Is there any such thing as white magic? Is it OK for Christians to read their horoscopes or study astrology or numerology? Is there anything wrong with tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, and palm reading?
Have you ever dabbled in those things? Would you know how to talk to someone who has?
If there is a spiritual world out there, should we be afraid of it? How do we resist those things?
1 Samuel 28
White Magic, Jesus & Resisting the Devil
1 Samuel 28:
Mediums and Spiritists
This is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible and difficult to understand at first glance. The chapter opens by telling us that Samuel has died and that Saul has banished all the mediums and spiritists from the land. Then when God won’t answer him, he resorts to seeking out a medium himself.
How about you? How do you respond when answers to prayer are slow in coming? Do you continue to wait on God or resort to your own solutions?
We can’t put God in a box or demand that He do things on our timetable. Just because we have decided to walk in biblical love and forgiveness toward our spouse, doesn’t mean God is, immediately, going to cause him or her to change.
Just because we give financially doesn’t mean all our debt will disappear or we’ll instantly have the job of our dreams. In fact, our expectations are often part of the problem. We are to obey God out of a desire to please Him, not to get some desired result. Instead, we need to trust Him for the right result. It’s not that blessings don’t come as a result of our obedience, but our attitude is not to be one of “giving to get something.”
God has always forbidden His people to seek after spiritists and mediums.
Deuteronomy 29.29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
In fact, under the law anyone practicing such things was to be put to death! And God’s attitude about them has not changed. There is no such thing as “white” or harmless magic, witchcraft or spiritism, even if its practitioners claim to believe in God or talk about Jesus. It’s not the Jesus of the Bible. Remember, the devil Continue reading →
Magic, mediums, spiritists, witchcraft & Halloween: What does the the Bible have to say about these things? What about Christians and our participation in Halloween? How is any of this a conscience issue? How does your family handle this holiday and why?
Today’s reading in Jeremiah is pretty shocking in some ways. God declared judgment on His people. He said some would die “gruesome deaths,” that some would be “consumed by the sword” and others would be “meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth” (16.4). He said this would happen because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem” (15.4) and “… you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me” (16.12).
“Each one,” so while Manasseh was singled out because of his leadership in doing evil, they weren’t being judged just because of something he had done, but because they had done the same things and even worse. If you go back to 2 Kings 21 you can read just what the sins of Manasseh were. It says:
3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols),
16 Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
It was bad enough that the people had returned again and again to their idolatry, but Manasseh brought the worship of false gods right into the house of the true and living God! This would be like a husband bringing his lover right into his wife’s bed and then setting up a permanent place in their house for him to go and commit adultery with her.
He “also made his son pass through the fire.” He sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to one of these demonic gods.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, he “practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums.”
We read something like that and think, “Wow, those people were really horrible!” But does a passage like this have any application to us?
Ephesians 5 says:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
We’re to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Look at that list again in 2 Kings 21.6 above: soothsaying, witchcraft, spiritists and mediums.
Soothsaying is the use of supernatural spirits to affect this world or predict the future. Witchcraft is the practice of magic, the use of spells, or the invocation of spirits. Spiritism is the belief that the dead communicate with us in some way. A medium is someone used to communicate in some of these ways.
That would include palm reading, horoscopes, so-called white magic, crystals, new age religion, or spiritism of any kind.
In our part of the country, I have heard things like this numerous times, “Well, my mother says it’s OK to go to this lady who removes curses. She says she believes in Jesus.” She may believe in Jesus, but James said, “… even the demons believe …” (Jas. 2.19). We’re to have no fellowship with those things.
Maybe like me, you’ve heard people say, “I read my horoscope for fun, but I don’t really believe it.” Again we should have no fellowship, no involvement with, those things!
Why would we want to play around with anything that would be displeasing to God? Genesis 3 says that the serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field. His question to Eve was “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3.1). In other words, “Did God really say …?” He’s still asking the same question in various ways today.
Christians & Halloween
At this time of year, Christians sometimes wonder whether or not it’s OK to dress up or participate in Halloween activities. I think there’s some gray area here and needs to be considered prayerfully.
Some churches provide alternative events where children dress up, play games and get candy and treats. Some families participate in Halloween, but are careful about the costumes they wear. Other believers refuse to participate at all.
I believe costumes that are focused on the things of darkness (witches, goblins, death, etc.) would fall under “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” But there is nothing inherently sinful about dressing up in another kind of costume.
When our children were young we took them to church events rather than participate in activities that were questionable.
In recent years, my husband and I have decided to buy candy and pass it out along with gospel material as our outreach to our neighbors, though if I had children at home, I probably wouldn’t. It’s not a matter of approving Halloween, but of being a light in the darkness.
I recently heard a man speak who has been involved in preaching the gospel and helping people grow in Christ for over 40 years. He told us about attending a protest between Christians and gay-rights activists. While many of the Christians were screaming and warning people they were going to hell, he was walking among the gay crowd, introducing himself, talking to them, asking them questions, and sharing the gospel. His Christianity was winsome and he had numerous opportunities for real dialog. I believe that seeds were planted that may bear fruit in God’s timing.
If you’ve read my blog for any time at all, you know I’m not afraid to take a stand on these issues and others, but I would hope that what ever we do, the love of Christ would shine through, whether toward the world or toward other believers.
The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.
Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4
Friendships & Counselors
As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.
Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!
Friendships & Counselors
In previous posts we talked about our tongues along with wise listening and in the last post we talked about wise attitudes toward money and “stuff.”
In this post we’re going to talk about our associations, especially our friendships and who we listen to when we seek advice, either formally or informally.
Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the advice of fools leads to disaster and heartache. Could you be listening to advice that may sound good, but could take you farther from God and His purposes for your life? Could it endanger you, your marriage, your other relationships, or even your relationship with God?
The Bible has a lot to say about the person who tries to go it alone and never listens to anyone.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Prov. 12.15 ESV).
Wise advice is a great blessing, but bad advice can lead us over a cliff. It’s tempting to surround ourselves with people who think like us, rather than people who challenge us to change and grow. We like friends who will listen to “our side of the story” and sympathize with us … people who will tell us what we want to hear instead of what we may need to hear. Continue reading →