Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

Nubian Donkey

Mary and Joseph

As we enter Passion week we read about Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. Many believe that it was a Nubian donkey whose line was domesticated 6000 years ago and commonly used as a burden bearer to carry people and supplies. It was probably that same breed who carried Mary, then pregnant with Jesus, into Bethlehem.

Nubian Donkey Baby
Nubian Donkey with Jack
Donkey Running

The reason this is fascinating is that this breed is often known to carry from birth a mark upon their backs that makes them distinct. It is the sign of the cross that stretches across their shoulders and down their backs. Legends have been written to remind Christians that it was Jesus who said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

Two Nubian Donkies
Cross on Donkey Back
Nubian Donkey Standing Near Cardboard Cutout of Donkey

Below is an example of what has been written regarding the markings of the cross on these humble creatures and the message they truly bear.

The Donkey’s Cross

“Bring me the colt of a donkey.” was the Master’s request.

A young donkey was brought to Jesus
to carry Him into Jerusalem

A week later Jesus was ordered crucified
The little donkey so loved the Lord that
he wanted to help Him carry the cross.

But alas, he was pushed away.

As he turned to leave, the shadow of
the cross fell upon his back and shoulders

And there it has remained, a tribute to
the loyalty and love of the humbles of God’s creatures.

The Joy of Ginger!

The Joy of Ginger

Ginger CookiesGinger is not only a rich, reddish brown colored, robust, aromatic spice, ginger also describes the state of being high spirited or full of pep! When I think of the spice ginger, in my mind’s eye, I immediately see warm ginger bread bathed with freshly whipped cream or, ginger spice cookies with icing. The aromatic memories waft through my brain and simultaneously stimulate my taste buds and bring back memories of long, cold winters in New England.

Ginger HorseWhen I think of the name Ginger, I recall feisty, high stepping, red headed, fillies (horses or humans) who exuded deep strength and endless energy. Gritting their teeth and tossing their manes, in the wind, they charged joyfully through life.

The Ginger we are sharing today is a lovely combination of rich color and unbridled tenacity! Her story goes like this: About a year ago, in 2014, a friend arrived at the door holding a miniscule, female, Chihuahua puppy, who had just experienced a near fatal run in with a car. Estimated to be about three months old the puppy weighed barely over one pound. On closer examination, by the veterinarian, she was diagnosed with a double hernia and other expensive medical issues that may have been the reason she was cast into the street to fend for herself.

The Joy of Ginger
Ginger the Dog
Ginger Dog

Despite of the complexity of her medical conditions, the Book family willingly underwrote the cost of her care and ongoing treatments required to restore her to complete health. Originally the Book’s intended to find a new home for this puppy but that was not what the Lord had in mind. She recovered from her surgery and wiggled her way into every heart in their home.

Ginger with Family
Ginger Laying Down
Ginger getting Hugged

Today, sweet Ginger, is the “spunky, sweet little doll that holds her own well in this crazy household.” says her forever Mom, Rhonda Book. Regardless of the difficult start little Ginger had in her early life, she recovered and lives a contented life.

Ginger and Boy
Ginger and Dogs
Ginger Kid

She is a living example of the foundational scriptures of Ark Animals Ministries; “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you…. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this , in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” Job 12: 7-10 (NASB). God holds Ginger in His hands everyday to share a story of survival and bring great joy to a busy household.

 

 

Ark Animals Ministries thanks the Book family and so many others around the world who live by the Word of God and follow the direction of Proverbs 12:10 which says: “Good people are good to their animals” The Message Bible (MSG).

Please click here to submit a picture and share your stories with us too!
 

Pastor Leslie Becker

 

Mother Tiger Nurses Piglets!

Tiger Piglets

Tiglets anyone?

Although this is not a recent story, it is a story that has weighed heavily on my mind for many months. It took me some time to recognize a few of the many messages easily overlooked. If one only recognized the story as just another happy ending news release much would be missed.
 
