I came across a very sad article on the internet Sunday morning. The news report read, “A hiker in Alaska’s Denali National Park photographed a grizzly bear for at least eight minutes before the bear mauled and killed him in the first fatal attack in the park's history, officials said Saturday. Investigators have recovered the camera and looked at the photographs, which show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively before the attack. The hiker was backpacking alone along the Toklat River on Friday afternoon when he came within 50 yards of the bear, far closer than the quarter-mile of separation required by park rules, officials said. "They show the bear grazing in the willows, not acting aggressive in any form or manner during that period of time," Anderson said. Prior to receiving a permit to hike in the area, all backpackers in the park receive mandatory bear awareness training that teaches them to stay at least a quarter-mile away from bears, and to slowly back away if they find themselves any closer. Investigators confirmed that the hiker had received that training.” After reading this I asked myself the question, “What went wrong?” I think the obvious answer is the hiker acted on a dangerous trust. He trusted that in spite of the training given his close proximity to the bear was not a real threat; he trusted that the bear would not harm him and if alarmed he could easily find a way of escape. All of us take far too many risks with our lives. That’s why Paul encouraged us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to “Stay away from every kind of evil.” We can never ignore the warning signs God gives. Although the devil may appear harmless, he is vicious and in the words of Peter comparable to a “roaring lion who seeks to devour.” In the flesh we cannot outrun, outsmart, or defend ourselves against him. It is only by God’s grace, power and the following of biblical instructions that we can survive. Everyday our lives are at risk, so avoid at all costs entering into a dangerous trust
Monday, August 20, 2012
In Psalmist in 91:4 declares, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty… And under His wings you shall take refuge.” Here we have revealed the safest place for the child of God to be. It is in the Father’s shadow and under His wings. In the natural it gives little comfort to think that we are being protected by a shadow. However, in the spiritual realm there could be no safer place. I read something recently that put this all in perspective. It was an article written several years ago in the National Geographic that provided an interesting picture of God's wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her off springs to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body. The mother had remained steadfast. She had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live. God has given Himself so that we might be protected as we encounter the wiles of life. So there is no reason to be alarmed as long as we entertain His shadow and live under His wings.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
In John chapter 10 Jesus described the devil as a thief whose primary goal is to “steal, kill and destroy.” With that being said, we must realize he works with great success and certainly doesn’t need any assistance from us. Let me illustrate my point with an experience my son-in-law had a few days ago. He has a mobile home next to his parents where he keeps some equipment and an old truck. His mother called him and said, “Those boys you sent over here to get your truck broke my water line and I have water going everywhere. You need to get them to fix it.” He said “do what?” She said, “Those boys you sent over here to get that truck busted my water line and it needs to be fixed.” He said, “I didn’t send anybody to get a truck.” She said, “Well I guess I need to go get your dad and tell him to come back to the house, he’s got the tractor down there helping them to load it up.” As it turned out the boys were stealing the truck and his father was helping them. Of course my son-in-law called the sheriff’s office and they came out and arrested them. If we are not careful we will find ourselves assisting the very thief who is out to destroy us. We help him every time we operate with the spirit of unforgiveness. We help him when we yield to temptation. We help him when we become too preoccupied with the minor things forgetting that which is major; when we parade without praying, we yearn without yielding and tread without trusting. With all of the enemy’s deceptive ability let us be careful to heed the words of scripture and “be wise as serpents but harmless as doves” because the thief needs no assistance.
Monday, August 6, 2012
A few years ago my wife and I left our church offices and headed out to lunch. We had not driven very far down State Street when Phyllis said, “Darrell there is a kitten in the middle of the road, stop the car and get it.” I retorted “stop the car, we’re in the street and traffic is moving.” Well, you know arguments are never won when you are dealing with a head strong woman who happens to be an animal lover. I stopped the car got out and walked over to the tiny piece of fur. It was very evident that this little critter was fearful, traumatized, and most of all lost. No doubt it was saying to itself, “How in the world did I wind up here.” When I reached down to pick it up suddenly it began to hiss and show its tiny set of claws. I remembered saying, “I’m trying to save you little rascal, don’t fight me.” Why would a little kitten resist salvation in the midst of a hopeless situation? Maybe it was because of its animal instinct--be careful who you trust; the hand that reaches for you may bring hurt instead of help. Or possibly it was because fear had driven it to believe that the future would not be any more favorable than its present circumstances. Better still, we cannot rule out the thought that this small, weak and vulnerable piece of flesh felt if given enough time, it could work itself out of the mess. This all sounds so familiar when we think about ourselves. How many times have we faced similar experiences? When it happens we allow our minds to lead us into thinking that somehow God is trying to harm rather than help us and that we are better off left alone. Things just might improve if we fight back. This little kitten finally acquiesced and yielded to my hand. Should we not do the same? From eternity past and present our heavenly Father has always stopped in the midst of sinful traffic endeavoring to save us. You talk about “old things passing away and all things becoming new,” it happened that day in the middle of the street when one tiny cat stopped fighting and allowed itself to be rescued. It came under the care of my wife who gave it a permanent home and continual loving care. God wishes to do the same for us. Stop resisting! Go ahead and let His hand rescue you!