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Election Day Blues

SIH STSTA ICONWe’ve all heard of the “Wedding Bell Blues”  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkMhWQgkZ8c), a hit song by the 5th Dimension.  But have any of us heard of the “Election Day Blues”?  I’ve sure got a case of them…

This week, we will be going to the polls to vote in the 2010 General Election.  Our choices for candidates will vary between Republican, Democratic, Constitutional, Green, Socialist, Communist and other lesser known parties.  What a blessing it is to be able to participate in open elections for governmental offices.  Men have shed their blood to give us this right, and for this, I am thankful.  Our Lord has been so good to us allowing us to live in a free country such as ours.

In spite of the continued blessing of freedom, my discouragement stems from the fact that I truly believe that our country is headed downhill and, without an act of divine intervention, will continue on a course to utter spiritual ruin.

Our Bible gives us the only remedy for our national ills…

THE SCRIPTURE:

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.  (Pro 29:2)

THE STUDY:

Based on our text, the Lord makes it plain that our only hope is for our Lord to raise up Godly leaders who will look to Him for guidance and put His desires first for our nation. It breaks my heart when I realize there are very few men and women willing to do this in today’s time.

When was the last time you heard one of our public leaders stand up on the floor of Congress and ask for our leaders to meet together in prayer, to seek The Lord’s desires for our nation.  This is what our nation needs, and yet, I have NEVER seen this type of request come from anyone holding high public office.   How many leaders use Scripture to persuade those around them during a time of debate?   In the few cases, I’ve seen them use a verse from the Bible to support their stand on any issue, it was always presented as an afterthought, never as the central basis of the decision they have made.

Many of the candidates we have put into office claim to be a Christian, and yet how many have put Christ and His desires first once they get into office?   Abortions continue, the Word and prayer is continuing to be removed from schools, euthanasia is on the increase, and yet what is really being done about it?  For the sake of the electorate, many of our leaders give these issues lip service, but once in office they seem to do nothing about them.  So, I find myself giving them my precious vote only to be disillusioned after a few years of seeing them in office.  This is why I am feeling the “Election Day Blues”.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

The only hope for our nation is found in the Lord.  The Lord will have to raise up Godly men and women who are willing to not only mention His name, but follow His desires for our country.  What is our responsibility in all of this… I believe it is two fold:

  1. seek the Lord’s will concerning running for public office and taking a stand for Him. (Matt 16:24)
  2. pray for divine intervention in the coming elections and our national ills (2 Chron 7:12-15)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Think about what is taking place in our country… Is it in better condition now than 20 years ago?  If not, ask yourself, Why is our country going downhill?  The obvious answer is that our country has turned from its spiritual foundation, the Word of God.  Just as a country’s condition worsens without God; so too, any individual who has left the Lord out of his life is headed for coming destruction.  Recognize your condition; turn to Christ; and recognize the need for His intervention in your life.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Have We No Shame?

SIH STSTA ICON“Sir, have you no shame?” …This question is said to have been used during the questioning of Sen Joseph McCarthy by Joseph Welch during the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954.  In reality, this question was never posed to the Senator.  The actual quote from Welch is as follows… “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” (see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy)

Although this question may have never been asked in 1954…  I believe that now is its time.   What better question could bring into focus the current state of the world in which we live?

Today, the murder of unborn infants is justified by the excuse that the unborn are only a part of their mother’s body, when their DNA clearly shows they are a separate human being.

Today, we see the perversion of homosexuality becoming an acceptable lifestyle, while standing against this sin is being publically described as “bigoted” or “hateful” by “gay rights” groups.

The immorality of conceiving a child out of wedlock, is being trumpeted as valued female independence.  Deceit, in order to advance in the workplace, is now a fact of life and looked upon as a sign of being “aggressive” or “hungry”.

Cheating on the part of our professional athletes has become as common as the lies that are told to cover up the cheating.

The removal of God’s Word from our schools, public places and government is being explained as being “politically correct”, while in reality it is “spiritually wicked”.

A multitude of sins are excused away with no thought of assigning responsibility, nor punishing the wrongdoing.

The morals that used to receive honor and respect are now looked upon with ridicule and distain.

The list goes on and on.

Does our nation not see the shredding of our moral fiber, and the resulting shame we have brought upon ourselves?  Do we not, even now, feel the grave results of this type of behavior in our nation?  Do we not see how we have taken the morals graciously given to us from our Lord, and trampled them under foot?

Again, may I ask “Have We No Shame?”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jer 6:15-16)

THE STUDY:

Long ago the prophet Jeremiah, under the inspiration of the Lord, addressed this issue of a nation who no longer felt shame for their evil deeds.  In the context, Jeremiah addressed the Southern kingdom of Judah, by calling their attention to the heinous sin that had overtaken their society.  What was that sin?  They had left the truths God had given to them, and began living according to what seemed right in their own eyes. (Provs 30:12)   (The condition of Judah during this time period mirrors the condition of our country today.)

Jeremiah 6:15-16 is a short part of the message that The Lord had given Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah…

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:

 

One of the main problems in Judah was lacking sorrow for the sin they were committing.  They had become so hardened toward their Lord, that they were able to commit sinful acts with no shame, nor regret.  It was as if they no longer cared about their Lord’s desire for their nation, but had chosen to turn their back on Him.  In doing so, they were living according to their own set of morals and became blinded to the desires of their God.

