Tag Archives: studying gods word

Positive Pressure

Several years ago I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. I would fall asleep, but never get rest. I would also stop breathing for up to a minute before popping up gasping for air. The doctor said that having my heart go from a resting rate to the sudden fast beat could kill me, so he put me on a CPAP machine. He explained that I had a negative pressure where the pressure outside my body was greater than the pressure inside my body. The CPAP, which stands for continuous positive air pressure, would force air inside my body to push against the negative pressure and keep me from not breathing. Ever since I’ve been on it, I’ve been able to get rest when I sleep.

In Matthew 4, Jesus had just been baptized and was led into the wilderness for a 40 day fast. While He was hungry and weak, the enemy brought negative pressure in order to tempt Him. He was first tempted to turn stones into bread, but He pushed back by quoting the Word of God. He was then tempted to test God, but again He pushed back with what the Bible says. Finally He was offered earthly kingdoms in exchange for eternal ones. Just like before, He was able to overcome by the Word of God. In doing so, He taught us how to overcome the negative pressures we all face.

Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (NLT). Having God’s Word in our heart provides a positive pressure inside us that pushes back against all the negative pressures from people around us. Without having it in our hearts, we can have the life choked out of us spiritually. Reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture and studying it are all ways we create positive pressure inside our spirit in order to overcome.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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How To Detect A Counterfeit

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Not long ago, several of us were at my brother’s house looking at the new hundred dollar bills. They looked fake to us. We held one up to the light to see the strip in it. We tilted it to see the color shifting ink. We smelled it (don’t ask why). We did just about everything to it to try to tell if it was a fake. Then my sister in law walked in and asked what we were doing. She said, “Let me see it.” She then did what none of us had done. She rubbed it between her fingers. She worked at a bank years ago and could tell a counterfeit by how it felt.

You don’t learn how to tell if something is counterfeit by studying counterfeits. You learn by studying the original. You have to be around it and use it all the time so that when something counterfeit does come along, it won’t feel right. The best counterfeits don’t look like Monopoly money. They look as much like the original as possible. If you ever accept one, you’re the one who just lost money. Yes, the bank will take it from you, but won’t give you anything for it. You’re left empty handed and short on money.

It’s important that we as Christian recognize counterfeit religion. If we aren’t careful, we can be sucked into things that aren’t really from God. Jesus was clear that many false prophets would come and try to deceive us. They will come in His name, but won’t be from Him. The only way to tell is for you to be grounded in God’s Word. It’s up to you to know what it says. It’s not your pastor’s job to give you your only reading of scripture each week. How would your physical body survive if you only ate one meal a week. You could survive, but would that really be living?

It’s a new year and people are making lots of resolutions for their physical bodies. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they’re joining a gym. If only we made resolutions to get our spiritual bodies in shape. What if we committed to reading through the Bible in a year? What if we decided to pray 15 minutes a day. Instead of spending that time at the gym, what if we joined a Bible study? How would our lives change? We would have enough of God’s Word in us to recognize when something isn’t from God. That’s for sure.

We each are responsible for our own spiritual growth. Just like I can’t watch a trainer work out and get fit myself, I can’t go to church and hear what my pastor studied and get more spiritual. I have to study. I have to meditate on what scripture says. I have to put in time and effort into my spiritual being or I am susceptible to falling for counterfeits. When I fall for a counterfeit, I’m the one who has to pay. There’s no one else to blame. I was deceived because I hadn’t taken the time to know what God really said. It’s not too late to make a resolution to spend more time in God’s Word and to start working out your spiritual man.

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