Tag Archives: Joy

A Prowling Lion

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Have you ever heard a lion roar? I got the full effect of a lion’s roar when I visited a zoo in Chicago. A male lion was just on the other side of a glass partition from me and suddenly he roared. It was so fearsome that it reached something primal inside me, making my insides quake and my hair stand on end!

Have you ever watched a nature documentary that showed a lion on the hunt? Or have you perhaps seen lions stalking their prey in real life? Did you notice their technique of hunting? They are opportunistic hunters that have two primary methods of hunting. They will either stalk their prey while moving from cover to cover and then rush in for the kill or they will lie in wait while under cover in order to ambush their prey. They hunt in groups, working together to drive a herd of prey animals closer to the ones lying in wait. Once a prey animal is singled out, it soon goes down in a flurry of teeth and claws. Then the whole pack of lions gorges on it.

1 Peter tells us that our enemy is “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be devoured by a lion, and especially not this one. How do we keep from becoming prey for the enemy? Here are some tips:

  • Be alert and of sober mind. We have to be aware that even if we’ve given our lives to Jesus, the enemy is not going to come after us any less than he did previously. We must try to avoid being caught unawares. Prayerfully consider in what situations you are weakest (when you’re tired, hungry, stressed at work or home, etc.) and take steps to anticipate the attack.
  • Put on the full armor of God every day. (Ephesians 6:10-20) We must be prepared to meet our enemy in battle, and the only way we can do that is by putting on the full armor of God every day. Isn’t it amazing as you read that passage that God has already armed us in every way for our protection?
  • Stay strong in the Word. One of the enemy’s favorite tricks is to tell us truth with just a little twist. This is what the serpent did to Eve in the Garden and what he did to Jesus when He spent 40 days in the wilderness after being baptized. Note that Jesus was able to battle the enemy because He knew the Scriptures and was not tricked as Eve had been.  We must know the Scripture so that we will not be tricked by a twist on the Scripture and so that we can use it as a weapon against the enemy.
  • Stay in community with believers. This doesn’t mean that you should not associate with anyone who is not a Christ follower, but it does mean that your community of Christ followers is crucial to your successful walk. A good community of believers will help you discern the best path and will warn you about dangers along the way.
  • Remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength!  This truth from the book of Nehemiah is no less true for us than it was for Nehemiah and his contemporaries.  We must continue to look to the Lord as our source of joy, not to our circumstances.  Revel in the ways the Lord speaks to you and reveals things to you and in the ways that He loves you.  Our joy in the Lord is a powerful weapon against the enemy.

What other ways can you think of to guard against becoming prey for the enemy?  Share them in the comments!

Joy and Peace in the Unexpected

I generally do not react well when hit by the unexpected. Unexpected events have typically not been happy ones in my experience, so I like to know what is happening and when. (Talk about an unrealistic goal!) Even today, when unexpected events hit my life, I tend to respond with worry and fear rather than peace and joy. It has become almost a default setting, but it’s not a default that my heavenly Father ever planned for me to have. I’m learning how to walk with true peace and joy, and today I’d like to tell you about my most recent step in this adventure.

Last Friday, I got some potentially bad news: a family member who lives two states away was admitted to the hospital and was likely to have a procedure on Saturday. I was very concerned for him, and started praying about whether or not I should make the drive to be there.

“No,” said Jesus, “I’ve got this. Just let My peace settle over you.”

In spite of His words, I didn’t let the peace settle over me right away. I realized a couple of hours later that I was fretting about it, so I reached out to my husband and to a trusted friend or two to be praying for me to have that peace. I remember thinking, “And today started out to be such a good day, so full of joy, and NOW look at it!”

It was at that point that the Lord broke into my thoughts. “You can still have joy today, Liz. You just have to pick it.”

“Really?” I thought. “That’s all I have to do?” I started reflecting over why I hadn’t received His peace when He first offered it to me and why I wasn’t picking to have joy. Why was I choosing to fret instead of trusting Him to take care of my loved one and receiving the peace that He offered? I realized that my false “default setting” of picking worry and fear had come into play, and I decided that I’ve had enough of choosing those things.

“Okay, Jesus,” I said out loud. “I trust You with his care. I choose peace. I choose joy today.”

A couple of hours after making that declaration, I realized that I did have joy and peace! It wasn’t something that I had to try to manufacture, and it didn’t mean that I didn’t care about the situation. It just was a choice to focus on Jesus instead of on the circumstance.   What a blessing! I did continue to ask trusted friends to pray for the Lord to heal my family member, but my requests came from a settled place in my heart instead of from a place of worry.

The next morning, I called my family member to try to talk and pray with him before he had his procedure. Lo and behold, my call was greeted with the news that he had improved so much overnight that he was being released from the hospital and would not have to have a procedure after all! What great news that was, and what evidence of God’s goodness.

Some of the following verses are probably familiar to you. I have been familiar with them, too, but they have a new meaning for me now:

 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

From now on, I’m choosing peace and joy. 🙂

 

Below is a link to a video of a popular contemporary Christian song called “joy” by the group For King and Country. I hope that it will encourage you today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA7n7TwPDmw