Soulless creation???

I’m an animal lover.  I’ll just get that out of the way right now.  I was raised with cats and often quip that I was raised in the way of being a “crazy cat lady” from my youth, (although I will assert to this day that I am still one cat shy of “crazy.”)

So with this kind of history, when someone looks at me and says that animals ‘don’t think, they don’t feel, and they don’t have souls,’ I know in my heart that it’s untrue, but until I sat down to work on a project this morning, I didn’t have the scripture to back up what, to this point, had just been my ‘opinion.’

To give context to the following, my mother had recently sent me an e-mail about an upcoming video addressing “Our Pets in Heaven?”  Asserting that she was planning to get a few copies, she had me curious so I clicked the link.  I’ll say it was the animals with photoshopped wings that turned me off to the video, rather than the fact that it included an “animal behaviorist” in among the Bible scholars slated to address the topic.

So when I replied back with what was essentially a “thanks, but no thanks, I have all the verses I need to settle this issue for me and don’t need a video for that,” I shouldn’t have been surprised when I got the reply back of “can you send those to me?”

Since I had first had someone look me in the eyes and tell me that “animals don’t have souls,” I’ve been highlighting those verses in my nightly reading, (Bible in  a year,) but unfortunately, it is an app on my cell where highlights are not searchable.  While I have transferred some to my paper Bible, I had not transferred all of them and so, was not in a position to readily provide the list of verses I had found that established that not only do animals have souls, but they know that there is a God and even cry out to Him!  Not only that, but He hears them as well, and they absolutely will be in heaven!

So after several hours of searching and reading and cross referencing, here’s the list I have compiled so far- just so that I don’t lose it and have it for easy reference later.

“And should I not pity Nineveh, the great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and
much livestock?” Jonah 4:11

Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast. Psalm 36:6

(In the NLT translation, the last line is: You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.)

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:19-20

(notice “all things” not just “men”)

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Matthew 10:29

A righteous man regards the life of his animal, Proverbs 12:10a

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain 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? Job 12:7-10

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, the nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9

“Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. Exodus 23:12

For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. Psalm 50:10-11

“Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Genesis 1:30

(“life” in this verse is the Hebrew נָ֫פֶשׁ pronounced neh’-fesh. The first listed definition for it is “a soul.”)

that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on the earth- in Him. Ephesians 1:10

(again, things instead of man or mankind.)

“And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.” Genesis 9:9-10

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely. Hosea 2:18

I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Ecclesiastes 3:18-20

(by the way, the same “breath” that we have here, is also translated “spirit.”)

The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:9

Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait? Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? Job 38:39-41

(That’s God answering Job out of the whirlwind, by the way- establishing the even ravens, which are sometimes used to symbolize evil, even cry to Him and He hears!)

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13

(again- creature.  Literally, “every created thing.”)

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths; (…) Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl; Psalm 148:7 & 10

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God. Psalm 104:21

It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:44

(Go back to 39 for full context; alternately translated “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”)

“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” Luke 3:6

CPB

I’d prefer sticks and stones

We all know the school yard saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  It’s a lie.

When bones are broken, they heal.  In most cases, there is no residual sign of there ever having been a break.  The same cannot be said true of words.  While words leave no physical sign of their presence, (talking long term signs, not crying for a few minutes, etc,) there is also nothing that can directly be done to heal and repair the damage.  Once they’ve gone out, there is no recall button, and you most certainly cannot delete the experience from the memory of another.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:8

So what’s got me riled up over something that seems so obvious?  I was the recipient of a message recently that caught me very off guard, set me on edge, physically upset me, and sent me questioning myself.

So, before I post the message itself here, a little background info.

