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MORE THAN TRICK OR TREAT

It is that time of year again where the stores have geared up for Halloween. I believe it may be the celebration of the year that brings stores the highest revenue in candy sales.

When I was a child and young teenager, I looked forward to that day because I knew by the end of the evening, I would have bags full of candy. When my children were little, I took them trick or treating; however, by the time they were teenagers, I learned the meaning of Halloween and what happens in the Satanic cult, and I developed a different perspective of that day. The Bible does not explicitly talk about Halloween; however, knowing its origin and the acts that occur during this time causes me to write this blog.

A detailed description of Halloween can be found in many articles on the internet; therefore, I am only going to share a small synopsis of it, and I suggest if you want more information to google it. The ancient Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany observed the festival of Samhain on October 31st. (This festival was later called “All Hallow Eve, or Hallowe’en” by the Roman Catholic Church) The participants of this festival that marked the eve of the Celtic New Year believed the spirit of the dead, witches, goblins, and ghosts that resided in Tir nan Og were able to return to earth and mingle with the living. To frighten off these evil spirits, the Celtics wearing masks and costumes would light bonfires to Samana, the Lord of Death, and burn alive prisoners of war, criminals, or animals. After conquering the Celts, the Romans added their own touches to the celebration by making centerpieces out of apples, bobbing for apples, and drinking cider.

In the 1800s, Irish immigrants brought the Halloween customs of costumes, trick-or-treat, carved Jack-o-lanterns to America, and Halloween has evolved over the years to what we now see and experience every year on October 31.

Presently, some groups of Satanists, unfortunately, celebrate Halloween as the Celtics did, for they believe that the blood sacrifice of innocent individuals is a required sign of devotion to Satan during this time. Additionally, some females are impregnated so that their newborn child can be offered as a sacrifice.

With the above information in mind, I pray it causes you to seek direction from God and pray, particularly for those involved in the Satanic occult that they will be delivered. Pray for those that the Satanic cult has appointed to die. Pray that believers will know Halloween means more than trick or treating. Pray for the safety of children as they walk the dangerous streets and pray God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

GOD USES WICKED PEOPLE

I’ve been praying about what I consider our horrifying, unbelievable, national situation, and the Holy Spirit reminded me that God uses wicked nations and people to fulfill His purpose. This fact is seen throughout the Bible, and usually God used these nations and people to punish the Israelites when they continually disobeyed His laws.

As recorded in the book of Judges, the Mesopotamians, Moabite, Canaanites, Midianite, Ammonites, and Philistines were allowed to oppress Israel. Furthermore, as recorded during each of these incidents the oppression lasted for numerous years until Israel repented of their wrongdoings.

After Israel was divided into the northern and southern kingdom, each of them had the opportunity to serve God and obey the instructions He gave them. When the northern kingdom of Israel willfully disobeyed the voice of God, under the Assyrians leadership of Tiglathpileser, Shalmaneser, and Sargon and over a period of years, the capital city of Samaria was captured, resulting in twenty-seven thousand Jews taken captives to Assyria.

The pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was used to chastise the southern kingdom a century later when they followed in the footsteps and ways of their northern kingdom relatives. After seventy years God extended His mercy to them, and under the edict of another heathen king and leadership of Zerubbabel, son of Salathiel, fifty thousand Jews returned to Jerusalem.

After the ascension of Jesus, God used the Romans to slay millions of Jews and place thousands into slavery because obedience to Him was not part of their lifestyle.

As you see, God used wicked people to punish Israel for their disobedience to His laws and statutes. So, I’m thinking seeing how wickedness and lawlessness are prevailing in our country, and believers are assimilating in the actions of the unbeliever. Maybe, God is trying to get our attention, and perhaps if we that are part of His kingdom would humble ourselves, pray more, and obey His Word, God would move on our behalf and restore civility to our nation. What do you think?

WHEN YOU OVERSTAY YOUR TIME

Do you realize that you can overstay your time in a place that will result in a traumatic experience to get you back to where you belong? This scenario was played out in Israel numerous times, and they proved everyone does not learn from the mistakes of others.

A significant example of this is the children of Israel in the land of Egypt. Their story goes like this: God sent Abraham to the land of Canaan and promised to bless him, make his name great, make a great nation from him and cause him to be a blessing. This promise was not just for Abraham but also for his descendants. After spending years in Canaan God informed Abraham that his descendants would leave Canaan and be an alien, become a servant and be persecuted in another land; however, after four hundred years they would come out with great substance. (Genesis 15:13-14).

This happened during the lifetime of Jacob and his family when, during a time of famine, they departed Canaan and went to Egypt. The famine lasted seven years; however, instead of returning to Canaan at the end of the famine they stayed. Joseph, the son of Jacob, was the second in command in Egypt, and his family was treated royally; so they became comfortable and contented. After many years, God allowed another Pharaoh who knew not Joseph to become the ruler, and he did not trust the allegiance of the Israelites, so he made them servants and mistreated them. This ill-treatment caused them to cry, and God responded to them and used Moses to deliver them.

If Israel had not overstayed their time, they would not have experienced hardship. Now, I must ask you, “Are you like Israel, are you out of your place of blessing because of a famine (things not flourishing as you expected)?” Did you go somewhere and get comfortable, but now everything has become chaotic? Have you been depressed and crying because you are miserable? Are you praying and asking God why things are no longer working out for you? Well, your solution is to go and stay in the place where God has assigned you.

For great success, be like Isaac. During a time of famine, Isaac thought about leaving the land of promise with his family, but God spoke to him and said, “Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:2-4).

Isaac obeyed God and stayed in Gerar. The result of his obedience was recorded in Genesis 26:26-14a, which states, “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants.”

So, I close this blog with these thoughts, “There is a blessing in staying, and there is a reward for returning to your promise land.”

ARE YOU PART OF THE KINGDOM?

There are those that believer, in the end, God is going to save everyone, and everyone will be part of His kingdom; however, based on the Word, that is not my belief.

Presently we are the representatives of God on earth. (Other kingdom names for believers are citizen or ambassadors.) As a representative, our assignment is to reflect the culture and lifestyle of God on the earth, and to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, subdue it and have dominion in it. In this Dispensation of Grace, we are called and anointed to function in the earth as long as we live on it. When the next dispensation which is the Millennial Dispensation starts we will have changed into immortal, incorruptible beings living on this earth with Jesus.

During the Millennial Dispensation, Jesus will set up His kingdom on this earth, and the world will acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler. At the completion of the Millennial Dispensation, every unbeliever will be judged at the White Throne Judgment, and then according to Revelation there will be a new heaven and earth for this present earth will pass away. Additionally, the holy city, the new Jerusalem which was in heaven will come down to the earth (Revelation 21:1-2).

According to Revelation 21:7-8 and 22:11,15, “The overcomers shall inherit the earth but the fearful, unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, the unjust, and the filthy will not.” If you believe the Word, you can see there are individuals who will not be part of the kingdom. Revelation 21:8 states, “These individuals will have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”

Furthermore, Revelation 22:18-19 cautions believers with these words, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away from his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This statement is telling me we cannot change or compromise what the Word is saying. Our actions and lifestyle on earth will determine where we will spend eternity. So, we have a choice to make, and quoting the words of Joshua in Joshua 24:15 I say to you, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve?” and decided according to the Word, “Are you part of the kingdom?”

WHAT IS YOUR WARFARE STRATEGY?

Recently I was talking to a fellow believer concerning the attacks of the enemy they were experiencing and the need to remain focus. I asked them this question, “What is your warfare strategy? This individual named a few things; however, from our conversation, I knew they were not utilizing any of the things they had named.

In the natural, nations will not go to war without a strategy (plan) and knowing what weapons they were going to employ during the battle. These nations knew what weapons they had available in their arsenal, they knew how to utilize them, and they did not wait for a battle to test them.

