Monday, December 05, 2016

Movie Mondays: And So It Begins

Let's hang out for a few moments each week! Welcome to "Movie Mondays"!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Spiritual Warfare

Demons have a notorious way of acclimatizing to where they are, warns Tope Koleoso, pastor of Jubilee Church in London. And in secular Western society, this means playing right into our neglect and diminishing of the supernatural.

But Ephesians 6, and the rest of the Scriptures, would have us stay aware of the unseen realm, and remember that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It is not Christian to suppress the supernatural.
(Desiring God Ministries. April 9, 2013.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Do We Have a Spirit That Can Exist Separate from Our Body?

This is a bit off topic from yesterday but my kiddos, or maybe it was just one of them, told me I should try making videos...or at least one video. Maybe they meant like a vlog or a Youtuber video. I don’t know, but I do know I am really not that great at it. Besides, I am a writer...not an artist, not an animator, not a cinematographer, etc. How would my videos go? I would not do an animated series nor would a video of just me talking be of any interest...boring! Not to mention… What in the world would I talk about? I’m just me. I have a blog which hardly anyone ever reads, I’m sure. I thoroughly enjoy writing however I do not have a book published or anything. I am not a professional athlete, nor an actor… Okay well, I am, or was, an athlete but not a professional one. I do enjoy doing theater work but I am not a celebrity or well known anything, really. I’m just me.

I blog about faith, God and Jesus, the bible, life, whatever I am studying at university at the time, parenting, travel, etc. And, people who do videos regularly have the proper equipment for it, like a professional microphone...though it is my understanding some Youtubers record the audio to their videos in a closet. Okay, maybe I’ll try that tip. I don’t even have a “hook”, something to get people interested in whatever it is I am going to say...which I still have not figured out.

Okay, back to yesterday’s topic.

When it comes to the “spirit” or “soul”, I use these terms interchangeably, I agree a person continues to exist after he or she dies. His or her spirit “departs” (Genesis 35:18) from his/her body. Scripture to support this is:

5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
(Psalm 31:5. ESV.)

43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."...

46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
(Luke 23:43 & 46. ESV.)

59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7:59. ESV.)

23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Philippians 1:23-24. ESV.)

8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8. ESV.)

23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23. ESV.)

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne….

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
(Revelation 6:9, 20:4. ESV.)

Matthew 10:28 states,
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Romans 8:16 states,
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

And, Acts 17:16 reads,
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem states, “Scripture is very clear that we do have a soul that is distinct from our physical bodies, which not only can function somewhat independently of our ordinary thought processes (1 Corinthians 14:14; Romans 8:16), but also, when we die, is able to go on consciously acting and relating to God apart from our physical bodies.” (Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI. 1994, 2000. P. 482.)
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. (1 Corinthians 14:14. ESV.)

16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16. ESV.)

Grudem goes on to say, “...there will be a time between our death and the day Christ returns when our spirits will temporarily exist apart from our physical bodies.” (Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI. 1994, 2000. P. 483.)

Okay, so we have a spirit that can exist and relate to God apart from our physical body. My next research question is, what happens to the spirit after the body dies? Does it go straight to heaven? Does it sleep? Does it wander the earth? We shall see. To be continued...

(Photo Information.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Spirits Haunting Eight Mile Road, Stockton, CA

When I lived in Rio Vista, CA, from 2001 to 2012, we were just a short jaunt away from Stockton, CA and, the said to be haunted, Eight Mile Road. Infact, we often times traveled Eight Mile Road between 2001 and about 2003 or 2004. We generally stayed at the west end of the street and had no need to venture past the 99 freeway, heading east.

Recently, it has come to my attention there are stories circulating of three “spirits” causing havoc on Eight Mile Road east. According to some, there are two Native American “spirits”, one child and one woman, and one “lady in white” who seems to cause the most ruckus.

First, I want to be clear, I follow the bible’s view of “spiritual warfare”, “demons”, “angels”, etc. One article I read about Eight Mile Road showed illustrated pictures of each “spirit”. The Native American woman was represented as peaceful, maybe sad, and beautiful. The other two, the “lady in white” and the Native American child, were pictured with demonic faces. I do not know the background story of these two or why an artist would show them in such a way, other than the write up about how the “lady in white” startles drivers and could cause an accident. I believe it is fair to say other articles, shows, etc. might shed some more light on this.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12. ESV.)

As I was reading about David and King Saul in 1 Samuel, I came across a verse that mentions a woman calling on the spirit of Samuel and King Saul having a conversation with the spirit of Samuel. 1 Samuel 28:8-19 states,
8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." 9 The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?" 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, "As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." 11 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." 13 The king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 14 He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do." 16 And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines."
Further digging into this scripture is needed for me to have a better understanding of it.

The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost in Matthew 14:25-27 which states,
25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."
And again in Luke 24:36-39 which states,
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."

To continue on this topic, I will look to John Piper, maybe John MacArthur, and Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem to dig a little deeper and research a bit further. To be continued...

(Photo information.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Serving Others: The Social Experiment

Have you seen this? It is presented on Youtube as a social experiment. A boy, who says he was abandoned at seven years old, is placed in 5 degrees Fahrenheit conditions without shoes, a jacket, etc. The boy is left standing out in the cold and no one stops to talk to him or help him for two hours. In social psychology there is such a thing as the "bystander effect". This is "the effect in which an increased number of witnesses decreases the likelihood that someone will help another." (Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer. Thinking Critically About Social Psychology. 2016. Dubuque, IA. P. 126.) There is also "diffusion of responsibility", which is "the belief that other bystanders will/ should take responsibility for helping others in need" (Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer. Thinking Critically About Social Psychology. 2016. Dubuque, IA. P. 126.). These are only two of many possible reasons people might not have responded to the boy standing out in the cold.

