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They Know Not What They Do…

After this past election, you may be dreading that Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday.  You may have even canceled it based on a political difference of opinion.  

After the 2016 Election, researchers found that a lot of family Thanksgiving visits were cut short because of political division within the family. With the hail storm of bad things that have happened this year, it could be even worse.  Especially now that we won’t have the parade to keep us pre-occupied!

As I reflect on this whole election year, COVID, the riots that have erupted, the hurricanes and the fires, I keep finding myself coming back to Christ’s words on the Cross.

Luke 23:34 
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I’m in that demographic too.  This year, I voted for Jo Jorgensen, she wasn’t the best candidate- but she also wasn’t the other two.  I voted for the other positions of government, but when it came to the president…I couldn’t, in good conscience, support the two major contenders.  I opted to turn this decision over to the rest of the American People.  And I forgive them for their decision.

If you voted for Joe Biden: I forgive you.
If you voted for Jo Jorgensen: I forgive you.
If you voted from Donald Trump: I forgive you.
If you voted for Howie Hawkins: I forgive you.
If you didn’t vote: I forgive you.
And I forgive myself.

None of us know what we’re doing.  Either God intended for the current President to become our President and our votes were not going to change that…or God left our Free Will in-tact and we’re all scrambling to figure out what the right answers are.

At the end of the day, though, the only real truth we can count on is the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor.

No one at the foot of the cross could have possibly understood what God was doing until after everything had transpired. We can’t either- but we can choose to be part of the mob that hates what it doesn’t understand…or we can choose to forgive each other because we don’t understand how we got into this mess…nor can we do anything about the past.

The moment politics comes up at the table, don’t dismiss it-transform it.  Make the effort to say: 

I forgive myself, and everyone at this table for the political decisions we have and will make in the future- for we know not what we do. In all things, we should ask God’s Will be done.

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No, I Do Not Believe God Has a Plan for Every Individual Person

5 years ago my thoughts were apprehensive about a move to a foreign place.  I had never been particularly worried about moving before (angry once, because of a broken promise, but not worried). This time though, my family moved into a place that was at a good price, but not exactly good for our health- trailers are sadly prone to things like roaches and mice.  That’s what happens when you’re nearly homeless and with a family though, you settle with anything you can get…fortunately we had just enough to get better than living out of my car.

But this time around, my thoughts are of excitement as we gear up to spend our second night in our new apartment.

We were stuck at the old place for much longer than we had hoped due to a well-intended healthcare mandate which really led to a bad reputation for our last president amongst the Fast Food & Retail class.  Under the current President, that mandate was repealed and done away with, and because of that simple act, my family was able to save up enough money to make a move into a much nicer place- at the cost of all our stuff except the essentials (clothes, laptop for my job, vehicles, paperwork, etc).  We spent our first night at the new apartment last night.

Why do I credit these 2 Presidents with their roles rather than look at all of it like it was intended to be part of some grand plan by God? Because the Bible doesn’t support the Christian theory of “individual plans”. If it did, Saul would have worked out.

In a world where Free Will is necessary to achieve real salvation, God micromanaging everything in the lives of a believer would make the point of Christ’s death obsolete. It would make the whole story of what happened to Cain and Abel cruel, because it would mean that God orchestrated it- just to punish Cain for something God had intended.

No, we need to be aware that man is just as capable of orchestrating what happens to us as God is. For my own part, trusting God isn’t about trusting his plan for me individually, but rather that God has humanity’s best interests at heart and that His intentions to see a better human society will never change. That’s why He keeps appealing to our Free Will as an instructor and as a leader.

I may not credit God with the hardship, or President Trump’s success at working to appeal the law that prevented us from getting what we wanted- but what I can credit God with is being there with me the whole time. Being the friend I needed most, and giving me a project that would help me better build a relationship with Him. It might seem small to you, but in the end it’s the small things that really help you push through…you just need to be willing to acknowledge every small thing.

So thank you, Lord. This Thanksgiving I have more to be thankful for than the last 5, because you were there with me through it all.

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God Didn’t Intend…

For Israel to have a King. I know I said it about a month ago, but I want to reiterate this now that we cannot do anything about the vote this year:

1 Samuel 8:4-9

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

YHWH intended for Himself to be our King.

Jesus said (paraphrased) “Render unto Ceasar…and unto God…”

Jesus separated the two. YHWH is the priority though. He is our King, not the President of the United States. Every great Christian throughout history prioritized God over Country- and so should we.

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The Futility of Saul

I’ve always wondered what would have happened if Saul had made a different decision in 1 Samuel 28.  What if, instead of going to the Witch of Endor…he stopped trying to seek God’s voice, and instead went to the temple, offered up sacrifices, and sincerely apologized, told God he wouldn’t keep bugging Him and then ending with the acceptance phrase “Thy will be done”.

I don’t think it would have averted God’s Will that Saul die.  But would it have done anything to redeem him in the eyes of God?  Perhaps the death would have been less humiliating.  Or at the very least, Saul could have found peace in the fact that he attempted to make real amends with God.

In Saul’s story, that’s the real takeaway.  It’s not David’s rise to power that is captivating, but rather the defiance Saul shows God towards the end…all to get God’s attention.  It’s like he was an addict. 

That addiction is something I saw in myself as I sought out Word of Faith ministries.  My own addiction was tied to my encounter with an Angel of the Lord.  Desperately, I was seeking someone out that could tell me what God wanted me to do.  At one point, I thought I found a prophet.  I thought they could help me get direction from God…but after a while I learned they were a Foolish Prophet (one which believes they speak what God asks them, but are really following their own spirit).

Much like Saul, I find myself constantly questioning what God wants from/of me.  But where I hope I’m different from Saul in, is that I won’t simply reject what God tells me if I ever end up getting that wish fulfilled.

In the Witch of Endor, I saw myself in the Witch.  But that didn’t scare me.  Where our personalities parallel, I found comfort.  But in that story, I also saw a lot of myself in Saul- and that DOES scare me.  Where the Witch is driving the train, so to speak, what I see in Saul is the potential to be the person convincing everyone to board the train.

Sometimes I wonder if my talking about my belief that God allows us the opportunity to explore the supernatural to test our faithfulness to the First Commandment will cause more people to chase after other gods.  Or would my omission of this information damn someone I know that may have been saved otherwise?

For years I did what Saul did, sought God’s Wisdom…only to come up empty-handed.  So instead of continuing the futility of Saul’s actions, I accepted that I would only be given the Bible to launch my understanding of what God wants me to do and went with the direction I think Saul should have taken in the end:

“Father, I know I cannot hear you.  I know that by seeking your direct intervention in my life, I’m only proving myself to be wicked and adulterous.  I can only hope that I get things right, but you are my judge.  Whatever comes, whether it means you visit evil, good or neither upon me, I accept Thy will and hope I can find it within my soul to be okay with.”

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The Witch of Endor’s Nature

At the end of their encounter with Samuel, the witch moves to comfort Saul.  She wasn’t, by human standards, evil.  What we see is a woman that, despite having fear of Saul in the beginning, does nothing to show malice towards him.

Saul, by God’s earlier command, ordered all witches to be executed.  He promises nothing will happen to the witch when he approaches her, and then affirms it when she discovers who he is.  She could have ridiculed him after she delivered the message to him, she could have ushered him out of her home as politely as possible.  But what she does is hospitable- she encourages him to let her give him something to eat.  And even presses the issue when he refuses, until he gives in.

The Witch showed empathy and kindness.

This simple act was an invaluable piece of the story for me.  Imagine struggling with the idea that you can be a good person by man’s standards, and still commit incredible evil in the eyes of God…all under the feeling that you are doing this thing for another person.

I didn’t set out to be special.   When I was Pagan, I sought the path out because I wanted nothing more than to help people around me.  When I got acquainted with the story of the Witch of Endor, I felt like this was the same reason she pursued her line of work.  She wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, the very nature of her being was to help others.  If the situation didn’t work out for her client, she probably had to detach herself from the situation with the belief that it was because they choose to do something, or fate had already rolled the dice outside of the client’s favor.  She probably didn’t understand her role in all of it.

My heart goes out to the Witch of Endor.  I wonder how she would have reacted if God revealed to her what her role really was in all the unsuccessful stories.

Although we never hear from the witch again, her personality stuck with me.  Knowing that she was a good person by man’s standards, helped me to see that I wasn’t evil for engaging in witchcraft, I was engaging in evil called Witchcraft.  It doesn’t seem like much of a distinction, I’m sure.  But it was important to draw that line as I journeyed towards accepting YHWH as my God.  Once I could make that distinction, I realized I wasn’t so far gone that God wouldn’t at least give me a chance.

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So You Want to Talk With the Dead…

The story of Saul and the Witch of Endor played a significant role in my coming to terms with the difference between what God calls evil, and what Man calls evil.  

