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Overcoming Life Digest – Volume 22

IN THIS ISSUE:

What Does the Bible Say About Capital Punishment? — Betty Miller
What Are The Blessings and Curses? — R.S. “Bud” Miller
Spiritual Warfare — The Sword For Offensive Battle
Exposing Satan’s Devices — The Armor For Our Protection
End Times — A Parable of the Tares and Wheat
Prophecy — A Prophetic Rhyme For The End of Time
Book ReviewPilgrim’s Progress
Poetry and Story Corner — America For Christ — Dr. David Gregg
Little Foxes (Little Compromises) — The Danger of the Pokemon Fascination
Prayer Focus Spotlight — Spring/Summer Update 2000
You’ve Got to Be Wrong in Order to Get Right — Guest Article, Dennis Peacocke
Counselor’s Corner — Alfred H. Ells
Personal Word From the Millers — Summer Greeting
Purpose and Vision — Ministry Information


What Does the Bible Say About Capital Punishment?

By Betty Miller

The Origin of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is a difficult subject to discuss as there are many different opinions that all contain some truth about this issue. Some believe it is fair and just to administer the death penalty when criminals take a life or lives, while others think that it is cruel and unusual punishment for civilized societies. Many Christians are divided on this issue as well, with some following the Old Testament law of capital punishment and others choosing the seemingly gentler side of the Bible–the New Testament–as the basis for their opposition to this law. Are these two Testaments in opposition to each other? Since God does not contradict Himself, perhaps we need a deeper understanding of the Bible as a whole.

Where did the idea of capital punishment come from? The first definition in the Webster’s New World Dictionary for the word “capital” is: 1) Involving or punishable by death (originally by decapitation) (a capital offense). Decapitation was the beheading of those who were convicted of any crime deserving the death penalty (thus Capital comes from the Latin word “capitalis” which means “of the head”). Murder, treason and other high crimes were punishable by death. Usually the state or governments set the standards for carrying out this punishment. However, before governments established this practice, the idea of capital punishment was first instigated by God in the Old Testament in the Bible.

Genesis 9:5-6: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

Leviticus 24:17-22: “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.
21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.
22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.”

Why Did God Institute Capital Punishment?

Why would a loving God who is supposed to love all of mankind issue these edicts? To answer this question, we must understand the overall purpose of God. In the first scripture we can see that God’s command was based on the dignity of man, as he is made in the image of God. God created the first man, Adam, gave him Eve, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. God desired not only to have fellowship with them, but with all subsequent generations. However, to be able to have real communion with man, God created him with a will. Men were given the right to choose if they wanted to commune with, and love and obey God or if they would rather choose to live apart from God, and reject and disobey Him.

God knew when He created men with free wills that not all would follow and obey Him. However, He also knew that many would want to love and serve Him. In giving men free will, He also had to establish laws for men to live by. When we look at the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, we can see that these laws were given for the good of mankind. One of these laws is in verse 13: “Thou shalt not kill.” You may wonder if God said “do not kill,” why He would then decree that a murderer should be put to death. The reason is that the Hebrew meaning of the word translated as “kill” actually means “murder” or “to slay someone in a violent manner unjustly.” So, in the Ten Commandments God is saying, “Thou shalt not murder.”

God Sanctioned Government Authorities to Enforce Laws

God set boundaries on mankind by establishing ruling authorities that would make and enforce the laws He gave. The purpose for this was because He knew unregenerate society, without any restraints, would seek to destroy good men. God’s desire is that all men would come to Him and live by His laws. However, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and broke His law, sin entered into the world and was passed down to all of mankind through Adam’s seed. God, in His love for mankind, made a way for men to come back to Him, through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Because Jesus lived free of sin and obeyed the law of God perfectly, He became the sin offering and died upon a cross, thus paying the price for all men’s sin. He then rose from the dead the third day showing that He indeed was the son of God. Now those who accept what Jesus did and repent of their sins can find their way through faith to be reconciled to God. This sacrifice covers and cleanses men even from the worst of sins including murder. Now, through Christ, even murderers can be forgiven and restored to a relationship with God so they can live forever with Him.

Where we find most of our problems with the two sides of capital punishment is that really both sides hold a truth of God. God’s law of justice for the taking of a life demands that life be taken; yet, God’s spiritual law of mercy and forgiveness grants that a murderer can be forgiven and restored. How can we reconcile this? We must understand that God instituted civil authorities to maintain order in the earth. God uses them to restrain evil and they should be obeyed for this purpose. In the New Testament we see that even Jesus surrendered to the governing authorities because He was submitted to God.

John 19:11: “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above…”

Romans 13 (RSV)
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

From these verses we see that governments can elect to practice capital punishment, the harshest form of punishment. It is enforced in the United States today and each year there are about 250 people added to death row and 35 executed. Once a jury has agreed on convicting a person of a criminal offense, they then proceed to the second part of the trial, which is to then set the proper amount of punishment for the severity of the crime. This is the punishment phase. If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees that it is just, then the criminal will face some form of execution. Lethal injection is the most common form used today. The choices of execution vary from state to state but are as follows: hanging, electrocution, gas chamber, firing squad, and lethal injection. There are guidelines that are followed before a prisoner is sentenced to death. Of those, one of the most important reads: Capital punishment may be imposed only when guilt is determined by clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the fact (Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch 5-25-84).

Numerous Laws in the USA Founded on Bible Principles

Some may not be aware that even the specific laws here in the United States that determine guilt or innocence, are also found in the Bible. In fact, they were established by our forefathers, many who were godly Christian men who read and obeyed the Word of God. Many of these laws are listed in chapters 21, 22 and 23 in the book of Exodus and Numbers 35:15-34. In reading these chapters you will note that God made a distinction between the penalties for manslaughter (usually killing in self defense or by accident without malice) and murder (premeditated vengeful killing or violent killing with anger and malice). Our courts require that a murderer can only be convicted if there is sufficient evidence and witnesses to the crime. This too, comes from the Bible.

Under our government mandates, the use of the death penalty, as intended by law, was to reduce the number of violent murders by eliminating some of the repeat offenders; thus it is being used as a system of justice, not just a method of deterrence. Opponents of the death penalty will argue that although it is said to exist as a crime deterrent, it really isn’t. Some modern supporters of capital punishment no longer view the death penalty as a deterrent, but as a just punishment for the crime. This is a shift from the attitudes of past generations. Supporters of the death penalty say it would be a deterrent to crime if punishment was done more speedily (this of course, immediately after conviction).

Some believe that one of the many problems with the death penalty is that it is anything but swift and sure. They contend that a more timely enforcement of the death penalty would help to reduce the crime problem by instilling a sense of respect for the law. Our society should realize that crimes carry consequences. The long and drawn out process of appeals in our court system has allowed many convicted criminals to remain in jail at an enormous cost to society. As in the case of Ted Bundy, the system seemed flawed when it allowed him to remain on death row for 10 years after murdering more than 50 women. One issue that stood out at this execution to me was the fact that a whole crowd of spectators came to the prison and shouted and rejoiced as he was being executed. The Bible says that God never rejoices at the death of the wicked and we are not to do that either.

