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Our daughter Carrie and her husband Shannon have a dog; rather he is a small horse. He is called Coltrane. Cole does not realize he weighs 150 pounds. He also does not realize he has "drooling issues". (Now that may be caused by the fact that my wife brings hot dogs to the house whenever we visit...the dogs are for the dogs...Cole starts drooling when we turn on their street. The sound of our car’s engine is like music to his ears!)

Whenever we visit Cole comes charging; he has only two gears, wide-open and stopped (on top of your chest, after you’ve been slammed to the ground). The hound is not going to miss hot dog call!

Coltrane eats before saying "hello". (Got his priorities straight, that dog does!) Once the Ball Park dogs are inside the dog (is that an "inside-the-park-dog"?), then comes a gregarious welcome. The welcome always includes generous portions of "slime". A 150-pound Rottweiler who has just consumed 18 hot dogs can produce impressive amounts of saliva!

Needless to say, I have learned to wear my yard clothes when we visit. This is for two reasons --

1. I can’t afford to buy clothes as often as we are at Cole’s place.

2. I love the dog...even the way he says "hello".

When that hound comes to me, everything living (or that which wants to stay living) has to get out of the way. He is going to get his ears scratched and his tummy rubbed. In fact, if you rub his belly long enough, he just slides down to one side, flops-over and falls asleep while you "say hello". "Keep rubbing...a little to the left...harder, that’s it....ahhhhh."

This is so much like God’s acceptance of me. He wants me close to Him, even with all the goofy things I do, and the mess which I bring. He loves me and calls me friend, even with my sin and betrayal. He loves me and calls me friend, even though it meant taking on all my slime, my sin. He is still called, the Friend of Sinners!

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