After my encounter with an Angel who revealed to me that even though I would be set for life as a Pagan, if I continued down that path I was doomed to cause more harm to those I encountered, I saw a LOT of myself in the witch of this story.  And it was so painful.  Here’s a woman that helps others, but God had commanded that she be executed for these very acts of kindness.  So, for the rest of the month of October, I’m going to focus on some things I learned because of this story.

This week, I want to talk about how the Witch of Endor can be used to address the issues surrounding Modern Necromancy (also known as Mediumship).

Just last year, I met another woman that thought talking with the dead would bring her comfort.  A complete stranger, she approached me in an Ace Hardware store and started talking religion.  Finding out that I use to be pagan, she caught up with me outside in the parking lot and started asking questions about Quija boards and whether or not she was using one correctly.

Many Christians will tell you that you’re opening a door to the demonic, and that it will plague you.  I know quite a few Pagans that will say the same to anyone who isn’t actually trained in how to properly open and close spiritual doors.  My approach to this discussion is different.  My approach, however, relies on 3 key takeaways from the Witch of Endor on Necromancy:

  1. You never know who is actually coming through the veil.

In the story, the witch is not the one which identifies the entity as Samuel.  She says she sees gods coming from the ground and describes an old man in a robe.  It is Saul who accepts that the medium has woken Samuel up from his slumber.  I haven’t covered Sirach yet, but a cursory look reveals that when the Book of Sirach was written, some believed it was Samuel as well.  In reality, there is no evidence proving it was or wasn’t Samuel.

The realm which harbors divine and demonic beings is not the same as the physical realm.  In that realm, what occurs in the physical realm, and God’s declarations, can be made well-known knowledge.  That is, the demand “tell me something only you and I would know” is impossible to apply.

In the case of this story, it is entirely possible that the entity which spoke through the Witch to Saul was not Samuel, and was aware of God’s plans to destroy Saul.

2)  Truth is a greater temptation than a lie.

Let’s run with the theory that it was not Samuel, it was a demon.  Then why tell Saul the truth of what was going to happen at the next battle?  It maintains the Witch’s reputation.  This, in turn, gives a demon the ability to challenge the faith of more people.

One of the problems in modern Christianity, is that a lot of denominations deny that anything not of God is real.  For them, it’s not “Anything a demon can do, God can do better”, it’s “Anything a demon does is a parlor trick, or a human lying about their experience.”  This denial makes it that much easier to convince those on the fence about Witchcraft that God’s been lying to them this whole time.  But a study of the Old Testament will reveal that God hasn’t tried to hide the fact that other beings can perform miracles without Him- even Christ affirms this when he explains that not all who say “Lord, Lord” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

For the record, though, it doesn’t mean you won’t get lied to by a demon.  Whatever suits the entity’s purposes, is typically what you’re going to get.  They’ve been at this game far longer than any man on earth has been.  

3) Knowing isn’t what changes things.

Even if it was Samuel, knowing the truth of God’s declaration changed nothing. Not Saul’s fate, and not even Saul’s heart.  When one seeks out a medium’s help, the real work isn’t getting the answers- it’s work to let go of whatever caused you to seek them out in the first place.

You may think I’m telling you this because my model works.  In truth, it’s because of the #3 that I acknowledge both my model and the “you’re opening doors you cannot close” models can be equally futile.  It didn’t work with the woman that came to me about using a Quija Board, or asking how she could have a Shamanic Journey to determine that a foe was truly in Hell where he belonged.

In order for my model to work, you need time to invest in communicating with the person in pain.  An established rapport, not a chance encounter.  Possibly even the help of a therapist.

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Can you be a Christian and still be possessed by a Demon?

Questions like these intrigue me.  Although the answer is “no”, it doesn’t focus enough on the qualifying statement that one must be Christian to be immune. 

Luke 11:17-26
“Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Basically, when the unclean spirit was cast out, the person they inhabited never decided to sell their house to God.  They left the “For Sale” sign up, and the demon already knew it was great real estate before.  But what does it mean to sell the property to God?  Just like a Real Estate transaction, when you sell the property to God, you’re signing a contract that is completely drawn up in the Bible.  If you violate the contract, God makes decisions on what to do next.

In Saul’s case, God sent an evil spirit to plague him.  From the descriptions, it’s more than simply an annoyance like what we see with Satan tempting Christ in the desert, and more direct than what happened to Job.

Saul believed that God existed, even had encounters that directly proved this because of Samuel’s guidance.  Belief simply wasn’t enough to make him immune to the affliction.

You might be thinking “Well duh, Alethea, a Christian is someone that follows Christ- not someone just believes that God and Christ are real”.  I get that, but that is not how we treat it.  The Christian community has a problem with accepting that someone has converted to Christianity simply because they said a Prayer of Acceptance with them.  Look at all the revivals you or others have attended, watched on YouTube or heard of from missionaries.  The Christian Community has watered down what it means to be Christian because we measure a revival’s success by the number of people that show up to pray the Prayer of Acceptance.

I can’t count how many people I’ve heard say that the Prayer of Acceptance is all you need, and from that point forward you are always saved.  If you don’t end up changing your ways, then you weren’t sincere and the Holy Spirit never entered your life which is why you’re experiencing turmoil, etc, etc.  All of these are excuses to try and make “Once Saved, Always Saved” a truth.  It also leaves the door open for wanton sinning in the hands of someone who doesn’t have the strength to prevent a relapse.

So let’s go back to the question, and reframe the answer: Can a Christian be possessed by a Demon?

Only so long as you’re holding up your side of the contract are you immune.

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The Christian Vote?

There is a full month before the American Elections…and I still don’t have a clue what I’m going to write down for my Presidential candidate.  Yeah, that’s right, I’m going to do a write-in.  But my vote isn’t really the topic today.  It’s the Christian Vote that I want to discuss.

I can understand the value of believing that the Christian Voice in politics is important, it’s just not realistic.  Democracy wasn’t a Christian concept, it was a Greek creation.  In fact, it was so non-Christian, that for hundreds of years Christians valued a Monarchy system because God put it in place with Israel….AT ISRAEL’S INSISTENCE.

God didn’t want to give Israel a ruler, because God was their ruler.

1 Samuel 8:4-9

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Throughout the history of the Nation of Israel, God only saw a handful of actual kings over them favorably by the time they died.  And God set all of them up to rule.  With each one, God’s intention wasn’t to give Israel an excuse to backslide…and yet many of them did exactly that.  God didn’t give them a pass, proving that the person in charge wasn’t the primary shareholder of your accountability to God.  It’s on each individual believer to decide whether or not they’ll follow God’s law.

That last part, it’s the crux of my argument that there is no Christian Vote, there is only Individual Accountability.  And Daniel is my primary evidence.

Many vocal Christians refuse to acknowledge a Democratic candidate based solely on the topic of Abortion.  Abortion shouldn’t be a part of the discussion, though.  Temptation is all around you, the test is whether you reject the temptation and follow what God wants.  We live in a world where we are amongst those which do not follow God- and so was Daniel.

Daniel was tested by man.  Man told him he had to disobey the First Commandment.  Despite the ramifications, Daniel pressed forward- and publicly too- obeying God over the King’s forced Decree.  And for his human crime, King Darius was forced to put him in a Lion’s Den.  For his adherence to divine law, God spared Daniel and proved to King Darius that Daniel was a righteous man.

Similarly, Jesus lived amongst the Gentiles, mostly ignoring them to communicate with the Jews- it was only after his resurrection that the Gentiles were given a door into his ministry.  Early Christians were forced to live in anti-Christian communities, yet they persevered- because the head of state doesn’t matter.   

It’s nice to have a truly Christian leader in charge of the nation, but it’s not always realistic.  What is important, however, is that you vote based on the whole of whether or not you feel a person is going to be able to lead us in a direction that allows you the most freedom to hold yourself accountable to Christian ethics. 

In my opinion, that means rejecting anything which would eliminate our Constitutional Republic.  Most candidates do not threaten this, and therefore the Presidential discussion should come down to the big hitters: Foreign Policy & Economy.  Social Reformation must happen at the community level, you cannot expect a President to do it for you.

In closing, let me impart to you the importance of not shaming your fellow Christian into voting for the “Christian Vote”.  There is no “Christian Vote”.  The idea of a “Christian Vote” is simply an excuse to shrug off Personal Accountability.  No one has the right to say “The Devil/President/Pastor made me do it”, it just doesn’t hold up in the Divine Court of Law.

