CAN YOU IDENTIFY A COUNTERFEIT?

 

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The United States Secret Service advises the best way to guard against the threat of accepting counterfeit currency, is to become more familiar with authentic currency.

I believe the same concept can be applied to our walk with God. To demonstrate this, let’s first identify the words counterfeit and authentic.

counterfeit: made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive.

authentic: real or genuine: not copied or false. true and accurate.

The Bible states that God Himself is truth.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father accept through me.” John 14:6 NIV

This world is full of counterfeits that look and feel so close to the truth that we can easily be deceived.

Here are a few common counterfeits to joy and happiness:
Money
Sex
Food
Appearance
Alcohol and drugs
Pornography

I read an article recently that showed it’s pretty clear that many Americans — including Christians don’t know their Bible. Just look at these numbers from a recent George Barna study:

  • More than 60 percent of Americans can’t name either half of the Ten Commandments or the four Gospels of the New Testament.
  • Some 80 percent including “born again” Christians believe that “God helps those who help themselves” is a direct quote from the Bible.
  • And 31 percent believe a good person can earn his/her way into heaven.

I’m going to ask you a tough question. Can you name the Ten Commandments? I’m not asking the question to bring shame. I’m asking it to bring awareness to our need of the truth.

If you don’t know all of the Ten Commandments, they can be found in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5.

Bible Study 101

Prayer
Many Christians state they have tried to read the Bible and don’t understand it. God is the source of all wisdom. We must ask Him to enlighten our Bible study.

Make a scheduled time and stick to it
If you are a morning person, most likely you will need to set your alarm an extra fifteen minutes to half an hour earlier. If you prefer evenings, carve out a time before you go to bed.

Tell someone your plan
We all need accountability to keep us on track.

Choose a Book of the Bible
If you have never done this before, it’s best to start with a short book, preferably in the New Testament. Try James, 1 John, Titus, or 1 Peter.

Read the Entire Book
Plan to spend three to four weeks doing this.
Next you will re-read the same book from the beginning once again. This time reading slowly, verse by verse.

Get a Notebook or Journal
Write down “themes” and “applicable principles.”
Write down key scriptures to memorize.

Invest in Some Study Aids
A Commentary, which explains and interprets scripture and is written by knowledgeable Theologians.
A Lexicon, which is like a Bible dictionary.
A Bible study guide.

Be a Doer of the Word
Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

God wants His children to walk in freedom. When we settle for counterfeits, we become a slave to them. The way to freedom is through the truth. But you must know the truth to identify the lies.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32


Take away and Application:
Counteract counterfeits with the truth of God’s word by getting into regular Bible study.

Do you have any Bible study tips that you’d like to share? Write in the comments section below.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

newspaper pic

Today’s blog post is from a friend and blogger, Misty Keith. Enjoy!

keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 1:21 ESV

 During the early 1900s, there were newsboys (and girls) hard at work selling the daily newspaper. In today’s modern times, all anyone has to do is google the catchphrase “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” and images of children standing with newspaper in hand or tucked under the arm will pop up on the computer screen right before your very own eyes. These early morning, freshly informed and cheaply sold newspapers offered sensational news, letters of war, outbreaks and latest developments of the current times. The book of Jude, although written some 1700 years prior to the age of newsies, is no different. It is a letter written with urgent appeals warning about false teachers and a call for those who believe in Jesus to contend for the faith. Jude also heralds the fact that God LOVES those who put their faith in His Son Jesus.

All throughout the epistle, Jude calls the believer “beloved.” The word beloved literally means dearly loved. I don’t know about you, but I believe that we all need to be reminded from time to time, that we are dearly loved by God, our creator. You see, we can’t keep God from loving us. We can, however, get out of that love.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee, an old-time gospel preacher likes to use the illustration of the sun shining. We can’t keep or stop the sun from shining, but we can keep from being outdoors where the heat is both felt and seen. Dr. McGee further uses the analogy that we can put a roof of sin over us. We can also put a roof over us of stepping out of the will of God. Further, we can put a roof over us of indifference which all cause us to not feel the warmth of God’s love, but we can NEVER keep God from loving us.

Jude 1:21 urges believers to keep themselves out there in the sunshine of God’s love. Let God’s love fill and flood our hearts and let it be seen in the way we live out our life.

If one wants to be obedient and contend for the faith, there are several short steps to follow. These steps are necessary as the wait for Christ’s return progresses.

  1. God calls us to hate sin but to love the sinner.
  2. God calls us to rebuke or reject anything that seeks to glorify self rather than glorify God.
  3. God calls us to be “built-up” in the faith, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which leads us to eternal life.

As we believers become built-up in the faith, we maintain a life and walk with Jesus. God sent us His Son and therefore, He calls those who believe in Him, to keep themselves in the sunshine of His love. (“Keep yourselves in the love of God,…..)

