donkeys, and “Mavric” the bull remember your and Mr. Kenn’s visit ma’am. I often consider how the way we take care of the animals God has entrusted us with reflect how He cares for us. God’s blessings sweet friend; and congratulations on your next book being released in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to read what that check is for!?

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