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The Saints Are Alive

Thoughts after reading Proven Truth: How Paganism and Idolatry Started in the Church

This post, in no way, is intended to admonish the author Giselle.  It is simply the thoughts that came to mind as I read through her work.  More specifically inspired by the following exert:

“One of the ‘Apostolic Fathers’, Emperor Julian of the Western Empire, had a problem with the worship of the martyrs — those who died because of the prior persecution. They were raising them to the level of Jesus. He noted that people were worshiping the tombs of the Peter and Paul in Rome. He quotes Jesus where he said in Matthew 23:27…

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” Matthew 23:27 NLT

“He was basically saying that tombs are unclean. Stop worshiping them!
“Worship of saints and martyrs still goes on.”

-Giselle, 2020

I do not disagree with Giselle on the point of contention regarding the practice “Intercession of the Saints”, however, many who argue on this are missing a key point on the subject: The saints are not considered dead.  According to practitioners, they are alive in Heaven.

Clearly, a different approach is needed to dispute this.  Though, the most simple answer (at least in my mind) has a gapping hole in the logic.  When I considered this topic, my first thought was “Well this is simple, they can’t be alive, because Enoch, Elijah and Christ are the only ones we know who were taken up to Heaven…”. They were full body experiences, that is- even if we had their exact DNA sequence on file somewhere, we would never be able to find their bones…because they are not here on Earth.  Using this logic would force us to acknowledge that since the New Testament, there have been no confirmed cases where someone was taken up to Heaven while they were still drawing breath here on this Earth.  The Catholics might have a case with Mary, but the story of Mary’s Assumption is dodgy.

This sounds like a great argument…until you consider the Transfiguration of Jesus.  Unless the disciples mistook Enoch for Moses, my argument goes out the window.  And it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t have been corrected by Jesus if this is the case- as one of the disciples (Peter?) specifically asked to create a tabernacle for each by name.  There’s a thin line that Jesus just ignored the comment out of hand, not really thinking too terribly on the matter- but still the passages describing Moses being there throw a wrench into the discussion.  

Why?  Because Numbers actually tells us that God buried Moses somewhere in Moab.  Meaning his bones are somewhere still on Earth.  Unless God resurrected him prior to Christ’s death on the cross, and brought him into Heaven in the same fashion as He did Christ.

One of the reasons I’m working through the Apocrypha, is so I can see if there is anything else which supports the narrative of “Intercession of the Saints”.  The “strongest” argument I am aware of comes from Tobit, where Raphael is described as praying for two of the characters prior to assignment to assist them.  And if you’ve read my analysis of this book as I was working through it- you’ll know that I cannot possibly include it as evidence in support of “Intercession of the Saints”.

Maybe there is evidence for it, I’m don’t like to make decisions until I have all the information in front of me.  But if there is none at all, I’m afraid that the kinds of arguments which ignore the practitioners belief these Saints are still alive only illustrate Protestant ignorance to the discussion.  And this ignorance will only serves to push practitioners of “Intercession of the Saints” further into ungodly practices.

Together, I believe we Christians can find a stronger argument to dispute Intercession of the Saints.  But it takes effort and time.  And if we find, at the end, that we’re actually the ones who are wrong, that the Catholic faith had it right this whole time…we have to be willing to turn towards it and accept our own spirits were leading us away.

I’ll admit it if it turns out the evidence is strongly in their favor…but until then I’m an unabashed Protestant.

In case you want to look over my notes on Tobit, you can find each entry here.

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Cain, Ham and Racism

I wonder how many of you would be surprised to learn that Cain, is not just a controversial figure in the Bible, but he also used to inspire racism against two peoples: Those who are Jewish and those who are Black.

We all know the story, right?  The Bible says that after God confronted Cain about Abel’s death, He sent him into exile and told him that the Earth would not yield crops for him.  But Cain had a strong fear that others would kill him for what he had done, so God showed him a mercy by putting a mark upon him which would identify him as someone not to be killed by another, lest God’s wrath come upon the murderer.

But Cain’s story doesn’t really start here.  Not in terms of how Christianity has used him to feed racism amongst Christians.  It really begins in the Garden, as God is confronting the Serpent for making Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit.  He tells the Serpent that He will divide the seed of the Serpent and the Seed of Adam from one another, and the man’s seed would take out the Serpent.

Interpretations of what happen in the Garden are not all the same.  There are people which believe this is about Cain and Abel’s births.  Where the first tradition holds that both Cain and Abel are Adam’s children, this other tradition holds that they are Fraternal Twins with two different fathers.  That the “Forbidden Fruit” is a euphemism meaning that Eve first had sex with the Serpent, and then Adam had sex with the serpent.

In case you didn’t know, it is possible to have twins with two different fathers.  It’s called Superfecundation (Cocozza, 2018).  Which makes this an unfortunate piece of the puzzle- science holds up the theory, and thus encourages this version of the what it means to “partake of the forbidden fruit”.  To the people which believe this, it’s not much longer before the child which is the Serpent’s is revealed.  With Cain’s inability to please God and his subsequent murdering of Abel, everyone suddenly realizes that the seed of the Serpent (or Satan) is Cain.

So let’s go back to Cain’s “mark”.  In one tradition, his mark was the pigment of his skin, and it is used to condemn Black People.  The other tradition states that all his children inherited his curse that the land would not yield to him.  This version of the story is used to condemn the Jewish population, stating that they are not actually the Jews in the Bible, but rather “Kennites” (Descendants of Cain).

I thought about going into who the Kennites actually were, but I’ll get into that on another day.  For now, I want to talk about this problem of Racism in Christianity.  However, to get to that point, we have to have some real hard talks.

First, let’s first try to erase this notion of Cain being the father of an entire race living today: The Flood.  The whole point of the Flood was to get rid of all the evil people and start fresh.  God left only Noah and his Family to inherit the Earth.  It’s pretty clear from the Biblical account that if Cain’s line was nothing but evil, they wouldn’t have survived the Flood.  It’s a simple as that.

But even if this wasn’t the case (as some Christian faiths insist that “world” meant “known world” rather than the whole Earth), the curse of not being able to yield crops seems to have no bearing here either. Jewish people cultivate their own crops in Israel, and have a fairly rich agriculture. I’m sure I’d have some people point out that Zimbabwe has difficulty with their agriculture- to which I’ll see your Zimbabwe card with the US South during the years of slavery. It wasn’t the white people largely tending to the crops- it was Black Slaves who made the market what it was. Clearly both these cultures have the capacity for Green Thumbs. I, on the other hand, don’t. Maybe the curse of Cain came down the White Line? Except that I have plenty of family on both sides that can grow their own small gardens…so there goes that theory as well.

So the next theory comes about- Alright, the Flood and Green Thumbs didn’t work, so let’s try that the Black population comes from Ham.  This one was used by Brigham Young, of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, to try and keep the Black Man down.  His argument was that if we didn’t keep Black Slaves, we would be going against God’s Will when He cursed Ham’s descendants.  This same racism was echoed around the country.  And later on, it became a point of scholarship to blame racism against Black persons on Rabbinic Racism (Goldenberg, 1997).

In some minor defense of the LDS, in 2013 they denounced the Curse of Ham as an excuse to prevent Black Men from obtaining a priesthood, but isn’t well known by their membership.  But this denouncement came about about 40 years after a leader in the Mormon Church had a revelation given to him by God that no race or skin tone should be withheld from the priesthood.

I don’t need a personal revelation.  And honestly if you’re one of those people who believe that God wants you to continue a feud with either the Black or Jewish population, I hope you’ve stuck it out this far.  

EXHIBIT A:

Ezekiel 18:19-20

Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Your actions are your own.  You can choose to follow in the footsteps of your ancestors, or you can choose to become righteous before God.  Every person on this planet has their own choices to make.  They are not bound by a curse made a few millennia ago- the only “bloodline curse” upon anyone are those which are self-fulfilled due to racism.

EXHIBIT B:

Acts 10:28

And he (Peter) said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Upon Christ’s resurrection, the rules changed.  Gentiles (meaning anyone that isn’t a Jew) were afforded an opportunity to enter into God’s Kingdom in a way they had never been given before.  So even without the declaration in Ezekiel, we have evidence in the New Testament that racism is not just ridiculous- God doesn’t want it.  The whole point of allow Gentiles in was to fulfill a prophecy given in Genesis that God would use Abraham’s line to bring the world together under God’s Divine rulership.

If God judges a human being by their personal character and not by their ancestors- or even by the people they communicate with- by what excuse do we, mere humans, have to do so?

Oh, and by the way, this same argument debunks all Arab racism as well. Although the feud between Ishmael and Isaac seems to be forever going on in the Middle East, there are plenty of people on both sides that have proven Jewish and Muslims can get along when they decide their ancestors and those actively fighting have nothing to do with them.