As it is in the natural, so we believers need to be in the spiritual. We need to be armed and dangerous. So, as I’ve done on several occasions in previous blogs, I will name some of the weapons we are to utilize and how they will assist you:
1. Prayer – tells you about the battle. (2 Kings 19:1-37).
a. Praise – gets you through the battle (2 Chronicles 20:22).
b. Worship – puts God in charge of the battle (Psalm 95:6-7a).
2. Word of God – upholds you in the battle (Psalm 17:4, Matthew 24:35).
3. Blood of Jesus – protects you in the battle (Revelation 12:11).
4. Name of Jesus – gives you power in the battle (Philippians 2:10,
Colossians 3:17).
5. Binding and Loosing – shortens the battle (Matthew 12:25-29; 18:18).
6. Spiritual Armor – equips you for the battle (Ephesians 6:13-18).
7. Fasting – prepares you for the battle (2 Chronicles 20:3).
8. Infilling of the Holy Spirit – fortifies you in the battle (Acts 4:29-31).
9. Praying in the Spirit – secret language for the battle (1 Corinthians 14:2,
Romans 8:26).

Additionally, I have found a careful examination of the battles that are written in the Word can instruct you on which strategy and tool to utilize as you fight the enemy.

Finally, don’t wait for the battle to begin, prepare NOW.

AFTER YOU SUFFERED AWHILE

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Everyone that is born in this earth will experience some pain, discomfort, misery, trouble or coining a keyword from the above verse, “suffering.” Job told his friends in Job 14:1-2, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (KJV). In case you don’t understand this verse, let me share this verse with you using the Living Bible, “How frail is man, how few his days, how full of trouble! He blossoms for a moment like a flower—and withers; as the shadow of a passing cloud, he quickly disappears.”

Though we complain about our plight in America, as compared to many nations in this earth we have nothing worthy of which to complain. Thank God, for the most part our suffering has nothing to do with our religious choices but rather the daily cares of life and our interaction with people who disturb our peace. Unlike many nations, we have numerous civil liberties that grant us our freedom in various areas. Wikipedia describes civil liberties like this, “Civil liberties or personal freedoms are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation, without due process. Though the scope of the term differs between countries, civil liberties may include the freedom of conscience, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to security and liberty, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law and due process, the right to a fair trial, and the right to life. Other civil liberties include the right to own property, the right to defend oneself, and the right to bodily integrity. Within the distinctions between civil liberties and other types of liberty, distinctions exist between positive liberty/positive rights and negative liberty/negative rights.”

I believe most Americans are focused on themselves and only a few thinks about the daily hardship that people outside of America experience. If you listen to the various news media outlets that share news about third world countries, you will soon realize living in America is terrific for most of our civil liberties described above is absent in these countries.

The lives of the citizens in the third world countries resemble that of Paul who described his sufferings for the gospel in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 6:4-5, and 11:23-27. Some of the things he suffered were being troubled on every side, in hunger and thirst, persecuted, beaten, imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in afflictions, in necessities, in weariness, in painfulness, and journeyings. Additionally, he was in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by his own countrymen, in perils by heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, and perils among false brethren. And despite all of these things Paul in Romans 8:18 said, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Finally, lest we become discouraged in our sufferings, Peter mentions four things in 1 Peter 5:10 that eventually suffering accomplishes. Accordingly, we are made perfect (to be completed thoroughly, repaired, restored or adjusted), stablished (to turn resolutely in a specific direction, to confirm, steadfastly set), strengthened (increased in spiritual knowledge and power), and settled (erect in a foundation).

I pray that if you are suffering, now that you have read this blog, you are feeling better.

LION SLAYER

On some weeks I know what I am going to blog and post, and then there are others like this week when I was struggling with a topic and clueless but thank God, He gave me a useable topic in the nick of time. On yesterday He reminded me of a vital fact as I was reading the September 6, 2019 article in the Simply Christ Newsletter titled “The Lion Tamer.”

