False Anointings and Manifestations

I want to re-share this post today which is from a word that the Lord gave me in August 2020. I believe that it is still a warning the Lord wants us to hear especially in these days and in times ahead. Please read, pray, weigh and test.

You will hear a rumour or a word that “The Lord is there ” – Jehovah Shammah”  but the Lord says do not be fooled.

This morning the Lord impressed this word to me:

The Lord says that in the past many have run after the manifestations of who they believed was the Holy Spirit, because of a deep hunger to meet the Lord and encounter His presence, but these have often been false manifestations and have led people into the wrong things and opened up a door in their lives to the enemy by accepting a false anointing or a false spirit to oppress them.

The Lord says that you don’t have to run after manifestations of His glory. The glory of the Lord is coming to you. 

Wait patiently for the Lord he says – He will come.  He will not disappoint you.

The Lord says that He has already warned us in His Word not to run after such manifestations or people that claim to be Him.  He says not to do it -for if you do then you will be deceived.

As the lightning streaked across the sky as it did in the storms that roared across this nation in the night and which all could see clearly in the sky, then so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

Do not be deceived.  Do not go running after false manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s glory. 

You will know the awesome presence of the Lord for He is Holy and where He is – is Holy.  

You will not be able to stand in His presence.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.   He is Lord and there is no other.

The Lord does things according to His Word (the Bible).   He does not act outside of His Word

Keep the Word of God close to your heart.  Feed on the Word of God.  Be guided by the Word and do not be deceived for many false prophecies and false words are circulating at the moment.

Many false prophets and leaders are rising up in this hour to lead His people astray.  Do not be deceived says the Lord.   Say true to His Word – Put your trust in God and do not be deceived.   God is faithful and He is true.  He will sustain you and protect you at these times.

Watchmen – Take your place on the city walls.  Arise and look out at the horizons. 

What do you see?    Warn the body of Christ.  Sound the alarm.  You need to watch in these days ahead says the Lord.  

There is an acceleration now occurring and things will happen fast.  There is a suddenly approaching – Look & Wait. 

Sound the alarm when the time comes and warn the body of Christ.

I am reminded of these scriptures from Matthew 24:

24 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives,( the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming( and of the end of the age?

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.(For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.( You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted( and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets( will appear and deceive many people.

12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom( will be preached in the whole world(as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place(‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop( go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders( to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning( that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[

 

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[ is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.(37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,(up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.( 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.(43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,(whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

blue body of water with orange thunder
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Seeing but not seeing..

They say familiarity breeds contempt. We see what we often expect to see rather than what is actually there especially in familiar environments. My husband will often say to me “noticed anything different”? That’s a statement that always brings a certain amount of blind panic to me. There’s obviously been a change which I’ve missed. I’ll look around and be like “noooooo” which will prompt a “look more closely” and then illumination hits..I see what has changed. Usually it’s so obvious I can’t believe I’ve missed it! Please tell me I’m not alone in this.

It’s quite ironic how often I can miss what is right in front of my face especially considering the name of my blog. When the Lord inspired me to start writing this blog, He also gave me the name for the site as well. I was very shy of using the name “EagleSight”. It was putting me out there in a way which was well outside my comfort zone. I thought the domain name would definitely be taken and I’d be able to use a different name but God had other plans. When I searched, the name was free and so it confirmed to me it was part of the Lord’s plan for this blog.

Today, I just want to encourage you to look around you with fresh eyes. There may be something near, perhaps even right under your very nose, that the Lord is calling your attention to and wants you to see. We sometimes ask the Lord for things in prayer and God may have already provided the answer but we have not recognised it. For someone, the ministry field the Lord has given you a passion and vision for may be closer than you think.

As a lawyer I have to prepare and read very long legal documents with multiple paragraphs, definitions, cross referencing etc. Often the same document is in preparation and being amended very many times. I sometimes go “Word blind” which means I start reading what I expect to see rather than what is actually there. I’ve learnt I need to go away and do another job and come back to the text. When I read it again with fresh eyes, I might see a mistake that I have missed or some text I have interpreted wrongly.

This can happen when we read our bibles. If we are sometimes very familiar with the text or a version of the bible story we may have heard we don’t sometimes “see” or “read” what is actually written. We can miss things, I pray the Holy Spirit will illuminate God’s Word to us afresh.

Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law”
Psalm 119:18

A picture of my daughter..what big eyes she has!

Action Stations!

Happy New Year to all of you. May you be blessed with the peace of God. As I have been praying today and asking the Lord about the coming New Year, these are the words that I heard in my spirit – Action Stations!

Action Stations – it’s the command that is used to tell everyone to get ready immediately to do the particular jobs that they have been given to do. Ready for Action.

Everyone has an assigned role and is prepared, ready, confident to play their part and equipped ready for action. Committed to the common cause at hand once the signal for action is given. Everyone ready to do their part when called upon to act or when they see the need to act. Soldiers ready to go into battle. Sound familiar.

So I believe that is what the Lord wants me to hear today – Get ready Nicola – Action Stations. I also believe that is what the Lord wants us to hear today – Get ready my children – Action Stations.

As I listened to what the Lord was speaking to my heart today – I wrote down the following. Please read, pray and test and hold onto the good and Godly and discard whatever does not sit well with you. This is what I heard.

My Children have been in a season of preparation but now it is the time to take Action Stations. To be in position, prepared and ready to move on My command and in My timing.

This is the time to listen carefully and act on My Rhema Word that I decree. As I spoke to the churches in Revelation so will My Holy Word come through the Spirit of God to bring direction and clear guidance to My people.

This is the time to be equipped and ready My children so that you are not deceived and led astray by the evil one. His days are short as he knows and he will try to deceive, distract and cause you to stumble but My power, My anointing will be on you so that you will overcome by the power of your testimony and that you will lay down to surrender all to Me. Fully surrendered and prepared. Rooted in Me, Rooted in My Word and nourished and fed by My Holy Word, My Bread – the bread of life.

You will hear me very clearly My children. Those who are prepared for action will spring into action – They are ready.

Those of you who are not ready – hearken to My voice. Be ready. For you know not what hour the Master will come so be prepared for action. Be ready when I send you out to do all that I have for you to do.

Know the day of Action is just ahead – you will be called to Action. None who have My name upon them will be left out or overlooked. All will hear the call to Action. The trumpet will sound and all will hear who bear My name.

Take up your Action Station and Be ready to respond to Me. Amen.

The Lord then brought these bible verses to mind:

Matthew 25:13 “Watch, therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming”.

Revelation 3 2-3: “Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch I will come upon you as a thief and you will not know what hour I will come upon you”.

Jude 1:24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy”

Isaiah 55:2 “Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance”.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.

Action stations | Definitions & Meanings That Nobody Will Tell You.

True Joy

I am reminded today of this post about experiencing true joy in the really difficult times of life that we go through. If you are going through such a time then please read this post Joy in the hard times and I pray it will encourage and bring fresh hope to you today.

Don’t miss out!

My dear friends, I want to encourage you today with these words that I heard the Lord speak to me this morning in our church service:

Don’t miss out!!

Yesterday morning, I had the urge to contact my fellowship group to encourage them to attend the church service this morning or to watch the live stream on line. It was a definite “unction” from the Lord which I didn’t realise the significance of until today.

The presence of the Lord was so powerful amongst us today as we worshipped and the Holy Spirit ministered.

If you as a believer have withdrawn from the Lord (or you know someone who has withdrawn) in some way from Jesus or from fellowship with fellow believers in any way at all and for whatever reasons (the Lord knows all circumstances) then I encourage you and them to reconnect with the living Word, the Lord Jesus, our Father God and the Holy Spirit in worship. To connect with fellow believers who can encourage, support, disciple. We serve an awesome God.

The Lord wants to take off that spirit of heaviness or apathy from those who feel burdened and pour out the Oil of His joy. He wants to refresh you and take off those burdens. He wants to stir up the hunger and passion for Him. He is ready to pour out that living water on you.

God is saying to his children “DO NOT MISS OUT”.

Position yourself ready to receive and run with what God is going to pour out upon you. You are going to be the ministers of His Glory and His Goodness in the days ahead for the benefit of those around you-your family, your friends, your workplace, those on the street, those in need. You are going to have the provision and goodness of God to distribute.