Citation

Cocozza, P. (2018).  One set of twins – two fathers: how common is superfecundation?  Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2018/dec/11/one-set-twins-two-fathers-how-common-is-superfecundation

Goldenburg, D. (1997).  The Curse of Ham: A Case of Rabbinic Racism?  Retrieved from https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dmg2/comsalz3%20as%20publ.%20with%20additions.pdf 

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Statues, St. Louis, White Jesus, Black Jesus…..

This topic…it really needs to be addressed.

Exodus 20:4 is the most difficult commandment of the 10. It seems pretty clean cut…until you realize that God literally commanded Moses to create a graven image so that people would look upon it and be healed:

Numbers 21:5-9

And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

We also have the Ark of the Covenant that has Cherubim adorned atop of it.

To recap what the exact wording of this commandment is:

Exodus 20:4-6

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The first part is is basically- you personally can’t have them. The second part seems to come down to “if you see them, you aren’t to give them any reverence”.

So then why does Moses get special permission to have Israel go against both of these points by having the Ark and the Brass Serpent? Honestly, I’ll probably never understand that point. What I do know, is that in 2 Kings 18:4, King Hezekiah is credited with destroying the Brass Serpent because it had become a thing of worship. And that’s all I really need to know in order to continue this conversation with you. Maybe in the future I’ll revisit this complicated commandment and work it out. But for this moment in time, the Spirit of the Commandment is more important than the Letter.

America is really getting deep into whether or not we should be eliminating historical monuments. There are Catholics upset with the idea of changing the name of St. Louis because St. Louis (to them) is a Saint in heaven. And Christians across the board are upset over the imagery of Jesus Christ being erased or transformed into someone they don’t recognize.

If I’m being completely honest- if you’re one of these people that are getting upset over what happens to these things, and you identify as a Christian…you sound like you’re revering someone/something other than God. You can try to write off what I’m saying, but if you were to really examine your attachment to these things- and be honest about it- I’m sure you’d find that you’re attaching way too much value to the image over the story.

Getting rid of images doesn’t erase the story. We still have a recount of the Golden Calf preserved in the Bible, but no Golden Calf to look upon and say “hey, that’s what got God angry at Israel, and then Moses begged him to spare Israel despite it’s creation!” because it was destroyed. It’s also true that keeping the images around doesn’t necessarily propogate the story either. No one knows what the Spinx was for. Dozens of theories, but that’s all they are. We add plaques to help keep up the story…but that can all be written in a book or passed down via oral tradition. You’ll probably get more out of a book or oral format too, a plaque only has so much space to record information.

And St. Louis? Should not a people inquire of their God (Isaiah 8:19)? The stories of Saints are preserved in Catholic tradition and books. And while we can absolutely learn something from their stories, they shouldn’t be so adamantly held onto that the renaming of a city should become a point of contention based solely upon their holy status.

Holding onto these things, rather than working on yourself and manifesting God’s Word in real time, is exactly what the 2nd Commandment was warning us against. If God wants to save the name of St. Louis, He will. Who knows, maybe He’s just not invested in saving it, and will let the people decide. If God wants to save the White Jesus images, or wants to change them to Black Jesus images, He will. Who knows, maybe He’s just not invested in saving it, and will let what happens happen. What I will say, though, is I’m about 97% sure that God doesn’t give a damn about the historical statutes- and neither should you.

We are all of God’s Creation, and Christ’s hope was that we would all love each other. The struggle to achieve that worldly love takes a great deal of time. If burying and destroying pieces of art which represent a horrible past and are believed to contribute to the overall stagnation of progress needs to happen, then let’s cast aside those things which have become society’s idols.

Hope you all enjoy your 4th of July. 🙂

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War Against Benjamin & This Week’s Riots

Once upon a time, a Levite had a concubine. While coming back home, he stayed with a kind man who allowed him to stay in his home in Gibeah. While there, the residents demanded that the host send out the Levite so they could rape him. But the host sought to protect the Levite, and instead he offered his daugther and concubine. When they people refused, the Levite turned over his own concubine and allowed them to rape and abuse her all night. The next morning, the concubine was found by the Levite dead.

Upset with the results, he took her home, cut her to pieces, and sent them out to each of the Tribes of Israel. Israel came together and determined of their own will that they would go against Gibeah drawing lots.

At first, Israel tried to give the Benjaminites a chance, by insisting they give up the people responsible for what happened to the concubine. But the Benjaminites refused. So Israel had no further choice but to turn to God for advice. In the beginning, Israel looked like they couldn’t win. But God kept telling them to go at it, until finally they saw their breakthrough, and God struck Gibeah Himself.

Israel, shortly after, was torn. They suddenly realized what havoc they had reigned upon a fellow family member. And over what? A concubine? So they sought to remedy the situation and gave them wives to replenish.

This story (Judges 19-21 if you want to read it in full) has some real aggravating elements to it. The Levite and the host (assuming you believe they have two separate origins, some believe they are the same story told differently) took a cue from Lot’s story in Sodom and Gomorrah. But missed the key fact that the 2 angels protected Lot’s daughters. To the angels, the women weren’t “just women”, they were God’s creation and worthy of just as much protection as any man. Even if the Levite was upset that his concubine seems to have played the role of a whore, that doesn’t negate his responsibility to her. Not once in this story, does the host or the Levite turn to God for help to prevent the sons of Belial from committing an unspeakable crime.

Another aggravation is that God seems to punish everyone in this story, but there isn’t a clear understanding as to why. We could come up with theories about why Israel didn’t prevail in the beginning, but none of those justifications can be solidified as fact.

The War against the Benjaminites wasn’t for nothing. It sent a strong message that Israel wouldn’t stand for this kind of evil in its land. And they wouldn’t allow for systematic protection of such evil.

Per the title, you’re probably wondering how this has anything to do with what happened last week and this past weekend.

I respect many of our men and women serving the Blue Line, but I’m not so niave as to believe that there isn’t a tribal problem along that line. The Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd (and similar) cases are clear evidence that there are problems. Being a part of any group (be it career, cultural or otherwise) is just like being a Benjaminite in this story. They feel a sense of duty to protect the sanctity of whatever it is they stand for. That’s just another feature of this story in Judges that is so aggrevating…we don’t get to hear what Benjamin was actually doing to rectify the situation. Had they launched their own internal investigation? Were they really just responding to what looked like a real threat and figured Israel was so out of their minds that they wouldn’t actually be satisfied by fulfilling their request?

Without information, we can’t know enough to formulate an opinion. But with what little information we have, there’s something to be learned in the aftermath of the war against the Benjaminites. Something applicable today. After all this rioting and looting against civilian targets (don’t confuse my words as condemning everything, a police precinct was a perfectly valid target- private businesses/property are not), those who committed such crimes against their fellow American brothers and sisters, should consider what they can do to rectify the situation and restore what they have taken from those that were innocent in all of this.

If you are amongst those who participated in the looting and rioting against private businesses/properties, and claim to be a follower of Christ, you should feel the same shame as the Israelites did- because this isn’t who we are called to be.

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Prophets Handbook – EXHAUSTING

I’m just going to stop reading this book here.  It’s spiritually exhausting to read through anymore of it.  Maybe there’s some good points if we get further into the book, but with so much wrong in the beginning there is no amount of good that can balance it out.  As I went through all of this, I figured I would wait to see if two other key points I wanted to address earlier were included in later chapters.  But now that I’m putting the book down, I’ll take this opportunity to address two of those points:

  1. A prophet’s purpose is to profit the church (as in, bring in financial greatness to the church). 

That is NOT what the word “profit” means in this context.  While it is true that tithing is asked for in the Bible, we really should understand that tithing wasn’t really about lining God’s pockets.  It was established because the Levi Tribe, of whom were to inherit God in place of land.  The Levites were given the task of being in charge of spiritual life, so that was their job.  Essentially, what God was telling the rest of Israel was that they were to take care of the Levites by paying them for their service.  From there, the Levites had to be faithful to their responsibilities with those finances, as well as use it to help keep their own lives up (such as providing food for their families).

Today, tithing is intended to maintain this tradition.  Whether a prophet is present should make no difference.  A prophet’s purpose is to call people out of sin and encourages them to Christ by edification, exhortation and comforting the Body of Christ.  This is how it “profits” the church, not in financial terms, but in spiritual terms.  

  1. “It is defeating to use a prophet with less experience and expertise than the number of years a church has been in existence” (pg. 28)

Well everyone!  There you have it!  The solution is simple, if you follow what Paula says here!  All you need to do is go to a Catholic Church.  They are in no need of prophets because the church has been around and had experience for well over a thousand years.

I’m sure she didn’t think the wording in this sentence through.  I’m sure she means more like “less experience than the pastor”, which still isn’t a good measure.  Eli, for example, had a LOT of years on the very young Prophet Samuel, who was (according to tradition) called at the age of 11.  Jeremiah was, traditionally, 17.  And tradition holds that Christ was 12 years of age when he was found in the Temple teaching God’s Word.

