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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Lesson of the Bumble Bee

Please Welcome Estermay Bentley-Goossen to the Cafe!!

I don’t blog too often about the mundane events -- scheduled and non-scheduled -- in our family’s life. It’s just not my flair. Not that there’s anything wrong with it! I laugh-out-loud in recognition, empathy and kinship when I read about crayon-throwing tantrums and rodent-disrupted Scrabble games and bathroom episodes gone (–- well, let’s just leave it there. I laughed-out-loud for a long time -
rotfl). A gifted blogger will find spiritual application in the both the humdrum and unexpected. (Have you visited Ann Voskamp’s site, Holy Experience?)

I do consistently find both humor and spiritual insight in the routine of life. Most of my spiritual growth comes silently in the moments of daily“ness”. I just find neither the point nor the time to digest it for all the world to see and read.

However . . .

This morning, Chloe’s behavior and resulting accomplishment met the criteria and her genius will now take it’s place in the blogging kingdom.

We affectionately call our family cat “The Bugger.” She is an indoor cat and, therefore,
de-clawed. I’ve never seen a de-clawed cat catch a mouse. Unsure. Can it be done? Our Chloe can catch undersized critters. So we've supplanted the characteristic "Mouser" with "Bugger."

You visit our b
asement to retrieve frozen peas or pork ribs from the deep-freeze, and you will sidestep and maneuver around dead crickets and flies and big-furry-spiders and hornets and bumble bees. All exterminated, stamped out, and left for the broom by “The Bugger.”

We rarely see any creepy-crawlies upstairs. The pests must breed and multiply and begin their life's journey in the cellar and migrate north. “The Bugger” -- of course -- intercepts and ends the journey.

Chloe must have been sleeping-in this morning in one of the three
un-made beds (busted!) because a bumble-bee made its way past the basement stairwell and into the kitchen. Mark and I watched “The Bugger” for over ten-minutes in her plucky effort to catch that bumble-bee.

She batted at it repetitively. Without claws, this was ineffective and powerless. (She is a "lightweight.") She chattered at it (-- you know, the way cats chatter at birds) and she took a crack at sinking her teeth into it. No success. The bumble bee was a fighter.

Chloe did not give up. Ultimately, “The Bugger” used her body to pin the bumble bee between herself and the window glass, and then slither the bee into the corner of the window sill. I'd never seen Chloe actually catch an undersized critter before. Is this how it's done? That little cat used her body - not the claws God gave her - to do the work God had created her to do.

So besides feeling guilty about
declawing the family cat (Please don't e-mail me!), I see a spiritual application worthy of the blogosphere. The family cat used what was available to fight her bumble bee battle. And she won! Way to go, Chloe!

What bugs you? And what do you use to battle and exterminate it?

As Christians, the whole world should "bug" us. II Corinthians 4:4 tells us that Satan is the god of this world. He's everywhere. And he's blinding people to the truth. He's even blinding believers. We need to be aware of and prepared to do battle with everything and anything of and in this world! Yeah! That's a big chunk of stuff to do battle with. . . . And what sort of weaponry should we be stockpiling and studying-up on. . . . ?

David used five smooth stones in his battle.
(I Samuel 17.) Like David, if we are walking with and trusting God, He can use anything that is available. If we have Faith in God, we don't need too much in the way of material things. Chloe (lacking her razor-sharp claws) used her lightweight seven-pound body.

Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

(I Samuel 17:40 NIV)

Scripture does not elaborate here, but David did not go out empty-handed and unarmed against the Philistine giant. He used his wits and took what he needed: his faith and confidence that God was with him.

His little slingshot didn't look like much to the visible eye. And if I'd been among the Israelite-Moms standing by witnessing this, I'd have been pretty opinionated about the boy's folly and lack of common sense. I would have been wondering -- probably out loud -- who his parents were and where they were now.

That little sling shot was visible and laughable as a weapon. What was not visible was God's power. That was David's ultimate weapon.

Too many times as Christians, we go out to fight the enemy unprepared and unarmed.

The enemy is everywhere.

Ephesians Chapter 6 lists the armor we are to wear when we go into battle - none of it is visible.

The battle is all around us.

God never sends any of us into battle without first training, dressing and arming us. Here's our God-given arsenal -- how to use it -- and how to secure it:

He gives us: The Belt of Truth.
To Know & Understand: GOD!
Read & Study
: Deuteronomy 4:39; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 18:1-3.

He gives us: The Breastplate of Righteousness.
To Know & Understand: The Righteousness of Jesus in our lives.
Read & Study:
Psalm 100:3; Romans 3:23-24; Romans 6:23; Galatians 2:20-21; Philippians 3:8-10.

He gives us: The Sandals of Peace.
To Know & Understand: Inner Peace and Readiness.
Read & Study:
Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14; John 14:27; John 16:33; John 20:21

He gives us: The Shield of Faith
To Know & Understand: Living by Faith.
Read & Study:
Romans 4:18-21; Hebrews 11:1; I Peter 1:6-7.

He gives us: The Helmet of Salvation.
To Know & Understand: Salvation through Christ - Today and Forever.
: Psalm 16, Psalm 23; Hebrews 1:3-6; II Corinthians 4:16-18; I Thessalonians 4:17; I John 3:1-3.

He gives us: The Sword of the Spirit: God's Word.
To Know & Understand: God's Word to discern and fight spiritual deception.
Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 4:2-11; I Peter 3:15; Psalm 119:110-112.

Before our military are sent into Iraq or Afghanistan, (or anywhere in the world) they are fully and expertly trained. I am not altogether militarily-literate, but . . . Are our troops given semi-automatic weapons upon recruitment and deployed into combat right there on the spot? I don’t think so. They are given weapons after they are trained. After they are prepared both mentally and physically.

Are we, as soldiers in God's army, any different? We need to be prepared not only mentally and physically, but also spiritually.

As followers of Christ, we've been recruited. Now we need to be prepared for battle.

Are you in the battle? Are you trained for battle? Are you dressed for battle?

If you are, are you winning?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

“Father, guide me and lead me in your Word as I equip myself to be your soldier – fighting not against people and their ideas, but against spiritual forces of evil. Your Word IS my sword and my faith in You is my shield. Thank you. Amen.”

In Him,

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen

The Heart of a Pastor’s Wife

(Aforementioned Bumble Bee was gently and humanely escorted to the garbage disposal following photo session. Please don't e-mail me.)



Blogger Denise said...

Wow, such an awesomely beautiful post.

October 9, 2008 at 12:51 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

It is so neat to see you at the Internet Cafe, Esthermay!
Your blog always makes me think.
I like that you use the verse in II Cor 4 about satan blinding beleivers in the same context as spiritual warfare. SO true in today's world. We need to be on guard always.
Great writing!

October 9, 2008 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Patty Wysong said...

You're so right. Preparation is so important! Thank God for all that He's given us!

October 9, 2008 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Esthermay, great words! You just knocked away the excuses for not doing what we are created to do. Because no one is left unequipped...we just allow ourselves to become unaware. Wonderful post.

October 9, 2008 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Blessed Mama of 4 said...

Fantastically encouraging... I'm printing it out now to meditate on the scriptures for our "armor". Thank you!

October 9, 2008 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Welcome to the Cafe....

Thanks for sharing your heart...

God's been revealing to me deceit that blankets my family.

He is our weapon of warfare..... How awesome is that?


October 9, 2008 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

Fantastic! We can use skills we didn't know we possessed to fight against the Evil One, just like Chloe the cat! Thanks so much for sharing!

October 10, 2008 at 6:09 AM  

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