This is the time to get into position ready to receive. May the Lord lead you my dear brothers and sisters to the place He wants to meet with you, fellowship with you and pour a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit upon you. It’s time for the sons and daughters to be revealed for His glory and His good pleasure. Let fear, apathy, sluggishness, bitterness, division be cast aside as we rise rejuvenated and refreshed in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

This is the bible reading the Lord gave me this morning which is for each one of us: As my friend said it is a reminder of who we are in Christ and the calling on all our lives to be the ushers of change.

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, But you’ll have the title “Priests of God ,” honored as ministers of our God. You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.
Isaiah 61:

Bless you my dear friends and may God use you for His glory. May His Kingdom come and His will be done. Amen 🙏

Seeing is believing? 👀

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I’ll call it a conversation but it did get a bit heated on his part. He was convinced that if God would just turn up out of the blue and show himself then a lot more people who have no faith (like him) would start to believe in God. He thinks that if God did this then people would stop behaving so badly and there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world. Mmm🤔

My friend wants God to pop up out of thin air- a bit like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp- before he will believe. He’s disappointed because in his opinion if God existed then God isn’t doing enough to stop all the evil and bad things. He doesn’t understand (yet) that God has already provided the answer in Jesus and that it’s God’s loving mercy that is giving people the chance to find Him before it’s judgment time.

I guess my friend is not alone in thinking like this and there are people who want to see God appear for themselves before they will believe. For my friend seeing is believing-but what is seeing and many people are blinded to the truth by Satan or are wilfully blind from seeing. My friend certainly was not going to believe my testimony or anything I told him. His mind is made up (at the moment) and he thinks I’m deluded as a Christian believer 🙁

However, the truth we read in the bible tells us that since the world was created God has made Himself known and revealed Himself to mankind. God walked with Adam & Eve regularly in the garden and talked to them before sin separated them and consequently us from His presence.

God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him. God hid Moses in the gap in a rock and caused all His goodness to pass before Moses. Moses couldn’t see God’s face because as God said -no-one could look on His face and live.

God revealed Himself to His chosen people, the Israelites, but they still even with all the miracles and incredible things they witnessed of God with their own eyes still went their own ways, did wicked things and didn’t obey His commands. This is unfortunately the reality of human behaviour.

These were the same people who saw God come down for themselves in a thick cloud on Mount Sinai but the manifested presence of God was too much for the people to cope with. They were too afraid of His awesome and powerful presence when the cloud of His glory came down and they witnessed its effect around them. The mountain cracked, there was thunder and smoke and there was fire. It was a terrifying sight. Moses and the elders went up the mountain though because they had prepared and purified themselves to meet God.

Then they climbed the mountain—Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel—and saw the God of Israel. He was standing on a pavement of something like sapphires—pure, clear sky-blue. He didn’t hurt these pillar-leaders of the Israelites: They saw God; and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24 9-11

If God in all His glory and power did make an appearance as my friend wants then my friend wouldn’t be able to cope with the reality. He’d be struck down in fear at the glory of God. If God appeared as he did on Mount Sinai then my friend would be completely undone because of God’s holiness.

However, God did the most amazing thing out of His great love for us so that people could see Him and touch Him and get to know Him. He came in the flesh as Jesus as a baby. The people of the time saw Jesus with their own eyes, touched him, saw all the miracles and good Jesus did but yet again they still rejected him and didn’t change their ways.

To see Jesus was to see the Father. Jesus revealed God.

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. John 14:8-9

The wonderful truth for us as believers is that God is also present here now with us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but we know His presence and we see the evidence of His work and power in us and through us in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit whether through gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy etc. We don’t see the wind but we know it exists and we feel it and see where it blows. So it is with the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to see the wind to believe in it or to see the air that I breathe.

Jesus told a parable about the rich man in hell who wanted his family to be warned about hell so that they would not go through the torment he was experiencing. The rich man believed that if Lazarus was sent back from the dead and spoke to his family as a witness then they would change their ways and believe. Sadly Jesus knew that even that wouldn’t convince them because they already had unbelief in their hearts.

The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him (Lazarus) to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’ “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:27,29-31

I think Jesus summed it up with these words to his disciple Thomas.

“But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.
John 20:24,26-29

How amazing, Jesus tells us that we who have believed in Him without seeing with our own eyes have better blessings in store.

The sadness for me is for those, like my friend, who are blinded to the truth of the gospel. I pray that their eyes are opened to see Jesus and know Him and the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. To understand their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and that God exists and has shown His love for them by sending Jesus to die in their place. May they come to know God and be reconciled to Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus before it is too late. May their hearts be softened and faith take root. Amen.

