Note: This is not about us doing this or that to receive the blessings of God. There are plenty of people who will tell you they have the perfect little wrapped up package of merchandise that will tell you how — you just have to buy it. No, this has nothing to do with that. So if that is what you are looking for, you will be disappointed.

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We got Dixie and Dolly when they were barely 8 weeks old. Dixie weighed 2 and a half pounds and Dolly — the runt of the litter — weighed 1 and a half pounds.

After having Jethro, our blue-tick beagle, who was rambunctious and a mind of his own, I decided early that I would try to train the new pups in ways I had not with Jethro.

Jethro would never come when called. Instead, he would look at you and then run off barking that obnoxious hound dog bark. Even though he was a house dog — twice, we received letters from some secret disgruntled neighbor complaining about his barking.

Not wanting to go through that again, I began teaching the pups at a very early age to come to me when called.

Another thing I wanted to teach them, was not allowing them to run ahead of me. Especially when it came to stairs. I had already had my fill of that with Jethro. It was clear he was alpha in the household and one of the ways he showed it, would be just about knocking me down a flight of stairs as we both were using them.

I wanted to train the new puppies to either walk beside me or behind me. Especially on steps.

They have learned well. They even watch my foot steps, turning their little heads, looking to see when their master moves, and will wait for me to take a step before they do. They rarely overstep their bounds.

However…

When I walk up the steps with treats in my hand, Dixie, the biggest one will walk right beside me. Never in front, never behind, but right beside me, like the little lady she is. Dolly, the little one however, runs excitedly ahead of me waiting for me at the top of the stairs. It is the only time she runs ahead of me. I don’t discipline her for it. She is excited and I can not take that away from her. She knows I have something good to give her. She can not wait for me to get to the top of the stairs. But, she still has to wait for me to get there before she gets the cookie.

One night I saw something — this is sometimes how we have received the blessings of God. There are times when we have walked right along beside Him. Step – by – step, patiently, keeping the very same pace as our Master.

Other times, we may try and and run on ahead at our pace. I don’t know if it is disobediant or not. I guess it depends upon what one does when they get to the place where they think God is going. In Dolly’s case, there is nothing more for her to do, but wait for me, tail wagging, full of expectation.

It’s too bad sometimes, that I am not a dog when it comes to receiving the Master’s blessings. Because unlike Dolly, who will run on ahead and wait, I sometimes decide to run on ahead and bless myself any way I see fit. Some examples of that over the years has been grabbing an alcoholic drink after working hours in the yard. After all, I deserve it.

No longer able to physically work hours in the yard like ten, twenty years ago — I do good to go at it for 15 – 20 minutes at a time — I come in and collapse in a chair. My reward now is simply being able to tell the Lord, “Thank you, God, for helping me get that done and not letting me drop dead out there.”

Other examples of blessing myself have been getting a chore done and then mindlessly veg out in front of the TV. All the while telling myself, After all, I deserve it. Why anyone feels they deserve hours of some TV marathon while there are things to be done, is beyond me.

One particular way I blessed myself, was get all my work done and then sit down and work a jigsaw puzzle.  After all, I deserve it. I would not do anything else until that puzzle was done. No cleaning, no ironing, no doing laundry, no dish washing, nothing. You have any idea how long it takes to put together a puzzle of 500, 1000 pieces? Long enough where everything around you starts piling up and the place starts to look like you have pigs living with you.

One of the worst ways I blessed myself some years back, was playing a computer game. I finally came to realize it had actually began a process of re-wiring my brain! I dared not even say it outloud back then because at the time it was much too embarrassing. Who would even believe such a thing, but I tell you it is true.

Having our brains re-wired for anything but the Word of God, just will not do, my friends.

The Word of God says to be transformed — changed — by the renewing of our minds.

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 —

I was not blessing myself, instead I was allowing myself to come under the influence of something that ended up cursing me.

I know we are to be like Jesus in all things and God knows my heart when I say this: If I could be more like my dogs in receiving the blessings of God, that would still be an improvement over where my impulsives have led me over the years.

Impulsives, for the most part are sin. If something is not under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then it is sin. I didn’t have that right to bless myself. Not only is it self-centered and selfish, it made me a robber, a thief. I stole that from My Father who wanted to be THE ONE to bless me, however, whenever He saw best.

Are you using ways to bless yourself in ways that God has not desired? Please know, they ultimately lead to bondage. You become addicted to the very thing you run to to bless yourself. Some people end up being alcoholics and drug addicts for rewarding themselves. Others go in debt because they spend, spend, spend, trying to bless themselves. Some, like I, end up having our brains re-wired. It is a curse we bring on ourselves. It is sin.

If you too have stolen from God, you must know, you are a thief. It is God who desires to bless you. It is not your place. Your way will lead to bondage and death. His blessings lead to freedom and life.

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