VIDEO Forgery or Fact?

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.  1 John 3:7-8

Have you ever stood admiring a painting in a museum—amazed at the masterpiece before you? It could be a fake. Art dealer Eric Hebborn, who died in 1996, created over a thousand drawings and paintings and sold them for vast sums to museums and collectors who thought they were buying old masterpieces. Hebborn used paper and paints from years gone by, and his work was so good it was nearly impossible to detect. “I’m not a crook,” he said. “(Forgeries) should be enjoyed for what they are, rather than being questioned for what they’re not.”1

We’re living in a world of deception, and it’s difficult to know the truth. False philosophies, values, opinions, ethics, morals, and standards are warping our world. Deception often trips up believers in their walk of faith.

But it’s hard to deceive the Christian who studies the Word of God day and night. God’s Truth is a revealing light that clarifies our outlook and solidifies our faith. Keep your nose in the Book of Truth, and your eyesight will be 2020.

The Bible’s power rests upon the fact that it is the reliable, errorless, and infallible Word of God. Charles Colson

  1. Christy Kuesel, ”The Prolific Forger Whose Fake ‘Old Masters’ Fooled the Art World,” CNN, October 24, 2019.

1 John 3:7-8

The Hardest Places

Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea. Genesis 41:49

Geoff is a youth pastor today in the same city where he once abused heroin. God transformed both his heart and his circumstances in a breathtaking way. “I want to keep kids from making the same mistakes and suffering the pain I went through,” Geoff said. “And Jesus will help them.” Over time, God set him free from the slavery of addiction and has given him a vital ministry in spite of his past.

God has ways of bringing unexpected good out of situations where hope seems lost. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and falsely accused and sent to prison, where he was forgotten for years. But God restored him and placed him in a position of authority directly under Pharaoh, where he was able to save many lives—including the lives of his brothers who’d abandoned him. There in Egypt Joseph married and had children. He named the second Ephraim (drawn from the Hebrew term for “twice fruitful”), and gave this reason: “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52).

Geoff’s and Joseph’s stories, while separated by three to four thousand years, point to the same unchanging truth: even the hardest places in our lives can become fertile ground for God to help and bless many. Our Savior’s love and power never change, and He’s always faithful to those who trust in Him.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

When have you seen God bring something good out of difficulty in your life? How can you use your past problems to encourage others today?

All-powerful Father, I praise You that nothing is too hard for You! Thank You for Your perfect faithfulness, today and forever.

Faith-Filled Outlook

Genesis 39:21-23, Genesis 40:1-8

If anyone had reason to be discouraged, Joseph did. He not only endured his mother’s death and his brothers’ hatred but also faced slavery and imprisonment because of false allegations. Yet he was not an angry person.

Joseph kept his faith-filled outlook because he consistently relied upon God. When two royal servants were jailed, he acted with compassion and gave them aid. And notice how Joseph didn’t shrink back from speaking boldly about God to these men and to Pharaoh. When the Egyptian leader sought an answer, Joseph told him it would come from the Lord (Gen. 41:16).

Joseph’s story reminds us that in hard places, we too can experience our Father’s presence and thrive. You might be “held captive”—by unemployment, ill health, or a difficult relationship—but you can be hopeful because it is God who works in us. And His Holy Spirit will produce godly fruit in us when we depend upon Him (Gal. 5:22-23).

Joseph encountered much hardship in his life, but he saw that ultimately God always used it for good (Gen. 50:19-20). Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we can have a faith-filled perspective that enables us to glorify the Lord even in times of adversity.

Use The Title “Christian”?

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16)

The word “Christian” occurs only three times in Scripture and seems to have changed in its meaning from first to last. In the first instance, “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The name merely identified them as followers of Christ with no reproach intended.

The second usage was some years later, by which time the term was evidently well known, even among unbelievers. After Paul had witnessed to him, “Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28). A more literal translation that renders the sentence “Do you try in such a short time to make a Christian of me?” indicates an air of superiority or incredulity in Agrippa’s voice. It would take more than a short testimony to make a Christian of him.

