Lions Eat Christians? What?

12 06 2013

Christians being eaten by lions? Now what’s wrong with that picture? I wondered.

Most have seen movies that include scenes with a Roman Colosseum. People are pitted against people, or against beasts. One of their favorites was feeding Christians to the lions.

Wait just a minute! From a Biblical perspective this is all wrong. Jesus (the Lion of the Tribe of Judah) doesn’t eat Christians. He loves and cares for them.

In an instant, a whole new understanding of prayer came into view.

No doubt, you’re familiar with the Armor of God: the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Helmet of Salvation, Shoes that are the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit…and an oft left-out piece: Prayer.

Let’s consider the shield for a bit. In the days of the Roman Empire, the one used was roughly 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet…big enough to shield the entire body. When a group of soldiers stood side-by-side, their shields formed an impenetrable wall.

Place them in a circle, and what do you have? A Colosseum!

For you see, when we join in prayer, we have effectively encircled our enemy. The Lion (always victorious) can then take him out.

Like I said, this is completely backward to the Roman Colosseum.

There are a few times in the Bible when the Lord says, “I looked for a man to stand in the gap, but could find no one.” The verse takes on a different meaning when seen in this light, doesn’t it?

This causes me to wonder how many times total victory was thwarted, the enemy allowed to escape, because I failed to heed the call to prayer. Hmm, mmm.

It came as no big surprise that Satan took one of God’s spiritual truths and turned it into a grisly game for entertaining the masses. After all, he’s twisted every other thing God designed for our good and His glory.

For instance, God invited His people to several week-long parties to celebrate their relationship with Him in song, dance, and pot-lucks. Today we have concerts where people gather for the sake of worshiping other people, sing songs that tear them down, and dance seductively. Some parties last all weekend – sometimes turning into orgies.

God invites us to be filled with His Spirit, Satan invites people to be filled with alcohol or drugs so that He can fill them and control them.

God designed marriage to illustrate His faithfulness to us, Satan destroys marriages, and many people in the process.

God uses stories to teach us about Himself. Hollywood uses stories to teach us about evil and vile things.

God wrote a Book, so did Satan.

God calls for gatherings for the sake of worship, so does Satan.

God instituted a system of animal sacrifice to atone for sin until Jesus gave the final sacrifice. Now, no more bloodshed is required. Satan still demands sacrifices – not of animals only, but of humans as well.

I could give many more examples, but you get the idea. Anytime we see perversity, we see a twisting of a spiritual truth.

…like Christians, who were eaten by the lions in the Colosseums of old.

 

Want more on our armor? Check out Is Your Skirt Flapping in the Breeze?





“Happily Ever After”

4 06 2013

I was embarrassed to send out wedding invitations for my fourth marriage to (Christian) family members. They must think I’m such a loser.

This time was going to be different, though. I’d finally met Prince Charming.

I didn’t give a rip about church at that time of my life – I don’t think we ever even discussed religion during the year and four months we dated. We were too busy being in love and loving life to the max.

We had an amazing honeymoon on Maui. I’d never expected to go to Hawaii in my wildest dreams. Oh, the snorkeling, the sight-seeing, the luau; sitting on the lanai with the warm tropical breeze gently caressing bare skin.

What a perfect way to begin a perfect marriage. I thought to myself.

Have you ever wondered why fairy tales end right after the wedding, with the blissful couple riding off into the sunset?

{Hand raised o/, enthusiastic call} Pick me! Pick me!

Okay, I’ll tell you why. Because after every wedding comes a marriage!

For me, like I said, this was my fourth. I’m not proud of that. It’s one of my “coats of shame” that the Lord has to frequently remove from me – and remind me that He has given me His robe of righteousness in exchange.

The first marriage had a duration of about 20 months. We’d only known one another for 2 1/2 months before we got hitched. There were a lot of issues. The biggest one was that I expected to be treated like royalty…and in the process became a royal pain in the … well, you know.

My second marriage was going to be different…oh, and was it ever. I was determined before God to fulfill my marriage vows – and did for ten years. This was one of the most difficult times of my life. In the end, God led me out of captivity into a safe place.

The third marriage was another short one, measured by months – not years.

Then I met Mr. Right. I knew “happily ever after” lay just beyond our marriage covenant.

Wow! Was I in for a rude awakening. (Sorry, Dear Hubby – this will get better in a minute!).

What followed should have come as no surprise. After all, when we are given a test and fail, God is gracious and always administers a “re-test.” He provides do-overs until we finally pass because His kids are winners! No matter how many times we have to take our tests, on His report card, we will have straight As!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It took me more than 25 years to figure this out:

Marriage is not primarily about happiness;

It is about holiness.

You see, our spouse is meant to bring out the worst in us so we can surrender it to God and grow in the process.

The selfishness

     The pride

          The manipulation

               The need to control

                    The insecurity

These rear their ugly heads in no time at all.

They certainly had in my first marriage. It was his fault. I just needed better husband material, so I moved on.

FAIL

The problems I thought I’d left behind in the first relationship followed me into the second…new ones appeared as well:

Fear

     Jealousy

          Lack of provision

               Isolation

                    Alcoholism

                         All the issues that go with addiction

I’ll make a better choice next time, I decided.

FAIL

There was a short period of emotional recovery. I figured I was “healed” and could now make a marriage work. It didn’t take long to figure out that I had all the problems of relationship #1 and #2…and a whole ‘nother set of issues:

Abandonment

     Indifference

          Loss of my kids’ respect

He’s not the one, either…next…

FAIL

As you’ve guessed, I brought all of these earlier problems into my “happily ever after” marriage. Of course, a new man comes with new challenges, so there were even more things to struggle with. In no time at all, we were about as unhappy as a couple could be. In fact, after about three years we separated.

But God…

Aren’t those the best words in all the world?

God had other plans for us. We went to marriage counseling at a church, which led to a marriage class of several weeks, and church attendance, all of which drew us into a genuine relationship with the Lord.

It’s taken time, but God is slowly changing our characters, removing defects one by one. I love Philippians 1:6. “God is faithful to complete the work He has begun in you.”

He just needed for me to stay put long enough for my sinful behaviors to surface, be acknowledged, repented of, and surrendered to His Spirit. He has been faithfully transforming me by renewing my mind.

It began when I was willing to cede the throne…and give it back to Him.

WOOHOO! THIS IS LOOKING PROMISING. SHE’S GOING TO GET THATA!’

Today I understand that I can live…

Happily Ever After

when I

Happily give up what-Ever God is After!

**************

P.S. We are celebrating our 17th anniversary next weekend.

God is good!

*****

Oh, and if we don’t “get” it through marriage (which brings out the worst in us)…

…we get children to be living mirrors of what we are like to live with.

I don’t want to say that I’m slow, or that there was a lot for me to see in myself…

…but I was given seven children – “mini-me’s” to demonstrate my behavior so I could see myself in action.

They truly are a gift of God!

(Fortunately, they’ve all outgrown my tendencies and have developed new ones of their own!! Love you guys! <3)

Melanie wrote two excellent articles on this topic. They fill in some of the “white spaces” in this post. You can read them here:

When Marriage Feels Like a Meat Grinder

http://themotherofnine9.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/when-marriage-feels-like-a-meat-grinder/

the Tetter-Totter Syndrome

http://themotherofnine9.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/the-teeter-totter-syndrome/