Saturday, August 5, 2017

Advanced Tactics for Spiritual Warfare

Daily Prayer for Protection & Strength.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray this prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ Your one and only Son who died and rose again for the remission of my sins, I bind, rebuke and render powerless: all division, discord, disunity, strife, wrath, criticism, condemnation, pride, envy, jealously, gossip, slander, evil speaking, complaining, lying, false teaching, false gifts, false manifestations, lying signs and wonders, poverty, fear of lack, fear of demonic spirits, deceiving spirits, religious spirits, hindering spirits, retaliatory spirits, occult spirits, witchcraft spirits, spirits of antichrist and all familiar and territorial spirits.

I bind all curses that have been spoken against me. I bless those who curse me, and pray blessings on those who despitefully use me. I bind all spoken words made against me, and words I have made against others. I bind the power of negative words from others, and I bind and render useless all prayers not inspired by the Holy Spirit; whether psychic, soul force, witchcraft, or counterfeit tongues that have been prayed against me.

I am God's child. I resist the devil and declare that No weapon formed against me shall prosper. I take authority over this day. Let it be prosperous for me Lord and help me walk in your love and forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit leads and guides me today and fills me with all needed spiritual gifting and graces. I discern between the righteous and the wicked and I take authority over Satan and all his demons and those people who are influenced by them. I declare Satan is under my feet and shall remain there all day.

I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am God's child. Satan, you are bound from operating against my family, my marriage, my mind, my body, my job, and my finances. I confess that I am healed and whole. I flourish and I have longevity of life.  I am stable, durable, incorruptible, fruitful, virtuous, full of peace, patience and love. Whatever I set my hands to do shall prosper for God supplies all my needs.

I claim a hedge of protection, by the Precious Blood of Jesus, around myself and my loved ones throughout this day and night. I ask You God to send angels to surround us today and everyday, and to put them throughout our homes and around our souls, bodies, wills and emotions. I call on Your holy angels to protect my home from any intrusion or natural disasters, and to protect myself and my family from any harmful demonic or other physical or mental attacks. Father I claim victory over every foe in my workplace. For greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world. And if God is for me who can be against me? 
I receive  all of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen


"God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Savior" (Isaiah 12:2 NAB)


Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God
Not that which God himself is sometimes clothed with, and uses against his enemies; but what he has provided for his people, and furnishes them with; the particulars of which are after mentioned: and it is called "the armour of God", because it is prepared by him for his people, and is bestowed on them by him; and because it is in its own nature divine and spiritual, and not carnal; and because it is provided for fighting the Lord's battles, and is used in them; and because the efficacy of it is from him, and the
execution it does is owing to him: and it is whole, complete, and perfect; and all of it is useful, and no part to be neglected, but all to be taken and "put on"; which is not to make and provide this armour, but to take it, as in ( Ephesians 6:13 ) ; as being ready made and provided, and to expect and prepare for battle, and make use of it; and this supposes saints to be in a warfare state, and that they are in the character of soldiers, and have enemies to fight with, and therefore should be accoutred with proper and suitable armour, to meet them: that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil;
who is the grand enemy of Christ and his people, and a very powerful and cunning one he is; so that the whole armour of God should be put on, which is proof against all his might and craft, in order to stand against him, oppose him, and fight, and get the victory over him, which in the issue is always obtained by
believers; for they not only stand their ground in the strength of Christ, and by the use of their armour confound his schemes, and baffle all his arts and stratagems, but are more than conquerors through him that has loved them.





Thursday, August 3, 2017

HOW TO SPOT AN EGOMANIAC




Here Are the Signs You May Be an Egomaniac





Whether it’s your co-worker or a family member, chances are there’s someone in your life you would describe as a total “egomaniac.” If there’s not, you only need to flip on the news to see headlines describing a celebrity or politician as one. Egomaniac has become a particularly hot adjective to describe President Donald Trump, with publications, including The Guardian, using the word as a catchall for the Twitter-obsessed president.
Egomania has made its way into casual language as a shorthand for the self-obsessed, but what does it actually mean? Egomania is sometimes used interchangeably with megalomania, or an obsession with power. It shares many similarities with narcissistic-personality disorder, according to Psychology Today. While not all egomaniacs have fully fledged narcissistic personality disorder, there are several signs of narcissistic personality disorder that can also be used to indicate egomania. It’s important to remember, however, not all symptoms of egomania are exclusive to personality disorders. Delusions of grandeur, for instance, can also be a very severe symptom of schizophrenia. And egomania, while an informative concept, is not a diagnosis.
If you want to know whether your boss or friend is more self-obsessed than average, read on for the signs you might be dealing with an egomaniac.

