Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dealing with Deception

Today I used an internet service that I checked out and it seemed quite legitimate. I felt I was getting a fair service for a fair price. But when I clicked to complete the transaction I found that I had been billed for the entire year rather than one month as the screen implied by its big, bold print. I immediately clicked to cancel the subscription and called the company to discuss what had transpired. What I was told was that this price required a one year subscription, which may have been somewhere on the screen but was not glaringly apparent. I told the representative that this was not acceptable, to which I received an apology but no satisfaction. I then told the representative that I felt their practices deceptive and that I would pursue it further through complaints and telling others of my experience. Her response was to grant me a one-time exemption to their policy and authorize a full refund.

There is so much in our lives that is not what it seems. The internet is full of deceptive practices backed by crooked and perverse people. But then again, isn’t our world such? After all, who is it that is the father of lies and who holds the souls of all who have not placed their trust in Christ and received His gift of salvation and freedom from the dominion of darkness. This transference of kingdoms was at the heart of Jesus’ call to the apostle Paul as we read in Acts 26: “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’” (Acts 26:15–18, NASB95)

This transference draws a line between two radically opposed dominions—the dominion of Satan and that of God. One is based in darkness, deceit, and destruction and the other in light, love and life. Satan is all about bringing down and trampling while God lifts and builds up those who are downtrodden. And those who belong to Satan, while in the world they may vary in their relative goodness, ultimately are headed to ultimate destruction unless God intervenes.

But that is exactly what God did in Christ. Jesus Himself talked about this prior to going to the cross. “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:31–32, ESV) No longer will they belong to the father of lies, but to the Giver of life. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. 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, NASB95)

Earlier today on the phone I had to take a stand for truth and upright practice in the business world, and the person on the other end backed down. She did not have to, but she did. Satan, on the other hand, has no choice but to back down because our God has always had and always will have full dominion over the entirety of His creation which includes the devil and his counterparts. Our God is totally sovereign and trustworthy in all things, and no one can thwart His purposes or bring accusation against Him. He is the both the standard and the judge of right and righteousness, and it is only in His Son that any of us are ever found either.

Today I had a reminder in how deceptive our world can be. I also had a reminder in guarding my own heart and my own tendencies toward sin either in response to actions such as today or independently of them when my desires are not met as I feel they should. Sure, we will encounter challenges and we will even struggle ourselves with sin, but we need to remember who our God is and what He has done for us to make us His set-apart, fully accepted and declared righteous children. In that I will wrap up with some more biblical truths simply stated in their Scripture form.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28–30, NASB95)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,” (Romans 8:31–38, NASB95)

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us [or directing us]. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:5–9, NASB95)

“…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:4–10, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah (12/11)

I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have designed to co-create with you. Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of this child! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.

“For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9, NASB95)

“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.” …“Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”” (Genesis 21:1-2,6–7, NASB95)

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NASB95)

No comments: