Thursday, June 30, 2016

Satan Works a Subtle Wedge When We Talk About Others, Needing to Listen Respectfully to the Advice of My Elders, and God Is Always Willing to Take Us Back posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  1 Peter, Chapter 4, verses 15-16.

It’s easy to become self-righteous thinking, “Well, at least I haven’t killed anyone or stolen anything.”  It’s humbling to read how God feels that busybodies are just as sinful.  Getting caught up in talking about others is one of the ways that Satan works a subtle wedge in the lives of Christians.  It’s easy to get caught up in gossip, but we need to take a stand.  Sometimes just ignoring a situation is condoning that behavior.  It’s not always easy to let people know that you feel uncomfortable talking about others, but God will give you the words, if you let Him.
Here are some related passages:
*Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  Ephesians, Chapter 4, verse 29.
*Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians, Chapter 4, verses 31-32.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.  Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.  1 Peter, Chapter 5, verses 5-7.

I remember becoming frustrated with people who were older who gave me common sense advice.  I thought that they must think I’m stupid.
Later, God showed me that I needed to listen respectfully to the advice of my elders.  It didn’t hurt me to listen, even though I already knew what they were telling me.  It made them feel better, because they were passing on some insight that they felt would be helpful to me.  I now realize that they do this out of love.
When I’m older, I sure wouldn’t want younger people treating me as if my advice didn’t matter.  I think this passage is important to remember.  If we aren’t good role models to the younger generation about being respectful to our elders, how will they know to be respectful to us when we’re older?

And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.  But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find Him. If thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto His Voice: (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 4, verses 27-31.

I love reading passages like this.  God tells us how angry He is when we turn away from Him, but He also loves us and is willing to forgive us if we turn back to Him.  I think it’s appropriate that we call Him, God the Father, because He loves us as a parent would, only in a much more pure and consistent way.
When we were kids and ran through the house, knocking over a lamp and breaking it, our parents were unhappy.  We might have had a consequence for not following the rules, but our parents still loved us.  That was even more evident after we came to them to apologize for breaking the rules.
God is always willing to take us back and forgive us no matter how many times we missed church, used His Name in vain or acted in unchristian ways.  If we truly turn to Him, God is always there to forgive us and accept us, but we need to be committed enough to try to be examples of how He works in our lives.
Here are some related passages:
*Go and proclaim these Words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.  Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed My Voice, saith the LORD.  Jeremiah, Chapter 3, verses 12-13.
*If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.  Jeremiah, Chapter 26, verse 3.
*Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?  shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the first of my body for the sin of my soul?  He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  Micah, Chapter 6, verses 6-8.

Monday, June 27, 2016

When We Truly Ask Him, God Forgives Us All of Our Past, Not Blaming God for Our Problems, Are Our Heads Turned Because of Flattery? posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humblest himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And prayed unto Him: and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD, He was God. 2 Chronicles, Chapter 33, verses 11-13.

This is the most amazing passage! Manasseh used witchcraft, used people who contacted the dead, cast spells, were into Astrology and had his children walk through fire as some ritualistic show of loyalty, which really made God upset. After Manasseh was captured and became humble, he asked God to forgive him and God did. Pure and simple!

Even if we have made some pretty poor choices in our lives, God will forgive us, just as He did Manasseh if we turn to Him and truly turn our lives around.

All the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I won’t remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? Job, Chapter 27, verses 3-9.

This is when Job had suffered many tribulations and his so-called friends were trying to help him. They challenged Job and his beliefs, but Job never wavered. He wouldn’t turn away from believing in God, even amidst his tragic situation. I want God to always keep my focus on Him. I never want to turn my back on God or to blame Him for my problems.

Lead me, O LORD, in Thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make Thy way straight before my face.  For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.  Psalm, Chapter 5, verses 8-9.

