May 18, 2013
Who is the deceiver? It is the person who follows the ways of “the father of lies” (John 8:44), The Deceiver, Satan himself. It is the person who pretends to have someone else’s best interests at heart, but who actually harbors ill-will toward that individual. The deceptive person speaks cordially, uses smooth words and flattery, but his intention is to take advantage of the one whom he is pretending to help or get help from. Feigning friendship or partnership, the deceiver’s heart is set only on indulging and gratifying himself –whether it be in the area of money, sex, prestige, or power, or all of these plus more.
God warns, “You live in the midst of deception –among those who, unable to repent or acknowledge Me, have trained themselves to lie.” (See Jer. 9:5,6) “Their wickedness leaves Me no choice but to send them into the purifying fires of affliction.” (See v. 7) “Their tongues are deadly arrows. They speak deceit. With his mouth a person speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets an ambush for him.” (v. 8) “I will certainly punish them! declares the Lord. I will certainly avenge Myself on them!” (See v. 9) “For I hate a lying tongue!” (See Pr. 6:17)
What then is the destiny of “these rebellious, deceitful people –children unwilling to heed the Lord’s instructions”? (Isa. 30:9) God informs them: “Because you have trusted in, and depended on, your ability to oppress and trick others” (see v. 12), “so this sin will become your downfall. You will be like a high wall that bulges, cracks, and suddenly, in an instant, collapses, shattering mercilessly into fragments.” (See v. 13,14)
Over and over the Word of God warns deceivers. “Those who deal in treachery will be thwarted and humiliated.” (Ps. 25:3) Concerning those “who speak cordially to their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts” (28:3), verse 5 says that God “will permanently demolish them.” Ps. 55:23 says, “But You, O God, will bring the wicked down into the deep Pit. Violent and deceitful men will not live out half their days.” For unrepentant, and without fear of God (v. 19), the deceiver “attacks his friends; he violates his solemn promise to them. His speech is smooth as butter, but animosity is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are actually drawn swords.” (v. 20,21) Indeed, “Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.” (Pr. 26:23)
Pr. 26:24-26 continues: “A malicious man disguises his malice with his lips, but his heart is harboring deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations lie within him. Though his hatred may be concealed by deceit, his evil will be exposed in the assembly.” For he who sets a trap will fall into it himself. (v. 27 & 28:10) “How true it is that from deception comes only pain and ruin!” (See 26:28)
Unfortunately for the deceiver, the very people whom he thinks are easiest to deceive and steal from –those who are righteous and seek good for everyone, and those who are poor– are the very people God Himself protects and defends. (Ps. 37:14,15,17,39,40 // Jer. 15:21 & 50:34) For He watches everything, including how the deceiver repays evil to the one who extended to him only good. (Ps. 35:12 & 38:20) Therefore God says, “These things you have done and I kept silent. But now, I am about to tear you to pieces with none to rescue you.” (See Ps. 50:21,22 // Micah 2:1-3) “You will be a spectacle of My contempt.” (See Nahum 3:6)
Such is the allotted inheritance of those who refuse to repent of their deceit.
May 17, 2013
I received some news a few hours ago that gave me cause to thank the Lord with tears of relief and joy. A missionary couple who are close friends with my parents have been enduring a time of great difficulty. The wife had to have sensitive surgery behind her ear to remove a cancerous tumor, but because any more invasion would be too dangerous, they could not remove the margins. Therefore, the next step is to have proton therapy. However, the insurance was being disagreeable about covering it. Therapy had been lined up with MD Anderson in Houston, but on Wednesday, the day before they were to go down there, the insurance flatly denied coverage. The husband sent out an email thanking everyone who was praying and asking for continued prayer. He sounded so low, like he was in the despair of his life. It was heart-wrenching. I’d been praying all month, but after reading the email, I called out to the Lord fervently, as I’m sure many others did, and continued to do so.
Here is what he wrote at the end of his email on Wednesday:
~~Wycliffe’s founder, Cameron Townsend, once wrote to someone: “Trust Him when dark doubts assail you, Trust Him when your strength is small, Trust Him when to simply trust Him seems the hardest thing of all.” For many weeks our faith has been tested sorely, yet we continue to trust Him simply because He is God.
