There’s a growing fascination about life after death. Thousands of so-called psychics around the world claim to contact the spirits of the dead. And online, people can visit with psychics, spirit guides, and experts in reincarnation. There are nearly 16,000 witchcraft sites, 13,000 reincarnation sites, 12,000 psychics sites, and more than 1,000 sites dedicated to talking with the dead.
God told Moses to warn Israel that deliberate involvement with contacting the deceased was forbidden by Him (Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Talking to mediums, seeking spirits, practicing sorcery and divination to try to contact the dead was forbidden because these practices prevented Israel from being a peculiar people—a people who would be a blessing to all nations (Leviticus 20:6-8). How could she influence her neighbors if she was imitating their evil behavior? So, why did people attempt to contact the dead? They were:
• desperate for guidance (1 Samuel 28:3-15)
• disobedient to God (1 Chronicles 10:13-14) • deceived (2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 11:3) For believers, these practices are forbidden as well. These practices are not motivated by the Spirit, but are the fruit of the sin nature (Galatians 5:19-21). Any believer who seeks out psychics, horoscopes, and mediums, for the purpose of contacting the dead, is choosing to follow Satan. They aren’t being peculiar and cannot please God.
Instead of having a fascination with contacting the dead, we should initiate loving contact with the living. That way we can tell them about God who— through His Son—loves them and can secure their eternal life.
—Marvin Williams CLICK HERE to visit OurDailyJourney.org
Some years back, Frank Warren handed out 400 blank postcards bearing his address to strangers and asked them to send their untold secrets to him. Warren began receiving confessions like: “I haven’t spoken to my dad in 10 years, and it kills me every day” and “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 now believes I’m dead.” Today, Warren’s Post-Secret project receives over 1,000 postcard secrets every week.
Since then a plethora of online confessionals have followed. Many of the confessions posted are fabricated. But many are heartfelt—like the woman who confessed to cheating on her boyfriend and then wrote: “I’m sorry. I don’t believe in a god, but I feel I need to finally tell someone the truth, even if it is just the Internet.”
The human soul longs to confess its guilt. Three thousand years ago, King David wrote in a song: “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long” (Psalm 32:3). We don’t know what sin was on his mind, but we know how he felt before he came clean: “Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat” (v.4).
David finally confessed his sin to God and discovered the power of divine pardon. “And You forgave me!” he sings heavenward in relief. “All my guilt is gone” (v.5).
Confessing our wrongs on a postcard or Web site may be partially therapeutic, but it doesn’t go far enough. It’s not just confession we need, but cleansing. The Internet doesn’t “hear” our confession. A postcard can’t “pardon” our sin. But the personal God of the universe can do both.
“Therefore,” David sings on, “let all the godly pray to You while there is still time” (v.6). Confess and be clean, for the God of forgiveness is listening.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV NASB He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
“Celebrating a loss”
As time ticked away at Hull City’s beautiful KC Stadium in the UK, an appreciative and raucous crowd stood in anxious anticipation. At game’s end, hundreds of fans scurried onto the field to celebrate. Their beloved Tigers had just gone toe-to-toe with legendary Manchester United and . . . lost? The TV commentator explained, “Hull City may have lost this battle, but they’ve won the relegation war.” By losing “only” 0-1, Hull avoided relegation from England’s vaunted Premiership and the dreaded banishment to an inferior league. Clearly, not all losses are created equal. The greatest loss of all time occurred when Jesus was crucified. He had come to live on this earth. He walked among us, ate our food, breathed our air, healed our sick, and offered eternal life to any who would accept it. What did He get for His trouble? The religious leaders of His day conspired to put Him to death. Yet Jesus didn’t lose; He won! When Bono sings in Sunday Bloody Sunday, “to claim the victory Jesus won,” he’s singing about this victory. Jesus went willingly to the cross as a sacrificial Lamb to pay the price for our sins and to defeat sin and death. He who had never sinned became “the offering for our sin,” says 2 Corinthians 5:21. And the very next portion of Scripture makes this crucially important appeal: “We beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you’ ” (6:1-2). Because of Christ’s victory, we aren’t relegated to live a dreary life of addiction to our sins, waiting for life’s final whistle. Jesus conquered death. In Him, ultimate and overwhelming victory is ours (Romans 8:37). His loss became His greatest victory—and demands our praise and celebration of Him. —Tim Gustafson, Our Daily Journey
Mark 15:1 ESV NASB Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.