Sad TigerThe story goes like this; in late 2006, a mother tiger gave birth to rare triplet cubs. Evidently there were challenges with the pregnancy resulting in a premature delivery, low birth weights, and ultimately the very sad demise of all three cubs. The mother tiger, although physically fine, immediately began to fall into a state of depression and declining health. A call for help was sent out to many zoos in search of orphan tiger cubs that could be brought in as surrogate babies. Unfortunately, no orphan tiger cubs could be found.

Tiger Nurses Piglets
Tiger Nursing Pigs

Knowing that some mother animals will take on the orphan of another species, the veterinarians decided to take a risk and bring in the only babies immediately available, piglets! In spite of their natural predator to prey relationship the piglets, adorned in tiger striped pajamas, were immediately welcomed by the tiger nursing pigs mother tiger. As you can see from the photos the tiger is very engaged in the maternal experience and the piglet/tiglets are obviously quite content. What human would ever have thought we would live to see a piglet napping on a mother tiger?
 

 
As I thought about this heart warming and engaging story, I became aware of three complimentary messages God laid out through these animals. The first connects us with the team providing care to this mother tiger. Against “nature’s odds of success” they stepped up to the plate and took a seemingly hopeless situation and turned it around for good.
 
James 1:27, Expanded Bible (EXB) says; “Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans and widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.” The team didn’t walk away from the situation leaving the tiger grieving and certain to die of a broken heart. They focused on caring for the mother tiger and took the risk of bringing in the piglets to soothe her.
 
Next we see the promise of Psalm 147:3 (NASB) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God provided the piglets to heal the mother tiger’s heart. To encourage the acceptance between the species, God even led the team to bind the piglets in tiger striped material to enhance their surrogate presentation!

Tiger Nurses Piglets
Tiger Piglets

Lastly we can see a fore shadow of the confirmation of words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 11: 6-9 (NASB) regarding the return of Jesus. Just like the tiger and the piglets living in harmony, when He comes all adversity will cease between men and beasts!

“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

 
If we take the time to look at every situation God’s hand of direction and tiger piglets protection can be seen. Animals know God and do not question Him. Unfortunately most humans do question Him and depend on themselves for everything. God called us all to leave our selfish nature behind, to help meet the needs of the less fortunate, to reach out with kindness and love our neighbors regardless of their race, creed or religion. We need to trust in Him, not ourselves, to pay attention to all that is going on around us and He will show us solutions.
 
We can all take counsel from the writing of Job in chapter 12:7-10 ( NASB) “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”
 

Pastor Leslie Becker

 

The Restoration of Lazarus the Dog!

Lazarus Dog

lazarus dogThis is a wonderful story of the restoration of Lazarus the dog. Sadly this mixed breed pup was hit by a car and then dropped at a shelter by the owner who could no longer care for him. The shelter tried to place him in a new home but were unsuccessful in their attempts. Unfortunately, like many other animals, he was injected with euthanasia by the shelter vet. He was basically reported as deceased only to be miraculously found “a little wobbly” but fully alive the next day!

Lazarus Dog
Lazarus put to sleep

Today, thanks to the fabulous team at Two by Two Rescue in Helena, Alabama, Lazarus was placed in a new home and is now vigorously playing with his housemate Tucker, another rescue dog.
 

 
To me this story is a wonderful reminder of the passage in Jeremiah 32: 27 that says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR ME?” There is nothing too hard for God! He is in the full restoration business and proved it here through this animal. If He will do it for the dog, He is certain God Callingto do it for any of us who will call upon the Name of the Lord! Everything God creates has a purpose in this life. Isaiah 59:1 says: “Listen now! The Lord isn’t too weak to save you. And He isn’t getting deaf! He can hear you when you call!”
 
We have all experienced loss, despair and the fruits of our own poor choices. But, that doesn’t matter one bit to God! In Isaiah 40:28-29 we are told:love god “God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.”
 
If you feel kicked to the curb, broken down, busted or disgusted with your life, take heart and know that God will make a way! Just like Lazarus, we too can be fully restored to fulfill His purposes in this life!
 

