Where do you draw the line between magic and an inate ability provided by God?

I was recently asked, “Where do you draw the line between witchcraft and powers given to us at birth by God?”

After a bit of prayer and reading, this was my answer:
1) It is not an innate ability from God if you have to do drugs/alcohol or spell work of any kind (regardless of type of work, ie. candle/crystal/fire/sex/stone/etc) to access/exercise it,

2) It is not innate from God, if you need some one like an angel/demon/spirit/ghost/person that is not you or some thing to access/exercise it,

3) If it is evil as defined by God then it is not an innate ability from God,

4) If it is an ability that God said to not do (like tell the future, which is different than speaking for God, which is being a prophet, plus God can speak thru a person and have him tell the future, which is also being a prophet), then it is not an innate ability from God,

5) It is possible to have an ability provided by a demon and not know it comes from a demon (an example from scripture is the ability to tell the future – see Acts 16),

6) Scripture gives example after example of priests for demons/false gods being able to deceptively mimic a power God gives (see story of Joseph in Genesis 37-48, story of Daniel in book of Daniel, and story of Moses in book of Exodus), but the power from God is always better quality and/or stronger and/or more powerful and/or more accurate. But it seems all the powers given by God to man occur after the man follows God and man doesn’t get to choose. In fact, when one magician wanted the power Peter had, Peter rebuked him – see Acts 8-9.

 

The response was:
“Okay what if it’s not specifically mentioned in the bible and uses no ritual to activate or outside source such as healing. Or is that mentioned.”

My response:

Abraham prayed and God healed. Moses prayed and God healed. According to scripture, it is God who forgives and heals or prevents healing, or people are healed by casting demons out of them. Jesus (God) gave power to cast out demons, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, heal. God decides who is healed by whom and when and how.

It seems every biblical example I can find shows God healing after prayer or because of someone’s faith (an evidence of faith) or thru God giving someone the power to heal. Healing is a gift of the Spirit of God. But demons can deceive and emulate many things of God. Certainly since demons can cause sickness (as evidenced by casting out demons causing people to be healed), they can be made by higher demons to stop causing sickness which could appear as healing.

We know that God made people sick and warned them and they repented and God healed.

We also know God has worked with people who are not His. We know God treats children differently than adults.

Here are verses which deal with the particular subject of healing:

Deuteronomy 32:39

‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand

Psalm 103:2-4

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

Matthew 8:16

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill

Matthew 10:5-8

5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

1 Corinthians 12:9

to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit

We must always go to the Word of God to be able to know what is of God and not of God. We can believe something is from God and be mistaken. But GOD tells us what HE has done, and what He calls sin and what He calls good. We must not confuse the influence of a demon for the work of God. Sometimes the only way to know which is which is to pray and read scripture.

Get off the fence – stop being lukewarm

Here is the deal people…. If you believe something, then live like it. If you dont, then quit pretending.

If you dont believe that Jesus is God, then ok. But if you DO believe, then ok.

We are either WITH Jesus or against Him. Make up your mind.

Matthew 12:30

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Even though Satan masquerades as an angel of light, we are to know the difference!
2 Corinthians 11:14

No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Decide for God or against God – grow up. Make up your mind.

Ephesians 4:11-15

14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

God wants us to be hot or cold – for him or against him – not sitting on the fence, not being lukewarm.

Revelation 3:15-22

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

So stop being lukewarm Make your choice. But be sure you choose wisely. Be careful to know you are following the right god – not all gods are equal. They demand different things from those who follow them. Satan demands things which scar the soul. God demands your heart so you reflect trust in God through love (for God and others as informed by what He teaches) and obedience.

Why do we suffer and where is God in all of it?

I have heard so many people crying out, wondering WHY they are suffering, why their child is suffering, or their mother, or…. Its overwhelming sometimes, to think of all the usfffering in the world… And we want to know where God is.

First, let me say I’m sorry these things happen – that we have to suffer. As little comfort as it provides, I am here to tell you, you are not alone in your suffering. While I would never compare the depths of your pain to my own, I too have had to live through difficult times and wondered where God was in the midst of it, or what God was doing.

My only response is that we go through difficult times for a multitude of reasons: to help us find Him, to help us learn something, to provide us with something that can help others in the future, or sometimes because we are fragile sinful humans living in a world damaged by fragile sinful humans, to discipline us (How does God discipline and punish today?).

Sometimes we are being sifted by Satan – Peter was sifted by Satan when Jesus was arrested.