Ezekiel 33:11: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die …”

Numbers 35:30-31: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.”

God Desires Justice and Fairness

The latest person (at this writing) to receive the death penalty was a Texas death row inmate, Gary Graham, who was executed June 22, 2000, for a 1981 murder. He always protested his innocence, expressing confidence he would one day become a free man and help lead the fight against the death penalty. Graham, who was a black man from a poor Houston neighborhood, contended that his path to death row was paved by poor representation from his court-appointed lawyer and a legal system that he said discriminated against minorities and the underprivileged. Because Graham was black, some people believed this was a racist issue.

Graham’s case aroused international controversy due to allegations that he received incompetent counsel at his trial for the murder of Bobby Lambert outside a Houston supermarket, and also the fact that his conviction largely rested on the testimony of a lone eyewitness. Graham insisted he did not commit the murder and went to his death screaming and resisting. The Lambert slaying occurred during a two-week crime spree in 1981 by Graham, then in his late teens, who admitted to ten armed robberies, including two shootings and the rape of a 57-year-old woman.

Though man may make judgements that are biased according to race, and/or societal status, God does not. He never condones a judgement based on any thing other than truth or justice. God is no respecter of persons and He desires that all receive a fair and just trial no matter what their social status may be.

Acts 10:34: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”

Is the Judicial System Flawed or Fair?

Even though our justice system is flawed in ways, due to sinful and imperfect men who are in it, there are still many checks and balances to keep innocent people from being executed wrongly:

1.) The criminal trial itself, by a jury of 12 impartial people.

2.) Evidence must be produced to show guilt beyond a shadow of doubt.

3.) The judge must agree that the trial was fair and can order a new trial if he finds irregularities.

4.) A new blood testing system (DNA Genetic Testing) to determine guilt or innocence in murder cases, when applicable, is now available.

DNA testing is a rather recent development in the death penalty issue. DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) is called the genetic building blocks of life. Everyone has a unique DNA pattern except for identical twins. The scientific community has now discovered a way to test blood to determine if that blood came from that particular individual; or actually could not have been from them, because of the DNA genetic coding, This has been helpful in determining guilt or innocence, when evidence has been kept with blood stains on it. Even if the blood is old, the DNA code is still present. Other body fluids carry the same DNA coding and can be tested also. This testing is an additional deterrent to executing the wrong person in cases where an innocent man or woman is charged with murder.

As Christians, we must pray that honest, fair and godly men and women will be selected to serve as judges, wardens, and other positions that operate our judicial and penal systems. This is one of the greatest deterrents for people being wrongly charged with all crimes. Even though the possibility exists for the innocent to be executed unjustly, the alternative is far worse. If evil men are allowed to go unpunished, evil would eventually take over. If we want a fair judicial system we must work at changing it by prayer, involvement, serving, voting, etc. Complaining about the system will never change it. Change must begin in us.

The Issue of Forgiveness Versus Punishment

As Christians, how do we then deal with this issue of capital punishment, especially if we are involved or know someone personally on death row that we feel is innocent? Or perhaps the person was someone like Karla Faye Tucker, who, although guilty of the crime, was totally changed and had lived a righteous and rehabilitated life in prison for 15 years. Karla, with an accomplice had committed two horrible murders with a pick ax when she was 23 and high on drugs. Right after she went to jail a pastor visited her and led her to the saving knowledge of Jesus. From that time on she led an exemplary life and demonstrated a changed life and her Christian faith in prison. Many prayed for her as her execution date was set for February 3, 1998. However, the State of Texas carried out its law to execute murderers and Karla was not granted clemency. We are asked in the Bible to forgive Karla no matter what she has done.

Matthew 6:14-15: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Her last words were as follows: ¹
To the families of those she murdered: “I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this.
To her family: “Baby, I love you. Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I’m going to be face-to-face with Jesus now.
To the Warden: “Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.”

Excerpts from a 700 Club Interview with Karla:

KARLA: “I asked God to forgive me and I knew I needed forgiveness. And I knew I had done something really horrible. But I think right at that moment what mostly hit me was His Love. His Love. It just surrounded me. He just put me in His arms and said, “I Love You”…(My purpose for this interview) is that lives would be saved, that lives would be touched that people would just come to know that no matter where they were He could touch them. He could change their life.”

Should not Karla have been granted clemency since she was no longer a threat to society (in fact, just the opposite was true)? She touched many peoples’ lives in prison and they too were changed for the better. We know God is a forgiving God and we as His children must be forgiving also. Does God’s Word address cases such as Karla Faye’s? Yes, we find God’s attitude toward her plight in this scripture:

Ezekiel 33:14-19: “Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right, he shall surely live. 17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just’; when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall die for it. 19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness, and does what is lawful and right, he shall live by it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”

Because Karla repented of her sins and accepted Christ as her savior, she could face death unafraid. She knew that only her body would die–and that her spirit would go to heaven and live forever with God. Karla paid her debt to society. However, Jesus paid her debt of sin and she did not have to go to hell. This shows the love of God for sinners. No matter how depraved we might become, the blood of Jesus can wash us as white as snow. Karla wanted others to know this truth.

Law Versus Grace

One cannot simply say that capital punishment is immoral on Biblical grounds as God gave us both law and grace. The truth is society would fail and crumble if we fail to keep the law and also if we fail to uphold it. The law tells us what we can and cannot do. It tells us how far we can or cannot go and God tells us to obey the law of the land. Man is a free moral agent and he is capable of choosing good or bad behavior. He must also be responsible to accept the consequences of that behavior. (Of course, the punishment for crime should fit the crime.) One may be influenced by his environment, but he is not ultimately controlled by it, as we have many testimonies of people who have risen above their poverty and evil surroundings. It makes sense to reward evil with punishment just as we reward those that have done good deeds. If we are not responsible for our choices, neither blame nor praise make any sense.

As Christians, the Lord writes His law upon our hearts and we no longer have to be slaves to sin. He gives us the Holy Spirit which enables us to not only keep the law, but to go beyond what the law requires in doing good. We are told not only to forgive our enemies, but to do good to them. This takes God’s grace because we cannot love them without calling on the love of God. Jesus did not abolish the law. Scripture says He fulfilled it.

Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

God’s Reign Will End Capital Punishment

If we desire to see fair trials and justice done and see capital punishment end and yes, even the end of all forms of killing, violence, and death–we must realize that this can only come about through the kingdom of God coming to this world. God’s kingdom can only come about as all men yield to God and His laws. That time is coming when Jesus returns to this earth. At His second coming, He will then rule with a rod of iron and the devil will be chained and his followers destroyed. Satan can no longer tempt men with evil, so there will be no more murder and evil in the earth. We shall enter the Millennial Reign of Christ, when the earth shall rest from its tribulations. However, until that time, God has instructed us, as His children, to allow and pray for His Kingdom to be manifested in our individual lives and communities. We can change the world through allowing Christ to rule in our lives and thus affect those around us with His love and grace.