 

therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

 

This is the path they had placed themselves on… the path of imminent destruction.  Remember, the Lord had graciously given them His law to aid them and keep them pure and safe.  The morals of the Lord are beneficial to those who live by them.   When Judah chose to turn their backs on His laws, they were turning their back on their own safety, security and aid.   The Lord would now allow them to continue down the path of their choosing until they would end up as captives to the empire of Babylon. Who was to blame for their downfall?… only Judah.  The Lord had shown them the way of safety, they choose to depart from it, and in doing so, they were writing their own ticket to captivity.

This is the exact condition of our nation… we are going down a path that will eventually lead to our downfall.  We can see this on every hand as our nation struggles with economic, political, security, environmental, and most importantly, spiritual ills.

 

Thus saith the LORD,

 

The Lord gives the only true solution to the problems that Judah was facing.  This solution is divided into three distinct parts:

Part #1Stand ye in the ways, and see

 

Recognize the condition they were in.  By looking back at their history and God’s past blessings to them, they would be able to clearly see the sinful acts being committed in their nation.  They could recognize how horribly they had trodden on His gracious acts for them.  By remembering the blessed times, they could see all the blessings that had slipped away, and the grave situation they were now facing.

Part #2 –  and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,

After seeing their need to turn from their wickedness, their next step was to seek out the truths of His Word once again.

Part #3and walk therein,

 

It is not enough for a nation to “go through the motions” of religion.  The truths of God’s Word must be applied by the citizenry.  As the members of the nation turn back to the old ways and realigning their lives to follow God’s Word, you have true national repentance taking place.

 

and ye shall find rest for your souls.

It is only this type of sincere, practical acceptance of the laws of God, that a nation can be delivered from its downward spiral of disobedience and loss of blessings.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For our Nation….

But they said, We will not walk therein.

What a sad conclusion Judah came to, after all of the Lord’s patience, after His grace and kindness towards them, they failed by not seizing their opportunity for repentance.  When push came to shove, they could not bring themselves to turn from their ways and seek to do what was right.

Just as Judah had reached a point of decision making before God, so, too, our nation is facing the same time of reckoning.  With the current economic, political and spiritual problems in our nation today, we now see the handwriting on the wall.  There is very little doubt as to what our nation faces if it continues on the path it has chosen.  Now is the time…  The Lord has placed before our nation a simple, yet extremely important choice, it can be summarized by the following two passages…

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! …

Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”  (Isa 5:20-24)

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;…

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Ch 7:13-14)

United States, which path will you choose to follow?

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If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Turn, Turn, Turn – Our Ever Changing World

SIH STSTA ICONThe 1960’s group the Byrds recorded a hit song “Turn, Turn, Turn”.  This song is based on a section of Scripture found in Ecclesiates 3:1-8.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4

Basically, these verses tell us that God’s plan for mankind is constant change.  This means that events are constantly changing around us, nothing on this earth can be expected to last, nor can it be expected to possess eternal value.

The Byrds named this song “Turn, Turn, Turn” to reflect the ever changing nature of the world.  However, they did not realize that by entitling this song “Turn” they were also giving us the key to stability and eternal security in the midst of this ever changing world….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luk 24:46-47)

THE STUDY:

Our text can be divided into 2 parts:

Part #1 – vs 46 –

This verse teaches us the basis of true peace, contentment and security in the midst of an ever changing world… the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on behalf of His people.

Thus it is written,

The basis of our security on this earth is a subject covered in great detail throughout the entire Bible.  Both Old and New Testaments are filled with prophecies, historical accounts, and personal testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ, His work while on earth, and the results of that work.

and thus it behoved

The Greek word translated “behoved” is a word that means “it was absolutely necessary”, “binding to fulfill a purpose”.  In other words, what Christ accomplished as He lived, died and arose was a work that was absolutely necessary to be performed.  He was bound to perform this work if His people were to be saved and made secure.

 

Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

This work of Christ involved, His suffering and death at the hands of the Jews, the Romans, and by implication, each one of us.   He suffered and died for the sins of His people so that they might be saved. (Matt 1:21)  We all have sinned, and therefore, by implication, are responsible for the suffering and death of Christ.

Christ’s suffering and death on the cross was an absolute necessity to pay the price for the sins of His people (Col 1:20-23, Col 2:13-15)    Then, Christ’s resurrection was the proof given to man that His sacrifice was acceptable to God to pay the price for the sins of His people. (1 Cor 15:12-18)

Together these works of Christ (His death, burial, resurrection, and their proofs, make up the gospel “good news” of Christ 1 Cor 15:1-8).

Part #2 – vs 47 –

This verse teaches us of our need to turn to Christ to receive His salvation and security.

And that repentance and remission of sins

Here, the word “repentance” comes from a Greek word defined as “to turn”, “to reverse” or “to change”.

In other words, salvation will only come to those who are willing to turn from their sin and their unbelief.

In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus Himself issues an invitation to those who see their need of forgiveness, communion and security from God.  What was His call? “Repent ye and believe the gospel”.

