My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
I received an email from AARP, offering a free webinar entitled, “Sorting Fact From Fiction Online.” The introductory paragraph read:
Do you believe everything you see online? In addition to a wealth of helpful information, there are plenty of sensationalized headlines, misleading stories and even complete falsehoods circulating on the internet, making it hard to even the most discerning reader to sort fact from fiction.
The webinar is in response to a targeted survey conducted with their senior members. 88% of seniors answered that they could tell whether the information is fact or fiction. I doubt that the webinar, which provides the tools and resources to help distinguish fact versus fake news, was designed to reach only the remaining 12%. At times, we possess over-confidence in our own abilities which makes us vulnerable to believe concepts that cannot be substantiated.
Misinformation is usually presented in a non-threatening manner. The bait is developed by using a familiar subject, introduced with objectivity, and designed to engage the person who wholeheartedly agrees with the presented information. And then, the speaker or writer presents the most crucial point, which is consistent with their values and morality. The bait and switch occur so skillfully that you stop abruptly and dismiss the information, or you have gone too far to let go and are pulled into the web of deceit.
Recently, I watched a powerful devotional that was in my youtube feed. I subscribed to the channel because the name of the ministry reflected God’s infinite grace and mercy. A few days ago, I started scrolling through the videos when I saw something that pierced my heart, the channel was from a well-known hate group who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Their mission is to recruit modern-day soldiers based on the literal battles of the Old Testament. Yet, they produce Devotionals speaking of God’s grace. We cannot profess to love God but hate others.
A lesson well-learned, research the background and credibility of the source of the information that you choose to read, listen to, or watch. We can no longer give the benefit of the doubt to leave ourselves open to accept false information. Take the time to process and ask the question, “Is this Fact or Fiction? Many innocent people have been imprisoned, executed, and have lost stable and productive lives because of fabricated lies. And what about the scams that target seniors, and the victims who only desired to invest their money?
Yesterday, I spoke to our cell-phone carrier regarding an add-on service to call out-of-network numbers. One of our church members had spoken to the Pastor and relayed that the service was available for $3 per month. Although the representative had excellent customer service skills, he denied that the plan existed and continued to offer the one cent per minute charge as the only option. Finally, I stated, “I do not understand why one of our church members who is a Deacon in the church would give false information to the Pastor to tell others who also use your company that he has a monthly plan to make out-of-network calls.” After being placed on hold, the rest of the story is that the $3 service is available, but we would have to upgrade our current plan. The reality is the plan does exist, yet, it took 20 minutes to retrieve the truth.
When I was ready to give in to the misinformation that was presented, the Holy Spirit gave me the right words to speak that produced a very different outcome. If I did not believe that we have a Spiritual team who assists us in our time of need, then I would compliment myself for knowing that another option exists for valued customers. How easy is it to possess certain skills when I owned an educational tutoring business for 12 years? But the truth is that despite my insistence, it took Divine intervention for the truth to be brought into fruition.
Self-reliance is an enemy. When we achieve the knowledge and skills to produce a positive outcome it is natural for us to give ourselves the credit for a job well done. But there are severe consequences for thinking too highly of yourself. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.
Lucifer is a fallen angel who is now called Satan and the Devil. What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor. Proverbs 8:4-5. Satan fully realizes and exerts his power over humanity every day. He knows that we are no match for his deceptive tactics. At some point in our lives, many of us have been deceived when we least expected it to happen.
Regardless of the ability to keep our guard up, there is only one way to avoid mistakes, scams, and to weed-out the fiction, and that is to rely on God.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:6-7.
God has promised that if we seek him through prayer and ask for wisdom, He will guide us in all things, including every decision and every challenge we face. It is up to us to obey and follow God’s commands, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Because I believe that we should never stop learning, I have registered for AARP’s webinar in August. My interest is piqued in learning techniques to improve a discerning mind. I acknowledge that Satan, the Master of Deception is always plotting schemes to attack those who worship the Most-High God. Nevertheless, we have a plan of escape; studying the written words of the Bible that represent the Voice of God, praying about every aspect of our lives, and relying on the Spiritual Team that will prevent us from falling into trickery.
Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:3
God is love! He showers us with the gifts of grace and mercy every day. Pray for the spiritual gifts of wisdom and discernment. My testimony is that God has always answered every one of my prayers. It is my choice to ask and accept His will for my life. When I awaken each morning, I utter a heartfelt prayer of gratitude, asking God to order my steps, to change my plans according to His will, and to protect me from all hurt, harm, and danger that Satan uses to infiltrate our lives.
Apply God’s Word to every aspect of your life, and believe that if God said it, He will do it.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.… Proverbs 3:5-7. Amen.
Bible Reading: Proverbs 3
God, thank you for protecting us from the evil in this world. We pray for wisdom as we seek knowledge and a stronger relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.