2 Timothy 4:17 - But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
For a good many years Robert Ripley entertained the world in cartoons, on the radio, and television.
Ripley featured stories and vignettes that seemed stranger than truth. As a result, he challenged people to "believe it or not."
Today's devotion features a story Ripley would have enjoyed.
The story comes from Pastor Paul Ciniraj who is the Director of Bibles for Mideast. This organization, which must often work underground, shares the Scriptures with, and preaches the Gospel to, the souls of the Middle East.
These souls of the Middle East are not always appreciative.
According to Pastor Ciniraj he had just finished baptizing some converts when Islamic militants fell on them and stoned him. He was taken to the hospital for treatment, but when the militants found his location, he was forced to leave and recover at the home of a converted Muslim man.
On Resurrection Sunday he was leading worship when, once again, the militants arrived, this time with rifles. The small band thought they were about to be martyred for their living Lord Jesus.
It was at that moment a lion came out of the forest and attacked one of their persecutors. The other Muslim men immediately tried to defend their pal. That defense stopped when two more lions made their appearance.
The militants quickly considered their options and decided it was probably best if they beat a hasty retreat. They disappeared, which left Pastor Ciniraj and the small band of Christians facing the felines. Do I hear you asking, "And what did those lions do?"
I'll tell you: the lions left the believers alone and disappeared back into the forest. And this is where Robert Ripley would say, "Records show there are supposed to be no lions living in that forest. Believe it or not!"
So, do I believe the story? Well, all I can say is this: the Lord saved Daniel by closing the mouths of the hungry lions who were supposed to murder God's prophet. The apostle Paul says the Lord wants His message of salvation to be shared with a lost and sinful world. If that calls for opening -- or closing -- the mouths of some lions, well, why not?
The Lord has saved you and me through the miracle of His love, which sent His Son to live for us, die for us, and rise for us. The carrying of our sins was a miracle astounding, and Jesus' third-day resurrection is God's call to faith and forgiveness. These gracious gifts are great and powerful miracles.
So, as the recipient of many miracles, I see no reason to disagree with a pastor who reports one more.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are dangers all around me. Today, as in times past, there are many who would destroy my faith and take my life. Send Your holy angels to protect Your people and allow them to praise You for Your deliverance in all the ways that it might come. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Today's devotion was inspired by Veronica Neffinger for ChristianHeadline.com on April 21, 2017. The website which serves as the parent for this devotion can be found by clicking here
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries