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Thursday, July 19, 2007
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"The Original Identity Thief"
"Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).
When I pastored a church on an interim basis earlier this year in the Harrisburg PA area we had a colorful senior nick-named "Red". One Saturday morning several of the men went out for breakfast including Red and we had the above photo taken. Of course it didn't really look like this as I had some fun with the photo by making everyone look like Red! Can you tell which one in the photo is the "real" Red? Can you identify Stephen in the same photo?
We recently heard from a reader who had her identity stolen and the fallout she has dealt with since that time. Identity theft has soared to the top of the modern crimes list. In my view one of the funniest ads now running on TV is a credit card claiming to provide protection from identity theft. The ads show the person whose identity was stolen speaking in the voice of the thief declaring how they have used the stolen money. It's a humorous ad but the experience of having your identity stolen is not humorous at all.
Identity theft is a growing form of crime that primarily involves stealing vital information about another person and using that information to get credit cards. But at times this information is also used by criminals in the commission of other crimes, so that the evidence trail leads back to the person whose identity had been stolen. And now there's also medical identity theft!
Being a victim of identity theft is a very grievous experience. It's not only time–consuming and expensive to resolve, but emotionally difficult as you seek to verify that you really are who you know you really are! It can damage a good reputation. Sin continues to abound in this fallen world, taking on new forms and depths of depravity. New technology is often at the forefront of facilitating ever newer forms of temptation and sin.
There's a stolen identity that we, as Christ's followers, need to be on constant guard against. Today's Scripture forthrightly states, "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Satan is the original Identity Thief. He seeks to steal the identity of an angel of light and then present himself as good. The word translated "disguise" is very interesting. Other translations use the words "transform" or "masquerade" to translate the Greek word "metaschēmatizō", which means "to change in fashion or appearance."
From the very beginning Satan has used identity theft and disguise as a means of deception, as in the garden he disguised himself as a serpent. Jesus, in His most lengthy teaching on Satan said, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
A great line in the hymn "A Mighty Fortress" expresses it this way:
But still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe,
His craft and power are great and armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.
Thank God for the balance of the great old hymn which reminds us of God's provision to overcome our enemy, the original identity thief, through the infinitely greater power of Jesus Christ. Today I encourage you to turn fully to Christ and be ever vigilant against our deceptive enemy.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we look to You and depend on Your Word to teach us spiritual discernment so that we can readily identify Satan when he regularly appears in disguise. Thank You for Your indwelling Holy Spirit that bears witness with ours when we must test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the enemy. When we're uncertain surround us with godly counsel and reveal to us Your truths as we prayerfully look to You for daily guidance. Amen.
Today's suggested music:
"A Mighty Fortress is our God"
Instrumental piano from this interesting site.
Here's another neat music site I came across today.
If you have not seen the identity theft ads I refer to in today's message here are a couple of samples: 1 2 3 (These are secular ads!)
This last winter I wrote a story about Red, who has a remarkable testimony. The real photo which has been doctored above is here.
On Brooksyne's morning walk with her niece, Courtney, they enjoyed this beautiful view along Donegal Springs Creek.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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