Bewitched

I looked up the word “bewitched” in the search section of e-sword, a digital Bible and reference site available online. There are three listings of verses in the New Testament, one in Galatians 3:1 and the other two are in the book of Acts.

I was thinking of the television show, “Bewitched” with Samantha and Darren and baby Tabitha as some of the main characters. Elizabeth Montgomery played the pretty mom, Dick York as the first actor to portray the dad, with Dick Sargent as the last, and Erin Murphy as the little one.

I was doing dishes and thinking that I didn’t dislike housekeeping as much as I did years ago.970617650-woman-washing-dishes-housewife-housework-comfort-retro-style ... (Photo from:  http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.zw__H3aWQZEZ0wVQ3YpDcQEUDi&pid=15.1&w=126&h=103&p=0 )

 

Suddenly an image of Samantha’s vacuum cleaner working around the house after she twitched her nose came to mind. I used to wish I was a witch so I could get my work done and go outside many years ago. Immediately, I’d negate that thought. I’d been brought up going to church on Sunday and I felt a love and respect for God from childhood on up. It just felt wrong to think I wanted to be a witch.

That television show introduced me to witches’ jargon I’d never been aware of. Possibly many in the country felt the same way. Such beautiful people with powers, and the nosey Gladys Kravitz–the neighbor, seemed annoying. She was played by Alice Pearce at first, and then Sandra Gould stepped in as one of the performers. She used to dress up with white gloves and wear a white hat, on occasion, probably on her way to a service to worship God, the foolish woman who was just seeing things, according to her husband’s point of view.

Initially remembering the show gave me a warm feeling inside, but as an adult it occurs to me that the normalization of witchcraft, which God abhors, is not a good thing.

It’s funny how as a child I instinctively knew that certain things were taboo. In the book of Acts, we hear of sorcery from God’s point of view.

Act 8:5, (ESV):  Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.

Act 8:6  And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.

Act 8:7  For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.

Act 8:8  So there was much joy in that city.

Act 8:9  But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.

Act 8:10  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”

Act 8:11  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.

Act 8:12  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Act 8:13  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

Act 8:14  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,

Act 8:15  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

Act 8:16  for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Act 8:17  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Act 8:18  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,

Act 8:19  saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Act 8:20  But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

Act 8:21  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

Act 8:22  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

Act 8:23  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

Act 8:24  And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

In the King James Version, it says Simon had bewitched them with sorceries.

Exo_22:18, (KJV):  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Deu_18:10, (KJV):  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, (Practicing magic) or an enchanter, or a witch,

As I continued around the house I got thinking of Galatians 3:1, (ESV) and beyond:  Gal 3:1  O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

Gal 3:2  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Gal 3:3  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Gal 3:4  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Gal 3:5  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—

Gal 3:6  just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Gal 3:7  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Gal 3:8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Gal 3:9  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal 3:10  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Gal 3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Gal 3:12  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Gal 3:14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

“Satan is an accuser of the brethren,” it tells us in Rev_12:10, (KJV):  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

He works against all people in very subtle ways. As a writer, I’ve had the thought that Christian concepts could be boring to people. If that is not a thought from God’s enemy, I don’t know what is?

When I felt the power of God heal my left side a couple of Sundays ago, I was filled with joy. I had noticed a sharp-edged bone as I exercised and on Sunday I thought the still, small voice of the Lord asked me to go forward and pray for me and anyone else that needed healing. I did that in our small church and it wasn’t easy to take that step of faith. Warmth flooded me from the hip down to my ankle. After church a lady asked if I was getting physical therapy without having had an X-ray or an MRI. I admitted I hadn’t had one. So, my dr. sent me for an X-ray and all was well.

I can’t say that my muscles are completely better yet, but there is much improvement. God is far from boring and His Word delights and speaks to internal issues I need to deal with and relationship helps I should take advantage of, and so much more. Plus, after life, there is an awesome eternity that we can’t even imagine, it says in the New Testament.

