When I was growing up in the 60’s there was a TV ad for a game called Bop a Bear.   A little girl asks her brother what he is doing.  “Hunting bears!” he says.  “In the house?” she retorts.  “Sure, bears are everywhere, there goes one now.” Bang!  I am not sure why I remember that ad so vividly, but I do.  Someone once said that elderly people do not really suffer from Alzheimers they just have no more memory space left in their brains because they are jammed full of TV ad jingles.

Other than at the zoo, I have never seen a real live bear up close… until last week.  We were spending some vacation time at the family cottage on Lake of the Woods in Ontario.  Kathy was washing the dishes and she shouts, “Mark there’s a baby bear in the backyard, go take a picture.”  Being the dutiful husband I am I grabbed her camera headed out after the bear which had now wandered down the path.  When I had caught up to the bear he turned around and looked at me.  As I snapped off pictures I now realized it was not a baby at all but a full grown male.  And he was starring me down.  Everything I have read about bear safety suggests that you don’t chase after bears.  Fortunately, he bolted into the bushes instead of after me.   Upon returning to the cottage I discovered that he had already been inside.  He torn open the screen door and had gone for a tour of the kitchen. This was not really bizarre behaviour as the dry weather this year has produced almost no berries and other food for the bears and they are going into populated areas looking for food.  He had also gone through Kathy’s garden and eaten all the lettuce, which was just about ready to be picked.  She was not a happy camper… literally.  Bears and people do not dwell well together.  I got my shotgun and gave chase to the bear.  I had no intention of killing it as I did not want a 400 pound bear carcass to have to deal with.  I just wanted to scare him off.   I caught up to the bear and took a couple of shots over the bow so to speak.  That was the last we saw of him.  Here is the actual shot of him at our back door.

When King David went up against Goliath he claimed that he had killed both a lion and a bear and he was going to do the same to the giant.  My incident with the bear made think about how the scripture describes Satan as a wild beast.  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1Peter 5:8  The Devil will eventually arrive at your door step. You have to decide what you are going to do about it.  The scripture says the Devil is SEEKING whom he MAY devour.  It is not a given that you will be devoured.  It is those who are unaware and unprepared that are victims of bear attacks.  The same is true with our spiritual adversary. He seeks those whom he MAY devour.

My bear incident reminded me of exactly how we are to deal with the Satan.  Here’s my tips on how to deal with the Devil:

1) Don’t leave garbage lying around. Bears are attracted to human garbage.  So is Satan.  When we live carelessly and sinfully, the open garbage is an invitation for the Devil. Pornography, alcoholism, drugs, sexual immorality, greed, unforgiveness, etc. is a stinking pile that will attract unwanted attention form the Enemy.  “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Eph 4:26-27

2) Don’t leave your back door open. We sometimes have many other things we do in our lives that are an open door to the Devil.  Unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, jealousy, are all subtle internal feelings that invite Satan right into our lives.  People who entertain these things should not be surprised when the Devil comes a calling.   Things like the horoscope, New Age thought, Eastern mysticism, even Halloween are not a back door but a front door invitation.

3) Don’t go chasing after him. Chasing after the bear that day was not my most brilliant move.  One on one he would have torn me limb from limb.  The same is true for the Devil. We don’t want to be demon chasers, seeing one behind every bush and under every rock. Christians who become preoccupied with the Devil tend to give him invitation as well.   “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9  If Michael the angel who ran Satan out of heaven doesn’t pick fights with Satan, then neither should we.

4) Use your spiritual weapons to chase him off when he does shows up.  God has not left us defenseless.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. 2 Cor 10:4  All I did was take a couple of shots at the bear and he never came back.  We can chase the Devil off as well. Prayer, worship and the name of Jesus are all powerful weapons against the enemy.  If we make the our place of habitation uncomfortable for him, he stops coming around.

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  1. Steve says:

    Amen. The devil can take us out in many ways. But we can learn not to do the same thing over again. Jesus is the one who scares the bejeebees out of that guy.

  2. Betty says:

    That is awesome and well done, Pastor Mark!
    Very much the same thing, has been on my mind, already for some time now.

    Those bears are interesting animals to watch, they look so calm and peaceful, but at the same time, can be very dangerous and in other words, ‘like the devil in sheep’s clothing’.

  3. dave c says:

    I have a question about Pastor Mark is he still at Church of the Rock ?? As a senior Pastor of the church he has had more holidays than anyone I know?Is he ever going to give a message again ??.Most pastors do not leave their flock in the fields for sooo

    • Sherry says:

      Pastor Mark has left the flock in most capable hands (God’s). We are so thankful that he takes a break and hopefully is getting rest. More holidays than anyone? I think sometimes it is not always as it seems. We are so very blessed at COTR to have other wonderful pastors to lead the flock too. We are not all alone without a shephard.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      I am so glad I am missed, but in fact have been in the service the last 3 Sundays in a row. Where have you been? For the record my summer preaching schedule looks like this; I never preach in July and preach twice in August. This year Aug 7th and 28th. The rest of the year I speak 90% of the time and need the summer to catch my breath and hopefully gain a little inspiration. By then everybody is so sick of listening to me they can’t wait for me to go on holidays anyway. We have 6 very capable pastors that the flock needs to hear from them and the summer is a great opportunity to do so. Hope to see you on the 28th Dave!

