Archive for March, 2010

Are your prayers hitting the ceiling?

March 30, 2010

A friend recently posted a comment on Facebook  as follows: 

 (Name withheld from comment) has been laying awake praying this morning.   I have felt for so long that I couldn’t pray, didn’t know what to pray, kind of like my prayers were hitting the ceiling and coming back down! Thank you Jesus for Your presence, for wrapping Your arms around me, for loving me when I will never deserve it!

I remember years ago,  for several months  I did not feel God’s Spirit as I once was.  My prayers were bouncing off the ceilings and the answers to prayer that I had been seeing  just were not there like before. Yes, God was still blessing me and yes, I knew he was hearing my prayers but there was definitely a difference. I was reading my bible, doing the same things I had been doing yet there it was. Something… different.

I continued praying. One day, I went downtown and had lunch with a friend of mine.  I was telling my friend how I felt. After lunch, for no apparent reason my car headed for our Church.   It was Wed. and it was about January or February as I recall. Cold. I determined on the way over that I was going to pray until I broke through the frost. If I had to stay all day and all night.

When I got to church, I let myself in and went to the sanctuary. I didn’t turn the lights on and the only light was streaming through our  stained glass windows. Going to the altar, I spoke to God. “Lord, I need to feel your fire, your touch, your presence. Getting to the altar I knelt down. Instantaneously, immediately, I felt God’s overwhelming presence. Tears filled my eyes and His presence filled me from top to bottom. I lay on the altar for what seemed like seconds only to find it was hours.

Finally, I got up and went to the first pew where light was streaming in. I realized I was chilled from the cold but just sat basking in a peace that comes from knowing you have touched God. As I was sitting there God began speaking to me about some things. I won’t share them here but I will never forget those moments.   The comment from my friend  this morning refreshed all of this in my mind.

We are not the only one’s who have felt this.   Why does  it seem that sometimes our prayers are hitting the ceiling?     My Pastor’s wife  at the time and I spoke of this at some length.   We determined that it stems from inside each of us and we came up with several reasons that might explain what is happening.  

1. There is something inside ourselves seeking a greater relationship with the Lord Jesus.

 2. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit wanting to take us to a new level of communication with our Lord. Many people just stop there and don’t go forward.

3. Some new work that God is doing in us and for us and perhaps preparing us for.

4. A new hunger for Him that is not being filled because we are body, soul and spirit and our bodies and mind do get in the way at times. 

5.  A new dimension of worship that we are being brought into.

We had others as well.   Each of us is different and at different stages of our walk as Christians.  ONE thing I do know is this.

 ALLOW GOD TO CONSUME  you totally and completely.  Take this opportunity to get serious with God. God Is WANTING to do something new and exciting in you. Don’t stumble now. Don’t relax now. Don’t accept this as just something that happens. Let God’s Spirit have control and you will see the mighty wondrous works of God in your life.

I have experienced it. I KNOW this.

If this is happening to you,  I am so excited for you. Get down and get serious. It may take you some time as it did me or it may happen in an instant but it is worth all your efforts.

Here are a few scriptures that speak for themselves. 

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
NKJV

John 1:12-13
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
NKJV

If we are a child of God, then we have to make sure that our relationship with God is in good standing.  Just like when we do something that displeases our parents and it strains the relationship for a while until we apologize and make things right, if we do something displeasing to God, that relationship will be strained and we need to confess, repent and make it right.

Ps 66:18
If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
NKJV

1 John 1:5-10
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
NKJV

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
NKJV

Matt 5:23-24
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
NKJV

BLESSINGS TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU.

Biblical View of Astrology?

March 24, 2010
There is hardly a newspaper in this country that doesn’t carry horoscopes on a daily basis.  Horoscopes  come up daily on our internet pages.  They can come to your email address or Facebook, etc.  They are so prevalent that it is easy to forget that the bible teaches that they have their roots in the occult and the bible teaches against being involved in such practices.  So, why even discuss whether Horoscopes are against bible teachings in this present day.
 
Most of the predictions we see in the paper are fairly benign guesses.  Often they are so off base that they are just funny.   Still  there is concern among some Christian groups about astrology. The main concern is Christians may look to astrology for advice over God. If Christians look to astrology first then they are taking their eyes and trust away from God. Yet most Christians only glance at a horoscope to laugh at the generalized predictions, feeling no need to delve further into occult practices or divining the future.  Does this make it alright?  And does flirting with the occult have an impact on Christians?
 
