The Lion

lionMilwaukee has gone crazy over a very large feline — a cougar, a panther, or maybe a real lion — first spotted July 20 roaming through the back yard of Bill and Annie Nolen’s neighbor. “I was afraid to move,” Annie Nolen said. “I thought, what am I looking at.” Their daughter’s grainy video went viral.  CNN 

Any time a mountain lion enters an urban area it makes headlines. Some people are afraid (understandably) to venture out at night. But did you know that there is a lion stalking every city, every town, every state? As a matter-of-fact, there isn’t a place on earth that you will not find him. “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Did you know that in a pride of lions; it is the lioness (female) that does must of the killing? The male lion’s job is to roar fiercely causing their prey to be confused and fearful. And in their fear, the herd panics and stampedes into the lioness’ ambush. Satan’s role is similar: He causes Confusion 1 Cor. 14:33; Deception: Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light.”  2 Cor.11:14  See also Rev. 12:9. He  brings Division: Satan will use false doctrine to divide the Church. In the animal world, the lion pride will single out one of the herd to attack but they must get him away from the rest of the herd before they attack. There is safety in numbers. Hebrews 10:24-25

But there is another Lion mention in Scripture; the Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ). Hosea 5:14 Rev.5:5 His strength will be yours in time of trouble. He will guard and keep you!

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There is no question that technology is changing our world and nowhere is that seen more than in military weapons. In a little over 200 years we have gone from black-powder weapons to rifles that shoot around the corner without exposing the soldier to the enemy. In Vietnam, I wore a flack vest that was heavy and cumbersome but today’s “body armor” is light weight and can be worn under a business suit without being detected.

With the rise of ISIS, we are made more aware that there are forces trying to destroy Christianity. Our own country is consistently trying to pass laws that would take away our religious freedom. Our grandparents knew that “this world is not a friend of grace.”

The Bible repeatedly told the Church they were in a spiritual conflict:

for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh… 2 Corinthians 10:4

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12

I am afraid that many Christ-followers are not even aware that they are in a spiritual battle. 2 Cor. 2:11 They do not understand they have a real enemy that is committed to their destruction. 1 Peter 5:8

But the good news is we can be victorious, through Jesus Christ. Romans 8:36-39   God has provided us a special armor that we can defeat our enemy. Ephesians 6:13

Your Enemy

Most of us would like to think that most people like us. Some of us will go to extremes to make sure people like us. But we all know it is impossible to be liked by everyone. We often forget that we are citizens of two worlds. Phil. 3:20 We must not forget that “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey but we spiritual beings on a human journey.” {Steve Covey} As spiritual beings, we must we aware that there is an enemy that not only dislikes you but is committed to your destruction.  1 Peter 5:8 Of course, I am referring to Satan.
One of my favorite television shows is Criminal Minds. Each week a team of FBI profilers tries to solve crimes by “profiling” the perpetrator. The dictionary defines a profilers as  “someone with psychological training who assists police investigations by identifying likely characteristics of the the perpetrator of a particular crime.”
By now, you are probably asking yourself “Where is he going with line of thought?” [Glad you asked!] Two thousand years ago a Chinese military expert wrote The Art of War. “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” Good advice.
The Apostle Paul wrote “So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” 2 Cor. 2:11 In the next few blogs, I want us to be ‘familiar’ with his evil schemes.

Christmas Contrasts

vacancyEvery Christmas we hear pastors preach a sermon about there being no room for Jesus in the inn. The sermon is usually concluded by encouraging everyone to make room for Jesus in their lives. I have preached that message myself.  We SHOULD make room for Him.

But as I thought about making room for Jesus this year, a verse of Scripture came to my mind, a verse that tells us to put a “No Vacancy” sign. Ephesians 4:27 says, “…and do not leave room for the devil.” In our home, we have a bedroom that has been designated as the ‘guest room.’ This room is for people that are invited or welcomed to stay with us. Setting up a room for the Devil sounds like a bad idea. But that is exactly what we do when we allow him to focus on other things instead of Jesus Christ. Tell the Devil there is no room for him in your life. No vacancy