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CELEBRATION OF THE RESURRECTION WITH HYMNS AND SONG

Christians have been commemorating the last week of Jesus’s life prior to His crucifixion this week. And tomorrow, Christians will be celebrating the day that He arose from the grave and accomplished why He came to the earth.

This week hymns that I learned during my childhood concerning the cross and Jesus’s victorious resurrection have flooded my memory, causing me to sing them throughout my day. So, I decided that rather than blog an article this week, I would share some verses and choruses of songs I have been singing.

At The Cross by Ralph Hudson

Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my sovereign die
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I

At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the Light
And the burden of my heart rolled away, rolled away
It was there by Faith, I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day.

He Was Nailed To The Cross For Me by F. A. Graves

What a wonderful, wonderful Savior,
Who would die on the cross for me!
Freely shedding His precious lifeblood,
That the sinner might be made free.

He was nailed to the cross for me,
He was nailed to the cross for me;
On the cross crucified for me He died;
He was nailed to the cross for me.

He Lives by Alfred H. Ackley

I serve a risen Savior,
He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

Are You Washed In The Blood? by Elisha A. Hoffman

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lead Me To Calvary by Don Moen

King of my life, I crown Thee now
Thine shall the glory be
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow
Lead me to Calvary

Lest I forget Gethsemane
Lest I forget Thine agony
Lest I forget Thy love for me
Lead me to Calvary

The Cross Is Not Greater by Ballington Booth

The cross that He gave may be heavy,
But it ne’er outweighs His grace;
The storm that I feared may surround me,
But it ne’er excludes His face.

The cross is not greater than His grace,
The storm cannot hide His blessed face;
I am satisfied to know
That with Jesus here below,
I can conquer ev’ry foe.

I could not end this blog without including this last song Just for Me by Donnie McClurkin  

Well the cross will always represent the love God had for me
When the Lord of glory, heaven sent gave all on calvary
He did it just for me, just for me, Hallelujah
Jesus came and did it just for me.

Those of you who are older and grew up singing hymns, I am sure some of the hymns above are known to you. If you have not sung them recently, I pray you have been blessed just by reading the words. Additionally, I pray that not only this week or tomorrow but that we continue to celebrate in hymns what Jesus did for us long ago at calvary and that you are a partaker of the salvation that God has provided thru His Son.

GOD HAS REQUIREMENTS

This world belongs to God as stated by David in Psalms 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” God is not only the creator and owner of the earth, but He is also the king. As a king, He has requirements for the residents of His kingdom to follow. Unfortunately, not all people who live in God’s kingdom adhere to His rules because they fail to acknowledge him as the king. Hence, this scripture written thousands of years ago and found in Judges17:6b, “But every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” holds true today.

From the beginning of time, humans had difficulty following God’s requirements which can be noted in a study of the dispensations. Altogether, seven dispensations cover the period from creation to the end of the millennial reign of Jesus, but thus far, only six dispensations have taken place. So, let me share some information on dispensations to further illuminate man’s continued failure.

  1. In the first dispensation of innocence, Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but they did (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6).
  2. In the second dispensation, which was called the dispensation of conscience, the man was told to do well; however, as revealed in scripture, the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was continually evil (Genesis 6:5).
  3. In the third dispensation of human government, man was told to be fruitful and replenish the earth; however, men decided to congregate and build a city and a tower, whose top reached into heaven (Genesis 11:4).
  4. In the fourth dispensation of promise, God chose to bless Abram and his descendant and give them the land of Canaan, but they left their inheritance and went down into Egypt, where they ended up in bondage (Exodus 1).
  5. In the fifth dispensation of law, God gave Israel commandments, statutes, and laws to follow after being delivered from their bondage, but they persisted in violating them. Once again, they ended up in captivity (2 Kings 17, 25).
  6. We are now in the sixth dispensation of grace, where Jesus came and died to provide salvation to all who will acknowledge they are a sinner, repent and give their life to God. Some have done so, and many have not (Mathew 7:14, John 6:47, Acts 2:38, 2 Thessalonians 2: 7-12).  
  7. The seventh dispensation, which is the Millennial reign of Jesus on earth, is yet to occur; however, from the scriptures, we know that Satan will rally many to rebel against Jesus, which ends in the battle of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:7-8).

In creating man, God allowed him to have free will, and sadly many have been deceived and have chosen to reject God and His requirements. For some reason, men feel they know more than God and don’t need divine intervention and guidance in their lives. Thus, we have the turmoil in the earth, which started in the Garden of Eden and continues on, all because men neglect to obey God’s requirements.

THE JEALOUS GOD

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.

From the very start, I started this blog with scriptures about the jealous God because I wanted to emphasize that God is jealous. He absolutely wants to be number one in our lives, and this has been his desire from the beginning of time.

After his harmonious relationship with Adam and Eve ended, God sought a relationship with their descendants. From the generations of Adam to Noah, the bible reveals that only Enoch and Noah found favor with Him and served Him in the manner He required. In time God chose and separated Abraham from his family. He told Abraham how He would bless him and his descendants, and Abraham believed God

God had an active relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob while they were in the land of Canaan, and He was their God. Unfortunately, there was a famine in the land, and Jacob and his family went to Egypt. After the famine ended, the children of Israel did not return to Canaan but spent four hundred and thirty years there and ended in bondage to the Egyptians.

Prior to Moses going to the children of Israel in Egypt, God met with him on Mount Horeb. God said to Moses, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:15). God made this statement to them because while in Egypt, they forsook the God of their forefathers and started worshipping the idol gods of Egypt, and God wanted them to renew their relationship with Him.

Before leaving Egypt, God proved himself to them by many miracles, and when he delivered them, they went into the wilderness. It was here that God gave them His commandments, and the first ones that He spoke to them found in Exodus 20:3-5 said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

Moses shared this with them at the beginning of their wilderness experience and reiterated this commandment at the end of their forty-year wilderness journey. Before his death, Joshua, who led the children of Israel back into Canaan, reminded them of this commandment.

I believe the believer’s remedy for not making God jealous was first shared by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and reiterated by Jesus during His earthly ministry. If believers obey the Words of Jesus and Moses, we will not commit idolatry, and God will not be jealous for our attention. Jesus said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 10:29-30). Nothing is lacking when we give it our all, and we can be assured we have not made God jealous.

A TIME OF PEACE

Presently we are living in a tumultuous time. According to the World Population Review, twenty-three countries are currently engaged in wars. Daily, we hear of wars, and with things escalating between Russia and Ukraine, there are rumors of a possible World War III happening. Besides the wars, senseless killings are also taking place. The World Report on Violence and Health reports that over 1.6 million people lost their lives to violence last year.

These events can be very disheartening for the inhabitant of this earth; however, for believers, we have an assurance of a time of peace that we will enjoy on this earth during the millennial reign of Jesus. His reign is set to take place after the war of Armageddon, the placement of Satan in the bottomless pit, and the casting of the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire. (These two will spend more time in the lake of fire than every other being).

Jesus’ headquarters will be in Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3-4 states, “And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up their sword against nations, neither shall they learn war any more.”  Yes, the world will not be perfect, for the scriptures reveal that Jesus will be ruling with a rod of iron, but under His rule, we know justice will prevail.

After enduring all of the climate changes that are presently affecting the earth, plus the twenty-one judgments that occur during the tribulation, the earth will also welcome and experience rest, restoration, and peace during the millennial reign of Jesus.

I am sharing this information with you because of the stress and pressures that people are voicing. I want you to be encouraged and know that things will change for the better. There will be peace on this earth and no destruction, and if you are a believer, you will be experiencing it with our Lord and King. Oh, what a great time that will be; I am anxiously looking forward to it, and I pray you are doing the same.

UNLEARNED GENERATION

While Israel was under his leadership, Moses adhered to God’s instructions for them, “Put a difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them” (Leviticus 10:10-11). Furthermore, as their forty years, wilderness journey was coming to an end, Moses included these words in his final speech to Israel, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9-10). Also, “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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). Lastly, “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. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth ” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21). Moses wanted the people to know teaching the children was vital, so he repeated this thought several times in his closing remarks.

After the death of Moses and Joshua, the second leader of the Israelites, the elders dropped the ball with the younger generation for the scriptures in Judges 2:8 -12 revealed. “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.” Unfortunately, their unlearnedness could be one of the reasons they ended in captivity.

In his writing to Timothy, Paul states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (Timothy 3:16-17). The Living Bible reads it like this, “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone. And The Message Bible reads,” Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

God gave us his Word to assist us in functioning effectively in this world. He desires that we all live a godly life, and none old or young should perish, which is accomplished by applying the Word to our lives.

Those of us who are elders have a daunting responsibility of sharing the Word with the younger generation. Though many may not want to listen, we must seek the wisdom of God for a strategy to reach them. The enemy of their souls employs all kinds of methods to distract them and draw them away from God, but with God’s help, we will carry out our assignment. And I declare our unlearned generation will hear the Gospel of Jesus and become a servant of the living God.

SWEET SLEEP

Psalms 3:1-8 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

Today I want to encourage you amid all the painful and troublous circumstances you may be presently experiencing. I want you to know that God hears your cry. He will strengthen and support you both physically and mentally, resulting in you having a sweet sleep.

In Psalm 3, King David is fleeing from Jerusalem due to the impending attack from his son Absalom. David had fought against many enemies, but he had never fought against a family member. Knowing his son wanted to kill him weighed heavily on David’s mind, causing mental anguish. Added to that fact was the realization that people whom he considered supporters and colleagues had turned against him and joined Absalom’s treasonous group.

As seen in Psalms 3, David’s lifeline was knowing God was his protection, he could cry unto him, and God would hear him. Though he was not in the palace where he could sleep comfortably in his bed but out in the rugged countryside, David was able to go to sleep having submitted all of his cares to God

Having slept, David awakens refreshed, knowing he did not have to be fearful for God handled all of his enemies. King David ends this Psalms in gratitude, acknowledging God saves and blesses His people

You can have the same sweet sleep as David by surrendering your mind, soul, and body to God. And when you awaken, don’t forget to thank Him.  

 BEWARE OF THESE MOVES

Adam and Eve resided in the Garden of Eden, and it was here that they daily communed with God. God instructed Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17-18). For an unknown period of time, Adam and Eve obeyed this command, but one day a serpent who was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made approached Eve and said, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Unfortunately, as they continued their conversation, the serpent deceived Eve, and she and Adam, who was with her, disobeyed God’s instruction.

This serpent who came into the first home continues to speak and cause havoc in this world. It is the responsibility of believers to recognize his ploys and not succumber to them. To help you better understand this cunning beast, I will share some of the natural characteristics of a serpent and needful spiritual application.

1. The cylindrical structure of the serpent’s body allows it unlimited access to hiding places; it can crawl in and out of cracks.

Spiritual application -The serpent can be found everywhere; it can move into places you thought were shut. What doors have you left open; close them. Where are the cracks,  fortify and seal all openings.

2. Serpents can move about rapidly and soundlessly.

Spiritual application – The serpent will not announce its presence, but it will be where you are before you realize it. Don’t be slothful in the things pertaining to godliness. When God says, “Go,” don’t hesitate.

3. Serpents can ascend into high places, and their external body patterns allow them to blend into the environment, so their presences are undetected.

Spiritual application – The serpent seeks to be around leadership and will carry itself in a manner that leads people to believe it is a partner and not an enemy.

4. Serpent’s eyes are always open, and they have a wide field of vision.

Spiritual application – While you are sleeping, the serpent remains awake, planning your demise. It is looking beyond you; wake up, be sober, and watchful. Ask God to help you see beyond the immediate, expand your sight, and give you eagle-eye vision.

5   Serpents swallow their victims whole, alive, and head first.

Spiritual applications – The serpent doesn’t wait for you to die; it comes after you while you are fully functioning. It devours your head first, the part of the body that controls your mind, hearing, sight, and appetite.

6. Serpents will eat whatever is available

Spiritual application – Young or old, sick or healthy if accessible, you will appear appetizing to the serpent.

7. Serpents are cold-blooded

Spiritual application – The serpent is not interested in your feelings; It does not care that you are suffering or struggling. Its goal is to kill, steal and destroy you. Don’t expect sympathy or empathy from the serpent.

I pray the above has given you food for thought, will assist you in your warfare, and help you recognize when the serpent is present. May we all be able to say, like Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; we are not ignorant of his devices.

SPEAK WHAT YOU KNOW

So often, in this life, we neglect to speak what we know, but instead, we allow opposing thoughts to occupy our minds. Unfortunately, this is not a new occurrence, for we can read about it happening in the Garden of Eden. According to the Word, the cunning serpent met with Eve and cast doubt about God’s directive to her and Adam. At first, Eve repeated to the serpent what God said, but after the serpent spoke lies and innuendos to her rather than speak again what she knew God said, she allowed herself to be deceived and enter into rebellion. From that time on, humans had to decide whether they would speak what the Word said or speak the words of the imposter.

In this world, the only thing that will last and stand the test of time is the Word of God. He said, “So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11) and “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35). Keeping these two scriptures in mind, we can boldly declare what God said in every situation in life, especially when we are confronted with erroneous words, philosophies, and deception. To help us, the Bible shares examples that we need to follow, and here are a few of them.

On the way to a mount in the land of Moriah, unbeknownst to what was about to transpire, Isaac asked Abraham about the sacrifice. Abraham replied, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8a). Abraham had faith in God, so he spoke his faith to his son.

After Joseph had been presented to Pharaoh to interpret his dream, Joseph told Pharaoh, “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16). Joseph knew that he needed God to download the interpretation of Pharoah’s dream in him.

When the twelve spies returned from spying out the land of Canaan, ten of them gave an evil, disheartening report, but Caleb said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13: 30). From past experiences, Caleb knew that they would be victorious with God on Israel’s side.

As he walked toward Goliath, David told him. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45- 47). David had faced a bear and a lion and was victorious; hence he had no fear facing Goliath, and he boldly declared that to him. 

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before the king who was going to throw them into the fiery furnace, they said, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniels 3:16-18). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were staunch believers, and the possibility of a death sentence did not alter their belief.

And lastly, Jesus our most excellent example when confronted by the devil in the wilderness three times he told the devil, ‘It is written….” (Matthew 4:4,7,10), Jesus did not lose focus of His assignment on earth; thus, He let the devil know that He knew the Word and He was going to adhere to it.

All the above persons spoke what they knew. They did not allow the enemy’s tactics or emissaries to hinder them from speaking the truth. They believed and stood firm, which is what I am recommending in this blog. Know the Word and say it, for when you do, you will turn your situation around. 

ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET BACK TO WORK

This blog is for those who feel hopeless, have become weary, and feel like giving up. I want to encourage you as we proceed in 2022. I want to share with you that which the Holy Spirit has impressed into my spirit for you and me.

It is crucial that when we pray, we pray according to the Word. The Word informs us that this world in which we live will get more tumultuous as the time of the rapture draws nigh; therefore, our prayers should focus on the strength believers need to work and stand amid chaos, confusion, and division. Also, the mind of Christ is required to direct our prayers for God’s will to be done on the earth.

Like most of you, I want trouble to cease; however, that is not to be. My assurance and consolation amid all that is happening is God is with me. With His abiding presence in my life, I cast aside the Spirit of Fear and Lethargy, roll up my sleeves and do the work God has for me.

When God created Adam and placed him in the Garden in Eden, He spoke these words to him, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” God knew the enemy was lurking in the garden. He knew his plan for the occupants, so he instructed them to subdue and have dominion. These are action words that require humans to do something. They were not supposed to accept the deceptive words of those around them but rather defeat, conquer, extinguish, get the better of, overpower, be in charge, and govern with sovereign authority.

From reading the Bible, we know Adam and Eve forfeited their place, thusly allowing Satan to seize control. The good news is that Jesus came and redeemed us, and He gave us power over our enemies. Daily we must enter into warfare, fighting sometimes and resisting others times, for the enemy is relentless in his plan of destruction for us. Furthermore, he uses all kinds of people and methods to accomplish his goal; however, we must declare, like Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” So, roll up your sleeves and get back to work defeating the enemy.

DECEPTION NOR MANIPULATION NEEDED

Let me begin this blog with the definition of deception and manipulation.

Deception = the action of deceiving someone, a trick or scheme used to get what you want, a misleading falsehood, misrepresentation.

Manipulation = the skillful handling, controlling, or using of something or someone.

A believer should not want these two words connected to their name, and I believe these two words speak to a person’s trust in God. If a believer has confidence in the Word of God operating in their life and the plan of God for them, all that is needed from them is to yield and follow God’s directives.

The scriptures share many incidents where these negative actions can be seen, and usually, people suffer from them. Such is seen in the stories of Jacob, and Abram and Sarai. 

Before the birth of Jacob, God spoke to his mother Rebekah and said, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). So, born first, God destined Esau to serve his twin brother Jacob, who was born after him. Jacob didn’t need to use manipulation to get his brother’s birthright and deception on his father Isaac to get the blessing bestowed on the firstborn. God’s plan of blessing and headship for Jacob’s life would have occurred without his interference. If Jacob had not used these methods, he would have continued to live in his native land, but instead, he needed to leave home because of his actions. Because the saying, “What you sow, you reap,” is true, Jacob reaped deception at the hands of Laban, his father-in-law, while he was in Padanaram. Plus, even after twenty years, he returned home fearing his brother Esau’s wrath, which did not happen because Esau had forgiven him.

Another story of manipulation is that of Abram and Sarai. God had told Abram that he would produce an heir. When years passed, and no child was born to their union Sarai used manipulation and got Abram to have sex with handmaid Hagar. After Hagar became pregnant, the relationship between Sarai and her was destroyed, and Sarai lived to regret her actions.

These are just two examples of deception and manipulation, and the bible is filled with many more. If we are wise, we can learn from the mistakes of others that it is damaging to the person being deceived and manipulated, and it holds consequences for the perpetrator. Additionally, these two actions are fruits of the Spirit of Divination which should not be found operating in the lives of believers, and most of all, God is not pleased when they are working in us. Therefore, I encourage you to pray against them functioning in you and boldly declare, “Deception nor manipulation needed.”