Thursday, June 11, 2009

OnFire #191 Its Not Only Cats Who Hiss

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #191 Its Not Only Cats Who Hiss

Hi Folks:

Ian and Taka finished their exams today, officially starting their summer vacations. Mark still has a week to go, and has some neat plans lined up. Our neighbour will take him to the final dance in his Austin Healy convertible. This is very kind of him and Mark is looking forward to this. He had the choice between going in the black Corvette or the Healy, and he chose the Healy. Mark has classy taste in cars.

Jan leaves Monday for Quebec City as a chaperone with the international students. She went last year with Ian’s class from Shelburne, and she is looking forward to returning to this beautiful city. I’ll have Ian and Mark at home. We always have a good time together, and since we have taken in an international student, we don’t have the same time alone together, so this will be good.

I have a short article in Promise Keeper’s (Canada) new men’s magazine, Seven. It was an honour to be asked. To sign up for this new magazine, visit
Blessings for your week.

Every morning when I get up, our two cats meet me by rubbing their heads against my ankles as a sign of affection, or perhaps manipulation to make me feel better so I’ll let them out.
The little grey cat always runs out without hesitation. The big black cat, however, has a funny ritual. He often stops at the threshold to hiss.

He is normally a very friendly cat, but he has ways to tell us enough is enough. For instance, he might swipe with his paw, but keep his claws back. That’s his way of telling us that if we don’t leave him alone he’ll perform surgery on the next pass. I’ve learned this the hard way.

And so we think he hisses at the door as a warning that he doesn’t want any trouble. "I don’t have time for thissssssssssssss. Get out of my way!"

I know people like that. They don’t hiss, but they transmit signals to leave them alone because they are tired, grumpy, stressed, or otherwise not pleased. For that matter, we have teenagers who grunt at times, which may be loosely translated as, "Leave me alone." But its not only cats or teens. I must confess that I, too, have been guilty of sending signals which mean, "Don’t bother me."

I think I’m worst around my family. Jan has commented in the past that I can be grumpy around the house until the phone rings, and then I turn into a different person. Sadly, this tells me that I am more in control of my responses than I like to admit. I should, and could, be more patient.

My conscience is always pricked when I read passages about patience. James tells us, "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming." (James 5:7*) If he only said it once, we might be able to avoid doing something, but he continues. "Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." (v.8)

And just in case we still don’t get it, he gives us an example of impatient behaviour. "Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" (v. 9)

I used to think James meant we needed to be patient in the abstract sense that we wait patiently for Jesus to return. This is only a minor part of the passage, however. Most of all, James reminds us that we need to be patient with each other as we wait for Jesus to return.

I really don’t expect our cat to change much. He hissed at me again today. But we’re different from cats. We can change because God can give us the strength. Its not only that we should be more patient, we can be more patient.

I hope this helps. Be on fire.

OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published June 11, 2009. *Bible references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at 

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