Thanking you for your prayerful help on this incredibly difficult journey…~~
But praise be to the Lord! Now, just two days later, we have received news that the insurance company has changed their minds and given the go-ahead for the very necessary proton therapy! Of course there is still a long furrow to hoe, but God is so good to intervene and to encourage His people, reminding us that He is able, that He is listening and answering, and that He walks beside us even –and especially– in times of severe testing and frightening trials. And that He does come to the aid of those who call out to Him to help them and rescue them. Truly God upholds His Word: “To You they cried and were rescued; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” (Ps. 22:5)
We praise God that He, in His compassion, wisdom, and purposes, does answer prayer. We exalt Him and continue to present our requests before Him, waiting in trusting expectation for Him to act on behalf of His people. (Ps. 5:3 & 28:6,7)
May 16, 2013
I believe it commendable that your conscience is sensitive to anything that could displease the Lord. I agree with you that you should not play that game or even go to the party, particularly because, although you may be able to be a witness for holiness, they may try to tempt you to play that specific game with them; and to put oneself in a position of possible temptation is not wise. Certainly, role-playing a liar is wicked. Such a game is, in effect, teaching people to practice lying (something God hates) so that they can become skilled at deceiving people. God’s wrath comes on deceivers (see Scripture verses quoted below), so why would any Christian want anything to do with deceit?
Though many board games, in themselves, are not sinful, I’d encourage you to ask the Lord about the attitude that game-playing fosters. Why would a bunch of Christian men be playing board games? Even action games give exercise to the body and so can be beneficial. But board games? If your friends are needing brain-stimulation, or ways to get to know each other better, there are much more Christ-exalting ways to do both.
Why are these (supposedly) “Christian” men not giving sermons to each other, critiquing each other, exhorting and encouraging each other to become ever-increasingly proficient at teaching the Word of God, and going out together to evangelize on the streets, help in homeless shelters, or mow (for free) the lawns of the sick or elderly? Are they not thinking about how we all will answer to God on Judgement Day for our time? –For how we spent each moment? Sure, God commands us to rest and relax as well as work, but we all should evaluate the time we spend obeying Jesus’ command to further His Gospel (everywhere He commands) compared to time spent playing.
Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations. (Matt. 28:19,20) How exactly are these “Christian” men doing that? The attitude of, “Oh, I do friendship evangelism” doesn’t cut it. We are told to speak, teach, exhort, rebuke, and edify nonbelievers as well as believers, and to keep ourselves separate unto purity. (1 Tim. 5:20-22 // 2 Tim. 3:16-4:5) We are not told to hang out with unholy, pleasure-seeking people and hope our wonderful behavior, void of words, will influence them to follow Jesus. If the Lord does tell us to use this approach with someone in particular, then that is the exception, not the rule. And most certainly it will be someone we’ve spoken to numerous times in the past about the Lord, and one whom we are praying for regularly as we await the day he will listen again –genuinely. But even so, there should be others to whom we are regularly bringing and teaching and preaching and sharing the Gospel.
Another thing: On the matter of making judgements. Our judgement calls should be made without any fear of society’s scrutiny. (Pr. 29:25 // 1 Thes. 2:4,6) We make judgements all the time, and God’s Word tells us how to do so. It tells us to make right judgements –not based on superiority, nor on appearances, but on the Spirit, the Wisdom, and the Truth given to us in the Word of God. (Matt. 7:1-6 // John 7:24 // Rom. 2:2 // 1 Cor. 5:3,12,13 // 1 John 2:20-27) Moreover we are cautioned to be careful that anything we require of others we are, ourselves, adhering to (Rom. 2:1-3), and by having removed the plank from our own eye, have obtained correct insight on how to help others remove theirs. (Matt. 7:5)
I find it commendable that you did research on that new game being introduced and have wisely chosen to opt out. However, for the other “Christian” men who may think that it’s okay to play a game that teaches and exalts deception, here are some rebukes from God’s Word to consider concerning those who practice deceit:
Rev. 21:27 ~~ “Nothing impure will ever enter it [the Eternal Holy City], nor anyone who does what is abhorrent or deceitful, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
1 Peter 2:1 ~~ “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”
Rom. 1:18,29 ~~ “The wrath of God is being revealed… against all [those who are]… filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice…deceit…”
Mark 7:20-23 ~~ “And He [Jesus] said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Ps. 5:6 ~~ “You [LORD] destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the violent and deceitful man.”