Luke 22:31

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;

Sometimes the consequences of our actions have long and far-reaching effects – sometimes they affect different generations to the third and fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations

Sometimes the suffering we face is due to our own choices: .

Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Sometimes God disciplines people so they might seek his righteousness:
Hebrews 12:4-11

4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

God determines when and where people live so they might find Him.

Acts 17:24-27

24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Sometimes we suffer because of our selfishness, or that of others.

James 4:1-3

1 What is the source of quarrels and… conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Sometimes we suffer so the work of God can be shown in the midst of our suffering.

John 9:1-12

 1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He *said, “I do not know.”

Sometimes we cry out to God and dont seem to get the response we think we need/want. But sometimes we dont get because we dont ask, or we ask with the wrong motive, or we ask while we are actively rebelling, or we are being disciplined, or Satan has asked to sift us, or to show God’s love and power. Sometimes we dont see God because others in our lives make it difficult for us to do so. Sometimes we suffer because we are doing the right thing and others are not. Sometimes we suffer because we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. Sometimes we suffer because we live in a world adversely affected by the sin of people.

I cant explain why we suffer and where God is in the middle of our suffering,  but I can provide an analogy: I know that sometimes parents have to let their children fall and get hurt so they can learn to walk or to run or to ride a bike. Sometimes we watch while our children hurt or get hurt as they learn to navigate in this world filled with people. Its painful to watch, just as it is painful to experience. But its sometimes necessary. And it doesnt mean we dont love our children or that we are not there for them. In fact, sometimes it means exactly the opposite of that.

Sometimes God says He will do as He sees fit.. He is our creator and is able to do with His creation as He wishes – just as children build Legos creations and can do with them what they wish.
Unless God chooses to explain to us why He chose to allow or ordain certain things to occur, we may never know why until we are in the afterlife. But this doesnt mean we are alone in those difficult times. It just means we cant always tell He’s there.

Should Christians watch movies or TV shows which depict evil?

The original question was, “People say things like watching evil glorifying movies, pornography, listening to certain music etc will ‘open up your home to demonic oppression (or in cases of non believers, possession)’.  What is the actual biblical answer to this?”

 

To me, the question isn’t whether certain things like pornography or certain music or shows will open our home to demonic oppression or possession. But rather should Christians  watch movies or TV shows which depict evil? Does watching these things cause us to influenced to do evil or to approve of evil?

 

We must recognize that God has said we are not to have anything which God calls evil in our homes.

 

Deuteronomy 7:26
You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.

 

Since God said sorcerers are getting the second death, I want to avoid my children being enticed that way. So we do not do magic or holloween or shows/books/movies depicting them as normal or accepable or even as a solution to a problem or a way to get something lacking.

 

Revelation 21:8
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

 

Whether a book, a song, a movie or a television show, or a play shows some sin as acceptable or normal or without consequence, then that piece of “art” is showing that thing as good or normal. This is something we are to avoid – approving of that which God calls evil.

 

Romans 1:28-32
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
These stories are fiction. They portray sin as normal and acceptable, which could entice people to do that sin. If we cause children to sin, then we will have to deal with that.

 

Matthew 18:6-7

 

6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!

 

Some claim that we are not participating in magic when we read or watch things like Narnia or Harry Potter. There was a wonderful response by someone to that:

 

“Example: porn. When you look at it you are not actually physically doing the act but you are allowing your self to be entertained by it therefor you are in sin. It’s the same thing”

 

More than that, by watching or reading or listening to things which depict sinful things as normal, we are led to desire or approve what God calls evil.

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if we are to stay away from those things, then we must also avoid watching shows and movies and listening to songs which glorify these things or show them as normal and as acceptable to do.

 

Ephesians 5:11-14
11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

 

Each person is responsible for his own choices. But who and what we surround ourselves with affects us, good or bad. Plenty of studies have shown this.

 

Businesses know that advertisements work, otherwise they would not spend billions trying to convince people they need what the companies are selling. Of COURSE what people read, and watch, and listen to, affects them. If they are exposed to what God calls good, they are more likely to be affected for the good. If they are exposed to what God calls evil, they are more likely to be affected for the bad.

 

Scripture tells us this same principle.

 

Proverbs 13:20
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

 

Proverbs 22:24-25
24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

 

Proverbs 24:21-22
21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?…

 

1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

 

Although people who love and trust God, through faith in Christ, are not under supervision of the Law, it still tells us what sin is.

 

Romans 3:20
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

 

Our music, TV shows, movies, magazines, and even friends can lead us towards sin. They can influence our thinking to believe what God calls sin is good, and vice versa.

