Portraying God

As Christians we want to portray God accurately to others. Misrepresentation is a serious thing. So serious that there are laws in place to protect people from misrepresentation and compensate them when it happens. This is certainly the case in the UK where I live and practice law and I am sure in other nations.

Although this week’s blog will have a bit of a legal influence (it’s my day job after all) I promise it won’t be boring…now there’s a possible misrepresentation if ever there was one!! 😊

This theme of misrepresentation caught my attention recently when I read again Job’s story. It’s certainly not the easiest book in the bible to read. As a heads up, the things that happen to Job and his family are terrible. If you’ve never read Job before then do try it and persevere as it has lots of rich nuggets in there and spoiler alert…a happy ending.

One of the things though that we can easily overlook as we get to the end of the story and the good stuff for Job is that God is not happy about some things that have happened. In fact He is angry that Job’s friends have not spoken accurately about God in their discussions with Job when they were trying to ‘help” their friend. They have misrepresented God in their talks and God is now taking them to task for it.

That’s serious stuff and really got me to thinking and it’s a big challenge. As a Christian do I accurately represent God to people or do I misrepresent Him? Do I accurately reflect God in my blog and my writings? In my family life, church life, with my Christian friends and in my workplace. When I preach in church and in our small group fellowships. This is a massive topic for thought and discussion and I’m sure will prompt lots of thoughts and comments from others as we reflect and consider this more.

Now in legal terms there are different levels or types of misrepresentation because the law realises that not every type of misrepresentation is the same. There are two though that I thought might help us think about this a bit more.

There is an “innocent” misrepresentation where the person didn’t realise that they had said or done something wrong. They hadn’t meant to mislead the other person into believing something which wasn’t true because they believed it to be true themselves.

That’s an easy thing to do and it can happen to us. We say something about God that we believe to be true, perhaps it’s something we have been told by others or taught, even brought up in faith to believe or was our mindset before but actually it’s not correct. Our source of information was wrong or we have not interpreted it incorrectly. We didn’t mean to mislead anyone but we have done it. We have believed and repeated a false teaching or doctrine. We have become the blind leaders of the blind that Jesus warns about. We may have given the wrong impression about God perhaps because we don’t want to offend someone

There are consequences for both parties though when this happens because even an innocent misrepresentation is wrong and leads us on the wrong path. Someone suffers along the way. Perhaps not immediately but at some stage it will have an impact.

When I read the story of Job I think that’s what his friends have done. They were sincerely trying to help. They thought they were giving Godly advice and they were learned, sincere, passionate and believable. There’s a responsibility on us to ensure that what we tell others about God is true especially when we think we are helping others with Godly advice. I always remember being taught in class that “ignorance of the law is no defence”. In other words if I’m caught speeding I can’t say I didn’t know that the legal speed limit was 70 and I was doing 90. I’m expected to find out what the requirements are to be a responsible citizen.

The good news is that as believers we have been given the tools to portray God properly. We have the bible, Jesus’ example to follow and the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth and God himself that lives within us. Thank the Lord that we can trust in God that He will lead us and guide us into all truths. If we have doubts then we have the ability to discover the truth about God. We need to have that humble attitude of heart though and be willing to listen and be corrected. If we think we know it all then we will be heading for a fall.

We also need to take our responsibility seriously to check things out for ourselves and apply ourselves to knowledge and understanding and seeking guidance from Godly leaders and teachers. God has blessed us with the gifts of ministry especially the gift of teaching within the body of Christ for this very reason. Paul used to do this within the early church and there are examples in his writings. This is why it’s beneficial and necessary to belong to a good fellowship of believers and meet together to be discipled.

The other type of misrepresentation is a fraudulent misrepresentation. Now in this case the person knows that what they are saying or doing is wrong and they are deliberately misleading the other person for their own gain in some way..it could be for a material benefit or for more subtle benefits. This is why Jesus himself warned us about the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Those within the body of Christ who are pretending to be believers but are deliberately trying to sabotage the work of the Church and hurt believers. They will be exposed and they can and will be identified. They won’t display the fruit of the Spirit and Peter and Jude’s letters to believers also help us to look out for the signs and warn us to avoid following their behaviours.

I want to portray God accurately. I ask God to forgive me when I have not done so and pray that He will lead me and guide me in His truth. To put the record straight when I have got it wrong. Teach me your ways God so that I may and will also help others to discover you, the one true God, your son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of Truth.

Let me know your thoughts and have a blessed day. I have a feeling that the Lord has much more to teach me on this topic. Bless you.

After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.”
Job 42:7

We all need a helping hand

Waiting Patiently…

I have been reminded of this word which the Lord gave me in August 2020 which I posted on False Manifestations…Watchmen Arise. I also posted recently on The trap of deceit and there is a warning theme in these posts against deception which the Lord is bringing back to my attention.

Satan is a counterfeiter of the things of God. It’s such a wicked thing to deceive people in this way by pretending to be of God or a move of God. It is one of Satan’s craftiest weapons.

If as believers we just hunger and seek after signs and wonders as “evidence” that the Holy Spirit is at work or present then we are in danger of being deceived by false spirits and false manifestations. This will be especially true if we are not rooted and grounded in sound biblical doctrine and the true gospel of Jesus.

This is why discipleship and having a correct understanding of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are so important. The Word without the Spirit in our lives is not in balance nor is the Spirit without the Word. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He leads and guides us into truth.

