This year is unique. For me, it is already one of a kind.
I once was in business with a colleague who enthusiastically promoted the attitude of abundance. Working with him was a pleasure. He never promoted an outlook of scarcity, and people flocked to be with him because he improved those around him. What that meant was increased peace, strength, comfort, and confidence in our business endeavors, which translated into our lives.
He was easy to like and fun to be around. I enjoyed his friendship because it felt right and wholesome and comfortable when I was with him, unlike the following words that don’t give me that feeling:
We have no trouble distinguishing the problem with the above words. It is evident and the flaw in following after such attitudes is clear. When I was young, I heard about these counterfeits. They were easy to spot generally, but over time, I have noticed that they are less obvious today and often appear harmless and even good or preferable.
But the adversary cannot create a better plan than God, though he consistently takes a crack at it. Try as he might, his strategy has holes, problems, and devices that afflict, torment, and consistently fail us. His goal is not to provide mankind with something better. Satan’s objective is to take away the good that we have and commit our souls to misery for eternity.
Nobody would go for that plan, right? It is obviously flawed and lacks the characteristics that give anything value in our eyes and worth in the sight of God.
Yet that’s where this deception gets really chilling.
The adversary is the enemy of all righteousness with the intention of achieving our eternal misery—period. But that is ludicrous. No one would stand for that or support those kinds of efforts. That would be crazy. But recognizing counterfeits today is harder than you might think. His imitations seem attractive, pleasing, alluring and even good. But remember, his goal is to make us miserable, hopeless, and doomed—like him.
I don’t like speaking those words and neither do you—but the devil doesn’t present his stratagem as vindictive. His counterfeits gush flattery, arrogance, vanity, and approval. How can that be?
When I was young, I never understood the reasoning of the Israelites that were bitten by fiery serpents yet failed to complete the simple task of looking at the serpent of brass that Moses raised before them for deliverance, which was a symbol of the Redeemer being lifted upon the cross. It seemed so simple and easy—“just look!” Yet the scriptures say their actions were slothful and unwise. Many perished.
But the very same thing happens today when people reject the deliverance offered by Jesus Christ in favor of lesser things. Some veer away from the Church and its religious teachings because they can’t explain a belief in a Being that provides guidance and direction in one’s life. Since this cannot be proven, it seems ridiculous to them. They want something verifiable—something that equates to knowing.
Mankind, generally speaking, wants proof—a perfect knowledge of sorts. I get it. But my contention is that there is actually much more evidence than one may think. Let me provide the following explanation:
One of the reasons I love art is that it illustrates the character of its creator. That may seem simple. It is. That’s why I enjoy fine art so much. An artist’s true character is revealed in his work. I see it all the time.
My son-in-law is having an art show in the next couple weeks. I can’t wait to see his work. Of course, I have already seen many of his pieces. They fill his home and ours. He loves watercolors, oils, pencil illustrations, and fine art. In recent years, much of his work has moved off the canvas and onto digital media, but his character is still manifest in his work and many originals. And this quality is not unique to him. I also see excellent productions in the form of music, literature, and home beautification. I appreciate what I see and feel in my other children and their families. I enjoy it every day in my home. My wife manifests these feelings of hope, happiness, goodness, and peace as well. Evidence? I get to live it every day. Every day! And so do you.
Genuine, sincere, compassionate, beautiful, fun, good, true—these words are so much more hopeful and better than the counterfeits mentioned previously.
These qualities also appear in people’s lives as illustrations of their inner beauty. The most beautiful art is manifest every day in our lives and in the legacy of many great examples all around us.
It’s easy to see and obvious to feel.
Interestingly, 2020 is the year our vision should be much better. We can see through the counterfeits that seem so prevalent and instead replace them with genuine consensus and resolve.
Our true character is revealed in the harmony of our lives and intent.
So you say that you’re not feeling much harmony and peace in your life right now? The great plan of happiness takes care of those situations as well.
Yes, I choose originals—the genuine article—and that is the example and grace of Jesus Christ. They are way better than the counterfeits of the adversary.
“And prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
The Mona Lisa is one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at US$100 million in 1962 (equivalent to $650 million in 2018 according to Wikipedia).
The Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture. The Starry Night is an oil on canvas by the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh and is said to be the view from his bedroom window, facing east.
What will your masterpiece be? It’s up to you. You are creating the genuine article every day. And as we try, it becomes beautiful and comes to fruition to rise in all its glory. That is my interpretation.
One more story: a couple of my children just happen to be looking to make some significant purchases. One is looking for a car, the other a house. Despite their best efforts and dedication to the cause, the results haven’t turned out in their favor yet. But they keep at it, just like we all do when faced with obstacles before us. So they keep working toward the desired outcome.
As we follow the Master Artist, our success is assured.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.