Posted in encouragement, jesus, john bunyan, lion, pilgrim's progress, prophecy

Lunging Lions along the Way

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is a tremendous book. It’s an allegory of the Christian’s life from salvation to heaven (“The Celestial City”). In the book, there is a scene where Christian Pilgrim is attempting to climb the way to Porter’s Lodge Up ahead he can see two lions crouching at the edge of the path. What Pilgrim doesn’t know is that the lions are chained, and if Pilgrim stays in the middle of the path, he will not be harmed by the lunging lions. Here is the excerpt:

Now before he had gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage, which was about a furlong off the Porter’s lodge, and looking very narrowly before him as he went, he espied two lions in the way. Now, thought he, I see the dangers that Mistrust and Timorous were driven back by. (The lions were chained, but he saw not the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to go back after them; for he thought nothing but death was before him. But the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that Christian made a halt, as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying, Is thy strength so small? Mark 4:40. Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.

We ourselves are pilgrims in a strange land. Our way is clear because, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). The way is lit by His word and it is made clear, but it is a narrow way. Take care to stay on the middle line of that Way, dear friend, as I strive to do myself. And look, see what good promises are ahead for His people the Jews and those of us grafted in!!

Isaiah 35:1-9

The Ransomed Shall Return

1The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.

Pink flowers bloom after a rare rain ignited seeds
 that had lain dormant in the desert for years

3Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Rushes thriving by a pond. EPrata photo

8And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.

The redeemed shall walk there. A promise we can cling to, hope on, and await expectantly. How beautiful the feet…

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7)

Posted in lion, resist, sin, victory

Spiritual warfare is real: the lion prowls seeking whom he may devour

public domain

In the Old Testament bible days, there were active demons on earth, possessing people. It wasn’t a frequently mentioned activity in the bible, but it happened. Further, the people living at the time knew what it was when it was happening.

I hear unsaved folks and even Christians say that in the bible times of 1000, 2000, 3000 years ago, people were ignorant of medical things. They were just dumb sheepherders who attributed everything to demons and not to science or medicine. Well all I’ve go to say is, go build a Sphinx, a Pyramid, Solomon’s Temple, Aqueduct, or a Babylon Hanging Garden, Lighthouse at Alexandra, and then we’ll talk.

Though a visible presence of demons as bodily possessors was an occurrence in the OT days, they weren’t frequent. Demonic events seemed to ramp up immediately prior, during, and just after Jesus’ incarnation. The heightened activity of satan on earth was evidence of the battle in the heavenlies, by then having come to earth in a fierceness unseen since that time.

The presence of demons will again become visible and palpable immediately prior to Jesus’ Second Coming. As Revelation 9:2 tells us, the pit where many demons are being held will be opened for them to pour out like locusts and perform God’s wrathful will upon the people of earth. Sin will be unrestrained (2 Thessalonians 2:6) so demonic activity will have a heyday unlike any other, except perhaps immediately before the Flood. (Genesis 6:5)

Aside from the dramatic events of the Flood and the Tribulation, and the few years of Jesus’ incarnation, for the most part, demonic activity is invisible. Make no mistake, just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it is not happening.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11-12)

public domain

Here is an example of how demonic activity is present on earth but invisible. It is fairly early days in the kingship of Saul. The Israelites wanted a king they could see, “like the other nations.” They rejected God as their king and wanted a man. God did as they asked, and Saul initially had some success. However, God’s choice, David who had been anointed but not set up as king yet, was having more success.

And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. (1 Samuel 18:7-10)

Here is what struck me about this. Saul was jealous of David. Saul cast a wary, jealous eye upon David from that day on. This is Saul’s right. He can choose to sin. It is God’s right to do something about it.

How long was it before the evil spirit came upon Saul? The next day.

Do we suppose sin waits? Lolls around, just to see how it’ll go? No chance. Sin is always crouching at the door.
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

Sin desires you! (And me!)

Here is an example of how sin crouches. “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)

The ‘him’ referred to here is Jesus. The devil tempted Jesus, got nowhere and departed to get Him another time (or so the devil thought).

So sin crouches. Guess what? Sin also prowls.

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

Sin desires us, crouches at our door, prowls, and once sin appears in our heart or mind (like Saul) it comes in immediately.

We must master sin, as commanded in Genesis 4:7. Of course we cannot do that ourselves. The beauty of the universe and every atom in it, is that Jesus delivers us this grace, this power. Through this power that ever believer has, we can live victoriously before Christ! Saul did not rely on the LORD. David did. It wasn’t that neither sinned, but it was that David actively and constantly sought the LORD’S power to help him resist sin, and when David failed to resist, he repented sincerely.

