Thursday, August 17, 2017

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, August 14, 2017

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!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

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.



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