Are you a Witch?

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king. 1 Samuel 15:23 When you think of a “witch” don’t you see a kind of a “hag” figure with wild scraggly hair, long nose with a wart, a high pointed hat and a broom stick on which she is riding high in the sky? If you asked a child in grade school to draw one that is the picture you would have. You would be in shock if I told you that someone in our congregation was a practicing witch! If I said that they were actively using witchcraft so powerful that it had entrapped whole families in your own church wouldn’t you think that was terrible? Yet we ourselves might just be that person! There is a form of witchcraft among us it is called rebellion! The prophet Samuel says that rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, why do you think he said that? A witch casts spells and summons spirits to try and make people do what they want, to alter the natural, to take authority that they have no right to take using deceit and lies. Rebellion is your attempt to control your circumstances independent of God, to make your own rules regardless of what the Word of God has to say about anything. Rebellion uses disobedience, disharmony and disunity to gain or maintain control of a situation. Either way when you’re trying to rule from “I can,” rejecting any notion of “God can” you are operating in the wrong spirit. When you do that, you are becoming one with the enemy! One of Satan’s best tools is a “wedge” which is the tool that separates churches, friends and family. Don’t fall into the sin of witchcraft by trying to always be in control, but don’t allow yourself to be controlled by anyone but the Spirit of God only! “Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult,” 1 Samuel 15:23

I know you would never think of yourself as being a witch, but if you are trying to control anyone or their circumstances then you are operating in that very spirit. If someone is trying to control you, then they are operating in that spirit.

Haggai 1:5 Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”

Before we start thinking of people that might fall within this category maybe we need to take stock of our own attitudes and see if this rebellion lies within our own mind!

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How much is “enough”?

In the World English Dictionary the definition for “enough” is: sufficient to answer a need, demand, supposition, or requirement, adequate. Used as an adverb it means: in a quantity or degree that answers a purpose or satisfies a need or desire; sufficiently. If you love someone, you have to love them enough, enough to accept them just as they are, bad habits, bad breath, picking their teeth or cutting their nails at inappropriate time, warts and all; enough to accept all the circumstances and situations of their life, without complaining or throwing anything up to them in future arguments. When you sign on for marriage, you sign on for all the things you have to do for your partner. When you have children you have to have enough love to become parent, disciplinarian, nurse, teacher, and, after all is said and done, friends to them as they become adults. Enough means you will go the extra mile to fill a need for the ones you love, it means there is no greater way you can love. If you love your family and friends, you have to love them enough to keep your mouth shut in times that you want to give that sharp rebuttal, or “pay-back” for some un-kind deed they have committed. Enough means there is need for nothing else, as when God supplied food for the Children of Israel as they traversed the desert!. They went out every morning to gather Manna for the day, if they took more than they needed for that day, except on Holy days when they took enough for two days, the manna would get wormy, rot, and stink!

Think about this next time you ask God for something, He will supply your need, don’t worry, He will give you enough! What do you give to Him in return for all the ‘enough’ that He gives to you? Malachi 3:8-11 “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’ “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams that there will not be room enough to receive it. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. In Matthew 25 we read about the virgins waiting for the Bridegroom to arrive, the wise women had brought enough oil for theirs, but not enough to supply their foolish friends. Be wise and keep the oil of prayer in your lamp to light the way till Jesus comes.

When Jesus cried to the Father “It is finished” He was saying “I love you enough!”

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So Ask!

Some people just have the knack of talking to anyone, no matter how important or austere they might seem. Unafraid to approach their boss for a raise, companies for donations for their church or school, these are the people that always seem to get the “yes”. There are other shy souls that are afraid of their own shadow, feel “less than”, and never get answers of any kind because they don’t ask! When my parents got married, my dad told mother that he would never take a “hint”, anything she wanted him to do she just needed to ask, be direct! Matthew 7:7-11 Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?  John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. In all of these scriptures, Jesus is giving us His permission to ASK!

Are you afraid to go before God? Hebrews 4:16-17 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. 