Pastor Leslie

 

Undernourished, Weakened, and Encumbered Gray Whale Set Free

Gray Whale Mission Beach

gray whaleRecently on July 29, 2014 a 25-foot juvenile gray whale was spotted off Mission Beach and La Jolla in San Diego County. It was entangled with rope—possibly a commercial fishing line—and kelp, and was clearly encumbered. Most gray whales have already reached their Arctic feeding grounds, after spending the winter and part of spring in Baja California, their nursing and mating grounds. This straggler was swimming at about the same pace a person walks, which is about one mile per hour. Normally, the whales travel at about 4-5 miles per hour, but this undernourished exhausted whale was putting out all the energy it could.

Juvenile Gray Whale
Gray Whale Mission Beach

After literally nuzzling some surfers on their boards as if to ask for help, it was finally freed to continue it’s journey that would have soon ended in death if it had not been cut loose from the encumbrance.

Baby Gray Whale
Gray Whale Spotted off Mission Beach
Gray Whale Mission Bay

My heart went out to this poor creature that had been so held back by the ropes, kelp, and net. And the truth is, that beautiful creature represents so many of us who have been dragging encumbrances of hurt, regret, shame, guilt, anger, or Guilt bitterness because of things we have done or things that have been done to us. Like that whale each day of the burden leaves us weaker and behind in our journey. Like that whale we need help to be freed, and need it sooner than later.
 
But help is available and has been for 2000 years. Christ came to free us from the burdens of sin whether it’s the result of our own poor choices or because we are forgivenss of sins the victim of another persons sins. Either way, we need help, and God promises to set us free if we will but ask. The Bible says if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). It says we can cast our cares and anxieties upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
 
Ask Him to remove the burdens, and then be bold enough to let Him keep them. We must trust Him to be big enough to handle what we leave behind.
 
 
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K9 Officer for SAPD

Police Dog

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

 

Police DogThe Santa Ana Police Department currently employs five K9 officer teams, in which each team consists of a canine and handler. As an important member of the department, these K9 officers offer many great benefits. One of which is a large reduction in violent confrontations, which is safer for both the officer and suspect. They also provide greater efficiency in search, whereas one dog can cover an area in the same amount of time as five officers.

In addition to the benefits a K9 officer provides the department, they are also of significant importance to the citizens of Santa Ana, California. These highly trained police service dogs work daily in all aspects of community protection including; security in government buildings, school yards, drug busts, crime scene investigations, street patrol and more.

 

Adlerhorst International Inc..

The SAPD procures their K9 officer’s through Adlerhorst International Inc., located in Riverside, California. Since 1976, Adlerhorst has provided quality police service dogs to over 500 law enforcement agencies both Nationwide and International. They are highly regarded as one of the top, private police dog schools in the world and have introduced many state-of-the-art theories and techniques that are commonly practiced throughout the industry.

 

Police Service Dog Procurement.

The dogs that the SAPD receives from Adlerhorst, are originally procured in Germany, from European trainers. before transporting to the States. Through a comprehensive testing process, each dog is confirmed to have a strong genetic background, a working European title, as well as the appropriate skill sets required to be service police dog. Lastly, their hips, backs and elbows are x-rayed during a Vet screening before transporting to the States.

 

Academy & Continued Training.

Once procured, State law requires the canine and handler participate in a six week academy and then 20 hours of continued training per month. The initial six week academy mainly covers basic patrol. The continued monthly training involves detection and agitator classes that teach proper techniques and behavior theories.

K9 Officer Training
Police Dog Training
K9 Officer in Training

 

Donations.

Since the recent retirement of a long-serving, SAPD K9 officer, finding a replacement has been a top priority. Funds raised for this campaign will be directly donated to the Santa Ana Police Department, exclusively for the purchase, training, and care of a new canine officer.

  • Cost of K9 Officer: $10,400
  • Six Week Academy: $4,200
  • Continued Training: $133 per Month for Dog/Handler Combo

Donate Now

In Memory of….

Sultan K9 OfficerArk Animals Ministries mourns the loss of Sultan, K9 Officer for the San Jacinto Police Department, but rejoices in the knowledge that he is in a “forever home” with the Lord. well done good and faithful servant.