Against you alone I have sinned.” (Psalm 51:4)

It might surprise some to know that satan isn’t behind every sin. Our own fleshly desires are part of the battle, too. When satan isn’t directly tempting, our own desires fill in the gap. Adding to that are the world’s desires, pressure from without. We cannot master the world, and we can’t master satan, but through Christ, we can rule over our fleshly desires, and when we do that regularly, satan withdraws “until an opportune time.”

The key is to give him the opportunity less and less frequently.

Licensed for reuse

It seems that the odds are stacked against us, with satan on the prowl, his demons crouching at the
door, the world pressing its desires onto us, our own desires clamoring to get out, but Jesus IS THE VICTORY. He has won it! He gave His victory to us! His Spirit in us is the all in all, able to conquer any and all sin. As ugly as sin is, how beautiful, wonderful astounding, that He sent His Spirit to enable us to resist satan. In so doing satan will flee! Otherwise, ‘the next day’ sin will come bursting through your door.


What Does the Bible Say about Demons?

Why did God send an evil spirit to torment King Saul?

Posted in essex, lion, plague of beasts

UPDATED-Strange story: lion on the loose in Essex England

UPDATED to include the conclusion. It is at bottom.
The Guardian, Daily Mail, and BBC are reporting that a lion is apparently on the loose in the rural English town of Essex. Police have told residents to stay indoors as they use increased manpower and helicopters to try and capture it.

Several residents heard a loud roar, and one person took a photo as they spotted it in a field. The photo was shown to keepers at the Colchester Zoo and after seeing the picture they are taking the residents’ reports seriously. However, the lion had not escaped from the Zoo, as all their lions are accounted for.

UK Guardian: Lion on the loose in Essex
“Police have warned residents to stay indoors after reports of a lion running loose in Essex. Thirty officers, including a firearms team, and two police helicopters were called to the scene of the sighting in fields off Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth, near Clacton. Officers from Essex police contacted experts from Colchester Zoo, who believe the reports to be genuine after being shown a photograph from a member of the public. However, police said the animal had not escaped from the zoo, as all its big cats had been accounted for.”

Daily Mail: Hunt for lion on the loose in Essex
“A police spokesman said: ‘The large cat, believed to be a lion, was seen in fields off Earls Hall Drive in St Oysth, near Clacton, just before 7pm on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Police are trying to establish where the lion may have come from. Anyone who sees the lion is advised to call 999.’

BBC: Police investigate lion sighting at St Osyth
Local resident Che Kevlin told the BBC: “I heard a loud roar at 10pm. It sounded like the roar of a lion.” Armed police have been drafted into the area and two police helicopters are searching the area where it was spotted. Police said all the animals at Colchester Zoo had been accounted for. Asked about the possibility of the lion having escaped from a travelling circus, an Essex police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating where it may have came from but it is fairly safe to say that it did not escape from Colchester Zoo.”

The thing that makes me shake my head (smh) is that folks on Twitter are laughing about this. It becomes immediately apparent that Essex is not a well-thought-of town…and even more strangely, within minutes of the police appeal to stay indoors, St Osyth was trending on Twitter and an account set up @EssexLion. The Lion now has a twitter account. Welcome to the twenty-first century version of concern: mocking, scorn, and sarcastic laughter. Some examples:

“There are many reasons to be glad that one does not live in essex. Tonight we can add “no risk of being confronted by a lion.” to the list.”

“There’s a Lion loose in Essex? Oooh I hope it goes for the TOWIE cast first… “

“there’s a lion in the uk? but it’s in essex so that’s basically natural selection taking it’s place” [this tweeter had a cross in her avatar, too]

“The temptation for the residents of Essex to sing the lion sleeps tonight is only a whim away.”

“sorry the lion ate my homework and my schoolbag”

So much for prayers and compassion for the people who are barricading themselves in their homes and RV’s tonight… There was one report of a daddy who had heard the roar who was walking with his children. The Daily Mail report was:

“‘The lion was in the middle of the field with its back towards me. When someone else screamed it turned around and you could see it from the side.’ The van driver, from Romford, Essex, continued: ‘I grabbed my children’s hands and we ran towards our caravan. My children started to scream, “daddy, is the lion going to get us?” ‘It was one million per cent a lion. It was a tan colour with a big mane, it was fully grown, it was definitely a lion. It was just standing there, it seemed to be enjoying itself.”

Imagine how scary it is to have seen such a thing, how perplexing for the police to be tracking it, now in the dark, how unimaginable a thing it is to have to deal with predation of the highest order in a rural, sleepy town!

During the Tribulation, this will be a regular occurrence. Revelation 6:7-8 says-

“When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.”

Amazing times. I hope they catch this lion soon!!

The UK Independent reported on how this story ended. Sort of ended…

Silly season goes out with a roar, but the Essex lion frenzy proves to be just a cat flap

And so it passes into myth, and joins the Beast of Bodmin, the Surrey puma and other such legendary creatures – the 24-hour wonder that was the Essex lion.