You may say that Christ gets a pass, after all he was the son of God which makes him very unique.  But we cannot ignore Jeremiah and Samuel.  Clearly God isn’t an ageist, so we shouldn’t be either.  You don’t get to choose whether God wants to say something.  You can only choose to believe it or ignore it.  

Now, that doesn’t mean you simply accept what a proclaimed prophet says.  As always, you should test their veracity to know whether God truly has put this word into the mouth of the individual.  That will be the most difficult thing for everyone, especially today.  If you choose to believe that sign gifts have ceased, and a true prophet arises, you risk denying God.  If you choose to believe that sign gifts have continued, and a false prophet arises, you risk allowing the false teachings to infect the people who hear the false prophet.  Therefore, the only position we can ever truly take is to ask for God to confirm whether the individual speaks for Him.

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Prophets Handbook- THE CONTROVERSY OVER OFFICE VERSUS GIFTING (pg.139)

Here’s yet another thing that Paula and I can agree with: Those which believe in the continuation of sign gifts never seem to take the time to vet the person claiming to be a Prophet of God.  But we start to disagree at the point she talks about how man is in charge of the prophet’s education.  Just as was the case with Saul, who became Paul, if God wants the prophet educated by man, He’ll be the one to make it known and that prophet (as long as they aren’t like Jonah) will seek out education by the person(s) God appoints.

But we must always be on guard to discern whether the individual is sent by God.  Where having a gift to be prophetic does not mean you are a Prophet of God (as is the case with False Prophets), it also doesn’t mean that you can repurpose it for God’s purposes.  Only God should be in control your gift.

Let’s take an example from my own life.  Apart from my testimony of being visited by an Angel of the Lord, I received a prophetic dream.  

On 22 July 2010, I had a vision of a plane crash, right after I had “attended” a wedding in the desert, and was given an exact date for plane take off: July 27th Eastern Standard.  I wasn’t given an exact time, but EST was important to vision.  I told my husband and a friend about it the day I had the vision, because I was a little freaked out by the whole thing.  Days later, I walked into a store which was airing the news.  Sure enough, there was plane crash north of Islamabad.  And the time it took off? 2141EST July 27.  The kicker, was that the news station mentioned there was a newly wed couple on board who were going on their honeymoon.  You can read the early story below:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/28/pakistan-plane-crash-islamabad-airbus

Now we could say that there are elements in this story which don’t match up, for example the plane didn’t crash in a traditional desert, it was in a forested area.  But the interpretation of a prophecy just needs to be understood.  In common military vernacular, all of the Middle East is considered “Desert”, of which Pakistan is a part of that area.  Too many elements of the prophecy are right on the dot, that I can’t discount it as a legitimate prophecy….

But I don’t believe it was from God.  Despite the visitation I received in May 2001, by July 2010 I still had not fully walked away from pagan things.  And, the person that conveyed the time stamp (EST) in my vision, was the very woman that had been possessed the night God made His presence known to me.  Now, the only argument one could make to me that this WAS from God, is if the point was to call my attention back to Him.  And maybe that is the case, but frankly, I cannot rely upon that being the truth of the matter.  God didn’t once make Himself known in this vision, nor did this vision do anything but cause me panic.  It wasn’t a catalyst to turn me 100% towards God, that still took another 7ish years.  So I until God tells me it was sent from Him, I’m going to assume it came from a different source.  And that’s something worth addressing.

I could easily have become a False Prophet after that vision.  I could have pursued it, tried to find out how to replicate the conditions which caused me to see it so that I could become this great prophetess.  I could have even falsely claimed these visions were coming from God…just like Edgar Cayce did.  My definition of “God” would have become synonymous with the agnostic word “god” or the more modern approach that all gods are the same God, as opposed to God meaning “Yahweh”- whether I intended for that to be the case or not.  Remember, the Pharisees and Sadducees believe they were worshiping Yahweh, but Jesus told them they were in fact worshipping Satan.  THAT could have been me.

But instead of doing this, I set it to the side.  Taking the position, that if prophecy was intended to be my gift, then I would receive it without doing anything on my own.  Much later, however, when I finally decided to accept Yahweh as my God, I made the foolish mistake of listening to a pastor that believed the prophetic could be cultivated if you just listened for God.  But I learned, I believe by the Grace of God, that this approach was a massive mistake.  

So that vision of the plane crash in Islamabad, I had to reject it.  I feel that this is so important for the rest of you to hear from me: I rejected this gift because it was a false gift.  I was allowed the vision as a test, and whether I failed or succeeded …well I don’t know.  Only God can say, because only He knows what the parameters of the test were/are.  But because I went through the test, I can say with conviction: If you have had prophetic dreams and/or visions, you need to really consider where they are coming from.  And if it turns out that the truth is you are on a path to be a false or foolish prophet, then you also need to reject this gift and ask God for guidance and strength to follow Him.

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Prophet's Handbook-LEGITAMATE COMMISSIONING (pg.131)

Not much to say about the sections from the last one to this one, except that it could have been condensed significantly.  But in this little section, Paula and I can certainly agree on the modern practice of commissioning people to the Great Commissioning.

Some churches go to great lengths to train those they are going to ordain, while others just invite any parishioner out that is willing to come out.  They may not even fully understand the theology of the ministry to address questions, or in some cases might not be confident enough to speak.  Think about the door-to-door Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness’s you’ve encountered over the years.  I’m not sure about your own experience-I actually engage them- but I’ve had some which were quite good at explaining their theology, and others that tried to get away fast because they couldn’t answer my questions. You can usually tell the difference between someone who just has issues with speaking to strangers and those that genuinely didn’t know the answer to the question.  Not knowing the theology of the church can be very damaging to it.  But more importantly, not knowing the truth of what is written in God’s Word is damaging to those which wish to follow Him.

That’s what we need to keep in mind when we make a decision to ordain someone for a position within the church: Do they know scripture?  How well do they live up to it?  And do they spend time with God?

PRELUDE TO APOSTLESHIP(pg.138)

Paula believes that the Christian Chain of Command runs like this:

Godhead

Apostle

Prophet

Evangelist

Pastor

Teacher

^ This is based on Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:29.  Alright, I can see how she came to this conclusion.  But if an apostle isn’t present, the chain of command looks different.  

“The pastor functions as its governor when the church is not answering to an apostle.  In this context, the pastor is over the prophet.” -Paula Price

The Apostle Paul never said any such thing.  Though, I can see how Paula might arrive at this conclusion.  Paul tells us that the Prophets are subject to the Prophets.  But the pastors, not having divine communication like the Prophets, would be at a disadvantage.  The Greco-Roman world was full of false prophets, and as a result it was a simple matter to become a false and foolish prophet amongst those which follow God (much like it is today!  Seems that problem never goes away…).  Paul’s message throughout his ministry is less about squelching God’s words to the people via God’s Prophets, and more about encouraging the pastors to test whether or not the Prophet was a true prophet.

But Paula’s whole idea of what a prophet is seems to predicate on a Programmer-God, rather than an active Leader-God.  And again, I can’t help but wonder where she got this idea that God programs every prophet with a word He wants disseminated during the prophet’s timeline.  It simply isn’t supported by scripture.  The Prophets aren’t trying to figure out what God is saying to them, God reveals exactly what He wants done.  Even if it’s that their role is to confound the masses (such is the example of Isaiah).

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Barabbas or Christ?

I figured we could all use a break from my book club, so what better day to do that than Easter Sunday?  Every year for the last 2 years I’ve made it a personal challenge to find something new and beautiful in the Easter and Christmas stories.  This year, I’ve chosen to look at the scene where Pontius Pilate puts a decision to the crowd to choose Jesus Christ or Barabbas for the Pascal Pardon.

Over the years, this piece of the story has been used by a lot of Protestant groups to demonize the Jewish people both historically and in modern times.  By seeding racism from this incident, I feel like there is so much missed.

Let’s start with the obvious- racism (all of it, not just anti-Semitism) is dumb.  If you’re using this incident (or any other scripture, for that matter) as a reason to hate on the Jewish People, get over yourself.  Historically, we Gentiles were just as evil as they were, and at times worse.  It’s not a matter of whether or not Gentiles knew that God exists either.   Let me give you 3 examples:

  1. Balak readily affirms that YHWH exists, and asks the Prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites.  When that doesn’t work out, Balak convinces Balaam to help him make Israel blaspheme against God.
  2. Jezebel was made very aware of God’s presence, and maintained her treachery until the end.
  3. Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, watches his own father go through hell because he had gotten arrogant and God decided to put him in his place.  But when Belshazzar takes over, he gets very arrogant and throws an unspeakable feast- which God makes an appearance in and writes upon the wall.  The night after Daniel delivers the interpretation, Belzhazzar is killed.

