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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fetilizer Food

“Sir, our lawn fertilizer is totally organic. It contains nothing harmful to dogs.”

“Okay,” I replied, “fertilize both lawns.

After the application, I kept Molly our Maltese and Rosie our Toy Poodle off both lawns for several hours in spite of the lawn care specialist’s assurance that his product was harmless. In retrospect, I should have kept them off the lawns until the following day. Molly’s visits to the backyard had no ill effects, but Rosie’s had a dreadful effect. She ingested some of the “harmless” fertilizer pellets and gave Gloria and me a night to remember.

Her violent shaking and vomiting began near midnight, and when it became clear she was suffering severe stomach pain, we rushed her to an all-night emergency animal clinic. The diagnosis pointed to a highly irritated stomach with burning caused by fertilizer.

The clinic staff administered a couple of injections, attached a water pouch under Rosie’s skin, and billed us $165. We took her home, where she slept soundly the rest of the night. She regained her energy the following day.

Next time a lawn care specialist tells me his fertilizer is harmless to dogs, I may ask him to eat some.

Like “harmless” fertilizer, some religious teaching is injurious to spiritual health. First-century Christians had to cope with several religious teachings that contradicted healthful doctrine. Legalism was one of those poisonous teachings. Its proponents argued that people must earn salvation by performing rituals and adhering to the Law of Moses. Their concept of the way to Heaven contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture that salvation is a gift from God that is received through faith in Christ (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:8, 9; 1 John 5:11-13).

Even a soft-spoken, silver-haired, cherub-cheeked fatherly minister may peddle harmful teaching. He may claim it is harmless, but we should examine it in the light of Scripture. If it fails the test, we shouldn’t apply it to our lives. Ingesting poisonous religion might cost us plenty.

—From Meditations for Dog Lovers by Jim Dyet. © 2005, AMG Publishers/Living Ink Books

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