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  • angiemcafee

Are there people in the world today that falsely claim to know You?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023



Dear Jesus,

Are there people in the world today that falsely claim to know You?

When I was in kindergarten, I remember loving stickers. Like most little girls, I had my very own sticker book of priceless images of unicorns, hearts & puppy dogs, most of which were covered in some sort of glitter. You remember how much I loved those stickers? One morning before school had started, the kids in the cafeteria were watching Mighty Mouse, myself included. A group of boys were sitting nearby; one of them threw his lunchbox at me and told me to “hold it”! Immediately, I noticed an Alvin and the Chipmunks sticker on it. To my delight, I carefully ripped it off and began my life of crime.

OK, so You know the last part isn’t true, but there’s no hiding from You, you’re God. Honestly, I stole it and when asked by the boy, I lied. And I was happy about it. Later on, I stole another sticker from a friend of mine; and I was happy about adding that sticker, an Easter basket full of beautifully-colored eggs, to my sticker collection. But that night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours. Finally, I confessed my crimes to my loving Mom. She looked so big and I felt so small, crying as I told her how sorry I was. She sent me to my room with a stern look and a reminder to not steal from anyone again. I suppose no punishment was necessary, as I had sufficiently punished myself.

As an adult, I am thankful for that lesson. It is unfortunate that one of my earliest memories was of thievery, yet it remains all these years later. And I’m the better for it. I’m sure you knew that though. I see why that lesson, while small, was so crucial to my upbringing. I took something from two people. . . and then I lied to them about it. So small, really. But is it? I can see how you would not agree. In essence, isn’t that what false prophets do? They steal our future, our joy and the truth. And then they replace it with a lie (a big lie, a subtle one, a small one, or one that is just SO simple) that can stick with us our entire lives, inevitably coloring our entire view of eternity, humanity . . . and You.

We, humans, are sheep (Psalm 100:3), as You’ve said, and we need a shepherd. When a wolf is dressed in shepherd’s clothes, and we are unaware of this truth, the wolf can steal our youth, our hopes and our dreams, warping them into some twisted quasi-truth that imprisons us. Or worse yet, the wolf cleverly destroys our ability to even recognize the truth when presented to us. Walking, zombified, with those who profess “their truth”, we are so easily led away. Then, to cover up his fiendish behavior, the wolf tells us something that ”seems” right, “seems” comforting, “seems” easy.

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



So, Lord, what IS a false teacher? A false messiah? A false prophet? A fallen-away believer?

“. . . many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, . . . and deceive many people.” Matthew 24:10-11


“. . . false messiahs and false prophets  will appear and perform signs and wonders  to deceive, if possible, even the elect. . . “ Mark 13:21-23


Lord, Your Word offers a lot on this topic. Exhaustive, really.


FALSE TEACHERS:

-turn away from the faith and lead others away as well (2 Peter 2:15)

-are greedy: showing an intense and selfish desire for more wealth, power, or possessions (2 Peter 2:3, 14)

-portray Your Word with a lack of respect & trustworthiness, insulting or contemptuous; speaking in low regard, being illogical, uncontrolled, and senseless (2 Peter 2:2, 12)

-introduce destructive lies & rejection, denying You as the all-powerful, one true God (2 Peter 2:1)

-choose corrupt, wicked, or perverted actions; loving evil, immorality and sin (2 Peter 2:2, 15)

-promise freedom, while they themselves are not free, but instead slaves of wickedness (2 Peter 2:19)

-use others’ weaknesses and invent stories to lead towards a lie and away from the truth (2 Peter 2:3)

-are overly confident and full of empty, boastful words; excessive pride or a superior attitude used to abuse others (2 Peter 2:10, 18)

-drink alcohol excessively and noisily, openly reveling in their pleasures (2 Peter 2:13)

-allow a continuous adoration of adultery: sexual intercourse with someone who is not a person’s spouse (2 Peter 2:14)

-intentionally attract or entice another into sexual or ungodly activity, especially those who are prone to inconsistency, lacking steadfastness, a lack of emotional control - including those who have escaped from anothers’ ungodly choices or influence (2 Peter 2:14, 18)