People’s flattery of us does not always reflect their true intent.
Here is a related passage:

*Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.  Psalm, Chapter 62, verse 9.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How Does God Feel About Trying to Contact Dead Relatives? Do People Have to Have Monumental Miracles Before They Are Willing to Believe in God? Is God Trying to Get Our Attention? posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the Word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it: And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse. 1 Chronicles, Chapter 10, verses 13-14.

Saul had his servant contact a woman with a familiar spirit (my Bible refers to her as a witch.)  She called Samuel up from the dead to answer Saul’s questions, but God did NOT like this, which was the major reason that God had Saul die. Not only did Saul turn to someone who could conjure people from the dead, but he did this rather than turning to God to ask His will.

I’m including this passage because it reinforces my belief that God wouldn’t be appreciative of people who get involved in watching TV shows where dead relatives are contacted, even though they try to make it sound positive with some religious connection. We are turning to these shows rather than turning to God. I think God lets us know in this passage that He doesn’t take kindly to us turning to anything other than Him. Actually, why would we want to turn to anything else besides God? God takes care of our every need!

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the Glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the Glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the Glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever. 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, verses 1-3.

This passage never really hit me before, but when I read it this time it left a stronger impact on me. I started thinking about how God has had to do all of these very dramatic miracles to get people to believe He is the One True God. I guess if I weren’t too sure of my faith and I saw fire come down from heaven and burn up a slab of meat, there would be no doubt in my mind that God was responsible for it, even if I had doubted before!

Do people have to have these monumental miracles before they believe in God? It’s kind of sad that some of us have a Missouri (the “Show-Me State”) mentality. Do I have to have God “Show-Me” miracles before I’m truly willing to believe in Him and not doubt His existence?

God does all types of miracles in my life each and every day. When I was taking a heavy class-load of difficult teacher preparatory classes, I didn’t know how I would get through all of them. I had petitioned the college to take 23 units that semester, so that I could have the required classes to start student teaching the next semester. I was praying to God about this on the way home from college one day. God put the thought in my mind that I wasn’t supposed to worry about it, because He was going to give me straight A’s.

I thought, “How could You do this? These are some of the hardest courses I have ever taken and I don’t have enough time to properly study for all of them.” Then the thought that God had in my mind was that He could do it, He’s God and He could do anything. I relaxed after I thought about it a few minutes. He can do anything, provided I trust Him to. I didn’t want to be like Peter who sank when he got fearful, so I asked God for the willingness to trust that He would take care of me.

I would pray a quick prayer over each homework and test question, something like, “God please take care of this one,” and the answer or the way to solve the statistical problem would just be in my mind. God did give me straight A’s through all of that. It was just like the thought He gave me those many months earlier in the car.

God works in my life in a variety of ways. I don’t always say formal prayers to God when I have something on my mind. I just talk to Him and I know God hears me. God answers me in lots of different ways, but I don’t hear the actual Voice of God from heaven saying, “Debbie, this is what you are supposed to do.”

Sometimes He answers me by having things happen, like my stalled car starts right after I pray about it. Sometimes He has things not happen, like when my first husband and I didn’t get a house we were trying to buy. We were so disappointed at the time, but six months afterward my husband got laid-off of work. Later, I realized that it was a good thing we hadn’t gotten the house, because we could have lost everything we owned. When things don’t turn out the way I ask, usually God will show me why at a later time, as in this example. Sometimes, God just puts thoughts or ideas in my mind, just like when God let me know that He was going to give me straight A’s. Sometimes He guides me by the instincts He gives me. The important thing is that I have to listen to them and not go off in my own direction, ignoring those instincts.

God does all types of miracles in our lives every day, if we would only open our eyes to see them. Do we have the “Show-Me” mentality where we need fire to come down from the sky before we believe in God?