 

But we are to be aware of what the world teaches and reject it.

 

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

 

As Christians we have to resist people who are wicked.

 

Proverbs 28:4

 

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them.

 

Romans 14:16
Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

 

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

 

We are to rid ourselves of all moral filth and evil.

 

James 1:21
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

 

Even if our friends do not make us think that what God called good is evil and vice versa, the things and people we surround ourselves with can be used to tempt us to sin. Even Christ said,

 

Matthew 18:6-7
Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

 

And Paul wrote:

 

1 Corinthians 10:32
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God

 

We are called to be holy, because God is holy.

 

Leviticus 19:2
Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.

 

1 Peter 1:15-16
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
So we have to be careful with what we listen to, what we watch, what we read, and even with whom we surround ourselves. But even more importantly, we need to love God, trust God, resist evil, choose to not sin – and pray, for ourselves, our family, our friends, our society.

Divination is aginst what God says we can do.

There are people who have said they believed that God had gifted them with a special power of being able to see the future. These people are confused. That is actually a demon that the Apostle Paul cast out of a girl.

Acts 16:16-18

16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

Using the ouija board and the magic 8 ball, reading the horoscope, using tarot cards, and consulting astrology are forms of divination, and God said to not do divination.

1 Samuel 15:23

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.

Deuteronomy 18:9-13

9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in[a] the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 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. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:26
‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.
Neither are we to inquire of the dead.

Isaiah 8:19

When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

 

In fact, those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

So we must avoid divination. We must avoid the horoscope. We must avoid tarot cards. We must avoid astrology. We must avoid the ouija board. We must avoid the magic 8 ball. Anything that is considered divination is to be avoided.

 

If we are truly saved, we can not lose our salvation. Are we truly saved?

The problem with those who think they can lose salvation, is the belief that it is a one time event.

Salvation is  a process where in we were saved, are saved, and will be saved.

We can see we have been saved in Ephesians 2:5

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


We can see we are being saved in  Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.


We can see we shall be saved in  Romans 5:10

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.


But the end result of salvation only comes if we remain firm in the faith. If we walk away from faith, then we were never saved. In those cases, we will have had a faith which sprang up quickly but died quickly too – it was an emotional event but not a saving one (Mat 13:3-23, Mk 4:3-20; Lk 8:4-16).

Mk 4:3-8

“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

We see the explanation of the parable of the sower in Mk 4:14-20

14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

The word of the kingdom is the seed. Verse 15 tells us that verse 4 is speaking of the one who does not understand – the seed sown beside the road – this is someone who has not believed and so is not saved.

Verse 16-17 is speaking of verses 5 and 6, where word springs up immediately, but dies quickly away – this is someone who believed for a period of time (This is belief without faith, a temporary thing), but then did not believe to the end and so is not saved.

Verse 18-19 speaks of verse 7, where someone hears the word but worry and deceitfulness  of wealth causes the word to be unfruitful and they are not saved.

Verse 20 speaks of verse 8, where someone understands the word and bears fruit.

It is only those who are fruitful until the end who are and will be saved. The others might have THOUGHT they were saved, but were not. They may have claimed to be Christ’s, and they may even done miracles in the name of Christ, but Christ was adamant that they had to have been righteous and done the will of God.

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

We see this more clearly in Matthew 25:31-46 – where the King will separate the sheep (who gave food and drink and clothing to those in need and visited those in prison) from the goats (who did none of those things).

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If we do not remain firm, then we were never saved to begin with. If we continue in the faith firmly established, then God has reconciled us to present us holy and blameless – but if we dont remain steadfast in the faith, then we never truly had it in the first place. Paul said many times we are saved if we remain firm in the faith.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.


Colossians 1:21-23

21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.


In fact, if we leave the community of faith, then we were never truly of it to begin with.
1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

So the question is not really can we lose our salvation, but rather are we saved to begin with?

We must have faith to be saved. Luke 7:50

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This faith is belief (something that even demons have, see James 2:14-25) coupled with that something inexplicable that results in obedience. It is not our obedience that saves us, for then it would depend upon us. It is the faith that results in obedience that saves us, as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If we do not have the habit of obedience, we will have a habit of disobedience. We know from 1 John 3:9 that those who continue to sin (live a life, a habit if you will, of sin) are not born of God.

