Passion for God Can Sustain the Heart

F.I.R.E. Blog


Brown Bear Killed with Pocketknife

Alaska Sportsman Gene Moe spoke during a Sportsmen’s Prayer Breakfast in Anchorage, where he related a most remarkable story of how God can sustain the heart of a man even in the face of a Kodiak brown bear attack. The following illustration is very graphic but absolutely convincing.

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In 1999, Gene was field dressing a Sitka Blacktail deer that he had harvested during a fall hunt on Kodiak Island, Alaska. A lifelong resident of the Last Frontier, he is an avid hunter and committed Christian sportsman. The bear attacked from behind then began mauling and chewing Gene’s right arm and leg unmercifully. Unable to counter the bear’s force the 71 year stalwart of a man was on the verge of surrendering in the face of such power and aggression.

The bear suddenly walk away from his prey for a few minutes then returned when Gene tried to reach for his rifle. As the bruin began his second attack this desperate sportsman began to cry out to God for strength and courage when unable to access his firearm, then unfolded his four-inch Buck knife as a last resort. As the ten foot beast swung his right paw Gene extended his left arm while holding the knife close to his enemies face and throat to miraculously slice through an artery to inflict a precise puncture wound. Blood began to pulsate from the huge bear. Relentlessly the animal stripped away at Gene peeling the flesh from his arm and leg. Just as this devout man of God once again began to surrender, the fearless predator left him for the second time to circle around as if grandstanding before his prey.

The third attack by the bear proved fatal, not for Gene but for the chocolate Kodiak brown bear. In the quickening of the moment this seasoned sportsman recalled a lesson he had gleaned from an Alaskan musher who was able to fend off an attack from hungry Malamute sled dogs when stranded and in peril of survival. A blunt stick could accurately be used to strike an aggressive animal directly on the snout to stun a predator in thwarting an attack.

So indeed, Gene Moe mustered up all the strength he could find then hit the attacking bear in the nose with his left fist. The beast balked in retreat finally succumbing to the knife wound. A well placed discharge of three rounds from a small caliber rifle left no doubt of the bear’s demise. In near shock Gene managed to walk and crawl over one mile to seek help. A dislocated knuckle on this courageous man’s left ring finger serves as a vivid reminder of the brutal attack that day.

This remarkable story of courage and survival has been documented by the Alaska Department of Game & Fish as well as those who eventually came to assist Gene in receiving medical attention and evacuation. An ardent prayer of thanksgiving was followed by full recovery from the wounds. The full mount trophy is now displayed in the Moe family living room.

This astounding but true story clearly supports the Apostle Paul’s declaration found in Corinthians 12:9 to assert that “In man’s weakness God’s strength is made perfect”. Scripture further inspires the Christian sportsman to rely on God’s provision rather than man’s own feeble efforts, very pointedly illustrated in King David’s life as a Sheppard boy in facing seemingly insurmountable odds in confronting the giant Goliath. Young David was fearless in his reliance upon God. He declared, “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.” I Samuel 17:35


As Christian sportsmen we must not consider Jesus as a mere helper but rather our very life. Instead of making us stronger, God brings us to the point of weakness so that Christ can be strong in us. (Power is perfected in weakness – II Corinthians 12:7-10)

The simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ (II Cor 11:3) is the key to renewing and sustaining the passion of our first love (Revelations 2:4)

Ken Boa of Reflections Ministries outlines four natural enemies of spiritual passion.

Enemies of Spiritual Passion

● Unresolved areas of disobedience. Resisting the prodding of God in an area of your life may seem subtle, but it can be a more serious grievance to the heart of God than we suppose. It is good to invite the Holy Spirit to reveal any barriers in our relationship with God or people that have been erected by sinful attitudes and actions. When these become evident, deal with them quickly and trust in the power of God’s forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

● Complacency. Without holy desire we will succumb to the sin of spiritual acredia: indifference, apathy, and boredom. People who lose the sharp edge of intention and calling can slip into a morass of listlessness and feelings of failure. We must often ask God for the grace of acute desire so that we will hunger and thirst for Him.

● Erosion in spiritual disciplines. Complacency can be caused by a failure to train and remain disciplined in the spiritual life. There are several biblical figures like King Asa
(2 Chronicles 14-16) who illustrate the problem of starting well in the first half of life and finishing poorly in the last half. When spiritual disciplines begin to erode, spiritual passion declines as well.

● External obedience. There are many people who are more concerned about conformity to rules, moral behavior, and duty that they are about loving Jesus. External obedience without inward affection falls short of the biblical vision of obeying God from the heart (Jeremiah 31:33; Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:6).

Why not begin to cry out to God today for a restored passion to sustain your heart in the face of your own spiritual struggles?

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