Devotions, Politics and Government

The Nightclub

Read: 1 Peter 5:6-11

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:14 NASB

While I love to tell stories about my political experiences, the story of my first (and last) experience in a nightclub is one of my favorites.  It was the night of the Governor’s inaugural ball and the rotunda at the State Capitol had begun to clear.  Everyone was moving on to another party planned to last late into the night and I found myself sitting alone, staring up at the majestic dome.

It was at this point that the Senate Majority Leader, the Senator from my own district, noticed my solitude and asked me if I had a ticket to the next event.  When I responded that I didn’t, he suggested that I come along anyway – promising to take care of the problem when we arrived.

I carefully considered the offer, realizing that I didn’t know where the event was to take place or when I should ask my ride to pick me up.  “Where is it?” I asked, gathering up my coat and purse.

His wife quickly pulled out their tickets which read “Big Easy Conference Center.”  The two looked at each other for a moment as though they had not noticed the name of the venue previously.  After a moment of silence, the Senator turned to me and explained that the last one had been in a hotel conference center, a very nice place, and that he imagined “Big Easy Conference Center” would be quite similar.

Having no other plans for the rest of the evening, I agreed and we all hopped a trolley which had been hired to transport attendees from the ball to the party.  The streets were relatively dark and only seemed to get darker the closer we came to “Big Easy.”  Something told us all that this was not right when we stepped off the trolley and began to walk down the alleyway into which we had been directed, passing an inordinate number of bars on the way.

We finally found the “Conference Center” and when the Senator was asked for his tickets, he simply flipped through the stack which he had purchased for his wife and children and we were allowed to pass.  (I decided it would be best to forgo partaking of any of the food being offered at the event, since I was, essentially, being snuck into the venue.)

Inside, we discovered that the “Conference Center” was actually not a conference center at all, but a night club offering a buffet and karaoke.  The awkwardness we felt was intensified by the fact that most of the people there were in Hawaiian shirts and we were all still in our formals.  We stayed long enough to put in an appearance, then left with a good story that I will still be telling even after I have children and grandchildren of my own.

 The truth is, all of us should have known that something was wrong with the scenario long before we took that walk down the alley.  Despite the good name under which the party was booked, there were plenty of hints that the event would be less than appropriate.

As Christians, we often fall prey to similar traps laid for us by the Devil.  Presenting himself as an angel of light, he lures us into situations that appear to be acceptable, but in the end turn out to be otherwise.  Perhaps this is why Peter cautions believers to be alert.  Only when we’re paying attention to what is happening around us can we be certain to avoid the Devil’s snares!

Challenge:  This week, practice alertness.  Before doing anything (even seemingly good things), take the time to pray and examine the situation carefully.  You may be surprised at the number of traps you avoid!


Devotions, Retail Ready

The Art of Deception

(The following excerpt is taken from “Retail Ready: 90 Devotions for Teens in the Workforce”, available for purchase on Kindle for $7.99 or in print from Amazon for $9.99.)

Read: Genesis 3:1-24

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:4–5

My first job in retail was working for a small family owned hardware store on a corner not far from my home. There were only an handful of employees, so those of us who did work there were responsible for everything from freight and cashiering to stocking shelves and cleaning the floors. I’m not certain at what point it happened, but someone discovered that I could clean a toilet and do it better than anyone else. From that day forward, two or three times a week I had the “high honor” of doing just that.

I was unable to think of a polite way to excuse myself from the task until one afternoon when a young man who we had hired decided to harass me about the matter. “You must not be very good at much if you always get to clean the bathroom,” he snickered, leaning his stocky frame against the door jamb.

“Actually,” I replied with a grin, “I’m the one who cleans the bathroom because I’m the only one around here who can do it! You can eat off my toilet when I’m done with it and there ain’t no way you could do nearly as good a job as I do. They’d never let you near the toilet!”

My plan worked and, to my great delight, the next time the bathroom needed to be cleaned, he did the job himself just to prove me wrong. I had convinced him that it really did take someone exceptionally special to do the dirty work in the store.

Sadly, this deceptive strategy was in use long before I embarked upon my career. Not very long after God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan managed to convinced Eve that the only reason she wasn’t allowed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that it was a privilege reserved only for those who were special. Heeding his advice, she ate the fruit of the tree, unaware that God had forbidden it because eating of it would actually diminish her.

Satan uses the same tactic to distract us even in this present age. Each day we are bombarded by the message that those things which God has forbidden are for “special people only.” As Christians we must guard our hearts and minds carefully, remembering that those things which the world considers special freedoms frequently fail to yield the type of results that they appear to promise. God’s commands have been given not to degrade us, but rather to give us the best life possible in our present world. And that is Special, indeed!

Challenge: List a few of the messages that you receive which are contrary to the Word of God. In what ways might these ideas hurt you rather than help you? Commit yourself to following God’s message and His message, alone!