After two hours, a man approaches the boy, starts talking to him, and offers him assistance. He takes off his own jacket and puts it around the boy. As the man continues talking, we find out he is homeless.

The homeless man knew what it felt like to be in the boy's situation. Even though he had next to nothing, he was willing to give to the boy whatever he could to keep him warm and fed.

Is it easier to help others with whom we can relate? If we have been in their shoes or a similar situation, does that make for kindred spirits? I am not entirely sure. I have actually seen things go both ways. On one hand, I have witnessed a relationship of two who understood each other. On the other, I have seen a relationship of one who perhaps feels he or she had to fight and make his or her own way and so should the other person. Does that make sense? Perhaps compassion or empathy plays a part in here, too, no matter what.

Or what if we concentrate on the part of the circumstance with which we can relate or feel compassion? I do not know what it feels like to be homeless, but I do know what it feels like to be cold. I do not know what it feels like to not be able to buy something to eat...I think the cheapest burger I ever found was under a dollar. But I do know what it feels like to be hungry.

How can we, as human beings, improve upon serving others?

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40. ESV.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mental Illness Mentioned in God's Word

13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, "Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?" (1 Samuel 21:13-15. ESV.)

After coming across the verses above which clearly mention mental illness, I have been searching the scriptures further, looking for more. From what I have seen, though, most verses do not specifically acknowledge mental illness but rather address “those afflicted with various” things. Could those “afflictions” include mental illness?

24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. (Matthew 4:24. ESV.)

4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4. ESV.)

2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2. ESV.)

1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. (Luke 9:1-2. ESV.)

39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:39-40. ESV.)

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:13-15. ESV.)

28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, 29 and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. (Deuteronomy 28:28-29. ESV.)

There are also verses that may allude to mental illness or that mention things such as anxiety like 1 Peter 5:7 which states,
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
But it is unclear if the verse is speaking of general anxiety or the type of anxiety that is sometimes included with a mental disorder. I, personally, feel 1 Peter 5:7 is addressing general anxiety that most of us experience. Then, there are verses that are vague and leave a person wondering what the author meant by it, entirely.

Further, in my search, I am not taking into consideration any “affliction” that sounds like a physical or medical disability or illness, spiritual warfare as found in Ephesians 6:12 which states,
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Or the casting out of demons such as found in Mark 9:14-29 (ESV) which reads,
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." 19 And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me."20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." 23 And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And he said to them,"This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."

And, then, there is King Nebuchadnezzar and his loss of “reason” as described in Daniel 4:28-34 (ESV),
28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" 31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,...
It looks to me, on this occasion, Nebuchadnezzar suffered some sort of mental illness.

I wish I could find a way to search the scriptures in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) so as to be more thorough. But, for now, I am going to comb over the Psalms of David since 1 Samuel 21 is an accounting of a season of his life. To be continued...

(Photo information: Bing Images Public Domain.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Wise and Discerning Wife

Abigail listened closely as a young man spoke to her. Her beauty radiated and her mind was knowledgeable. She was both attractive and understanding. The young man spoke with earnest. Perhaps he knew he could trust her and that she would act wisely.

The young man described the king’s son in law, David, who sent messengers to meet with Abigail’s husband, Nabal, a very rich man who was not inclined to share his wealth. The young man explained how her husband treated the messengers unkindly though David’s men had protected him, the husband’s shepherds, and livestock. He explained,
The men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. (1 Samuel 25:15-16. ESV.)

Abigail took in all that he said then asked, “Did my husband not understand to whom he was speaking?”

“I am certain he did yet his response to them was harsh and criticizing. He told them,
‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’ (1 Samuel 25:10-11. ESV.)
“I am afraid he has made a terrible mistake! He is such a worthless man, that not one can speak to him and now he has brought harm against himself and all his house.” (1 Samuel 25:17)

Abigail knew this to be true and believed her husband to be a harsh and badly behaved man. She also found the situation he had created to be very serious. She wasted no time and went quickly to prepare an offering of goods fit for a king.
She took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. (1 Samuel 25:18. ESV.)
She sent all of this with her young men and followed behind. She did not, however, speak a word of it to her husband.

When Abigail met up with David she immediately got down from her donkey, fell to the ground, and bowed before him. She knew he was upset. He had said,
Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. (1 Samuel 25:21. ESV.)

Abigail answered,
On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. (1 Samuel 25:24-25. ESV.)
She explained how she did not see the king’s servants when they came but brought a present for all of them, now. “Please, forgive the trespass of your servant (1 Samuel 25:28),” she said.

David was thankful. Abigail, and her discretion, had saved him from having to shed blood and destroy all that belonged to Nabal because of his foolishness, harshness, and bad behavior. He took, from her hand, what she had brought him and said,
Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition. (1 Samuel 25:35. ESV.)

Abigail left him and went to find her husband. When she arrived she saw he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king (1 Samuel 25:36). He looked to be having a marvelous time, was very merry, and quite drunk. She decided it would best to wait until the morning before she told him what she had done. She left and waited for the morning light.

The next day, when his drunkenness had worn off, Abigail went to her husband. She told him about David and taking the two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep already prepared, five seahs of parched grain, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs to him as a gift. Her husband’s heart “died within him, and he became as a stone” (1 Samuel 25:37).

About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal , and he died (1 Samuel 25:38).

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said,
Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head. (1 Samuel 25:39. ESV.)

(Photo information: Bing Images Public Domain)


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