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Roaring Lion

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9

Last year, we took our grandson William to the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro. Walking about the park, we occasionally heard the male lion roar. As we observed the male, he mostly lay on the cool rock resting in the day's heat, observing the potential meals, walking by, and opening his mouth periodically to exert his dominance–and perhaps hunger for an afternoon snack. On the other hand, the female was restless, constantly pacing while still eyeing her observers. My mind reeled back fifty years to Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom episodes with Marlin Perkins. While Marlin narrated the action from some safe studio in Hollywood, his sidekick naturalist Jim Fowler was out on the plains of Africa filming lions as they brought down gazelle outliers feasting for all to see. It made me highly grateful for the chasm and fencing separating us from the lions.

The apostle Peter wrote from Rome to the church in Turkey. He encourages them to remain faithful amid the persecution they are facing. They were not alone in their sufferings; followers of The Way were regularly persecuted. As Christianity spread throughout the kingdom, it clashed with the imperial worship of ancient Rome. The persecution began in earnestness when the power-hungry Emperor Nero blamed Christians for the devastating fire in Rome. Many were arrested, tortured, and crucified. Some were sewn into animal skins and attacked by dogs.

As we reflect on the male lion's mighty roars at Capron Park Zoo, we find parallels in the apostle Peter's words; he warns us to be alert and sober-minded because the devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour. As the male lion asserts dominance and hunger for his prey, Satan, our spiritual adversary, seeks to harm and weaken those whose faith flounders. The chasm and fencing separating us from the lions at the zoo symbolize the protective barrier of Jesus Christ against spiritual dangers. Though we can hear him roar, observe his pacing, and recall his potential for destruction, we remember that God protects us from evil. 

Gracious Father,

We come before You, our refuge and strength, grateful for the protective barriers You place around us. As we hear the male lion's mighty roars echoing in our hearts, we recognize the spiritual battle we face. The devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour our faith, our hope, and our resolve. Yet, Lord, You are our shield, fortress, and deliverer.

Father, we pray for:

Alertness: Keep our minds sober and vigilant. Help us discern the enemy's tactics, whether as a sudden roar or a subtle whisper. May we remain steadfast and unyielding in our faith.

Strengthen and Courage:  Provide us the strength to stand in our fear and the courage to face the unknown.

Unity: Just as the family of believers worldwide faces similar sufferings, bind us together. May our prayers rise as incense, connecting us across time and space. Grant us compassion for one another.

Protection: Thank You for the chasm and fencing separating us from the lions. In the same way, it shields us from the enemy's attacks. Remind us that Your love surrounds us, and Your grace sustains us.

Lord, as we reflect on the wild kingdom and the ancient persecutions, we find hope in Your unwavering presence today. May our faith remain unshaken, our resolve unyielding, and our hearts anchored in You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. 


Pastor Tim

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