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Monday, July 14, 2008
Shocked wheat in the Kishacoquillas Valley
in Central Pennsylvania.
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"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).
We often pass this interesting tree on Milton Grove Road here in Lancaster County. I suppose the farmer gave it the drastic haircut to keep it away from the barn. It is a real tree but when I pass by it also reminds me of a cell tower masquerading as a tree along I-287 in New Jersey near Bedminster. I always chuckle when I pass by this cellular "tree" since it does such a poor job of masquerading as a real tree. It's much taller than the other trees and does not appear to be a type of tree indigenous to that area. It looks more like a tree you would see out west, sort of like a giant California redwood growing up out of a New Jersey forest. It's a masquerade that easy to spot!
Life is full of masquerades and counterfeits although we are probably most familiar with the term "counterfeit" in regard to money. I get lots of junk email advertising counterfeit drugs, diplomas, software and scores of other masquerades. Some are easy to spot, some not so. The value of the genuine spawns the masquerade 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. Later in Scripture Paul specifically exposes the false teaching of two men whose names are forever a part of the Scriptural record, Hymenaeus and Philetus. These troublemakers, who had once been 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, media, entertainment, political, educational 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 basing 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: Lord, 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. May we continue to hide Your Word in our hearts that we might not sin against You. How blessed we are to know that as You reign in our hearts, our spirits bear witness to that which is Scriptural and that which is heresy. May we ever be vigilant in Scripture and fervent in prayer as we encounter the gods of this age. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
family picture from an overlook taken two years ago.
On the way home we passed this buggy (and many like it) as we drove through the Kishacoquillas Valley. The yellow buggy is a distinction of a particular branch of the Amish. Driving through the Kishacoquillas Valley just may have been the prettiest road I've ever been on in all of Pennsylvania! It's a wide closed valley with abundant farmland and all along the road there are signs with Scripture verses. It has a very high population of the Plain people. Here it is on a Google map along with several placemarks from my weekend trip.
the Kishacoquillas Valley had hanging flowers on each power pole all along the Main Street. As I drove through Saturday morning I saw an Amish man on a small tractor pulling a water tank diligently watering them!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Open The Eyes Of My Heart" Video
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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. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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."
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