He was telling sinners everywhere that they were to turn:

  1. from sin to His service (they must come being willing to give up their sin and be willing to now obey Him.)
  2. from rebellion to submission (they must be willing to no longer live for themselves but now be willing to submit to His will for their lives.)
  3. from disbelief to faith in Him (they must leave their doubting and denial behind and come to acceptance of His existence, Deity and work on their behalf.)

This is the type of “turning” that the Bible prescribes for anyone who sees their sinful condition and desires forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ.  This “turning” works faith in our hearts as our attitudes about sin, Christ, and His Word changes we come to a point of belief in Him.

 

As Christ intervenes in our life He turns us from sin to Him and, in doing so, grants us remission for our sins.  “Remission”  means “to deliver” or “to grant freedom from”.  Much like a rescued slave is delivered from their captivity and granted their freedom, Christ does the same for the truly repentant.  (Gals 4:3-7)

 

should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

This message is so important Christ has given a command for us to take this message of “repentance and remission” to everyone on the face of the globe.   Why? Everyone has sinned and is in the need of a Savior.  (2 Tim 2:25-26, Acts 17:30)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should always have thankful hearts, realizing Christ gave us the ability and led us to repentance entirely based upon His grace….  (Jer 31:18, 2 Tim 2:25-26).  Lets serve Him today from a heart filled with appreciation for all He Hass done for us!!!

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The call of Christ is plain “repent ye and believe the gospel”. Turn to Christ and trust Him with your sin, your life, your needs, your goals… and your eternity.   It is only through turning to Him and trusting Him that you can receive forgiveness from your sin, peace in the midst of a turbulent world, and security knowing you are headed for an eternity with Him in paradise.   (Romans 6:, 2 Cor 4:)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Halloween Part #5 – The Series Summary

With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s end our 5 part series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Co 6:14-18)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  (Jas 1:27)

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Pe 1:13-16)

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1Co 8:7-13)

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1Co 10:31-33)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:6-9)

THE STUDY:

In our previous studies we have seen 4 basic principles concerning the Halloween festival:

  1. The festival of Halloween’s history is connected with the belief that the spirits of dead men walk the earth, it was observed in preparation for the worship of “the Lord of Darkness”,  it was held to appease and secure peace with these spirits for the upcoming year.
  2. The death symbols of Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Vampires, and Bats all were connected to the spirits of the dead which did not immediately go to their eternal state, but were able to dwell on the earth, avoiding the judgment they were facing and wreaking havoc among earthly beings.
  3. The sorcery symbols of Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons were related to  the casting of magical spells and incantations that affect mankind.   Also, the worship of false gods through idols derived from God’s creation (moon, planets, etc) was associated with these symbols.
  4. The necromancy symbols of Séances and Ouija Boards has the purpose of communicating with the spirits of the dead.

 

The Halloween festival, its related characters, and their connection to the occult, are very important considerations in the examination of our level of participation in the holiday.

Some areas of our examination should include:

  1. Are we properly separating ourselves from the sin of this world by participating in the Halloween festival?  (2Co 6:14-18)
  2. Is our level of involvement in Halloween considered “conforming” (molded into the shape of) or “fashioned” to this world? (Rom 12:1-2)  (1Pe 1:13-16)
  3. Is the Halloween celebration “spotting” our testimony for the Lord? (Jas 1:27)
  4. Is our participation in Halloween causing our weaker brothers to “stumble” in their walk for Christ?  In other words, are they encouraged to make bad life choices based on the example we are setting? (1Co 8:7-13)
  5. Can our participation in Halloween be done for the Lord’s glory? (1Co 10:31-33)
  6. When we are participating in this celebration can we be having our minds on that which is true, honest, just etc.? (Php 4:6-9)

Over the years, I have seen four basic “levels” of participation in Halloween by God’s people:

  1. A total participation which involved decorating and dressing up with any of the symbols our study has examined. Along with participation in trick or treating and other exclusively Halloween activities.
  2. A participation that involves decorating and dressing up but avoiding demonic images and using only more benign symbols like princesses, cowboys etc. while still participating in trick or treating etc.
  3. A participation in “Harvest” or “Fall” parties on a date other than Oct 31st that totally exclude the Halloween title and avoid all aspects of the holiday (no trick or treat, no costume wearing etc.)
  4. No celebration of any type.  No decorating, no costumes, no parties. They treat the holiday just like any other day.

Which do I believe is the proper approach?

  1. First, let me emphasize that every Christian must decide for him/her self as to the level of participation in Halloween activities.  There is no ‘thus saith the Lord’ on the subject.
  2. Remember, participation in Halloween is NOT participation in the sins it represents.  In other words, you can participate in Halloween and not be guilty of the sins of necromancy, the casting of spells etc.
  3. The question for the believer is … by participating am I appearing to condone these activities that Halloween symbolizes?  Am I placing upon myself the appearance of approval or indifference to those activities? By participating am I saying…. “Hey its no big deal” ?
  4. So what do I think?
    1. Please remember, it really doesn’t matter at all what I think, all that matters is what God’s Word says.  However, for the sake of you who are reading this, I need to take the time to explain what I believe…I think a full participation in Halloween, with costumes and decorations that include the occult symbols is a very questionable stand for a Christian to take.  My feeling when it comes to my service to the Lord is …”it is always better to be safe than sorry”.  If you have a question about an action.  Don’t do it!
    2. By removing the occult symbols out of the Halloween celebration is certainly a big step in the right direction. “The appearance of evil” is basically being removed from the issue. However, the activity of trick or treating and wearing of any costume does have less obvious occult implications.  But certainly, this is a far better than our first option. Also, by participating in trick or treat, it opens the opportunity for witnessing by distributing tracts and pocket sized Bibles with the candy that is passed out to children who come to your door.  The Christian considering this option will have to weigh the gospel going out against the indirect occult association of Halloween.  For me, this is a very difficult decision to make.  I can easily see both sides of this option.
    3. I see no problem at all with the last two options of a harvest party or no celebration at all. Both are totally benign options that have no occult connections whatsoever.

