Monday, August 12, 2013

Recognizing A Counterfeit

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..."
Exodus 20:4-5

During the years that Kevin and I were on the front lines of banking,
we became very familiar with US currency.
If we had a penny for every piece of money that has passed through our hands over the years,
while working as tellers and head tellers,
we'd have quite a stash of pennies.  ;~)
I remember sitting on the floor in the vault with piles upon piles 
of strapped money all around me
and feeling the weight of its responsibility.

It was scary, at times.
You never knew who would walk through the front door with ill intentions....
and demand some or all of that money, while holding a gun to your head.
Everyone knows how much money a bank is required to keep on hand
in order to service their daily customers.

It was also scary, because of the liability of being accountable for the 
large amounts of money we were required to keep on hand....
both in our individual teller drawers and the added responsibility that came when
working in a head teller position, which included all of the cash stored inside the vault.
I never drew an easy breath until I balanced to the penny, at the end of the day.
The bank we worked for ran a tight ship, and only so many errors were tolerated.

Handling money for so many years really made me aware
of what genuine currency feels like, looks like, and is.
When I was handed a counterfeit, I usually knew it.
Pretty quickly.
Most of the time.

If we had any doubt, we could use the counterfeit-detecting markers
that show with just a single swipe whether or not a piece of money is authentic.
Or we could hold it under a black light, which would instantly 
reveal the threads that are woven throughout a real piece of money.
And there were other means of verification.

But, the main thing I came to depend upon was my own instincts.

Being so familiar with what is real, 
was my most reliable source of detection.
Handling real money so often, made it possible, even easy, to spot what was not real.

Being in banking taught me a lot about life.

It is important for us to know the one, true, real Spirit of God,
in order to have the ability to recognize a counterfeit.

We live in a world that is chock-full of spirits.
If we could pull back the curtain and take a peek into the spirit-world around us,
at any given moment,
we would undoubtedly draw back in horror at what we saw.

In the Christian life,
we aren't fighting physical warfare.

The Apostle Paul spoke of this in Ephesians 6:12.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, 
but against principalities, 
against powers, 
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickedness in high places."

If we don't know...I mean really know.....the God of Heaven,
how will we be able to identify what is not of God?

The world around us, in a large way, has lost its moral compass.
We have, to a big degree, lost our vision of Who God is.
We have exalted other gods above Him,
and we don't even know it.

Yesterday, I sat in a booth that was situated near a video game called "Guitar Hero".
I'm sure you've seen it.
It's been around for the past few years.
I happened to look over and saw a little boy standing there playing it.
He was so small, he could barely reach the gadgets attached to it,
and in order to see the screen, he had to look way up.

On the stage of the screen were rock stars.....the head-banging, wild-looking type...
with spikey hair, some with no shirts.
They were going through what I call conniptions,
swaying all over the place, yanking their guitars from side to side, 
jerking their heads back and forth.

It crossed my mind as I watched the screen how much my neck would hurt
if I were to attempt to do what they were doing.

The characters on the screen weren't real, obviously,
but they were based upon the behavior of people who are.
I wonder how they keep from getting a whiplash,
and how many ways their health in later life will be adversely affected
by the ways they continually jerk and carry on?

Situated below the stage where the rock stars were performing,
 were what appeared to be hundreds, maybe thousands, of people.
Adoring, screaming, highly-excited fans.
Hands raised in the air.
It occurred to me how much their behavior emulates worship.
If I hadn't been able to hear the screeching sounds coming from the video game,
had I been watching from a distance,
I would have wrongly assumed that the people in the crowded audience were in a church service....
raising their hands in worship and prayer to Almighty God,
as we are instructed to do in I Timothy 2:8.

My sister, Sandi, works in the school system.
She recently told me that they sometimes do surveys in which
they ask the children what they want to be when they grow up.

Remember back when the aspirations of children and young people 
were to grow up to be teachers, preachers, doctors, nurses, and dentists?
Remember when they dreamed of being the president or a missionary or an astronaut
or maybe their goal was to start and build their own business from the ground up?
Remember when their role models were Sunday School teachers,
scout leaders,
grandparents, and parents?

The answers of the children in Sandi's school district are good indicators as to how 
much we have changed and how much the nobility of our aspirations has disintegrated.
The answers of these children, to me, are nothing short of alarming.

Overwhelmingly, the majority of the children surveyed answered 
that they want to grow up to be....
 rock stars and celebrities.
They want to grow up to emulate their idols.

We have become a nation of idol worship.
Plain and simple.
Its true.
Number one on the list of the Ten Commandments 
which God took His Own finger and engraved on a tablet of stone, is this...
"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
Exodus 20:3

No other gods.

We are not to worship anything or anyone....other than the one, true God.

How did the lines become so crossed?
How did we end up here?
How did we become a nation so obsessed, engrossed, and driven...
to worship the creature, instead of the Creator?

