Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"On Fire": Beware of the COUNTERFEIT(S)

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"And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you.'"---Matthew 24:4(NKJV)


So as I was doing additional research for my single male friend (per the message below this), another website had a similar piece on praying for your future spouse. It's entitled "3 Prayers Your Future Spouse Needs You to Pray" It provided three main points and I really liked the third one. It reminded me of something that I have shared several times here that my mother's husband says:

"Satan is not so much in the business of breaking marriages up as he is in putting the wrong two people together to begin with."

Amen. And amen! 

This brings us to the third point from the piece:

3. Protection from Counterfeits

Proverbs 16:25, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

A counterfeit is someone that comes very closely to the real thing, but isn’t. They may be attractive, but a bum that doesn’t want to work. Or, a well established person making great money, but doesn’t have an active relationship with God. This prayer came more because I was beginning to recognize counterfeits arising in my life. Women who peaked my curiosity, but there was no peace to pursue. If I would have been anxious, I would have possibly pursued them.  But, I felt the confidence to wait on God. Now, being married, and hearing my wife say she prayed this over me gives me confirmation I had help. My wife has many stories of guys being interested in her, but she turned them all down either because of dreams from God, an unsettlement in her spirit, or the relationship not progressing. I was my wife’s first committed relationship, her first kiss, and the rest is history. Those prayers worked! 

Good stuff! I really like that the author said he looked for peace as a sign to move forward in a relationship and that anxiety should be seen and treated as a blaring dating/courting red flag. It's biblical:

"Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road."---Proverbs 21:8(Message)

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."---Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) 

When it comes to desiring a life partner, it's always a good idea to ask God to reveal to you your *true motives* for wanting one. Some of the delay may be connected to this: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3-NKJV) If wanting to be married is simply about what you want---your hormones, your loneliness, your need for attention/affection, your longing for children, *your, your, your*---there could very well be a hold up by God's design (Acts 1:7-Message, Ecclesiastes 3:11) and praise the Lord for it! The first definition of a wife is *helper* (Genesis 2:18). That's our first indication that marriage ain't all about us. No, not by a long shot!

And yes, if you are dating or even wanting to date and you know that anxiety (distress or uneasiness of mind, eagerness) is at the root, the Word tells us that is not a good or clear indication that you should be in a relationship. *The peace of God* is to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23) and mind so that you can make a wise mate selection. In fact, some of the antonyms for anxiety are serenity, tranquility and (get this) *certainty*. If there's anything God wants you to have about your future husband, it's certainty. If you're not feeling that, something is not...good.

And if a relationship has recently come to an end because you were unsure about it, seek God (James 1:5) and wise counsel (Proverbs 24:6) to make sure that other internal issues (such as many fear--I John 4:18) did not come into play. However, if it came to an end simply because it was the wrong person or the wrong time, well, keep this quote close by:

So, back to the word "counterfeit"...

There are a few things that should be kept in mind about counterfeits. First, Satan is BIG on using them in his strategems. We know this because Isaiah 14:12(NKJV) says "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!" and Luke 10:18(NKJV) says "And He said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'" (By the way, Jay Z and Kanye once did a song called "Lucifer" with these references.) Lucifer was the son of the morning. After his demotion (Ezekiel 28), he then became the thief (John 10:10), the devourer (I Peter 5:8) and the Liar (John 8:44). 

Ladies, this is Satan's agenda: to take from you what is rightfully (God's will) yours, to devour what is best for your life and to present lies to you to keep you from God's will and desires for you. Hence him being a counterfeit and presenting counterfeits: "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14-NKJV) 
When it comes to Satan, just because he "appears" as an angel of light...
That doesn't make it so.

And just because a man, on the surface may *appear* to be the one for you...
That doesn't automatically make it so either.

So, how can you know? Let's look at what counterfeit means:

Counterfeit: made in imitation so as to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively as genuine; not genuine; forged; pretended; unreal

Genuine: possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality, or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real; free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere 

Hypocrite: a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess; a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude

Yes, yes. The definitions basically preach for themselves!

The Word tells us what a husband is supposed to do:

He is supposed to love us (and I Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us what that looks like).
(Ephesians 5:33)

He is supposed to nourish and cherish us.
(Ephesians 5:29)

He is supposed to provide for us (since he's supposed to love us as Christ loved the Church).
(John 14:1-6)

He is supposed to dwell with us according to understanding.
(I Peter 3:7)

He is supposed to be affectionate towards us.
(I Corinthians 7:3) 

He is supposed to be *mature enough for marriage*.
(Matthew 19:11-12) 

He is supposed to honor the fact that *God hates divorce*.

(Malachi 2:16)

He is supposed to avoid casual sex and then be quite sexual in marriage (just sayin').
(I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message, I Corinthians 7:5)

He is supposed to know that he found a good thing (and when you know that, you treat things and people accordingly).
(Proverbs 18:22)

He is supposed to praise his good thing too.
(Proverbs 31:30)

And that character and hypocrite thing? Yeah, the Word takes care of those things as well:

In the New King James Version, this Scripture is entitled "Character of a New Man":

"Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him."---Colossians 3:12-17(AMP)

A *genuine man* will not be perfect (some of us want the kind of person we ourselves are not; that's a form of self-deception). He will, however, strive to have a godly character, though. He will be sincere. He will be authentic. *He will be real*. Both in public and in private.

And as far as hypocrisy:

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore

'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.'

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."---Romans 12:9-21(NKJV)

A hypocrite is someone who is pretentious. 
A hypocrite cares more about how things appear in public than how they actually are.

Romans 12 tells us what godly living looks like...

It clings to what's good and loathes what is evil.
It is kind and affectionate. (My mom always say a kind man is an awesome man!)
It is humble.
It has a heart for serving God.
It is patient under trial.
It is steadfast in prayer.
It is willing to care for the needs of the saints.
It is hospitable.
It is empathetic.
It is not vengeful.
It treats its enemies well.
It uses good and not evil to "fight its battles" (Ephesians 6:10-20).

We need to keep this in mind ourselves to make sure that we are truly preparing to be godly wife.

Yet as you're spending time pondering (Proverbs 4:26) and praying (I Thessalonians 5:17) about your future husband, please (PLEASE) take all of this into account.

Ask God to reveal to you if you are more prone to counterfeits. 
The frauds.
The deceivers.
The ones who are meant to keep you from God's best.


Ask God to keep you from being anxious so that you don't overlook the real thing.
And in all that you say and do, let the peace of God be your guide.

When you're *real with yourself*, it's harder for the fake dudes to get-at-you anyway.

And besides...

You deserve a man who loves God and loves you---*for real*!!!

Amen? Amen.



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