Deception – The Gibeonites Story

The bible story of the Gibeonites and how they tricked Joshua & the Israelites (which you can read in the book of Joshua Chapter 9) is a fascinating bible story which has a lot to teach us about deception.

What is Deception

It is a deliberate attempt to make you believe something which is not true – there is an intention to mislead – something is hidden, concealed, there is an ulterior motive.    Deception presents facts in a way that you think they are the truth.    It will usually contain a mixture of truth, half-truths & lies – it distorts the truth.    Deception is usually very close to the truth otherwise it would be easily spotted.  Craftiness, & Cunning are usually involved. 

Deception can also arise from giving or allowing a false impression to be made by manipulating information, exaggerating or leaving truth or some truth out – lying by omission.  If you let someone believe something untrue about you – the person has a wrong impression and instead of correcting them you let them believe it – that’s also deception.  That is such a subtle trap we can all fall into – allowing someone to believe an image of ourselves that we project which is not reality- even as believers.

A lie will usually lead to another lie. Eventually you are so far away from the truth you no longer recognise the truth.   That is why deception is so dangerous –it’s very subtle. We start to believe the lie is actually truth because we have a wrong reference point or foundation for what we believe.   We receive information through a distorted lens of deception and don’t realise it is not truth. We then think others are deceived!

We see elements of this in the plan of the Gibeonites.  It was very cleverly thought out – they went to great efforts to paint a picture and give the impression they had travelled from a long long way away and were not in fact neighbours of the Israelites.    Their bread was mouldy, their wine was gone, their clothes & sandals were worn out and tattered etc.   Those facts were true but the reason they gave was not true.   That was the deception.

There is always a motive for deception– sometimes it is just as important discerning the motive behind the deception.  The reason why someone wants to deceive us or why we deceive ourselves (self-deception) or others. It can be for a whole host of reasons – dishonest gain (greed), self preservation, fear etc. to name just a few.  

In this story the Gibeonites had heard what had happened to the cities of Jericho & AI (the Israelites had wiped them out) and they feared for their lives – they didn’t want to die. It was all about self-preservation – than can be a strong motive for deception– we lie or cover things up because we don’t want someone to know the truth about us – preserving ourselves.  Fear about what people would think if they know the truth –we become trapped in this false picture we have created.

The Gibeonites wanted a peace treaty with the Israelites– that was what they told Joshua & that was true (v2/3).    It doesn’t seem like they were planning a Trojan horse – enemy infiltration– and kill the Israelites afterwards – we’re not told that.    The Gibeonites had various options to achieve their aim.  We know from verse 1 that they could have joined forces with the other neighbouring Kings in the area who planned to attack the Israelites.     That was a genuine option.  The Gibeonites were not a weak people or small in number– In Joshua 10 we find out that Gibeon was a might city – bigger than Ai & full of mighty men.  They could have fought.

However, they discounted that option – the Gibeonites were wise enough to realise that they had no chance of getting what they wanted by force because God was on the side of Israel.  If someone can’t beat you at something or take something by force then beware that they don’t cheat you out of it instead. 

Their other option would have been to throw themselves on the mercy of the Israelites & God – been honest from the very beginning – there was an option to do the right thing – but they resorted to obtaining what they wanted by deception.  

This is still true today of how the enemy, Satan, will use deception against us.  It is one of his greatest strategies – his motive is to “rob, steal and destroy” – he wants to ruin the fullness & joy of a life of freedom & redemption that Christ has given us & all that God has for us.  Satan wants to stop you growing and maturing and being an effective disciple of Jesus.

If Satan cannot frighten us or overcome us by a direct attack then he will seek to deceive us in some way either by what we believe about our faith in God and salvation in Jesus or what we believe about ourselves.   We need to be able to identify and discern those lies.   Otherwise there will be consequences of us believing the lie – strongholds will develop in our thinking or behaviours which are not Godly and we won’t be mature and develop in our faith with a firm foundation of truth.    

In these days with so much access to information from so many various sources we really need to be able to discern false teachings, false doctrine, false prophecies etc- That is why we need the tools which God has given us to discern deception.

The motives for deception can look “good” to us too -just as the Gibeonites thought and this is part of the trap with “self-deception” – we can do what we think is good rather than what is Godly.   We can convince ourselves that the only way out of a situation is to “bend the truth” for a good cause. What a trap. 

