But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you... And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the Way of Truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.
But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other--biting the hand of the One Who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong.
They give the Way of Truth a bad name. They're only out for themselves. They'll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you.
Imagine stepping into a Wordbucks Cafe. They're popular in Christian communities. You walk up to the counter, and a smiling Word-ista says, 'May I take your order?'
You say, 'I'm not sure what I want today.'
The Word-ista replies, 'Do you like your Word with vanilla, mocha or caramel? Because it's December, we also have Christmas Word specials, like gingerbread and peppermint.'
You respond, 'I'll keep it simple today--just a little milk and 2 sugars in my Word.'
'Great,' she says. 'What size?'
'Tall. I'm not that thirsty.'
Seriously, how many Christian books are on the market today? Thousands? How many best-selling authors wrote them? Hundreds? Then after their first hit comes another and another--kind of like movie sequels. So how do we choose what to read? By popularity? By reviews on Amazon?
One of the biggest gifts my pastor gave me came in four words. When I asked him to recommend a study-guide to the Book of Revelation, he replied, 'The Book of Revelation.' My blank look begged explanation: 'Carey, God will reveal His Word to you Personally. Just keep reading It.' *
It was an 'Aha' moment--one I plan to remember.
Recently, I spoke with an AMTC co-worker, a respected woman of God.** I asked what she was reading these days. Because years earlier, she told me a certain Christian was her favorite author. She loved her books.
But this time, my friend's answer surprised me: 'The straight up Word,' she said. 'I'm into the straight up Word.'
To Be Continued...
* Pastor George S. Dillard, Peachtree City Christian Church, http://ptc3.com
** Beth Leek, AMTC Admissions Director. Thanks, Beth!
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Straight Up Word series.