 

This photo was taken during K9 training, Wednesday, January 7, 2015. Sultan passed away on January 21, 2015, two weeks after this photo was taken.

 

How a Sparrow Caused a Mini-Revival

Sparrow

St. Helens Parish ChurchIn 1979 there was a sparrow that somehow got into the rafters of St. Helen’s Parish Church in the English town of Brant Broughton. At the time, they were recording a guitar recital for later broadcast on the radio. The chirping bird didn’t exactly chirp with the beat. So the pastor, Rev. Robin Clark, (I’m not making up that first name) asked the congregation to leave and then asked a friend to bring his pellet gun over to the church in order to have the offending sparrow shot.
 
The killing of the sparrow became front-page news. The “London Daily Telegraph” ran a headline that said, “Rev. Robin Orders Death of Sparrow.” Editorials and letters to the editor flowed, chastising the cruel and unusual Sparrow on Ledgepunishment for this lowly bird. People who hadn’t darkened the door of a church in decades suddenly remembered Psalm 84:3 in which it is declared that even sparrows are welcome in the house of the Lord.
 
Once again there is evidence that there are no empty moments in the Lord. God used this small sparrow to awaken the minds and souls of people to remember the truth of His word. This little sparrow caused a mini revival. Its fall to the earth caused some to finally look up.
 

Sweet Spartacus the Pit Bull is on the Mend!

spartacus pitt bull

What has our world come to when a human being, God’s highest creation, is so deluded with false information, fear and rage that they recklessly torture and mutilate a dog? Yes, its true, the story is not even 72 hours old at this writing.

Spartacus Stabbed
Pit Bull Stabbed

At approximately 4 am on Saturday, Oct 11, 2014, the Los Angeles Police Department was notified of a dog being brutally stabbed in the Hyde Park area. Spartacus, a 2 year old, male Pit Bull, was taken to Pet Care Veterinary Center where he endured a two-hour surgery and received over 1,000 stitches! Not only was the dog deeply stabbed repeatedly, police reported he was hit over the head with a shovel. Fortunately Spartacus did not sustain any broken bones or internal injuries. And, when he recovered from anesthesia he was able to wag his tail and seek out loving hands to pet him!

Pit Bull 1000 Stitches
Pit Bull Stabbed LA

The Los Angeles Police Department continues to investigate this heinous crime while Spartacus is safely sheltered by Ghetto Rescue FFoundation. The FFoundation posted this poignant statement on their Facebook page: “Spartacus did nothing wrong, except to be born as a breed hated by some. His family has loved him a long time.”
 

 
The name Spartacus comes from the name of the Greek City Sparta where the gladiators fought humans and animals for crowd entertainment. This dog Spartacus may be a big strong warrior type animal but is clearly not a mean or vicious fighter. If he were aggressive he would have fought back against his attacker.
 
Today, when I heard this horrible report, my heart grieved deeply. But, I know there is always a message of hope, found in God’s Word that applies to every situation. To me, this story unfolded just like King David recorded his despair in Psalm 27:11-14 (Living Bible)
 
11 “Tell me what to do, O Lord, and make it plain because I am surrounded by waiting enemies.”
 
Spartacus was surrounded and attacked by someone waiting to do him harm!
 
12 “Don’t let them get me, Lord! Don’t let me fall into their hands! For they accuse me of things I never did, and all the while are plotting cruelty.”
 
Spartacus and the Pit Bull breed is generally accused of being vicious and uncontrollable, primarily because some human owners are guilty of taunting the dogs and fostering aggressive behavior. As Cesar Milan says “ there is no suchcesar and pit bull thing as a problem breed. However, there is no shortage of ‘ problem owners’…” and “My kids are around Pit Bulls every day. In the ‘70s they blamed Dobermans, in the ‘80s they blamed German Shepherds, in the 90s they blamed the Rottweiler. Now they blame the Pit Bull.”
 
13 “I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again, so that once again I will see His goodness to me here in the land of the living.”
 
