Beware of Deception (Matthew 24:4-5)
Matthew 24:4-5, And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Iraq is one of the most heavily mined nations in the world. As of early 2003, it was estimated that there were over 10 million mines in its ground. Heavy use of planting mines began during the 1960s and 1970s. During that period, the central Iraqi government attempted to subdue Kurdish demands for autonomy through the use of mine warfare. Then with the Iran-Iraq war and the two Gulf Wars with the United States, planting of mines spiraled out of control. During the first Gulf War, 20 U.S. soldiers died as a result of land mines. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, there were no loses due to land mines. However, after the cessation of conflict with the regular Iraqi army in April 2003, the U.S. found itself engaged in a guerrilla war against terrorists. The terrorists started making booby traps and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These IEDs have accounted for a majority of those killed in Iraq. The IEDs are hidden in everything from rusty oil drums, to plastic toys, to dead animals, to heaps of rotting refuse.
"A bomb can be hidden anywhere," said Captain Jean-Pierre Brown of Hampton Roads, Virginia, a fire control officer with the First Armored Division who lost a friend in a roadside blast. "I have come to hate garbage in a whole new way," Brown said. "Everywhere else in the world, litter is unsightly and garbage smells. But in Iraq, it kills." The world is a "minefield" of deceptive, garbage philosophies and religions. There is only one safe place and that is found in Jesus Christ.
Often we do not see problems in our own lives, although we can be quite skilled at detecting the problems of others. This tendency to judge others while giving ourselves a pass can lead to both a harsh spirit toward others and a tolerance of sin in our own lives. As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 19:7). If we are depending on our ability to evaluate ourselves, we are heading for trouble. Instead we need an absolute standard of truth that is reliable against which we can measure ourselves. That standard is the Word of God. It is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). To properly judge ourselves we must truly be diligent students of the Bible and apply what we read to our lives.
Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8. This statement is full of truth. To be “pure in heart” is to have a clean heart. To have a clean heart is to be blessed. It is also to have an undivided heart which is able to clearly see God. With nothing else competing with God for attention, God is able to lead, encourage, teach, and convict this kind of Christian. If the Christian’s foundation is strong, then the rest of the building will stand firm.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to keep a discerning heart that I may not be deceived. Help me to walk closer with You that I may grow closer in discerning Your purpose for my life. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.