Tag Archives: devil

Foot In the Door

Story of the Day for Friday August 17, 2012

Foot In the Door

 

                 Don’t let the devil get his foot in the door. 

                                                        Ephesians 4:27

 

 Dale Hays once wrote in Leadership magazine about a trip he made to Haiti.  While there, he heard a Haitian pastor tell the people a parable, which went like this:

A man put his house up for sale.  He found a potential buyer, but the man was so poor he could not afford the full asking price.  After a lot of haggling, the owner agreed to sell the house for half price, with one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one nail sticking out above the front door.

After a few years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell.  So, the original owner found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned.  Soon the stench made the house unlivable, and the man was forced to sell his house to the former owner.

The Haitian pastor was trying to teach his people, that, if we leave the Devil with one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it.

 

We all tend to judge things by size.  Big things are important; little things much less significant.  That is why the devil’s “foot-in-the-door” strategy is especially dangerous.  “It’s just a foot, after all,” we reason, “how harmful could that be?”

But, deep inside, we know better.  The small, daily choices we make are far more significant than the few “major decisions” in the arc of our lives.

When I’m on a diet, I never decide to pig out on an entire bag of potato chips.  I just tell myself, “How bad could one measly handful of chips be?”  After the first handful I say, “Okay, but that was a small handful.  Just one more . . .” When the feeding frenzy is over, there’s nothing left but an empty bag.

 

We cannot completely avoid the presence of temptation.  But we can control the “foot in the door.”  In other words, no matter how holy you are, you are still going to bump into lots of bags of potato chips.  The crucial moment of temptation comes earlier than we usually suppose.  The best time to resist temptation is not after eating “just one handful”; the best time to exercise self-control is before we shove our hand into the bag.

 

Starlings are a major nuisance in many parts of our country.  Unlike many other birds, they roost together.  They can completely carpet an area with their whitewash, and emit a stink that could kill a cow at a hundred paces.

Did you know these pests are not native to North America?  Starlings first came to America when Eugene Schieffelin fashioned the noble dream of introducing to America every bird found in Shakespeare’s works.  If you’re working with our theme at all, you already know my point: someone should have murdered Shakespeare before he started writing about birds! (I’m kidding, okay? I love Shakespeare.)

I am certain, however, that if Eugene the Goofball had foreseen the consequences, he never would have opened the door.

                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Do You Know Who You Are?

Story of the Day for Wednesday February 29, 2012

Do You Know Who You Are?

                Be subject to God, but resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 

                                      James 4:7

Back in 1914, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, rookie Ed Appleton was pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals. The score was tied, 4-4, in the seventh inning, with a man on third base.

The Cardinals manager, Miller Huggins, was coaching at third base. “Hey!” he shouted to Appleton, “let me see that ball.”

Appleton was, apparently, raised to be polite and respectful. He turned to the Cardinals manager and tossed him the ball. But Huggins sidestepped the ball and watched it roll into foul territory.

The ball was in play!

The runner scored and the Cardinals went on to win the game.

 

Do you ever read your horoscope? Yeah, sometimes – but just out of idle curiosity, right? But when we allow superstition or bogus astrological forecasts to taint our behavior, we’re bowing to a false authority. The devil has pulled a “Miller Huggins” on us.

The same goes for doing what we know is flat-out wrong. Sometimes we feel powerless before temptation. We’re victims – powerless before the authority of evil. Prison convicts commonly describe, say, a stabbing as if the knife was the active agent and they just had the misfortune to be holding onto it.

 

The devil is sly. But here’s the point: he has no power or authority over you. When you resist him, the Bible says, he will flee. Don’t toss him the ball.

It’s vital to know that when we cave in to the false authority of the deceiver, we can always find forgiveness in the Lord. But it’s also essential to know who we are. The devil has no authority over us; we have authority over him.

 

A former governor of Massachusetts, Christian Herter, arrived late for a barbeque. As the story goes, he’d had no breakfast or lunch, and was famished. As he moved down the serving line, he held out his plate and was given one piece of chicken.

The governor asked the serving lady, “Excuse me, do you mind if I have another piece? I’m very hungry.”

“Sorry. I’m only supposed to give one piece to each person.”

Governor Herter again explained that he was starving.

“Only one to a customer.”

The governor was a modest man, but was so hungry he decided to put the weight of his office behind his plea. “Ma’am, do you know who I am? I’m the state governor.”

The woman shot back, “And do you know who I am? I’m the lady in charge of the chicken. Now move along!”

Don’t you love a person who knows who they are?

                                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)