If you would like to have more information about the proper Christian role in Halloween please take a look at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/1126.  This is a link from Bro John McArthur’s website and well worth our time to read it. (A special thanks to Sharon A. for sending me this link, it’s a good one!  It is much appreciated.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

So let me end this study as I began this study by saying can we, as Christians, say our participation in Halloween aligns itself with (1Th 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

May the Lord lead each of us to an understanding of His will and an attitude of understanding and temperance towards other Christians.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The greatest need that we all face in our lives is the need for the forgiveness of our sins.  We all have sinned and come short of our Lord’s expectations for us.  If you have never been saved, Halloween should not be your main concern, but concern about your sinful condition should take priority.  How do we find forgiveness of our sins and peace with our Lord?

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

 

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Halloween Part #4 – The Necromancy Symbols

With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part 4 of our 5 part series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.(Isa 8:19-20)

Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:31)

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:26-27)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh 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 himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.(1Sa 28:7-25)

THE STUDY:

The History of The Necromancy (to prophesy using the dead) Symbols:

Séances – Attempts to communicate with dead spirits have taken place throughout history.  From rites performed among many ancient religions, to the Biblical account of King Saul consulting the witch at Endor (see below), to the Fix sisters claims of speaking to the dead through the first modern-day use of séances in 1848; the desire to speak to those who have died has been an ongoing pursuit.

The modern Spiritist movement began in 1848 by the Fox sisters of New York.  The sisters began hearing strange noises at night.  It was believed by the sisters that these noises came from a spirit dwelling in the home.  In response to a series of questions posed by the sisters, the spirit began to answer them using a series of knocks.  Interest in this phenomenon grew as word of the event spread.

In 1888, one of the sisters confessed that the entire series of events was staged.  According to her, the sisters had used joint cracking and apples dangling from strings to create the illusion of the sprit’s responses.  Later, the sister recanted her confession, however, most researchers believe that the confession of fraud was truthful.

It was through this series of allegedly fraudulent events that the popular use of modern séances was begun.  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Séance

Ouija Boards – The first use of Ouija boards was thought to be in China in the 1100 BC.  It is recorded in the Chinese history under the tern “Fuji” or “pointer writing”.  Portions of the Chinese text “the Daozang” is claimed to have been written entirely through the use of the Fuji.

Patents for the modern day lettered board were filed in 1891.  The first board with the name “Ouija” was produced in 1901.  One of the creators claimed the name “Ouija” is Egyptian for “good luck”.  However, the more widely accepted translation for “Ouija” is “Yes”.  This board reached its peak of popularity in the early to mid 1900’s.

In both the Quija board and Séances, we have the attempt to speak to the spirits of dead humans in view.  This easily fits into the Halloween tradition of attempting to commune with, honor and pacify the dead spirits that roam the earth.

Is it possible to communicate with the dead?  Is the Lord pleased with attempts to communicate with the dead?  Let’s see what the Bible says…

In our texts, we have different aspects of communicating with the dead described by two different terms:

“them that have familiar spirits” –  Hebrew phrase “one that speaks in a jar”  “one that mumbles”

“wizards (that peep, and that mutter)” – Hebrew  phrase “a knowing one” “one that conjures”

As followers of the Lord, we are to seek counsel, wisdom and knowledge from our God not the dead:

“should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony:”

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”

We must always judge messangers based upon the Word of God.  If a messenger proclaims anything that does not align itself with God’s Word, they are to be recognized as lost individuals and unreliable messengers of God:

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Please notice, that the Lord clearly condemns attempts to communicate with the dead:

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them”

This is a grave sin punishable by death according to the Old Testament law:

“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

The account of King Saul going into the witch at Endor is a very important event that we need to address in our study of “necromancy” (to prophesy using the dead)

Please read our text … 1 Samuel 28:7-25.

The two questions that we must answer about this account are:

1.  Was the spirit seen by the witch actually the prophet Samuel, or was it a demon masquerading as the prophet?

2.  If it was Samuel, does that mean that the Lord used a forbidden act (necromancy) to deliver His message to King Saul?