“The Evil of Inertia”
The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, supplies a stark reminder of how evil humans can be. I was stunned by the hall of shoes that had once been worn by doomed Jews; the story of the methodical elimination of innocents in Krakow’s Jewish Ghetto; and the grisly death of prisoners in Hitler’s concentration camps. But most chilling was my recognition that the Nazi ofﬁcers looked normal. Worse, they looked like me. My ancestors were Swiss-German Mennonites, so I resembled the ofﬁcers in the pictures. They could have been my Sunday school teachers! How did such normal people get caught up in such a great evil? Somehow, they simply went along with it.That’s usually how great evils are committed. Pilate wasn’t looking for trouble when Jesus was thrust upon him (Mark 15:1). He didn’t realize who He was, and he didn’t much care. He just wanted the problem to go away. Pilate made a half-hearted attempt to do the right thing. He invited Jesus to refute the charges and asked the crowd if he should release Jesus as a Passover favor. But the Jewish leaders had stoked the crowd into a mob, and they demanded that Barabbas be freed and Jesus be cruciﬁed. Pilate tried one last time, asking the crowd, “What crime has He committed?” When “the mob roared even louder, ‘Crucify Him!’ ” (v.14), Pilate washed his hands of the mess (Matthew 27:24). It was easier to give in to the cries of the moment than to seek justice for Jesus. Pilate simply went along, and in so doing he cruciﬁed the Son of God. Today Jesus is represented by the poor and needy who are thrust upon us (Matthew 25:31-46). Will we give them a hand or will we shrug and go along? —Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey
Mark 6:37 ESV NASB But He answered them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?”
“Running on empty”
My boss and I were driving back from a neighboring town late one night when our car rolled to a stop. “We’re out of gas,” she said. There was a gas station about a quarter of a mile away, so we shrugged into our coats, shoved the doors open, and started walking. If you’ve ever been low on fuel, you know it’s impossible to keep moving for very long. You might be able to coast for a while, but you can’t run on empty forever. Jesus recognized the disciples’ need to refuel when He suggested, “Let’s go off by ourselves . . . and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). His band of do-gooders had just come back from a ministry tour, but things were so hectic that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to grab lunch before a crowd formed. Jesus decided to hold an impromptu seminar, teaching them “many things.” After a while, the disciples said, “It’s getting late. Send the people away so they can get something to eat.” Jesus’ response? “You feed them” (v.37). He knew His crew was tired and hungry, that it was late, and that they were broke. The disciples sassed back, “With what?” Maybe you’re wondering the same thing. Fortunately, Jesus wasn’t setting the disciples up to fail—and like them, He won’t ask us to help people in His name without enabling us to follow through. Jesus “knows how weak we are; He remembers that we are only dust” (Psalm 103:14). Sometimes though, He allows us to run on empty for a while, until we recognize that He is the ultimate fuel source for our ministry. Without Him, we can’t keep going, but with Him we “can do everything through Christ who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Our Daily JourneyCLICK HERE to visit OurDailyJourney.org
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
My wife and I had prayed. We had sought God. We had sought godly counsel. Now we presented our plans to a group of people who would help us realize a vision for ministry or shut it down. They chose the latter. We’ve all felt the pain of having plans dashed and dreams deferred. The confusion and disillusionment that follows can be overwhelming. Where’s God in all of this? What are His plans for us? God has a perfect path that He continues to blaze in this world. His plans can’t be shut down. “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided,” God spoke through Isaiah (14:24). In the New Testament, Peter stated, “God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed” (Acts 2:23). These verses reveal that God’s perfect path—a path that once led Jesus to the cross—lies before us. And though He allows His creatures to choose or reject Him (Deuteronomy 30:15-16; John 14:15-17), God will arrange things so that His “prearranged plan” will come to fruition. These truths can be a great encouragement to us when we feel that the path we’re on has taken a wrong turn. Peter pulls from Psalm 16 as He proclaims, “I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me” (Acts 2:25). My God is still with me even when the path is confusing. “My body rests in hope” (v.26). My hope is in God and not my circumstances. “You have shown me the way” (v.28). God will reveal His perfect path to me. Several years after our ministry plans were shelved, the very thing we had hoped and prayed for became a reality! But it happened in God’s perfect timing and at just the right place along His perfect path. —Tom Felten, Our Daily Journey
Posted to Exodus 16:33 on Feb 15, 2010 at 06:23 PM
Exodus 16:33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the LORD to be kept throughout your generations.”
“Remember our manna”
We’ve been gone from South Carolina only for a year, but our boys have already begun to forget. A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to our old town. We drove through our neighborhood and saw the steep hill where they rode their bikes, screaming all the way down. We saw the spot where we always stopped on our springtime walks to snag honeysuckle. The boys, wide-eyed, kept saying, “Oh, I remember! I remember that!”
I believe remembering is one of the most important things we do as humans. In order to remember who we are, we need to remember where we’ve come from and what we’ve experienced up to now.
For Israel, their national identity was replete with stories of how their God had delivered and rescued and provided (and, yes, judged). The Exodus narrative tells how God pried Pharaoh’s hand free from His people and walked them out of Egypt. God opened up the sea, led His people with a ﬁery pillar (Exodus 14) and turned bitter water sweet (Exodus 15). And, perhaps most astonishingly, “rain[ed] down food from heaven” (16:4). They called it manna.
Despite God’s miraculous intervention, the people often doubted whether God would provide what they needed. When the people were hungry, they complained. And so God graciously sent them food—food that would fall from the sky. Every day, they had all they needed (v.12).
God insisted, however, that they save some manna as part of their holy items. He was concerned that future generations would forget what had been provided. When their grandchildren would ask about what the strange wafers were in the jar, they could say with gratitude and hope, “Ah, I remember.” —Winn Collier, Our Daily Journey