PO Box 3425
January/February Issue 2010 - Volume 29 Number 1
Devil in Disguise
no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves
into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their
works.” 2 Corinthians
In 1963 this
Elvis Presley record lamented the scheming deceptions that a young lady
played on a young man who was in love with her. The single debuted in the
United Kingdom and some predicted an early demise for both the song and
the artist. However, it went on to win a Gold Platter for sales in excess
of 500,000 units. Here is the title and the lyrics:
the) Devil in Disguise
You look like
There can be
no doubt that the devil is in the disguise business. He could never be as
profitable as he is unless he was a master of deception. He is into more
serious forms of deception than mere sleight of hand and breaking up
romantic relationships. He wants to steal your soul.
Satan is in
the business of trying to spoil God’s work. In the Parable of the Soils
Jesus says this about the wayside ground, “And these are the ones by the
wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately
and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15).
Satan doesn’t waste any time. He is diligent and on the job. He
knows if he can snatch the word from our hearts that the seed will never
germinate and bear fruit. He does not want to see God’s word planted in
in planting a different kind of seed in our hearts.
He is a great instigator of evil in the world. In John 13:2 we read
about some seed that Satan planted in the heart of Judas, “And supper
being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas
Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him….” Satan planted the seed of
betrayal in the heart of Judas, a man who had been entrusted with keeping
the money bag for the disciples of the Lord. Judas proved to be dishonest
not only with the money but also with the Lord Jesus. Satan deceived
Judas. He wants to deceive us, too. He would love to fill our hearts with
jealousy, hatred, pride and selfishness.
uses the scripture deceptively. He quoted Psalm 91:11-12 when he tempted
Jesus in the wilderness. Some have pointed out that Satan misquoted this
passage because he left part of it out (Matthew 4:6). Whether Satan left
part of it out intentionally or not the fact is that he was using this
passage deceptively in order to persuade Jesus to abandon the Father’s
will. Satan wanted Jesus to test the Father just as Israel had tested God
in the wilderness. Jesus did not doubt the Father and He was not deceived.
Poet and Writer, Robert Southey (1774-1843) is credited with this
quotation, “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else
but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into
things.” The Bible tells us plainly that Satan is the father of lies
(John 8:44). No wonder deception is one of his mainstays since deception
is just a lie reduced to practice.
The wise man
admonishes us in Proverbs 23:23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it,
also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”
When we love the truth and wisdom the deceptions of Satan will not
be as alluring. A man standing in the shade of a tree is not tempted to
buy an umbrella to keep the sun off of his head.
He may look
like an angel. He may even walk and talk like an angel. But when we are
wise we will recognize the devil in disguise.
Who You Think
The web site
promised to match singles looking for a life mate with an eligible
partner. What made the site
especially appealing was that those listed were supposedly millionaires.
Paul Krueger's name was listed along with the rest, and his
information drew interest from several.
women got acquainted with Krueger, they learned that he was a recording
company executive who had been nominated for a Grammy.
He was in the process of starting up a company that would produce
CDs, DVDs and other types of videos. To
further prove his validity, he even displayed a stock report which
documented the phenomenal success of his new venture.
He made a convincing case, and 13 women invested over $100,000 in
Krueger was not at all who these women thought he was.
He is a gambling addict, and that's where all the funds went.
He has no entertainment company, and he doesn't even have a home.
That is, until yesterday. He
now has a home in the Souderton, PA jail where he awaits trial.
has now been with us for several years, and we've found it to be a mighty
useful tool. Whether we're
trying to find the weather forecast for a distant city, make travel
arrangements, or learn more about a recently diagnosed medical condition,
there is a wealth of useful information right at our fingertips.
Those who declared the Internet to be a passing fad have had to
revise their predictions. It
looks like the worldwide web is here to stay.
tool, however, come dangers. That's
always been true with any tool. A
sharp axe can fell a tree in minutes, but it can also mortally wound a
person who uses it carelessly. One
of the greatest dangers of the Internet is anonymity.
The person with whom you're chatting or transacting business may
not be who they portray themselves to be.
heard about two popular web sites, FaceBook and MySpace. The latter has
been billed as "the largest social network in North America".
It's hard to dispute that claim when there are, according to
various sources, tens of millions of users on both of these sites. A
"social network", of course, is a place for interaction.
It's a place to make new friends and to meet interesting people.
It's also a place where a 40-year-old man can pretend to be a
16-year-old girl and never be exposed.
There are good
reasons to be concerned about such online predators. These social
networking sites often display personal information, photos, and even
addresses or phone numbers. A
number of cases have been reported where unsuspecting teenagers are
victimized by devious individuals. Deeply
wounded young lives are left in the wake.
Two can play
this game, however. Since
November of 2004, NBC News' "Dateline NBC" has aired occasional
episodes of "To Catch A Predator". In these scenarios, played
out in different cities across the country, a reporter poses as a teenager
on one of the popular networking sites. A suspected predator makes
contact, a "relationship" is established online, and finally a
personal meeting is set up. Local
law enforcement personnel are then involved, and the predator is arrested
at the meeting. The vulnerable
teenage girl he thought he would meet turns out to be a burly police
officer - with handcuffs!
one of the lower qualities of human nature.
We resort to it when we hope to manipulate others, or to gain
favors we could not otherwise gain. Those
who have been victimized by deception understandably feel violated.
techniques we've described aren't really new, and they certainly didn't
originate with the Internet. They
all date back to the earliest days of mankind.
