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Once upon a time, in a distant land, a young man we’ll call “Joe Average” was grieving the loss of his grandfather. His family had given him the task of going through Grandpa’s family heirlooms. Apparently Grandad had been somewhat of an art collector. As he was sifting through what seemed like a pile of worthless sculptures and paintings, the young man came across what appeared to him to be a priceless painting. His eyes were immediatley drawn to this beautiful work of art. He’d never seen anything so beautiful. He sat mesmerized by its beauty. So many questions swam through his mind. How long had this magnificent work of art been hiding in this dusty old attic? The house itself was at least 500 years old. Could the painting be a priceless artifact? Why had Grandad never shared this before? Why hide something this beautiful up in the attic??

As he turned the painting over, he saw what appeared to be a faintly familiar name…Leo…, but couldn’t make out the rest. Surely, this painting wasn’t from the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci? The young man scooped up the painting and took it with him, determining to have it appraised by an art appraiser. Wow, this could be his big chance, his big opportunity! The young man, we’ll call “Joe Average” had always DREAMED about becoming rich and famous! This could be the answer to his dreams!!!

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The art appraiser was quite excited when he saw the painting. Could it really be? Could this be the famous painting that had disappeared at least 4 centuries ago?? The art appraiser ran the painting through a series of tests to determine its authenticity. Eventually, the art appraiser determined that this was an authentic and priceless work of art. In-fact, it was discovered that this particular piece had an amazing back-story behind it. The famous painter had painted this painting during a time of great politial turmoil. He hid the painting in his attic, as his village was being invaded by a foreign military force.

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The painting was later discovered and more fighting ensued. Horrible, bitter fighting broke out between nations and even families as all involved sought to claim this magnificent work of art for themselves. The painting had that kind of effect on people. It was rumored to have even driven some people mad because of its unique and uncanny beauty. As the young man listened to the incredible history of this painting, all he could think about was how much it must be worth. He paid no attention to these old fables, and instead set his heart on how he could best use the painting for his financial gain. The young man had never had much money, so this seemed like a gift from Heaven. The art appraiser was unwilling to even ATTEMPT to put a price on this PRICELESS painting!

The young man walked away with dreams of fame and fortune floating through his head. What would people say when they found out that he, “Joe Average” had found THE Lost painting? He thought to himself…”Wow, I bet my face will end up on the front page of the newspaper!” He daydreamed about museums and art schools being named after him. He fantasized about being invited to art galleries and fancy galas where he would dress up in black tie suits and talk to even fancier, exceedingly wealthy Kings and leaders of nations. Hobnobbing with the rich and famous! Being welcomed into “their crowd”….It was just too good to be true!

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As time went by, and it became known publicly that “Joe Average” was indeed in possession of “The Lost Painting”, Joe finally got his wish. He became the center of attention. People swarmed to see the painting. Sometimes the lines into his home got so long, that people became aggitated and began to get into physical fights. On more than one occasion, the police had to come break up the fights between excited “patrons”. Mr. Average was at first excited and enamored by all of the media attention he received over the painting. It was more than he had ever dreamed about!

However, as time went by, “Joe” began to find it wearying. He soon discovered that his life was no longer private. He couldn’t leave his home without people following him around. At the same time, it wasn’t safe to leave his home at all because there had been several burglery attempts. He had to change his phone number many, many times because of all the scam artists who kept harassing him. He even had to hire a body guard because of the numerous kidnapping attempts. His entire family was also continuously hounded because of the painting. Fake, long lost relatives showed up on his doorstep. Every charity known to man called him night and day begging for money. Unscrupulous men in business suits were offering him every temptation known to man in order to drag him into their shady business dealings.

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Finally the young man had had enough! This “dream” of his was turning into a nightmare. His life was continually in danger. He had no peace! He had no real friends!! He longed to once again disappear into a crowd of people as Joe Average, instead of being swarmed by an excitable, obsessed mob. It was with this thought in mind, that Mr. Average decided to donate or sell the painting to a museum. Yes, then it would be off of his hands and he could have his life back! It seemed like the perfect solution.

One day, he took the priceless painting to a famous museum curator with the purpose of selling or donating the painting. Although the painting was deemed “priceless”, Joe was still hoping he could sell it for a decent little “nest-egg”. The curator of the museum took the painting into one of his laboratory rooms where he, too, could verify its authenticity. When the curator came out, his face was pale. He knew about this painting, and all of the trouble it had caused. Ever since it had been discovered in the attic of the young man’s Granddad, people had gone CRAZY! Well, you can imagine the absolute SHOCK as he stood there telling the young man that this painting wasn’t priceless at all…it was a FORGERY. This painting wasn’t worth the canvas it was painted on! It was a total fake and forgery!