The Bible tells us mostly about the Israelites, but there are stories and hints around the evils of gentiles too.  No race gets a pass.  None.  So throw that racism to the 4 winds and look at this scene with a different set of eyes.

Everything had to align so that God would be glorified in such a way that no one could argue He is King above all gods (Psalm 95:3)

Matthew 16:21-23

‘From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”’

Peter didn’t want this for his friend.  But Jesus rebuked him.  Christ later, in Gethsemane, asks for God to change His mind, but that if He will not God’s will be done.  All of this to make a point- nothing, absolutely nothing, could be done to change what the future held for Christ- except God.

This isn’t the first time that God has put things into motion so as to assure an outcome.  In Egypt He literally took away Pharaoh’s free will:

Exodus 7:3&5

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt…And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them”

God sends a lying spirit into King Ahab’s prophets so that Ahab will go into battle:

I Kings 22:19-23

‘Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord : I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord , and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”’

Finally, we know that in order to fulfill what God had set into motion, the people of Christ’s time were shut off from the truth: 

Matthew 13:10-15

‘And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’’

If you recall, during Isaiah’s time (Isaiah 6:9-11), God didn’t want Israel to repent of their sin because He didn’t want them to be healed.  But here, it’s not about not wanting them to be healed, it’s about ensuring that the world would be healed through Christ’s sacrifice.  

So you see, this exchange scene has two very important messages.  The first is that the people who were seeking to crucify Christ were intended to do exactly as they were doing.  God set everything up, and one could easily argue that He was convicting their souls to do exactly this, just as He had done with Pharaoh.  Thus, we cannot hold anyone in this crowd accountable for their actions prior to the crucifixion, only their actions after Christ had risen and was proclaimed by the Apostles.

The second story here, is the exchange itself for someone who was considered a criminal.  This exchange is at the heart of what Christ came to Earth to accomplish- exchanging His life for the life of sinners.  In effect, it was a very public display of Christ’s ability to give us all another chance at redemption even when the odds seem against us.  Whether Barabbas took it or not, we are not told.  His decision doesn’t really matter though, what matters is the option bestowed to him.  Though, I must admit, if Barabbas didn’t take his second chance to turn his face to God, perhaps that would have driven home this point of Christ’s love for all of us, and a testament to God’s ever-inspiring grace and patience.

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Prophet’s Handbook – PROPHETS AS AGENTS (pg.123)

“The person needs not be neither feared or trusted until God does.” – Paula Price on a prophet which hasn’t had a prophecy come true yet

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that God ever will if the “prophet” has been proven to not be speaking on behalf of God.  The only time that God’s prophets would have been seen as failing in the Bible, was in the story of Ahab- and that’s because God specifically put out a decree for them to lie so that Ahab would get destroyed.  They were justified by Micaiah’s testimony, and only after Micaiah had delivered the same message as the rest of them.  But again, I note- it’s the only incident we ever hear about.  So up to this point, God made sure that all of these prophets were known to be trustworthy.

The reason I suspect that God wouldn’t ever honor them in the future, is because they have already done wrong by trying to rally people on behalf of God.  It’s not that these people cannot repent, but rather the fact that they have already put themselves in a very precarious situation.  Furthermore, Jesus Christ acknowledges that people can perform wonders and even prophesy accurately without being sent from God in Matthew 7:21-23.  Thus, by saying “until God does” puts us in a very dangerous position ourselves.  It means that we could easily take a sign or wonder that comes true, and was not from a Man of God, as being from a true prophet…after we have already seen another sign or wonder fail.

Let us not allow ourselves to be fooled, but instead test all the spirits.  Speaking of which, I think I’m far enough into the book to bring up a concerning pattern in Paula’s book.  She keeps talking about prophets as representatives to other deities.  While I’m sure that we can all agree that other deities are said to have their own prophets, God tells us that if prophet tells you to follow after other gods, they are not to be followed, but are there to test you. 

As Christians, we should have no part with other deities.  It’s one thing to bring them up so that we know by comparison their treachery.  I can even see a value in comparing their methods against Christian methods for being prophets, if you were going to take it that far.  But what I am seeing time and time again with Paula isn’t a comparison.  It’s almost like she wrote the book just as much for them, as she did Christian prophets-without trying to be obvious about it.  And honestly, this bringing up of other deities in this manner is a massive red flag for me.

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Planning a COVID19 Easter Communion

It’s been on my mind. In my family, I’m the sole Christian which understands the value of Communion. My son is too young to understand and value the Eucharist, and my husband is Agnostic. And without a church I haven’t had communion for a very long time. In a previous piece, I wrote that the early church wanted an ordained person to administer the Eucharist. But I’ve been reconsidering this as I contemplate the Passover Meal.

Passover was done within the family unit, not as a community. If we go back to the story of the plagues there is a key point that we have to acknowledge in order to figure out the importance of the Passover: From some of the previous plagues, it was made very apparent that God didn’t have to have the Hebrews preform their own ritual to protect them from a plague. That is to say, the flies didn’t get into Goshen, Israel’s cattle was protected from disease, and the Hail didn’t extend to Goshen. There may have been more plagues which didn’t, but only these three are confirmed has having not been a problem in Goshen. Then why did God ask Israel to carry out a Passover ritual?

Most people point out that it was meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s story. While I do believe there is truth to that, I don’t think the explanation goes far enough. I think it was about weeding out who was and wasn’t faithful. If you didn’t perform the Passover Ritual you would lose your first born because God wanted faith and obedience; if you did perform it then you showed the world that God kept his Word. It was a 100% win-win strategy on God’s part. And so God told Israel that this would become an official celebration recreating the Passover Meal so as to remember what happened in Egypt. And later on, He would use that same formula to bring salvation for the whole world.

The Passover Seder can be done as a community or as a family, and if they are suppose to be our model then it should also hold true that as long as someone serves in the capacity of Christ’s role at the Last Supper, then the Eucharist this year can also be performed at the household level. Removing the idea that you have to follow along with a televised version of the Eucharist in order to ensure an ordained individual is administering the Eucharist.

Per Paul’s description of Marriage, that husbands are the head of the family, this would mean that the person who should stand in the role of Christ for the ritual would need to be the husband. If we look to the original Passover Seder, the answer for a family which shares in their Christian walk together, the answer to this year’s Easter Eucharist can be found with some ease….

Though…I’m still not sure about someone in my situation. The sole Christian in the household. If, as I believe, the Passover was about stepping out in faith and obedience to God, then it would be wrong to look at the situation as though it’s completely hopeless for someone in a similar situation to me (maybe you live alone or cannot be with family for some reason). In contemplating this, and looking at the way that the Passover has been treated over the years, I wonder if there is a way to modify this ceremony for an individual. It’s something I am still contemplating myself, but if I do it might look like this:

Read the Passion of Christ through the Resurrection (All of Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, or John 11:45-John 20) in front of an alter made of earth (per Exodus 20:24-25) with wine, unleaven bread, a candle and frankincense (to burn), and a small non-flammable bowl with optional woodchips for tender.

Offer a prayer of repentance with the burning of the frankincense (symbolizing the gift Christ was given at his birth, but also to mirror the saints in Revelation 8:4).

Finally, after having repented, take communion with the following form of speech:

Ask God, the Father, to bless the bread.

“Jesus, my Lord and savior, during the Last Supper you broke bread with your disciples (break bread, and lay the portion you’re not going to eat in the wooden bowl) saying ‘This is my body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.’ (don’t eat yet)

Ask God, the Father, to bless the wine.

“After blessing the wine, you spoke again to your disciples saying ‘Drink from it, all of you (pour some of the wine onto unleaven bread on altar, leave enough for a single sip) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.'” (don’t drink yet)

Lord, in honor of your sacrifice for me and the world, I hope you will allow me to join you at your table, that I may accept your sacrifice (After eating the bread and drinking the wine, light the remnants on fire. For God told the Israelites that what was remaining should be burned up, rather than left behind).

That last part seems kind of silly though, for God also said that the lamb should be eaten completely, and if there is anything that remains it should be burned up. One could easily eat all of the unleavened bread, even if it was the size of a slice of Naan bread, and only pour out enough red wine to accommodate a sip, rather than a cup. The reason I’d choose to have left overs, however, is to symbolize the communial meal that we share with Christ when we partake in Communion.

By reading what Ignatius said historically (that only an ordained minister should administer the Eucharist), I’m still not certain whether or not the above described ceremony would even be viable in God’s eyes. But when I take into consideration that the Israelites had to find a way to contend with the lack of a clergy caste that could accommodate their religious lives several times over throughout the Old Testament, then it seems to me that it is possible God will accept the effort in extraordinary circumstances. COVID19 seems like one such circumstance, and so I’ll need to contemplate this further over the next couple of days and ask for God’s wisdom.