My husband’s grandmother is on social media.  She got a tablet earlier this year and so, initially got sucked into it by the flash games, but eventually took to it due to the ability to ‘check up on people’ (paraphrase of her words, not mine.)  At some point in time, we ceased being “friends.”  Being part of the generation that was raised with technology, I am comfortable enough with social media to understand the ins and outs; how to “unfriend” from news feed or from their page.  Using something for an extended period of time will foster such a level of comfort and understanding.  So when it became clear to me that we were no longer “friends,” it seemed fairly logical to me that the “unfriending” likely happened on her end.

Now, I have heard of the “bug” that randomly “unfriends” people.  In some digging, however, I am not so convinced that it’s as rampant as some wish to claim.  (It does make a good cover for those that genuinely wish to stop seeing posts that they deem annoying but do not wish to deal with the confrontation that may come from being called on “unfriending” when the other party asked what they did and wishes to make amends.)  In this situation, I never doubted that it was an accident, regardless of how it happened.  Never once did the thought that it was actually malicious cross my mind.  I’ve known her nearly as long as I have my husband and have always gotten along with her.  So I didn’t think there would be any harm in joking with her some about the event before confirming the resent “friend” request.

I see that you want to be friends again… but I’m not accepting until you tell me what I did to make you remove me in the first place.

I’d think that anyone that has known me for any amount of time, would not take that as serious under any circumstances.  Putting aside the fact that the use of the emoticon with the tongue (by internet protocol) makes the joking intent clear to anyone that has been online for any length of time.  Evidently I was gravely wrong because two hours later I received her response.

I did not remove you! I have two friends that I didn’t request to be friends but somehow a request was sent them when I was scrolling their pages. These things happen which I’m sure you know. If you’re done with me that’s your choice but I won’t play these kind of games with you when the person who would be hurt and put in the middle is [my husband].

Once I read that, I remember blinking a few times and putting down my cell as my stomach churned. I had been hungry moments before, (logical since I hadn’t eaten all day to that point- about 2pm,) but that hunger had evaporated.  For the first few minutes it felt as though I had just been kicked in the gut.  I didn’t know what to think or say.  Eventually I told my husband about it and read her comment to him before telling him how her response made me feel.

Within a few minutes I was asking him if I was wrong.  Was I the one that, in fact, was overreacting?  Was I the one that was making this into a big deal?  Was I seeing something where there was in fact, nothing?  He reassured me that it wasn’t me, but that wasn’t enough for my brain.  It actually wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that it seemed to finally click with me as to why this affected me so much.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34b

Hate to admit that it took me almost 24 hours to realize that was the heart of why her response hurt me so much.

To elaborate, I realized that the person that I thought I presented to the world is one that is loving, easy going, friendly, quick to take an opportunity to joke and consistent.  Her response made me realize that clearly, that’s not what she has seen from me, evidently.  It seems that she has instead, seen someone that is judgmental, quick to cut people off entirely, spiteful, derisive, and looking to drive a wedge between my husband and his family.  I spent the most of yesterday questioning whether or not my own view of myself could possibly be so far askew from the reality of what she experienced.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
1 Corinthians 11:31

In the end, the only thing that I found going through my head was:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

And suddenly it made sense to me why it was the man that had to do the leaving.  Women are drama.  (Okay, stop laughing, I know it’s obvious.)  But truly, where there are women, there is drama.  But if, by chance there is none, just give it time and they will create it.  Bringing a new woman into a family structure creates a power struggle where each one must complete against the others to assert their power and importance.  Especially when there is a man that is being “competed” for.

But God directs the man to step away and be joined with his wife.  Not to have her mesh into his family, but to have him create his own family with his wife (the two become one,) thereby becoming more a part of her family than it appears she would become of his family that he left.

So before long, I understood that the problem was on her end.  She had an issue with me where I saw none.