To answer these questions we must remember some basic, Biblical principles…

  1. King Saul received God’s punishment (death) due to this horrible sin he had committed (1Ch 10:13-14)
  2. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that He spoke to mankind using necromancy.  In times past, He spoke through His prophets and, later, His Son.  His Word is the only reliable record of the messages spoken by His prophets and Christ. (Hebrews 1:1-3).
  3. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Lord used the spirit of a dead man to speak to anyone. Likewise, the Bible does not say that we can speak to those who have died.  Conversely, the Bible indicates it is an impossible. (Luke 16:24-27)
  4. Satan is a very powerful deceiver, who can deceive the minds of men. (2 Thess 2:9-10)
  5. Based on our previous study on death (Halloween Part 2) we said that there is no intermediate dwelling place for dead spirits. They immediately enter into the eternal state, from which they cannot depart (Lk 16:25).
  6. Saints are said to be at rest and in glory with the Lord after their death.  It is hard to believe that they can be yanked out of their state of peace, at the whim of a medium.  (2 Cor 5:, Rev 6:11)
  7. If we say that Samuel actually appeared to Saul and delivered God’s message; in essence, we are saying that God refused to speak to Saul when Saul approached Him.  But, when Saul used an illicit method of communication, the Lord conceded and sent His message to Saul. (1 Sam 28:5-6, 28:15-21)
  8. Satan and his demons can masquerade as messengers of God with the hopes of deceiving the listeners. (2 Cor 11:14-15)
  9. Keep in mind, that Saul had not received any new information from “spirit Samuel”.  This being had only repeated the very same message that Saul had received previously from God. Compare 1 Samuel 15: with the message “spirit Samuel” spoke to him.
  10. The witch claimed that she saw “gods” ascending out of the earth.  This Heb word can speak of angels, or mighty ones.  What she actually saw were demons (fallen angels) who have access to this earth.  They were seen coming up out of the earth, just as the second demonic beast of Revelation came out of the earth as well (Rev 13:11)
  11. What had taken place was, following his breach with the Lord, Saul entered a state of being open to Satanic intervention.  Much like a “reprobate” described in Rom 1:21-32.

To summarize, the story of Saul and the witch of Endor is a story of a man, who, after willfully sinning against the Lord, is separated from God due to his sin.  Once separated from God, He continues on his downward path, falling deeper into sin by seeking counsel from the dead through the use of a medium.  At this point, Satan intervenes, sending a demonic messenger to Saul, in the hopes of deceiving Him into thinking he is communicating with a messenger from God.

Satan’s purpose? To further deceive Saul and mislead him into a further corrupting of the nation of Israel.  This is much like the role that Satan and his demons play in our society today…”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1Timothy 4:1)

Think of the great deception that has followed due to this sin on the part of Saul… Not only was the witch, and Saul, deceived into thinking this was Samuel, but many people throughout the following generations, have tried to use this account to validate and legitimize necromancy.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Once again, as before, let me ask each of us the question I asked at the beginning of our series… have we taken the time to prayerfully consider 1 Thess 5:21-22…“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

It is obvious that by participating in the holiday of Halloween in no way makes a Christian guilty of consulting with spirits.  However, is participating in the Halloween festival “abstaining from all appearance of evil”?  This is what each of us should prayerfully consider.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

There has been a recent surge in interest concerning the afterlife.  The entertainment industry has been fueling this flame with a release of many movies and TV series that deal with the subject of consulting with spirits and other issues of the occult.   As we have seen in our study, to get a proper understanding of the afterlife, we should consult the Scriptures alone.

The Bible makes it plain that, through the intervention of Christ into our lives graciously granting to us forgiveness and peace, we can be prepared to enter the afterlife.

Do you know that you are prepared for the afterlife? The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Halloween Part #3 – The Sorcery Symbols

SIH STSTA ICONWith the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part  3 of our 5 part series on Halloween:

A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)

  1. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  2. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  3. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  4. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

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, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.(Deu 18:10-12)

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.(2Ch 33:1-6)

If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.(Deu 17:2-5)

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Exo 22:18)

THE STUDY:

The History of Black Cats, Witches, Spiders, Werewolves and Full Moons:

Black Cats & Witches – In ancient times, people believed that souls of the dead appeared as black cats.  The black cat was commonly used as an idol to worship the wiccan goddess Diana (the goddess of heaven and nature) There were some that believed that witches could change into black cats or that perhaps, they were reincarnated witches from a past lifetime. Others thought that cats were the “evil assistants” of witches who aided the witches in the casting of spells and other enchantments.

Witches were thought to have traveled on broomsticks to gather twice a year to honor and worship Satan (April 30 and Oct 31).

These beliefs made the witch and the black cat prime candidates to be included in the Halloween celebration.

http://www.suite101.com/content/black-cats-and-halloween-a162217

http://www.theholidayspot.com/halloween/witches.htm

 Spiders – It was believed that spiders hid in witches’ robes, and whispered instructions in witches’ ear. Also cobwebs are associated with places not frequented by life.  Cobwebs are signs of death and desertion.   Also many people share in the fear of spiders.  This all combines to a possible explanation why spiders have become a part of the Halloween festival.http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EPG/is_1998_Nov_1/ai_53101480/

Werewolves & Full Moons  – Werewolves come out at night with the full moon.  Full moons are also related to witches, who are said to come out and play during full moons.  Many aspects of Satan worship takes place under the light of full moons.  The full moon was also an astronomical representation for Diana, the wiccan goddess.  Full Moons were also believed to enhance the power of spells and enchantments. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/411347/halloween_moon_omens_a_look_at_whats.html

In many variations of the Werewolf legend, human beings had a spell cast upon them which resulted in them becoming werewolves. Te spells either come from Satan, or witches, desiring to use them to attack or kill others.  Also, it was believed that making a pact with the devil would give a human the ability to “shape shift” allowing them to transform into a werewolf. http://www.trueghosttales.com/werewolves.php

In all of the above Halloween symbols, a common thread is that of spells, enchantments, and acts of magic.  Again, lets ask the question, what does the Bible say about these things?

