March 29, 2010

Vultures or Victory

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8 (NIV)

An eerie sight greeted us as we pulled into the church parking lot Palm Sunday morning. At the top of the main building, five large vultures perched as if waiting for something to happen. It felt a little creepy as I pointed out my discovery to Bob and he agreed.

Well, I have watched enough westerns to know that vultures are not generally a good sign. I consider circling vultures the universal sign of impending death. I sure hoped this wasn’t an omen.

As it turned out, services were wonderful and we saw several come to know the Lord and unite with our church. It was a victorious and glorious day. But the sight of those oversized carnivores weighed heavily on my mind. A thought occurred to me, if vultures hover where death is pending, could those vultures have been waiting for me or for you?

Whew! I bet that wasn’t a question you expected to hear right now! Actually, me neither! But I had to wonder, how many times have I shown up to church nearly dead in spirit or attitude ? How many times did I come poor in spirit yet I refused to allow myself to revive in God’s word or worship? How many professing Christians come to church near death and leave the same way? Apparently, there must be enough for the vultures to take note! Sorry – I only write what He gives!

On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem with great fanfare and covertly the vultures were starting to take notice. His entry into the Holy City started a chain reaction of events that God foretold by the prophets of old. At each turn, the vultures appeared to gain strength and numbers, circling the Savior closer and closer until Calvary was within sight.

Perhaps they nestled in the nearby rock clefts with the cross in plain view, anxiously awaiting the proclamation of the death of God’s Son. When it finally came, I am sure they soared with glee and sped to spread the news: Jesus Christ was dead.

Wouldn’t you have loved to see the looks on their beady-eyed faces when they discovered 3 days later, they were wrong! Jesus Christ rose on Resurrection Sunday, alive and well and He lives forevermore! Glory to God for His victory over death!

Whether Satan appears as a lion with fierce desire to pounce on us unexpectedly or whether he appears as a vulture circling and waiting for our guard to drop so low that we look like easy pickings, make no mistake he is watching and waiting for you and for me. I know that was a mouthful, but if that doesn’t creep you out, I don’t know what will!

But wait – there is good news! In Jesus, we have victory over every vulture who thinks they can finish us off!

In one week, we will celebrate Easter Sunday. Without Easter, the vultures would be having a field day in my life. In fact, they would be in control and my life would be worthless, hopeless and picked to pieces. But praise be to God there is VICTORY over every vulture in our life.

Bye-bye buzzards!

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