By Tom Brown – Minister, Public Speaker, Radio Personality
The Waldron Police Department recently notified the public about counterfeit money being circulated and advised how to identify the fakes. Extra markings with pink lettering where just two of the obvious indicators that these $100 bills were fake. The WPD also advised that one should consult the United States Government’s Federal Reserve website to know what genuine currency looks like. In my younger days I worked in the food service sector. When I started having opportunities for management, the handling of money was always a large part of the accompanying training. That meant things like keeping the money secure, avoiding theft from ‘quick change’ hucksters, and of course, spotting fake currency. Turns out, that was actually great advice for our Christian walk as well.
If we look at the analogy of the currency as our faith relationship with Christ then we can understand how to keep our faith secure, foil the deceiver, and know what is true. The Bible guides us on each of these aspects. How do we keep our faith secure? “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” (ESV)[i] I am not good at memorization, of anything, but I do know God’s word intimately because of a lifetime of wonderful Bible teachers; from my early Sunday School teachers at the First Baptist Church in Pryor, Oklahoma to a myriad of radio Bible teachers that I was blessed to listen to everyday at my job in Christian radio. I rarely know the ‘address’ of a scripture, but I know the truth of God’s word because of my experience with it and because it securely dwells in my heart. I am so grateful to have access to God’s word anytime I want it, but I also know that I can dwell on His promises anytime I need guidance, protection, or hope even if I do not have a Bible available.
The deceiver delights in misdirection. He likes taking God’s word out of context or simply lying about it altogether. He is the original huckster and has been at it since the beginning, twisting Eve’s memory of what God said about eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. “Did He REALLY say?” Yes, in fact He did. Satan knew what God meant about dying but he thought he could put doubt in Eve’s mind with a little misdirection. Knowing God’s word and knowing God’s intent are a defense against the deceiver. Jesus is our best model to follow for this truth. When the devil tried to persuade Jesus to call on His heavenly Father to intervene with some delicious bread after 40 days without food Jesus rebuffed Satan with not only the truth of God’s word but the intent as well. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”[ii] Even when Jesus had to have been desperately hungry, He was not going to be tricked into falling for a counterfeit truth.
In all my training about handling money it always comes down to knowing the original so well that a counterfeit is quickly spotted. How do we go about that? First and foremost is by reading His word. Until this last year I had not disciplined myself to read the Bible every day. I am so very grateful that last year God guided me not only to read everyday but to write about what I had just read. What a year to have started that, right? I can honestly say the even with the turmoil of the last year it was one of my most peaceful. Truly! Shortly after committing to read and write everyday I felt God telling me I needed to pray, out loud, every morning. I now pray the Lord’s prayer and I personalize and pray the Ten Commandments, out loud, every morning. The Bible also tells us about new mercies: “They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”[iii] Indeed, they are new and available every morning, but they are not automatic! You must act, you need to actively pursue what is available to you. I have known for a long time the truth “new mercies every morning” but I was not acting on that promise. I would go days, weeks, even months carrying the burdens in my heart and mind. After spending more time in His word, reading, contemplating, and choosing to follow it, I have found that the counterfeit words that the deceiver is whispering in my heart and mind are more easily exposed and dismissed. And that comes from knowing the original words of uncompromising love and affection that God has for me.
You can listen to Tom every weekday morning on 89.7 The Word at 9 AM on the program Koinonia. Tom Brown and The Smile Club is also on Spirit 106.3 every weekday afternoon 3 – 7 PM.