Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17

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The Closet God Gave Me

Sometimes I amaze myself by the full blown, all out pity parties that I have – especially when they are about the silliest of things.

Like closets.

Like why God has given me this closet?  Yes, I actually had that thought.  (I am ashamed and have repented, so you can go ahead and laugh at me.  It’s okay.)  But I will confess the full thought here because I cannot be the only one.

It just hit me one day.  I was trying to put away groceries, but the refrigerator was too full already.  Likewise the pantry, so I left some non-perishables on the kitchen counter, determined to deal with them later and  sat down to read my mail and pay bills.  But there were stacks of papers already on my desk and even some peeking from the pigeon holes, so I just placed the new mail on top of the old stacks.  On to the laundry – to fold and put away the freshly cleaned clothing.  But the linen closet was already stuffed and the racks in the closet were full.  And that is when the frustration set in and the pity party began.

“Lord, what is up with this little closet?!  I miss the closets I used to have in my old house!  Don’t you remember, Lord?  Shelves organizers, drawers, space!  Why did you bring me to this place?  Why do I have to have these little closets?!”  This might be a good time to tell you that I’ve moved into a home built in the early 1900s.  The home is lovely, but people obviously didn’t build closets much less BIG closets back in those days.

And then it hit me.  This is the closet that the Lord has given me.  And that being the case, the problem is not the closet.  The problem is the stuff.  Hmm.  Let’s go even deeper.  Might the problem be a lack of self-discipline and self-control?

Another Hmm.

Stuffed closets, packed refrigerator, overflowing desk drawers, stacks of books and piles of papers.  Even my phone’s battery drains because of all the apps I’ve downloaded, the texts I’ve sent and the pictures I’ve taken.  Let’s not talk about email inboxes!

It is not the closet (Forgive me, Lord!); it is me.  It is my lack of self-control and self-discipline.

Okay, so my closet is overstuffed and my desk is junky.  “Is that a sin?” you ask.  Well, let’s turn to the Scriptures.

We are instructed by Titus 1:7-8 (ESV) to “be above reproach…to not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined

Galatians 5:22-23 teaches us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness,(and) self-control.

It is 1 Peter 5:8-9 (EXB) that most makes clear the problem for me.  “Control [Discipline] yourselves and be ·careful [alert]! The devil, your enemy, ·goes around [prowls] like a roaring lion looking for someone to ·eat [devour]. ·Refuse to give in to [Resist] him…”

Overstuffed closets, junky desks and even full mailboxes may not be sins, but the questions that they should raise in us include “Are these things – having them and pursuing more – interfering with my relationship with God?” “Is all my time spent dealing with my stuff?”   “Does the clutter of the stuff rob me of peace?”

Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.” (MSG)  That kinda summarizes how I felt the day I had the “too little closet pity party,” like the doors and windows had been knocked out and a wind was blowing through the house creating havoc in every room.  And therein lay my problem – no peace and no contentment because of too much stuff.

You may be fine with your closets and your stuff, but this week examine your peace and contentment.  Determine to take whatever action necessary to deal with those things that rob you of the peace and contentment Paul describes to us in Philippians 4.  As for me, I’ve learned to be content with the closet that God gave me!


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Lion Killing, Part 2

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.  And he struck down an Egyptian who was five cubits tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.  Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors.  He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. 1 Chronicles 11:22-25 (NASB)

The Scripture says, “He…went…and killed a lion.”

So, the question I left you with was, “How?” “How do you kill a lion in a pit on a snowy day?” “How do you kill your lion?”

You fight.

Sorry. I’m sure you thought I would be sharing a secret.

We know that Benaiah won because the Scriptures tell us. But they do not reveal the details. Sometimes I just hate it when the Scriptures seem to skip over some important detail, but then I stop and think. “God had a reason why.” Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings is to search it out.”

So, while we still do not know all the details, we can be sure that Benaiah fought. He fought his lion. He didn’t simply lie down in the pit, cross his fingers, close his eyes and hope for the best. As a matter of fact, look back at Verse 22 and you will “search out” a clue.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. It seems that Benaiah wasn’t drug into the pit. He didn’t fall into the pit. Nobody pushed him into the pit. He went down. He went after his lion. He was determined to take it out! Easy? Absolutely not; it was a lion!

Turn the tables on your lion, the Devil, who prowls seeking to devour. He thinks he has you on the run. Like, Benaiah, flip the script and put him on the run. In an old joke, a Sunday School teacher asks her class what to do when Satan knocks at your door. A little girl responded, “I send Jesus to answer the door.” Ahh, out of the mouths of babes!

To defeat Satan we must turn to God (Matthew 6:13). To resist the Devil, we must submit to God (James 4:7). To stand against the Devil, we must put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11) and arm ourselves with the greatest weapon, the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11).

Winston Churchill, rallying troops and indeed an entire nation, during World War II said, “You ask, “What is our policy?” I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and all the strength that God can give us…You ask, “What is our aim?” I can answer in one word: Victory…at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be… We shall go on to the end…we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.  Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in… Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

What enemy is greater than the Devil, our lion? None! We must, therefore, fight – in the fields, in the streets, in the pits on snowy days. Never give in. Never give in!