October 16, 2020
Deception is Satan’s trademark, and it’s nothing new. The very first book of the Bible tells of his trickery with Eve in the Garden of Eden: He planted seeds of doubt about God’s words by asking, “Indeed, has God said … ?” (Gen. 3:1). And this is still the devil’s primary tactic because deception blinds people to the truth.
If you’ve ever accepted a false belief or been intentionally deceived, you know how devastating it is to feel betrayed. Now imagine the utter ruination Satan causes by blinding people to the truth of the gospel. It’s hard to imagine the countless souls who will suffer eternally because of his trickery.
However, the devil doesn’t limit his efforts to preventing faith. He also works diligently to deceive believers by feeding us discouraging thoughts: he insinuates God doesn’t care when we’re going through difficulties and suggests He’s unjust for allowing our suffering. Our enemy also prompts us to dwell on the wrongs done to us or the things God hasn’t provided so we’ll hold grudges, complain, and find fault.
All this robs us of the joy, gratitude, and peace that are ours in Christ. Our first defense against deception is a mind filled with truth from God’s Word so we can discern the lies before they poison our emotions and contaminate our behavior.
Bible in One Year: Mark 8-9
Oct 16, 2020
|From the writings of the Rev. Billy GrahamQ: America’s been a nation of freedoms that have been fought for through bloodshed. We’ve known great victory over other nations that hoped to stomp out freedom. To watch our country falling at the hands of Americans is staggering. We’re told to pray for our leaders, but is there really hope that prayer can change such wicked hearts that are coming against fellow citizens? — W.A.
A: Of all the people in the Bible, Manasseh may have been the most wicked of all leaders. Living centuries before Christ, this king of Judah was an idolater who turned against God and worshiped every kind of pagan deity. Manasseh was guilty of immorality; he practiced every conceivable evil and perversion; he devoted himself to sorcery and witchcraft. He also was a murderer and a cruel tyrant, even sacrificing his sons to a pagan god. So God’s judgment fell: the Assyrians captured Jerusalem, and Manasseh was bound in chains and taken hundreds of miles away to Babylon.
In prison Manasseh had time to think, and he began to pray. In that dungeon this wicked man who only deserved Hell cried out to God for forgiveness, and God wonderfully answered.
The Bible teaches that God is a God of mercy. His mercy is so vast and beyond our comprehension that no matter what sin we have committed, if we truly repent, God will forgive. There is no sin that the blood of Jesus Christ cannot cleanse.
We must turn our faith to God in thanks that He will heal wicked hearts and He responds to the faithful hearts of those who pray for the souls of mankind. His love and forgiveness heals broken spirits.
“For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him” (2 Chronicles 30:9).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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