Can you feel the love tonight?

I know, I know, I apologize… there are certain lyrics that, once quoted, you can’t help but start singing in your mind – and certain songs that get lodged in there – and this is one you’ll probably be singing all day now(!)…

So, why call this blog that then? Well, because a news story (a good news story – I know, they stand out as something of a rarity these days!) reminded me of it.

A Texan group, the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center, reported recently about the rescue of one particularly beautiful lioness called Shelia. Shelia had been raised in captivity and badly exploited in the entertainment industry, being forced to appear at parties and photo shoots. Sadly, by the time Shelia was only 15months old she started to grow ill, and was badly neglected by her keepers.

Even when Shelia was rescued, it seemed her health wasn’t the only thing that had suffered – this beautiful lioness had simply lost the will to live. Her strength was all but gone, she struggled even to stand and was very reluctantly fed by hand by her rescuers. Her quality of life became so poor, that they considered having her put down as an act of compassion.

Even when they eventually discovered the cause (a condition that affected her immune system), and had her on antibiotics – she remained lethargic and depressed.

Soon afterwards though, In-Sync Exotics rescued another lion called Khan from the same man who had kept Shelia captive from a cub. Khan was placed in the enclosure next to Shelia, and the effect was magical. Shelia recognized Khan and her spirits miraculously lifted – her vitality was back, and her will to live returned!

Deep in our very nature we yearn to know that we are not alone – we instinctively look and long for love – which, it turns out, is more essential even than food!

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

PSALM 34.10

As necessary as nutrition – we crave to be loved, because were made in love by the God of love!

 

When we look up and realize that the “Lion of Judah” (Rev 5.5) is with us – God Himself – is actually with us, is it remarkable what we discover we can do.

 

Just ask Chris Novik. On November the 7th Chris Novik just completed the grueling Ironman challenge. If you haven’t heard of the Ironman Challenge, it involves:

  •  Swimming 2.4 miles
  •  Cycling 112 miles
  •  Running 26.2 miles

All in one day!

Chris completed it with 14 minutes to go. Oh yes, and the other thing you should know about Chris is that he was born with Downs Syndrome. His story made it into the press last week, and into the Guinness World Records, as the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman.

It wasn’t easy – he fell off his bike, on one break he was attacked by a swarm of ants, but he got back up, shook it off, and kept going.

How? By remembering the One who was with him. After the race he proudly revealed that the secret of his strength lay in the identity of his secret running partner. He told the press:

“God surrounded me with angels.” 

 

And the same is true of you today too. The Bible reminds us in that same Psalm:

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.

PSALM 34.7

Amazing when you have your bible and news app open and you can see God’s story being worked out in our own stories today!

 

When we remember the power of the God who is with us, the size of the challenges we face take on a new scale.

You are not running alone, the Lion of Judah is right at your side.

You are never isolated – whenever you move, God’s angelic protection force uproot their defenses and reset up their camp with you right at the center.

Can you feel the love yet?

 

Don’t fall for the horrible lies of the evil one – you are never alone and it is never hopeless, when the God of hope is by your side.

 

And that’s not all – God Himself is with you, His angels surround your life and He has adopted us into His Pride. We call that: the church! One of the greatest gifts God has given to the believer is other believers who can walk with us, inspire us, guide us, pray for us, help us, support us… If you are struggling right now, you don’t need to struggle alone – reach out, talk, ask.

We were never meant to walk this road alone.

In fact one of the primary ways that God reminds us of His presence is through the presence of another believer. “Christ is in you” writes the Apostle Paul, “the hope of glory in our hearts!” – so, where wego, the Lion of Judah shows up – when we walk in, heaven walks beside us!

Who might bring “the hope of glory” to today?

Who needs to know they are not alone? Who needs to feel the love right now?

 

Ps – you can listen to this blog, and others like it, together with all of our sermons here:

https://bit.ly/Bethel-Podcast 

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