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The young man was in shock! Really? How could that be?? The previous art appraiser had verified its authenticity. It LOOKED soooo real! How could it be a fake? Well, the museum curator VERIFIED that it absolutely was a FAKE, and showed the young man the PROOF. All of this time, the entire world had been mesmerized, had gone completely MAD over a FAKE! It wasn’t even REAL!

The young man walked away from the museum both perplexed, disappointed, and yet in a strange way, happy. He was happy to know the TRUTH and he was happy to be FREE from all of the mania that the painting had stirred. It wasn’t long after he had given up the fake painting, that Mr. Average was again able to slip into obscurity. However, now, he looked at his life completely differently. As he walked along the path, crunching his way through the Autumn leaves, he smiled to himself…Ah, I have my life back! He was happy.

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After a few weeks, he set about again completing the task that he had not yet completed, of cleaning out Grandad’s attic. Interestingly, as he was going through the paintings that appeared unremarkable to him, something jumped out at him. Hmm..Why hadn’t he noticed this before? Joe surmised that he had been so enamored with the “priceless painting” that he hadn’t even noticed the “other paintings” that had appeared worthless to him. What he discovered is that these “other paintings” had been painted by his Granddad! He knew his grandfather really enjoyed art, but had no idea that he, himself had been an artist! Though these “other paintings” held no worldly or financial value, they brought Joe and his family such joy! They were a beautiful reminder of his beloved Grandfather, who had an eye for BEAUTY! You see, Granddad had been not only an art connoisseur and apparently an artist, but he was also a devout Christian. The “other paintings” were extremely beautiful, and had such deep meaning. These paintings did not impart the raw excitement that the “priceless painting” had, but they imparted something better, something deeper, something more significant….they imparted LOVE. Granddad had painted portraits of family members and of his deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ. These were the kind of paintings that one would want to hand down generation after generation.

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The moral of the story is this….There are alot of fake and phony religions and “movements” out there that draw a HUGE following. The Climate Change religion (it really is a religion) is one such movement. These movements or religions are very popular, drawing huge crowds. Where their feet walk, excitement, greed, and violence often follow. Their fake doctrines are enticing, mesmerizing, and alluring to SCORES of people. Over the years, fake religions have stirred up many, many wars and bloodshed has followed bloodshed. Today, there are huge crowds of people following the religions of Climate Change, Black Lives Matter, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, Wicca (paganism/witchcraft) and other such movements. Joining these worldly religions is a form of non-Biblical Christianity (Pseudo-Christianity) and Talmudic/Kabbalah Judaism. Included in this enormous following are Hollywood stars, famous athletes, leaders of nations, politicians, mainstream media, and other very influencial and wealthy people. These movements or religions are obviously appealing, which is why so many people FLOCK to them. Many of these religions have been deemed authentic by “experts” and are heavily promoted by the mainstream media, academia, and by some “scientists”. With so much “verification”, people assume that they are TRUE. Soon, all of these religions will merge into a One World Religion that will be so popular and appealing, it will be almost unthinkable for someone to abstain.

When we are drawn into such movements or religions so that we can be popular, famous, wealthy, or even simply “accepted”, we will discover that our wildest dreams are actually a nightmare. At the end of the day, these movements, these “religions” are FAKE. They are FORGERIES, cheap imitations at best. Sure, by joining one of these movements or religions, we can be accepted and even loved by the world. However, these false religions will NEVER produce the peace, love, and joy that a TRUE RELATIONSHIP with JESUS CHRIST, THE TRUE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE can produce! Smoke and mirrors, that is all they are. Here today, gone tomorrow…POOF!

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But like the beautiful hand-painted authentic paintings in Granddad’s attic, the real treasure has been there all along. The young man had overlooked this treasure in search of riches, popularity, and excitement. The masses of people would not clamor to see these paintings. The rich and the famous would turn their noses up at these paintings. But, these paintings were the TRUE priceless FAMILY heirlooms that would be passed on from generation to generation as a constant REMINDER of Granddads LOVE. Similarly, a real relationship with the TRUE CREATOR…JESUS CHRIST is the only thing that will bring a person TRUE PEACE, LOVE and JOY. Everything else is FAKE and PHONY, completely WORTHLESS, and will soon disappear as dust on the threshing floor.

God Bless! Jesus is coming back SOON! Be READY!