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Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Thought

On this Good Friday, the Prime Time Devo is a repeat from the Gospel of Mark as we remember the price our Lord paid for our sins. It comes from: Mr 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" As the supernatural darkness comes to a close at 3 in the afternoon, Jesus cries out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” During these 3 hours, Jesus was made sin for us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, (2 Cor 5:21) and He became a curse for us: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Ga 3:13) God turned completely away from Jesus (forsook Him) because He embodied every sin that has been or will be committed. Jesus was forsaken because God is too holy to allow sin in His presence. Hab 1:13a says, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.” Think of it. Every single sin ever committed. That lie you told last week? Paid for. That adulterous glance at pornography? Covered. That abortion. On Jesus' tab. Because Jesus became forsaken, you and I are not forsaken. Because God looked away from Jesus, He will not look away from us. Is it any wonder then, that God insists that no one can come to Him except through His Son Jesus? Do you really think that God is going to allow some other way to heaven after what happened on Calvary? Repent and believe the gospel! Think differently about God and believe that full payment of sin was made on Calvary, then receive His free gift of forgiveness through faith in His Son. It's the only way! Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And now you know one of the reasons why.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There Will Be No Disturbing of the Peace

# 382 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:11-14, “Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!" 13 And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth." 14 So he said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle." And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. ( 1 Sam 28:11-14) Saul has requested a séance with the medium. The King James version of the Bible puts Saul's request this way: “divine unto me a familiar spirit.” In other words, put me in contact with a spirit familiar with my situation. I don't for one minute believe that this was really Samuel. Samuel had passed away and was enjoying the absolute comfort and peace of resting in the bosom of Abraham spoken of by Jesus in Luke 16:25, “but now he (Lazarus the beggar, or in this case, Samuel) is comforted.” It would be a terrible thing to think that God would allow the comfort of His departed saints to be interrupted by seances! No this was a spirit who was familiar with Samuel and therefore familiar with Saul as well. This familiar spirit tipped off the witch of En-dor as to who she was really dealing with and she was frightened out of her wits because she felt she had just been caught practicing the dark arts and had signed her own death certificate. Saul assures her that he will not harm her and asks her to press on with the séance. Note that the familiar spirit uses it's power to disguise itself even as an angel of light ( 2Co 11:14b “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” and takes on the form of the beloved Samuel. This was so convincing that Saul falls to the ground and worships the familiar spirit.” My friend, do not toy with the supernatural in such a way. That dearly departed soul you want so much to contact in the here and now will have to wait. God loves them too much to disturb their comfort. Rather seek to finish the race in the faith and look forward to that great reunion when the Lord calls you home. Father, thank You for the promise of eternal comfort for those who die in the faith. Help us all to finish the race and be with You in Paradise. .

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Doctrine of Two Witnesses

# 381 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you." 9 Then the woman said to him, "Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" 10 And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Saul, desperate for supernatural direction, decides to turn to a medium for advice. As we have seen, the practice of necromancy (calling up the spirits of the dead) is strictly forbidden by God, and availing oneself of their services is also forbidden. Le 19:31 says, “'Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” It's interesting that Saul brings two men with him for his encounter with the witch of En-dor. Why would he bother to do that? One of the recurring themes found in Scripture is that a matter is established by at least two witnesses. It starts with the witnesses of the Trinity itself, (although God certainly doesn't need witnesses, He is not a man that He should lie, Num 23:19) and we see it on the fourth day of creation when God created the two great lights, “And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night,” (Gen 1:16) These two lights serve to remind us that nothing is hidden from God. Everything is witnessed by Him. And the use of two witnesses also shows up in the Book of Revelation (See Revelation 11) So from Genesis to Revelation we find mention of this doctrine of two witnesses often! These witnesses are God's method of establishing the truth of a matter among lying sinful men. These witnesses were necessary for Saul, because the witch of En-Dor would not tell him a thing without some sort of a guarantee. So Saul swore to her in the Name of the Lord and in earshot of these two men, that he would not rat on her and turn her in to face the death penalty. These two witnesses were for her protection and necessary for Saul to get the information he wanted from the medium. The doctrine of two witnesses is important for us in the church today, because it helps ensure justice in a matter. 2Co 13:1says, "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." Thank You Lord for providing this system of checks and balances for us today, as lying sinners....we need it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Unpluckable Hands of Jesus