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24

I want to be reconciled with her, but right now, I truly am not sure how to go about that.  Later in the evening after getting her message, I wanted to reply, but I felt I needed to gird my tongue or well, in this case, fingers. (Proverbs 21:23).  I couldn’t bring myself to respond directly to her comments because escalating things is not something I ever care to do, but I also felt that I couldn’t reply with anything along the lines of, ‘I’m not sure you realize what you’ve said, but know you’re forgiven,” because I felt that that as well could escalate things.  So I remained silent and just “confirmed” the request.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about how last night would go.  It was Bible study, which she had her husband have only rarely missed since starting to attend.  Since she has not always had the best concept of appropriate times and locations for discussions, (she once delayed a women’s Bible study class for several minutes to tell me about a discussion she had with her husband about kittens my husband and I had been fostering,) I was concerned that she would wish to do the same thing last night to clear the air.  While I wasn’t concerned so much about getting things cleared up, I didn’t feel it was something that needed to be discussed in front of close to 20 other people.  Of course I went to God with my concerns, and it turned out I was worried for nothing; they didn’t show up last night, and there was, (I guess not surprisingly,) not text to say they were not going to be there.

Tonight is another women’s study.  As things sit right now, (after last night,) I would be surprised if she shows tonight.  Right now I am concerned that she will use this perceived “issue” as an excuse to not attend Bible study or even church.  Nothing and no one should ever be able to come between your relationship and your obedience to God.

I will say though, that I have already witnessed some good coming from this.  My husband called me this morning just before 6:30 am.  He begins work then, so you can imagine my first question of “What’s wrong?”  He expressed that it seemed as though this whole thing with his grandmother was affecting him physically and asked for me to call her to try and work things out.  I told him that I had thought of going over to their house to talk to her face to face, (because I was concerned that, if she could so easily misunderstand an online communication, I was concerned that the same could happen over the phone,) but I didn’t feel that would be received well.   He concurred, suggested calling to see if it was okay for me to go over and talk to her, and then recanted.

He started to open up about his own frustration with his family; not just his grandmother, but his own mother as well.  He explained how their obsession with protecting him and trying to make sure that nothing hurt anyone within the family was actually causing more pain.  Then he said that he personally (not wanted,) but needed to talk to her about it.  I hadn’t thought it possible, but in that moment, I think I started to love him a bit more.

but, speaking the truth in love,
Ephesians 4:15a

We cannot hide in a hole our entire lives, afraid of causing a hurt or for fear of being hurt.  Hurts will happen in this life.  We are all human and we all make mistakes.  They are unavoidable.  What makes the difference is how one responds.  Will you lash back, or will you seek to cover the transgression with love, showing compassion and continuing on?

He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
Proverbs 17:9

Because hurt is inevitable, that is not permission to conduct yourself as the bull in a china shop, (despite Mythbusters debunking).  We should always still conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and shows love for others.  But you must still live and fulfill the mission that God has for you.  Just pack a box of band-aids.

 

CPB

 

Of grace and salt

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2

It’s easy to give in to the social pull to become just another face in the crowd, to blend in and essentially disappear.  But as a follower of Jesus, we are called to stand apart from the world.  From the moment one surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus, we are sealed for the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit and the slow, sometimes painful process of being transformed begins.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

For whom He foreknew, he also predestined to be confirmed to the image of His Son, that He may be the first born among many brethren.
Romans 8:29

That transformation is all encompassing and is not something that can be hidden.  As Jesus is the light of the world, we are therefore becoming His lights in the world by following His example for us.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 9:5

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

That means not hiding.  That means accepting the fact that as a follower of Jesus you will get attention, both for good and bad.  Being confirmed, slowly, to the image of Him means that it will both draw people to you and turn them strongly against you.  But when you see that happening, rather than pulling away for fear of alienating people and offending them, take heart that there is a change taking place, and have faith that He will continue the good work that He has begun.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Philippians 1:6

The reason all this is forefront in my mind tonight?  It’s been confirmed by others that every time I post a verse to social media, someone responds with either an atheist post, or one that is just anti-Christianity.  This has brought several things to my attention.

Namely, it shows me that someone that God has been trying to reach is getting a daily dose of the word of God whether it is being looked for or not.  Before one can believe, they must first hear the Gospel.

