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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Las Vegas Nights

Bruce and I took a quick road trip out to San Diego last week.
We needed to get out to California quick but getting two round-trip plane tickets at the last minute would've been really expensive.
So we decided to drive non-stop; that would get us to our destination in 18 hours.
We know the route quite well: Highway 72 to the 6 cut-off to Interstate 70 through the Rockies and through central Utah, then turn south on Interstate 15 and stay on it nearly all the way to Mexico.
In good weather and during the day, the trip is a scenic delight. Evergreens, white-water canyons followed by miles of sage-encrusted hills, Then the awesome red-rock formations so illustrative of Utah.
We hit Arizona at midnight and Las Vegas about an hour later.
Wow! The lights, the glitz, the flashing signs that advertise the latest shows and entertainers, the fabulous hotels.
At night downtown Las Vegas is truly impressive.
At night the city displays a kind of beauty that promises excitement, entertainment, and the possibility of winning something you didn't work for.
There's a sign that says, "Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas."
At night, that sign says it all.

But I know what the city looks like in the day.
The gliz disappears and the traveler on Interstate 15 sees:
a town plunked down in the middle of an inhospitable desert
a town with little natural beauty
a hot and dusty place
a town with hotels and casinos that have built themselves up on the money left behind by sad and disgruntled gamblers.

The downtown hotel/casino part of Las Vegas offers us a picture of what sin is like.
Sin dazzles in the darkness.
You can hide it under thick stage makeup, elaborate costumes, bright lights, beautiful, super-amplified, richly orchestrated music.
But when the sun comes up,  the glitz and seductive beauty of sin disappears.
And you see it plainly: inhospitable, hot, dusty and waterless.

Seeing sin plainly offers us a choice:
We can ignore it and wait for another fabulous, neon night to sweep us away
We can see it for what it truly is, confess to the Lord its power in our lives, and make a God-directed change.

This week I've been thinking a lot about the seeming light-filled and bright things --my neon nights -- that I hide behind:
A bright smile, when I'm actually angry or disappointed
Beautiful, skillful words coming out of my mouth that excuse or rationalize or explain my sin, when I should be confessing it
Running around my house making everything gleem and sparkle with cleanliness when I should be seeking God and the cleanliness of my own spirit.

Lord, give me the courage to expose my own darkness.

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:20,21)

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