by Charles R. Swindoll
A basketball fan at the Portland airport awaited the arrival of the Trailblazers following a victory over the Lakers and attempted to scalp a couple of tickets to the next game. As the shyster wormed through the crowd, he located a well-dressed man who listened to his offer.
"How much?" asked the gentleman.
"One hundred fifty bucks," the scalper replied under his breath.
"Do you realize you're talking to a plainclothes officer of the law?" the man asked. "I'm going to turn you in, fella."
Suddenly the seller began to backpedal. He talked about how large a family he had . . . how much they needed him . . . how he'd never do it again.
"Just hand over the tickets and we'll call it even," said the well-dressed man. "And I'd better never catch you here again!"
But the worst was yet to come. The man was no officer at all. Just a quick-thinking guy who used a little ingenuity to rip off two choice seats to the next playoff game (as he anonymously admitted in the local newspaper several days later).
Satan's strategy is just as ingenious and effective. For example, he hears what we hear from the pulpit on Sunday morning, and in the process he plans his approach. He baits the rip-off trap, then sets it up with just the right hair trigger:
- An argument in the car after church over where to go for dinner.
- Preoccupation with some worrisome problem during the message.
- A personality conflict with another church member.
Silently Satan prowls around, camouflaged in the garb of our physical habits and our mental laziness, seeking to devour. Then, at the precise moment when it will have its greatest impact, he snatches away the very truth we need the most.
Remember that next Sunday morning. Prepare your heart and mind before the service, girding yourself with the armor of God.
Don't let Satan rip you off.
In case you question the effectiveness of Satan's strategy, think back just two or three weeks. Maybe even one will do. Do you remember the sermon title? How about the outline? Do you recall a couple of applicable principles? You see, his plan is working brilliantly.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.
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