Micaiah Prophesies against Ahab / Exorcists Attacked (The Sons of Sceva): June 29th 2021

1 Kings 22:1-53

The king of Israel, Ahab, and the King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, considered an alliance to recapture Ramoth Gilead from the Arameans. However, this would break three years of peace.

Ahab brought together four hundred ‘prophets’, who confirmed this was a good idea.

However, Jehoshaphat was suspicious about these ‘prophets’ credentials and motives. They might have just been trying to please the kings. He wanted to enquire of a real prophet (1 Kings 22:7). Someone brave enough to always speak the truth.

Ahab admitted there was still one prophet of the Lord but he hated him because he always said bad things about him (1 Kings 22:8), which is hardly surprising.

Ahab sent a messenger to fetch the Lord’s prophet, Micaiah, son of Imlah. The messenger kindly tipped Micaiah off that all the false prophets had prophesied a victory and so maybe he should agree. Micaiah refused to compromise as should we. He would only speak what the Lord told him to speak (1 Kings 22:14).

Hilariously, Micaiah does lie when he first speaks to Ahab and tells him he will be victorious. However, Ahab immediately sees through the sarcasm / unusually positive message and commands him to tell the truth (1 Kings 22:16). Micaiah then prophesied that Israel would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd i.e. that Ahab would die. I think that 1 Kings 22:18 is probably the funniest verse in the bible.

Micaiah was adamant that an angel had acted as a ‘lying spirit’ in the mouths of all the other prophets to entice Ahab to his death (1 Kings 22:28).

The two kings ignored Micaiah and went into battle. Ahab was hit between the sections of his armour by a random arrow and died. All the Israelite fighters scattered back to their own land, exactly as Micaiah had predicted.

In contrast to Ahab, Jehoshaphat (the King of Judah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He took after his father Asa. However, he still didn’t remove the high places and people still worshipped there. He did rid the land of the rest of the shrine prostitutes. Unusually, he was at peace with the kings of Israel. He reigned for twenty-five years.

After Ahab, Israel was ruled by another evil king, Ahaziah. As his parents were Ahab and Jezebel, this was hardly surprising. He provoked God to anger, just as his father had done, which is never a good idea.

Acts 19:14-41

A man who had an evil spirit attacked the seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, and beat them severely. Evil spirits are very legalistic and know who has the authority to exorcise them. We all have authority to say deliverance prayers for ourselves, our married partners and our own children. However, lay Christians are banned from saying the formal Latin exorcism prayer; that is only for fully ordained priests, who have gained permission from the bishop. Demons know who the local priest is in each area and they know who the bishop of the diocese is. They will eventually obey and leave a person if the correct hierarchical protocol has been followed.

As lay Christians, we can pray ‘prayers of deliverance’ for anyone plagued by an evil spirit but we do this ‘in the name of Jesus’. It is his authority we are invoking. The success of these prayers depends on our level of faith in Jesus and how the Holy Spirit has gifted us. The more faithful Christians that join in with a deliverance prayer the better but non-believing onlookers should be sent away. Praying in tongues can also be highly effective as the Holy Spirit will then pray the perfect prayer for that situation. The Sons of Sceva were attacked because they did not have personal faith in Jesus and thus had no authority over the evil spirit. However, even official exorcists may sometimes need to pin a fully possessed person down with the help of several strong men or use restraints, as fully possessed people can occasionally attack even those with full authority to exorcise them and have supernatural strength. People should not pray for possessed people by themselves unless there is no alternative / it is an emergency.    

The most effective exorcist, after Jesus, is the Blessed Virgin Mary. There have been several women throughout history who were able to exorcise difficult cases, when everyone else had failed to do so. Saint Catherine of Siena was a notable exorcist and we can still call on her today to pray for us: https://www.catholicexorcism.org/post/exorcist-diary-143-female-exorcists?postId=a5e613e1-14b0-40c9-b8a8-f6ba2f821939

This story shows one of the reasons why God still allows the devil and his demons to possess people. The Jews and Greeks in Ephesus were seized with fear and ‘the name of Jesus was held in high honour’. People openly confessed their evil deeds (Acts 19:17-18). If you are a believer and you witness one of your friends or family members becoming fully possessed, it can strengthen both your and the energumen’s (possessed person’s) faith. People came to burn their sorcery scrolls, which may have helped free themselves from demonic oppression / possession (Acts 19:20). Hopefully, someone in Ephesus took the aggressive possessed person to one of the disciples who would have been able to exorcise him in the name of Jesus.

Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, followed eventually by Rome. He planned a strategy to take the Gospel to the centre of the Roman empire.

Craftsmen in Ephesus had their livelihoods threatened because demand was going down for man-made silver shrines and other idols. The whole city went into uproar for fear that wealthy pilgrims would stop visiting the temple of Artemis. Paul wanted to appear before the rioting crowd but the disciples would not let him. The city clerk eventually quietened the crowd saying that any issues should be settled in court and not by mob rule.

These days, Christian shrines are surrounded by religious souvenir shops so people are still making a living from tourists having switched from pagan deities to the one true God.

Proverbs 15:31-16:7

We are meant to listen to and appreciate valid criticism, it will increase our wisdom and understanding.

We avoid evil because of our fear of the Lord. It also teaches us wisdom.

God looks at our motives. We should do everything out of love and faithfulness for the Lord.

Our plans will succeed if we commit to the Lord whatever we do (Prov.16:3).

No matter what disasters befall us, the Lord will work out everything for his own ends (Prov.16:4).

God wants us to show humility as he detests the proud of heart. We can live in peace with all if our ways are pleasing to the Lord.   

Image: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Prophet Condemns Ahab / Paul in Corinth & Ephesus: June 28th 2021

1 Kings 20:1-21:29

Ben-Hadad, King of Aram, besieged Samaria, where Omri the king the Israel had built his capital city. Israel was currently ruled by the evil Ahab, who had succeeded Omri.

At first Ahab simply agreed to Ben-Hadad’s claim on the city. Ahab could not fight against such a massive force but Ben-Hadad became even more demanding and Ahab finally made a stand and insulted him (1 Kings 20:11).

A prophet came to Ahab and said that the Lord was reaching out to him. The Lord would defeat Ben-Hadid’s vast army to prove who the Lord was (1 Kings 20:13). Ahab sent out young army officers with seven thousand men. Ben-Hadad was busy getting drunk and was dismissive of the threat they presented (1 Kings 20:18). However, the Israelites successfully struck down their opponents and the rest of the Aramean army fled.

The prophet warned Ahab to strengthen his position because he would be attacked again next spring.

The Arameans analysed their defeat. They came to the conclusion that the Israelite ‘gods’ were gods of the hills and so they needed to fight them down on the plain. The next spring, the vast army of the Arameans advanced again. The camp of the Israelite army was tiny in comparison (1 Kings 20:27). Of course, God was not going to accept the insult of being considered just a ‘god of the hills’, he was God of everywhere and would prove it (1 Kings 20:28).

The Israelites killed a hundred thousand Aramean foot soldiers in one day. The rest escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed killing another twenty-seven thousand. Ben-Hadad and his officials begged for their lives. Ahab spared him and made a treaty with him.

However, God had wanted Ben-Hadad dead. A prophet was sent to Ahab to tell him he would die in Ben-Hadad’s place for disobeying God (1 Kings 20:42).

Ahab wanted to buy a vineyard close to his palace to use as a vegetable garden. The owner of the vineyard, Naboth, upset Ahab by refusing to sell it. This made Ahab sullen and angry. However, his evil wife Jezebel simply arranged for Naboth to be stoned to death on false charges so that Ahab could seize the vineyard.

God told Elijah to go to Ahab and accuse him of his crimes (1 Kings 21:19). God was going to wield justice on Ahab, bring disaster on him and all his male descendants and ensure Jezebel’s death. Ahab and Jezebel were the worst royal couple in the history of Israel (1 Kings 21:25-26).

Ahab listened to this prophesy and did something about it. He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, fasted and went around meekly. God noted Ahab’s new-found humility and relented. The disaster that God had promised would not arrive until the days of Ahab’s son.

God had tried to reach out to Ahab by giving him victory against the Arameans. Ahab had tried to buy his desired vineyard from Naboth honestly before Jezebel got involved. However, he would not give up worshipping idols egged on by his evil wife. Ahab was prepared to humble himself when convicted by Elijah, which postponed disaster. If Ahab had married a righteous woman, his whole reign might have ended differently.