In our texts, and throughout the Bible, sorcery, witchcraft, or an enchanter or charmer was described as an “abomination” (disgusting and abhorred, something that must be put off).  In other words, the Lord says it disgusts Him, He is abhorred by it and cannot stand to have it near Him.

“…, or that useth divination,… or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, … or a wizard,… For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” (Deu 18:10-12)

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen,… he built altars for all the host of heaven … used enchantments, and used witchcraft, …and dealt with… wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” (2Ch 33:1-6)

This was such a horrible sin, in Old Testament times, it was punishable by death…

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exo 22:18)

Also in our texts, the worship of the sun, moon or stars was an abomination punishable by death…

“…And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; … that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”  (Deu 17:2-5)

These heinous crimes, are emphasized, when we think of how kind, gracious and loving our Lord is.  For the Lord, in the Old Testament, to demand capital punishment in response to these sins, speaks volumes about the wickedness and dangerous nature of these actions.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Do we feel uncomfortable about participating in a holiday that is so closely joined with these atrocious sins?  Although we all understand that taking part in the Halloween festival is not literally committing these sins, does it matter that these sins are symbolized by the holiday?

“….for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Co 6:14-18)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

There are many who have dabbled in the occult religions.  The Lord made it plain that these sins are grave, serious sins that will bring about eternal punishment.  However, the Lord also made it plain that these sins, if repented of, will be forgiven through the work of Christ on the cross.

For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. (Psa 25:11)

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isa 1:18)

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1Ti 1:12-16)

 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:19-21)

For more information on the forgiveness of God for our sins please refer to my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God…. Forgiveness… Salvation

Halloween Part #2 – The Death Symbols

SIH STSTA ICONWith the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s look at part 2 of our series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (2Co 5:1-11)

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecc 12:7)

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. (Php 1:20-24)

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luk 23:42-43)

THE STUDY:

The History of Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats:

Skeletons & Ghosts – Both were reminders of the death and the afterlife.  Keep in mind, the central theme of the Samhain eve festival was to honor and pacify the souls of the dead who walked upon the earth.  (Please refer to Halloween Part #1 – The Celebration)   The skeleton and the idea of ghosts were the ideal symbols for death.  The skeleton refers to a dead body; while a ghost refers to the spirit after its departure from the body at the time of death.

Jack O Lantern – Based on a legend about Jack, a lazy drunken farmer, who had trapped Satan with the use of a cross.  In exchange for his release Satan agrees to never take Jack’s soul.  At his death, Jack, who couldn’t enter heaven due to his sinfulness, nor could he enter hell due to his agreement with Satan, is trapped forever wandering the earth looking for a resting place.  He uses a hollowed out turnip with a burning coal in it to light his way.  This turnip that gave forth light was gradually changed to a pumpkin over time.

In some societies, the lighted pumpkin face was symbolic of the god of the darkness, Samhain, who would turn away other weaker evil spirits.  The people would place these pumpkins on display to ward off the evil spirits.

For more information about the history of Jack O Lanterns please refer to:  http://www.history.com/topics/jack-olantern-history

Frankenstein – The story of the Frankenstein monster was presented in a book by Mary Shelley, “The Modern Prometheus” or “Frankenstein”.  The tale of “Frankenstein,” revolves around Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s attempt to assemble a human body from parts derived from various dead bodies that were obtained from a graveyard.  Once assembled, Frankenstein then successfully brings the body to life. Over time, the monster demands to have a mate created by the Doctor.  After a failed attempt to create the mate, the monster rebels against the doctor. Dr. Frankenstein is forced to destroy his own creation.

The basic idea of this book was derived from a dream of Mrs. Shelley in 1815. In this dream, Mary saw her dead daughter suspended over a fire, warmed, and then brought back to life.

It is plain to see how easily the Frankenstein monster fits into the Halloween scheme.  Once again, we have the story of one who was once dead, possessing life and walking upon the earth.

http://www.thingsinthebasement.com/index.php/site/comments/the_history_of_the_frankenstein_monster/

http://www.phobos-deimos.com/History/Frankenstein/Frankenstein%20History.htm

Bats & Vampires – According to legend the Vampires, also know as “the living dead”, came out at night to feed upon the blood of their victims.  They soon became associated with bats due to the vampire bat of South America that came out at night, drank blood of animals to survive.

Most historians believe that both of these then became associated with Halloween due to their nighttime activity and their association with evil and death.

Vampires were ideal characters for Halloween due to their status as the living dead.

Bats, became associated with Halloween from their activity in ancient times. The druids would build fires to offer sacrifices and worship their false gods.  These fires would attract insects, who in turn would attract bats who feed off of them.  With the bats flying and congregating over the fires, they soon became associated with the spirits of the dead who were seeking a resting place.

http://www.hauntedbay.com/history/bat.shtml

All four of these groups of Halloween symbols share a common thread… death and restless spirits wandering on the earth.