It was this illustration in the newsletter that prompted this week’s blog. “A man shares his house with a wild hungry lion. This man happens to be a “lion tamer” so he knows how to keep the lion at bay. He seems to be in full control of the lion as he uses the tools of his trade, a whip, and chair. He can make the lion back away. He can make the lion sit. He has power over the lion. As great as this “lion tamer” is, there is one thing he cannot do. He can never close his eyes in rest. If he does, all his power over the lion becomes useless, and the “lion tamer” will be devoured. As long as he lives in this house, this man can have no rest until the lion is dead or until the lion is taken away.”

This illustration reminded me of the scripture in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” To be sober means to be serious, to show self-control, and solemnity. To be vigilant means to be keenly watchful to detect danger, ever awake and alert. Therefore, knowing this scripture and definitions, I must continuously be on my guard for my enemy who has similar characteristics of a lion is ready to pounce on me when I let my guard down.

Besides knowing the lion to be a symbol of strength, power, and courage, let me share some pertinent traits about a lion to help you understand better its movement.

1. Lions live in a group, or pride which consists of several generations of lionesses, their cubs, and a smaller number of breeding males.
2. Lions are carnivores; they eat flesh.
3. Lions have excellent night vision which is an asset in hunting prey.
4. Lions usually rest in the day while it is hot and become active at night when it is cooler.
5. The lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away, and it is usually done in the evening before a night’s hunt or in the dawn before getting up.
6. Using intelligent hunting tactics, the lionesses working as a group slowly sneak up on the prey, then pauses, crouches and hides until they get close enough to attack. As a group, they knock down the prey and kill it with a bite to the neck or throat.

David said this about killing a lion to King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:34-36a “Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear.” David understood he could not allow the lion to devour the sheep because if not stopped, the lion would think the sheep were easy prey and David’s flock was where it received its daily meal.

Additionally, David knew human attacks against him could be likened to that of an attack of lionesses for he stated in Psalm 27:2-3a “When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.” Like the attack of the lionesses when the enemy attacks he bombards us in multiple areas to oppress us and make us feel hopeless. He will use generational curses and events to bring us down. He will attack us when we are experiencing dark periods in our life and when we can’t see clearly. His voice in our ear with negativity will be loud to cause us to be intimidated. While in a lethargic state and our guard is down the enemy sees our weakness and vulnerability and plots our demise. And please remember when things are hot the enemy becomes less active; however, when things cool down he becomes active again.

I pray the information I shared in this blog is helpful to you, as I remind you, you do have an enemy that wants to devour you, and your plan of defense requires you to be sober and vigilant.

FORGET NOT TO ASSEMBLE

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The book of Hebrews, which many deemed to be authored by Paul was written to the Hebrew Christians with the purpose of enlightening them to the fact that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and symbols of the Old testament. Additionally, Jesus was greater than the angels, priest, and prophets, and He provided a better covenant and ultimate sacrifice for sin.

In chapter 10:1-25, Jesus, the perfect sacrifice was compared to the sacrifices offered in the Old Testament. The Old Testament sacrifices were made daily; whereas, Jesus’ sacrifice was done once and need not be repeated. This finish work of redemption by Jesus provided believers with a threefold invitation to boldly draw near to God, hold fast to their confession of hope and consider one another by fellowshipping with other believers. It is the last part of the invitation (verse 25) that I would like to lift up in this blog.

There is a purpose for believers gathering together, which is to share love, wisdom, strength, encouragement, and for collective worship. The writer of Hebrews knew persecution, trials, mishaps, and afflictions would occur in the lives of the believers as they navigated through their Christian walk, and they would need the support of fellow believers. Also, as the approach of end-time events happened, believers would need to band together to withstand the onslaught of the enemy for together they could do more than alone.

With the above in mind, I close this blog cautioning all believers not to be fooled by the strategies of the enemy. He has convinced many that assembling together is not necessary. Missing worship, times of fellowship, prayer service, Sunday school, and bible class is no big deal. Doing things on your own and interpreting the Word on our own is commonly seen in this present generation; nevertheless, all believers are responsible for adhering to the Word which was given for doctrine, correction, reproof, and instruction. If we do this, we will not forget to assemble.

