Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: 1 Peter 5:8

Angry Lion

How to Avoid the Bitter End

What is your biggest regret?

It’s one of those questions where your stomach drops out, and your brain thinks, things are about to get real. The question was raised in my small group, and I knew the answer immediately. I should have been a better friend to Jodi. We had been roommates, and she had been the maid-of-honor in my wedding. One girl’s night out, I’d been responsible for holding her car keys, and they’d somehow fallen out of my pocket. After a frustrating hour of searching, we found them in the ladies’ room, but in the process of looking, I overheard her call me stupid.

Admittedly, there are worse things to be called, but I was hurt. Instead of talking to her and trying to work things out, I acted badly and gave her the cold shoulder. My nonconfrontational way of dealing with the issue strained our relationship. We started to bicker and eventually parted ways never to speak again. Because I wasn’t willing to overlook something trivial, I ruined our friendship which I now realize was the greater of the two sins. Why didn’t I say something? Why did I let a minor issue destroy a great friendship?

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.– Proverbs 17:9

4 Oxen back to back

There’s an old Aesop’s Fable about Four Oxen and a Lion that goes something like this: A lion used to prowl about a field where four oxen lounged. He tried to attack them many times looking for a savory meal, but whenever he came near, they turned their tails to one another. Whichever way the lion approached them he was met by a pair of horns. The lion stalked off to wait. Eventually, the oxen began to argue. Each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. The Lion seized his opportunity, attacking them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

Okay, so this isn’t a happily-ever-after story, but there is a lot of meat to this tale. (Sorry I couldn’t resist the bad pun.) Bickering among friends can be deadly. It might not be a lion-gnaws-on-your-bones type of deadly, but it inevitably kills the friendship.

Friends protect each other’s backs. When we’re turned against each other, nitpicking and bickering, then our backs are exposed, making us easy prey for the devil. His main tactic is to divide and conquer so he can pick us off one by one. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Don’t become divided. Set your hurts aside, and talk things out. Don’t let bickering and bitterness destroy relationships. Don’t be like me and live with the regret of losing a good friend. Be aware of the devil’s tactics and don’t let foolishness or pride keep us from forgiving one another or extending grace. We are stronger together.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12.

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Lifeguard new lifeguard stand

Rescue Me! In Need of a Hero

The ocean waves didn’t appear rough. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as my dad and I took a late afternoon dip. I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until grayscale woman in oceanmy dad started cutting through the waves toward a woman with her young son. They’d gotten caught in a riptide and were being pulled out to sea only a few yards away from us. I witnessed the sheer panic on the mother’s face as my dad grabbed her hand. He pulled her and her son laterally toward him and out of danger into calmer water.

My dad didn’t make much of it. He used to be a beach lifeguard while in high school and recognized the signs. He walked them back to the beach, and then we went up to have dinner with the family.

We all need rescuing.

Dangers can sneak up on us quicker than we realize. The Bible says the devil prowls like a lion seeking those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). If we are not alert, we can Lifeguard new lifeguard standeasily step into a riptide that will pull us away from the shore’s safety. Often the ocean seems calm, or the path appears smooth, but it’s usually the small insignificant decisions that over time steer us into a road we do not want to travel.

Thankfully, we have a hero watching over us. He commands His angels to guard us in all our ways (Psalm 91:11). He also gives us His Holy Spirit whose gentle nudges guide us in making course corrections.

It got me thinking. What are the qualities of a hero? Dictionary.com defines a hero as “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.”

Here’s my list of the qualities of a hero:

Heroes are present.  God says: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

Heroes are altruistic. Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”-  John 3:16

Heroes are quick to act. The Bible says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” – Hebrews 4:12

Heroes are protective. God says: “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” – Psalm 91:14-15

Heroes are admired. The Bible says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1-2

Heroes save. The Bible says: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” –  Zephaniah 3:17

If you are in desperate need of rescuing, which most of us are or have been at one time or another, lean into the one who truly saves. Rely on His strength, wisdom, and guidance. I like to recite Psalm 91 over myself and my household to remind me of God’s power and the lengths he will go to protect me.

I am so grateful for such an awesome Heavenly Father, who has saved me and rescued me time and time again. I am also thankful for the people He has put into my life who point the way and walk with me, like my church, my small group, and my parents.

In honor of father’s day, I want to give a special thanks to my dad. In my eyes, my dad is a hero. Not just for saving the woman and her son, but for teaching me how to ride a bike, forcing me to eat my vegetables, and encouraging me to save and invest my money. His wisdom has rescued me from a lot of poor choices.

I love you!

Happy Father’s Day.

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