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Faith to Grow On...

Here on the farm, it's easy to get caught up in lots of work. There's always something to do, some project to work on, and a task to check off the to-do list. But every evening, Shaun and I stop what we are doing, grab a cup of coffee, and sit in the rockers on the back porch. There are days this view just takes our breath away. The hills, the valley, the trees, the birds, the wildlife, the beautiful colors splashed across the sky as the sun sets, it's clear to see God's glory on display. 

We are a family of faith, believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are every day people with a goal to glorify God in all we do. When we aren't on the farm with our dogs, serving with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Highland Hills Baptist Church, you can find us working on projects for Lifeword and our BMAA Missions Department. Want to know more? Check out these great organizations we support through our Baptist Missionary Association. 

Lifeword

I love writing and sharing stories, and Lifeword Ministries gave me a unique opportunity to be a blog writer for them. I was shocked and humbled, to say the least, that the Lord would want someone like me, a nobody, to share His name through my story. I've served as a Board Member with them as they make decisions about ministry efforts in the future, and now have joined their amazing team to make Jesus Christ's name known to the ends of the earth. If you are a hunter or fisherman, you might also enjoy a new show Shaun has been working on for social media. He shares his love for the outdoors and the Lord in a fun way on "Outdoors with Shaun Merrell". A new show comes out on the 1st and the 15th of every month.

We love what this organization is able to accomplish and choose to financially support this ministry with every litter born. We would love for you to learn more about this organization that uses multiple media outlets to share the gospel across the globe in more than 130 languages in 123 countries. Check out what Lifeword is doing and pray about financially supporting them as well. 

https://lifeword.org

Mission World TV

Mission World Magazine has been around for a long time, sharing with readers the struggles, stories, and praises from our missionaries throughout the world. In 2020, seeing the need for reaching people through new media outlets, Mission World TV was launched. We now produce a monthly show highlighting a missionary to share their story through social media. We'd love for you to check out the monthly videos. As you watch and read, let the Lord speak to your heart about supporting missions and those that are in the field, sharing the name and hope of Jesus Christ to a lost world.

https://missionworldmag.com/index.php/missionworld-tv/

Blog

Check out our blog of things that happen on the farm, daily life applications of the scriptures, and ways that we can all have faith to grow on. 

  • Yalanda Merrell

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

Don't you just wish you could communicate with your furry friends sometimes? Of course, we can share all of the "I love you's" and "be a good boy while mommy is gone" but what would your dog say to you if he or she could?

Beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever, father to beautiful golden retriever puppies
Maverick - English Cream Golden Retriever

As I'm sitting here writing this, my English Cream Golden Retriever is literally sitting on my feet. I read recently it means they are taking ownership of you, they are claiming you as their owner. Good to know since I am the one who feeds him, takes him for long walks, endures his antics as he hunts for raisins (deer poop), picks the cockleburs out of his fur and lets him snuggle up in the bed with me after dad has gone to work. Golden Retrievers are definitely the best snuggle buddies.


But what else could he be saying? Those big puppy dog eyes looking back at me seem like they could hold some deep, mysterious thoughts. Or maybe they are just dreaming of the next biscuit from TLC or chasing a bird through the fall leaves.


There are some pretty clear indicators of simple things our dogs are trying to tell us. My English labradors and golden retrievers typically have a "tail-tail" sign of when they need to go to the bathroom, when they want their dinner, or begging you for a piece of that fried chicken on a Sunday afternoon.


Here's a great article from the Canine Journal with a guide to your dog's body language! I found several of these things super helpful in explaining a few things about my English Labs and English Cream Golden Retriever's behavior.


Ultimately, you should know that if your dog could talk, he/she would probably tell you how much they love you, how they think you're wonderful, and they are here for you any time you need them. That's why they call them "man's best friend", right? No matter what happens, your dog is always there to hold when you need to cry, to offer up a listening ear with no judgment and loves you unconditionally.


There is only one other that offers such love, but on an even deeper level - Jesus Christ. The offer to come to Jesus is always open. His arms are stretched wide and waiting to welcome you in, just as you are. Many people get it confused and think they have to clean up their messy lives before they can come to Jesus, but He is the one that does the cleaning up. Anything we do in and of ourselves just stays messy. Only through His redemptive worked can we be made new. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:17.


So, while you're pondering about what's going through the mind of that dog of yours, take a second to think about what God says about you. As much love as you have for your beloved Labrador retriever puppy, don't you think our Heavenly Father has more for you?

English Labrador retriever Puppy for sale from Wildcat Hollow Retrievers, Champion Pedigree
Boys in Bow Ties - English lab puppy

Perhaps we should be contemplating what the Lord wants to tell us. Open up the Word today and discover what God wants to share with you.


Click here to download the Bible app: https://youversion.com/the-bible-app/.



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  • Yalanda Merrell

You've got a busy schedule. You've got tons on your plate right now. You've just moved. You've just gotten a new job. The scenarios are endless, but the main question you are asking is, "Should I get a dog?" The answer is always going to be YES! And here's why:


1. Dogs are therapeutic. Seriously. I'm certain there are studies that have shown how just petting a dog can bring peace and happiness into your life. Look at all the healthcare facilities now using therapy dogs to brighten patients' days! Who is the only one that you can reveal your deepest darkest secrets to, cry to about stress at work, eats your crust when you don't want it, stays right by your side and never, ever judges you? YOUR DOG!


2. If reason #1 wasn't enough, I guess we will have to continue. They make you feel safe. With a lab or a golden retriever around, you'll always feel better! Even if they aren't trained to attack, and they would probably turn into mush as soon as "said attacker" even spoke a tiny bit of "baby talk" to them... the look of the dog makes a criminal think twice before approaching you.


3. They attract. Maybe you are looking for a date - just get a dog and head to the park and every girl or guy will be talking to you. I cannot guarantee they will be cute, but it's better than some random swipe on Tinder.


4. Active. You've been wanting to lose a few pounds. Get a dog. Go for a jog, throw the frisbee or play fetch. If you have a dog that's not trained, you'll chase it for hours and lose lots of weight. Win Win.


5. Endless love. As I'm writing this, our lab is standing by my husband wagging his tail with so much excitement, his whole body is moving left to right, left to right, left to right. That tail is hitting everything in sight. No matter what, he aims to please and is ready to love. Only One other can love you more than your dog and that is Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 says "For God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were sinners! That's huge! He died for us. Not the clean us. Not the I've got it all together us. The sinful, deceitful and bound for Hell us. Not so that we would remain in that sin, but so that we could live an abundant life full of joy for His glory! That is endless love!


Bottom line - get a dog. They're pretty awesome.

yes, I have a large vein popping out in my head
Maverick and Mom BFFs

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