Where does Deception come from?

Deception originated from Satan – Jesus said satan is the “father of lies” John 8:44 – “He (satan) 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”.  

We see satan’s nature as the liar and deceiver in the garden of Eden.  Satan deceives Eve into eating the forbidden fruit which introduced sin & death into creation. 

Deception is sin –a half truth which misleads – is sin – self-deception is sin.

Deception introduces DOUBT  –  Deception can mean you start to doubt the “truth” – you doubt your ability to know the “truth”.     You start to doubt your own faith – “Are you really a Christian”?   Satan introduced doubt when he said to Eve ”   Did God really say”?  You can start to doubt you have heard God correctly.     

Watch out for doubt in your thoughts– where is it coming from?  Doubt and Discernment are different things coming from different sources. Doubt does not come from the Holy Spirit. Discernment is the Holy Spirit working in and through us to reveal truth.

We can deceive ourselves – self- deception – it can be in our own hearts.   The bible says that “the heart is deceitful above all things” Jeremiah 17:9 – It is so important to ask God to search our hearts and ask Him to reveal if there is any sin in us.    Are we deceiving ourselves in areas of our lives, in our behaviours or attitudes.

So we see that from that very first act of deception in the Garden of Eden there are then stories of deception throughout the bible. Jacob deceives his father Isaac to steal the birth right from his brother Esau, Laban then deceives Jacob into marrying Leah, Joseph’s brothers deceive their father Jacob and pretend Joseph is dead.

The Pharisees tried to deceive Jesus, Ananias & Saphira tried to deceive Peter and Simon the Sorcerer tried to deceive Paul.

There is a pattern of deception and deception is still at work today.  Jesus warns his followers not to be deceived.

Matthew 24;24   “For False Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Paul warned the early churches – 2 Corinthians 11:3 – “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”.

Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them”.

Let us heed these warnings and be on our guard as believers against deception.

Discovering Deception

The good news is that this story of the Gibeonites tells us very clearly how to avoid deception –in two words – Ask God.

I love the fact that there is no mystery here, it’s clear -In one sentence we are told exactly why the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites– they didn’t ask God but relied instead on the evidence of their own eyes & ears.  Self-Reliance & not God Reliance.    

Can we rely on God – The answer is Yes.  

Firstly God knows all things (He is omniscient) – nothing is hidden from his view. God cannot therefore ever be deceived.   The bible says in Hebrews that no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

God forbids deception so it is not part of His character– Leviticus 19: 11 “Do not lie.  Do not deceive one another”.    Proverbs 12:22 “The Lord detests lying lips but he delights in people who are trustworthy”.

We can also trust Jesus – The bible teaches us that there was no deceit in Jesus –  Isaiah 53: 9 “nor was any deceit in his mouth”.  

Jesus is The way, The truth & The lifeJesus does not deceive us or lie to us.

Jesus has also sent us the Holy Spirit – as believers we have the Spirit of Truth– living within us.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit is our counsellor and will “lead us into truth”. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears (from God) and he will tell you what is to come”.

God promises us guidance when we seek Him. There are lots of promises in scripture that when we seek God He will lead & guide us and that we can trust in Him.   In Psalm 5 – we are encouraged to take our requests to God each day in prayer and look up (wait for the answer).

God has provided us with His written word – Holy Scripture– His words of truth.   God’s Word is the plumb line.  If you want to check something is truth – first check what the bible says about it. Go to the source first.   

Hebrews 4 says  “ For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is a babe but solid food belongs to those who are of full age – that is who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good or evil.”

We need to study and get into the bible ourselves and then practice and test whether the things we hear, read etc. are good (of God) or evil.   We have to know these things for ourselves and so mature in our faith.  We also need to live out our faith in doing good.   James says that we deceive ourselves if we don’t act out our faith as doers of the word and not just hearers.

Ephesians 4;14  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

The symbolism of the mouldy bread and wine that has run out also speaks to me in this story.      As believers we also need fresh bread from heaven – Jesus is our daily bread. He is the living water which never runs out. Reading the bible, Prayer, worship & praise- these are all ways that we daily eat & drink and build ourselves up in Christ.