And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now Mine Eyes shall be open, and Mine Ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My Name may be there forever: and Mine Eyes and Mine Heart shall be there perpetually. 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, verses 12-16.
And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them. 2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, verse 22.
This sounds like sometimes when we have droughts, floods or pestilence like locusts, etc., God is trying to get our attention. I feel like it’s His way of saying, “People down on Earth, you are losing your focus on Me. You are getting caught up in worldly things and doubt My existence by taking credit for the things I do.” God, who is infinitely merciful, goes on to say that if we turn back to Him, He will forgive us.

Monday, June 20, 2016

God Has a Different Idea, Trying to Validate Things That We Know Are Wrong, Do We Condone Rude Behavior? posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel, Chapter 16, verse 7.

This is when God had asked Samuel to anoint the future king. Samuel looked at David’s brothers (David was young and was tending sheep at the time.) Samuel thought surely God had chosen one of David’s brothers who were older and stronger, but God had a different idea.

God explained to Samuel that He doesn’t look at people by how tall, strong or attractive they are; like men do. God looks at the person’s heart. That’s how God can tell what type of person we are.  It makes me think of Jesus being the one true Equal Opportunity Savior of all! We aren’t judged by our race, culture, sex, age, gender, skin color, wealth, height, weight, etc. God looks into our heart and knows who we truly are!

Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay: but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No, but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king. Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. 1 Kings, Chapter 3, verses 16-27.

This story of Solomon’s great wisdom reminds me of when I was little. My sister and I had metal globe banks. (I know this is dating me some.) Our banks were kept at the top of our bedroom closet. I remember climbing on something and taking the money out of my sister’s bank, because I wanted to go to the “Candy Store.” (I was oblivious to the fact that they sold anything other than candy.)
I was almost out the front door when my mother stopped me. She asked me where I was going and I told her that I was going to the “Candy Store.” She asked me where I got the money to buy the candy. Now, I thought I was pretty clever when I told my mother that Sally down the street had given me the money, because there really was no one named Sally. I had made it up. Well, my mother is definitely much smarter than that! She told me that she knew Sally, and Sally had told her that she hadn’t given me the money. Boy was my mother ever quick on her feet. I had been caught in the middle of a lie.
I think God is quicker on His feet than even my mother was! He knows what we think and what we do. I don’t know why we make these lame excuses. Do we really think that God is truly going to buy them? “Ah, I’m not going to include this income on my tax statement because Uncle Sam gets more than his fair share anyway; besides this was just a side job for a friend.” Or, “I really like these fine point pens they have at work. I think I’ll take a few-oh yeah, I need them for a work project I’m going to do at home.” (I’m guilty of this one.) Why do we even try these things? Who do we think we are fooling anyway? God knows everything and still we find ourselves trying to validate doing things that we know are wrong.

Do We Condone Rude Behavior?

And he went up from thence unto Bethel and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the Name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.  2 Kings, Chapter 2, verses 23-24.

This passage addresses hateful children who torment others. Elisha didn’t say, “Oh, poor children. They must have parents who haven’t paid enough attention to them.” When Elisha cursed them for tormenting him, God had a bear come and destroy them. Although, this passage demonstrates an extremely dramatic consequence for the inappropriate taunting behavior of the children, I think it’s important for us to note how this situation was handled.
What would happen today? Have we become so accustomed to rude and tormenting behavior from children that hearing they behaved this way doesn’t seem out of place? Isn’t that scary? I’ve seen too many talk shows where kids have been suicidal or wanted to seek revenge because they have been tormented for years by their peers at school. Are we allowing our children to grow up to be rude, insulting and insensitive to others? I don’t think we would want God to deal with our children the same way that He did with the children in the passage.
Maybe we need to take a more active role in making sure our children are raised to respect others. Maybe there would be less violence in schools if everyone was committed to enforcing appropriate guidelines with their children from infancy on. Something to think about!

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

Christian Overeaters Past and Present Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Are People Becoming Complacent About Violent Crimes? Do We Seek Vain Things? God Wants Us to Obey Him, Not to Do Our Own Thing, Instead posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds. Judges, Chapter 19, verse 30.