Acts 18:9-19:13

God spoke to Paul, while he was in Corinth, and reassured him that he should keep on speaking. God was with him. No-one was going to attack or harm him. God had many people in the city. Paul stayed there for eighteen months.

The Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him to court. However, Gallo the proconsul of the region refused to judge on religious matters and threw them all out. The Jews beat up the ruler of the synagogue in frustration.

After his stay in Corinth, Paul left the other disciples and sailed for Syria along with his fellow tent-makes Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off ‘because of a vow he had taken’ (Acts 18:18). This implies that Paul had made a temporary Nazirite vow to the Lord – the completion of which was marked by cutting off his hair which had been allowed to grow long during the period he had especially dedicated himself to the Lord (Num.6:18). Even though Paul was now a Christian and not bound by the full Jewish law, he was still performing some of their historical spiritual practices.

Paul travelled to Ephesus, where the Jews wanted to hear more from him and then to Caesarea and Antioch. Priscilla and Aquila had heard a learned man, Apollos, speaking with great fervour about Jesus in Ephesus. His teaching was many accurate but he only knew the baptism of John (Acts 18:25). Priscilla and Aquila invited him to the home and gently explained the full gospel message. We all need good Christian mentors, who can correct misunderstandings and fill in gaps in our knowledge. Married Christian couples radiate their love of Christ to the world and also their holy commitment to each other. They are less intimidating as mentors than ordained ministers and can combine family hospitality with the gospel message. Married partners always have a Christian on hand to back up their prayers making their combined ministry highly effective (Matt.18:19-20)  

Apollos wanted to be a missionary and the brothers encouraged him. They wrote to the disciples in Achaia to ensure a welcome for him there. He was a great help to believers in vigorously refuting the Jews in public debates. He proved ‘from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ’ (Acts 18:28). So many passages in the Old Testament show that Jesus was our anointed saviour such as Isaiah 53:1-12.

Paul started to find disciples who had not heard of the Holy Spirit. They had only received John’s baptism for the repentance of sins. Paul re-baptised them in the name of Jesus and when he placed his hands on them, ‘the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied’ (Acts 19:6). This process needs to happen to the majority of modern Christians. They may have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, possible decades ago as an infant, but they then sit around passively with a tiny flickering pilot light of the Holy Spirit within them and have never asked for the unlimited power of God within them to be fanned into a roaring flame. As adults, we have to ask Jesus to come into our lives as our personal saviour and also ask the Holy Spirit to enkindle within us the full power of his gifts.

It is encouraging to us that even Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was not able to convert everyone. Even though he argued persuasively, some of his audience became obstinate and refused to believe (Acts 19:9). Paul did not stay, he simply started daily discussions in a lecture hall. After two years, all the Jews and Greeks in Asia had heard the word of the Lord.

When handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul were taken to the sick, miraculous cures and deliverances happened (Acts 19:12). Jesus had cured a woman with the hem of his garment (Luke 8:44). Peter’s shadow appeared to cure people (Acts 5:15). A dead man thrown into the prophet Elisha’s tomb came back to life when the body touched Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21). In each of these instances God brought about healing using an object. The cause of the healing was always God. The pieces of material, the shadow and the bones were a means through which He acted. Objects such as these are not magic. They do not contain a power that is their own; the power comes from God. God worked through Paul’s handkerchiefs in order to draw attention to the message that Paul was faithfully proclaiming. God wanted people to recognise Paul as a model and an intercessor. As the Bible says, ‘God did extraordinary miracles through Paul’ (Acts 19:11).

The Mother Church still venerates such relics today. There are three classes of sacred relics. The first-class is a part of the saints body such as the bones of Elisha (it is this type, which was traditionally placed in an altar stone.) The second-class is a piece of the saints clothing or something used by the saint such as Paul’s handkerchief, while the third-class is an object which has been touched to a first-class relic. I carry a cross on a keyring that has been touched to half a dozen first class relics.

