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"A Warning Against Deception"
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, 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 masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Yesterday we visited our local Costco Warehouse. One of the appealing aspects of shopping in these types of stores are the free samples of tasty morsels offered in the hopes that one will purchase the item. Some of the foods are exotic and not our typical fare but we enjoy them since they're free and are often delicious.
I stepped up yesterday to a display with a young, friendly black lady who was offering a sample of multigrain chips. She smiled and said "Thank You" as I picked up the sample. I stepped away for just a few seconds to eat the chips (and search for some more free samples). When I walked back to the chip display an older white lady was handing out the chips. I quipped, "My, you have sure changed" to which she said, "Well, I've been at this spot all day, never moving." She then smiled and explained that she had stepped away for just a moment at the time I had walked by and the younger black lady had filled in for her.
Sometimes funny experiences like this can prompt serious spiritual lessons. The confusion I had with the chip ladies is easily explained but life is full of masquerades and counterfeits that are much harder to detect.
The value of the genuine spawns the counterfeits and masquerades and thus it should not surprise us when we confront masquerades in the spiritual realm as well. Paul often confronted and warned against counterfeit teaching and masquerading apostles. That's one of the duties of a caring shepherd. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Paul dealt with the topic of false apostles who preach a different Jesus than the one he preached. This portion of Scripture is a warning in general about counterfeit teaching, a warning just as applicable today as the day Paul wrote it.
In another Scripture Paul specifically exposes the false teaching of two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus. These troublemakers, who were once teachers of the genuine gospel, had wandered from the truth, denying the resurrection, and were thereby destroying the faith of those who chose to embrace their false teaching (2 Timothy 2).
Paul describes the counterfeits he dealt with in 2 Corinthians as "false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ." The relentless attack on the genuine faith that Paul encountered continues unabated today and is actually increasing in my view. We face it from the scientific realm, media outlets, the political arena, educational field, entertainment industry and even the religious establishment. On the personal level we daily face the flaming arrows of our enemy who seeks to move us off the right course. We must always be on our guard against spiritual masquerades.
The chief masquerader is Satan himself. It's his very nature to masquerade as an angel of light. In the Bible he initially came on the scene masquerading as a cunning and clever snake. In his deceptive craft he convinced Eve that he was able to impart wisdom and that he was looking out for her best interest. The word "masquerade" means "to transform one's outward appearance, to disguise." Not only did Satan disguise his outward appearance but also his inward motivation. In our daily text the original Greek "masquerade" is translated in the present tense indicating this is something Satan habitually does.
It is not surprising that Satan's servants also "masquerade as servants of righteousness." We must continue to examine and discern all that we see, read, and hear so that we base our standard on the genuine Word of God, which remains and always will be the firm foundation of truth!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we ask You to not only open our eyes to that which is around us, but we ask You to open the eyes of our hearts so that we might envision that which is true and that which is false on a spiritual level. When we hide Your Word in our hearts we more quickly discern that which masquerades as good, but its source is from one of Satan's servants "masquerading as a servant of righteousness." Because Your Spirit reigns in our hearts and knowledge from Scripture fills our minds, we affirm that which is Scriptural and reject that which is heresy. May we ever be vigilant in attaining Scriptural knowledge and fervent in prayer as we encounter the gods of this age. In the matchless and true name of Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Ester Update: We have good news with Ester's release from the hospital about 6:00 last evening. Her digoxin level is within normal parameters and, in fact, for the first time that I can remember they are taking her off the medication to see how she does without it. So now she finishes her week of antibiotics for the UTI and is on prescribed iron due to the anemia they also found. Before too long she should be up and at 'em, like her usual self. Thank you again for your prayers, inquiries and genuine interest.
Always a great sight; fresh, locally grown peaches at the Village Farm Market. Yesterday I visited with Keith, the owner of the farm market, which is along 322 east of Ephrata PA and he invited me back to the food prep area where a busy group pf Plain women were baking peach pies!
We saw this colorful tobacco across the road from a company I visited yesterday near New Holland, PA. We certainly do not endorse the use of tobacco products as they are commonly used but do enjoy their beauty as a crop.
Last night Longwood Manor, a nursing home where we serve as chaplains, had a meal for the residents and families which included an authentic pig roast!
We realize this is a dark picture but enjoy commending those who do well in life in fulfilling a basic command from God to honor their father and mother. In the course of our service we not only minister to the residents and staff but family members as well. Fern is a longterm resident whose health has greatly declined in the past year or two. Her son Andy and his wife Nancy and their children regularly come to visit with Fern and in the course of time we have become friends.
Last night they had an Hawaiian theme and Patty, who had invited us to the event, was delighted to have her photo taken between two of the entertainers. She even did a little Hawaiian dance, as best she could, as we took the photo. We shared a message about Patty here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Keep Me True " Video Jabu Hlongwane
"Overcoming Discouragement" by Sabra Penley Allow this selection of Scripture verses to strengthen your faith! pdf (Sabra and her husband David are friends from Texas)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
Personal Ministry Update (Revised 10/21/13)
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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
"Clear Minded" - Longer, periodic articles on specific issues impacting the faithful believer and church. (Actually this is my intent but I haven't done much with it!)
"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.
Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
How to become a child of God
Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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