What it has also brought to mind, though, is that I must regularly check myself in this situation.  In order to properly serve the Lord, I am to show love to all, especially those that He is trying to reach.  While there are numerous verses that come to mind that I could post to my wall, being forceful about his need for salvation isn’t a way to show kindness to him, and certainly not God’s love.  My goal is not to make other believers that see the exchange wince at the verbal smack-down given by verse, but rather to make clear to even them, patience, strength and most of all love and caring.

If my response to his critical posts are not seen as attacking but rather standing my ground and defending, than I have chosen my verses well.  The moment, however, that I chose a verse with the intention of stinging him, I fail to shine the light of Jesus into the world and have sinned, not only against him, but most importantly, sinned against God.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 4:29

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each one esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Colossians 4:6

 

CPB

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart

Judge not, that you be not judged.
Matthew 7:1

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
1 Cor 11:31

So tonight is one of those nights that I am sitting here, attempting to analyze my own thoughts in an attempt to try and determine my true motives.

In an age driven by social media, it’s hard not to end up with more information than is either needed or desired in the lives of both friends and acquaintances, all dependent upon their security settings, of course.  By looking at little snippets of their lives, it’s hard not to come up with an idea of the person behind the posts, whether you’ve met them or not, and regardless of any attempts one may make at not jumping to conclusions.  Between image uploads, status updates, and the various memes, quotes, and likes someone has on their page, they create within social media a sometimes, fairly clear image of who they are.

Anyone that happens to find me on social media quickly discerns that I have a weakness for felines, (yes, even those that seem to have less than desirable English skills,) that I enjoy Star Wars and Iron Man, and that I enjoy a healthy debate.  More than anything though, I hope that they realize that I am a follower of Jesus and consciously try to inject, so far as I am able, positive things into the world of social media.  (I am not beyond hiding or removing posts that contain foul language or questionable content.)

So what am I getting at?

There’s an individual that shows up on my feed quite regularly, that I have never met in person.  The only interaction I have had directly with them was either accepting or sending them a friend request; honestly can’t remember which it was.  But just from their posts alone, I feel as though I know them fairly well.

I don’t agree with a lot of what I see, and I am not talking personal taste; (I don’t hide the fact that pink is far from my favorite color, but that’s beside the point).

After a particular post showed up on my feed earlier today, I had to stop and think, and question my motives.  I sought counsel, (something I have no problem doing now that there is good counsel in my life,) and analyzed some more.

The post that brought all this about?  A simple share of “Keep calm, sit back, and let karma **** them up.”

Due to at least a shadow of context from the other posts I have seen recently, my knee-jerk reaction was a desire to comment to that image with Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.

But then I put on the breaks.  While I had a desire to post this, I was unsure if that desire was coming from the right place.  This individual is a professing Christian so I know that a Bible verse would not have been deemed offensive to them, but at the same time, was my desire to respond in such a way judgement, or was it a desire to correct and edify?

I will be the first one to freely admit that I don’t know what’s in the heart of another.  Nor do I have a desire to when it comes right down to it; it’s hard enough keeping up with my own.  But when presented with something that I myself would never consider sharing, was my immediate response to judge?  To somewhere in the back of my mind, try to make myself feel better because, ‘look how mature I am when compared to their emotional outbursts and delight in ill befalling another’?

I would like to be able to unequivocally say that was not something that went through my head.  While it was not a conscious thought, I cannot rule out that that is what the heart of the desire to respond with a Bible verse was based upon.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9

While I know from my own history that such a response would have ended up as a private message as opposed to a comment for all to see, that doesn’t answer the underlying question of why did I wish to post it, even if just for a moment?