 After all, many people don’t really believe that there is any danger in messing with the occult or argue that Horoscopes are not of the occult at all.  Some people could care less as it doesn’t seem important to them.  What harm can come from reading their horoscopes each morning?  Isn’t it just good fun to see what the stars are predicting.  One reason I decided to investigate this is that I saw on Facebook many Christians that had added the Horoscope to their page and that it was coming up daily for them.  I began to wander why so many were adding this application.  Didn’t they know that the bible teaches against this?  Was I wrong about this? 
 
 These same Christians are quick to put scripture verses on their pages and  quick to condemn abortions.   Obviously, they want to take a stand for Christ and are trying to do so.  It is easy to say well they do not have a real relationship with Christ or they wouldn’t be adding Astrology applications.  To me that’s an assumption and is not an answer at all.  Because I believe they are true Christians.  
 
Now I know that I am going to make some people mad by saying all of this but so be it.  I hope that I will be able to answer all of these questions in this blog by making a thorough investigation of what the scriptures actually say. You need to know at the outset that my view will conform to what the Word of God says about the subject.  I believe that scripture  rightly divided   gives  us the information that we need to make wise sound and biblical decisions on subjects that effect us.  I believe that the bible is relevant for our lives today and in fact, we should base our lives on what the Word of God speaks to us.  That being said, let’s move on.
 
 
I searched out  the topic what the bible has to say about Astrology and found over 200,000 hits on the topic on the internet.   I found as you will if you decide to search it, opinions  all over the map.  Those that argue Astrology is alright and has it basis in scripture  and those that argue that Astrology is of the occult and therefore  wrong according to the bible.  It seems to me that a lot of the confusion exists.  I can only call it that since both opinions cannot be right as they are exact opposites. So let’s see if I can clear some of this confusion with the Word of God.
 
  
What is Astrology and Horoscopes?
 
Astrology as defined is a pseudoscience or art claiming divination by the positions of the planets and sun and moon.  Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an  astrologer.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology  The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies and their supposed influence on human affairs  en.wiktionary.org/wiki/astrology
 
An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology.   Typically an astrologer draws a horoscope for the time of an event, such as a person’s birth, and interprets celestial points and their placements at the time of the event to  better understand someone and determine events that might be occurring in a person’s life.  Astrologer’s indicate that they can help you use the stars as a guide to who you are and to further predict events that may be coming into your life.
 
Astrology is different from astronomy in that astronomy is the study of celestial bodies and the universe as a whole.  They deal with where planets are located in the universe and their relationship with each other.  Not with the purpose of divining their impact on personalities and traits.
 
 
 Let’s look at the roots of Astrology and where it originated:
 
Astrology began as a form of fortune-telling.  Astrology is based upon the use of stars and planets to “read into” a person’s past, present, and future. For many astrologers it is a belief that the position of certain celestial entities have an impact on our lives. For other astrologers there is a belief that there are gods in those celestial bodies that impact our lives.
 
 
Here are some scriptures from the bible that give us some guidance about such practices:
 
Exodus 20:3 – “Do not worship any other gods besides me.” (NLT)

Over and over we are told in the bible that God is jealous.  He will not share us with any other God’s.  In the world system today and yesterday people worship other God’s.  In fact, many famous TV  personalities say that there is not one way to God but many ways.  The bible teaches that there is only one way.  And that is through Jesus Christ.

 
2 Kings 21:6 – “Manasseh even sacrificed his own son in the fire. He practices sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.” (NLT)

In this scripture, practices of sorcery and divination is called evil in the Lord’s sight.

 
Deuteronomy 4:19 – “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. (NIV)

It is clear that God made everything and His intent is not for us to bow down to anyone but himself.

 
Do Stars Offer Advice?
 
 
Genesis 1:16-17 – “God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. He also made the stars. God sent these lights in the heavens to light the earth.” (NLT)
 
Isaiah 47:13 – “All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.” (NIV)
 
The Bible states that the stars, along with the sun and moon, were created to give light to the Earth.
 
The Bible is actually quite critical of astrologers, asserting that they cannot save people as God can. In Isaiah, the Bible points to this issue when God proclaims that doom will come to Babylon and there is nothing the astrologers can do to save the people from it.
 
However, in today’s era of generalized horoscopes, most Christians do not use astrology as a way to predict major events.  In fact, if I can say this in as kind a way as I know how, most people will not let the bible get in the way of their personal views.  Their world view is much more important to them than  what God has to say in his Word and in fact, their belief systems color what the word of God says.  They just dismiss it.  If you don’t know people like this then you may be one of them. 
 
