For the past three years my husband has given me the same present for Christmas…tickets to an upcoming “destination” concert. Last Christmas he wooed my heart with tickets to see a blast from the past. Rod Stewart. In Las Vegas.
When I mentioned to a group at Bible study that we were going to Las Vegas, I was caught off guard when one of the ladies commented, “So, you’re going to Sin City.”
Did others think of Las Vegas as Sin City? And how does a city earn such a nickname?
Looking for clarity, I Googled and found a definition on Wikipedia:Sin City is an urban area (a city or part of) that caters to various vices. These vices may be legal (depending on area) or illegal activities which are tolerated.
Hmmm…sounds like that could be almost any city. 85% of Austin, TX is unchurched, so my home seems to have earned the title too.
My eyes had stayed focused on the Lord during other visits to Las Vegas, not on the prevalent sinful vices. Why had I allowed a casual comment about “Sin City” turn into a spiritual attack?
Before our plane landed in Las Vegas, I had put on the armor of God and was ready to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11). Ready to recognize God’s grace at every opportunity. Let me tell you about a few.
The first thing I did when I walked into our hotel room was go to the window to check out the view. I could only smile when I looked down 35 floors below and saw this:
The Guardian Angel Catholic Church. The cross…the ever present reminder that Jesus died for all of the sins of those who proclaim Him as the Son of God.
While getting dressed for the concert, the television was turned to a Country Music channel. The song that caught my ear was “God, Your Mama and Me” recorded by Florida Georgia Line, with the duo not only declaring unwavering devotion to their wives, but also acknowledging that God is number one in the relationship.
You know I’m always gonna be here for ya…No one’s ever gonna love you more than God, your mama, and me.
It’s not so unusual for the glorious name of our Father to be proclaimed in the midst of a country song, but at that moment, feeling God’s love helped me feel stronger as I waged war against evil.
It just happened to be March 17th; St. Patrick’s Day, and another song came to mind. The words of the title, “Mighty to Save,” recorded by Hillsong United, can be found in Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord our God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
I had this vision of God as a mighty warrior, ready to protect me from evil and fight for my heart and soul. I could sense Him calming my fears and filling me with His peace.
Then, knowing how much I love music, He rejoices over me with a song! (Hopefully you noticed the correlation between 3-17 and 3:17.)
While I can’t audibly hear God singing to me, I can listen to others sing God-inspired songs. I can even turn a secular Rod Stewart ballad into a love song, from me to the Lord. “Have I Told You Lately,” made famous by Stewart, is actually on the list of the 100 greatest love songs. As he sang to the crowd that evening, I sang along, but was dedicating my words to the Lord.
Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there’s no on else above you?
The next morning a hotel employee had to came into our room. He noticed my Read the Bible in a Year on the table. He shared that he had read the Bible five times! Yes, God’s word is alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12)
While waiting at the airport for our flight home, God showed me why He had orchestrated my presence in Las Vegas at that specific time. Sitting one chair away from me at the gate, a man was having a loud, yet passionate cell phone conversation with his wife. His estranged wife.
When he was done with the conversation, I knew I had to say something. I reached over and touched his shoulder. Apologized for butting in, but proceeded to tell him that his marriage was worth fighting for! That led to a 30-minute conversation, which included the importance of having God in our marriages. Which led to me sharing the gospel.
It was a deep, emotional time. For all of us (my husband was involved too). The young man was actually the last one to board his plane because he didn’t want our conversation to end! He left hopeful. I was left in awe that the Spirit had moved me to speak boldly.
A divine encounter. A church outside of our hotel window. Secular songs about God. God’s word alive and active.
Yes, in the heart of Sin City, God was there to shield me from the Evil One, who prowls around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8b). Remind me to be alert and of sober mind (1 Peter 5:8a), because evil does exist. Everywhere.
May we all seize the opportunities to see God Almighty in our daily walk wherever we are. Greater is He who is living in me than he who is living in the world. (MercyMe)
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4