If we could only stop for a moment to realize the full measure of what Christ’s love did for us on Calvary or what it fully entails, we would be moved to contend daily for the faith. Keeping ourselves in the love of God would be a natural occurrence. There would be no need for a “newsflash” from the book of Jude.

Rather than waiting for the mercy that Jesus extends to us, we would already see the richness of His mercy at work in our lives and in our hearts. We would notice how it leads us to an eternal life spent in Yahweh’s presence. Who wouldn’t see it in our lives and then want to experience the fullness and richness of God’s mercy and love in their own life?

Let’s not be distracted or wooed into sinning. Today, let’s look for ways to reject anything that seeks to build oneself up rather than being built-up in a faithful relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that (waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, leads to eternal life.”) This positive exhortation from the book of Jude leads us to live a life fully alive in Christ and faithful to the gospel in which we contend for the faith.

Be Blessed With the Richness of His Love, Dearly Beloved

~Misty~

I’m Misty Keith and I am a daughter of the King of all Kings, wife to Richard, Mommy to Reagan (11 years), Kylee (9 years), and Karis Delaney (6 years).  I am a teacher by trade, an encourager and up-lifter by calling and a writer by practice.

You can catch up with Misty on blog: beyoutifulmom.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

 

 

WHEN LOVE IS TESTED

When Love is Teted We’ve all heard the saying, “Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”

Just in case you’re curious, this is a quote by Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch Philosopher (c. 1469-1536) who was a contemporary of Martin Luther, known as the most learned scholar of his day.

Yes, of course, I see the humor in the quote.  And if I’m honest, I know there’s truth in it as well. But I also think this ancient proverb could be altered to:

“PEOPLE, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Let’s face it, relationships—with all people—are hard!  

If we’re around any one person long enough, there’s bound to be difficulty. A disagreement. A harsh word. Something’s going to rub us the wrong way. And yet, you and I were made for relationship.

“It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)

God is a social God who lives in community within the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He made humanity in His image, which means, we’re designed for relationship with Him and with others.

God calls us to not only have relationship with others but to love others.(John 13:34, 1 John 4:11;7, John 15:12)  And not just to love the people we choose to love. But to even love our enemies! (Luke 6:27According to 1 Corinthians 16:14, ALL that we do is to be done in love. Now that’s a tall order. Actually, it’s impossible without God, the source of all love.

THERE ARE NO PROBLEM-FREE RELATIONSHIPS

At some point, each of us becomes discouraged and disappointed with relationships because they are not simple. All of our relationships are less than perfect.They are messy and challenging, to say the least. And they require real work if they’re going to thrive.

We all look for strategies that may free us from the pain and hard work that relationships demand. We hope that more effective communication, conflict resolution strategies, personality typing—or a host of other techniques—will make the difference.

Techniques appeal to us because they promise that relational problems can be fixed by tweaking our behavior without altering our hearts.

But the Bible says something different. Christ is the only hope for relationships because only He knows the depths of our hearts with its core motivations and desires.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts  and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

Only Christ is capable of cleaning and renewing our hearts to love like He loves.

SOME OF THE HARDEST RELATIONSHIPS ARE WITH THOSE CLOSEST TO US

Read almost any story in the Bible and you’ll see that God is very familiar with flawed family dynamics. King David, one of the greatest heroes in the Bible identified as a man after God’s own heart, was also the father of a highly dysfunctional family. His own son, Absalom, tried to kill him and take over as king! Despite his son’s treachery, David wanted to protect him. David grieved deeply when Absalom was killed. (2 Samuel 13:13-37)

Human sin is no match for God’s grace. He used David and his family in His kingdom. The Psalms David wrote when dealing with the many difficult situations he faced with his family have been used by God for centuries to bring hope and healing to many.

GOD USES MESSY RELATIONSHIPS FOR HIS REDEMPTIVE PURPOSES

Something that happens in the messiness of relationship is our true hearts are revealed, our weaknesses are exposed, and we come to the end of ourselves. This is when we reach out to God for help. And He is the master of love and relationship.

While we would all love to avoid the mess, it’s the very process of working through the mess, that leads us to true intimacy.

WHEN LOVE IS TESTED

Remember who you are in Christ and live that way. Here’s what I mean. If you are very poor and someone steals a dollar from you, you’d be extremely angry and try to get that person to give back the dollar. But if you’re billionaire, and someone takes $100 or even a $1000 from you, it would not feel the same as the dollar that was stolen from a poor person. In the same way, when you become a Christian, you are a billionaire a billion times over.

So when love is tested in your life—and it will be—remember that God is allowing it. The most valuable lessons are learned in the context of relationship.