I really went on a long time, and if you stayed with me, I pray God will bless you big time. Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Kings

I started reading 2 Kings yesterday and it occurred to me that God asks what do you want in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Was it because of where I was reading that I felt as if God asked me what did I want today? Whatever the reason, I did ponder that question.

If the God of the universe is asking me what I want as He asked Solomon and as Jesus asked the two blind men calling him from the side of the road in Matthew 20: 30-34, then it’s worth serious consideration.

What would you ask God for if you thought He was asking, “What do you want?”

Would you ask for healing for the short amount of time we have on this earth compared to all of eternity? Would you ask for a mate to marry and then possibly have children with that mate if you’re in child-bearing years? Would you ask for a better job? Would you ask for wisdom or riches? Would you ask for a skill to better the world for all of mankind? Would you ask for help in a faltering relationship? How about asking for social justice?

When Elijah neared the end of his life, his protégé Elisha stayed close by him even when Elijah tried to get him to leave. Finally, before the chariot from heaven came to collect Elijah, he asked his apprentice what he wanted from him. He wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. After the request was granted, stories of God’s power in the hands of Elisha got me thinking of the wondrous nature of God.

God removed poison from the pot of stew, He restored the life of a young boy, He allowed Elisha to call down a curse on a large group of young men that mocked Elisha and two mother bears came and attacked 42 of the boys.

I’ve heard that story before and it never occurred to me that that number of young men was a sizable group. I wouldn’t want to meet up with a gang that size and them looking for trouble.

Also, in the Jewish culture, respect for parents was part of their law. Lev 20:9, (CEV):  If you curse your father or mother, you will be put to death, and it will be your own fault.

Honoring elders was a part of their culture, so for them to mock Elisha showed a lack of morals. In addition, if they knew he was a prophet, then the offense would have been worse.

I love reading the Bible, yet in the book of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, it shows the kings of Israel and sometimes Judah, turning from God to false gods and what a mess that results from that choice. The Moabites worshiped Molech and they threw their children into the fire as a human sacrifice. God abhors that and the penalty for that in Leviticus 20:2 is stoning of the offenders.

I know God sometimes asks us what we want, but how often do we ask God what He wants? I don’t know about you, but I don’t ask often enough.

May God bless you.

A Restful Day

There is one advantage to a cold and windy day in my life. Every time I thought about going outside, a loud rumbling wind shook our house a tiny bit. I’d look outside and see the trees flinging their leaves through the air and think, I’m not going out in that freezing weather. (It’s still windy tonight and it started yesterday evening.)

So, other than cooking and doing some dishes and a small excursion out the front door to see if our garbage can survived the blowing, (it had disappeared), I stayed inside. I layered myself in blankets and scarves made of yarn and a fluffy long cowl in style last year. It may still be fashionable, but I don’t notice what’s happening in the clothing industry at the beginning or the end of trends.

Anyhow, when my husband got home from work he asked me what I did all day. I told him I mostly read a book. “You took a day off?”

“Yes, a day off.”

Last week, I mentioned on this blog that we counseled a young mom with lots on her plate that she take a day off once a week. As my husband emphasized this to her, I thought, When is the last time I took a day off? On Sunday, I got up earlier than I wanted to, to fulfill an obligation, then I helped with the children, took a small nap because I was exhausted, and then got to evening church earlier than normal because the worship leader asked me to for extra practice. Unfortunately, I drank a caffeinated drink, not thinking how late it was, and so I didn’t sleep well.

So, I slept in this morning and the day took off on its own. It felt kind of nice to have a day off and I’ll be busy with family and preparations for Thanksgiving for the next few days.