The rest of the chapter tells about a group of men who abuse and rape a Levite man’s concubine (mistress) until she died. God tells us through this Bible passage that we are to speak our minds on issues of this nature.

It might not seem like these things are socially acceptable, but they really are, more so than you think. Think of how easy it is for us to hear about another case of date rape and shrug our shoulders. Our complacent and helpless attitudes toward things of this nature help to perpetuate the growth of these crimes. People start to view it as something that guys do when they are out drinking too much. Well, guess what? Rape or crimes of aggression aren’t acceptable under any circumstance! I think we need to raise our children with a clear message on this!

And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. 1 Samuel, Chapter 12, verses 20-21.

At times we go after vain things ourselves. Some examples would be: wealth, prestige, jobs, social status, etc., which can’t bring us Salvation. Sometimes God-fearing people get so focused on their career goals that they lose sight of their faith, their family and their ethics in the name of getting ahead.

Are wealth, prestige and social status really worth it? Is this the lifestyle you really want to model for your children and your grandchildren?

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the Voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king. 1 Samuel 15:22-23.

This chapter is basically about God telling Saul (through Samuel) to conquer Amalek. They were to destroy everything and not to take anything from there. Well, Saul was an independent thinker. He won the battle but kept the king and the best of the sheep and the oxen after God had already told him not to take anything.

Samuel tells Saul that God isn’t happy with him because he took the spoil of the land against God's wishes. Saul, being the fast thinker that he was, said the reason that he kept all the best of the sheep and oxen was because he brought them back to sacrifice them to God. Then Samuel tells Saul that God wants us to us to follow Him and do exactly what He asks of us. He goes on to ask Saul (paraphrased), “Which is more important, offering sacrifices to God or doing what He asks you to do?” God wants us to obey Him, not to be independent thinkers and do our own thing, trying to rationalize our actions.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Following Through on Logical Consequences Instead of Dealing with Extreme Behaviors, We Don't Always Stop to Realize That God Is Taking Care of Us, Getting a Greater Sense of God's Involvement in Our Lives posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. Deuteronomy, Chapter 21, verses 18-21.

I don’t want people to get the wrong impression of God because He is both loving and forgiving. I think that God is referring to extreme situations that are similar today. Situations where someone’s grown children are addicted to drugs or alcohol and they don’t work and are defiant. Some make choices that threaten the lives of others. Some beat their parents, some steal and some abuse or neglect their own children.
I know it would be difficult for any parent to consider this extreme of a consequence-no matter how many faults their adult child had. This passage makes me think about how it would be so much easier for parents to address their children’s behavior by setting limitations and having logical consequences while they are still young, so they never get to this point of unruliness.
It seems that some parents are lax about disciplining their children on a consistent basis. I always thought that it was better to make sure that my children grew up respecting laws and were a productive part of society than to have them thrown into prison for stealing to get their next fix. (In this example, the defiant, unproductive adult isn’t stoned to death but is dealt with by society through the penal system.) Who wants that for their children?
I know it takes a lot more effort when parents are already tired after a long day at work. Parents may not want to deal with a child who argues with them when they follow through on consequences. Isn’t it better to deal with that than to see your child have a miserable life later on, dealing with the law or maybe running from it? They are our children and they’re worth the extra effort!!!!

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, mine own hand hath saved me. Judges, Chapter 7, verse 2.

This is an interesting passage when you know why God said this. Gideon was going to fight the Midianites for God. He called all his soldiers (the Israelites) and a large army gathered. God said, (paraphrased) “If I have the Israelites win the battle against the Midianites while you have lots of soldiers, you won’t realize the victory is because I had you overpower them. Instead, the Israelites will think that they had won the battle because of their large army.
“I want you to weed out the majority of your soldiers so that there is only a small band of your soldiers left fighting against the Midianites. Then they will know that only I, the One True God, was in control of having your small band of men win the battle against the huge army of Midianites.”
The small band of Israelites did overpower the huge army of Midianites. God staged all of this so that the Israelites would have conclusive proof that He is the One True God. (Feel free to read Judges, Chapters 7 and 8, to find out more about this.)