Ps. 26:4 ~~ “I do not associate with deceitful men, or consort with those who are dishonest.”
Ps. 52:1-5 ~~ “Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? God’s loyal love protects me all the day long. Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. You love all words that devour [others], O deceitful tongue. Yet God will tear you down to everlasting ruin; He will scoop you up and tear you from your tent; He will uproot you from the land of the living.”
Ps. 119:29 ~~ “Keep me from the path of deceit [O LORD, and] graciously teach me Your law.”
Hosea 10:2-6 ~~ “Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their pillars… They utter empty words; with deceitful oaths they make useless treaties.. Therefore judgement springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field… [The people tremble and mourn over the departed splendor of their idols]… [so] Ephraim shall be disgraced, and Israel shall be ashamed of his schemes.”
Micah 6:9 ~~ “Listen! The voice of the LORD is calling to the city –and to fear Your name [Your authority] is wisdom– ‘Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. Will I continue to overlook, O wicked house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away, or the smaller-than-standard measure that is accursed? Shall I acquit a man with rigged scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore I make you sick, striking you brutally and ruining you because of your sins.’”
God’s Word is very clear about God’s wrath against all who practice deceit. May we keep ourselves far from them and what they practice, even if they practice it “just for fun”.
May 15, 2013
A blind man was following the voices of a crowd and their tour guide along a mountain path. Being tired, he stopped to rest, but in so doing was separated from the others. Two other men happened to come along and when the blind man asked which way to go, the two men, thinking they’d amuse themselves, pointed the blind man in the direction of the cliff. The blind man thanked them and using his cane, wobbled across rocky terrain toward the precipice. A painter, engrossed in recreating the beautiful scenery onto the canvas in front of her, noticed the blind man heading straight toward the danger. But whether it was that she wanted to finish the brush strokes she was concentrating on, or whether she didn’t believe the man was really blind, the woman said nothing. The blind man, therefore, continued stumbling forward and within moments had stepped off the cliff to his death.
The woman, disturbed by the shriek that had penetrated the air surrounding her quiet perch, walked over and looked down over the cliff. “Too bad,” she muttered. Then turning back to her artwork, she noticed the other two men, who, having come out from their hiding place, looked quite pale. But, the woman, not wanting to offend the obvious offenders, said nothing and went back to her painting.
What picture am I trying to paint by my horrendous story? Obviously, it is this: That along life’s path we are continually meeting up with those who are spiritually blind. And when we do so, we have the choice to use them for our own selfish ends (power-trips, increase, pleasure, amusement, etc.), or we have the choice to ignore their plight, or we have the choice to come to their aid. To do the latter, means we must confront them with facts –namely, the Truth that declares their dangerous situation before the Holy Almighty God. Do we have an excuse to do anything but the latter if we are timid, busy, or preoccupied? We absolutely do not. Furthermore, we have no excuse before God if we say we didn’t realize (Pr. 24:11,12), for we are required to have been training ourselves to be keenly alert to spiritual needs. Therefore, we have no excuse to not detect the spiritual need of those whom we cross paths with, and we have no excuse to not open up our mouths to lovingly warn them.
Often a need is presented to us at inopportune times. We may be in a hurry, we may feel ill-prepared, we may be feeling grumpy or worried or tired or otherwise unspiritual, or we may not want to interrupt a conversation we’re already in. But whatever the case, if we miss our opportunity, the Lord will be displeased and we will be responsible, at least to some degree, for that person’s fate. However, we don’t need to be uptight about accidentally failing a chance, for if we’re making sure we’re “keeping in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), the Spirit will be guiding and helping us.