For those who refuse to allow His reign in their lives God has set government authorities in the earth to restrain evil by enforcing the laws of the land. Granted, they are imperfect and some are even evil. However, the alternative would be that evil would overcome those that were good if there were no laws. We can change the bad laws by allowing God to use us in our spheres of influence. We must do our part to pray, witness and become involved in the world to change it for the better. That is the way the kingdom of God will be established in our world through allowing God to reign in our every day lives.

Matthew 6:9-13: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

_______________________

 

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COVENANT: GOD’S GUARANTEE FOR VICTORIOUS LIVING

By Pastor R.S. “Bud” Miller

What Are the Blessings and Curses?

We have seen in the last issue of the Digest that (generally speaking) curses are “evil happenings” that come on those who reject God and His ways through unbelief in Jesus, or rebellion, and/or disobedience. Now let us take a look at what the specific blessings and curses are. The blessings cover every area of life:

Deuteronomy 28:3-8,11-13

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. . . . And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of the body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.

 

It does not matter where you live or what occupation you follow, God has provided blessings for His children. His blessings through our blood covenant adoption bring life and protection to our children as well (Psalm 103:17).

Miscarriages and deaths of children mean that the enemy was able somehow to rob that family through the curse. That does not necessarily mean the parents had sin in their lives. There are chains of iniquity from forefathers–generational curses–that the enemy uses as “legal” loopholes to steal, kill, and destroy.

When things go wrong in our lives, we need to examine ourselves to make sure we are not disobedient or in rebellion in some area. However, in doing this we must guard not to become so introspective that our focus is solely on ourselves and our failings that we lose sight of God’s ability to change us.

We are not to measure our lives by our own standards, but by “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13c). Sin in someone’s life may not be something obvious such as drinking, smoking, or committing adultery. James 4:17 defines sin as simply knowing to do good and not doing it.

According to the blessings that are our benefits under the covenant, the devil has no right to even attack our pets and animals, much less our children. And it does not make any difference if circumstances look as if someone is on the bottom of the heap.

God raised Joseph from slavery and released him from a prison term to become the second-highest official in Egypt (Genesis 41:38-46). He can do the same thing with us, if we follow Him as closely as Joseph did.

There are three times as many curses listed in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 as blessings. We would suggest that our readers find that chapter in the Bible and read the entire listings.

Briefly, covenant-breakers were to be cursed in the city and field (when they “came in” and when they “went out”), which pretty much covers all of life! Everything they did would be destroyed. They would be susceptible to pestilence, terrible diseases, and lack of rain and food. Their enemies would get the best of them. Insanity, fear, and despair would be the consequences.

Their animals would be stolen or destroyed by disease, as well as the crops in the field, and their children would have no protection from God. The state of those under the curse is described very graphically in the following verse:

“In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were evening! and at evening thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see” (Deuteronomy 28:67).”

The current sights that we are seeing in America clearly show how much we have turned from being a godly nation. We now have an epidemic of fear, violence in the streets that is killing our youth, the plague of abortion, and many of the pestilence and “natural disasters” that are describes in Deuteronomy 28. We are like the nations of Israel and Judah were in their last days (See Amos, Jeremiah, and the Gospels).

We are under judgment because of evil doings in our nation. As Christians, we should be repenting for our country as Daniel did for Judah when the 70 years of captivity were almost over (Daniel 9:5-19). We must pray for repentance to come upon the United States, or we will not continue to be as blessed as we have been in the past but will have increased cursings as a part of our national life.

God wants to have mercy on the United States and all the nations of the world. His heart is always for mercy and blessing. However, for us to receive the greatest blessings, God will not hesitate to discipline us, that we may repent and be healed. The dealings of God are always done in love.

If you feel that there is an area of your life that has come under the curse, ask the Lord to help you examine your life, actions and motives to see if there is an area where you are in sin. Ask Him to reveal to you if there are unbroken chains of iniquity that have come down upon you through your bloodline. Whatever the source of the curses, you can be sure that the Lord wants you to overcome them and walk in blessing and victory. That is the promise of blessing that is ours as His children.

(Continued next issue)

Note: This teaching is continued from last month’s Overcoming Life Digest. See Table of Contents at top for Archives.

(Excerpt from the book entitled: COVENANT God’s Guarantee for Victorious Living by R.S. “Bud” Miller)

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SPIRITUAL WARFARE

By Betty Miller

The Sword for Offensive Battle

Ephesians 6:13-18

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

The above verse is a description of the armour of God that we are to put on. Most of these are defensive weapons. However, we notice here that there is one offensive weapon listed: the sword of the Spirit, that sword being God’s Word. Defensive weapons such as the shield of faith keep the enemy from entering in, but to take territory from the enemy, we need an offensive weapon. We need to use the Word of God.

Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”). Within the gates of hell are fenced-off prisoners — the unsaved, those bound up in sickness, rebellion, bitterness. Gates are stationary, immobile. We have to attack those gates with the sword of the Spirit. Here is our assault: “In Jesus’ name, I command you, Satan, to release the prisoners. God’s Word promises that the seed of the righteous shall be delivered; therefore, you cannot keep my child in bondage. The Word says those of the covenant are under the blessing, not the curse, so remove your sickness from this person.” By the promises of God, by His Word, we war against the enemy. God will honor our covenant position as we battle for our children and grandchildren.

For too long the church has been on the defensive, hiding behind the shield of faith. We’ve been crying out, “Lord, protect us from the enemy’s assault here; oh-oh, deliver us from his attack over there.” God wants us to step out from our place of just hiding behind the shield; He wants us to raise high those shields of faith, wield our swords and move forward, steadily making progress against the enemy. Come against the enemy. Bind his attempts to prevent churches from fulfilling what God has called them to do. Take authority over his spirits of division. Loose fellow church members into their ministries, demanding that the enemy back off from his attacks against them. Spoil the enemy’s territory. Demand that loved ones be released from his deception. This aggressiveness against the enemy, this warring by the Word of God is what spiritual warfare is all about.

Some may feel our warfare is too bold, too loud. But war is noisy. Bombs are dropping. The Word of God from our mouths is like a spiritual missile. We’re releasing missiles into the enemy’s territory. We’re breaking through into his territory and releasing prisoners, those sick and in bondage. We are obtaining provisions to do the work of God, whatever may be needed.

Every time I have personally been under satanic assault, my release has come by warring in the spirit. Using spiritual tools has brought the victory. Those tools include prayer: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). When I pray fervently in tongues and in the natural with all supplication, the enemy has to back off. Time and time again, I have seen this work.

Let us stand up in God’s army with every piece of armor in place. Let us raise our shields, wield our swords and gain victories for God. We are destined to be overcomers. Let’s move in it!

(Continued next issue)

Excerpt from the book Personal Spiritual Warfare; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE

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EXPOSING SATAN’S DEVICES

By Betty Miller

The Armor For Our Protection

Ephesians 6:13-18

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

THE GOSPEL OF PEACE

In Ephesians 6, we come to verse 15, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This part of our armor keeps our walk with God as it should be. We are to spread the gospel of peace. We are to be peacemakers. This has a two-fold application. First, we are to share Jesus with others, bringing them to the Prince of Peace. Through Him sinners find peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Second, we are to be peacemakers among men. “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We are not to sow seeds of discord among the brethren which causes enmity, but we are to be peace-makers. If we have a problem with a brother or sister in Christ, we are to strive to resolve it and keep peace and unity in the body of Christ.