It wasn’t the war part that impressed me so much. It was that God went to such great lengths to show the Israelites that He was looking after them. I think God does this in our everyday lives, as well. I don’t think we always stop to realize that it’s God taking care of us. I think we chalk it off to coincidence or have some other way of rationalizing it. I think God wants us to open our eyes and see how He works in our lives each and everyday. God isn’t just some holy figure way off in heaven, but is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives.

And when he [Samson] came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years. Judges, Chapter 15, verses 14-20.

This isn’t the story we focused on in Sunday school about Samson and Delilah. This was before that time in Samson’s life. I like this passage because it shows me how powerful God is. Samson was bound and the Philistines wanted to kill him. Sampson was tied up and God made the cords come off of Samson’s arms easily, which is the first miracle in this passage. The next miracle is when God allowed Samson to kill a thousand Philistines all by himself with just the jawbone of an ass.
I’ve seen lots of war shows with one group fighting against the other. The whole screen is filled with people fighting and lots die. In this case, the movie screen would have been filled with a thousand people trying to kill Samson. Samson would be fighting them all by himself with only a jawbone of an ass, a skeleton he found there. Samson killed each and every one of them by himself. Of course, Samson really wasn’t alone; God gave him this ability. After this was over, Samson thought he was going to die of thirst. Then, God had the third miracle happen. Water came out of the skeleton (jawbone of the ass) so that Samson could drink the water and be refreshed.
It is easy for me to read right through this passage and not pay any attention to how God had His hand in these situations. This gives me a greater sense of God’s involvement in our lives and what He is capable of. If He can have one man conquer an army of a thousand, He can surely take care of our daily needs!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

God Doesn't Like People Reading Horoscopes Even If It's Just for Fun, God Doesn't Like Anything Related to Witchcraft, Even Shows, We Should Be Cautious about the religious Advice We Listen To posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing His covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 17, verses 2-5.

This passage is important to me because it lets me know clearly that God doesn’t like people being involved with horoscopes or other celestial things.  It doesn’t sound like God thinks, “I’m not going to get too upset by this.  They just like to read their horoscope for fun, which really isn’t the same thing.”  This passage talks about stoning people to death for doing this abomination.  The sad thing is there are people who don’t even realize that reading their horoscope or calling people to predict their future is directly opposed to their Christian faith.
You wouldn’t believe the number of Christians who read their horoscope each day.  Most people that I’ve talked to think that reading their horoscope is harmless, something they do as a joke.  It’s kind of scary to think how insidious a thing like reading a horoscope can be. 
Sometimes people start reading it just for fun.  Then it starts creeping into their mind.  They think things like, “I probably shouldn’t do this thing today because my horoscope said it isn’t a good day to do things like this.”  Then they find themselves not doing things because they didn’t read their horoscope that morning and they don’t want to make any major decisions until they’ve read it.  They probably don’t even realize that they are being led astray by turning to something other than God for guidance.  It’s worth assessing the little things that we do that allow our focus to be pulled away from God.
Here are some related passages:
*And he [Manasseh] did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.  For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.  2 Kings, Chapter 21, verses 2-3.
*And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the hosts of heaven.  2 Kings, Chapter 23, verse 5.

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer, For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verses 10-14.