1 John 3:9

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our faith must have corresponding works, and both the faith and the works must persevere until the end:

Acts 26:20

20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

I Corinthians 15:2

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Colossians 1:22-23

22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Hebrews 3:12-14

12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

 

Some believe that we stand firm by our own power, but Paul says GOD causes us to stand firm, that GOD anointed us, seals us, owns us, given us His Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

But if we have this faith, we are saved and will not loose that salvation – for you have been sealed by God, and will not be snatched from the hands of Jesus, not even by you yourself

John 10:27-29

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

 

Not only can no one snatch us out of Jesus’ hands, but He will not drive you away.  More than that, Christ will lose none of those the Father has given Him, but everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life and He will raise them up at the last day.

John 6:37-40

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

 

If we ARE saved, then we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
When we truly believe, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and will be lifted up.
So no. If we are truly saved, then we can not and will not lose our salvation. But if we are not saved, or if we walk away from the faith, then we were never saved to begin with.

 

A Memorial of a Special Lady


Obituary:

Janessa Lawyer Moore, 41, of Searcy, died Wednesday, February 24[, 2016]. She was born April 18, 1974, the daughter of Linda Earles and Michael Lawyer.

Janessa is survived by her parents, Linda Earles of Searcy and Michael Lawyer and wife Martha of Wynne; three sons, Michael Moore and future daughter-in-law, Erinn Tozer and Ian Moore of Searcy and Samuel Moore of Somerville, Tennessee; one daughter Julia Moore of Searcy; one brother, Robert Lawyer and wife Lynnette of Cypress, Texas; one step-brother, Paul David Earles and wife Patricia of Clarksville, Tennessee; two step-sisters, Rachel Earles Cates of Clarksville, Tennessee and Lesley Paddock Scates of Loveland, Colorado; and two grandchildren, Isis and Griffin Tozer. She is preceded in death by her grandparents, Lloyd and Juanita Leasure and Robert and Vera Lawyer and her step-father, Dick Earles.

Janessa was an LPN, employed at The Crossing at Riverside and a member of Trinity Baptist Church.

Courtesy of http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Janessa-Lawyer-Moore-103331561


Memorial:

Today we celebrate the life of quite a woman.  Janessa Moore has had, in some ways, some very difficult experiences, such as medical issues. She also had some very interesting experiences – she told the story of angels helping her drive home in the midst of a storm. She also had some very funny experiences – she was also known to tell of when the mafia laundry attacked her, or when she was in the drive thru lane at Mc Donald’s and a Jewel Spider dropped down on her and she was suddenly in the passenger side of the minivan, with both arm rests bent out of the way, throwing a water bottle, screaming bloody murder – and the car was still idling in drive as it moved forward hitting the new brand new Cadillac in front of her, and the entire staff of young people leaning out the drive-thru window to see what was happening. This is a woman who was told was told she had less than 1/2 percent chance of ever getting pregnant – yet God gifted her with four lovely bright lights called Michael, Ian, Samuel, and Julia.

As you all know – she loved. She loved every body, and every thing – except bugs. She loved puppies. She loved babies. She loved learning.  She had learned Spanish when we lived in Miami. She loved everything medical – she had been a medical transcriptionist while we lived in Miami, and in fact, she went back to college later in life to get a degree in nursing. She loved children – she loved having teens and adults coming to the house and hanging out. She loved movies, and sci-fi – in fact she wrote fan fiction and poetry. She loved people – people of all ages, all walks of life, all -you-fill-in-the blank. She loved.
She also worried. While she would be aware of our pain, and would have wanted us to process it, she wouldn’t want any of us to wallow in it, or to get lost in it. She would want us have our pain relieved. She would pray – to God. We had had long conversation about a month ago where she had reaffirmed her faith in God.

She would want us to know that God is there. God is here. God is with us. God loves us.

Jeremiah 23:24

Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.

God is everywhere.

The Apostle Paul told us that HE had been burdened beyond what HE could bear, so that he would not trust in himself, but in GOD.

2 Corinthians 1:8-10

8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.

God WANTS us to turn to Him – especially in the hard times. God is love.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

God loves you and wants you to trust Him.

John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

We do not know necessarily know why things happen when they happen. But we know we must turn to God and trust in the work of Christ. We must remember God’s love, as well as Janessa’s love. Let us take comfort in the fact that,  just as Janessa loved us and wanted us to be happy, God loves us and is there for us.

Dear God – we hurt. We are in shock and in pain and some of us are looking around, trying to make sense of what happened. We simply don’t understand. Please God, comfort us. Guide us. Protect us. Help us. Strengthen us. Help us love like Janessa loved, like YOU love. In the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

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