I am not a person that can walk in and get a big donation from anyone, I would rather give it myself than to ask, but even I understand this last scripture! Jesus stands as our ambassador, lawyer, friend, to take us right up to the Throne and say, “Father, this is my friend and she needs help!” We miss out on so much when we wait to get “worthy” before we ask, He welcomes us! We will never be as worthy as Jesus, so forget that and just present yourself! The old hymn says, “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that you bid me come to thee, Oh Lamb of God I come, I come. Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”  You may feel older than dirt, but remember, God made Adam from the dust of the earth, so you are still His little child, and He cares for you.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

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If I had a Hammer

There is a song, penned by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger, called “the Hammer Song”. It was playing through my mind tonight.. Let’s talk about it for a minute. The writer says, “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land”, Then he says, “If I had a bell, I’d ring it in the morning,” and last, “If I had a song, I’d sing it in the morning, etc.” What he wants to do is “hammer out danger, hammer out a warning, then hammer out love between the brothers and the sisters, all over this land.”  Then “ring out danger” and finally “sing out danger, and a warning and love between the brothers and sisters all over this land”. OK, those are good and lofty words and a great idea, in the last verse we see the writer already has all of these things! “Well I’ve got a hammer, And I’ve got a bell, And I’ve got a song to sing, All over this land It’s the hammer of justice, It’s the bell of freedom, It’s the song about love between my brothers and my sisters, All over this land.” In this verse we see that he has realized he is already equipped with everything he needs to do what he wants, and I wonder, what happened that made him realize this wonderful thing? Philippians 4:13 Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. You can do anything you want, through and in Him, who gives you strength, the catch is this, some of the things you want to do need preparation! There was a lady who wanted to talk to my dad, she told him that God had called her into missionary work and she wanted him to get the church to sponsor her. He questioned her, because she was very adamant, seems she didn’t know the language of the country she had been “called “to minister in, and she had five young children at home! He asked her, “When did you feel the call to go into this ministry?” Her answer was no real surprise to him as he was more doubtful of God calling her away from her children to go into a foreign land, “I was sixteen.” Daddy told her that her missionary field was her children, until they became adults. He told her to take the time to learn the language and study the customs of the people and the Word of God to be prepared for that time. It made her angry with him, she didn’t want to do that, and she wanted to go right then! I may have all the ingredients in the kitchen to make a wonderful cake, but if I don’t take the time to put it together in the proper way it will not happen! 2Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Don’t be discouraged if your ministry, career as a songwriter, or whatever you want to be  doesn’t become instantly successful, you can’t grow a stalk of corn over night, but when it’s ripe, it sure is good dripping with butter!

 

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Hell in the Hall

Sometimes it does feel that even when we are trying our best to do good things and get the best we can out of life, things happen that hinder it. I say that if you have placed your entire life in the hands of God and trust in Him completely, then when someone slams a door in your face, look for the open window, or perhaps another door! Remember this, “Sometimes when there is a closed door and God opens another one, there is Hell in the hall.” Does that mean that because God is giving us something good we have to walk through Hell to get it? I don’t know the complete-all-the-time answer for that, but I do remember the story of Joseph, that after he was sold into slavery by his own brothers he ended up being the ruler of Egypt second in command only to the Pharaoh! At the end of the story his word to his brothers was, “you meant this for evil but God turned it for good!” So we see that in that case he walked through Hell in the hall to get to the best door.

Maybe you are going through a tough time right now and need to know exactly which door to go through, well here’s what I do, I pray that the wrong doors will all be slammed in my face so that I don’t have to make a decision. Does that always work? No, if it did we would never gain wisdom, knowledge or understanding.

Here’s help: Revelation 3:8 I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough. When I read those words I know that God’s plan for my life cannot be stopped if I trust Him, He opened a door that no one can slam shut! Don’t be afraid to step out on those plans, but if they get stopped, don’t be devastated, just consider it a shut door because if God had opened it, it would have remained open, put your life in His hands! Look for the open door but don’t be afraid if you find a closed one, if you face Hell in the hall, He will get you through it!

 

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Need Hindsight?

