Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lion On the Prowl

Full fledged fright engulfed me.  The children were behind the retractable wall partitions in their assigned Sunday school classrooms and were blissfully ignorant of the terror their teachers were experiencing.  What seemed like hours but in fact were only moments earlier I had caught a glance of the golden beast trekking proudly through the high school softball field across the street.  His green eyes reflected the sunlight from the sky and also shone off of the huge muscles defining a grand muscular body.  Massive paws pounded the earth as he made his way fiercely across the road right to the very place I was praying he wouldn't dare come.  I ran inside of the gold brick building.  Dread, worry, panic filled my whole being.  The church was filled.  How would I warn them?  The next thing I knew, he was inside.  The floor shook as he traipsed down the hallways.  Everywhere I ran, he was there.  I couldn't think of a plan, I wasn't able to move or yell or even whisper a warning.  I knew deep in my tied up gut that he was trying to destroy us.  I knew who he was the moment I laid eyes on him.  He was my enemy, our enemy in disguise....And the feeling was so real, so detailed.  I kept telling myself that there was no way this was really happening.  How could a wild lion have been unleashed into the burbs, into a city, into my city, and such safe one?  Vividly, the memory of fellow church members that were there enter my mind.  I recall their fright, their panic.   I don't know what happened to the lion, or the people that were there, or myself.  I woke up in the middle of one of the scariest dreams I have ever dreamed.  And a few years later the vision I have tucked away in my mind surfaces brightly as I read this portion of scripture:

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  

I dream some really strange and crazy dreams.  And most of the time there is no rhyme or reason to them.  But once in a blue moon I will have a very realistic, humbling, life-altering one and this was one of those times.  I haven't forgotten and I don't understand the meaning completely but 1 Peter 5:8 has been with me since.  

And tonight I came across the definition of the Greek word "katapino" which means "to devour" in the context of this verse.  Another word for it is : "overwhelmed".  (also to drink down, gulp entire, drown, swallow up)  So I say it again:  Overwhelmed is the same Greek word that Peter used when he said that Satan seeks to "devour us"  

The Devil who actually is defined as slanderer, seeks to overwhelm us.  I don't know how many times on a daily basis I feel completely overwhelmed.  Confirmation that is a real thing.  He is on the prowl, waiting to pounce when given the opportunity.  Have you ever felt attacked by that prowling lion and his untrue accusations in his attempts to blacken your name?  Have you felt belittled, disgraced, humiliated, shamed? His name is also interpreted as false accuser.  Good news FALSE accuser!  He is intentionally deceptive and deliberately untrue down to his uttermost core. 

And that goes for the church as well...the enemy is seeking to destroy Christ's Bride.  He will boldly tramp his way down the halls and into the sanctuary yearning to open up those huge jaws and throw her back like a Mountain Dew Big Gulp.

But thankfully, we are warned, I am be sober-minded.  Not just physically,  but also sober in a sense that I can refrain from being falsely secure.  I am reminded not to be be anxious but to be watchful, don't lie drowsy and sleepily like the foolish shepherds but be on guard of the cares of this life and whatever may intoxicate my mind.  Being mindful of these things will help equip me with ammo to fight off that fierce beast who zealously pursues to destroy me.  And destroyed I have been.  I have been completely overwhelmed and drowning in a sea of tears. Down in the pit, at my lowest of lows, I have felt a hand reach down and grab me up out onto higher ground.  

And as He, my Redeemer, begins to work out my salvation I am humbled beyond words.  Because I know in my heart of hearts that He is always victorious and even though we have an enemy who yearns to beat us down, overwhelm and engulf us.  Our God wins.    

As my enemy tries to belittle......I will EXALT Christ
As he tries to shame................. I will GLORIFY Christ
As he tries to scorn...................I will ADORE Christ  
As he tries to humiliate..............I will PRAISE Christ
As he tries to disgrace...............I will HONOR Christ

The cross always trumps the grave.  

Every. Single. Time.

And one day He will return to take His Bride, and there will be a great celebration...     

"Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready" Revelation 19:7