SUICIDE – THE SILENT KILLER

Have you noticed that the Spirit of Suicide appears to be abounding in the earth?
This Spirit is not only in the world but increasing in the Church. The enemy is fighting God’s chosen, and depression is overwhelming them and making them feel like they want to die. Unfortunately, some believers in desperation have taken their own life leaving family and friends feeling despair, grief, failure, anger, and confusion. With this in mind, I have given the title of this blog, “Suicide – The Silent Killer” because people who commit suicide or have suicidal ideations are doing it quietly and alone. Regrettably, they are not sharing their thoughts, emotional pain, turmoil, and shame with others. They are suffering alone without help, and that is why we have the increasing mortality statistics.

Merriam-Webster defines suicide as the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. Marcia Purse, in her article “What Is Suicidal Ideation?” defines suicidal ideation as wanting to take your own life or thinking about suicide. Additionally, she states, “There are two kinds of suicidal ideation: passive and active. Passive suicidal ideation occurs when you wish were dead or that you could die, but you don’t actually have any plans to commit suicide. Active suicidal ideation, on the other hand, is not only thinking about it but having the intent to commit suicide, including planning how to do it.”

It has been researched, and recorded suicide and suicidal ideation cuts across socio-economic status, gender, race, and age; no one is exempt. Given the right situation and feelings of hopelessness, anyone can be affected. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention gave the following 2017 report on suicide. It stated, “Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide, and in 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts.”

If you read the Bible, you will realize thoughts of suicide, and the act of suicide is not a new occurrence. Moses (Numbers 11:11-15; 32:31-31), Job (Job 3,7,10), Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-4), Jonah (Jonah 4:2-3), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14-18) had thoughts of suicide. Samson (Judges 16:29-30), King Saul (1 Samuel 31:4-5), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18) and Judas (Matthew 27:3-5) carried out the act of suicide.

Today I am grateful for supportive church programs, 911, online forums, suicide hotlines, hospital emergency services, concerned family members, and trained counselors that are available to all those that need help. Moreover, though the Spirit of Suicide is prevalent in the land, for believers, I declare it will be a defeated foe for we have God and His Word to sustain and keep us. Thus, I close this blogs with words of encouragement to you:

Psalms 34:17-20 – [The righteous] cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

Psalms 50:15 – And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Psalms 118:17 – I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

John 10:10 – The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

THE DOCTOR TREATS BUT GOD HEALS

Maybe it is because I am presently in my senior years, and my peers are the same that I’ve been hearing about so many of them who are sick. Also, I do acknowledge that as individuals become older, they are more susceptible to disease, and their bodies do not function as good as they did in their youth. So, as I was thinking about this fact and healing, last week, I heard these words in my spirit, “The doctor treats but God heals” to which I responded, “Yes, Lord.”

Most of my professional career was spent in the medical field; first as a nurse and then as a medical social worker. Notably, during my field placements, when I was a student nurse, I saw medical conditions that blew my mind. One of my student nursing field training was in the Children’s Hospital in Boston Massachusetts where I saw children with Polio, Spina Bifida, and all types of Cancer and when I did my field training in a Specialized Rheumatoid Hospital I saw adults and children who were severely crippled due to disease in their joints and limbs. Undoubtedly, divine healing was needed in all of these conditions.

Many times we blame the doctor because they are unable to diagnose our symptoms; however, they only know what God permits. Doctors only possess the wisdom that God gives them; they are not omniscient. Moreover, when I worked in the hospital, they had morbidity and mortality rounds for the doctors to discuss the patients that expired due to possible misdiagnoses. This once again reminds us that the doctors treat, but God heals.

When you pray, and you are not healed immediately, please don’t think that you can go to the doctor and he will cure you. Again doctors treat, but God heals. To this end, I want to close with a few healing scriptures on which you can meditate and confess (A greater list of healing scriptures can be found on the internet:

For I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26b.

And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. Exodus 23:25

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases Psalm 103:2-3

He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalms 107:20

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24