As the years went by, the church began to be plagued by persecution. Our text indicates that even the name “Christian” was by then regarded with contempt and reproach. But Peter tells us that there is no shame involved in the name “Christian” or in following Christ. Peter, no doubt, recalled the shame he felt for denying the name of Christ, but he also recalled with thankfulness how that even though the Jewish council had “beaten them” and “commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:40), he and the other apostles departed “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (v. 41).

Furthermore, we can “glorify God on this behalf” or “in this name.” This implies more than just praising the name. We can glorify God in what we do—in how we live in that name. We can certainly also bring dishonor to the title “Christian” by our actions. A solemn responsibility is then ours to bring honor and glory to God through our lives. JDM

We Really Need Him More and More

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

—John 14:26

 

I have reason to suspect that many people are trying to give leadership in Christian churches today without ever having yielded to the wise and effective leading of the Holy Spirit. He truly is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and counsel. He alone can bring the gracious presence of the living God into our lives and ministries.

You may think it out of place for me to say so, but in our churches today we are leaning too heavily upon human talents and educated abilities. We forget that the illumination of the Holy Spirit of God is a necessity, not only in our ministerial preparation, but in the administrative and leadership functions of our churches.

We need an enduement of the Spirit of God! We sorely need more of His wisdom, His counsel, His power, His knowledge….

If we knew the full provision and the spiritual anointing that Jesus promised through the Holy Spirit, we would be far less dependent on so many other things…. I have said it before, and I say it now: We need the Holy Spirit more and more, and we need human helps less and less!   JIV048

Lord, I fear that we are indeed lacking the enduement of the Spirit of God. Send us to our knees, Lord, that we might be reminded that we need Him more and more. Amen.

 

Responding to the Voice

That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

—Job 34:32

 

It can be fatal to silence the inner voice, the voice of human conscience. Some silence it, for instance, when that voice speaks in outraged protest at the human habit of lying. It may plead eloquently against the habit of dishonesty, or take a person to task for jealousy or for some other sin.

It is always perilous to resist conscience, to ignore the inner voice. Let the Lord talk to your inner spirit, to your innermost being. Within you is a conscience that cannot lean on anybody, that cannot share the blame with anybody—a conscience that singles you out, isolates you and says, “You are the man!” “You are the woman!” It is the voice that makes you want to lower your head and tiptoe away while no one is watching.

I am grateful for the human conscience. If there was no conscience and no voice of God in the world, we would all become beasts in very short order….If that voice is speaking to you—that inner preacher who does not preach to a crowd but only to the lone individual soul—respond! FBR082-083

The chief thing is not to listen to yourself, but silently to listen to God. JAS171

 

Can Anybody Live a Holy Life?

1 Peter 1:15-16

Nearly everybody means to get to heaven, and all who know what Christ teaches, as to the way there, believe that there is no admission for any who are not holy. And yet for anyone to profess to have attained holiness here and now is simply outrageous! Why?

Chiefly on account of that view of holiness almost universally prevalent, which confuses holiness with the perfection attained only by saints in their glorified state. God’s people are required to be holy, and yet they are told that “If any man think himself to be anything… he is nothing” (Galatians 6:3). How can these things be?

Children of God, shall we do less in these days of shame, than live a holy life? But what does holiness imply?

We all admit the reasonableness of presenting to God ourselves and all we have; but we generally fail to realize that a sacrifice must pass out of the possession of him who offers it.

One Being in the world’s history is “the Holy One.” This is the One who was always entirely God’s from His mother’s womb.

From all I conclude, to be holy is simply to be given up to God, and a man cannot become holy in any other way than by giving himself up, and not only wishing to become, but becoming wholly the Lord’s.

Believer in Jesus, what does this blood that has washed away your guilt say as it streams from His side for you? Does it not cry, with the voice of God, “You are not your own… you are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). You can be nothing higher, better than God’s—dare you be anything less?

To be holy: that is how to glorify God. How glorious the life, the character, the destiny, the work, of every branch that abides in Jesus! Holy living is divine living, that is all.

Nobody can lead a holy life of himself, but Christ can live a holy life in anybody. Shall He live such a life in us?

George Scott Railton, The Christian Mission Magazine