Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

The Lesson of the Bumble Bee. . .

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 05 September 2008

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 -rotflol). 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 basement 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

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.
Read: 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.
Read: 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 depolyed 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)

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


Barbara said...

Funny. Our cat Reagan is a bugger too. Only he brings the bugs to our bedroom half dead and leaves 'em on the pillow as a present for us. DH says this is what the cats on the farm where he grew up did with mice.

Nice devotional - love all the links to the verses.

Amy Guerino said...

Bugger is amazing! Fun pictures to tell the story and lovely application.

In response to a comment you made on my blog surrounding Mommy/Daughter dates: At the age of five or so Elizabeth and I just went out together and I talked it up to make it a special girl thing. I just wanted to make an impression that I would take the time to find a special place that I would want to show HER and be with her. There were times I added a fun storybook along to add a teaching element. Those times laid the foundation for her enthusiasm to do these Secret Keeper Girl dates. So, I don't have any specific suggestions other than take the time to just do things with her....out of the house and away from everyday life stuff.

Anonymous said...

In three years I will be a "Pastor's Wife"...Our family just moved to Columbia Theological Seminary for my husband to begin his studies (we're almost 40 and have three children ages 11, 6 and 4) I "stumbled" upon your blog while searching for devotionals...I will come back! Great encouragement!

Growing In Christ,

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