It’s that time of year again when I put my hunting clothes through a wash of unscented detergent and take to the woods with my pal Corey. It’s a later life sport/hobby that I have picked up, and I really have come to enjoy hunting. The point of camouflage clothing is to be virtually unseen. Deer are hyper-aware of their surroundings and have a great sense of smell. It is imperative to blend in with your surroundings both visually and audibly. Sometimes this is difficult when your hunting buddy smokes cigarettes while hunting, but that’s beside the point.
Hunters aren’t the only ones that use camouflage to hide themselves and what they are trying to do. It dawned on me after my recent business trip to Las Vegas that this is essentially Satan’s modus operandi in America. Camouflage. So much of what he does day to day is not always obvious. It can be very covert. We can also end up being manipulated into believing that nothing sinister is even afoot. We must remember 1 Peter 5:8.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”
Even in the “City of Sin” Las Vegas, Satan operates under a clever cloak of camouflage. The first time my company sent me there, I was naive and not really in a great place spiritually. I knew the dangers of that place just from what I had heard, and many people warned me of what it offered. Despite that, I went to Vegas completely unaware of what was going on around me. I was enamored by the beautiful skyscrapers, lights, party lifestyle, and cars (I go there for a car show). While I don’t think I dove into a intensely regrettable Vegas experience (Thank God), I most definitely let my spiritual guard down and basically took a spiritual vacation in 2016.
Vegas is like a machine. It draws people in and churns them out on the other side. The machine operator (Satan) sits there and happily runs the show. I went to Vegas again this year and this insight was much more evident to me. My brother took his first flight out half way through the week to spend the majority of time there with me. It was a blast with him being there! We got a first-person view into Satan’s camouflaged machinery together and we got to discuss it and pray about it!
You get a true sense of the sadness and depravity around you when it comes to people watching. When walking through the casinos we saw 1000’s of slot machines. At many of these slot machines, you will see people that look like the cast of The Walking Dead pressing buttons over and over again hoping to hit big. I didn’t see a single person hit big. I only saw a bunch of sad faces. Then you’ve got the higher stakes gambling like poker and blackjack. Even there you don’t see many people smiling or even seeming to enjoy themselves. Everyone looks serious and stressed. I tried my luck on the blackjack table and found myself having a hard time having good fun to be honest. I’m very pessimistic when it comes to gambling..
On every corner of “the strip” in Vegas, there are people wearing neon colored shirts with the words “orgasm clinic” written on them. These people have the job of handing out Las Vegas’ famous “trading cards”! Just kidding, they are “escort cards” for your next 1 night stand. Sometimes these cards are just thrown into the streets for anyone. As sad/depraved as that is, my brother and I couldn’t resist having some fun with it. Every time they tried to hand my brother and I a card we would both say “Jesus” or “what about Jesus”. I am not kidding when I say this, but some of these people quite literally retracted in horror when we said that. One of the guys said, “I know about Jesnuss. He wrote Genus”. To translate, I think he meant to say, “I know Jesus, he wrote Genesis”.
My brother and I are pretty outdoorsy guys and love to hike. Personally, I’ve never traveled out west to camp or hike. Ryan has gone to Colorado before. Regardless, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and see some of the awesome sights near Las Vegas. We visited the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon National Park. At the Hoover Dam you are hit with the vastness of Lake Mead and the significant drop of the Dam into the river below. I think I can speak for my brother and I and say that, what was truly beautiful, was the national Park area.
We stopped at one of the trails and hiked up about a 1/2 mile or so to an overlook. It was breath-taking. Miles and miles of red mountains, canyons, and desert plants. On the overlook there was about a 300 foot drop and there were some folks rock climbing on the side of the mountain we stood on. We sat down to just experience the view for a little while.
Once we became a little thirsty we got some water and went further into the park. We traveled in our little Mazda Miada we had rented along a 13 mile loop that wove in and out of the canyons. Every mile or so would be a pull off for hiking trails. Unfortunately, we were unable to stop much because you can only do so much in one day! The views were yet again, mind blowing. It was about 75 degrees out with a cool breeze. The air was fresh. I really felt peace and joy on that drive with Ryan.
It dawned on me the stark contrast we were observing. While Vegas is truly an impressive sight to see with all of its lights and structures, it literally cannot even contest with God’s creation in nature. It actually made Vegas seem even more pitiful. It’s like God told Satan, “I see what you did there. Your city is pretty cute, but check this out…” That’s how I like to imagine it at least. I think it would do some people well to get out into God’s creation in nature more often. Take a prayer walk on a trail in a park or go somewhere with your friends. Let God impress you.
I was studying for a teaching I did for some youths at a Juvenile Detention Center yesterday and we were going over John 1:4-13. These kids know darkness exists. They even said, “Man, that’s why we here…darkness”. There is so much darkness in this world. We are all surrounded by it, not just kids in juvey. I am so grateful for our savior Jesus Christ. Without our savior we would be consumed by darkness. Christ gives us the opportunity to see the light and experience real LIFE. He IS the Life. He offers that life to the lost people in Vegas, the kids in juvey, and you and me. All Christ asks from you is to receive Him and believe in His name. John 1:4-13
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Thanks for reading,