Hawkeye Seventh-day Adventist® Church

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

We get what we deserve!



Do you get behind in reading your emails? Maybe you like me, get behind reading and taking care of your mail that comes in your outdoor mailbox. I freely admit to being behind in both of those. I could just delete everything and probably should. I could just gather up all of the stacked-up paper mail and have a bonfire and probably could have a big hotdog roasting party, but I just can't. And so, I progress slowly at taking care of them. And every once in a while, I've found a "treasure" bit that I am glad I didn't discard or burn. This week I found a story that reminded me of another story and together they reminded me that I could learn some lessons from them.
One story is about bunny pets. Four little bunnies lived in a home where they were loved. Those bunnies were always hungry. Once they discovered that the tips of poplar tree branches were good to eat, they could be tempted to eat them often! Their owner, knowing of their love for the tips, would often hand-feed them this special treat. Whenever they would hear her breaking off the tips, they would come hippety-hop to check out that sound, and she would give each one a twig with a tasty branch tip. Nibbling and chewing, each bunny enjoyed his tasty treat—usually. 
Chubba bunny took his twig and then quickly dropped it on the ground. Not his normal behavior! He then started chasing another family member and brother bunny around and around, trying to yank his treat out of his mouth! Usually, Chubba isn't successful at stealing treats. And once again, he wasn't successful. By the time Chubba realized what was happening and his predicament, his treat had already been eaten by another bunny! Because Chubba wanted what someone else had, he ended up with nothing!!!
This story made me think—am I just like Chubba? Do I go dropping the good treats God has already given me, and go chasing after something else? Does wanting what someone else has, cause me to forget that God continually supplies all my needs. How many blessings have I slighted by ignoring them? There is a motto I need to keep in mind at all times. Count your own blessings! Name those blessings one by one. Perhaps you, with me, will then be surprised to see what God has done! Things that sometimes we fail to notice are special gifts just for me or you. I fear that I don't offer God enough thanks for what He has done just for me. I am filled with shame that I am not thankful enough. I am too much like Chubba! I want what is not mine and forget about my current blessings.
We have two cats that live in our home. We allow them to come and go from indoors to outdoors as they will. Most of the time, they are very polite about their asking to come and go. And we appreciate that they are willing to patiently wait for us to understand what they want. Our black kitty, Marco, seems to be able to tell time! He prefers that I get up and let him outside at least by 6:30 am. He comes and lays on the bed right beside me so that he doesn't miss when I start to wake up. And he isn't afraid to give me a little bit of encouragement to wake up faster. This week, when I moved a foot under the covers, he gave it a pounce! And then when I moved a bit more, I was treated to another foot pounce. And it happened a third time. After that I made sure to lay very still until I was ready to get up! I was thankful that this time his claws were not involved in the pouncing. Always, the first thing he wants is a back scratch and then he wants his left ear rubbed. Oooo, it feels so good! But because it is morning and time is wasting, the scratch and rub doesn't need to last long! It is way more important that we go downstairs. Because it is a big effort for me to go down the stairs, I often want to sit down a bit and recover. If I linger too long in my recovering, Marco and our Miss Kitty begin to blame each other for my slowness of opening doors. They then have a cat argument and often roll and tussle with each other.
There are times when our two kitties can get along. They can lay on the same bed together, though never side by side. They can eat side by side, but Miss Kitty always waits to see what Marco leaves behind in his dish and then when he leaves, she is quick to see if he missed a treat crumb that she can find and eat.
Since we want our kitties to come home at night and spend the night indoors, we have given them incentive to want to come home! They get an addition to their supper that we think must be extra tasty—since we have to pay extra for it!  They used to get a spoonful of kitty meat from a can. But when the price of canned food started to exceed what we wanted to pay, we switched to a few tasty morsels that are supposed to tempt them to want to be on time for supper!! Since our Marco kitty often wants to push the limit on time to come home—just like a naughty little boy often tries to push the limit on obedience—we have waited until just before we go to bed to give them their suppers with treats. It simply is amazing how God gives our pets an internal clock and they seem to know to the minute what time it is. Time for TREATS!
We once had a dog that could tell which day of the week we were on. He knew which day was the 7th-day Sabbath. He knew he was to spend the day at his doghouse and that we encouraged obedience with a chain. Often when it was time to leave for church, we would find him at the doghouse appearing to be chained and ready for us to leave for the day. When we later discovered that he wasn't chained at all, we were amazed that he had realized what day it was—the Sabbath day! A day to rest!
