We have lions where we live. No, not African lions. We have 150 pound Colorado mountain lions. They are beautiful, elusive, stealthy, and very, very deadly. Just look at those eyes! He will kill you if he gets the chance. Happens a lot here. All it takes is for one runner or biker to go out on the wrong trail at the wrong time too early in the morning, and they are breakfast. This lion may have been responsible for attacking a 5 year old boy near Aspen, CO. His mother saved him. It is a reality most people have to deal with here, and we take measures to defend ourselves.
We don’t live in the mountains, but we are very close to the foothills of the front range of the Rockies and we are just up the street from a big canyon. Our neighborhood sits up in the rolling hills above our town. Our house is at 6,115 feet. It feels a lot like the foothills out here. Even the driving is a bit like mountain driving. We have a stream and woods surrounding us, and there are a lot of deer, rabbits, coyotes, fox, mice, snakes, and other critters out here. The lions love it! We even get black bears coming through sometimes.
Recently, we received a warning on the NextDoor App. If you are not familiar with that app, it is a way for people in the same neighborhood and town to stay connected. People send out warnings, updates, news, and the local police department posts information too.
At the beginning of the summer, when school was about to end, a woman posted a frantic warning about spotting a mountain lion. She had been jogging early that morning (not wise in lion country), and she witnessed a few deer dart out of the woods at full speed next to the High School just outside our neighborhood. There are several elementary schools and a middle school close by too. Behind the deer, was a full grown mountain lion giving full chase! The lady immediately went home, and posted the warning. We have lived here for 12 years, so that kind of news was not new to us. The local elementary schools have had to shut down recess and bring the kids inside many times because a lion was spotted watching the kids from a distance.
That chase happened only a few hundred yards from our home. Gives you that warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t it? Look at that big cat’s eyes again. He is not messing around. He is hungry, and he doesn’t care about your feelings, your life, or your loved ones. He wants to eat, and he is designed perfectly for killing.
How do we live like that, you might ask? How do we let our kids play outside? Aren’t we afraid? All great questions, and reasonable. We are able to live with the lions because we take wise measures to defend ourselves. They have powerful jaws full of sharp teeth and strong paws with razor sharp claws. When I take my kids to the park, I pack a .45 with a spare mag. Those are my claws and teeth.
I received professional training in my 20s from a man who spent 25 years training SWAT teams. He was great! He was an old gunny guy and it was like military training! He was yelling and everything. I had a great time. Before I was diagnosed with Celiac, I was considering being a police officer. The disease ruined that chance, but I am forever grateful for the training I received. My wife and kids have an elite body guard who also happens to roll with angels too.
People might say, but preacher Ryan, you have the protection of angels. Why do you pack heat? Yes, my family has angels protecting us, but the Bible also says not to test God. If I am going to hike on the trails and visit the parks around here, then I need to do my part in protecting my family too. I’m not going to walk around naive in lion country, and I wouldn’t recommend you do either.
I do what the mountain lion would do. I protect my young, and I will do it to the point of my death if necessary. I know some people hate guns. If you live in Colorado, it is legal to own firearms, open carry them on your hip like the Wild West (except in Denver), or even conceal carry (with a special license). We also have the “Make My Day” law here. I am not going to get into the politics of guns. I live in Colorado, I am trained, we have lions, I have kids, I carry for them, and it’s that simple. My wife is from Alaska. Everybody carries heat up there! We are tough rugged mountain people for Christ, feel me? Love always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The Bible tells us we have an enemy who is like a lion too, and he wants to kill us.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
His name is Satan, also known as Lucifer. The Bible also tells us that we need armor and weapons to defend ourselves against him. These are not weapons of the earthly kind like my .45, no, these are spiritual weapons from our Heavenly Father.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When I am with my kids at the park, I stand close by them ready to defend them at a moment’s notice. I pay attention to the wind and the smells in the air. You won’t hear a mountain lion coming like you will with a bear. I have encountered lions twice in the mountains. They are incredibly stealthy! I pay attention to my surroundings and watch my kids intently. I am not afraid. I am alert, I have what I need to defend my family, and I am ready to fight for them. Nobody is going to hurt my wife and kids, not even a big lion!
God wants us to stand ready against our enemy the devil too. He wants us to strap up and take a stand! Listen to how Paul says it, continuing in Ephesians:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Did you hear that? How many of the evil one’s flaming arrows can you extinguish through faith? That’s right, ALL of them! What kind of faith can do that?! Only faith in Jesus Christ folks.
When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you defeat Satan and this world. You are taken out of this world and set apart for God, and the evil one no longer has hold over you through the fear of death. You defeat death and you are made righteous through the Blood of Jesus. You are filled with the Holy Spirit and given Holy Armor to defeat the evil one and all of his attacks!
Remember, we have an enemy and we need our weapons and armor. Be alert, be ready, and pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of requests! Take it seriously, and train. Sharpen your sword and shine your shield. This is a battleground, not a playground.
One more thing. Don’t ever forget, our Lord Jesus is a Lion too, and He is much more powerful than the evil one! Jesus is Lord!
Grace and peace to you all!
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”