FALSE TEACHERS & THEIR FOLLOWERS:

-despise authority (2 Peter 2:10)

-indulge in unholy desires of the flesh (2 Peter 2:10)

-choose corrupt, wicked, or perverted actions; loving evil, immorality and sin (2 Peter 2:2)

FALSE MESSIAHS & FALSE PROPHETS:

-will perform great signs and wonders (to deceive, including Your children) (Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:22)

-will be spoken of as: ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ (Note: in Your Word, You say, “do not believe it” (Matthew 24:5 & 23, Mark 13:21)

-will be spoken of as: ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’” or‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ (Note: in Your Word, You say, “do not go out” and “do not believe it” (Matthew 24:26)

-will deceive many (Matthew 24:11, Mark 13:6)

But Lord, how do we know that whoever is being pointed toward is not You?

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:27

Oh, because we will not need someone to lead us or show us where You are because, like lightning, we will see You in a swift, powerful and visible way; we will see You for ourselves. Thank You, Lord.

FALSE PROPHETS:

-share false visions: images said to come from You; divinations: attempting to gain insight through omens or by ungodly methods; idolatries: extreme admiration for anything other than God Almighty; and delusions: contradicted beliefs that are irrational or outside of reality (Jeremiah 14:14)

-prophecy (foretell or predict) lies in YOUR name, as if You have shared this with them (Jeremiah 14:14)

-will deceive many people (Matthew 24:11)

FALLEN AWAY BELIEVERS:

-many will turn away from the faith and become entangled, again, in the corruption of the world, ultimately overcome (2 Peter 2:20-21, Matthew 24:10, Jeremiah 14:10)

-many will betray and hate each other (Matthew 24:10)

-there will be an increase of wickedness (Matthew 24:12, Jeremiah 14:10)

-the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12)

So, in essence, false teachers, false prophets, false messiahs are anyone who leads us away from You. (Psalm 73:9) I find myself asking the most obvious question. “Why would ANYONE follow a false prophet, leader, shepherd, or false, self-proclaiming Christian? I mean, isn’t it a “no brainer”? It’s all bad stuff. Note to self: don’t follow any of these people!

My college days. A mixture of oil paint, sunshine, charcoal and late nights working on projects. Days spent at the beach, learning how to cook, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. Oh, the memories! Back then, I wanted to get out into the world so badly; now, I remember that romanticized “bubble” I found myself in. After all, that was where I met “my people”. The place where everyone was just like me, a long-lost community of weirdos. They were ARTISTS! But. . . it WAS a bubble, a seemingly-great, moment in time. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how far I had drifted from You, Lord. And what my life had become. What started out as a fun, new adventure, turned into a painful detour in the story of my life. I made some really stupid, ungodly choices. I did things I am not proud of. But the scariest thing is that I had no idea what was happening to me. I was blissfully unaware.


Somewhere in the middle of this fun, new adventure, the enemy was changing me. And I was letting him, by the choices I made. Not that I was trapped or forced to do anything. I chose the direction of my life; I entertained questionable thoughts, beliefs and actions. And with every teeny, tiny step away from You, the pathway between us morphed into a giant chasm. Then, one day I was lost. It wasn’t something that happened quickly, either. It happened so, very, slowly. And I was foolishly unaware that our relationship was being tested and torn.


I suppose it sounds simple, but avoiding this slippery slope can be tricky. Life is messy. More like a hospital than a spa vacation, real life doesn’t follow a script. It isn’t a “paint-by-number” sort of life. Family members go astray. People we admire bring up false notions, though unintentional they may be. Leaders make a side-step one day only to find themselves, years later, on the wrong side of the fence. Communities disengage, or worse, fight one another, confused and skeptical. Arguments over what is right and what is wrong consume us as self-doubt over our own convictions pesters us.

All leading to broken hearts. Friendships lost. Families divided. Peoples divided. Nations warring. And the hardest predicament of all, making decisions with no joyful outcome at all. The path whose sides are covered in dirt and weeds, drop-offs and falling boulders. The one where no option is good and no decision seems right; feelings will certainly be hurt & relationships damaged. That’s this sin-laden life. A big, heaping spoonful of . . . “huh?”