  4. Isaac says:

    And I thought I got unjustified criticism being a tax collector. 🙂

  5. Sally says:

    I second that; that we do have great Pastors! I think everyone of them that preached this summer outdid themselves. The messages were all right on! And Pastor Mark we do want you to rest up and get inspiration! I am praying to that end! Must say you still do preach a good message even when on holidays! 3 points too in this latest blog!
    Speaking about the bear; one point to consider is to always be on the lookout for them, when we are alert we are less likely to be taken by surprise!

  6. Steve says:

    If we lean on God and put our full trust in Him and throw away all the idols in our lives, we have nothing to worry about. The devil cannot touch us! Jesus will be our protection!

  7. Sally says:

    The journey that we are on in this life is not always as we expect, even when we are on the alert and have confessed all and “thrown away all of our idols so to speak”(which is an on going process);sometimes we can be thrown a curve ball, just ask Job! Jesus said in this life you will have trials and tribulations, but to rejoice when we go through them. A hard thing to do at times especially when we are going through the times of the “dark night of the soul”. So far on this journey with Jesus, I have learned that it is still all about Him and not me and that Father God is more interested in my character than my comfort. Will I still love Him if this and this happens or do I just love Him in the good times?? A question all of us have to answer on our own!

  8. Steve says:

    Yeah, I was refering more to our peace of mind rather than protection from sickness, death, money troubles and what not. If we are allowing God to mould us like little children, He gives us peace of mind in any circumstance.

  9. Steve says:

    When the Lord showed me a picture of revival in Winnipeg, this is what He showed me.
    I saw idols being thrown down. Anything that takes the focus off of Christ and puts it on ourselves I saw being discarded as trash. I saw love for enemies. People we hate, were being treated with love instead of resentment. I saw every kind of person imaginable(ones nobody loves and ones everybody loves) being equal at the cross. I saw people who felt judgement from Christians being loved instead. I saw the churches throwing down the things that don’t matter and taking up the riches of Christ. It was a rearranging of our priorities and our goals.
    I’m just as guilty as anyone else in many areas but this is what the Lord revealed to me. Anyways if God wants to do this He will. Blessings.

  10. sophie says:

    that of the freakiest most awesome stories. THanks for sharing
    – freeky awesome
    -life is like a school play that the Father has not finished the script 4 yet

  11. Betty says:

    Pastor Mark, that was a great message, we had yesterday, where this story was included.

  12. Patti says:

    I know for a fact that when Pastors are on so called “holidays”, they are still thinking of thier flock and needs of friends and family. Our Pastor takes breaks but on those breaks he is visiting people he doesnt get time to see, babysitting for a single mother…actually 2! Helping his kids out. Working with his animals it goes on and on…Holidays…NOT! You have other capable Pastors who love and care for your church family so you should be thankful. I only get to watch Pastor Mark on TV and enjoy listening to his messeges but I bet your other pastors do just as god a job. BE THANKFUL!:) Give them the breaks they need so that they can be effective Ministers to your church.

  13. Josh says:

    One of satan’s major ways of deceiving people is have them thinking he does not exist..He also is very clever at confusing people that want to be Christian, by divide and conquer…the different denominations with different messages from the Bible is Satan’s favourite method, and he is a master at it…introducing false worship days, and teaching people to ignore God’s commanded days are a favourite means of satan..If people want to be Christian they should realize it is wrong to add or subtract from the word of God…Deuteronomy and Revelatons reveals that..yet the majority of professing Christians world wide do it all the time by these false days of worship, and ignoring Biblical commandments…time wannabe Christians do a lot of prayer to make sure we are on the right path, the narrow road that leads to Salvation, and not the wide road that leads to destruction…we do not want to hear those words from Jesus at the end “depart from me I never knew you”..

  14. Joy Mackay says:

    Hey Dave C., don’t you have anything better to do with your time than to put people down. I have been to many Churches in my life and none is better (in my opinion), than COTR. Pastor Mark is incredible. I tell people about him and his message as often as I can, but as much as I go to COTR hoping to see him, I am equally filled with the messages from the other Pastor’s. I know people who rarely take time off work, and they are mean, unhappy, tired people. Take a break, rejuvenate and come back swinging!!!!

  15. Wayne C. says:

    Well once again Pastor it was such a pleasure to watch your sermon, I wish all could here your message on MOB. And yes you are completely right,there will always be alot of Dave C’s providing noise and resistance for us Christians which is sad but just fine with me. What is in my Bible is no different than what comes out of your mouth and I thank you for the meat and potatoes without the fluff. We are told over and over about the Dave C’s in the world and what I will do this Tues at my Prayer meeting is Pray that those pot stirrers have positive days filled with the Holy Spirit and Pray for Pastor Mark and his family that he may receive the necessary rest and alone time so he may deliver to me and my family such awesome sermons. My #1 source is the Bible and tied for 2nd is Pastor Mark and Dr.J.Vernon Mcgee. GOD is so big cause HE provided me with these amazing resources and I am thankful and so blessed to be getting the right info each and every day.

  16. Honey7005 says:

    I really enjoy watching and listening to your sermons Pastor Mark. They are excellent. If I happen to miss watching Church Of The Rock on Sundays, I will watch it on the computer.
    You are an excellent preacher!!!

  17. terry farnham says:

    Once again your message hit home about unforgiveness. Leaving as you say an open door for the enemy. Not only did it apply in my life but an old school friend was going through anger, bitterness and unforgiveness as well I passed on your message to him. I want to thankyou for your sense of humour and timely messages

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