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirt is Discernment.  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment.   Through the exercise of that gift we can discern between good & evil and truth & lies. The Holy Spirit reveals hidden things and what would not be possible to know by our human understanding – it is a divine revelation from God.  

Jesus exercised discernment– Jesus discerned the hearts & motives of the Pharisees when they were trying to trick him –  “you hypocrites he said– why are you trying to trap me”.    Peter discerned through the Holy Spirit that Ananias & Saphira were lying to him and lying to the Holy Spirit.  The impure motives of Simon’s heart in seeking the gift of the Holy Spirit were also discerned.

Why did the Israelites not ask God about the Gibeonites?   We are not told why – just that they didn’t.   This is really interesting because the Israelites had a recent testimony of God revealing deceit in a miraculous way. They discovered why the battle of “Ai” was lost by God revealing deception by one of their own people who had stolen and hidden spoil from the battle which had been forbidden.  They could have easily asked God about the Gibeonites.   Was it over-confidence or mis-placed confidence in their own abilities – they asked a few questions of the Gibeonites, tested the food etc. but ultimately they relied on themselves and not God. There is a warning in this to us.

The Gibeonites were also pressurising the Israelites to make a peace treaty and to act quickly.    That can be a sign of deception –  being pressurised into making a quick decision. We need to make time to seek God and ask Him for guidance before making a decision especially if that decision will have big consequences.   Don’t be rushed.

There were also signs of deception – – warning bells were there – The Gibeonites flattered the Israelites.  Perhaps Joshua & the people were flattered to hear that their exploits in battle had reached so far and wide.  Perhaps some pride crept in which made them vulnerable.   So the lesson for us it to beware the flatters.

Romans 16:18 “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ but their own appetites.   By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”

Ephesians 5 v 6 “Let no-one deceive you with empty words”.

Seeing is not always believing

We are warned not to believe everything we see especially when it comes to signs & wonders.    If people are just looking for signs & wonders as evidence of truth or God – the miraculous – then there is a great danger of being deceived.  

Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2 9-10 “the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works.  He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie – and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.   They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”  

Appearances can be deceptive. The appearance of the Gibeonites deceived the Israelites. They believed what they saw with their eyes.

The good news is that Truth will eventually out. One day the truth will be revealed. The things that are hidden will be revealed by God.

In this story it was only 3 days – a very short time -before the Israelites discovered the truth.

Dealing with Deception

This is a really important part of the story. There are lessons we can learn. 

Imagine how Joshua & the Israelites felt when they realised they had been deceived – angry, upset, vengeful, stupid, shamed, guilty, disappointed, betrayed –perhaps they looked for others to blame, fearful that they had disobeyed God. 

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine – How would you have felt & how do you think you would have reacted.  

You may have even experienced deception and can identify with those feelings. – I know I have – twice that I know I have been in fellowships which have been deceived by trusted people– a huge amount of money was stolen from one church and in another there was a sexual predator pretending to be a believer.    It can cause a lot of pain & hurt –especially if you have been deceived by someone close to you – but the fallout from how we react can be even worse than the effects of the deception itself.  It can cause division, disunity, bitterness, recriminations & unforgiveness even pride – blame those who have been deceived and act as though it wouldn’t have happened to you.   “How could they have let this happen”?    Relationships are really tested and sometimes don’t survive.   We need to guard our hearts in these incredibly difficult circumstances.

In this story we read that the Israelites were not happy at all with Joshua & the leaders when they found out they had been deceived – they started to complain.  There was the potential here for there to be a rebellion against the leaders.    The people wanted revenge and to kill the Gibeonites and when that wasn’t possible then have them severely punished and to be their slaves.   That would have been a terrible life of slavery & drudgery.   Open to future abuse as well by their masters.    The Israelites had been slaves in the past and now they had the chance to be the masters – to make someone else pay.   There was the potential that the Israelites would even deceive themselves into justifying their own bad behaviour or mistreatment of the Gibeonites.   They deserved it by deceiving them and had brought this on themselves.

The Gibeonites had obtained the covenant of the peace treaty with the Israelites by deception. It might seem justifiable to us for the Israelites to have broken the covenant they had made as it had been obtained by fraud. As a lawyer, I know that the law today enables parties to terminate a contract if there has been fraud or misrepresentation.   It is seen as the fair thing to do.

However, the Israelites had made this vow & covenant in God’s name and the leaders were concerned about bringing dishonour to God’s name and also fearful about what God might do to them if they didn’t honour the covenant.