This doesn’t lead me to feel that God would approve of watching a “cute” show about a teenage witch.  I have noticed that there are more and more TV shows and movies with witchcraft and Satanic themes, lately.  There is even a show where someone is trying to contact the dead, which is what a necromancer is, and God considers this an abomination.  When we are watching these things on TV or at the movies, we aren’t focusing on God.  In fact, we are focusing on something that might pull us away from our relationship with God.
Watching these “cute” shows on witchcraft or Satanism may have the potential of making our society more vulnerable to cults.  When I was younger, although it probably existed, I never heard of people actually believing in witchcraft or Satanism.  It seems like I heard much more about cults after the popular TV show based on a witch that made it look fun to cast spells and have magical things happen. (I can’t say that the increase in the popularity of cults is directly related to this TV show but it did, in my opinion, make witchcraft look like a “fun” thing.)
My children used to get frustrated when I asked them not to watch the re-runs of this show, but I would much rather that they be frustrated with me than to be vulnerable to being led astray.  Sometimes as parents, we just have to take a stand because we love our children!

Here are some related passages:
*And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.  2 Kings, Chapter 21, verse 6.
*Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the Words of the Law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.  2 Kings, Chapter 23, verse 24.
And he [Manasseh] caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.         2 Chronicles, Chapter 33, verse 6.
*And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers.  Micah, Chapter 5, verse 12.

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verse 20.

This passage reminds us to be cautious about the religious advice we listen to.  There are many different people out there who say that they know God’s Will for us, but these people tell us totally opposite things.  Obviously, everyone who says that they know God’s Will for us; can’t ALL be right.  This dilemma confused me for years.  I started reading the Bible in 1980, to find out for myself what God’s Will was.  That way, I could trust the instincts that God gave me as I read the Bible.  This is much better than listening to other people’s opinions in order to figure out who is right and who is wrong.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Some People Make It Hard to Give God the Credit, I Wish All Judges and Politicians Adhered to Rules Like These, Images That God Hates posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; Who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.  But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.  And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 8, verses 14-19.

It’s kind of like a high school student who buys a term paper from another student rather than doing their own assignment.  They are tickled when the teacher hands back their paper and they have received an A.  When the teacher refers to their paper as an example of exemplary work and dedication, they puff up with pride as if they had written the term paper themselves, but they hadn’t.
God knew how human we were.  He knew that the Israelites would see all the miracles that He had provided for them in the wilderness and the bounty He provided in the Promised Land.  God knew that they would take credit for it, as if they had accomplished these on their own.  He also knew that they would forget to thank Him and they would take credit for all their good fortune, and He was right.
Do we do this in our own lives?  I have, more times than I care to mention.  God has gotten me through many difficult situations and when they’re over, I either forget about what God had done for me, or what is even worse, I take credit for them myself.
Some people make it hard to give God the credit.  People have complimented me for particular ideas or actions.  I tell them that God gave me the idea or God got me through the particular situation but they argue with me, telling me, “No, god helps him who helps himself.”  Well, you already know how I stand on that one! 

We can easily fall into the trap of not appreciating all that God has done for us.  God can lead us out this trap if we let Him, just like He led the Israelites to the Promised Land.

Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.  Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the Words of the righteous.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 16, verses 18-19.

I wish all politicians and judges adhered to rules like these; not that there aren’t some who do.  It would make everything much easier if nothing interfered with the political decisions that are made.
I read a book written by someone who used to work in a prison.  He talked about how some of the prisoners would deliberately make friends with the guards.  Being a guard has to be a thankless job.  I doubt if any of the prisoners say, “Thank you so much, Mr. Guard, for keeping me in here to protect society from me.”  Anyway, some prisoners manipulate guards by planning to have pleasant interactions with them, standing in distinct contrast to the negative ones they usually encounter.
They get to know the guards pretty well, playing on that particular guard’s sympathy.  When the timing is right, the prisoner asks the guard to send a birthday card to his ailing mother, which is against the prison rules.  When the guard does this, there is some kind of rationalization that goes on for the guard to justify his actions to himself, since this is an unethical thing to do.  Once this happens, the prisoner knows he’s got the guard wrapped around his little finger.  He knows that the guard is even more vulnerable to do other things for him in the future.  (Remember I said, not all guards or prisoners do this, but it’s an example of how little things can undermine the clear thinking of those in authority.)
Politicians and judges are just as human.  So are teachers, for that matter.  It’s probably a lot harder for a teacher to flunk a child of a very involved parent who volunteers for room parties and lavishes the teacher with all types of gifts and compliments, on every occasion.  I think that everyone in a position of power or judgment might become vulnerable when there are gifts or favors done.  I think that God had the right idea when He said, For a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”  That’s definitely something to think about.
Here are some related passages:
*A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.  Proverbs, Chapter 17, verse 23.

