Mistaken Identity

Spring is fast approaching. Flowers are poking their heads out of the ground; birds are singing; and we are all starting to get “spring fever” – itching for warmer temperatures. At least here in the Midwest we are. As I am witnessing nature’s new birth, I am reminded of something that happened several months ago. My husband regularly sprays for bugs inside the house. We don’t mind the little creepy crawly things God created but would much rather they stay outside. Anyway, one day I was in my sewing room sitting at my desk and my husband walked past with a sprayer. He was spraying around the baseboards with what he thought was bug spray. However, I noticed that the container said weed killer. I asked him about it thinking that JUST MAYBE, he was using an old container but had the correct mixture inside. But, not so. He had simply picked up the wrong one. In his behalf, they do look very similar – same size, same brand, same spray nozzles. Unfortunately, he had already gone through most of the house before I noticed what he was doing. The good news is that no weeds have grown up in our house this year! mistaken identity

Have you ever mistaken a stranger for someone you knew? I have. And, I have had people ask me if I were someone who I’m not. I’ve heard many times that “we all have twins/look-alikes”. Maybe that’s so. It may be something in physical appearance or expression but whatever it is, it does happen.

I think the most heart-wrenching story of mistaken identity that I can think of is the one that began on April 26, 2006 when a van collided with a tractor-trailer. I’m sure most of you can remember the story as it was all over the news. One young woman died and one lived. They were mistaken for each other and the mistake was not realized until five weeks after the accident. I cannot imagine the emotions those two families went through. Across the nation people grieved and sympathized with all of them. It was hard to fathom. It seemed impossible that something like that could happen, but it did.

Just like the above example, in the case of the weed killer and bug spray mix-up, the mistaken identity went unnoticed for quite a while. The weed killer spray had already covered most of our house before being recognized for what it really was. Isn’t that like Satan? He gets in and covers quite a bit of ground before we know he is “in the house” so to speak.

These mistaken identities are innocent mistakes. But Jesus warns us of others who purposefully try to get us to mistake their identity. These identity mistakes have eternal consequences. The bad news is that it must be easy to be misled because we are warned many times against it. The good news is that we can be prepared, and our eyes can be open to the imposter. God provides all we need to discern the truth and recognize the true Messiah. Lies are often disguised as truth. We must be on guard and be in constant contact with the truth giver – God himself. Here are some things God says about mistaken identities.

Matthew 7:15 – “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

matthew 24-24

1 John 4:1-6 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

2 Peter 2:1-3But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. revelation 20-10

 

The moral of the story is this… those who remain faithful and watchful; those whose hope and trust is in the Lord; and those who stand firm and stay strong win in the end!

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire {2.29.16}

liar pants on fireLiar, Liar, Pants on Fire. Just a silly rhyme of children? Maybe not. We all probably said that as children (and I have to admit I still say it occasionally when joking with others). But, until this week I never did make the connection between being a liar and fire. It finally hit me that this saying must have come from scripture. We know who the “father of lies” is – Satan.

John 8:42-44 “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

So, we know where lies originate. They are from Satan himself. We all fall into that trap and have said a lie before, haven’t we? A “little white lie” maybe? But, lies are serious to God, like all sin. Our sin may start small but can grow and spread like crazy. Before we know it we find that our sin identifies us. We don’t want that! Look what John saw and wrote for us in Revelation. Liars are among sinners specifically mentioned.

Revelation 21:1-8 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘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.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new”! Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

There is good news in the above scriptures but the last sentence is hard when you think about the cost of choosing unwisely. God had a perfect plan for mankind to live with Him in the Garden of Eden but through the lies of the devil/deceiver, sin entered in. God cannot co-exist with sin. He is light and sin is darkness. Thankfully, He made another way for us to live with Him now and forever – Jesus Christ, our redeemer. God does not send anyone to hell. People end up there from their own choices. Satan didn’t start out there but he and some angels turned against God. Hell was created for them and thus, all of their followers will have an eternal dwelling place there as well.

Jude 1:6 “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgmhellent on the great day.”

Luke 10:18 “He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Matthew 13:40-43 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

We had an experience recently where we tried to help someone. Even though options had run out for this person and bridges had been burned with family and friends, the lies continued. One lie piled on top of another and another and another and it kept up for several days. The lies were brought out into the open and proved but even then, the lies did not stop. This person continues to lie and we don’t understand it. No matter what the truth is, a lie is worse. One lie leads to another and another and before you know it I think you can start believing your own lies. Besides all that, it seems like way too much trouble to try to remember all the lies! Lies hold us in bondage for sure. I can’t even imagine the stress. But, THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.

John 8:31-32 “To the Jews, who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the truth. There is such freedom in being true and truthful, isn’t there? Oh, the freedom we can have in Christ – awesome freedom, freedom from sin’s control. To live for Christ is freedom. To live for sin is death. We must choose. Will we choose Jesus and Heaven or Satan and Hell?

angels in heavenIn Revelation, John tried to describe the vision he saw but when I try to imagine it, I realize I can’t. Even those of us with the best imagination can’t fully grasp the reality of heaven. We know it will be wonderful. We know it will be beautiful. We know there will be no more tears or pain. We know we will all want to worship God. But, we really can’t imagine how wonderful. At the same time, we really can’t imagine the horror of hell. We know it will be never ending torment and fire. We know there will be gnashing of teeth. We know there will be horrible pain and no relief. But beyond that, we really can’t grasp just how horrible it will be in hell. These realities should cause all of us to pause and reflect or adjust our priorities. We must share the good news and hope we have in Jesus – before it’s too late.

So the moral of this story is…

If you don’t want your pants on fire – never, never be a liar.