Yesterday, police called off the hunt for this prime example of the king of the jungle, allegedly seen in the somewhat unregal surroundings of a field adjoining a caravan park at St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea.

It was the biggest thing to happen to St Osyth since the North Sea floods of 1953. So the eventual police assertion of its non-existence – “we believe what was seen on Sunday evening was either a large domestic cat or a wild cat” – produced a palpable sigh of disappointment across the nation, which had quickly become obsessed with it, and in particular the media, which was suffering the effects of a late-onset, post-Olympics silly season.
In its short life, the Essex lion was near the top of every news bulletin. Sky News and the BBC news channel ran plentiful coverage until the hunt was called off, while the Daily Mail, expertly sensitive to the darkest fears of Middle England, gave it the whole front page for some editions of yesterday morning’s paper, complete with picture of roaring male lion baring fangs. For this was an August Bank Holiday story that had everything. Not only was our beast an ABC, which is how Alien Big Cats are referred to by cryptozoologists, those amateur animal hunters convinced that the Yeti, the Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster are all out there. It was the biggest ABC of all, carrying the suggestion of law-abiding citizens being torn to pieces and eaten.

Yum yum. But more than that, they would be torn to pieces and eaten in Essex – excuse me while I try to stop chortling – seen by some as Britain’s most comical county…

Imagination ran riot as the mythical beast produced a Twitterstorm. An army of tweeters chuckled, tittered and guffawed online with Essex-lion jokes about big hair and tan-coloured skin. One message, from comedian David Schneider, read: “All I’m saying is I remember when we spotted our first fox in London, and now look how many there are.” The @Essexlion spoof account attracted nearly 40,000 followers before Twitter suspended it.

But all the while, Essex Police were taking the suggestion of a lion on the loose seriously and had employed helicopters with heat-seeking equipment, armed officers and vets with tranquiliser guns (no figures were available for the cost of the operation). They had little choice. Witnesses swore it was a lion. Rich Baker, 39, from Romford, Essex, who was staying in a nearby caravan, said: “It was a million per cent a lion.”

Yet eventually, the search drew a blank, and an Essex Police spokesman was forced to concede: “Nothing has been found to suggest that a lion was in the area.”

In the Middle Ages, they had books called bestiaries, which were compilations of both real and mythical creatures, beautifully illustrated by monks. Maybe we need a British bestiary now. The Beast of Bodmin would go right in. So would the Surrey puma. And the Essex lion – why, that would have the place of honour.

and that ends the Lion of Essex story!

Posted in bear, end time, friends, lion, prophecy, tiger

New heaven and a new earth

The bible tells us that earth will pass away and then be remade. Did you even wonder what it will be like in the New Heaven and the New Earth? I do. But first, the verses:

A New Heaven and Earth
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!”” 2 Peter 3:12

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” Rev 21:1

(Source for photos, actually is a video from Discovery “Proof of cosmic smashup“)

So I often wonder about whether we as resurrected saints will be allowed to watch God in His Glory renew the earth, what the new earth will be like in form, and looks, and smells, and sights, and of course about the new heaven.

Just before the New Heaven and New Earth is remade, we know that the earth will be renewed after the Tribulation as the 1000 year Millennium Kingdom begins. I love animals so I’m especially looking forward to living out the verses that talk of no animals biting and all children can and will play safely near what were formerly wild beasts in the Millennium Kingdom. And that there will be no predators nor prey in the Millennium.

I found two stories that are pretty interesting and give a minute glimpse of what heaven will be like as follows:

“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion [a]and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” – (Is 11:6-9)

Won’t that be wonderful?? Do check out the articles, the photos are cute.

Tiger, lion and bear form unusual friendship
Rescued eight years ago during a police drugs raid in Atlanta, Georgia, the three friends were only cubs at the time and barely two months old. Delivered to the Noah’s Ark animal rescue centre in Locust Grove, Georgia, the decision was made to keep the youngsters together. “We could have separated them, but since they came as a kind of family, the zoo decided to keep them together,” said Diane Smith, assistant director of the Noah’s Ark zoo.

The Pigeon and the Bunnies
These little bunnies, about 6 days old, were attacked by a dog and orphaned. Two out of the litter of five did not survive, and these three were not doing very well. Enter Noah—the non-releasable, one-legged homing pigeon/rock dove that we have here in rehab. Noah kept going over to the bunny cage and looking in—even sleeping in front of the door to the cage. Then, 2 days ago, I only counted 2 bunnies in the cage, so I hurriedly picked Noah up from the front of the cage so I could look inside. And to my surprise—there was the tiny bunny—under Noah’s wing—sound asleep! (more at link)

So, first the Millennium, then the New Heaven and the New Earth. God is truly magnificent!