The bible teaches us that satan can appear as an angel of light as do false apostle and false teachers. Paul says this in his letter to the church at Corinth:

“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Have you ever been blinded by a bright light? If someone has ever shone a light directly into your eyes then you will know what I mean. You become dazzled and blinded by that light and you cannot then see anything else around you. This is like the blinding light of Satan. It takes your attention from everything else and blinds you to the truth. God is light and this is why satan also pretends to be light.

Satan still acts in this way today and he will until the end. Counterfeits and deception are still part of his schemes but as Christians we do not have to fear deception but place our confidence in Jesus the rock of our salvation and allow Him to lead and guide us.

If we are ever in doubt then we should not blindly accept what is being said or done but test it. Test it against biblical teaching, test it with fellow believers and test it in prayer with God.

This is part of the word that I posted previously on this theme;

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

The Lord says that in the past many have run after the manifestations of 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 Spirit and the 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 & every tongue confess that He is Lord. He is Lord & there is no other.

The Lord does things according to His Word. 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 & 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 & 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 & 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.

Blessings to you this day in Jesus name.

The trap of deceit

Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful.” Jeremiah 5:26-27

Among My people – That is a sobering thought. I believe God is warning His people again now to beware of the wicked one’s trap of deceit. If we fall into that trap, we will be in great trouble. If our minds are deceived then our eyes become blind to the truth and our ears do not hear correctly. The communications we receive are tainted. We see through a distorted lens of deceit and hear through a filter which corrupts us.

The messages we receive become mixed and we are in danger that wrong things are heard and not discerned. The trap of deceit sucks us further and further into it. The door of the gilded cage is shut and we cannot fly and soar in truth as free as we should be. We are ensnared and our wings are clipped by deceit. Yet we do not see it or hear it.

Let us avoid these traps by keeping to His word revealed in Scripture as our plumb line of truth, stay close to Jesus, follow His paths. We encourage each other to weigh, test and discern the truth. It is Jesus, who is The Truth, who sets us free from deceit. The bible teaches us that –Who the son sets free is free indeed. Lies and deceit are a snare to God’s people and the father of lies, satan loves it so. Let us rather submit to God and resist Satan’s lies. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and Jesus teaches us that He, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.

Peter in his second letter to the early churches reminds them that there were false prophets throughout history and that there would also be false prophets amongst them and the same is true for us as believers today. There are false teachers and false prophets at work still.

“But 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.”
2 Peter 2:1-3

Peter warns us that such people will deny truthful aspects of Jesus, are greedy, exploitive and goes on to say that such people despise authority, are bold and arrogant, boastful, appeal to the flesh, entice people with promises of freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity. If we follow them the consequences are dire, and as people who once knew truth we are worse off than before we knew Christ. What a terrible thing.
2 Peter 2:10,17-20

I pray that we will pay attention to these warnings and not be like the people who Jeremiah spoke of “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophecy falsely and the priests rule by their own power and My people love to have it so.”

I pray that we as followers of Jesus are not be deceived by flattery or words that “tickle our ears” and appeal to our flesh. The Word of God is like a fire 🔥 which refines and purifies us to be more like Christ.

Behold I will make your words like fire and this people like wood and it will devour them” Jeremiah 5 v14

Please Lord keep us from the trap of deceit and reveal to us if we have been entrapped in any way.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.

God’s Word-The Plumbline

There have been many words recently about deception and being guarded against deception. Jesus himself warns us against being deceived particularly in the time before He returns. We can easily get carried away as “charismatic” believers particularly when we belong to a Spirit filled church and it is so important that the Spirit and the Word are in harmony with the right emphasis on both. The Word of God is our plumb line and any tongue and interpretation, prophecy or teaching that does not line up with the word of God is false.

The apostle Paul teaches us that the enemy has strategies against us and one of his key ones is deception. He loves to lead us astray and cause confusion. Any moves of the Spirit need to be discerned to make sure it is the Holy Spirit and not the wrong spirit at work. It is so important in these times to be rooted in God’s Word and filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.  God’s Word as the belt of truth and our sword is such an essential part of our armour for defence and attack. Every other piece would not fit together or be effective without the belt or sword but how we can rush or just neglect that part of our preparation. It takes discipline to study the bible but I encourage you to do it and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all truth particularly at this time.

I had a picture once of the plumb line. It only takes a tiny bit of deception to lead you away from truth but the more you follow that wrong idea or false teaching the further and further you eventually end up away from the truth. If you draw a line on a piece of paper you will see what I mean. Draw the plumb-line and then draw another line from the bottom at a slight initial angle away from the line and see how far it is away from the plumb line at the end.

The thing with deception is how subtle it is. Be on your guard against it. Deception is so close to the truth that we can readily accept it as the truth because it sounds right but when you hold it up to the Word of God you will see the error.  Satan knows the Word of God too.  He quoted it to Jesus but Jesus knew that he had twisted it’s true purpose and quoted it correctly back.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us to help us and He as the Spirit of Truth will lead and guide us into all truth. That is why the Word and the Spirit are so essential to the believer and our walk of faith. Be filled and baptised with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment. When you operate in the gift of discernment you get that sense in your spirit that something is just not right. People refer to gut feelings and it can be like that. I have heard false tongues and just knew in my spirit that it was false and not the Holy Spirit. You hear an interpretation and again it just doesn’t sit right. That is the Holy Spirit helping you to discern the truth. When you talk to other believers they will often have discerned the same. Read and study the bible so that you will have the tools to recognise false teaching or false words.

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