I want to discuss the incident of the wise men who came from the east in Matthew’s gospel.   Here is an excerpt from Andrew Wommack’s bible commentary on the subject.
 
Matthew 2:1 
 
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem”
 
Bethlehem was located approximately 6 miles south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is first mentioned in Genesis 35:19 as near the place that Jacob buried Rachel after she died in childbirth. Bethlehem became famous as the home of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:11) and also the hometown of King David (1 Sam. 17:12). Micah’s prophecy in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem was fulfilled at the birth of Jesus. Bethlehem means “house of bread,” and it was fitting that the “living bread” (Jn. 6:51) should be born there.
 
There is no mention in scripture that these wise men were either three in number or that they were kings. The Greek word used here is “magos” and comes from the Babylonian language, and originally referred to astrologers or interpreters of dreams. It was later a name applied to the Persian priests. It is unusual that they would have interpreted the appearance of this star, no matter how unique it was, as signaling the birth of the Jewish king. This suggests that there was an understanding of Jewish prophecy among them which no doubt came from Daniel’s influence (Dan. 1:20-21; 2:47-48; 4:8-9). It was the fact that Daniel was promoted to be master over all the magicians (Dan. 4:9) and his revelation of the time Christ would be born (Dan. 9:25) that served as the wise men’s inspiration. The star served only as a sign, not an influence. The Lord has used, and will use, signs in the heavens (Acts 2:19-20) to declare his glory (Ps. 19:1-3), but the stars do not dictate, nor can they predict, events on the earth. Astrology is forbidden in scripture (Lev. 19:26; Dt. 18:10; 2 Ki. 21:6; Isa. 47:12-13; Jer. 10:2).
 
Here are some of these scriptures.
 
Leviticus 20:6 says God will separate himself from those who go after mediums and spiritists.
 
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says that practicing witchcraft, sorcery, soothsaying, interpreting omens, making spells, and being a medium or spiritist, are all terrible sins to God.
 
Daniel 2:27-28 talks of how God kept King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation secret from the astrologers, magicians or dream interpreters, and soothsayers. However, he revealed it to his prophet Daniel.
 
Acts 16:16-18 talks of a girl who was possessed by an evil spirit that enabled her to be a fortune-teller. Paul commanded the evil spirit to come out of her in the name or authority of Jesus, and the spirit left her.
 
In Deuteronomy 18:9-11, Moses informs the Israelites: When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:9-11 NIV).
 
2 Chronicles 33:5-6 (NIV): In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his sons in [a] the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
 
Throughout the entire Bible God allows only His prophets to accurately interpret any kind of “signs.”
 
With so many people insisting on using their human mindsets to interpret God’s word, is it any wonder we have so many “religions” and weird beliefs and false prophets today?   
 
 We are like sheep. We all follow something or somebody. Those who are desperate to know their future follow astrology or tarot card readers or Kama Rama (bringing events about through our speech).  We can only look to politics to see that we have all kinds of incidents where good people including Christians follow the wrong person.   The Germans followed Hitler, even after they became aware that he was off his rocker; history repeated itself with Milosevic in Kosovo when his followers went along with his efforts at ethnic cleansing in that region; and on and on and on.
 
In America today Hollywood personalities follow Scientology and every kind of mystic that comes along and then Americans follow them because afterall aren’t they glamorous and successful.  Look at the hundreds that followed Jim Jones and even drank his poisonous cocktail.   Instead of listening to God and what He wants, most people simply turn their backs and do their “own thing” because it’s easier to be “in and of the world”.  I don’t know about you but I DO NOT want to be one of those.  I want to follow God’s Word not some fortune-teller reading the stars or otherwise. 
 
We all have the choice to believe whatever we want and however we want – but we’d also better be prepared to explain “why” on Judgment Day, because God isn’t going to let us off the hook:
 
Revelation 3:16 (NIV): So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
 
In Matthew 7:22-24, Jesus said: Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:22-24 NIV).
 
Astrologers, Satanists, witches, psychics, and all those who are dabbling in magic of some kind – take heed: Man’s efforts to predict omens and tell the future through magic are always fruitless. These “gifts” come from Satan, not from your Creator. Dabbling in these will only result in certain spiritual death. God says so.  To me the bible is very clear that we should turn away from astrology, the occult, mediums, divination and sorcery.
 
I would like to review what we have been learning through the scriptures.
 