What does the Bible say about the spirits of dead men walking the earth?

In our texts, the Bible makes it plain, that once a spirit departs from it’s earthly house (human body), the spirit goes into it’s eternal state:

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

“To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Note: this was spoken by Christ to the thief on the cross moments before His death.

This is one of the greatest of all Christian desires… that once we are done being used of God on earth, He will take us to our eternal home….

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope,”

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ;”

For those who are not saved, physical death and the accompanying entrance into the afterlife is a dreaded event.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;”

There is not a shred of Scripture that indicates that once a spirit leaves a body the spirit continues on in the earth, not entering it’s eternal state.  This teaching is made to order for Satan to mislead the lost into thinking that there is a way to escape eternal punishment for sins.   And yet, the Bible is clear…. All lost mankind will be punished eternally for the sins they have committed.

“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” (Col 3:24-25)

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”(Rev 20:12-15)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Can we honestly say that we “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22) when we participate in the Halloween festival?  Please prayerfully, consider this question.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Remember, the Bible is plain…. After death we all must face a final judgment, answering for what we have done in our lives.  There is no escaping this.  If you realize you have committed sin and desire for to live your life for Him, then turn to Him realizing you can do nothing to save yourself.

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Halloween Part #1 – The Celebration

With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s begin our 5 part series on Halloween:

A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)

  1. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  2. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  3. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  4. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.(Eph 5:8-13)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.(Rom 13:12-14)

THE STUDY:

A Brief History of Halloween:

The Celtic New Years Day, November 1st was set apart for the observance of the feast of Samhain. This day was set apart to worship Samhain the “lord of the dead” or “the lord of darkness”.

The evening before this celebration, the last day of the Celtic calendar (October 31st ) was set aside as a holiday to honor and pacify the dead.  The pagans believed that, on October 31st, dead souls and demons walked the streets at night on their way to the place of the dead.   During the celebration, costumes and masks were worn in the hopes of keeping away the evil spirits. They would leave gifts of food for these beings to insure peace with them for the coming year (modern-day “trick or treat”).

Bonfires also held a major role in the observance, with the burning of animal remains resulting in purification of sin and the preparation of entrance into a new year.

The Catholic church tried to “Christianize” this holiday by changing it name to “Hallows Eve” (the evening before All Saints Day a day set aside for the honoring of the Catholic saints.)

For further information about the history of Halloween please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween  and http://www.holidayinsights.com/halloween/samhain.htm

Many beliefs surrounding the Halloween celebration run contrary to Scripture…

  1. The worship of “the lord of darkness”
  2. the belief that the spirits of the dead roam the earth
  3. the presentation of offerings to the dead
  4. the purification of sin through animal sacrifices

All of these, plus many others, clearly go against the principles of Scripture.

If there was one word that best describes the Halloween celebration it is the word “darkness”.   Everything about the holiday centers on the occult, the dark forces of this world, and the darkness of spiritual blindness being clearly on display.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Not only should we be aware of the history of Halloween, but also the principles laid out in the Scriptures that should apply to each of our lives.

In our two texts, in both cases, the basic principle is that a Christian is to be separated from the works of the darkness of this world…

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

let us therefore cast off the works of darkness”

Also, remember that we are to be completed separated from these works….

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light”

“For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

“let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

Why are we to make certain we are not taking part in the works of darkness?…

Our testimony is at stake…

“now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

“(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”

The time is short before His coming…. We must reach the lost with our testimony…

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand:”

The level of our participation in the Halloween observances is between each Christian and his Lord.  We need to prayerfully consider the history of Halloween as well as the principles of the Word of God.  May the Lord lead and guide each of us as we continue our study of Halloween.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

What is necessary for your life, is to turn from your sin to Christ (repentance) and place your faith in Him as the only way of salvation.  You can do nothing to save yourself but the Lord Jesus Christ, came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  He took upon Himself the punishment for sin, so those who look to Him will not be punished.

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.(Gal 1:3-5)

For more information on salvation. please feel free to click on the blog page entitled “How To Have A Relationship With God…. Forgiveness… Salvation” for much more information.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn our previous study, we examined the Lord’s teachings on The Proper Preparation for Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)  We will not begin looking at The Makeup of Our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Please note the Lord never said to recite this prayer.  He makes this plain earlier in the context of this prayer. (Matt 6:7-8 – Please see Part #1 for a further explanation).

If we study the phrase “after this manner” we find that the Greek word for this phrase means “in this way” or “following this pattern”.  It does not mean to “use these words” or “repeat after me”.   He is giving us a “pattern” for us to follow as we pray.

As we pray we should express… 

#1 – Our Reverence Of Him

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

We need to recognize His greatness and express that greatness and what it means to us.  In this example Christ is centering on the Father’s greatness by expressing the need for His name to be treated as higher than all other names. “… Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. “  (Neh 9:5)

#2 – Our Desire For His Will To Be Done Above All Else

 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

These two phrases are simply repeating the same point twice:

“Thy kingdom come” – let your kingly rule take perfect control of all things.

“Thy will be done… heaven” – His will is being done perfectly in heaven… we are to desire the same here on earth.