I read in the book of Acts today. It’s so easy to read about the Apostle Paul being empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak more boldly of Jesus Christ and then the consequences of it. He received power from on high, so he worked miracles and then people got saved. Other people got jealous of the crowds leaving their religion to follow Jesus, and then Paul got persecuted – stoned and left for dead, beaten with whips and placed in jails. On his way to Rome, his ship got beaten by a severe storm and they all had to float to an island on boards of the ship if they couldn’t swim. When a poisonous viper attached itself to Paul’s arm, the natives thought Paul was destined to die. After he shook the snake into the fire, they waited for him to swell up with the poison coursing through his veins. After he lived, they decided he was a god and tried to worship him. The same thing happened earlier in Athens, they thought he and his co-worker were descendants of Zeus and began worshiping him. He had to set them straight.

I tried to picture living the life Paul lived, an imperfect man trying his best to represent Jesus Christ to the Jews and then to the Gentiles in a humble manner. To be trusted by God with the gift of miracles and to suffer “a thorn in the flesh,” to be reminded that his full reliance is on God. He couldn’t expect a pain-free life here on earth.

I don’t read the Bible to be entertained, but not having lived to those extremes, it gets me thinking of faith and what it may require. My fiction book today spoke of Christians living with pain. I’ll try and write of that tomorrow.

All in all, God is near to the brokenhearted, it says in Isaiah_61:1, (KJV), The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

And again, Jesus says this in Luke_4:18, (KJV), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”.

May God bless you!

 

 

 

God’s Wondrous Works

“That I may proclaim and publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” Psalm 26:7 (KJV)

I hear more often from my daughters than my sons, maybe it’s a girl thing. They have more words to give than their brothers. Today I heard from one of my daughters about eight or ten answers to prayer she had over the last week. She is a newlywed in a new neighborhood with lots of kids around. They’ve discovered the hours when she’s home. She has a heart for kids. So, one of her prayer requests is that she could get some extra food without spending more at the grocery store so the kids can have a snack.

Sunday night our church had a worship service and a healing ministry if God wants to bless in that manner. I always invite her and her husband to come out for it if they can. They don’t live nearby, so I’m not sure if they’ll make the effort or not. They made it this last Sunday.

They got treated to dinner by his folks at a restaurant, so after our service when a group of people wanted to attend a local pizzeria, I told them if they weren’t hungry they could join us and just have a drink. She wanted to visit with everyone, so they agreed. When my pizza came without the right crust or the right toppings, I began to eat it, but I did say to one of the ladies that it got all goofed up. She told our waitress that we needed a corrected pizza.

Then I noticed they never delivered the fourth pizza. If we bought two at a time, we saved nine dollars on the price of the fourth pizza. The waitress realized she wrote the order down and never gave it to the cooks. So, she put the order in after we were full and told them to just box it up to go. I offered my daughter and son-in-law the leftover pizza and our friends didn’t want the fourth pizza, so she and he left with a full pizza and at least a half pizza, if not more for no cost to them. That was one of our daughter’s answers to prayer.

She had story after story of God giving them things they needed this week, some just in time.

My other daughter called with a few answers to prayer this week as well. My sons call with praise reports on a less regular basis because I hear from them less anyway. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

I called my son right in the middle of writing this blog because my computer asked if I wanted to slow keystrokes down because it was giving me too many letters at a time. So, I said yes. Then I had no keystroke ability at all. Since I allowed the change, I didn’t think turning off the computer and re-starting it would help. So, I called my son, who knows computers better than I do, and he had no idea how to fix it. He said to Google it, and it worked. Praise God! An easy fix when you can follow instructions. He also said, “Mom, don’t say yes to allow changes on your computer, ever.”

Of course, I said, “Okay.”

So, I’ll stop bragging on my son. 🙂

Then, I got thinking of a verse that brags on Jesus and all that He did while living in His human body. My husband helped me find it in the last book of John. John 21:25, (KJV) says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

My husband was quick to point out the word suppose in that verse. “This is an exaggeration,” he said.

I know that, but it’s one of my favorite verses. The miracles and teachings Jesus gave in the New Testament provide such food for thought and to imagine that there were so many more we’re not aware of from the Scriptures, it boggles my mind. What a good God we serve.

May God bless you!