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The Flaw of “God determines when you’re going to die”

I’m sure you’ve seen some form of this message going around:

“Sorry to break up the panic, but the Coronavirus will not take anyone out of this world unless that’s the good Lord’s plan for you, and you’re not gonna change that no matter what you do or what you buy.”

Let me ask some very simple questions: Do you think that God’s plan was for Abel to die? Do you think that if God was such a micro-manager as to determine everything about your life and death that He would have established any of the 10 Commandments, let alone “Thou shalt not kill”?

We are so eager to want God to acknowledge us that we are quick to say “God has a plan specifically for me”, when in reality the Bible doesn’t say that. It affirms that He has plans for specific people, and then a general plan for all His people. There is a huge difference between:

“Moses, you’re going to lead these people to the Promised Land” and “Israel, my plan for you is to just follow my commandments and Moses, do that and everything will be hunky-dory. Through you, all I’ll be able to show the world that I am the only God of this world”. All that is required, is the majority can manifest God’s desires.

Yeah, I know, that sounds kind of prideful of God. It’s not, His Will is that humanity lives righteously, and for that to really take off He has to be at the center of it…lest we fall prey to the darker side of our flesh. But that’s for another discussion.

In either case, it also means that God allows for us to make our own decisions. Maybe there are some people He will protect, maybe there are some that He will decide needs to die, but overwhelmingly the thing that keeps coming to my mind when I see this kind of sentiment is: Didn’t Christ already address this? Something about not tempting the Lord? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what he said:

Matthew 4:5-7

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

God gives us free will. God gives us an opportunity to follow Him, and by doing so He will see to it that everything works together for your good, in both this world and the next. But don’t be so arrogant as to think that God planned out whether you’ll fall prey to this virus or any future calamity. If he intervened on every little thing, then His gift of Free Will would mean nothing- and neither would your decision to follow Him.

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Tampa Pastor that Disregarded the COVID19 Quarantine

I think it’s normal for people to recall the faith of Biblical heroes like Daniel when they think about this whole mess. Daniel who defied the government and praised God anyway. I think it’s normal for people to think “this is the time that I can step out in faith and show my devotion to God”. But in this madness of COVID19, it is Christ’s words which speak the most to me:

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

You can love God even when you’re away from your church brethren, but you are not showing love for your neighbor by hosting or participating in large gatherings during this crisis. Daniel didn’t have a large population with him to praise God either. He did it alone, and in defiance of a government that told him to worship another. You can do this alone too, sitting in the contemplation of what it must have been like for the Israelites in exile to find their own ways of preserving their faith. You aren’t being told to worship another, you’re being asked to show love for your neighbors.

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Hobby Lobby’s COVID19 Letter?

Have you read it yet? I did, and the only indication that I have found that Mr. & Mrs. Green are using a “vision” (really more like an “impression”) to justify staying open is the word of a random individual on Twitter. What I read, was less a justification, and more an encouragement…

That doesn’t at all give this letter a pass. I’ll grant that we don’t have other letters alongside it to see if there has been other kinds of communication going on between the stores and if we did we might see a larger picture. At the very least the generic statement on their website states that they’ll obey what the respective states have to say on the matter. But, like Hillary Clinton said a few years ago “you need both a public and a private position”.

So if I see someone trying to provide an uplifting message in this whole thing, why would I have problems with the letter itself? So glad you asked!

Let’s start with the fact that his wife felt three words were placed upon her heart. I won’t pretend to know anything about whether or not God did this, but such prophecy does no good to the unbeliever, and therefore really ought not be passed along to the masses in the way that Mr. Green did. If we assume that it was real, and not merely of her own heart, then this revelation should have been given to the Church if not kept to herself and/or family- not to the whole of Hobby Lobby. If we reject it, then the use of God’s name in this way is a vain matter.

It seems harmless, trying to encourage people that God is in control. But really what does that mean? God has sent evil to correct the ways of His people, God has sent evil to test His People. God has control, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go in your favor. Speaking to a massive group of people which do not understand YHWH as though He is going to protect them completely ignores the damage it will do when so many people die and they do not understand what the words “God is in control” really means.

Jeremiah 6:13-14
‘For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. ‘

I’m not saying this is the case with Mrs. Green (I reiterate, I do not know her, and cannot make a judgement of her revelation), but truly we all need to take inventory of the things we speak in God’s name. Are we proclaiming something which is of our own hearts? Proclaiming that which God has not spoken? Unless we know the truth of what Prophecy is. Is it ACTUALLY glorifying God, or does it serve only to elevate our own status as Christians? The only way to really know is if we can be brutally honest with ourselves.

And just in case anyone out there is thinking “Whoever works for that company knew what they were getting into”, let me say this: Everyone deserves a job, shaming anyone because their local Hobby Lobby was willing to hire them lacks compassion.

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Can You, as Non-Clergy, Oversee Your Own Eucharist?

There are a lot of things I wanted to investigate before I took on research of the Eucharist/Communion.  But with COVID-19 threatening to disrupt Easter celebrations, upon which the Eucharist is a foundation sacrament, I’ve decided to jump the list.  I’m not going to cover everything, just one question that came to mind when a friend told me her church was suspending physical attendance for 2 weeks and going to e-church: Do we need a pastor to administer the Eucharist?

We can probably take a good leap and assume that God didn’t intend for the Early Church to address an electronic age two-thousand years removed from them.  But I think we can probably find some answers to this question.

In looking for answers to this question, two articles of evidence came up.  One comes from the Bible, and the other comes from a first century, very early second century, Christian named Ignatius.  From both accounts, it looks like you cannot partake of the Eucharist on your own. 

So the first account we have comes from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

‘But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.

I have to quote this in full, otherwise it loses something.  At first it just looks like Paul is saying you can’t get together to have food as a community (which seems to go against the grain of Christ’s examples where he is feeding hundreds), but Paul is talking specifically about the Lord’s Supper as a very sacred rite.  Thus, the advice is to eat at home so that when you come to the receive the Lord’s Supper, you’re only there to receive food which satisfies the spirit.  Despite Peter’s first epistle (chapter 2) which seems to make it sound as though we can all oversee the sacrament, Paul makes a point to illustrate that there are those which are genuine- and by proxy we can surmise that not everyone within the church should be considered eligible to head up the rite.  Another point here, is that it seems very apparent that Paul is stating this is a communal rite, not something you simply do at home.  Though from various points in the New Testament, it does seem as though it was permissible for ordained persons to deliver the sacrament inside someone’s home.

One other thing to note about 1 Peter, however, is that there is some dispute as to who the letter was written to.  If, as some suggest, the letter was explicitly for Jewish converts, then the language in 1 Peter 2:5 may be referring to the fulfillment of Exodus 19:6, where God tells all of Israel that as long as they keep to His laws He will make them a “kingdom of priests”.

Paul doesn’t make any explicit mentions of who can or cannot oversee the holy rite, that tradition seems to be affirmed by Ignatius.  Ignatius is said to have been a student of the Apostle John.  If nothing else, he is confirmed as being a man teaching righteousness by well-known a student of John named Polycarp.  So one could surmise that Ignatius’ words reflect what the Apostle John was teaching.

In Ignatius’ letter to the Smyrneans, chapter 8, he states:

“See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”

In case you’re not sure of whether or not this document should be considered legit, I wasn’t either so I looked into it.  Of the pieces I came across, I found that this one was a strong enough argument to at least take 7 of Ignatius’ Epistles into consideration.  Of course, I am sorely aware of the fact that it gets difficult to judge authenticity when we are relying upon expert appraisal rather than carbon dating- let alone the fact that it would be difficult to find a copy dating far enough back.  But we have what we have.  ANYWAYS-

Ignatius lays it out that this sacred rite should be performed by someone who has been ordained.  I don’t think this is bad advice, actually.  If we take Paul and Ignatius together, what we get is the conclusion that the person who has been ordained to perform these sacraments at least are believed to have the kind of soul which searches themselves before overseeing a rite.  

So now we get to the “creative” solutions.

The friend I mentioned in the beginning of this sent me a message about how her church is dealing with the Eucharist.  She’s Episcopal, and they have a prayer (from what I can tell, it’s intended to be said in unison with others) in place of the Eucharist:

“My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul.  Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.  As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you.  Amen.”

Such a prayer is one creative solution to overcome the problem that you may not be in the presence of someone who can perform the Eucharist rite.  But what about the practice by those which take the Eucharist via a Televised (or live stream) rite?  Maybe? 

If we take into consideration that the Centurion in Matthew 8 believed Christ could heal his servant without being at his home, and then include that Christ told his Apostles that they would be able to do all he does and more, we could extend that to a live stream.  That is something you’ll need to search your own soul to determine.  As for me…in doing this piece, I’ve come to realize I do not have that kind of faith in modern clergy to command the same level of blessing as Christ or his first century Apostles.

