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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sun shining on church steeple (Photo by Georgia)
My cousin Georgia took this photo of "Old Peace Chapel" located at Daniel Boone's Home and Heritage Center in Defiance Missouri.

"Watch Out For Deception"

Message summary: We need to constantly be on our guard and aware that attempts are being made to deceive us.
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“Watch out that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). “Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). 

Yesterday we sat at a table with a group of older Christians at a Lenten luncheon. Prior to the program we were discussing the many forms of deception now plaguing our world, especially among our younger people. They are subject to deception from so many sources, especially tech. Specifically we discussed the current fad of false identity, the lie that you can be whatever you want to be. This lie has now expanded from gender issues to people identifying as an animal! It's like we are witnessing the depravity described in Romans 1 on steroids.

Life is full of deceptions. These are our enemy’s persistent attempts to get us off the right track. It began in the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent and a lie from Satan, the father of lies and deception. Martin Luther describes the sinister craftiness of our enemy in this way: "for still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate". Our enemy is very adept at using modern technology and will use whatever means at his disposal to accomplish his purpose.

Jesus, in his long message called the Olivet Discourse since it was preached on the Mount of Olives, states, “Watch out that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24). This is a word to the disciples and through the Scriptures to all who follow Him. We all need to hear His word on this matter today. We need to constantly be on our guard and aware that attempts are being made to deceive us. Frankly, from many sources I read or listen to, I filter their content with the assumption that I am being lied to as they attempt to deceive me.

Paul warned Timothy "evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse". My adult lifetime of 50 years comprises some 2.5 % of the church age and yet during this time I have seen evil going from bad to worse on so many fronts.

I often comment in this series about a beautiful view I have as I prepare this encouragement each morning. When I look outside my large window I see what God at creation said was "good". Of course I need to keep my focus on the Lord and His goodness, yet evil is ever lurking in the midst of this goodness. Certainly the evidence of evil men going from bad to worse is seen in current events. There are many crafty strategies used to allure me to sin, both ancient and brand new.

“Deceiving and being deceived.”  When people get off the right track it creates a circular dynamic of both deceiving and being deceived. Bible Commentator Stephen Slocum observes:

“When one begins by deceiving others, in so doing they lose their sense of distinction between truth and falsehood, and with their moral compass thus distorted, eventually end up by being deceived by the deceptions of others. Sin sown, reaps its own punishment. This is the general law of depravity – that if men are not converted, they are always growing worse, and sinking deeper into iniquity. The breach between light and darkness, so far from being healed, becomes ever widened.”

But in a sense the reality of evil can actually build our faith, although this is a concept very difficult to develop in a paragraph. The Scriptures are quite forthright regarding evil and its consequences; it tells us the truth! When I see an attempt at deception I am reminded of the enemy’s desire to have me. God has told us the truth in regard to the reality of evil and we indeed recognize that it is all around us. But it is our individual choice to resist the allurement to entrapment. It is through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to resist and overcome.

I consider a portion of an old hymn written in 1901 that speaks truth to my heart today:

“That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world; the battle is not done.
Jesus who died, shall be satisfied, and earth and heav’n be one.”

May our sense of worth be built upon His love toward us and the grace He extends to us, never from the deceit of other’s words or methods or our own self-deceit.

In hope we await that time when “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are the Father of Truth for You authored its meaning and revealed it fully in the person of Jesus Christ who was without sin. We live in a world full of impostors that have gone from bad to worse; those who use trickery, deceit, and distortion to mislead and gain the allegiance of others. Help us to be wise, discerning, and honest so that we will be people of integrity with sterling character leading people to faith in Jesus where they will find forgiveness for their sins, truth as revealed in Scripture, and life everlasting.

And, Lord, for those who are dear to our heart; those who have taken the enemy’s bait and now are entrapped in sin’s deadly tentacles, we prayerfully intercede on their behalf as we cry out to You. Free them from the deadly strangle of Satan’s influence. Grant us wisdom, discernment, and favor as we interact with them. Send others to bring light to their darkened paths and to help us bear this heavy burden. We will not be defeated, for Your power that is within us is greater than the power of our enemy. We will not despair in our problems, but we will delight in Your promises. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"My Worth Is Not In What I Own"  Video  Shane & Shane

"This Is My Father's World"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

Brainwashed School Kids Now Identifying as Animal “Furries”  Video

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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