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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Why Consult the Dead?

What do you think about Mediums? Have you been tempted to explore the world  of séances and visions from people who claim extraordinary powers? It is a very innocent looking pastime as long as you don't invest money or make important decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information.

I must confess I sometimes enjoy the extravagant and entertaining TV show aired on TLC called "Long Island Medium." Her name is Teresa Caputo, and she seems to pick up pieces of information about people's lives randomly everywhere she goes. She says she is able to talk to people "who have crossed over" meaning they are dead and wish to share information about their loved ones. Sometimes Teresa is invited to a home or gathering for the purpose of the reading, but many times, the event is spontaneous. I wonder if the random nature of these experiences is a marketing technique. 

God's guidance in the Bible does not condone this method of seeking knowledge. He says in Isaiah 8:19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

In other places the command implies bad consequences for such behavior. Leviticus 20:5-7 compares seeking mediums and spiritists to idolatry. We are commanded not to resort to them. Throughout the Old Testament God ordered cleansing of the land and expulsion of mediums and spiritists. I don't find any reason why he would change now.   

Teresa does acknowledge God in a passive, non-committal manner when she says she hopes her readings bring peace and comfort to all the participants, but she does not profess faith in God or seek God's blessing or help. She addresses the source of her power as "Spirit", but she does not view "Spirit" as Holy or in any way akin to God's Holy Spirit.

Teresa does not seem to be very confident of her information or her connection to  "Spirit." Maybe the shocked reaction when she questions the subjects and finds that her guesses are correct are just acting for the camera. It's still not what I would expect of someone who knows the future. She does seem to have a genuine concern for the people she deals with, but that may just be a good understanding of psychological impact of the situation.

Bottom line--Don't go to the mediums and fortune tellers; but just go to God in prayer and read your Bible daily. Seek counsel from a pastor or Christian friend, and avoid those with "special powers."

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6


Friday, April 17, 2015

They Had Been with Jesus

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13
Sometimes there are people who change us simply by their presence. Jesus was like that. He didn't require any uniform or marching songs or extravagant rituals. He taught in various ways: sometimes he preached to crowds; sometimes he just took people with him as observers; sometimes he just fished, or ate, or conversed with them. Yet he always had his eye on the purpose--revealing himself to those who were around him. 

He still wants to draw us to him, to hear his message, to experience his life. He calls us to read his words and dwell on them and make them paramount in our lives.

But be aware his life and influence will change us just as it did the Disciples.  How will being with Jesus change us? Will we begin to share his truth or love his people? Will we walk in his ways and yield to his claims? How has being with Jesus changed you?           

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Word Study For Easter

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Ephesians 1:7 NIV

I generally think of redemption in regard to reclaiming items that have been pawned, but redeeming often refers to deliverance and rescue. Maybe I should focus on how I'm using the word. Is it a valuable item I need to get back?  Or does is refer to release from personal sin?

When I analyze the situation, I find that sin is  the factor that put us in jeopardy. We become debtors in the grip of sin until Jesus pays for our redemption. His blood is the price of our release from the grip of Satan. For this glorious sacrifice Jesus requires only our faith; we must believe in him without any work or promise of payment. We don't have to make converts or raise money; We only have to believe in his life and his message.   

Is it too easy? Do we want to show how good we are? We sometimes feel we need to deserve salvation, but Jesus "died for us when we were yet sinners." There is nothing we can do to deserve his grace. It is free and available to all who believe. Only believe.

Maybe we need to repeat the first lessons and understand the words. Just come to him and believe what he says to you. Just believe.