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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Anna Ruth's Christmas flower arrangement
"Genuine Faith"

Message summary:  We encourage our readers to examine the genuineness of their faith. In a world with so much fake we need men and women of genuine faith.

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"These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7).

The weekend after Thanksgiving I (Brooksyne) received a planter filled with evergreen boughs from my dear friend, Anna Ruth. For the past couple of years she has given me beautiful arrangements made by her talented sister. This year's was accentuated with a red candle, ribbon, and berries and the red carnations really stood out. I was amazed at how fresh they stayed though I had stopped watering a couple weeks after Christmas.

I took a photo about five days ago of my arrangement (shown above) so Anna Ruth could see just how long the carnations had stayed fresh, though the greens were definitely ready for the recycle pile. Only when I pulled the first carnation stem out of the Styrofoam did I get suspicious, and only then did I realize that all my carnations had been fake the entire time! What a surprise that I had been fooled. I, who grow flowers yearly and can usually spot a fake flower 20 feet away, especially when a homeowner puts them in the ground or flower box and blooming for that variety is not even in season.

We live in a world with an increasing amount of fake. Of course in recent years the word has often been used concerning the news.

Not all fake is bad and in some cases may be helpful such as in the sense of being artificial. Even the artificial flower arrangement given to Brooksyne was a good thing just so it's not presented as real which she did not. It's just an assumption Brooksyne made. We work with a company that sells artificial flowers and the similarity to real is at times astounding.

However we are deceived when the fake is presented as real and that's a troubling peril in the spiritual realm. We always need to maintain discernment in this matter. Even in the New Testament age John wrote "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

There's much fake faith from those who use faith to seek fame, favor or fortune under a religious pretense.

Peter wrote, "These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

1) Their faith had proven genuine. He is writing to 1st century believers who were suffering due to their faith. This faith wasn't bringing them fame or fortune but hardship.

2) Their faith had greater worth than gold. Then and now gold is a valuable asset but genuine faith is worth far more.

3) Their faith results in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Notice the focus here. My faith can bring praise, glory and honor to God.

We encourage our readers to examine the genuineness of their faith. In a world with so much fake we need men and women of genuine faith.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayerFather, fake abounds, and way too often it is seen in Christian circles. It has left a very bad taste in the mouth of unbelievers and has provided many an excuse for them to want nothing to do with Christianity. When we say one thing but do another we are harming our witness and we bring disgrace to the body of Christ. Father, may the words we speak and the actions we carry out from day to day honor You and uplift the body of Christ. May our lives never detract from the Gospel message but rather attract people to the redemptive message of salvation through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Anna Ruth's Christmas flower arrangement
A close-up of the carnation

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Live Like We're Redeemed"  Video  Brian Free & Assurance

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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