The One Thing About Las Vegas

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When immoral doesn’t seem so wrong

We are an immoral, desensitized people. I don’t even know the half, nor do I want to know.

What we hear often enough, long enough and loudly enough, we will eventually end up believing as truth. What used to be considered “immoral” has changed to “okay” because so many others are doing it. Even advertisers try to make light of sin. Instead of reckoning with the consequences down the road, sin is beautified. Instead of calling it what it truly is, today’s messages offer immoral behavior as a logical and thus an acceptable alternative.

Why else does a billboard inside the Las Vegas airport have a sign like this?

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To deny, in this case, is to lie. Yet, the wrong of lying is minimized by these words, “Deny, deny, deny.”

Why does this sign not say, “Lie, lie, lie.”?

If we’re honest, we know why.

This sign is one of the first things a visitor sees and one of the last he notices when he flies into and out of the Las Vegas airport.

Allow me.

Sin City

Las Vegas. Where people go to gamble, spend money, and participate in events. Where prostitution is rampant, but legitimized by using terms for harlots like “ladies of the night.”

Men who would never consider spending a night with a whore willingly enter “gentleman’s clubs”. What is there about adultery or spending a night with a female that makes it seem right when he enters a gentleman’s club instead of a whorehouse? There’s no difference except for the title, yet somehow, it doesn’t seem so wrong, now does it?

A man has sex with a female who is not his wife. It doesn’t seem so wrong when she is referred to as “a lady of the night.”  Let’s face it. She’s not a lady and he’s not a gentleman.

Airport billboards post signs that encourage men (or women) to be unfaithful to a spouse. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” one billboard proclaimed.

Vegas is touted as the “sin city” – another way to make what is wrong seem okay, or even something of which to be proud. Is it? Who wants to be a part of a sin city?

What happens in Vegas does not stay there. Even if it’s not talked about after Vegas and even if no one else knows, it stays with the person. Always, there is that conscience that troubles a person. For deep down inside, he or she knows that what happened there was wrong – or else why does he or she not want to tell the world?  Why is it even supposed to “stay in Vegas”?

Little wonder then that, inside the door of the ladies’ restroom in the Las Vegas airport is a sign encouraging girls or women who have been “bought” to get help at a hotline number.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so grateful that there are places to go for help. I’m just sad that we need to have these places. These signs tell us how sick we really are.

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Embarrassment is excused with a Laugh

In our effort to hide our embarrassment, in our inability to know what to do, we laugh. It doesn’t just happen in Vegas. It happens everywhere. A husband flirts with another woman. The wife, in her uncomfortable state, acts like it doesn’t bother her, and laughs. It’s easier to do that than cry.

Girls aren’t sure how to respond to the catcalls of other guys, so they just shrug it off with a laugh. Soon we become desensitized to what is happening. It doesn’t seem so wrong. Women defend their husbands, girls defend their guys, all  in the name of “that’s just the way he is.”

Folks have been harassed and fractured to the point where they think it’s their fault and not the fault of the truly guilty party. People have become “things and possessions” instead of being viewed as a person with an eternal soul.

It’s no laughing matter and we ought not to participate in the downward spiral by pretending it’s okay when it isn’t. As believers in Christ, we should be offering light in this darkness instead of hiding behind our uncomfortable laughter.

It Happens Everywhere

Las Vegas is not the only city or the only town where infidelities and discrepancies occur. It’s just more noticeable there, for there is no attempt to deceive and hide what is happening. Rather, it’s plastered noticeably in many places and so easily noticed that soon it becomes familiar and starts to seem okay; for, after all, that’s just what happens in Vegas.

It’s not okay and the sin of Vegas is everywhere. Sin is never okay. Exploitation is wrong. Objectifying is wrong. So are fornication, adultery, and unfaithfulness.

To deny is the same as to cover up or to lie.

To laugh is saying it’s okay.

It isn’t. Sin is never okay.

Redemption is Free!

Faithfulness is a treasure which many cannot claim. Redemption can claim and restore that treasure. When we are redeemed, we return with singing to Jerusalem. And everlasting joy will be upon our heads. Every single one of us can be free, for the ground is level at the cross of Jesus.

When we are truly redeemed, Vegas will never have its hold on you – and on me.

