No man or woman can make their own definition of sin. God, and God alone, reserves that right.
Consider God’s message with an open mind. You will grow wiser and be sanctified.
I am going on another “missions trip” by Connection Point Church to the Dominican Republic. We will do some construction and will do a few school assemblies. We hope to do some good while we are there.
The Dominican Republic does not need Connection Point Church. The DR needs Jesus Christ. God has already set people in place to minister the Gospel. He asked us to come and see, listen, learn, love. Primarily, we will be built up.
If we can return that blessing to someone there, then we are blessed.
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Share with the needy.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
All your work is unto the Lord.
For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
Do not burden others.
…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
Lead a quiet life.
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
Work to eat. (Not eat to work.)
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
A diligent person immerses himself in the Lord’s work.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.
Do not procrastinate the work of God.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Motivate one another to do the work of God.
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
Take advantage of the appropriate time for work to be done.
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Glorify God by completion of your work.
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
A negligent person is never satisfied.
The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.
A negligent person always finds an obstacle.
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
A negligent person fantasizes about hypothetical situations.
All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
A negligent person talks and talks and talks.
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
A negligent person lives in poverty, imagining work that they could be doing.
This week, a fellow minister visited my church for a district ministers’ conference. He preached that:
When a person is born into a family where there are abnormalities, it is very easy to come into agreement with negative things.
He said that sickness is an abnormality and used the specific example of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, he indicated that Alzheimer’s is caused by a demonic spirit. The apparent cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is simply taking authority over it. Furthermore, you are sinning when you allow a family member to have Alzheimer’s disease because you are in agreement with a demonic spirit.
The preacher asked us to turn to Genesis chapter 3.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The passage does not say that Adam attempted to “take authority” over the serpent, Satan. Therefore, the original sin was not disobedience to God’s command, it was actually Adam’s agreement with Satan and his failure to take authority over his wife.
At this point, the minister encouraged the audience to shout and praise the Lord in acclamation of his new teaching. It was incredible.
I have read a number of excellent prayers. I have learned from reading other people’s prayers. However, reading a prayer is not praying.
The Scriptures commend us to pray. They do not tell us to read prayers, no matter how eloquent or lofty those prayers maybe.
Jesus never intended for His disciples to repeat His model prayer word for word. The words were given to guide His followers into finding their own words.
Prayer models are a popular fad that may or may not improve our prayer lives. If we are simply repeating the words that someone else wrote, we are not praying.
Let’s “just have a little talk with God.” It’s more effective and more personal.
Summer is church camp season. Boys and girls on break from school are packed onto crowded vehicles and dropped off with their suitcase at a lakeside dorm. We hope something good will happen at camp.
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. (1 Corinthians 11:17)
I was told that studying the Bible for sermons was not an equivalent to devotional time in the Word of God.
I am not in complete disagreement with this thought. However, I have failed to find this clear distinction within the Instruction of Scripture.
The inspiration for a sermon should begin in personal reading. Furthermore, the preacher should be personally invested into his sermon, both in preparation and delivery.
Therefore, a minister should not divide his reading. What strength is in a sermon without devotion? What use is devotional reading without the elements of persuasion and practical application?
God loves everyone. No exceptions.
However, I pulled up my copy of the Reformation Study Bible which pointed to an article “God Is Love: Divine Goodness and Faithfulness” that includes a CONDITION for 1 John 4:8-10*:
As always in the New Testament, “we” or “us” as the objects and beneficiaries of redeeming love means “us who believe.” “We” or “us” does not refer to every individual belonging to the human race.
*He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Should we accept as true anything that we hear, see, or experience without some type of godly analysis or evaluation? How should we perform such an analysis?Are we using Scripture as God intended?
Conjuration – the performance of a supernatural act by means of a magic incantation or spell.
Incantation – the chanting or utterance of words employed as a magic spell.
Spell – magical words, influence or powers.
