Monday, April 25, 2011

What do you need to know about the paranormal?

 I just read Spellbound, by Marcia Montenegro this late winter and want to share some snippets from it.  I have discovered that Christians are fearful of anything concerning the paranormal, and so they avoid learning anything about it to protect themselves or their children.  I can understand this fear, but we must remember that Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, 1 John 4:4.  This subject is especially important as we raise up our children or know friends and family who are becoming involved in it.   As you learn from Marcia, you will discover the paranormal is permeating our culture, and so we can not turn a blind eye to it.  This book is on a tough subject, but it is easy to read.  The only scary part of this book is that the paranormal teachings are out there, and we need to know about it to defend against it.
From the back cover:
Our Culture is saturated with the supernatural.  TV shows such as Medium, Charmed, and Lost all have “other-worldly” themes and most of them blur the lines between good and evil.  As a parent, how do you even begin to recognize the influence the occult has on your child each day?  Former astrologer and noted speaker on the paranormal, Marcia Montenegro has written a comprehensive examination of the paranormal and occult which breaks down the principles and elements of paranormal practices so parents can readily identify them.  Christian parents no longer need to fear this subject.  They can be discerning and prepared---for the sake of their children.
The book is divided into 3 sections:
Part One: What is the paranormal, and why is it a threat to our kids?
Part Two: What aspects of the paranormal do our kids encounter?  Where divination, sorcery, and spirit contact touch our kids.
Part Three: Talking to your kids about the paranormal.
From chapter 18:
Train yourself and your child in how to respond to some of the more common attacks on the faith, such as the claim that the Bible has contradictions, because eventually your child will confront this.
Teach your child to be wary of any instruction that places feelings over thinking, or promotes the belief that logic and reason are negative.  You will help inoculate your child against many New Age and occult beliefs that counter God’s truth.
Encourage your children to understand that, although they will face temptations in this area, God always gives us a way out.  Teach your child 1 Corinthians 10:13, in which God promises us that there is no trial or temptation that we can not bear, and that He provides a way out.
Training children in regular prayer is essential.  Prayer is not a system to get what you want, but a path to grow the desire to be in God’s will.  God will work through prayers.  Pray for your child’s protection and discernment.  Teach your child to pray for wisdom and to stay strong in Christ.
Marcia’s Concluding Words:
My hope and prayer is that this book has edified and empowered you in the very difficult area of the paranormal and occult.  Too many Christians have avoided learning about this area because it is difficult to get sound information and it can be intimidating.  You don’t need to be a student of the occult to teach your children how to respond to it, but it is helpful to understand overarching principles in order to recognize it, and then assess the situation through the filter of God’s Word.
Tread lightly but firmly, always rooted in God’s Word, when dealing with these topics.  Christians should be neither frightened nor apathetic about the paranormal.  Rather, we should look to God’s Word and be discerning and prepared for the sake of our children. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ups and Downs

                                 Peanuts by Charles Schultz

We may only desire "ups and ups and ups", but the LORD somehow uses the "downs".  It is a mystery.  He is also with us in all of our "ups and ups, and downs and downs". Praises to Him!

"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

Oh, sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The LORD hears when I call to Him.

Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate on your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and trust in the LORD.

Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?"
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O LORD!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety."
Psalm 4

You are more than what you do.

A highly intelligent man we know loves the LORD with all his heart.  He worked for decades with a prestigious local company and, as with many companies, he and numerous others in his age bracket were laid off.  As it is with many who lose their jobs, it took a few years before he found employment with another firm in another city.

During the time he was without a job and looking for one with all the concerns of how to support his family and for the future, I often heard him say something profound about his former employer, and also about the next employer who ever that would be.

His comment to others would always be that “employer A” supported him all those years so he could work for the LORD (outside of work) and that the future “employer B” would support him in the future for him to work for the LORD.  His testimony was beautiful.  It not only encouraged the hearers, but I am sure it encouraged himself and his family.

Likewise, as the LORD God’s adopted daughters, we are more than what we do.  The world may say you are only a homemaker, for example, but you know differently.  You are a handmaiden of the King of Kings!  No matter if we work outside our homes or if we work inside our homes, we are His children and we have work to do for Him.  Your intelligence and your esteemed position in this world doesn’t matter to Him; it is who you are living for.  If you are living for Him, then your treasure is in heaven.

So when you get up to get to work, no matter if it is brain surgery or cleaning up your bathroom, work at it as unto the LORD.  Let’s glorify the LORD!!

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;  and confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands."  Psalm 90:17

Friday, April 22, 2011

If You’re Ever Going to Love Me

If you’re ever going to love me love me now, while I can know
All the sweet and tender feelings which from real affection flow.
Love me now, while I am living; do not wait till I am gone
And then chisel it in marble--warm love words on ice-cold stone.

If you’ve dear, sweet thoughts about me, why not whisper them to me?
Don’t you know ‘twould make me happy and as glad as glad could be?
If you wait till I am sleeping, ne’er to waken here again,
There’ll be walls of earth between us and I couldn’t hear you then.

If you knew someone was thirsting for a drop of water sweet
Would you be so slow to bring it?  Would you step with laggard feet?
There are tender hearts all round us who are thirsting for our love;
Why withhold from them what nature makes them crave all else above?

I won’t need your kind caresses when the grass grows o’er my face;
I won’t crave your love or kisses in my last low resting place.
So, then, if you love me any, if it’s but a little bit,
Let me know it now while living;  I can own and treasure it.

Author unknown

The first time I heard this poignant poem was decades ago while reading it in The Best Loved Poems Of the American People compiled by Hazel Felleman and which is actually still in print.  I can no longer read this poem without hearing the haunting melody and the southern voice of the old country singer, Tex Ritter.  It is worth searching out a recording of Tex Ritter singing it.

With our culture changing so fast, with personal communication so poor, with families and friends torn apart, I felt the words of this poem were pertinent for today--any day.

Dear ladies, we need to realize what is really important in life.  It isn’t all that we do and who we are and what we look like, etc.  Life is all about relationships.  Our relationship with God, our relationships with our families, our relationships with friends, and our relationships with the lost.  People are what matter in our lives.

Each one of us have broken relationships.  If it is with the LORD---then humbly repent.  God never holds a grudge against His children.  He is always encouraging and waiting for your return to Him.  When you are back in a right relationship with Him, then you are able to do much more in the other broken relationships in your life.

If it is with your family or friends, then show mercy over judgment.  If it is they who are refusing a relationship, then you always be lovingly open so by your kindness they may eventually realize their part in the brokeness and return to you.

Always be thinking of how to show you care and love one another. This world is unloving, but we can be a light for the LORD because we choose to show kindness, mercy, and love.  Let us not wait until it is too late to share our lives and our love with others.

“Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil;  cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;  give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the LORD;  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality."  Romans 12:9-13