I guess the good thing about so many places shutting down, is that a lot of us will have plenty of time to reflect upon ourselves before we can take the sacrament though!  Thereby adhering to Paul’s words “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself”

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COVID-19 & Your Relationship with Christ

“If you claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and are afraid of getting the coronavirus, then you should rethink your relationship.  Fear is not faith, and if you know your Bible, without faith it is impossible to please Him.  Rev. 21:8 refers to those who will end up in the lake of Fire, the first one mentioned is fearful.  Something so little can have great consequences.  Matt. 25:25, because of three little words “I was afraid”, the man was casted into darkness.  God is all-powerful and knows how to keep those who are committed unto him.  Do what you can and He will do what you can’t.” -Unknown

A friend sent this to me today, saying she cannot understand this kind of logic.  Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand this logic- but I’m 100% against it.  Understand, the basis for my understanding is Scriptural, it’s not founded on my own observation of the world around us.  But before I get into how this logic is unsupported, let’s just clear up the two verses the original author cited.

Rev. 21:8 – Yes, this verse certainly states that the fearful will have no part in the Kingdom of Heaven, and will suffer the second death in the Lake of Fire.  But the author has forgotten that we should all have a healthy fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 7:1).  This fear spoken of in Revelations isn’t fear in and of itself, it’s fear which keeps you from God.  Of the 3 temptations Satan tried with Christ was the temp tation to test the lengths God would go to keep Christ alive.  To which Christ replied “Thou shalt no tempt the Lord thy God” (Luke 4:12)

Matthew 25:25  – This verse is about a servant that was given some money and was expected to invest them.  That was the whole point, the servant with the one talent wasn’t intended to just keep ahold of the talent for safekeeping, but instead to reinvest it, that way he could help his master grow financially (even if it was just by a singular talent).  Fear may have been the catalyst by which the servant excused his actions, but it was disobedience which ultimately cost him in the long run.

Satan, during the temptations, quoted scripture, and he tried bending it to his will.  But Christ made it clear that to do anything stupid was an affront to God.  Trusting in God’s plan is one thing, being a Christian and ignoring the wisdom of scientists which are asking for caution during the Corona Virus is like throwing Christ’s words into his face.

So what could I provide you with that could possibly prove my point?  God caused leprosy to fall upon Miriam, and when Moses asked that God take it away from her, God made the comment that it was common practice for the people to put their sick outside of the camp, thus that should be the way that they would deal with Miriam.  Another point to make, is that God doesn’t always protect His own from horrific ends, Manesseh killed many of God’s prophets (Jeremiah 2:30).

Alright, I got it, you’re probably going to say something about how that’s all old testament, and not new.  That’s fine, look at the Black Plague.  Many believers were caused to fall ill and died from it.  The Catholic Church even organized and called for people to pray against the Black Plague.  Something that as recently as Wednesday, The Cathedral of St. Paul was doing as well.  You can read up on that story here:

https://www.al.com/life/2020/03/cathedral-leads-procession-with-medieval-prayer-against-epidemic.html

Protestants might counter with “well, they were Catholic”.  Let’s not demonize 14th Century believers, when in the 21st Century we have over 32K+ denominations on the planet.  We have no right.  And unless someone can point to a legitimate prophet which stated this virus was coming to punish us for our sins (not Sylvia Brown, who’s 2010 prophecy didn’t come true [don’t let the reports fool you, she specified that it would come from exotic birds, no such thing has happened), it would be a dangerous thing to assume such.  Afterall, Job points out to us that God’s choices are His own.  We have no way of knowing whether this plague is a test, a punishment, or simply something God has decided not to intervene on.

Here’s what I will say, however.  With things like this, there is a great opportunity to call us towards prayer.  For all we know, The Cathedral of St. Paul’s efforts may be in vain, but they are stepping out in faith and trying to intercede for the people, maybe we should be too?  Though, we should always retain the understanding and wisdom that God’s ways are higher than ours, and accept that His Will shall be done. 

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Introduction to the Commentary on “The Prophet’s Handbook” by Paula Price

I had come across “The Prophet’s Handbook” at a random local bookstore which has since shut down.  At the time, I was being told that I was called to be a prophet by my church, and I was looking for something that could help me better understand what they were saying.  At the time, however, I just didn’t have the spare change to get the book for the price it was being sold.  When I went back for the book, I couldn’t find it and decided that instead of trying to get it on Amazon, I’d just wait until it came up in the bookstore again.  

A couple of years later I finished writing “A Wicked & Adulterous Generation” and thought about all the things the book was missing.  As much as I wanted to include everything in the book- and I had a fair amount of room to do so- I just couldn’t bring myself to add anything extra.  Then, it occurred to me: “What if someone needs encouragement to walk away from anything spoken of in the book?  To seek God?”.  Sitting there contemplating the question in a Books-A-Million, I found “The Prophet’s Handbook” and three other books that deal with prophecy.  

As I picked up these books and thumbed through them, I remembered a prayer I had made after reading a book by Heidi Baker called “Compelled by Love” (this is not meant to be an endorsement, in time I may revisit the book and discuss it, for now I don’t remember enough to be for or against it).  The prayer was a request- that if God could use me to do so, I wanted to be a voice to those that had been deceived by witchcraft traditions both inside and outside of the Church.  This made me wonder whether God was pushing me towards that direction.  I’ll be honest with you- most of you believe you know what God wants you to do in terms of ministry, but after my encounter with God’s Angel I do not.  Yet here I am, taking a chance on something and believing that God’s Will will be done.  Seeing this as a possible sign, I studied all four books I found.

These weren’t the only books I found though. Earlier in the week I had been at a Barnes & Noble and found about 3-4 books that had the name Hamon attached somewhere on the front cover.  Each of the books I looked at either was by Bill or Jane Hamon, or they contributed at Forward or introduction in some combination to the book.  Of the books I ran across in Books-A-Million, I noticed that “The Prophet’s Dictionary” by Paula Price had a Forward by Bill Hamon.  I don’t make it a rule to draw conclusions about a person’s beliefs or values based on their affiliations, or even their financial contributions to a campaign.  Interactions we have are often far more complex than the prejudices we assign.  The exception to that rule, however, is on the front cover of an academic or spiritual book.

When you decide to pair up with another author for one of these two projects, you are typically stating that you believe they can and want to communicate the same message you want to.  This is even moreso the case when you send your work to someone and ask for a Forward or Introduction.  The statement is that you care about their opinion either as a peer or your superior on the matter.  Since “The Prophet’s Dictionary” was published only 2 years after “The Prophet’s Handbook”, it is likely that “The Prophet’s Handbook” was already agreeable to the Hamon Prophetic teachings.  Following this logic, I figured I would simply select one of the books in this author family and see how it measures up to Scripture.  Of all the books I had in my gotten my hands on, the one that seemed to outline the Hamon theory of Prophetic Ministry was Paula Price’s “The Prophet’s Handbook”.  

So here we are.  At first, I wasn’t going to call attention to the author of any book I decided to review.  I figured I could pull out generic information from each book and write a blog that supported or debunked the basic belief.  However, after entering prayer, asking God to reveal to me the truth, and then reading the first chapter- I realized it wouldn’t be right for me to hide who the authors are or the people which very publicly in support of their views.

What I write about in this blog isn’t intended to hurt the author’s or their supporters.  I have no knowledge of what is in their hearts, and can only they earnestly wish to both know and do God’s work.  What I hope will happen, is that these individuals will find these entries and take the time to re-evaluate what the Scripture says.  There are 66 books in the Bible, trust me- it’s hard to keep up with all that information and sew it together.  I’m certainly not perfect, and there are plenty of topics I don’t have figured out.  But on this topic, of how witchcraft practices and traditions are taking us away from Him, I don’t believe God has led me astray.

I’m not going to ask you to purchase a book that I already know I would never recommend after having read the introduction.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, each entry I post will be titled by the main header of each section (and page number it begins on next to it) so you can follow along.

Online Shopping & Charity

This isn’t about being a consumer, I just wanted to point out that one very simple way to contribute to your community or favorite charity is to make sure that when you’re shopping online, you have the Amazon Smile feature turned on. When you consider who you’re donating to, there are three big considerations I recommend:

  1. Does it matter to you whether or not your money benefits local efforts?
  2. Does the organization’s values line up with yours?
  3. Is the majority of the donations go into the organizations services to their clients…or is it going into advertising/awareness campaigns?

If you’ve never used Amazon Smile, or just need a refresher on how to, you can follow the link below:

https://blog.aboutamazon.com/community/how-to-sign-up-for-amazonsmile