FAITH OUR SHIELD

The next piece of armour listed is a most important one also. It is the shield of faith. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). Satan is continually sending his flaming missiles of temptations, accusations, sicknesses, depressions, fears, doubts, etc. To overcome these, we must have our faith centered in Christ and His Word. If we do anything not of faith, it is sin, so we must make every move as an act of faith in the Lord. “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Godly faith is trusting and believing God simply because He says something is true, in spite of what our situation looks like. When the devil tempts us to doubt God’s integrity and His Word, we use our shield of faith to put out that fiery dart. Faith is so important it is listed not only here as part of our armour, but also it is a fruit of the spirit as well as a gift of the spirit. That is why we are told “above all.”

MIND GUARDED BY THE WORD

The next piece of our warring attire is our helmet of salvation. “And take the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17). The helmet protects our thought life. Satan bombards our minds with evil from all directions. We need to guard our minds by being careful what we hear and see–music included. (Mark 4:24, “…take heed what ye hear…”). Demonically inspired music can cause extreme nervousness and rebellion. We must not allow this to enter our spirits. If we are exposed to this unintentionally, we need to ask the Father to filter out the effects as we put on our helmet of salvation. We must be careful what we see through television and other media. Many television programs are satanic and we can receive demonic influences through them. Bewitched and others like it are ones that go undetected as satanic because they seem to be such cute little shows. However, they prepare children and adults to receive witchcraft in its other forms. Anything that has to do with the devil, darkness, and dark mysterious powers, we should turn off. We must use our spiritual helmet to save us from the enemy’s attacks against our minds. We must guard our children’s minds also as even seemingly cute cartoons and funny books are full of witchcraft and evil influences.

Ephesians 5:11-12: “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.”

Excerpt from the book Exposing Satan’s Devices; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE

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END TIMES

MARK OF GOD OR MARK OF THE BEAST

Betty Miller

INTRODUCTION

Much has been said on this subject of the mark of the beast, but little said about the mark of God. Will there be a literal mark tattooed on people’s foreheads and/or their hands in these end times to make it possible to buy and sell in a one-world monetary system that is being set up by an antichrist?

We can certainly see the possibilities of this becoming a literal reality in our day with the technology of laser beam tattoos and our president speaking of a “new world order.” Even now, pets can be tracked by tiny computer chips about the size of a grain of rice which have an identification number programmed into it that can be injected under the skin with a hypodermic needle. A special scanner generates a radio signal that reads the number through the skin of the animal when it is found.

This book is not disputing the possibilities of a literal tattoo, but rather exposing the spiritual implications behind that plan of Satan. How will this come about? Will it be one of the above new technologies or something yet to come? Personally, I find it hard to believe that men are going to be tattooed or branded with a literal set of three sixes on their foreheads or hands or that the letters J-E-S-U-S will be literally on the foreheads of God’s servants as spoken of in Revelation 22: 3-4: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

How will the beast mark those who follow him, and what is the mark of God set upon those who follow Christ? Let us begin with the mark of the beast, then look at how we are to receive God’s mark which protects us from destruction in these end times.

Throughout the Scriptures, the word beast refers to a system, and not to a man. The beast is a system that rules the world; it’s an antichrist system. Daniel 7 speaks of beasts and identifies them as earthly kingdoms. So the beast in Revelation is a beastly system that’s ruling the world (it’s a dictator beast). This beast is not just one human being, rather it is a system that has infiltrated every area whether it be politics, medicine, art or science; the beastly system is everywhere. This system is typically overseen by a powerful government with those in power making decisions that perpetrate the worldly system throughout mankind. When Revelation 13:1 speaks of the beast rising up out of the sea, what is meant by the sea? The Scriptures speak of the sea as “masses of humanity.” This beastly system is rising up out of humanity, out of all the people on the earth. When John, the author of Revelation, stood upon the sand of the sea, he was standing upon that which could not be numbered, among all the people of the earth.

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THE DECEPTION OF THE BEASTS

Parable of the Tares and Wheat

Matthew 13:24b-30, 37b-38

“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn…He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.”

We see from this parable that the devil has children, the tares, and they’re marked for destruction. Symbolically Satan’s children are marked with the number six, six, six, which represents men (mankind) in the world system under the devil’s control. 666 is the number of mankind under the devil’s influence. Revelation 13:18: “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

God, too, has children marked. Spiritually if God’s children would have a number or mark from God it could be 777, which represents perfection. Although the Bible does not speak of this, using symbolism, God’s children could be said to be marked with His mark of seven, seven, seven, which stands for perfection in God. In other words, we’re His children. Since God is perfect and the symbolic number for perfection and completion is the number seven, we can be numbered with His perfection and completion because we are perfect and complete in Jesus. We operate under God’s heavenly system, the kingdom of God. So a number description of God’s mark could be 777, if He had a number.

“The enemy that sowed them (the tares) is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels” (Matthew 13:39). “The end of the world” is better translated “the end of the age.” We’re approaching the end of the age. Before Jesus returns the tares are gathered and burned in the fire. Who is dealt with first? The tares. God destroys the wicked. The wicked are destroyed while those with the mark of God are kept safe. They’re not touched because they’re marked with God. They have God, they have purity, they have victory; so they’re not touched. But the destruction through wars, famines, and pestilence will destroy the tares.

“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (Matthew 13:41).

God’s going to purge his own kingdom as He deals with everything that offends. Judgment begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17-18: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”).

There are people within the body of Christ who are tares. As the pressure mounts we’re going to find out who is truly with us. Those born of God will continue on; those who fall away were never truly of us, or were of us, but will deny the faith. There are distinctly two classes: some who will deny the faith and some who were never with us. I John 2:18-19 says, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” As the church matures, the tribulation and pressure that is coming will reveal who is really a Christian and who is not.

Those in the kingdom who offend God shall not only be exposed but shall suffer in anguish. “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42). This represents the purging of the church. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43a). After the purging, we’re going to see the church come forth in her glory. She’s going to shine forth as the sun. How beautiful this will be and how God’s heart will rejoice when He sees His bride in her white garments.

Revelation 21:2-3: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

(Continued next issue)

Excerpt taken from the book The Mark of God or The Mark of the Beast; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE

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PROPHETIC VOICE TO THE CHURCH

As some may not be familiar with prophecy in the church, we want to share this short explanation of Biblical prophecy before we share an actual prophecy from God. First, what is godly prophecy? It can be summed up as words that are spoken on behalf of God. A prophet or prophetess is one who is a spokesman for God. It is a divine utterance that comes from the Holy Spirit. (Note: Just as there are prophetic words from God, there are also false prophecies that the Lord warned us about in the Bible. In Matthew 7:15-16 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits….” We must prove the source of prophecy before accepting it as coming from the Lord).

