Dance to a different tune…

April 9, 2021

In his post today to the Jack’s Winning Words blog Pastor Freed used this quote – “Starting over again is like dancing with the devil.”  (Demi Lovato) 

Freed wrote that Lovato was referencing her own fight with drug addiction. Most of us I doubt have had to deal with addictions, but all of us have experienced life’s setbacks, disappointments and lapses in judgement from which we’ve had to recover. Although we tend to associate the word addiction with drugs, alcoholism is a much more common addiction that is much more prevalent in our society.

Freed also wrote that a tune that pops into his mind whenever a dance with the devil is at hand are the lyrics to the song  “One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus” by written by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson and first recorded by American Country singer Marilyn Sellars in 1974.

Two critical keys to recovery from many of life’s setbacks are faith and taking things one day at a time. Faith helps us forgive ourselves for the past and trust God that there will be a tomorrow; and, taking that future in small incremental steps (one day at a time) keeps us from being overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of it all.

The devil holds out many bright and shiny things and plays many catchy tunes, to which he invites us to dance. That is especially true for those working to recover from an earlier dance with the devil, such as addiction or alcoholism.

When you are tempted by the devil to dance to one of his tunes, keep the tune that Freed uses in mind. Both the song and the dance partner are different and the result at the end of the dance is certainly not the same. Here is a version of the song by Merle Haggard.

Maybe you can mentally play that song in your mind as you pause for morning prayers and let it remind you that today is another day in that one day at a time journey back from whatever you have experienced in the past. Ask for God’s help to put one more day behind you and look ahead to one more day in your recovery.

Just tell the Devil “No thank you” when he asks you to dance again. Tell him that your dance card is filled, with Jesus as your partner.

Today is going to be another good day on your journey back, one day at a time.

What do you worship?

September 1, 2020

Today Pastor Freed commented upon making money your focus with this quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog  – “Make money your god, and it will plague you like the devil.”  (Henry Fielding) 

The same could be said about power as a focus, or anything else that is of this world. The devil uses the appeal of gaining things of this world to temp humankind away from God. Remember how the devil tried to use that same approach to tempt Jesus in the dessert –

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;  and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”  – Matthew 4: 8-10

The devil has refined his approach and made it much more subtle, but it is still the same pitch to turn away from God and towards the devil by becoming focused (worshiping) things of this world – money, power, success, etc.

It is easy to convince yourself that you are only doing what is necessary to provide for the needs of your family and to rationalize that nothing could be wrong with that. But, those who worship the acquisition of material things and power don’t stop at fulfilling the needs of their family because they become addicted to the allure of more – More Money, More Power, more Glory. For them more is the goal and they believe that only by achieving more will they be happy; but more never seems to be enough. There always seems to be something missing.

That something that is missing in their lives is God. A side-effect of worshiping the things that the devil offers is a sense of loneliness and of being incomplete.  The devil never said “I am with you always”, only God said that through Jesus. So, one can sit there like the old cartoon of Scrooge McDuck, in a vault full of money, or surrounded by all of the things that one has bought, and realize that they are alone. One can sit atop a business or government empire and feel the sense of loneliness that power brings.

At the other end of those same spectrums of human achievement are the poor and powerless who are nonetheless happy because they have a profound relationship with God. You see them in newscasts as the people who have just lost everything to some disaster but who are nonetheless thankful to God just to be alive. You see them as the powerless protesters who continue to march for justice. You see them in stories about members of families who have suffered a death at the hands of a violent person forgiving that person and saying that they will pray for them.

How can those people possibly be happy or forgiving? They have focused upon something other than things of this world. They have God in their lives and for them that is enough. They worship God and not things that the devil offers. They never feel alone.

What do you worship?

Are you laughing at the devil?

March 31, 2016

 “The devil saw me with my head down and got excited…Then I said, Amen.”  (Facebook) – As seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write –

devilC.S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters, a story in which a senior devil (Screwtape) instructs a junior devil (Wormwood) on how to how to lead a person away from his faith.  Tempt him to concentrate on self, materialism, doubt of God.  Martin Luther once said that the best way to deal with the devil is to laugh at him.  “Screwtape” was required reading in seminary.    😉  Jack

I’ve not read The Screwtape Letters, but the message that Jack writes that is about makes a lot of sense. It is tempting to become focused upon the material things in life and to lose sight of what’s really important – one’s faith and those we love in our lives.