"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, 
and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, 
who is blessed for ever. Amen."
Romans 1:25

We have tried our best to remove God and His Holy Word from the public square.
We are forbidden to place the Ten Commandments on the lawn of the county courthouse.
The very reason so many of our juveniles are inside the walls and chambers of those courts
is because they have broken the commandments that we are prohibited from displaying.
We aren't permitted to teach the Bible in our public schools.
The children and young people are forbidden to pray.
It is politically-incorrect to begin our school assemblies and ceremonies with intercession to God
for His protection over them and their activities.

We have dropped the ball and failed to keep the one, true God front and center....
at the forefront....
of our education process,
of our politics,
and of our lives.

That's how we got here.
That's why the lines are so crossed.
That's how everything has become so muddled and gray.
That's how we can bow down and worship and emulate idols....
and not even realize what we are doing.

The United States of America was built upon God's Holy, Divine Word.
Our legal system was founded upon the Ten Commandments.

If you pull the foundation out from under a standing building,
the building will have no option, other than to fall.
It will crumble.
There will be no support.

If we lose sight of who God really is.....the only real God....
how will we even notice when we begin to worship other gods....
who are not real?
How will we recognize counterfeit gods, when we are so far from and unfamiliar with
the One and only God Who is authentic?

Bro. Frank Hampton was recently invited to Washington, D.C. to pray over the 113th Congress.
Bless his dear heart, he did a wonderful job.
I was amazed at how much he was able to cram into that one minute, 23 second prayer.
His words are profound.
Wisely-used and executed.

Click here to see video of the prayer, if it doesn't load here.
Click here to see another video taken before Pastor Hampton went to Washington.

Thank God for this dear brother and the golden opportunity he was given.
  I found it very interesting that they still even open sessions of Congress with prayer.
I am SO grateful they do.
Dear, precious Lord, may it always be so.

But, seeing this made me wonder....
why is it that they are allowed to pray, but our children cannot pray in school?
Why is that Bro. Hampton was permitted to read from God's Holy Word
and quote Scripture in His prayer,
but our students are persecuted for even having a Bible on campus?
Why are other gods so promoted and exalted in our Christian nation,
while God is pushed to the back burner?

We worship rock stars, celebrities, sports, and athletes.

We are drunk on entertainment,
saturated with competition,
and gluttons for amusement.

We are putting all sorts of other gods before God....
our money, careers, relationships, material possessions,
even ourselves.

Anything that comes before God in our lives falls into the category of an idol.
If we aren't worshiping the one, true God of Heaven,
chances are, we are worshiping something or someone else.
Chances are, we have fallen for a counterfeit.
A cheap substitute.
An inadequate replacement.

A piece of counterfeit money is worth nothing.
It will not deliver.
It has no purchasing power.
No value.
There is no substance behind it.
It isn't worth the energy it would take to light a match and watch it burn.

Other gods are powerless.
They cannot deliver.
They did not hang, mercilessly, God-forsaken on an old, rugged cross
to purchase our salvation.
They have shed no blood to set us free.
They have no substance...and no concern for our well-being.
They cannot answer our prayers, heal our bodies, or forgive our sins.
They are fleeting, and like a granted power of attorney, they cease upon our death.
They cannot follow us to the other side.
They will not walk through the valley with us.
They are temporal...and temporary.
They are absolutely unworthy of our worship.

At the end of life's day, 
the exaltation of an idol will be the thing we most regret.
Trading a relationship with the God of Heaven for the worship of an idol
will turn out to be the most unwise choice and exchange we ever made.

Jesus asked,
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Matthew 16:26

The person or thing we exalted above God and loved more than Him,
will be the person or thing we loathe most throughout eternity.
It will ultimately be the reason we spend eternity away from God.

We were created with an innate desire to worship.
To seek a higher power.
To devote ourselves to something bigger than we are.
To elevate our thoughts and minds to the very throne of God.
Every one of us has within our spirit a deep yearning to worship.
God placed it that we would turn towards Him....
not for us to devote our love and affections to cheap imitations and counterfeits.

God is a jealous God.
He only is to be worshiped.
He deserves the number one spot in your heart and mine.

He is real.
Still on the throne of Heaven.
Still listening to the prayers of His children.
Still forgiving sins, healing bodies, saving souls.

Don't you long to worship the One Who is real?
The One for Whom our desire to worship was created?

Only He satisfies.
Only He can fill the craving, my friend.
Everything and everyone else comes up short.
Way short.

Are you tired of coming up empty?
Has the pursuit of lifeless idols left you sad, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and alone?

The One Who made you loves you...with an undying, unconditional, Divine love.
He longs for your worship.

He invites you to come to Him and get to know Who He is.

The best safeguard you and I can build about ourselves is to come to really know God.
The one, true God.
To acquaint ourselves intimately with Him.
To allow Him full access into our hearts and lives...
until we are saturated with His presence and an unmovable faith in His existence.

Because knowing what is real is the best possible way 
to detect a counterfeit.


  1. Yes, I think the more we are familiar with the real thing (the true God), the less likely we will be taken in by the counterfeits. And since we were designed to worship, we will worship the wrong things if we are not worshiping God.
    Lots of good thoughts and reminders in your post.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Gail, and for leaving encouragement behind! God's peace be with you always, Cheryl