God is raising up many prophetic voices in the earth today. His gifts of prophecy are basically of two types. One is the “simple gift of prophecy” which every believer can express under the unction or direction of the Holy Spirit after they have been filled with the Holy Ghost.

The other is the “office gift” of the spirit which is given to a prophet or prophetess who is called to the “five-fold” ministry office as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:28 which says “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

Ephesians 4:11-12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

The basic difference between these two types, is that the simple gift of prophecy is given to all spirit filled believers as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:31, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”

It is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”

The “office gift” of a prophet or prophetess is given to speak to the body of Christ at large. The ministers who are called to the office of a prophet or prophetess will deliver messages which include edification, exhortation and comfort, but their messages can also be directive in nature and futuristic in content as well (Ephesians 4:11-15).

Presently God is leading His people with prophetic preaching and teaching. A prophetic movement is taking place in the world.

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A PROPHETIC RHYME FOR THE END OF TIME

A foretaste of what is to come
of end time preparation has begun.
Drinking out of cisterns hewn by man
will be removed by living in a barren land.
Many parts of my body are asleep
and through my judgments will be shaken
and some will awaken —

Hearken to my words! Travail and weep
for the lost and dying sheep.
Lie before me between the porch and the altar.
I will strengthen you as you intercede
so that you will not falter.

Sheep and shepherds alike have fallen without number.
Prophetic sayings and a trumpet’s blast
cannot awaken them from their slumber.
Alas, alas —

Forsake not my words and commands.
Flee from worldly contamination and self-made plans.
America has not been faithful to my sayings.
Her ways are lacking and I am now weighing —

There is a price to pay this hour
for not leaning on, and trusting in me.
When tests, trials, and tribulations come,
mortal man will find life’s battles have not been won.

I, the King, will call them into the Wedding Feast.
Invitations have I sent out.
Even to the very least, my people are too busy
and lack interest in what I have prepared.

False doctrines, seducing spirits,
and the cares of this life have them ensnared.
So I will send my messengers to compel
the lame, the poor, the maimed, the blind and demon possessed
to come to me from the highways and hedges to rest and be blessed.

This is the day that I have prepared
for the ones who have chosen me.
Spotless and without wrinkle are the garments they wear.
Overcoming by the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their testimony.

JoAnne Glasco
Fruitfulvi@aol.com

If you are interested in other prophetic words you may go to these links:

What Does the Bible Say About Prophecies

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BOOK REVIEW

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

With the exception of the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress has been read by more people than any other book in the English language. There was a time when this classic of English literature was a standby in virtually every Christian home. It is a fascinating allegory of life of a Christian and his journey through this earth with its trials and pitfalls to the heavenly city of God. If you haven’t yet read this book, we invite you to do so now. It has been updated from its old English format for the modern reader and is sure to bring the same inspiration today that it has for hundreds of years. James Thomas does an excellent job of retelling its vital message for the contemporary man. You can now be blessed to read this immortal classic inspired by God in the language of the twentieth century.

This is a great book for the family to read together. Parents and children both would benefit from this allegory of the life of a Christian as he makes his journey to heaven. Follow the path of Christian, as he encounters Evangelist, Faithful, Ignorance and a host of other characters as he travels through such places as the City of Vanity and the Delectable Mountains on his way to the eternal city of God. The tale is one of overcoming the same things we do today in our walk with God, such as fear, lust, error, pride and other temptations that try to keep us from God.

Pilgrim’s Progress was written as a guide for all Heaven-born travelers. It encourages us to keep on climbing until we finally reach our eternal destination with God. If you want to know the way of salvation and its triumphs and its trials this book makes it clear. Every Christian should have this book in their library as it is the kind you can read again and still be blessed.

–Book Review by Betty Miller–

Pilgrim’s Progress in the paperback edition is priced at $12.99. Check our CHAPEL BOOKSTORE (Click here to order)

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POETRY AND STORY CORNER

AMERICA FOR CHRIST

By Dr. David Gregg

America needs Christ–the rule of Christ, the truth of Christ, the spirit of Christ, the gospel of Christ, and the men and women of Christ. It is well known that America is the great cosmopolitan nation of the world; it is a fusion of nationalities. Hence the eyes of all nations are upon it; hence all the nations claim kinship with it.

The work of America . . . is different. Instead of sending out her colonies to distant lands, and bringing other peoples under her sway by conquest, she has opened her vast territory to be colonized. She has invited all nations to meet and mingle here and make one composite family, forming a world’s republic, and illustrating the world’s humanity. On her own soil, she gathers the children of the nations, and in her homes and churches and schools she trains them to be teachers of the world. This is an opportunity such as is given to no other nation on the face of the earth.

These polyglot populations are thrown upon her to be fused into one nationality by one culture, one faith and one liberty. The responsibility laid upon her, therefore, is a double one; first and supremely, to keep the fountains of her own intelligence and virtue and religion pure for the sake of the native-born in the land; and, second, to ply with all the forces of Christian learning and religion the thousands of unevangelized who have come to her shores, that they may send back to their old homes, in the form of letters and newspapers and earnest appeals, the blessed gospel of the Son of God to work as a regenerating and converting power in the different fatherlands across the sea.

All this being true, it is the veriest truism to say that America taken for Christ means the nations of the world taken for Christ; America a Christian nation means a mighty witness for God among all lands of the earth. My fellow men, our country is the battleground on which the conflicts of the ages are to be fought and decided. It is the valley of decision, filled with multitudes and multitudes. Every instinct of our being ought to say, “Let that nation be saved, and saved at once, which carries the world’s largest hopes and the world’s final destinies.”

In the Christianizing of our nation the Republic has its life at stake, society its order, labor its reward, home its happiness, and the world its future. As patriotic Christian citizens there is only one cry in our souls, and that is, “America for Christ! Christ for America!”

The above is taken from a series of lectures, Makers of the American Republic, delivered by Dr. David Gregg and published in written form by E. B. Treat, New York, in 1896. It is contained in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History, compiled by Rosalie J. Slater (c) 1965, published by the Foundation for American Christian Education, third printing, July 4, 1973.

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LITTLE FOXES

(Little Compromises That Cause Big Problems)

By Betty Miller

Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometimes in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.

The Danger of the Pokemon Fascination

What is behind the fascination with the Pokemon phenomenon? Even though this fad is highly popular among the children today, some may not be really aware of what this game is all about. Children and parents alike may not realize the importance of choosing their games and toys with God’s guidance. Some might argue that this is a small thing and as long as children are entertained it shouldn’t matter what they are playing with. Even as the “little foxes” can spoil the entire grape vine, the games and toys our children embrace can be destructive for them. As parents, the Bible admonishes us to train our children in the right way.

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

The question is, what is the right way and how do we know if something is right for our children or even us personally? In the case of Pokemon let us look at the “roots and fruits” of this game. The Bible tells us in Matthew 7 that we can recognize the tree by the fruit that it bears.