Lord, is Satan REALLY that manipulative? Would he really confuse, trick, and redirect people to a mirage? (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Revelation 3:15-18, Romans 16:17-18, Revelation 21:8, John 8:44) All this deception and distraction seems like the work of a magician. They distract our focus, produce a lie, then call it magic. It seems like Satan uses that tactic with us, gaining our attention with something sparkly, something “better”, then he quietly leads us away. And his final attempted spectacle? To assume the seat on YOUR throne. . . theoretically.


Isn’t that the same ole trick he tried to pull in heaven before You threw him down to earth? (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-17)

But recognizing the enemy’s tactics can be difficult to see, and breaking free from those who are dispensing “the truth”, a real challenge. After all, those who have gone astray rarely acknowledge that fact. Whether our modern-day Pharisees are doing this intentionally or not, I can see how this infuriates You. It is the opposite of what You came to earth to do, and it undermines Your great work on the cross. Unfortunately, it deters others from believing in You, knowing You, and loving You. It sends us all in circles, not sure WHAT the truth even IS, questioning all whose hearts are willing to receive You. We become distrusting, disillusioned, and honestly, disheartened. We grow tired of trying to find the truth amongst so much garbage.


Then, Satan further continues his deception by turning us against You.


“. . . they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. . . and cursed  the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. . . And they cursed God  on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. . . “ Revelation 16:9b,11, & 21b


I have to admit, the above portions of Scripture sound familiar to me. They sound like some of the troubling times I’ve experienced in my life. In dealing with chronic illness, especially in the beginning of my diagnosis, I blamed You. I was mad at You. I just couldn’t understand why You would let something so difficult happen to me. I mistook Your great love for me {in allowing difficulty to refine me to become more like You (John 15:1-2)} and misapplied it to a wrath-filled, vengeful heart that is completely out of Your character (Ezekiel 33:11). It is scary how the enemy can twist Your Sovereignty into a “one-star-Google-review” of Your ability to run the universe that YOU created! Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Your intention for our lives on earth is supposed to be a vacation, full of beach-side manicures and pool parties. In the words of Job, “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Job 2:9-10. And isn’t this one of the many ways Satan uses humans to do his bidding, as well as other demons?


The above Scriptures, written so long ago, are actually events that have yet to happen. Unlike most of the Bible, these verses describe a time to come, when punishment will go out over all the earth. Your perfect & sovereign judgement on a humanity that refuses to acknowledge Your rightful place on the throne of heaven, WILL come to pass (Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 14:11-12, Isaiah 45:22-24).


Thank you, Lord, for softening my heart when I wanted anything but gentleness. The Holy Spirit came alongside me, showing me the err of my ways (& viewpoint). I know that many people become angry at life’s circumstances, difficult relationships, health issues & so many other ailments: physical, mental, and emotional. That anger can so quickly turn to bitterness. And bitterness turns us to unrepentance, and eventually away from You. It’s actually quite smart, really. The enemy can tear parts of our lives apart, invisibly (of course) and somehow pin the blame on You, causing us to curse You and refuse repentance.


“Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. . . “ John 9:39-41


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . . “ John 10:11-13




And what is the future of those who intentionally (or unintentionally, by default) side with Satan?


“Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:13-14


And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:10


Like playground bullies, they know they’re gonna get caught, so they inflict as much pain as they can in order to salvage their envisioned reputation. They’re those in positions of power, leading us away from You. They’re preachers who stray from Your Word. They’re government officials & leaders, presidents and advisors, who choose personal gain & selfish pride over protecting and promoting those they lead. They’re those that claim to be prophets, but speak of things that do not line up with Your Word, and claim events that do not happen. They’re church officials who find tension in parts of Your Word, so they ignore it and change it, to suit themselves.


In essence, those who are in leadership positions that have abused their station, NOT taking care of Your flock, will feel Your full wrath. Lord, it’s scary how sin causes us to want to continue sinning. Sin is never something that leads us towards You, but always away. And once we have been given the truth (the Gospel, Your blood sacrifice for us), our hearts must then decide. If we are filled with unbelief, our sin overtakes us and we can no longer see You and Your goodness. It really does come down to BELIEF and UNBELIEF. When we believe in You, our hearts turn to repentance; when we don’t believe in You, we slowly drown in the despair of sin.