 This has two implications as we pray…

First, we are to desire His will to be done in any issues we bring to Him.

We should follow the perfect example of Christ, who prayed as He sought for the crucifixtion to be taken from Him… “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. “ (Mat 26:39)

Secondly, we should be willing to do whatever He may reveal to us as we seek His guidance for our lives.

Again, we are to follow Christ’s perfect example for us… “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (Joh 4:34)

 #3 – Our Physical Needs

Give us this day our daily bread.

We are to bring all of our physical needs before Him;  our financial, health, and vocational needs, to name a few.

 #4 – Our Spiritual Needs

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

We are to bring before Him our need of forgiveness and our need to treat others as the Lord would treat us.   Repentance for known private, and public, sin in our lives should be dealt with during our prayers. Also, the need for others should be addressed in our prayers.

 #5 – His Leadership For Our Life

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Acknowledge His sovereignty over all events in our lives and the activities of Satan and demons.  Especially, seek to avoid situations of temptations, relying on His leadership to detour us.

 #6 – Verbally Praise and Glorify Him

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Our prayer is to be made with God’s glory in mind.  Everything that a Christian does is to be done in faith, for God’s glory.  (Roms 14:23, Roms 11:36)  This is the main difference between the sinful moral acts of a lost man and the God pleasing acts of His saints. (Isa 64:6, Eph 2:2)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Prayer is not as complicated as we want to make it… it is simply, honestly, recognizing His greatness and then, by grace, speaking to Him by opening up ourselves and seeking to hear and follow His instructions.

Prayer should be more like approaching a King who is our brother or father.  Approach Him with reverence as God and King, but knowing He is sympathetic towards our every fault and need.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. “ (1Pe 5:6-7)

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONAbbott and Costello, the legendary comedy team of the 40s and 50s, was the most famous comedy team of their time, and perhaps, of all time.  Their performance of “Who’s On First?” has passed the test of time, still being enjoyed by all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfmvkO5x6Ng  “Who’s on First” is an example of a failure to communicate clearly to others .

SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, originating in the early sixties, is man’s attempt to communicate with aliens from another planet.  After almost 50 years of trying, SETI has, to date, yielded no proof of alien communication with earth, nor the existence of alien life.  It seems to be a serious waste of much needed capital, which could be used to fund many other fields of scientific exploration.  http://www.seti.org

How about the day to day communication that should take place between husband and wife? Most polls indicate that a failure in communication is one of the top three reasons why marriages end in divorce.   Here, a lack of communication causes a rupturing of the family unit and the breaking of marital vows.  This is an extremely serious problem that leads to the ruination of lives.

But there is one other type of communication failure that brings about even worse results… a person’s inability to communicate with Christ.  In the case of the unsaved, his communication ruptured by his sinful condition. (Isa 59:2) The only remedy to restore that communication is God’s forgiveness. (1 John 1:6-10)

However, the Christian can also experience a loss of communion with the Lord.  Christ presents a lesson on communion’s hindrances and remedies for those who are saved and seeking a closer walk with Him….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

In Part #1 of our study we will be looking at Our Preparation For Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Here we find our Lord presenting to us five different principles…

Principle #1 –  We should prepare our hearts to be sincere in our prayers. We need to be SINCERE.   

The Greek word for “hypocrite” is a word that means “to play a role” or “ to be an actor on a stage”. Our prayer life we are not just putting on an act or going through the motions; trying to impress Him or others?  True, Scriptural prayer is entering into sincere communion with our Lord.

Principle #2 – We should enter into our communication with Him as a secret act between Him and us alone.  We need to be SELFLESS

Our heart prepared to meet with Him and Him alone.  This is done by confession of sin and thinking upon His Word.  Also we should have His Word open in front of us as we pray, awaiting to hear from Him during our communion time.  We should be ready to read His Word during this time, knowing He reveals His will for us through His Word.

Principle #3 – We should prepare our heart making sure our motive for prayer is not personal gain but humbling wanting to seek His face and then submit to the His revealed will for our lives. We need to be   SUBMITTED

As His will is revealed to us, we must have a heart prepared to follow His leadership.  As His will is revealed we should place any hindrances aside (no matter what the cost) and immediately seek to align ourselves with His desires.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Principle #4 – We should be desiring to communicate with the Lord not impress Him.  We need to be SEARCHING

The Lord does not desire for us to be repeating any prayer verbatim, including His model prayer in the following verses.  He desires sincere communication that is simply being transparent and speaking the truth from the heart.  Which would mean more to our spouse… having a friend of ours write a poem  of love that we could read , or for us to simply open our heart and proclaim our love in our own words?

 Principle #5 – We should be dwelling on His greatness, His knowledge of all things and His ability to change any circumstance if it is His will to do so.  We need to be SEEING

 As we enter into prayer our hearts should be filled with a knowledge of His greatness.  In prayer, we are coming before the Sovereign Lord of all.  We should be in awe and appreciation for His wanting to meet with us.  We should be joyful knowing He is the One who can truly meet every need in our life.  Nothing is too hard for Him.

As we pray, our heart should be:

Sincere

Selfless

Submitted

Searching

Seeing

In Part #2 of our study we will be looking at The Makeup of our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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