I traveled north to my hometown of Marks over the weekend to officially kick off my book tour. It was neat to reconnect with my old babysitter, visit with a former English teacher and I got to see others I had known when I was growing up there. That's one of the neatest parts about doing a book signing in your old stomping grounds!
Sunday afternoon I traveled to the Strayhorn community which is outside the town of Sarah. While driving up Highway 3 through Falcon, Sledge and Crenshaw, it reminded me of the summer I campaigned for my mother. It was the first time she ran for the current office she holds. We went door to door every single day in the blazing hot sun, asking people for their vote. But walking through neighborhoods, you often come across barking dogs. I remember one house in Sledge had a fenced in yard with a dog. This dog looked like it was a German Shepherd. Being the animal lover that I am, I tried to be friendly with the dog only to have him try to jump through the fence as he lunged at me. It scared me to death! I kept one eye on the dog and one eye on the door as I knocked and waited for someone to come to the door so I could hand them a leaflet. That dog can't get me, I thought. He's behind a fence. He can cause a ruckus all he wants, but he can't get out. I decided from that moment on, I would not speak to dogs behind fences!
Over and over in the Bible, you can read accounts of how Satan tries to "bark" at Christians. When Paul noticed Gentiles worshiping idols in I Corinthians 10:20, he knew Satan was behind it. When Paul wasn't able to visit the church in Thessalonia, he said in I Thessalonians 2:18, "We wanted to come to you...but Satan hindered us." When Paul encountered troublemakers in the church, he said Satan had a direct hand in it in Romans 16:17-20. When Paul saw Christians who were unwilling to forgive, he said Satan was helping. He told them in Ephesians 4:26, "Never go to bed angry. Don't give the devil that sort of foothold."
Pharaoh could "bark" all he wanted at the children of Israel. But he was powerless to actually harm them. Why? Because they remained under the protective cloud of God's glory and grace.
Satan can growl and bark, lunge and threaten. But when we are in the grace of the Lord, he can do us no real or lasting harm. So where do we make our mistake? We acknowledge the Lord and keep our eyes on Satan when we should acknowledge Satan while keeping our eyes on Christ.
Draw near to Christ and stay under his protective grace. When you are feeling trapped and when you're under the gun, acknowledge the devil, but keep your eyes on Christ.