Matthew 7:17: “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

We have a small orchard and this year we are going to have a “bumper crop” from all of our fruit trees, as the frost didn’t freeze the blossoms in early Spring. Usually our apples, pears and grapes bloom out late so we always have those fruits. However, the plums, peaches and apricots usually don’t make it before the freeze gets them. Just yesterday I was looking at all the trees and the small fruit that was on them and was surprised to find a tree that I thought was a plum all along that turned out to be a peach tree. Since they had not had any fruit for a number of years I did not know what kind they were until I saw the small fuzzy fruit on one of them and the shiny plums on another. In the same way it is difficult to discern the true nature of anything until we can see the fruit. Pokemon players are beginning to produce fruit that isn’t good so we need to examine the tree and the root.

List of the Roots and Fruit of Pokemon

1.) First of all, its name describes what this game is about. Pokemon is short for “Pocket Monsters”. When I was growing up, we were taught monsters were evil, not something to play with. When I was a little girl, the “boogie man” or monsters caused us fear and we did not want to be around them. This game makes some of its monsters out as friendly; thus causing children to embrace certain evil spirits as friends instead of resisting them. This is not the only game that does this as there are other games and books that trivialize or glamorize the occult as well. One of the most evil book series that children are reading at this hour are the Harry Potter books. These books are just as dangerous as the Pokemon games. The Harry Potter books have become a best selling series that chronicle the tales of an orphaned boy at a school for wizards. These books deal with the occult in a fantasy way. In the books you will find animal sacrifices, threats of human sacrifices, witchcraft, wizardry and divination as well as other evil things.

2.) The game was created in Japan and the concepts of the game and trading cards reflect the principles of Eastern Religions and the philosophies that influenced them. Pokemon is the result of influences that are completely mystical and that embrace warrior religions. These belief systems are not compatible with Christianity.

Buddhist Mysticism
Hinduism
Meditation Rituals
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Book of Tao
The Analects of Confucius
The Gita
The I Ching
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Shintoism

Shinto teaches that that all such natural features were felt to have a god behind their power. Many Shinto beliefs were incorporated into Japanese Buddhist practices after its introduction in the 6th century. Just as they believe in evolution and reincarnation, these ideas are manifest in Pokemon. To be specific, one of the typical examples of the dark side of Pokemon is a character named Haunter; an evolved spirit that can hypnotize and has “dream eater” power (powered by the purple Pokemon energy cards which is psychic energy). This power lets him drain the energy from his opponents. Kadabra is another Pokemon character who evolved from Abra. Both characters have demonic powers.

In Pokemon, the monsters actually die to their old self and evolve into the new, more powerful Pokemon. This is the teaching of eastern mystery religions and is spelled out in the Egyptian book of the dead and other occult religions. Through this children are subtly being indoctrinated into the theory of evolution and mysticism of the eastern religions.

3.) The maker of the Pokemon U. S. trading cards is the Seattle-based company, Wizards of the Coast, owner of the Dungeons and Dragons game and creator owner of a card game called Magic: The Gathering, which is played by an estimated 6 million people. Many of these preteens and teens are learned in the art of casting spells and summoning spirits. Hasbro, a toy company, bought Wizards of the Coast for $325 million. Nintendo introduced Pokemon to the children of America and spent $20 million on just the marketing. Nintendo has sold more than 14 million Pokemon-related video games according to a recent Family PC magazine review.¹ Wouldn’t it be fair to ask what the real motive is for distributing these games? Sales of the Pokemon products have reached the $1 billion mark for Nintendo.

4.) Other philosophies are also evident in Pokemon and these are the demonstration of occultic powers in the games and cards. We also find the influences of New Age Cults, Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism and Satanism in this game. In the practice of witchcraft, spirits are summoned and called to stay in a circle until needed to fight off bad spirits. In these practices they develop relationships with the so-called “good spirits” to fight the bad ones. This is totally against scripture as the only spirit we are to call on is the Holy Spirit to combat evil spirits with His Holy Angels. In essence these guardians or “spirit guides” that are used in Pokemon actually encourage children in the ways of witchcraft. In the Bible one of Israel’s kings, Manasseh, was guilty of witchcraft and other sins and he was brought into bondage because of it.

2 Chronicles 33:6: “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.”

5). The trading aspect of Pokemon is unhealthy for children too. This aspect has become addictive in many children. It is also creating bad feelings among friends. Some of the older children who are more knowledgeable play off the younger and less knowledgeable ones. When a child doesn’t get the card they want, they feel bad; when they do get the card they want, they feel superior. This trading game is not fostering good Christian traits in children but rather greed, combativeness, extreme competitiveness and obsessiveness. Some children have been so completely obsessed with the game that’s all they want to talk about and do. Family relationships have deteriorated and children no longer talk about themselves or others but rather about when they can make another trade. Some schools in the nation have even banned Pokemon from their schools when trading resulted in kids trading lunches, stealing back packs, and threatening bodily harm for deals gone bad.

6.) Some parents are also saying that they are concerned about disturbing behavior changes since their children started playing the Pokemon games. They are seeing their children fight and display anti-social skills instead of the proper ones. Instead of this game just being one of imaginative fun, it has become addictive and changed the emotional disposition of children. Some children even complain that they don’t feel good after playing the game. Since it is a role playing game, some of the characters are not good and this opens the door for children to receive evil influences and even demonic invasion. Children can receive demon spirits by opening themselves up to the spirits behind Pokemon. In 1997 it has been reported that over 600 children went into epileptic seizures while watching the Pokemon cartoons when it was first released in Japan.² This certainly indicates demon possession.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but I have tried to condense the elements of danger for our children. Now, what can we do about it and what are our responsibilities as parents? First of all, parents and children should pray and ask the Lord for the truth about this game so He can reveal it to you. Many parents just buy the toys their children ask for just so they will be occupied (since many parents are too busy to spend quality time with their children). Parents, you must take a more active role in praying over and researching the toys, books and games before buying them for your children. Children, you must not partake in games that do not help you be a better Christian. You must refuse to go along with the latest fads when they are bad. How can we know if a game or toy is good or bad?

  • Determine if the game, video or book involves supernatural power. There are only two sources of super natural power — God or the devil. When it is beyond the natural, it either comes from God or the devil. If it is not from God then we should not be partaking of it.

  • Children, ask yourself if this is the kind of game that makes you happy and improves your relationships with others. Parents, see if your child is growing in character via the games he plays or vice versa.

  • What kind of things are being learned via these books, games and videos. Remember our minds are molded by what we hear, read and partake of so we must guard our spirit. Psalm 101:3: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

If children have been involved for some time in these satanic games, they may need a prayer of deliverance prayed over them as sometimes the devil can have a stronghold in their lives. Finally any games, books or cards must be disposed of due to the addictive nature of these things. Remember we are in a battle and we must stand on God’s Word to see our children protected and delivered from the influence of the wicked one. Their hearts, as well as our own, need to be guarded from all evil influences.

Philippians 4:8-9: “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.9 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”.

Proverbs 4:23: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

We encourage you not to let the seemingly little things, like helping choose your children’s toys wisely, be a door for unwanted evil influences in their lives. Don’t let this “little fox” destroy the minds and hearts of our children.