20-20 Hindsight, I looked it up, is the perfect understanding of an event after it has happened. There are many things in my life that I have had this wonderful “after vision” about and it has never done me any good, after the fact. The only way hindsight does us any good is if we learn from our mistakes so that we never make that particular mistake again! We end up beating ourselves up about things we didn’t know. It would be like trying to stand an infant on his feet and then beating him because he couldn’t maintain his balance and walk! If you knew you were going to have a wreck, it wouldn’t be called an accident, right? So we have wrecks in our lives and we have to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Let’s look at some mistakes, King David made a big one when he lusted after Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, and had him killed so he could have her for himself. Pretty bad, wouldn’t you say? But, what he did right was to be contrite and ask for forgiveness. Psalm 34:18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Psalm 51:17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you; a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. David was forgiven and called a “man after God’s own heart”. Samson laid his head in the lap of the beautiful, sweet talking, enemy and had a haircut that changed his life! The soldiers came to take him and he didn’t even know God had departed from him, he shook himself and found his strength was all gone, I wonder if he turned and saw his luscious locks laying on the floor before he realized what had happened. He was taken; his eyes punched out, tied to a grinding stone, like a mule, and served as entertainment for his enemies! The story ends when his hair had grown again and he asked God for forgiveness and took out more enemies than he had ever conquered in his whole life. Rebellious Jonah cried from the belly of the great fish Jonah 2:7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. When he repented, God forgave him and the fish spit him out on the shore of the place he was told to go in the first place!

What have YOU done, killed a person to take their spouse? Broken a sacred vow to God and “cut your (spiritual) hair? Rebel against the Plan of God for your life and run the other way? Whatever you have done wouldn’t be worse than any of these things, and even if it were, God is still in the business of forgiving us our trespasses, the way we forgive those who have trespassed against us. I slipped that one in on you, didn’t I? Yes, that is the condition of our own forgiveness, and I am telling you, from personal experience, it is the hardest thing to do. We have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God, what’s different about you? Repent, make a U turn, and never make that mistake again. We all have temptations but 1Cor.10: 13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

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Questions to which there are no answers

The following are questions for which there is no answer:

Why is it that in times of stress it seems people who could take a load off your shoulders seem to respond by piling more on?

Why does a child always want to ride one more ride at the amusement park even after they have ridden everything to exhaustion?

What is the reason we are never satisfied with what we have and we always want something that is just right out of our reach?

Why do you see cows with their head stuck through a barbed wire fence eating grass from the other side while the barbs are sticking in and tearing the flesh on their neck? Is the grass really greener on the other side?

Does anyone ever marry the person they were really in love with or will they always pine over the “one that got away?”

I happened to be reading in Ecclesiastes and noticed that the writer was basically asking the same questions, after that I didn’t feel so cynical. I read the whole book and it seems that the “preacher” was mystified at how everyone works and it all seems to be for nothing, everything is smoke and vanishes, wow, what does that leave? Chapter 3, verses 1-8 tells us that there is a time for everything,

A right time for birth and another for death, A right time to plant and another to reap, A right time to kill and another to heal, A right time to destroy and another to construct, A right time to cry and another to laugh, A right time to lament and another to cheer, A right time to make love and another to abstain, A right time to embrace and another to part, A right time to search and another to count your losses, A right time to hold on and another to let go, A right time to rip out and another to mend, A right time to shut up and another to speak up, A right time to love and another to hate, A right time to wage war, and another to make peace.

When he gets through with this he says “what good is it all when we are only going to die?” It sounds to me like he was feeling a little depressed and haven’t we all been there? There are times that we feel like a hamster on a wheel running as fast as we can but never getting anywhere! That’s when you have to just stop and take a deep breath.

What is the conclusion of the whole matter?

12:13-14 Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

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Is it faith if it hasn’t been tested?

When a woman goes shopping for a dress or a man is looking for that perfect fit in a jacket does he or she buy it sight unseen or without trying it on to see what they look like in it? Or would you buy a house without going into it and looking around? No, you don’t buy an article of clothing or a piece of real estate without first inspecting it, in other words you don’t buy anything in faith, you have to see it first.

Hebrews chapter 11 starts with, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith.  By faith—by believing God—we know that the world and the stars—in fact, all things—were made at God’s command; and that they were all made from things that can’t be seen.

We all have trials of our faith! But are they good for us?

Let’s think about a young shepherd boy, David. What happened before he became the King “after God’s own heart”? He faced things that “tried” him so he was ready for the fight when he heard Goliath challenge Saul’s army and he volunteered! David had already experienced fighting the wild animals and won, he was ready! The giant was in full armor with an armor-bearing servant running in front of him. David chose to go without armor and his only weapon was his slingshot! He went down to the waters edge and chose five smooth stones; I’m not sure why he chose five when I feel he knew he would only need one!