Magic – the power to influence the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces
Years ago, I knew a woman that had grown up in the hills of Kentucky. She knew that I was a Christian minister. One day, she asked me, “What is that scripture that can stop blood?” I had no idea what she was asking me. “My mother used to speak a Bible verse over us if we had a cut, and it would stop blood. I wondered if you knew which verse that is.”
Later on I learned that she may have been looking for Ezekiel 16:6, It is referenced in the 1997 movie “The Apostle”. Robert Duvall plays the Pentecostal self-proclaimed-apostle E. F. ‘Sonny’ Dewey. In the opening scene, Dewey comes upon a bloody automobile accident, grabs his well-used Bible, runs to the wreck ahead of the sheriff, lifts his hands over the vehicle, and speaks over the driver and passenger,
And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.
On a Christian forum, I found a statement that tells a lot about gullible Christians. The person posting the statement stated that she learned the incantation of Ezekiel 16:6 from her mother who learned it from her grandmother. The incantation supposedly must be made three times for it to work. The writer used the incantation to stop a nosebleed. She considered it a sign from God because it worked.
However, we need to pause and work out some critical thinking.
Christians must believe in supernatural events, also called miracles. A miracle is a divine preemptive action in the natural world. We believe in the existence of a supernatural Creator. We believe in the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus and the Apostles performed miraculous signs and wonders. We believe in the supernatural revelation of the 66 books of the Bible.
However, Christians should not unquestionably accept every mysterious event. Just because it sometimes comes up with an appropriate answer does not qualify Magic 8-ball as miraculous. Christians should also be skeptics, not dupable chumps. Christians should investigate the claims of a miracle.
Dr. Geisler, in his first volume of systematic theology, defines a miracle:
A miracle, then, is a divine intervention into, or an interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not (or could not) have occurred otherwise.
Magic is the power to influence the events of life through mystical forces. Sometimes magic and illusion are the same thing, in which the illusion is just a natural deception, not a supernatural act.
However, the Bible teaches that there are demonic forces at work in the natural world as well.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
[Second Thessalonians 29-10]
A miracle accomplishes the purpose of God through the power of God. Magic is accomplished through either deception or a demonic power.
A miracle glorifies God. Magic is not limited to this scope. Magic may seem to credit God, but may also credit a fairy or a witch.
Since a miracle always brings glory to God, a miracle is always good. There is no such thing as an evil miracle or a black miracle. Magic does not have this limitation.
A miracle is always scriptural, always subject to the authority of Scripture, always reinforcing the truth of the Bible. Magic functions outside of the teaching of the Bible, sometimes in contradiction to the Bible.
The proof of God’s approval is not whether or not a miracle “worked”. The proof of God’s approval is that the miracle is scriptural.
The Bible did not come from the will of man and therefore should not to be used as an incantation to perform the will of man.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
[2 Peter 1:19-21]
The power of God’s Word is that it can transform our lives and empower us to live according to God’s will. It is an act of heresy to twist God’s Word for our own purposes:
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
[2 Peter 3:14-16]
When we read God’s Word, it reveals the motives for our behavior.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Paul commands us to handle God’s Word responsibly, not as an ordinary book or some superstitious nonsense.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
[2 Timothy 2:15]
Scripture was intended for us to read and hear what God says, so that we might respond with obedient actions.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
[2 Timothy 3:16]
We are to memorize Scripture, apply it, and live it out.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Scripture can be abused if it is used with false motives or selfish intent. Even Satan quoted the Bible. He quoted from Psalm 91 when he tempted Jesus Christ in Luke chapter four.
“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
It does not sanctify a magical incantation when you use a Scripture to stop blood or for any other conjuration. The Bible is not a book of magic spells and good luck charms.
Incantation and conjuring are pagan practices associated with spell-casting and witchcraft. Sadly, some Christians have adopted pagan superstitious practices. Scripture is not for incantations, speaking words over objects or people to manipulate them.
Don’t have anything to do with pagan practices. Distance yourself from superstition and magic.
Instead, read God’s Word. Hear the Word. Memorize it. Preach it. Live it.