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End Notes:

¹Family Christian PC Magazine, July 2000 Issue, Reviews Section
²New Wine Online Website, July Posting, Pastor Brett Peterson

Editor’s Note: We have an excellent book entitled, Turmoil in the Toy Box, that will help parents to understand the evil influences that have influenced toy makers and thus passed this on to our children. Remember unless the toy makers have character and a godly influence they are usually making and selling toys with just a profit in mind. Click here for order information at our Chapel Bookstore.

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GUEST ARTICLE

You’ve Got to Be Wrong in Order to Get Right

By Dennis Peacocke

After almost thirty years of dealing with people on a spiritual, psychological, and pastoral level, I have come to a firm conclusion and a significant observation: until you freely admit your errors you’ll never grow. While this observation is a relatively obvious one, it is amazing to me how many devices people use to keep from admitting that they are wrong about much of anything.

In our fallenness we love to blame others; we love to blame circumstances; we love to use emotional or physical intimidation to keep “blame away from us.” Most of all the really good escape artists love to challenge the one who observes their errors and do the old “180 degrees trick” which plays out that there really is nothing wrong except your judgmental attitude!

Logic is obviously against all of this psychological ju-jitsu on one irrefutable level: unless one is born perfect, everything he does is “wrong” until he learns to do it right by trial and error. So why is this obvious reality so tough for most people to admit? I think it’s pretty clear: Pride and “having to be right” is the flip-side of our gnawing awareness of how fragile and insecure we really are. Put another way, fear and insecurity’s defense is the swaggering offense of pride and “rightness.”

Biblically, this fear, this slavishness, comes from our basic consciousness of our being unable to truly measure up to any ultimate standards, let alone God’s. Christ’s answer to our slavish fears is for us to admit to our fallen reality and let Him clothe us with His perfection. Unfortunately, while I know all Christians believe this, my experience is that all too many of us still don’t live there. Instead of living in conviction of sin, we live under the condemnation which comes from erroneously having to defend the entirety of our being, when really most error is really only dealing with one aspect of ourselves. I call this ubiquitous error, taking the part for the whole.

So what if you’re wrong? How can we get it right until we eagerly seek to find someone to show us how, by pointing out the imperfection of what we’re doing now, how to do it right? What fools we are until we admit to this reality and begin to practice lifting the level of our play by freely admitting that it needs to be lifted.

What is painful to me as a believer about all of this is that Jesus called His children to become disciples and make disciples. A disciple is a disciplined learner, and one can’t be a disciplined learner until one is coachable, which means looking for where one is doing it wrong so you can be corrected to do it right.

“Discipleship” is a dirty word in much of the Christian community today, and it should be obvious why: because you’ve got to be wrong before you can grow and too many of us believers hate to admit to this, especially many of the leaders. The world doesn’t need more of the, “I’m always right spirit” as unbelievers are quick to tell us. Someday Christ’s kids will see how often we’re wrong and then we’ll have a revival, and because we’re wrong we’ll get a whole lot righter and that’s the bottom line.

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This article was taken from THE BOTTOM LINE, May 2000 Issue, published monthly by Dennis Peacocke’s ministry, Strategic Christian Services. We highly recommend his ministry and teachings. Dennis Peacocke is one of the most profound thinkers of our day. He and his wife and family reside in Santa Rosa, California. Dennis can be contacted through his website at: https://www.gostrategic.org or you may write him at:

Strategic Christian Services
2200 Northpoint Parkway
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Phone: (707) 578 7700

We also carry his book, Doing Business God’s Way in our Chapel Bookstore. You will not find a better book addressing Christian economics. It is not a book about tithing and giving, although these topics are addressed. This book addresses economic lifestyles that affect all levels of our society, with the explanation of why some of them work and some of them don’t. Anyone who is interested in how God is going to impact our generation in the economic realm should read this book. You may order this book online now click here: Chapel Bookstore


COUNSELOR’S CORNER
By Alfred H. Ells, M.C.

Volume II, Issue 2

HOW TO PRAY FOR SOMEONE WITH
MENTAL, EMOTIONAL OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS

“What can we do? He is wandering the streets of downtown LA.”

The caller was a worried mother whose adult son had been drinking heavily. The family had tried to get him into treatment but he refused help and continued to abuse alcohol. Even though I was Director of an alcohol and drug abuse facility, I had no answers for this family. What do you do when someone refuses help?

Before hanging up the phone I offered to pray for the mother and her alcoholic son. It then came to me to suggest that the family organize a prayer campaign, asking God’s help. Encouraged, she agreed to organize all the relatives into teams to fast and pray one day a week for the problem son.

I forgot about the phone call until one spring morning three months later. The admissions clerk at our residential treatment facility said a man from California was waiting in the hall seeking admission. To my surprise, it was the alcoholic son who had been living on the streets of LA!

He shared his story, recounting how in a drunken stupor he had purchased a bus ticket for San Diego and had somehow ended up in Phoenix. Getting off the bus early that morning he asked a stranger where he could buy a drink. The stranger was a graduate of our program and instead convinced the alcoholic son he needed treatment.

A strange coincidence or the hand of God?

From this incident and many others, I have come to believe what John Wesley once said, “God does everything through prayer and nothing without it.” Prayer is possibly the most essential ingredient for overcoming mental, emotional and behavioral problems. The issue is not whether to pray, but how to pray. Through experience, I have found that certain ways of praying are more effectual than others (James 5:16). Consider the following tips on how to pray for someone who is experiencing problems and needs healing.

Suggestions

1. Make it a prayer-project not just prayer.

A project is a plan of action or an undertaking that requires effort, organization and dedication. Mental, emotional or behavioral problems are strongholds in people’s lives that are powerful and deeply entrenched in the individual’s personality. Alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, irresponsibility, passivity, sexual obsession, etc. all require considerable prayer effort to effect change. A difficult or powerful problem is just that . . . powerful. It has power over the individual. The individual does not have power over it. E.M. Bounds, a man of God noted for his understanding of prayer has stated, “Much prayer, much power; little prayer, little power; no prayer, no power.”

2. Seek a specific strategy on when to pray.

God has a plan of healing and deliverance for each person that is experiencing mental, emotional or behavioral difficulties. While there are certain common times (such as morning devotions) to pray for someone who, for example, is addicted to drugs, there is also a unique plan or strategy on when to pray for a specific individual. When praying last year for a relative of mine, the strategy God encouraged me to adopt was to pray for him for fifteen minutes every day on the way to work. I also prayed for him whenever I saw a Jeep on the highway, since he drove a Jeep. Another family member felt led to pray and fast a day a week for him. Other family members joined the prayer and fasting effort on certain weekdays. Three months ago he was sovereignly delivered from drugs.

3. Ask God for wisdom and guidance on how to pray.

Differing problems require different understanding and types of prayer. For example, when praying for my family member I was led to pray prayers of deliverance from the obsession and desire to use drugs. Other family members felt more led to pray for his safety, health and relationships. Trust that God will orchestrate the types of prayers needed and seek what you are supposed to pray.