Thanks to the prompt response, by the Los Angeles Police, and availability of the skilled veterinarian and staff at Pet Care Veterinary Center, Spartacus was able to hold onto life!
 
14 “Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and He will help you.”
 
As the investigation continues, Spartacus is safely housed, through Ghetto Rescue FFoundation, away from his neighborhood! What a victory for Spartacus! And, what a victory for us to remember when we’re being falsely pit bull stabbed in la accused or tortured; God never wastes anything and is always showing His salvation and way out! Genesis 50:20 confirms this promise: 20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Now that Spartacus is on the mend he’s able to resume his calling of touching lives with unquestioning love and affection for many days to come!
 

Pastor Leslie

 

Tender Hands Heal the Hurting Heart of a Crying Baby Rhino

Orphaned Baby Rhino

A three-month-old rhino was brought to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centerrhino crying after being found next to his dead mother who had been tragically and brutally poached for her horn. It was a devastating sight, as the animal would not leave her side, and was crying inconsolably.
 
 
Ultimately, they had to sedate the baby rhino to move him to the center, and with the help orphaned baby rhino of a gentle caretaker they were finally able to calm him. That caretaker sat on the ground holding in her lap the baby rhino’s head, stroking it to calm him. That gentle touch helped the baby to sleep, and eventually gain strength to eat.
 
 
This story of this baby rhino is a reminder about how much tender action and attitudes play in healing hurting hearts. Humans, in particular love to be loved. Harshness pains us, and even when we are healthy, un-gentleness touches the sensitive spirit like frost touches flowers. It stunts growth and damages. Gentleness helps all the delicate things in us to heal and grow.
 

 
Each day many people, like this baby rhino, have a great need for tenderness. No one knows the secret burdens many of those around us are carrying. Not all grief wears the outward garb of mourning; smiling faces quite often veil heavy hearts. Many people who make no audible appeal for help crave tenderness as they bend beneath heavy burdens.
 
Tenderness can seldom go wrong. There is no day when it will be untimely, and not a place where it will not be welcome. In a world that so quickly tears down, tenderness does no harm. In fact, as David wrote, “Thy gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35
 

Be Humble Enough To Ask For Help

Be Humble Enough To Ask For Help

The following video is amazing in that it reveals that a dolphin shows more wisdom than many humans. The animal had become tangled in fishing line from its mouth to its pectoral fin, and sought help from a diver. As you watch the video you will see how vulnerable the dolphin was as it drew close enough for the diver to do the necessary work to set it free.
 

 
It took several tries but the dolphin kept drawing close so that the work could be done. The dolphin was apparently aware that it could not free itself, and recognized the diver as having the necessary skills to get it freed. The only thing the dolphin had to do was trust in the character of the diver.
 
Be Humble Enough To Ask For Help
 
asking for helpSo many times in our own lives we come up against something bigger than we or any human can handle. It is what many people would call “an impossible” situation, and without help there is no hope. It is only after we have exhausted all possibilities that we realize there is no known solution. It could be an addiction, an incurable illness, besetting fears and incapacitating anxiety, financial failure, the lasting pain after the loss of a loved one through the breakup of a marriage, or the ongoing hurt from a death. Any number of scenarios exist that can leave us in this hopeless state.
 
But like that dolphin we must reach a point of absolute honesty about our condition being something we are helpless to change. Next comes humility, so that we will become vulnerable enough to express our honest need. To whom you might ask? The only One more powerful than difficulties such as these, is God how to ask god for help Himself. The only question is whether or not you will trust that He can take the worst messes and make a miracle. The situation must be given over to Him trusting that no matter what, His character is loving and good.
 
We are so much like the man beaten and left to die beside the road in the Good Samaritan story. What was needed was someone to come along who would help and heal the wounds and that is what God does. He meets us where we are, and gets us to where we need to be. If you are like that dolphin and need help, Good Samaritan begin today by being open and honest. Sure, you may not know very much about God, but all you need to know is that you can trust His character. He is loving and cares for you and your situation.
 
 
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