Years ago, I was blessed to go tent camping in the last great frontier of America: Alaska. My friends from church and I hiked with bear proof containers and tents through the Alaskan tundra and across streams. It was awesome.

I remember one day, as I was day hiking with my friend who was a heart surgeon, we walked down a riverbed. All of the sudden I saw it! Right there at my feet, a huge fresh grizzly bear track. My head immediately and almost involuntarily shot up, glaring about my surroundings. I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I was acutely aware of the slightest sound, the smallest movement in the brush. I was on full alert!

After a few moments of calm, I reached down for a size comparison as I put my hand in the track. To my surprise, the grizzly track eclipsed my hand. We then quietly, quickly and deliberately made our way back to camp, incredibly cognizant of our surroundings.

That day I learned a lesson. Be always alert. Not just in bear country, but always. Scripture says it this way in I Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Every day there are temptations and enemies that seek to rob your witness. Be vigilant and aware of what is at stake. God is counting on you.

– Reverend Michael Miller, Fort Payne First United Methodist Church.

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