4. Pray specifically for what you know the person needs.

The family in California that prayed for the alcoholic son made their prayers very specific. When I informed his mother that he had ended up in Phoenix at our doorstep, she praised the Lord stating that was her abiding prayer. She and the family had prayed that God would use whatever means were necessary to bring him to Phoenix for treatment at our facility.

5. Pray for the eyes of their understanding (Ephesians 1:17-19) to be opened and the denial broken.

Personal problems and behavioral bondages must first be recognized and ownership assumed for the difficulty, before change can occur. If an individual is in denial of how powerful the bondage is, he or she will not take the steps necessary for change. The person will also blame others for his or her own problem. This is usually true for men who are sexually obsessed. The husband will complain of his wife’s lack of interest in sex instead of recognizing and taking ownership for his own compulsive need for sex. The more he blames and pressures her, the more her desire for sex wanes. She will feel more and more guilty while he becomes more resentful and obsessive.

6. Pray for revelation of the root issues that are empowering the problem.

Every powerful problem has hidden issues that make the problem resistant to change. Recently, when counseling a couple, it became clear that the wife had been deeply hurt by a prior relationship. As a self-protective measure she vowed never again to trust someone she loved. Most of the marital conflict revolved around her distrust. She called frequently and checked on him at work. If he went out of town on business she would search his suitcase. She accused him of having extra-marital intentions with the women he worked with. Once the root issue was revealed, she recanted the vow she had made and was able to begin trusting him.

7. Pray the word.

God states that the truth shall set you free (John 8:32) and that not only will His word not return void (Isaiah 55:11) but that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). This is what people need. Mental, emotional or behavioral strongholds always have lies that maintain the power of the problem over the person’s life. For example, someone suffering from depression will believe a number of self-defeating lies (I’m just a failure . . . nobody cares…) that prevent him or her from recognizing the truth of their identity in Christ and overcoming the depression.

8. Prayers of identification are especially helpful.

A prayer of identification is one wherein the person praying intercedes for another by identifying with the person’s sin before God. Nehemiah did this on behalf of his family and the children of Israel (Nehemiah 1:6). When I prayed for my family member, I knew I needed to ask God to have mercy on him for all the sin he was committing. I confessed those sins to God and asked for God’s forgiveness on his behalf. Whether you consider mental, emotional or behavioral problems to be sin, sickness or syndrome, sin is always involved. The lack of recognition and repentance of sin is an obstacle to the release of God’s grace.

9. Do spiritual warfare.

It is true that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12). What this means on a practical basis is that every powerful mental, emotional and behavioral problem is multi-faceted and has more than one contributing component. The spiritual realm of demonic presence must not be ignored. For example, even though we know that alcoholism has a biochemical component, it is also true that the compulsion to drink is a spiritual phenomenon and therefore subject to prayer. Remember, our weapons are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).

10. Be persistent . . . don’t give up.

I believe people give up too soon on prayer. In our modern instant-access society we often expect healing and change to be quick or instantaneous. I counseled and prayed for a woman with anorexia for over two years. Nothing seemed to break the power of the eating disorder in her life. I set aside times of fasting and prayer. She remained stuck in her disorder, weighing only 50-60 pounds. During one particularly anointed time of fasting and prayer, I felt directed to offer prayers of identification for her and her family in ways I had not done before. I sensed a breakthrough. Miraculously, she began eating the next day and has done well ever since. A strange coincidence or the hand of God?


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This article was taken from the Counselor’s Corner, VOLUME II, ISSUE 2, published by Counselor’s Corner. Used with permission.

Alfred Ells is a senior therapist with New Life Clinic, a Christ-centered counseling and educational ministry. He is a gifted marriage and family counselor, seminar speaker and author of several best-selling books, including One Way Relationships, Released to Love and Family Love.

Al has been counseling and consulting with churches, organization and individuals for over twenty years. He earned his Masters of Counseling degree at Arizona State University. He founded “House of Hope Counseling;” assisted in the establishment of “Hope Community (Rapha-Hope)” in Scottsdale; a Christ -centered residential addictions treatment facility, “Remuda Ranch;” a Christ centered program for women with anorexia or bulimia, located in Wickenburg, Arizona, and “Life Gate;” a residential treatment facility for adolescents and their families.

Al resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife Susan. They have four children.

write to: Alfred H. Ells, M.C., Counselor’s Corner, 2855 East Brown Road, Suite 3, Mesa, Arizona 85213, U.S.A. Phone:(480) 325-9350.

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PERSONAL WORD FROM THE MILLERS

Greetings!

We pray that you are having a blessed summer. Things are well for us here in Arizona. The summer monsoon rains have come early (an answer to prayer) as we have been believing the Lord to save our forests from potential damaging wildfires due to extreme dry conditions in the Southwest. The Lord is always faithful to send rain in due season!

We are expanding here at our Christ Unlimited Ministry headquarters. We have just moved into our new offices (actually a remodeled cabin). This is a real blessing for our staff as we were very crowded in our old offices. We no longer have to share computers, phones etc. as each desk and work area now has its own. Our staff is now more comfortable and we all will be able to work more efficiently. Please pray for our staff and that the Lord will call the others that are still needed, as we must soon hire more people. We are not looking just to hire people with the expertise to do the job, but rather those who feel called to serve God with their talents and who are totally committed to do the will of God.

We are also excited about new developments with the website.

We thank all who have been remembering this ministry in your prayers. May God Himself bless you! Every week we receive many letters from people who have given their life to the Lord, or experienced revival and blessing through the teachings available online. We have also been able to counsel teens going through crisis experiences and strengthen persecuted believers who live under repressive governments. Truly, lives are being turned around for the glory of God! We know that prayer is what is making all of this happen.

We are expecting great things in the months and years to come. The Internet is continuing to open up the world and permeate the entire globe. What will things look like in the future? Only the Lord knows! Until He returns we plan to be working faithfully on this website, and expecting God to bring in a greater and greater harvest. We are poised on the brink of a revival like the world has never seen. We are grateful just to be a part of it.

No matter where you are in your faith, we encourage you to seek the Lord with all your heart–like you never have before. Let this year be a year of spiritual breakthrough for you. He is the answer for everything! He truly is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! What a beautiful thing it is to belong to the Living God!

Many Blessings,

Bud and Betty Miller

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PURPOSE & VISION

THE OVERCOMING LIFE DIGEST is published for the purpose of strengthening the Body of Christ by furnishing teaching literature and a prophetic voice to the church in these last days. CHRIST UNLIMITED is helping and working with all Bible-believing Christians regardless of their church or denominational affiliations in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CHRIST UNLIMITED believes the hour is late and we must fulfill the great commission. We, as Christians, desire to cooperate with the Lord in breaking down denominational walls, for a united front line against the kingdom of darkness and setting up the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

CHRIST UNLIMITED MINISTRIES, INC. and CHRIST UNLIMITED PUBLISHING provide such tools through literature as to enable the saints of God to take the Kingdom and walk in the overcoming life as promised us in John 10:10 & Revelation 21:7.

PUBLISHER
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