Prior to Jesus’s incarnation, there had been Jewish exorcists. Every culture had been given prayers / incantations / ceremonies to deliver people from demons, presumably having been taught by angels or the Holy Spirit. Without these, whole cultures would have probably ceased to exist. The exorcism prayers and techniques were passed on in books of prayers or ‘magic’ books. Solomon allegedly collated several volumes of these incantations for his son Rehoboam. There was no guarantee that these ancient prayers would be effective and the people who used them probably charged for their services. Jesus exorcised people with a simple command and faithful people can deliver others ‘in the name of Jesus’. Some Jewish exorcists started to use the command: ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out’ (Acts 19:13. However, they weren’t professing their own faith in Jesus and faith is very important in deliverance work. We will review the success of their approach tomorrow.

Psalm 78:32-39

In spite of all God’s wonders, the Israelites kept on sinning and did not believe.

God is always merciful and forgiving. He knows that our flesh can be weak but, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he intends to make our spirit powerful, strong and ready for eternal life.

Image: I, Davezelenka, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons

Saul and the Witch of Endor / Jesus is Flogged and Crucified: May 30th 2021

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25

Saul started chasing David around the countryside again. Saul could not resist the temptation to try to kill David just as we can return to the same habitual sins if we don’t ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and strengthen us.

David and one of his brave soldiers, Abishai, crept into Saul’s camp at night, while everyone was sleeping and took Saul’s spear and the water jug that was near his head. David was protected on this mission ‘because the Lord had put them all into a deep sleep’ (1 Samuel 26:12). David steadfastly refused to kill a king, who had been appointed by God.

David shouted to Saul and his men from a wide distance away and asked Saul why he was pursuing him again. Saul admitted he had sinned again and blessed David.

David wisely escaped to the land of the Philistines as Saul clearly could not be trusted. David and his men would go on raiding parties from there to acquire livestock and other goods. He ruthlessly exterminated all the men and women in the areas he raided for fear they might inform on him. It was a horrendously blood-thirsty time to live. It would have been nice to read that David granted people mercy but the sheer horror of some sections of the Bible demonstrates its truth. All the unpleasant bits that might make us question the morals of some of the main characters have been left in. However, God really didn’t like the Amalekites and, in his wrath, wanted them all dead. God had completely turned away from Saul for sparing just a single Amalekite, the king. Presumably, they were impenitent child-sacrificing monsters worshipping evil demonic entities and had broken so many of God’s laws they could not be redeemed in this Covenant. God needed them to die so that Jesus could come to preach to them in hell after his crucifixion.

The Philistine king, Achish, trusted David because he thought that the Israelites hated him so much that he would be his servant for ever. He even made David his bodyguard when the Philistines were preparing to fight against Israel.

Saul had previously followed God’s law (Exodus 22:18) and ‘expelled all the mediums and spiritists from the land’ (1 Samuel 28:3). However, he was now terrified of the Philistine invasion and none of the approved methods of communicating with God were working (1 Sam. 28:6). God had withdrawn the Holy Spirit from Saul and was allowing him to be plagued by an evil spirit. The primary occupation of an evil spirit is to tempt people and Saul was now tempted to consult a medium. It is a fundamental breach of God’s law to consult practitioners of the occult. If we do this, demons gain a legal right to oppress and even possess us and it may take a person with a very high level of spiritual authority and / or faith to deliver us from them. Dabbling in the occult attracts the big-hitting Biblical demons with personal names and they don’t usually travel alone.

The medium that Saul consulted brought up the recently deceased spirit of the prophet Samuel. Samuel was not happy at being disturbed. He reminded Saul that God had turned away from him and become his enemy. The Lord had torn the kingdom from his hands and given it to David. Samuel prophesied the loss of Israel to the Philistines and Saul’s own death (1 Samuel 28:19).

The witch made Saul eat something before he left. He had fallen full length on the ground in fear and his strength had gone. She was probably worried he might never leave and change his mind about not killing her. She slaughtered her fattened calf and baked bread for him and his men. He was an honoured guest in her house and part of her occult club now that she had conducted a séance for him. She only had to worry about him until the next day according to Samuel’s proclamation of his impending demise.

John 19:1-27

Pilate had Jesus flogged. I only realised the full horror of this experience when I watched ‘The Passion of the Christ’. This event is of particularly significance in Pentecostal belief because it is preached that all of our illnesses became embedded into the bloody grooves that were scourged into our Saviour’s back: Isaiah 53:5. See also, 1 Peter 2:24 which the NIV Bible translates as ‘by his wounds you have been healed‘, which sounds like the wounds of crucifixion, but other Bibles proclaim: ‘by whose stripes you were healed’ (NKJV). We can boldly pray for healing by virtue of Jesus’ taking all our our infirmities and diseases into the stripes / bloody thumps / grooves on his back. Jesus not only conquered death, but by being scourged he also conquered sickness and infirmity.

