I was wondering what I should write this time round when suddenly the phone rang. It was one of those calls so many of us have received, someone supposedly phoning from my “Internet Service Provider”, who shall remain nameless, to tell me I had a problem with my internet speed and if I would log onto my computer, give them access and my credit card details that they would sort it out for me.
I told them it was quite strange as I hadn’t noticed any problem with the service and what was even more curious is that he claimed to be from a company that had never ever provided me with internet services! Well I’m sure you know what happened next? The phone went dead and when I dialled 1471 to retrieve the last callers number, all I got was the polite recorded message, “Sorry, the last caller withheld their number”.
Now what is so sad, is that so many people fall for these sorts of scams! If they didn’t the perpetrators would not persist! This whole incident made me think of a far greater and deadlier scam that has conned people out of a place in heaven since the beginning of time.
It is the lie propagated by the devil that there are many ways a person can get right with God and enjoy heaven. People fall for this scam all the time! Many think their good deeds will ensure them a place, others think their religion will, whilst others think that everyone will get there irrespective of how they live because God is love! Others even believe the devil’s lie that there is no God so there is no heaven and when we’re dead we’re dead and that’s the end of it!
Well, just as we are warned by our friends, the banks and other organisations to be careful of cheats whose sole aim is to part us from our hard-earned money, God warns us to be careful of the devil’s deceit. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, He tells us in chapter 12 vs 6 that Satan, the devil is the deceiver of the whole world! It’s sad to think that one of the devil’s primary aims is to keep people out of heaven. This he does by tricking them into believing that they will get there by any way they choose.
But that is just not true! Jesus, who is God the Son, tells us there is only one way to heaven. Again, in the Bible which is God’s Word to us, Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14 vs 6. God is so good to us, He warns us of the devil’s tricks and tells us the truth!
My sincere hope is that you will never be caught out by the confidence tricksters that plague our lives nowadays but more importantly that you will never be caught out by Satan’s schemes but that instead, you will turn to the Lord for all your answers to life’s problems.Have a great summer!
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When I was growing up, we had a ginger cat. Creatively we called her ‘Ginger’. Ginger Marmalade Newbery to be exact. My dad however, called her ‘stupid cat.’ Actually, she wasn’t stupid – I remember her falling off the roof of our house and landing deftly on her 4 paws. She was also exceptionally good at catching mice …
We also had a cocker spaniel called Melody (named after some Austrian yodellers that we saw in the Alps). Coincidentally, my dad called her ‘stupid dog!’ I don’t think that she was stupid either – she always managed to find my mint imperials and was able to consume the entire box without me noticing. The only give-away was very minty, doggy breath wafting through the house.
Then we had a goldfish called Sunshine. I imagine that she would have been a ‘stupid fish’ if my dad had spent much time watching it aimlessly go round and round in its bowl. And in fairness, I don’t suspect that fish need an eye watering IQ to stay afloat.
The irony was that my dad adored those pets of ours. The rotund torso of Melody the mutt was indicative of just how much my dad indulged her. And although I never saw my dad cry, I’m convinced that he must have come close to shedding a tear when Ginger Marmalade left this world behind her.
Calling them ‘stupid’ was a term of endearment as far as my dad was concerned. As far as I’m aware, our pets didn’t have any personal hang-ups about being labelled stupid – possibly because they were not proficient in English.
But amazingly the Bible speaks quite strongly about talking about another person in this way: “Anyone who says, “you fool” is in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22). The Bible also talks about the tongue being a “restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8). It is a “fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body”. (James 3:6). The tongue is such a tiny part of our bodies and yet it can be immensely destructive. A sharp word, an unkind comment, slander, a joke that belittles someone… The Bible considers anything that wounds another person in this way to be the equivalent of murder (Matthew 5:21).
Instead, we are told to “encourage one another and build each up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We are exhorted to ensure that our conversation is “always gracious” (Colossians 4:6), Sometimes, when my young daughter is practising on her flute (mothers I’m sure you can relate to this…) it can be an excruciating experience. At times I impatiently say “Nooo! That’s the wrong NOTE. Play it AGAIN.” I can visibly see my daughter wilt before my eyes. How much better it is when I heed the Bible’s wise advice that says that “pleasant words are a honey comb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). The ageless wisdom of God’s wonderful word will never grow old. It gives health to the body (Proverbs 3:8) and brings harmony into our relationships.
How will your words affect others this week? Why don’t you join me as I learn to heed the faultless advice from God’s manual for life?