That decision was Godly Wisdom indeed because later in the bible we find out that Saul does break that covenant.   The result is that God is really displeased and there is a famine as a result which is only brought to an end when 7 of Saul’s sons are killed (crucified) as a substitution to make right the wrong that has been done to the Gibeonites.

This reminds me that through Christ’s death on the Cross and His Resurrection Power we are given the ability in Jesus to overcome our natural desires of our flesh for revenge, anger etc when deceived and to forgive the deceiver and release them to God.

What did Joshua do in this story?

Joshua doesn’t attack the Gibeonites when he discovers the truth.    He confronts their lie in the right way.    He wants to discover the truth – why did they lie.  

That is important for us – we may need, in some circumstances and however, difficult and upsetting to confront the deceiver. In the right way- in a Christ like way- just like Joshua did.     Jesus did the same with the people who tried to deceive him – He called it out.   “Why are you trying to trick me

The Gibeonites take the opportunity and tell Joshua the truth.  It’s like a confession of their sins. They confess the lie.

They are under a curse because of the lie but Joshua also shows them Mercy – v 27 – He doesn’t make them the slaves for everyone – imagine what a life of hell that would have been -but he makes them woodcutters & watercarriers for the house of God.   This would still been a hard & demanding work but not the punishment that the people wanted and perhaps arguably that the Gibeonites deserved.  

By making them the woodcutters and watercarriers for the house of God Joshua actually brings them close to God.     This reminds us that God is truly merciful to everyone and He has made a way through Christ for everyone to come into His family.

So I would say -Put those who have wronged you into the hands of God.   Let Him deal with them for you.   If we have done wrong let’s confess our sins and God will forgive us.

It doesn’t say in the story that Joshua explicitly forgave the Gibeonites but this is something which we are required to do as believers.  Forgive those who trespass against us.   Jesus tells us to forgive – it is a requirement of living out a life of faith.  It is not easy.   I didn’t realise for a long time that I even had any unforgiveness in my heart still towards the person who had hurt me through their deception.    It wasn’t obvious – I didn’t think about them or wish bad things on them.   I thought I had dealt with it but I had deceived myself by burying the hurt & fear deep inside me.  

God showed me the effect of that buried unforgiveness in my life was like those little foxes which ruin the vineyard.   It was ruining my fruitfulness in certain areas of my Christian walk.  God really opened my eyes to the things I had deceived myself about by not dealing properly with those things– lies that I had started to believe – that I couldn’t really trust God to protect me or those close to me, that there was hatred buried deep in my heart towards this person.   I learnt to forgive by God’s grace.

Defeating Deception

When we deal with deception in the right way I believe that we defeat it’s power in our lives.     In Joshua chapter 10 the Gibeonites are under attack from the other Kings and they ask Joshua for help.

This was the test.   Joshua does not refuse them help. He helps his one-time enemies who had deceived him.  Joshua is faithful to his promise and because of this and the way he acts, we read in Chapter 10 that God gives the Israelites their biggest victory in battle so far – there are miracles and God enables them to defeat all of the 5 Kings who had plotted against the Israelites at the start of chapter 9 at once.   God says “Do not fear them for I have delivered them into your hand”.

If you are obedient to God then he will give you the victory over your enemy and you will overcome.

God can do the miraculous in your circumstances – in v11 of the chapter we read how God came to their aid and cast down great hailstones from heaven – a demonstration of His great power.   

Even the sun stood still v 12 and v 14 – The Lord fought for Israel.  He didn’t just fight for the Israelites though (His people) – He also fought for the Gibeonites – it was their city that was being attacked.   God was now protecting those who were serving in His house and part of His house.   We are also under God’s protection now having been brought into His family through Jesus the Son.    We are under God’s loving care.    God surrounds us with His favour.

I don’t think that Joshua & the Israelites would have had such a victory if they had not honoured the peace covenant made with the Gibeonites. God honoured Joshua and gave him a mighty victory.

Bless you my friends.