Pilate desperately tried to set Jesus free but the hostile crowd gave him no room for manoeuvre. He finally gave into their demands. He should have stood up for justice and released Jesus no matter what the consequences. He was a weak judge. These days, many biased people bay for blood to forward their own political agendas. We are so fortunate if we live in a land with a relatively impartial and just legal system, with a right to appeal our sentences. We must pray for our lawyers and judges that they are not tempted to deny justice to the innocent.

Jesus was crucified at the place of the skull, Golgotha. Jesus’ cross, according to legend, was right on top of where Adam’s skeleton (and skull) was buried. The blood and water from Jesus’ side would fall down onto the ground and soak Adam’s dry bones. When Jesus died, he descended down into hell on the most audacious rescue mission ever to rescue his old friends and ancestors, Adam and Eve, and lead them to heaven. Jesus had walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden. They were his friends and he had promised them, when they were expelled from Eden, that he would make things right. Jesus rescued them as both their creator and their descendant.

The sign on Jesus’ cross proclaiming him as ‘King of the Jews’ was written in the three different Biblical languages. Up to September 2020, the full Bible has been translated into 704 languages and the New Testament translated into another 1,551 languages. New ones are being added all the time. My wife’s Godfather has recently finished translating the original Hebrew Bible into Cornish. When we are given the supernatural gift of speaking in tongues, we might start speaking in an earthly or a heavenly language. People can be given the supernatural gift of understanding what we are saying or they might recognise their native language. Some people have English as their supernatural language – despite never having been taught any it.

John 19:25 mentions Jesus’ ‘mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas’ standing near the cross. Saint Jerome (347-420), argued that the so-called brothers of Jesus (James, Simon, Jude and Joses or Joseph) were children of Mary of Clopas making them first cousins of Jesus. I prefer the Eastern church’s tradition that the ‘brothers of Jesus’ were older sons of the widower Joseph from his deceased first wife. Either way, Mary, mother of Jesus, never had any other children as her vocation since birth was to be a temple virgin. Joseph, her elderly husband, was her strong, silent protector.

Even though Jesus was being crucified, he still cared for others. He ensured that his mother, Mary, would always be looked after by John – the disciple whom he loved (John 19:26-27). Mary, as the mother of God, is mother to all of us in the church. She is still our number one intercessor with privileged access to her son and our saviour. Praying to Mary is the same as asking your Pastor / Priest to pray for you but usually far more effective. Jesus remains the one mediator between human and God bridging the gulf between heaven and earth and opening up heaven for the righteous but both the living and the dead can pray for us. No-one is ever dead in God’s eyes, we are all living to him (Luke 20:38). The saints are twiddling their heavenly thumbs waiting for us to call for help. Demons are terrified of Mary as her prayers are so effective. She often intervenes in exorcisms to wrestle people from Satan’s grasp. It is the tragedy of the fractured and splintered church that so many people do not know they can request her powerful prayers.

Psalm 68:21-27

We should loudly praise God in all of our congregations (Psalm 68:26).

Sin and the devil are the enemies of us all. Jesus wiped out punishment for our sins by his death on the cross. He became incarnate to destroy the works of the devil. By her prayers, his mother Mary crushes the heads of the devil and the demons under her heel.

God will always be triumphant.

Image: Salvator Rosa, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Feeding the Five Thousand / Jesus Walks on Water: May 9th 2021

Judges 9:1-57

Gideon had produced an abundance of offspring. He had seventy sons by his wives and an additional son, Abimelech, by his concubine.

Abimelech carried out a bloody coup and murdered his seventy brothers. The citizens of Shechem had funded him and crowned him king. It was an appalling act of betrayal after Gideon had heroically saved Israel. However, the youngest son of Gideon, Jotham, escaped.

Jotham gave a very brave speech – wisely shouting it at the evil citizens of Shechem from the top of a tall mountain before running away. He asked them if they had acted in good faith towards his late father Gideon. If not, ‘fire’ would come out from Abimelech and consume Shechem and vice versa.

God brought justice after three years of Abimelech’s rule. ‘God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech (v.23).