# 380 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:7 “Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor." (1 Sam 28:7) Saul, gripped by fear because the Philistines have amassed their troops for an attack against him, has not heard from God and he panics. He decides to try anything that may work, even the forbidden dark arts. Oh how gleeful and quick to oblige is Satan when we panic. Let's see how this applies to our own lives today. Many times we find ourselves in tight situations. Circumstances come upon us and press in on all sides. It's going to happen, the question is how will you and I react? Will we patiently endure and hold to the promises of God's Word and allow the Lord to pull us through, or will we panic and bolt? The Bible tells us that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If you've ever watched a nature film notice how the lion seeks a victim that panics and bolts from the protection of the herd.. Don't bolt beloved, it's what the devil wants you to do! Rather we should patiently wait for the Lord's deliverance in our situation. When you came to faith in Jesus, you were placed in the very hand of God, but this hand is an open hand it is not a clenched fist. There are no fences. You are free to leave that open hand at anytime. The devil will try anything he can, to get you to panic and leave that open hand of God's protection. Stay the course. Wait on the Lord, He will pull you through, and remember this promise from Jesus in Joh 10:28 “And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.” Though the devil harasses you from every side, stay in the nail scarred unpluckable hands of Jesus. Father, thank You for this promise. Help me to overcome any fears I may have today, and let me rest in the knowledge that I am safe in Your hands.

Monday, April 14, 2014

We Have His Word and the Holy Spirit

# 379 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Sa 28:4-6, “Then the Philistines gathered together, and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. ( 1 Sam 28:4-6) Nothing like fear to draw us into the prayer closet. Saul is desperate here, but his prayers are not being answered. Sometimes we find ourselves in fearful situations and it seems to us, like Saul, that God is not answering our prayers. This dilemma occurs even though we have the distinct advantage of having been given the two things necessary for guidance. Namely God's Word and the Holy Spirit. We are the beneficiaries of what is mentioned in Isa 30:19-21: “For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. 20 And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. 21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left” We no longer need the toss of a coin, or special nocturnal visits by God or one of His representatives dressed in sackcloth. We have His Word! 2Ti 3:16 reminds us , “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” But even though we have His Word, we must learn to avail ourselves of it and be willing to respond to it! Ps 32:8,9 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. Father, thank You for Your Word, let us draw near to it daily and gladly receive Your instructions. As the Psalmist says, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. (Ps 5:3)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Demonic Dummies

# 378 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Sa 28:3b, “And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land. (1 Sam 28:3b) So far in this series on the occult, I have been looking at verses in the Old Testament. The only New Testament incident involving a “medium” type person is found in Acts 16:16-18, “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.” The Greek word used here for divination means a gateway or a doorway. This girl was used as an entrance or a go-between, a medium if you will, for a demonic spirit. Mediums are also referred to in scripture as people with “familiar spirits,” and the Hebrew word for a “familiar spirit” means ventriloquist. In short she was the dummy in this demonic ventriloquist act. She was used by her earthly masters to contact a spirit who was familiar with the paying customer. May the reader and the listener take note. Demons are ever observing our actions and can reveal much about our lives through the person who has given themselves up to the dark side. In this sense, mediums are more legit than the world wants to give them credit for. Their observations about past events in your life are as reliable as the spirit (the demon) who is familiar with your activities. Nonetheless, they are evil. So think this through before you seek advice from the occult. If this is harmless activity, why did Paul seek to cast the demon out in the name of Jesus? It's not harmless! In fact it is dangerous! Why look to someone who works for the father of lies and can only comment on past activity and then use that information to try and paint a picture of your future? Why not turn to the One who is true and not only observes your actions, but also knows your heart? Why not turn to the One who holds your future in His nail scarred hands? Turn to Jesus, and if you want to become familiar with a spirit, let it be the Holy Spirit!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Occult Part 4: Impatience and the Dark Arts

# 377 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:3b, “And Saul had put the mediums and the spiritists out of the land. (1 Sam 28:3b) Saul, sought to follow God's Law in removing mediums and spiritists from the land. This was an ongoing problem with the Israelites as their patience often wore thin in times of duress. Impatience is an age old problem and it's still with us today. Why? Why are we so prone to lose our patience and wander away from the God who loves us so much! (He loves you! Look at the cross?) Why are we so quick to seek answers for our circumstances and relief from our pain in all the wrong places? It is God's desire to walk us through our pain. It is His wish to reveal His will to us through His Word. Our biggest problem in this regard seems to be a lack of patience, which then spills over into a lack of trust. We want answers and we want relief now, and if we don't get it from God, well, then we'll get it from somewhere else. The problem is this relief is always short lived and it's end is “distress and darkness, and the gloom of anguish.” Listen to the prophet Isaiah, “ Is 8:19–22, - And when they say to you, Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously, against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness. What is he saying here? In a nutshell, he is saying, when people are distressed and their souls are hungry, they have a tendency to speak against God and look to the heavens and the things of earth to satisfy. The end of these things are gloom, anguish, and utter darkness! Whatever situation you may find yourself in today....ride it out! Look to the Light of the world He alone can satisfy the hunger of your soul!. Joh 7:37b says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Jesus, quench the thirst today of the parched soul.