When I saw the quote on Jack’s blog the first thing that came to mind is how often we walk around with our heads down or these days with our heads buried in our smartphones. Those insidious devices help the devil by isolating us from those around us. It is not phone with msgunusual these to see two people out to dinner, sitting at a table together; but, both intently staring at their smartphones rather than talking to each other. We live in a materialistic society, so the smartphones accomplish the second task for the devil by getting us to focus on ourselves, rather than those around us. If you become fixated on your smartphone, the devil’s already two thirds of the way towards leading you away from your faith. Fortunately there are apps for that. Go to your app store and search for faith. You’ll find lots of apps that you might download to help keep you in touch with your faith.

The real message in the quote and the best way to fight the devil’s influence is in the last few words”…Then I said Amen.” Like the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor hand reaching for heavenaway”; one might also say, “a prayer a day keeps the devil away.” While one may pray for the well being of others, it is also a good idea to pray for your own well being each day. It can be a simple as asking God to be with you during the day and to help you do the right things and make the right decisions as the day goes along. That may not seem to you to be laughing at the devil, but nothing is more off putting to the devil than daily reaffirmation of your faith through prayer.

So, before you set out into our materialistic world today, have a good laugh on tdark alleyhe devil by asking the Lord to walk with you throughout the day. If you must consult your smartphone, open up your faith app for a quick faith pick-me-up. That shuffling sound that you may hear is the devil skulking off into the darkness where he belongs.

Have a great day and a good laugh.


The devil made me do it…

December 9, 2015

That little phrase that is oft used in our society came to mind when I saw this quote from the Jack’s Winning Words Blog so time ago –

“Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by evil.   Take the offensive.  Overcome evil with good.”  (The Bible)

Sometimes we are overcome by evil or we do things that are evil and we look around for a scapegoat. If we find no one else to blame we may say – “The devil made me do it.”

How convenient and how illogical is that. You see; if you profess to believe in the Devil, that sort of means that you also buy into the other stuff that comes with the Devil – God, Jesus, salvation, etc. You really can’t just selectively say that you believe some of the stuff that is contained in religious beliefs. So that also means that you buy-in to the notion of God giving mankind free will – the ability to make choices on their own. So, if God gave us free will; where do you see anything in the Bible that says that He gave the Devil reign over that free will? It’s not there.

devilSo, the fact is that the Devil may have tempted you; the Devil may have enticed you; and the Devil may have somehow made it easier for you; but the Devil didn’t make you do it. You did it of your own free will. Rather than say that the Devil made you do it; admit it – “Oh crap, I did that and I’m sorry.” Then take the advice in today’s quote from the Bible and take the offensive to make sure that you do not allow yourself to be overcome or tempted by evil (The Devil). Do not choose to join the Dark Side. Take the offensive. Use the Force of your faith to overcome the temptations and allure of the wrong things. There is strength to be found in doing the right things.  There is only surrender and helplessness to be found in doing the wrong things. After all, who has ever feared being caught doing the right things?

The Devil may not be real for you, but evil exists in many forms and none of them lead to positive results that you will feel good about tomorrow. Evil is always a choice, never a foregone conclusion. Not only should you choose wisely, but there are real rewards in taking the proactive step of overcoming evil with the good that your actions show to the world. Do not allow yourself to be a disinterested by-stander to evil either.

Watching something wrong happening, especially to someone else, and dong nothing is as wrong as being a part of the act itself. If you see bullying, jump in and do something to stop it and to protect the personbully.png being bullied. If you witness domestic violence speak up and try to get help for eh person being abused. If you see someone being wronged because of a disability or other factor that should not be used to judge, speak up and try to help. Maybe the devil didn’t make you do those things; but maybe he’s the one holding you back from doing the right thing. The Devil didn’t make you do it; maybe he just made it attractive for you to do nothing. Take control and take your free will life back from the influence of the Devil. Do the right things!

Have a great and free-will week. Here’s hoping that you ignore the Devil and do the right things to overcome evil with good.