Simple Instructions

Did you collect stickers as a child? These are two stickers I put in a bible given to me in 1976 by Glenrothes Baptist Church when I was a young girl. I’ll stress the young 😊

Two simple instructions:

1. Follow Jesus

2. Read the book of God

If you asked me for advice today then I don’t think I could put it any better than that. It’s served me well for the last 45 years. Follow Jesus and read God’s Word. Simples as they say 😊

We sometimes have a tendency to over complicate things and then can’t see the wood from the trees. It’s good to remind ourselves of simple truths which help us and bring us back on track when we get a bit lost, discouraged or wander away from God and His plan.

2 simple instructions that we can all apply.

Are you following Jesus? Have you submitted your life to Him as Lord? If not then there is no greater joy. If you have-are you still following His leading? Walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit.

Are you reading (or listening) to the Word of God, the bible for yourself? Do you know sound doctrine? There’s no substitute for studying the bible for yourself. Sure we have appointed teachers in the church to help us with our understanding, there are great books, teaching manuals, guides etc out there to help us but don’t neglect to read and study the Word of God for yourself.

My friend Heather told me this little verse which was passed on to her;

The bible is a mine of gold, of precious gems and wealth untold. Read now and pray that you may find, rich treasures for your heart and mind. Amen 🙏🏾

Be blessed today my friends x

Feeling invisible

Do you sometimes feel invisible? That people just don’t notice you.

A visiting preacher from Turkey once told us that Mission begins with Seeing.

In chapter 2 of the story of Ruth we read in verse 5 – Boaz said “whose young woman is this?”

Ruth who was a foreigner, a stranger, a refugee who is destitute is noticed by Boaz. From that moment on when she is noticed – everything in her life changes.

When we notice someone or when someone notices us – things change.

There were a lot of reasons for Boaz not to notice Ruth or pretend he hadn’t noticed her- she was a woman from another culture. She was poor – not a worker in the field just there to pick up the leftovers – but Boaz noticed her. When he noticed her – he also did something to change her circumstances forever. He showed her favour, gave her advice, his protection and then redeemed her in marriage.

Ruth was a widow from another country who had gone to Bethlehem with her mother in law Naomi, also a widow, to escape a famine in the land. They had heard that there was food in Bethlehem. Ruth was a Moabite and was an outsider from a different culture. The Jews and Moabites were often in conflict. Ruth as a widow had no husband to represent her. She had no voice and no legal rights. She had no-one to protect her. She is living in a desperate situation having fled from a country suffering a severe famine. She has nothing other than her mother in law Naomi. She no doubt felt shame about her destitute circumstances.

Ruth was someone who desperately needed someone to notice her and help her.

Boaz was at the other end of the social scale. He is a wealthy landowner who has power, influence and privilege. He is a Jew. He has a voice. He has a position. Sometimes “having” can stop us seeing how others – the “have nots” are affected and living but Boaz does see Ruth though. He notices her situation and then uses his position to help her. He doesn’t ignore her plight.

This story is set in Bethlehem which is called the “House of Bread”. Hungry people come to the house of bread to be fed. When Ruth and Boaz marry and have children their descendants lead directly to Jesus. Jesus is from their line. Jesus who is and called himself the bread of life. Hungry people need Jesus who is the only one who can truly satisfy their hunger. Do we notice spiritually hungry people and signpost them to the true bread of life. Do we notice those who are actually hungry and feed them.

We are all refugees like Ruth in one sense in that we too as mankind lost our original place with God when sin entered the world through Adam & Eve eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. We all need a Boaz – a saviour to step in and help us. Someone who notices our plight and has the ability to be able to save us from sin – there is only one who can truly do that – His name is Jesus the son of God who through his death and resurrection saved and redeemed us from sin. We are refugees no more as our home is now in heaven with God forever and ever. We are now part of the family of God as Ruth became part of Boaz’s family on marriage.

If you feel invisible, insignificant or overlooked then I want you to know today that God is a God who sees us – God sees you. God notices you. He is just waiting for you to notice Him. He sees you right where you are.

When Hagar fled to the wilderness and hid it was God who saw her – She called him “you are the God Who Sees” because God saw her in her predicament and helped her. Even if those around us don’t notice us, if our families don’t notice us – God does. God always sees us. He loves us.

We are God’s eyes too – who does he want you to notice today so that you can show His love. Who does God want you to see – mission begins with seeing.

Whether you identify with Ruth or Boaz in the story, I pray that you will be encouraged. You will know that God has noticed you – He sees you and loves you. That we will also notice those who God wants us to see and notice who are in need today.

Have a blessed day.

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