A man called Gaal led the citizens of Shechem, who had become highway robbers, in a revolt against Abimelech. They were defeated and Abimelech captured the city and killed the people. He burned a thousand people alive in the tower of Shechem; people who had previously enabled him to become king (v.49).

King Abimelech then besieged and captured the town of Thebez but they had constructed a strong tower into which all the citizens fled. As Abimelech was storming it, a woman dropped a millstone down onto his head and cracked his skull. He ordered his servant to finish him off with a sword. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Abimelech’s army went home.

God had repaid both the power-mad, psychopathic Abimelech and the disloyal citizens of Shechem for their wickedness. The curse of the one surviving son of Gideon, Jothan, had come upon them. We reap what we sow and God will ensure that justice is served.

John 6:1-24

Jesus fed the five thousand. He was attracting large crowds because of the miraculous healing miracles he was performing, It would have been an impossible task to feed this many people with just the disciple’s resources: ‘Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’ (v.7). God loves an impossible task. Jesus asked Philip what they should do just to test him. Jesus ‘already had it in mind what he was going to do’ (v.6).

Jesus took five loaves and two fish, gave thanks, broke them and distributed them. Everyone ate as much as they wanted and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. I like to think this would have been the best bread and the tastiest fish anyone had ever tasted. Just as Jesus produced the best wine from water at the wedding in Cana. Jesus’ body is broken and distributed to us during the Holy Eucharist and he can feed as many people as want to receive him.

These types of food miracles still happen today. Missionaries can find they have nearly run out of flour for bread, only to find that empty storage tins have mysteriously refilled. People catering for large events with seemingly insufficient food pray that it will stretch and everyone is fed. Jesus created all things and can easily make more resources. He will ensure that believers are satisfied. However, God wants to work in partnership with us. Jesus did not create the food from nothing. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, did some research and found a boy had a meagre amount of food with him. Presumably the Holy Spirit had persuaded the boy to pack this food and bring it with him that very morning. He brought this to the party and Jesus was able to use this small contribution to feed everyone else. If everyone in a church community joins in with a project. just imagine what can be achieved when our resources are miraculously multiplied.

Jesus did not want to be made king and so didn’t hang around to receive the praise and adoration of the crowd. He withdrew to a mountain by himself.

The disciples set off across the lake for Capernaum leaving Jesus behind. They were struggling, trying to row in the wind, and the sea was rough. Jesus approached the boat, walking on the water. He might have walked the whole distance (three and a half miles) or the Spirit might have transported him there (see Acts 8:39). As soon as the disciples took Jesus into their boat they reached the safety of the shore as if their boat suddenly shot across the lake at miraculous speed. As soon as we repent of our sins and invite Jesus into our life to be our personal saviour we will reach our destination – eternal life.

How did Jesus walk on the water? Jesus created everything and water is one of his creatures. It would respond to his command. Water can also take on other spiritual forces and become blessed or demonised. It is best to exorcise water before using it in a baptism. One missionary I know once baptized forty people from an African village in an oil drum filled with water. Fourteen women of the forty were heavily demonised and when dunked under the water were unable to surface again. Very strong men had to pull them up out of the water. Either the demons within them were trying to drown them or, just as the water in the presence of the Chief Exorcist held Jesus up, the water used for this baptism may have been extracted from a water source dedicated to a demonic entity and tried to hold the women down.

The crowds found out that Jesus and his disciples had left and so climbed into boats chasing him to Capernaum. Once we have found Jesus and experienced his miraculous healing power in our lives, we don’t want to let him get away either. However, he will never leave us or forsake us.

Psalm 58:1-11

Do our rulers speak justly? No, in their hearts they devise injustice.

In my country, Great Britain, we have a state-sponsored abortion industry killing over 200,000 unborn children a year so of course our rulers are not speaking justly. Their hands ‘mete out violence on the earth’ (v.2).

We go astray from the womb. We have a terrible innate tendency to sin and tell lies termed ‘concupiscence’. We are born with an inclination to evil. However, Jesus has washed us clean through the sacrifice of his perfect blood. We just have to repent and renounce of sin, believe and become baptised.

At the end of days, the righteous will be rewarded for there surely is a God who judges the earth.

Image: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=316645&picture=jesus-walks-on-water

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