*Many will entreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.  Proverbs, Chapter 19, verse 6. 

Neither shalt thou set thee up any image: which the LORD thy God hateth.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 16, verse 22.

I trust God to guide me on this one.  I do know from everything I have read that God wouldn’t want me to have a statue of Buddha or a Greek or Roman god or goddess in my house, even if they are just for decorative purposes.
I don’t feel He wants us to pray to any religious article thinking that article is God, Himself.  I wear a cross around my neck but I don’t pray to it.  It just reminds me of what an important part Jesus plays in my everyday life.  I have pictures of Jesus in my house.  I get a pleasant feeling when I look at them, because they remind me of all Jesus has done for us.  I don’t pray to the picture or think the picture is Jesus.

You and God alone know whether you are being led astray by these objects or not.  Let God be your guide on this one.  He will give you good instincts, if you let Him.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 
Please click on comments below to share your suggestions. Thanks! Debbie

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Loving God with All Our Heart, Soul and Might, Do We Leave God in the Background?, God is Never Going to Stop Loving Us posts

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these Words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, verses 4-7.

God wants us not only to love Him with all our heart, all our soul and all our might; but He wants us to raise our children with this same love of Him.  I have heard all too many people say that they aren’t raising their children with any religious education because they are letting their children decide for themselves when they’re older.
Since I’m an educator, I’m in the position of hearing lots of conversations about what is happening to the youth of today and concerns for their well-being.  If the parents don’t set the foundation for their child’s religious beliefs when they are young, how will the child learn to turn to God when they are faced with issues like drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual involvement, etc?
Children learn by their parent’s example and those around them.  If they don’t see the people around them making God a priority in their lives, then the example they follow may be of peers who say that doing a little “Meth,” “Ecstasy” or other drug will help them unwind and get more in touch with themselves.  I’ve watched all too many talk shows where parents are tearfully expressing their regrets about their child who was lost to an overdose.
Maybe we are doing a huge disservice to our children by waiting until they are old enough to make their own choices about God.  Maybe we need to take an active role in our children’s religious education now!
Here is a related passage:

*Therefore shall ye lay up these My Words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 11, verses 18-19.

Do We Leave God in the Background?

And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantest not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 6, verses 10-12.

We may read this Bible passage and think it really doesn’t apply to us and our daily lives, but that’s incorrect.  How many times do we turn to God when things are going badly in our lives, our jobs or when a loved one is very ill?  We ask God to take care of these desperate situations and He does so in the way that He determines is best.  When things are resolved, do we spend the same amount of time focusing on God, or do we leave Him in the background until the next traumatic situation arises?  That’s something to think about.

And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 8, verses 3-4.
Can you imagine how the Israelites could have walked and lived in the wilderness for forty years and their clothes and shoes never wore out?  It’s so awe inspiring when I think of how God took care of their every need, like manna from the sky-because they wanted bread and flocks of quail-when they wanted meat.  He took care of all their basic needs, despite the fact that they turned away from Him many times in the forty years that they were in the wilderness.
God never stopped loving them, the same way that God is never going to stop loving us, even when we do some really sinful things.  God knows what’s in our hearts and will forgive us our sins if we have a penitent spirit and try to make the necessary changes that reflect our love of Jesus.
Here is a related passage:

*And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes aren’t waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.  Deuteronomy, Chapter 29, verse 5.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

These are other blogs I felt led to create:

This is a connection I've made from this Bible passage. Please share your connections. 
Please click on comments below to share your suggestions. Thanks! Debbie

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