A case in point: The other day my mom and I went garage-saling, something we’d not done in years. At the first one we stopped at, and though I wanted to hurry, I immediately said something friendly in case an opportunity would arise to speak about the Word and ways of God. We commented on the loaves of homemade bread on a table and I read the sign about it being there to raise funds for church camp. I right away asked, “What church?” The answer was “The Church of Latter Day Saints.” My heart fell a bit because though I’d studied in depth how to witness to a Mormon, I’d not studied it for many years and thus felt unprepared. The matter was dropped, but soon we were talking about other things, such as that the man was a teacher (as I had been) and the reasons why educating in the public schools isn’t the best job these days. At this point I was able to mention that I greatly enjoy sharing God’s Word at the downtown bus stops, but again they changed the subject.
God gave one last opportunity, though, and my mom and I took it: The man walked us to our car, carrying some stuff, and then asked us something that allowed me to quickly say, “But we differ with you in faith, because you don’t believe Jesus was God.” Well, away from his wife and the others, this man opened up and we had a wonderful conversation about Truth. Come to find out he used to be a Baptist. Needless to say, we parted ways with him in soberness, but warmness, and have since prayed for him many times.
Another case in point: Just yesterday, after stopping at a Wal-Mart, in a town I’d not been through in about two years, I noticed that a haggard-looking, but smiley man, was waiting in the car in the parking space in front of the one I’d pulled into. I smiled at him and went into the store. When I came out, there he still was. It’s not rocket-science to know, “Ah-ha. The Lord is giving me an opportunity.” So as I put my groceries into my car, I opened up my mouth, observing aloud, “You’re still here!”
“Yea, I’m waiting for someone,” he answered. “Hey,” he added. “Why do you have tape on your car’s front bumper?”
I explained, but he thought it was a useless remedy so I just laughed and said, “Yea, if groceries weren’t so expensive these days, I’d have the money to fix my car!”
Well, so the conversation had started, and though I’d earlier felt in a hurry, I realized this was more important.
“For sure this world has a lot of evil,” I agreed early into our conversation. “But we have God’s Word to comfort us.”
At this the man guffawed and said that God is a fairytale.
“I mean it,” I said, and just went right on speaking about the wonderful God we have, about DNA, about the incredibleness of creation, about the sense of right versus wrong which we all have in our hearts, about the necessity that evil-doers be punished so that justice is upheld, and about how one day we will all stand before God to have our deeds and our hearts judged.
Soon the man admitted that his mom and son both go to church and that he himself sometimes prays.
“But why do you pray to God if you don’t believe He exists?” I asked.
The man laughed sheepishly. “I pray just in case,” he answered.
Well, a couple more things were said, but the man indicated that he couldn’t handle any more Truth for that day, so I shook his hand, parted warmly, and prayed for him as I drove toward home. I still had one more place to stop though –the camper of a very poor man and wife. I stayed there briefly, chatted, and then asked if they were caught up on their bills this time. (Last time they’d not been, so I’d given them some money.) They said that they were caught up for now. However, being that my mom had told me to give to them whenever I felt led to, and that she would reimburse me, I felt the Lord prompting me to part with the $20 bill in my wallet. So I did. (Thankfully, both my husband and my mom are both very generous people.)
The point of relating these events is simply to give examples of how we can, and must, warn and help reroute the blind so that they can come into the Light. Friendliness, concern, compassion, aid toward needs other than spiritual, and a sacrifice of our time, all open up the chance to share the Good News. But let’s all keep in mind that opportunities to reroute those who are spiritually blind come about only by having opened our mouths to speak.
God is a God of justice; and He has put within each of us a conscience that commands us to uphold justice for our fellow man. Anyone being objective can understand that if someone, or a group, tries to deprive others of their rights (such as their right to remain on their own land), attempting this through means of force, lies, or deceitful scheming, such actions are clearly wicked and unjust. God will rise up and act. He will act on behalf of the oppressed. And one main way He does this is to stir up hearts of people who care about justice so that they will speak out to expose the injustice and take action to help the helpless.
For anyone following the issue, here is a gripping 16-minute video:
Many people are joining the cause of the Agta people and other poor people whose lands are being usurped by the APECO corporation. Some are writing about it in their blogs and in the Manila newspapers, while others have risen up to defend them before the Philippine President and in court. Recently, some Philippine lawyers, on behalf of those poor whom APECO seeks to disinherit from their lands, requested that the international community of scientists sign their names to an open letter to President Aquino. Being that my parents lived among the Agta most years from 1961-2010, and being that my dad has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, the lawyers asked my dad to help them collect signatures. An impressive list, from approximately 20 nations, was quickly obtained –266 signatures.