How did the stone that he chose get to where he found it? Was it always a smooth stone? I daresay that at one time it was a part of a large boulder that had rolled off the mountain, pieces that broke off from it landing in the rushing water pushing it against other stones and the ground and sand, until it was polished by it’s rough treatment. It was ready to do a job, to fit snugly in the pouch of David’s slingshot and no doubt be guided by the hand of an angel into the one unguarded spot on the giant’s whole body, one little place on his forehead! He was hit and fell forward on his face! David took the giant’s own sword and cut his head from his body and took it to the King! The preparation he got from fighting the bear and the lion gave him the courage he needed to face his giant. Have you got a giant in your life that you are trying to conquer? Your trials only make you strong enough to face your giant. God doesn’t try you to find out who you are, He already knows, He is allowing you to find out for yourself just who you are and what you can do, through Him!

Don’t be afraid to have your rough edges smoothed out, you may be picked up, to serve!

 

 

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The Reason for the Season 2017

Tomorrow is Easter and a time to think about why Jesus made Himself the sacrificial lamb for us all. Not only did He bring us salvation and healing for our souls, but healing for our physical bodies as well!

Psalm 6:2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

Psalm 30:2-3 God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down and out. 

We have two prayers from David, who is known as the “man after God’s own heart”. In the first verse he is telling God how weak he is and is asking for healing, the next verse he is thanking God for healing him and giving him another chance at life. Then we read what the prophet Isaiah wrote prophesying what was to be…

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Jeremiah 17:14 God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!

I wanted to put the scriptures here for you to read for yourself about the healing power of our God through His Son, Jesus. I know there are those of you who need physical healing and others may need mental, emotional, financial help or healing for your relationship. Whatever kind of healing you need, it is yours! I have seen all kinds of miracles; I saw a young woman who had clubbed feet completely straightened out and bought the first pair or “normal” shoes in her life after she was fourteen! I have seen people who were deaf suddenly have their hearing, cancer healed, I have seen people get up from a “death bed” and be whole and well. I have received financial miracles, miracles of new jobs, homes, marriages put back together, you name it I have seen it, not what someone has told me, or something I have read, no, I have seen it for myself!

God can do anything and nothing is impossible with Him, thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for us!

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A Kiss is just a Kiss, or is it?

In the Bible there are forty-six references to the action of a kiss. When I think of a kiss I remember the very first one I ever had, did it rock my world? No, it was awkward, sitting in the back seat of a small car along with two other people in the back seat on Ponce de Leon Avenue. There are innocent kisses on the cheek, there are passionate kisses of new lovers, the first kiss of the wedding couple as man and wife, the tender kiss of a couple who have been together for so many years that the passion has become tender care and concern, and there is the kiss on the forehead of your loved one as you watch their soul slip into eternity. So, who needs enemies when someone who has been your friend gives you the kiss of betrayal?

The first few verses of John are favorites of mine. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, he was with God in the beginning. It boggles my mind to know that Jesus was the Prince of Glory and chose to come to a dusty little town born of parents that were inexperienced and poor! He gave up the shimmering garments of heaven for swaddling clothes and the bed of a King for a manger in an animal’s stall. When He got here and grew to be a man, He chose a band of men, the disciples. Jesus took them and promised to make them fishers of men. They were with Him daily and saw all He did, from feeding the five thousand and opening blinded eyes to raising the dead and eating with tax collectors. They saw him change water into wine at a wedding and talk with the woman at the well, telling her the secrets of her life. Just reminding you so that you will realize, that they knew him as a friend. Can you imagine seeing Peter standing outside of where Jesus was being questioned and watch him deny ever even knowing Him?

Now imagine Judas as he walks in to collect the money he earned for betraying his friend, Jesus. He took the 30 pieces of silver, they were heavy in the bag and felt so good to jingle. I can almost see him looking into the bag, just checking, not able to believe his good luck! He went to the Garden, where he knew Jesus would be, and planted the most famous kiss of all times on the cheek of our Lord.

In this day and time we not only deny our Lord every day through things that we allow in ourselves, but we deny the Lord any time that we hurt each other. I don’t have to agree with your theology to love you! If you have sinned it is none of my business to correct you in words but by living a life in your presence that will convict you and make you want to live a better life. It will certainly do no good for you or me if I choose to talk about you, run you down, or constantly try to ruin your reputation. 2 Cor. 10:12 We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point. We are told in the Word that if we judge someone we are setting ourselves up for judgment by the same measure! So it would be best to keep your lip zipped and maybe someone will return the favor! Don’t let it be said of you, as it could be of Judas, “with friends like you, who needs enemies?”

Be a faithful friend that is a secret keeper before men and a secret pray-er before God!

 

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