Back to our kitties—they, too, know how to tell time. When they discover that we are a bit late with their evening supper with the desired treats, they start to blame each other for not getting supper on time! Then the fight begins. They figure the other one must be the troublemaker and reason for the delayed treat! The rolling and tussling start. Sometimes there is a bite that is too hard and then hissing happens. Often, it is Miss Kitty who picks the fight at first, but she often can't take what she dishes out and then decides to run from the fight and hollers, a voice of OWWWW ! She can't take what she started at first. They are just like a couple of kids who don't like the results of what was started.
But a lot of people are just like our kitties! Me included. How often we want to blame anyone else but ourselves on problems that exist because we caused them to happen. We do not want to think that we could have possibly caused........ ! 
For instance, who hasn't blamed your speeding ticket on anything but the fact that you yourself were not paying attention. You were late for a funeral, you had to get to the meeting on time as you were the speaker, your wife was having a baby, you didn't see the speed limit sign, the kids were distracting you...... so many reasons for the fact that you and only you were the reason for the ticket!! That camera caught you once again failing to pay attention.
  When dog Willy's master went to pick up Willie after his surgery, he walked past his master, greeted 4 other people, and would not make eye contact with his owner. This continued for 2 days after his surgery. It did not appear to be a consequence of the anesthetic or pain, in that although he was clearly a bit dopey, he enthusiastically greeted everyone else. The morning after surgery, as she sat beside him on the living room floor, he refused to lie down next to her, turned his tail to her face and lay looking longingly up the stairs toward her friend Meg. This continued, full throttle, for two days. Gradually he warmed up to his owner and began to now be back into the relationship they used to have. He loves her, she loves him, and he loves everyone else just about as much. She says this because he greets her enthusiastically, snuggles against her when they lie down together, and does his charming little moan’y thing when he lays his head against her cheek. But she is fascinated by his reaction when she picked him up from surgery, and it has me thinking about what goes on in the mind of a dog or cat. He consciously “blamed” her for what happened to him.
I have seen cases of cat behavior that looked more like this, too. It’s not uncommon for cats to ignore their owners when they return from a trip. I know that many will argue that “blame” is a human idea and that we must avoid attributing it to dogs and cats. But let me throw this out there: How much ability to perceive things in the world around them or the number of thinking processes would be required to solve a problem or complete a task, would it take to hold another responsible for their behavior and act on that knowledge? For animals to hold a memory in their minds for a considerable period of time and continue to experience the emotion associated with something that happened in the past, tells me a lot about how much God cares for them as individuals.
If God cares so much for these creatures, how much more does He care for us as beings created in His own image. And who are we to blame others for what we are responsible for! 
To me, blame implies a mental construction of “you are responsible for my discomfort/pain/unhappiness whatever.” I’ve been on the receiving end of a shunning from cats at times. In those cases, it has always seemed to me that the cat wanted to make his displeasure clearly understood to the person with the most power to affect the cat’s life. After all, I’m the one that brings things in, takes things out, adds and subtracts things that the cat considers desirable or undesirable. I’m the one the cat associates with things. That’s really where my distinction lies, I know I am associated with things in the minds of my pets but to me associated is not equal to blame. It could be simply a meaning issue for me but blame to me means more sophisticated reasoning and association is less sophisticated reasoning. I can say with confidence, that I am associated with good things and bad things in their lives and what I cannot say with confidence, that that association is the same as blame. Because Miss Kitty was stepped on once while on her way outside, now she associates us with the stairs to outside and is fearful to go down them to get out. She has to wait and see if something bad is about to happen to her as she goes out. But we seem to get the blame for what "could happen."

Dogs are very good at “If this, then that” conclusions. That is what makes them so easy to train. “If I sit, I get a treat. If I jump, the door stays closed.” They get they were the cause of where the blame is, when they are trained.
Sometimes we blame God for things that are our own fault. Sometimes we blame God for something that Satan did! And Satan himself is blaming God for being unfair. A lot of people are just like our kitties! Me included. How often we want to blame anyone else but ourselves on problems that exist because we caused them to happen. If God cares so much for these creatures, how much more does He care for us as beings created in His own image. And who are we to blame others for what we are responsible for! 
Take the Blame! We get what we don't deserve from God! 
We get Eternal Life by His grace and forgiveness!

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