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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Esopus Meadows lighthouse NY
Esopus Meadows lighthouse on the Hudson River in New York
Photo by Greg Schneider

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"On Being Deceived"

"Watch out that you are not deceived" (Luke 21:8). "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

Yesterday I received an email expressing a political perspective that I agreed with but the original messenger used very bad math to make the point. It weakened the impact of an otherwise interesting analogy. Now I don't know whether the initial writer was intentionally trying to deceive or just had bad math skills. Since it was one of those forwarded type emails I wonder how many read it looking for the "Wow" response rather than carefully scanning for accuracy and truth. 

LechmereYears ago while living in New England a sales flier for Lechmere's, a large department store, printed this huge headline "YOU PAY NOTHING"! The sub-title stated "NO hitches, NO glitches, NO kidding!" I read the small print and found that they weren't kidding, just plain lying! Yet many are deceived by lies like this every day and marketers know it works since there is little fall-out from their deceptive tactics. We have become so accustomed to lies in the marketplace that many of us have learned to listen or read with skepticism.

If our eyes are open we see that we are being lied to on a regular basis and we need to heed our Lord's solemn words in our first daily text,
"Watch out that you are not deceived." But of far greater danger is the spiritual deception that blinds the unbeliever from the Truth and seeks to get the believer off the right course.

After the Triumphal Entry and just before Jesus went to the Cross He shared two lengthy teachings recorded in our Bibles. All three synoptic Gospels record a teaching our first daily verse comes from, known as the Olivet Discourse, that was likely given on Wednesday of Holy Week. The Olivet Discourse is so named because the Lord shared this as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives. The other lengthy teaching is found in John's Gospel which records our Lord’s close personal instruction to the disciples in the Upper Room (John 13-17).  This most likely took place on Thursday of Holy Week.

The Olivet Discourse is a long message that has a lot to say about the Church Age and the end times. However Jesus begins with a solemn warning: "Watch out that you are not deceived." Yet deception still abounds in our world today. Actually it was first introduced in the Garden of Eden when Satan planted doubt in Eve’s heart causing her to question God’s ruling regarding the forbidden fruit.

Several years ago I read a letter to the editor written by an avowed secularist who asserted that a person holding a Bible-based outlook on life such as myself was being deceived. Indeed from his perspective and belief system (worldview) he felt that he was right and anyone holding a contrary view was deceived. Of course I would assert that it is the other way around, he is the one who is being deceived!

Since Christ gave His loving and instructive caution to the disciples many forms of deception have appeared all through the ages of the Church. And this is still true today. This may be a self-proclaimed individual or a belief system contrary to revealed Biblical truth. In my own lifetime false christs and false teachings have come and gone and surely more will be coming, culminating with the antichrist. *

Today we need to not only listen but heed the words of the one and only genuine Christ. We have in the Holy Scriptures a most certain and dependable record of His life and call to each of us. This is a grave word of caution that believers all through the church age should solemnly heed throughout our lifetime: "
Watch out that you are not deceived."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are confronted with deception on many fronts every day, so much so, that we can be deceived without even realizing it. Would You help us to watch out and be on our guard so that we are not deceived by man’s words, no matter how convincing or how charming their personality, nor how cunning their craft. Help us not to fall for Satan’s deceptive tactics that have brought down believers throughout the church age. We seek You for strength and discipline and search the Scriptures for discernment and the true revelation of who Jesus, the Son of the Living God, is. It is in His name that we pray, Amen.

* "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11). We did not have the space to adequately comment on this powerful portion of Scripture but encourage our readers to give careful consideration to this passage in regard to guarding against deception.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"One True God"  Video  Mark Harris

"One True God"
 Video  Newsong

"Wonderful, Merciful Savior"
 Video  Klaus and Kari Jobe

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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