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October 26, 2022

Hounds and Roosters

Ceci and I have a Treeing Walker Coonhound. Not running around a farm, but in our house. She was found in a cage at the local PetSmart, needing a home. My sweet wife, who it seems has the God-given destiny of seeing how many dogs one couple can own in a lifetime, swears she was providentially led to Gracie Mae. (All of Ceci’s dogs have middle names.)

We didn’t know Gracie was a coon dog at first, just that she was a hound (“with a cute heart-shaped freckle on her nose” - Ceci). About two weeks into her adoption, she found her bark. Correction: She doesn’t bark - our other two dogs bark. Gracie howls or bays. (“Not being a coonhound expert, I looked up the word bay to make certain it was accurate: “a deep, prolonged howl, as of a hound on a scent.” Perfect.) When Gracie made her first attempt at it, I said to Ceci, “That sounded like a coon dog.” A couple of weeks later, the vet confirmed it - a Treeing Walker Coonhound.

Now that Gracie Mae is fully grown, so is her howl. I’ve tried to come up with spelling for how it sounds, but can’t. Just try to imagine Scooby Doo with a bullhorn. And when she talks - yes, she talks - it’s simply a howl at a conversational volume. Sometimes she tries it with a bone in her mouth. She knows if she drops it, one of the other two dogs might snatch it up, so she simply greets me with it in her mouth. Sounds like Scooby Doo with the croup.

We love Gracie Mae. We even like her howls and love language. She was born and bred to do it. It doesn't matter to Gracie that she’s not in the woods treeing a coon; she was born to howl, so she does it anyway.

When God wove us in our mother’s wombs, He gave us our “howl.” He placed certain bents, motivations, gifts, and abilities in us. Ephesians 2:10 tells us: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Because we don’t often use the term workmanship in our culture, this translation doesn’t adequately communicate to us the strength of what God is saying. It doesn’t simply mean that He created us. Poiema, the Greek word used here, means “a product,” often referring to fabric or an outfit of clothing. This verse is using the same symbolism as Psalm 139:13, which says God “wove” us in our mother’s womb. We are God’s clothing, designed by Him, that He intends to wear!

Consistent with this symbolism, the phrase “prepared beforehand” in this verse comes from a sewing term meaning “to measure or fit in advance.” Like any good tailor, before God “wove” us in our mother’s womb, He “measured” us. As our Creator and Destiny-giver, He made sure our gifts, abilities, personality, and motivations would fit our purpose. With these things in mind, qualities matching calling, He tailored us as the garment He would need to wear - He does live inside of us - in order to accomplish His purposes in and through us.

God warns us in Romans 12:2 not to allow outside agents to shape or design us. He uses the term metamorphosis, the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly, to describe our transformation. In this analogy, the worm isn’t being changed from the outside in but is “morphing” into what is already programmed into its DNA. The point couldn’t be clearer: Make sure your dreams match your design - become who you are, not who you aren’t!

No one who knew him well thought David, one of Israel's kings and ancient ancestor of Christ, was fit to be a king. I’m certain they didn’t think he was a giant slayer, either. When the prophet Samuel was sent to David’s father, Jesse, to anoint one of his sons as the next king of Israel, David wasn’t even invited to the choosing ceremony.

Had it not been for a “tuned in” prophet who realized the real king hadn’t yet arrived, history would be very different. What might we call “the tabernacle of David”? Would Christ still be called “the Son of David”? And who would have shown us what a “man after God’s heart” looks like?

David’s father thought he was only cut out to be a shepherd and errand boy. His brothers thought he was an arrogant runt, hungry for attention. God’s thesis on David, however, said he was a history-maker, a warrior, and a worshiper. He “wove” him accordingly, writing in his heart dreams of nobility, strength, psalm writing, and radical worship.

Aren’t you glad David dreamed the right dreams? Most likely, more people have found comfort and solace from his words than through any other person. What would we have done without the twenty-third Psalm? The Lord Himself quoted some of David’s words while on the Cross.

History is filled with similar what-ifs. What if Winston Churchill had believed his critics and chosen a different path? Would England have survived the onslaught of the Nazis without Him? More than a century earlier, would the United States have survived and defeated the British if George Washington hadn’t answered the call? Would there have been revivalists like John and Charles Wesley if Susanna, their mother, had adopted a different view of motherhood?

Look deep inside and ask yourself what dreams God hid in you. What makes you come alive? What strengths have lain dormant while you’ve pursued goals that could never fulfill you? Make a determination now to pursue the dreams God has for you.

In the Pentecostal Evangel, J.K. Gressett writes about a man named Samuel S. Scull, who settled on a farm in the Arizona desert with his wife and children:

“One night, a fierce desert storm struck with rain, hail, and high wind. At daybreak, feeling sick and fearing what he might find, Samuel went to survey their loss. The hail had beaten the garden and truck patch into the ground; the house was partially unroofed; the henhouse had blown away, and dead chickens were scattered about. Destruction and devastation were everywhere.

“While standing dazed, evaluating the mess and wondering about the future, he heard a stirring in the lumber pile that was the remains of the hen house. A rooster was climbing up through the debris, and he didn’t stop climbing until he had mounted the highest board in the pile. That old rooster was dripping wet, and most of his feathers were blown away. But as the sun came over the eastern horizon, he flapped his bony wings and proudly crowed.” (1)

What a great example for us! The rooster knew his role. He wasn’t trying to make a statement, nor was he checking to see if he could still do it. He was crowing simply because God put into his DNA the desire to announce the beginning of each new day. And nothing was going to change that. Sometimes animals seem to “get it” better than we humans.

Like our once fine-feathered friend, God made you with a purpose and inscribed it into your DNA. If you don’t discover that purpose, you could end up teaching school when your Designer needed and wove you to be an accountant. You might end up trapped in an office when the Writer needed and wanted a stay-at-home mom to help Him shape a child into a world-changer! Or perhaps you would pastor a congregation instead of being the CEO He created you to be. Many ill-fitted individuals have climbed to the top of debris piles and are trying to crow. They don’t do it well, and no one awakens to their sound.

What were you born to do? What did your Tailor measure you for? Are your dreams consistent with this? Is someone trying to make you act like a Yorkie when you’re a bona fide Treeing Walker Coonhound? You will never be truly fulfilled until your dreams, goals, pursuits, and activities match what your Creator dreamed for you.

Like our canine friend, Gracie Mae, find your howl and be who you were meant to be.

Pray with me:

Father, a fierce storm has come and caused America to forget who and what we were created to be. You declared America’s DNA at the planting of Cape Henry‘s cross: take the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. You wrote it on the Liberty Bell and caused it to ring out across the land at our birth. You have made us a voice for Christ’s Jubilee, His salvation, throughout the earth.

You wove the garments of this nation. We are your workmanship - restore us and wear us again. In our rebellious state, many cannot see our true destiny, just as people could not see David’s. But prophetic individuals, the Samuels of the earth, can see it and have prophesied that America shall be saved. We believe this, and decree that America will climb up out of the debris pile, and once again announce the purposes of God on the earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Our decree:

We declare that the Great Redeemer is also the great Restorer and Reformer. And He is coming to America again.

Today’s post was taken from my book Dream.

Click on the link below to watch full video.

[Dutch Sheets Dream, Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012), pp 71-76.]


Craig Brian Larson, Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), p 183.

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