Here is that letter, the signatures, and each scientist’s scholarly credentials:
Please send this post on to as many people as you can. Thank you.
P.S. Here are three photos of me with the Agta:
May 13, 2013
It is remarkable how israeliteindeed always seems to post something the Lord gives her that is similar to what He is speaking to me that very day. This morning while meditating on God’s Word, the Lord kept showing me verses about joy coming, the sorrow ending, the reward awarded, the chaos and confusion eradicated, the discipline and suffering finished.
Those of us who continue to shun wickedness, those of us who survive the onslaughts of the enemy, those of us who refuse to let go of our trust in the only One who can save, will be given favor and rest (Jer. 31:2), will be given comfort and joy, the Lord’s bounty, and reason to sing. (v. 1-14) This is not a promise for Israel only, but for all who return from the enemy’s land (v. 16,17), come into covenant with the Lord God Almighty (v. 31-34), and walk in repentance (v. 18,19), forgiveness of sin (v. 34), the knowledge of God (same verse), and in the Lord’s compassion (v. 20), refreshment (v. 25), and blessing. (v. 23)
Truly, our God is good to us! And how wonderful are His promises to those who believe Him –as israeliteindeed has so aptly expressed here:
To read the rest of her beautiful encouragement to us, please click here: http://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/hope-unassailable/
May 12, 2013
When the Spirit of God and Christ indwells a person, and that person is in submission to the Spirit as he/she ought to be, there is no discrimination whatsoever between the races, the aged and the young, the rich and the poor, nor between the sexes. Jesus taught that in Heaven we will all be void of sexuality as the angels are. (Luke 20:34-36)
We know that when God declared a curse on the serpent, on Adam, and on Eve, Eve received the curse of pain in child-bearing and the curse of turning toward her husband (instead of to God) so that he would rule over her. (Gen. 3:16) However, the spiritual part of the curse has been destroyed (negated / taken away) through the redemption (forgiveness / deliverance / salvation) Christ Jesus bought (paid for) with His own blood. (1 John 2:2 & 3:8) All who turn back to God –by turning from all other gods and then faithfully walking Christ’s path (with Jesus as the one and only Leader)– participate in The Glorious Emancipation. (Gal. 5:1) In transferring our citizenship from the evil kingdom to Christ’s Kingdom (Col. 1:13,14), we walk in the freedom where there is no partiality or discrimination, for we are all one in Christ. (Gal. 3:28)
When we walk (live) according to the ways of God’s Kingdom, everyone submits to one another as to the Lord. (Eph. 5:21,22 // Col. 3:18) “As to the Lord” means, as it is in line with God’s moral and holy laws. (John 7:24 // Acts 4:18-20) Any command given outside of God’s righteous way (path / law / Kingdom) is not to be submitted to.
Everyone is to respect (honor and obey) the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1) and their employers. (Eph. 6:5 // Col. 3:22) Children are to respect their parents. (Eph. 6:1,2 // Col. 3:20) Wives are to respect their husbands. (Eph. 5:33) And husbands are to respect their wives. (1 Peter 3:7) Everyone is to respect (honor and obey) Christ and His commands. Every one of His commands. Every nudge of His Spirit.
Men who arrogantly demand obedience are not walking in the Spirit. And men who do not walk in the Spirit do not have much wisdom or insight. They have a hard time hearing Truth. However, men who do walk in the Spirit do hear from God and are not threatened by others who hear from God. They are humble men who do not usurp authority from the Holy Spirit but instead allow Him to speak to, work in, and speak through everyone and anyone He chooses. Including through women.
On this Mother’s Day when we honor mothers and their contributions to society, it is not merely their home-making and child-rearing skills we applaud. No, for women have been instrumental in many ways for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom; and they have done so, by God’s approval and Spirit, much more directly than many men seem to want to admit.
May all mothers, and their families, have a very happy Mother’s Day today. Full of love, and full of respect.