While walking our dog today, I noticed something she does that is characteristic of most all dogs, and for that matter, many Christians as well.  First off, dogs are known for being loyal, and ours is, but when she is out walking, she wants to go out as far as her leash will allow.  If you tie her up in the yard, and give her fifteen feet of leash, she will make a thirty foot circle in the yard and will spend all her time at the outer limit.  Never mind the fact that she has the entire area inside that thirty foot circle to roam.  She isn’t interested in any of the middle, she wants to be at the very edge as far as she can possibly go.  Does that sound like anyone you know?  Does that sound like YOU?
    When God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He said they could eat of every tree in the Garden, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Well, you know the story, it’s just like people are today.  They don’t want to be told “You can do anything except….”  What will they do?  Yep, you guessed it…they will want to do the “except” every time, without fail.  Oh, they may not actually do it, depending on how disciplined they are, but the “want to” is still there.  If the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, people will drive not 65 but 70, although they are free to drive anything up to 70 miles per hour.  That’s why it’s called speed “limit”. And most will be driving over that, and yes, many Christians speed.  How do I know?  I drive the speed limit and see many Christian bumper stickers fly by me, that’s how I know.  It’s a universal problem and it’s time we realize that even though we may be born again, there is still a part of us that is rebellious to man AND to God. 
    We want the blessings of God, yet, just like a dog on a leash, we just have to see how far we can go before we run out of rope. Why aren’t we content to stay close to God?  It’s almost like we want to see how far we can push our relationship with God before it fails.  Picture this, you live in Louisiana near the bayou, and you have your dog tied up in your yard a safe distance from the edge of the swamp where the alligators live.  But doggie likes to pull on his leash and one day the leash finally breaks from pulling on it all the time, and he gets loose and explores the edge of the swamp and explores just a little too close and ……well, doggone….literally.
 You see, it says in Psalm 91, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  In other words, as far as the shadow extends, you’re safe, even out to the edge of the shadow, where we all seem to want to live.  But beyond the shadow, where we all seem to be drawn, “there be alligators in that there swamp, and they’re HUNGRY!”  Let’s face it, beyond the shadow of the Almighty, you’re ‘gator bait.  
    When we think about God opening the windows of heaven and pouring us out a blessing as it refers to in Malachi 3:10 maybe we fail to remember the window is in the house.  That’s where He is pouring His blessings from.
    It doesn’t mean God is going to the very edge of His property and pouring out the blessing along the fence line.  Where are the blessings? At the house.  And we want to live waaaaayy out on the fence line, even sticking our heads through the fence seeking the grass on the other side of the fence, just like cattle do. They have the whole field to choose from and yet they’re sticking their head through the fence. Hello? anyone home?? 
   I’m telling you, this is a picture of many of God’s people.  And they wonder why the blessings are so few and far between.  Look up!  Do you see a window of heaven open above you?  If not, maybe you’ve gotten your eyes off of God and wandered away from the house toward the fence.  Perhaps you’re sticking your head through the fence, looking for a blessing.  Let me help you.  If you want to be blessed, don’t expect God to move the window that He pours His blessings from to where it suits you to be.  Instead, get up and move under the window and open wide to receive.
   Another example, sometimes we will pray to God, Lord, I’m going to do such-and-such and I ask You to bless it.  Why not ask, Lord, where are you working today so I can go there and partake?  God is not obligated to bless your plan, but His plan is already blessed.  He has said if we stick close to Him, we will be blessed.  Most of us think that God will chase us down so He can bless us.  Tell me, if your dog runs off, are you going to hunt it down, then give it a doggie treat?  I don’t think so.  My dog gets treats for staying close and being obedient, not for running off and getting in trouble.
   It is written in Matthew 18:12-14, How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
   You will notice Jesus said of the lost sheep, “if so be that he find it” meaning, there’s no guarantee the lost sheep hasn’t been devoured already.  Wandering out from under the shadow of the Almighty is dangerous!  And remember, while wandering away from the fold, the lost sheep missed out on his blessing.  Yes, the Lord rejoices over a found sheep just as a shepherd does.  But tradition tells us too, that a shepherd will break a leg of the wandering sheep, and carry it upon his shoulder until the leg heals, and from then on, the sheep will never leave his side.  I myself would prefer just to stay close to the Shepherd of my soul and just avoid the broken leg part altogether.  How about you?  Are you ready to take up residence under the window, or do you still want to stick your head through the fence?  Choose wisely.