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Archive for June 4th, 2011

1 Peter 5:7-9

Prowling lions and National Geographic Specials—I have always enjoyed watching National Geographic Specials on TV in the ancient days in which there was no ‘Discovery’, ‘History’ or ‘Animal Planet’ networks.  And the most thrilling animal specials  were Serengeti plains episodes.  Invariably they would have something about lions and hapless herds of wildebeests and other critters.  Those hapless herds sense a pride of lions prowling about and the herd would start stampeding.  But there was always one wildebeest or some other creature off by itself:  it is always the easy prey for the prowling lion.

Pray as we are the prey—Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…–1 Peter 5: 8-9.  It seems that none other than the apostle Peter knew something about lions without ever once seeing a National Geographic special!   The devil knows the lion’s tricks. When we are off on our own, by ourselves, away from others, we can be very susceptible:  the business man or woman away from family on a work-related trip in a strange city: sitting at the computer screen on the internet, no one looking;  “just shut the door”.  You get the picture:  the lion will devour your flesh, and the devil flesh  and soul.  “Firm in your faith” is not the Cowardly Lion talking himself into faith: “I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do”.  One way we are firm in our faith is by prayer:  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.   Note:  Peter first says we can cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares FOR YOU.  Luther wrote that the words FOR YOU are the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Casting is praying.   All our anxieties take us away from the Lord and each other.  And the devil uses them as such.  The devil knows that anxieties are his segue way into something worse. The devil wants you to always be looking inside and not outside for help, that is, to the Lord.  Anxieties are not the last word:  Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and grace in His Church is the first Word and the last Word.

 It’s not good for man to be alone—this is one of the first recorded observations from the Lord (see Genesis 2: 18): and that was before sin entered the world. It is especially important after the Fall!  Martin Luther and others described sin by the Latin phrase:  incurvatus se, ‘curved in upon one self’.  Now being alone is not necessarily always being lonely.  But we can become lonely, off on our own, getting depressed about ourselves. If it is sin getting you down, that’s a good thing you know that is so: the Lord is working through His Law.  But don’t stop:  go to the Gospel of forgiveness in Christ Jesus. The prowling lion, the devil, wants you to look more and more inside, curved in.  When the devil started doing that to Luther, “You’re no good;  you’re not a good Christian;  you should be better”, Luther would retort:  “Devil, tell me something I don’t know!”.  And Luther wrote to people who wrote to him about such times encouraging them to looking outward:  to the Lord, to the Lord’s creation, to a friend in the faith, to Christ’s Word of grace, mercy and peace for those “burdened and heavy laden” (see St. Matthew 11:  28).   Come to  Him, come to His Word and Holy Communion.

The Faith is for our life together—Faith is not only an individual possession, but shared: a holy communion.  There are others who have been there, maybe have done that and if it is sin, confessed it. “In the darkness of the unexpressed (sin) poisons the whole being of a person.” (Pastor Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945)  And that also goes for being down:  don’t keep what’s hurting inside, it will only get worse.  There are others who will listen to you and pray for you.  Why?  Jesus Christ died and rose FOR YOU. 

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.—Psalm 121: 1-2

 The peace of the Lord be with you, Pastor Schroeder

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