Eventually, I came to several realizations.  While the post itself presents something of an antithesis to what it is to be a follower of Christ since we’re to be known by our love, (John 13:34-35) there was something far more to it than presenting a conflicting public image.  What I saw behind it was the bitterness that it takes to not just observe ill befalling another, but more so, to sit anticipating it and to delight in it.  Then when one also considers that merely being angry with another can be on par with murder in one’s heart, (Matthew 5:21-24) what may have seemed like an ‘innocent moment of venting’ becomes something that could easily grieve the spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

While I would love to say that these realizations are the true and complete motivation that overcame me in a single moment when I wanted to respond with Matthew 5:44, again, I cannot say for absolute certainty due to the mess that is my very own heart.

In the end, all I can do is ask forgiveness for any sin, whether conscious or not, that I may have committed in immediately wishing to virtually throw a verse at her, and continue to pray daily that God fix my heart and bring it into alignment with His desires, and that he control my tongue so that I may be a blessing to others thereby bringing glory to His name.

…and add in that He also control my fingers.

 

CPB

A lesson in faith- look to your cat

Over the past few weeks I have marveled at how often my cats have seemed to show me what true faith is.  In a way, they’re helping to guide me into becoming a better follower of Jesus.

But cats don’t even come when you call them.

Not sure where that comes from, but I know that unless my cats are asleep, they generally come right over when they’re called; tail straight up, looking expectantly, happy to be singled out for whatever I have for them.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Sure, there are times when all I get are ears turned in my direction, but can we say that we always jump when God calls us to do something?  Or do we sit where we are and see if maybe He will change His mind and ask something else instead?

He went a little father and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Matthew 26:39 (NKJV)

Jesus uses both the lilies of the valley and the birds as an example of faith, and I feel it can be said that cats exemplify this as well.

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)

They have no thumbs with which to open their own cans of food, nor to pour out more crunchies.  They cannot turn on the faucet to get more water for themselves if their bowl is empty.  They trust that you will ensure they have everything they need.  They own nothing themselves, but they don’t worry about where they will sleep or what they will eat.  They know it will be provided for them.  Why?  Because you love them.

Then what happens when we bring out a can of food or begin to fill a bowl with more crunchies?  We’re generally greeted by at least one voice and a raised tail.

…singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 5:19-20 (NKJV)

There have been some studies and articles that assert that the primary reason cats meow is to communicate with their humans, not each other.  We all know that tone that we hear in their voices anywhere from half an hour to a full hour (or more) before their designated feeding time asserting that they are clearly starving and need to be fed “right meow!”

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)

I suppose it’s possible that I have an oddball group of felines, but it doesn’t take more than me telling them that “It’s not time.  Wait a little longer,” and then walking out of the kitchen to quiet them.  It’s not the answer they want, clearly, but they accept “Wait” as my answer.  How many times have we prayed for something we desperately want only to fight the answer received from God of, “Wait,” in our own lives?  Whether we begin to beg and plead with God for what we feel we need right then and there, or if we go out and try to make it happen on our own, we are, at that point, like the cat trying to open their own can of cat food.  We lack the ability.  And if you replace the can with a bag of crunchies, sure, the cat can get into it, but they sure seem to make a mess of things.

Matthew 7:7 speaks of perpetual action.  Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.  That, most certainly, is what my cats do when it comes to food.  While they accept the “Wait” for a while, they will come back a while later and ask again.  But if it still is not time, they accept “Wait.”

How many times have you seen you cat in the middle of something, whether playing with their favorite toy, or bathing for a nap, only to leap up and follow you into another room?

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Matthew 4:19-20 (NKJV)

Not ‘thought about it a while and debated’ before following.  Immediately.  Just like your cat.  No second thoughts.  My human is going there, so I am going to go there as well.

And no, I haven’t even touched on the love they give…

But both my coffee cup, and the pot are empty.  So I will likely continue on this another day.

 

CPB

P.S. I think I must add here, that I am by no means asserting that we are mini gods that deserve worship from our pets.  Quite the contrary, actually.  I am asserting that by being part of a category that is certainly among the least, (a mere domestic house pet,) they are, in fact, helping lead by example.

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:19 (NKJV)