The epitome of deception and the master of lies is none other than
victims on earth were Adam and Eve. The
first man and woman created by God, they were given a perfect home.
The Garden of Eden was unspoiled, and would be the world's number
one vacation getaway if it still remained.
Paradise was lost, however, because Satan portrayed himself as
someone other than who he really was.
encounter with Eve, Satan asked why they didn't eat fruit from the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve
responded that God had forbidden that fruit, to which Satan responded
scoffingly. He assured her
that eating the forbidden fruit would not bring death, but a status equal
to God. It was only after Eve
and Adam crossed God's boundary that they realized the dreadful mistake
they had made. Satan had
deceived them. (Read the
account in Genesis 3.)
the mask from Satan's scowling face: "You are of your father the
devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the
truth, because there is no truth in him. When
he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and
the father of it" (John 8:44). Those
are strong charges.
Jesus, then, Satan is both a liar and a murderer.
Do we not hold special contempt for such individuals?
Think of the drug dealer down on the street corner.
How does he attract new business? He offers a free sample of
something that will make a young person feel really good.
Unbeknowst to them, however, this sample is often enough to addict
them. They have to have that
drug, and will do almost anything to get it.
In the end, lives are ruined because someone told a lie.
Often, those ruined lives end tragically.
Satan is the
original seller of drugs. He
peddles things that he promises will make us feel good, but later we learn
how harmful they have been. James
describes the cycle of sin in this way: "But each one is tempted when
he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has
conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings
forth death" (James 1:14,15). Temptations
come from Satan. Sin always
leads to great harm.
But how can
Satan continue to get away with his destructive actions? Why isn't he
found on lists of people to beware? Again,
it's based in deceit. Here's
how Paul described it: "... For Satan himself transforms himself into
an angel of light. Therefore
it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into
ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their
works" (2 Corinthians 11:14,15).
Are you on the
lookout for Satan? Don't
bother looking for the red guy with horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork.
Instead, look for someone who has appeal, charisma and a dash of
charm. Satan knows his best
shot at wrecking your life is to promise you something wonderful. After
you've taken the bait, you'll feel the hook that is lodged deep inside.
One reason we
have the Bible is to help prevent this deception: "Lest Satan should
take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2
Corinthians 2:11). Read the
Bible. Know your enemy. Learn
that he is not who you think he is.
Habits and Hang Ups
noticed our title on a reader board as I drove along the highway.
It started me to thinking. What
do these have to do with our relationship with God?
The answer that struck me the hardest is that all are connected to
sin. Sin is really our only
problem. If we solve the
problem of sin the other problems we face either vanish or the solution is
apparent and the resolution is within reach.
are a result of unloving behavior. Even
our physical problems came as a result of sin.
Remember: “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory
Habits are a
little different. There are
“good” habits and “bad” habits.
Brushing your teeth every day is probably a good habit.
However the habits that give us trouble are the ones that demand
our attention. The Apostle
Paul lists some of them (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV), “The acts of the
sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish
ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the
like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not
inherit the kingdom of God.” These
show up in our daily behavior and destroy our health, our relationships
and our self esteem. Most of
all they destroy our fellowship with God.
They are sin.
Hang ups are
those attitudes and beliefs that interfere with our ability to act
rationally. They inhibit our
choice to do the things that would be good for us.
They cause us to prejudge actions and people barricading our
emotions and crippling our decisions.
We end up isolated from the facts and reality.
This too is sin.
rather depressing does it not? Good
news! God provides a remedy.
He sent Jesus. Jesus
gave up his life to provide relief from all sin. “For the
wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus
our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV). He
calls us to believe in Jesus as the son of God, to believe in his death,
burial and resurrection. He
calls us to turn our hearts and behaviors away from sin, to proclaim Jesus
as “Son of God” and “Savior.”
And He calls us to submit in obedience by being immersed in water
to “wash away your sins.” He
then calls us to live by his power in victory over our hurts, habits, and
hang ups. “Therefore,
since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw
off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let
us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God} Consider him
who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow
weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV).
relief and encouragement. “Come to me, all you who are weary and
burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from
me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For my yoke is easy and
my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).
life eternal and happiness forever. “…Now the dwelling of God is
with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God
himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more
death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has
passed away…I am making everything new.” Then he said, “Write this
down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:3-5
God calls us
to learn together and encourage one another.
Please come join us. Be
a part of God’s family.
Ash, Ashland, Oregon
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on. As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. Sometimes Mom would get up quietly, while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.) Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked...and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name? We just call him “TV.”
A VISIT WITH OL'
Ol' man Lister and I were down at Phil's gas station, drinking
Nehi and solving the problems of the world, when Ed Bicker walked up.
Now Ed is a big strapping young man with lots of muscle but very
little motivation. He hasn't
worked since he mixed concrete for the monument down at the city park; he
quit that job when he found out they wouldn't let him scrawl his initials
into the concrete.
Ed spoke to us for just a minute then found Phil and asked him if he
could use some help around the station.
Now Phil is pretty self-sufficient, but he usually will give odd jobs
to the locals who need a little work, so he told Ed that if he really wanted
to work, the back of the building needed to be scraped and painted.
Ed hemmed and hawed around for a few minutes, then finally asked,
"What'll you pay me, Phil?"
Phil said, "Ed, I'll pay you what you're worth."
Ed looked insulted and said, "No sir.
I can't work for that!"
You know...I reckon he's right.
- Number 1 -
Jan/Feb 2010 BC
is published every other month. Send all inquiries, address changes and
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