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…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15

One of the touristic highlights of visiting China is to walk on the Great Wall. Six thousand kilometers of wall with ten thousand strategically placed towers stretch across the north of China, reportedly the only man-made object observable from space. Construction of various sections began back in 770 B.C. when rival feudal kingdoms built walls around their territories to keep out invading nomadic tribes from the north. These were eventually joined into one wall. The wall averages eight to ten meters in height and five meters wide.

When you walk on the wall, two history lessons make the visit somewhat somber. First, the wall was built at great cost. Prisoners of war, convicts, soldiers, civilians and farmers provided the labor. Some estimates say “millions died for this cause”. Their bodies were buried in the very foundations of the wall or used to make up its thickness. You walk on top of a cemetery.

The second lesson is that the wall was reportedly breached by Mongol soldiers disguised as peasants pretending to be gathering firewood and leaving behind pieces of fruit when they left the area. The guards decided to go out and retrieve the tempting fruit. This was repeated over time. Eventually the guards were compromised and overpowered and the Mongol army streamed through that tower thereby breaching the Great Wall. So after all the effort to build such an amazing structure for protection, it was rendered useless through simple deceit.

One of Satan’s favorite tactics against believers is deceit. Here’s an example from China. Brother Chen arrived one spring day in 1996 at a small rural Chinese house church group. Some said he was “sent straight from God.” He said so too. He said he had known Wang Ming Dao and he spoke with a loud booming voice. His large eyes held their attention closely, and his whole body shook with vigor at the points he was making. The believers were just so impressed with the way he talked. He quoted lots of Scripture and wove it into a thrilling story.

After a few months, he began to talk about heaven being a city of gold, and that to enter that city they would have to demonstrate that they had given Jesus their gold in their lifetime. Brother Chen said, “Jesus needs your gold to build your mansion in heaven and the more gold you give him now, the bigger your mansion will be.”

Because they were poor, the idea of having a golden mansion in the afterlife was very tempting. They handed over all they owned: family heirlooms, money, some expensive textiles from a distant ancestor. One in the group even gave his motorcycle.

After all the “gold” had been collected, Brother Chen said he had to go and “open the gate of Heaven for them.” He left, on the donated motorcycle. He took most of their savings and he hasn’t been back.

RESPONSE: Be aware today of Satan’s subtle tactics of deceit and intimidation.

PRAYER: Pray for new house church believers in China who are easily deceived by false prophets.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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