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 19:31).
 
We are disobeying God’s Word, the Bible.  For Christians this should be enough.
 
The Israelites often made the same mistake and turned from God, although God clearly warned them about this.
 
When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
 
Saul, Israel’s first king, started out well. He expelled mediums and spiritists from the land, yet then violated God’s word and his own conscience by consulting a medium (1 Samuel 28:3-25). His end was tragic (1 Samuel 31:1-6).
 
New Testament Christians turned from sorcery. Let their example serve as an inspiration and a warning.
 
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power (Acts 19:18-20).
 
These verses are given to us as warnings. God wants us to learn from the examples he gives in the Bible, and to avoid making the same mistakes. He loves us and wants us to turn from anything that will get between us and the joyful life he offers!
 
Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel.This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them” (Jeremiah 10:1-2).
 
In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom (Daniel 1:20).
 
Bible verses warnings about divination, sorcery and magic charms
 
Do not practice divination or sorcery (Leviticus 19:26).
 
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds (Ezekiel 13:20).
 
The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd (Zechariah 10:2).
 
“So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty (Malachi 3:5).
 
Bible verses warnings about idol worship
 
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me (Exodus 20:4-5).
 
Watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below (Deuteronomy 4:15-18).
 
After reviewing the scriptures, it is without a doubt that we are to steer clear of the occult in any form.  Does reading a watered down horoscope qualify for this?  I ask you this question in a different way.  Is reading a watered down horoscope worth bringing on some type of displeasure from God?  Does it open up a pathway from Satan to move into your life?  Is reading that horoscope worth all that?
 
For me, the answer is a simple NO.
 
 I would like to bring up one other consideration.  Christians are supposed to be the light to this world, the salt of the earth.  If Christians are not on the walls warning of the dangers and pitfalls to the world who will do this?  If your children see you reading the Horoscope – messing with the occult no matter how innocent you feel it is – What do you do when they start calling 411 psychic or become a witch in an occult.  Aren’t you opening up your whole family to the occult at some level?
 
Here is what astrology offers:
 
1.  Charts that are supposed to enlighten their disciples
2.  Offers false gods of the universe of the ancients.
 
God offers:
1.  His Word which  is God breathed that speaks into a man or woman’s heart to bring understanding and direction for all areas of their lives.
 
Christians must stand on the wall as soldiers that call things as they are.  Astrology is a deception and practice which must be called what it is.  It is evil and we must stand and rightly speak God’s truth into each soul and thereby become a missionary of hope, rather than a deceiver of the starry hosts and demonic spirits.
  
Nothing can be gained for the Christian to involve themselves even in a rudimentary way with Astrology and we have so many reasons to leave it alone.  I stand by my decision that I felt the Lord spoke to me over 30 years ago. If I can put this in my on crude way. I don’t need it and don’t want it and don’t want to be involved with it. 
 
You on the other hand can do what you want to do.  That is your God-given right.  BUT be aware that if you have read this far, you are now accountable for every verse that you have read here. 
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 
 

Gluten Free Chicken & Dumplings – Just didn’t turn out

March 10, 2010

I  would like to catalog  my progress with gluten free cooking. Today I am trying to convert my southern chicken & dumpling recipe to gluten free. I also want to make it as easy as possible. All those steps you have to do for gluten free cooking requires too much effort for me. I am all about easy. I am also making a pot of regular chicken & dumplings for the family. My nephew Dylan loves my dumplings and his birthday is today. I don’t want to mess them up for him. We will see how the gluten free dumplings turn out. I am making a small batch for my sister and myself to try and can easily triple the recipe.   If they are at least partially as good, I will convert. Here is my recipe.

Recipe:

Dumplings:

1 cup fine ground rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup milk
1 teap. salt
Mix dry ingredients – Add oil – Add in milk a little at a time until  dough is  much like biscuit dough. Put in fridge until ready to use.

then

1-2  large chicken breast
4-6 cups water
pepper
salt

Boil chicken in water with salt and pepper until tender.
Remove chicken. (Chop for later use)

Bring broth to a boil. Make dumplings by taking small amounts and patting until thin. Drop into boiling broth. Let dumplings cook on med. low until dumplings are done. About 20 minutes.

Add chicken back in.

Also add in 1 can of gluten free cream of chicken.

Dumplings are ready to serve.

Will let u know how this turns out before I publish.

I will rate them: Not worth trying
Alright but not like the real thing
Will follow this recipe in the future.

Results:  Not worth trying


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