Lord, I know You are good. I know You are just. I know You are selfless, giving Your life so that we can be reunited with You in heaven. I also know you are creating a home for Your children, a home WITH peace and justice and WITHOUT hatred and sin. These false leaders and teachers, what do You have to say to them?


“ . . . I am against  the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.” Ezekiel 34:10



“ . . . I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands. . . I myself will fight  against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. . .”  Jeremiah 21:4-6


“ . . . Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! . . . you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed  the sick or bound up the injured. . . You have ruled them harshly and brutally. . . and no one searched or looked for them.” Ezekiel 34:1-6


“Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.John 9:41 (Ezekiel 33:25-26, John 10:25-26)

So, Lord, what is the fate of those who do not heed this warning?

“ . . . every thief  will be banished, . . . everyone who swears falsely  will be banished. . .it will enter . . . and destroy it completely. . . ” Zechariah 5:3-4


This is Your declaration that wickedness will be driven out of the land. Because of their corruption of justice, denying the truth, and their deception, their guilt will NOT be acquitted. Your judgement is final.


“. . . This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket . . . Where are they taking the basket?”. . . He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house  for it. . . the basket will be set there in its place.” Zechariah 5: 7-8, 10-11


This is Your acknowledgement of the false leaders’ wickedness and Your declaration that it will be restrained. The basket is taken far away from You where it will have a home of its own. It will be set in its place, an idol to those who oppose You.


“ . . . These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses . . . the one with the white horses . . . and the one with the dappled horses . . . “Then he [the Lord] called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.” Zechariah 6:1, 5-6, 8 [emphasis added]


This is Your heavenly army, powerful and swift, sent out to subdue the nations, in judgement. Those warriors who have gone out to the north country have given Your Spirit rest by exacting judgement on the evil there. The removal and ultimate destruction of evil eases Your heart, burdened by their rebellious sin.


Those who speak falsely, who deceive and disengage, those who distance and destroy; those who work to demolish Your good work, WILL FALL. Swiftly. Powerfully. And with Finality. Because the devil is a liar (his aim is to deceive), an instigator, and a murderer; his goal is always to tear us away from You. And false prophets and leaders are mouthpieces for the enemy. Their words and actions follow Satan’s (Isaiah 29:13); therefore, their fate is wrapped up in his. . . (Revelation 19:20-21, Isaiah 14:9-11, Jeremiah 14:15-16)

If there were ever a time for repentance, it is now. Jesus, before You make Your final judgement on those FALSE presidents, FALSE government officials, FALSE leaders, FALSE teachers, FALSE pastors, FALSE prophets, FALSE messiahs and FALSE church officials, the world over, may all fall down in true heart repentance. Those who know they have undermined Your authority; intentionally led others away from You; lied in order to establish their unjust gain; and abused the weak, twisting their minds to believe a falsehood, may You break their hardened hearts in order to save their souls. May they turn from their sin and come before You in reverence, Lord. (Ezekiel 33:10-11, Daniel 4:27a, Jeremiah 21:12b)


“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death." Jeremiah 21:8



“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”


In order to stay on the path that leads to You, the answer is surprisingly simple. We need to KNOW Your Word. Read Your Word. Study Your Word. Understand Your Word. Live by Your Word. Since Your Word is an expression of who You are, our best way of understanding Your heart, Your wishes, and Your love, is to know what is written in the Holy Bible. (Hebrews 4:12, John 17:3, 2 Timothy 3:16, James 4:7, Jeremiah 31:33-34, Romans 12:2)


Truth, is found in Your Word. And we can use that knowledge to recognize the truth (or lies) through others’ words. . .


“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from 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. . .” 1 John 4:1-3



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. . . “ 1 John 4:5-6


But truth is also found in action. . .


“’. . . Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”


So, words AND actions will reveal who belongs to You and who doesn’t.