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10 Things God Wants Us to Do

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There are many things God wants us to do. His directions are spelled out throughout the Bible. Some of those directions are in the Old Testament, and some are in the New Testament. He gave directions through many people: prophets, judges, priests, apostles, and disciples.

The foundation for all His instructions came through His own handwriting on two stone tablets. If we as individuals, as families, as churches, as communities and as a nation could get these ten commandments down, we would have a different world. We’d be different people; our families, churches, and communities would be different, and so would our nation.

 

  1. I am the only true God; you shall not have any other god but Me. There is only one way to come to God; there is only one God, Jehovah. The only bridge between us and God the Father is through Jesus the Savior. He described the way to God as a narrow road with comparatively few travelers. He emphatically declared that no one can come to God the Father except through Him  If folks would travel that road, what a different place this world would be!
  2. Do not have any idols. An idol is anything or anyone we worship or place above or in higher priority than God. Don’t have any idols. There isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t struggled with things or people being more important to us than God. We might not make a golden calf or a Dagon idol, but we allow things to get in the way of our relationship with God.  What a better world we would have if we got permanently got rid of idols!
  3. Don’t take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Don’t use His name in any other way than you would in worship and in prayer.  To do so is disrespectful to Him. Using a word that is slang for God is still taking His name in vain. How much easier it would be to teach our kids respect for authority if we exhibited it ourselves in the every day of life. How much better our homes would be if they were free of cursing, for the attitude that brings cursing is one of disrespect. Our world would be better if we were respectful.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day. Keep it holy. Save your Sabbath for rest and for worship. That’s why God designed the 7th day. If our Sabbath is the same as any other day of the week, then it’s not holy. Period. Are there things you don’t do on a Sunday because it’s His day, or do you go anywhere and do anything on that day that you’d do any other day of the week? If your Sunday is the same as any other day (except for going to church), then how are you keeping it holy? Our churches would be more filled, our lives more productive. and our communities more peaceful, if we kept this commandment as God intended for us to do. If your job requires you to work on Sunday, you should observe another day as your Sabbath for that week. The principle of one day in seven for rest and worship is validated in both the New and Old Testaments.
  5. Honor your father and your mother. Families are important because God says so. Parents are super-important because of their God-given responsibilities. How they are treated is one of the ten moral commandments. Regard your parents with great respect – not because your father is always right and your mother is perfect. Honor them because God said so. Refusing to do this is disobeying God. Our homes and our families would be a haven instead of in turmoil if only we practiced this commandment.
  6. Do not kill. When Jesus taught the crowds, He added to this commandment and made it harder for any of us to be innocent of murder. He said that to hate is to be a murderer. What a different place our world would be if we did away with hating and murder.
  7. Do not commit adultery. You can only have sex with your spouse – the one you are married to for as long as you both live. God was explicit in this! If we got rid of adultery, think how that would change lives and our world! How much less pain there would be for families and communities, if only we got this one right!
  8. Do not steal. Thief-in-the-night stealing.  “Borrowing” a postage stamp from your employment. Dishonesty in how you punch your time clock. Hedging on income taxes or taking money under the table. They are all stealing. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we got rid of stealing?!  For sure, there’d be a lot more trust among neighbors and enemies.
  9. Don’t bear false witness against your neighbor. Gossip, tale-bearing, not telling the whole truth or leaving out part of the truth – that’s false witness. Sometimes we do it deliberately and sometimes we don’t even think about what we’re doing. We ought to think about what we say and how we say it. How much better our communities, families, and neighborhoods would be if we stamped out bearing false witness!
  10. Don’t covet. God was specific with this. Don’t covet anything your neighbor has: his wife, house, field, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Don’t wish you had what he has. Think how much better relationships would be if we didn’t give in to this one. Coveting leads to jealousy, rivalry, envy, and feuding. We surely could do without any of these. Surely we realize how getting rid of coveting could turn some things right-side-up.

The first four commandments deal with our relationship with God. The last six deal with our relationship with others. We’ll never succeed with the last six if we don’t focus on the first ones.

How about taking ten weeks – and focusing on one of these commandments (not suggestions) each week? Make some new roads and build some bridges as you follow these. It’s guaranteed to make you a different person. Who knows, maybe it will help change your world.

Would to God we could experience the effect of more people keeping these 10 commandments.