Jesus, I am so grateful that YOU are the good shepherd, leading us home (Ezekiel 34:11-12). Painful as wandering has been in my own life, those times remind me of Your amazing faithfulness. KNOWING that I am free, that I will spend eternity in Your Presence, and that You love me, fills me with the desire to lay my sin at Your feet. Not in shame, but in joy. Because You are delighted when our hearts seek You. Thank You, Jesus, for Your unfathomable sacrifice, trading Your earthly life so I can have a heavenly one.


“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. . . I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9




Father, where does that leave those of us who love You and KNOW our eternal home is in heaven?


“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. . .” 1 Peter 2:9-10


We are “chosen", and part of Your “royal priesthood”. We, the body of Christ, are called to be living examples of Your truth, walking billboards of Your grace and mercy (James 1:12). When considering our lives in this light, I feel a responsibility to be a good ambassador of Your Word, to those who are both saved AND who do not know You. Of course, that also means that those Christians that claim to be Your followers, yet profess lies as truths and truths as lies, are not honoring You.


“When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. . . ” Ezekiel 33:8-9 (1 Samuel 3:11-13)

So, as Christians, we have a responsibility to speak up against those who speak lies against You.


Lord, our world is at odds with You. So many of Your sheep have been led away from You and have not been taken care of (Ezekiel 34:1-6); this has caused so much pain. Yet, in Your Word, what follows this sadness is SECURITY. You declare to personally take care of Your sheep, those who have acknowledged their sin and call You Lord (Ezekiel 34:25-31).


Witnessing the great fall of FALSE leadership, worldwide, does not sound fun. Honestly, Lord, it seems scary. My mind immediately takes me back to childhood, asking my parents if I could turn on a light to keep me safe from the monsters. Our natural response is to mourn and to fear. But shouldn’t evil being demolished cause us to rejoice?


Like a rainstorm, with swirling winds and sheets of rain, hail plunging through roofs and ripping through crops. We hunker down in our homes, praying for the storm to dissipate. And what happens? The rain slowly ceases. The winds calm, and a rainbow emerges in the sky.

Hope.


And then the sun comes out. The next day, flowers pop their delicate heads out of the ground, and vegetables reach for the sun. In much the same way, Your peace comes at just the right time, welcoming us back into the open spaces You’ve been preparing for us, all along.


We MUST rejoice because the fall of evil leaves a beautiful space for restoration. And You, Lord, will replace those who have abused their positions with RIGHTEOUS leaders, godly leaders. YOU PERSONALLY, will watch over us and give us peace. The failure of some will leave an open door for those You have been training for a time such as this (Esther 4:14). We will be revitalized and rejuvenated and You, Yourself, will UNIFY Your people. Our hearts praise You, Lord!



“All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.”

I see now why we are called to rejoice! We are to praise You for all You have done and all You are about to do! We mustn’t hang our heads in exasperation or defeat! The best is yet to come! The old ways have to be cleared away for the new ways to emerge. We must tell others of Your goodness, of the specific things You’ve done in each of our lives. Because our eternity is set. And the enemy has no moves left. His eternal outcome will not be changed by running around the board, unable to accept defeat. He’s been led into checkmate.


Lord, please help us be faithful to Your Word. Please strengthen our resolve to walk the path You have marked out for us. Please encourage us to stand firm in our faith, not backing down to bullying or lies. Please help us be bold, with the knowledge that You hold us in Your mighty right hand. Yet also, Lord, please soften our hearts for those that do not know You, revealing our similarities rather than our differences. Please help us to promote peace and not instigate unrest. Remind us that we are all Your children. And Your desire is that we are ALL brought into Your kingdom. Please remind us that we were once lost, and what that felt like.


Help us guard against participating in discord among our brothers and sisters in Christ. And help us lovingly guide those in the faith to the narrow path, even when speaking truth is difficult and uncomfortable. Please, Lord, help our love for one another encourage us to speak up when our brothers and sisters turn down a path that leads away from You. And please help them do the same for us (Colossians 1:9-14). Lord, please give us brave spirits, joyfully sharing Your Word and keep us close to You, always. (John 15:5-8, Galatians 5:22-26, Ephesians 5:11-20)


May You protect our hearts in the days to come. May You prove we are Yours by our joy, peace, and love.




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