1. They have an exaggerated sense of self-importance

businessman points to himself with both thumbs
This guy thinks he’s the most important person in the room.
Egomaniacs might aspire to be famous, but even if they’re not they still think they’re the most important person in the room. In Ego Is The Enemy, author Ryan Holiday explains great job candidates manage to be confident without coming off as arrogant. Egomaniacs couldn’t care less about seeming arrogant. Their belief in their own importance is more crucial than their actual experience or skills.

2. Egomaniacs exploit others for their own benefit

businessperson holding fingers crossed behind his back
Egomaniacs will lie through their teeth.
Much like sociopaths, egomaniacs will lie and use others without remorse. It’s not that they can’t tell right from wrong. They just care too much about themselves to worry about the consequences for others.

3. They have a huge sense of entitlement

Young woman applying makeup
Egomaniacs need pampering.
Egomaniacs feel entitled to favorable treatment, regardless of the circumstances. Illusions of grandeur mean anything less than the VIP treatment will set off an egomaniac.

4. Egomaniacs are often addicted to social media

woman using cellphone
Social media provides the attention egomaniacs crave.
Whether it’s constantly posting selfies or sending out a dozen tweets, egomaniacs are in constant need of attention. Social media has proved a boon to egomaniacs looking for a fast-track to celebrity. While scientists are in disagreement over the extent to which social media and narcissism are linked, a number of studies have shown a positive correlation between indicators of narcissistic-personality disorder and social media use.

5. They have no regard for others

Two young female friends sitting
Egomaniacs only care about their own needs.
Egomaniacs think they run the show, even if they don’t. Other people’s time and feelings mean nothing to them unless it’s to serve their own needs. While this kind of behavior can bulldoze others, it can also wreak havoc in egomaniacs’ careers. For instance, actor Charlie Sheen’s notorious behavior disrupted not just one but two of his recent television shows. And he’s not the only one. These 10 actors’ egomania threatened to ruin popular shows.

6. Egomaniacs are attracted to jobs in politics and entertainment

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to Congress.
President Donald Trump delivers a speech to Congress.
Dwight D. Eisenhower allegedly once said, “Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.” Regardless of whether the quote is real, it’s not too far off. A quick search of the news will show the word used disproportionately in association with celebrities and politicians (especially Trump). Although it might seem like a bad thing to have so many egomaniacs in power, a 2011 Penn State study found egomaniacs’ self-confidence makes them better leaders despite their other flaws.

7. They love excess and extremes

Five people in casino playing
Egomaniacs are always looking to take things to the extreme.
While egomaniacs’ biggest addiction is themselves, their sense of grandeur and need for attention can lead to other excesses. That can turn into partying or gambling.

8. Egomaniacs hate to lose

Businessman shouting
Egomaniacs will never take the blame.
Persistence can be a good thing, but no one likes a sore loser. Egomaniacs will insist their opponents cheated or someone rigged the game before they accept a loss.

9. They have an insecurity complex

businessman with stage fright covering his face
An aggressive facade might cover insecure feelings.
Although it might seem contradictory, some egomaniacs might suffer from an inferiority complex, as well. As psychotherapist Michael Formica explains in Psychology Today, egomaniacs use feelings of grandiosity and aggressive behavior to mask their own security. In other words, some egomaniacs might be suffering from a Napoleon complex.

10. They ridicule others

Dispute between boss and employee
Those with high and low self-esteem tend to bully.
Not only do egomaniacs hate to lose, they hate to see others win. Egomaniacs inflate their sense of self by putting down others. While some egomaniacs might suffer from low self-esteem, researcher Nathaniel Branden has shown an inflated ego can lead to bullying, too. Egomaniacs on both ends of the spectrum can be bullies.

11. They are hypersensitive

Donald and Melania Trump
Criticism is not an egomaniac’s friend.
Egomaniacs can dish it, but they can’t take it. Most famous people understand that with celebrity comes criticism. And, yes, some jokes are mean. But if you throw a tantrum after being spoofed on late-night television, you’re either an egomaniac or in the wrong business.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

ARE YOU BOUND BY THE PRIDE OF LIFE?


pride of life
Question: "What is the pride of life?"

Answer:
The phrase “pride of life” is found only once in the Bible, in 1 John 2:16, but the concept of the pride of life, especially as it is linked with the “lust of the eyes” and the “lust of the flesh,” appears in two more significant passages of Scripture—the temptation of Eve in the Garden and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:8-10). The pride of life can be defined as anything that is “of the world,” meaning anything that leads to arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world and “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The first example of the temptation of the pride of life occurs in the Garden of Eden, where Eve was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve perceived that the fruit was “good for food,” “pleasing to the eye,” and “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies any of the physical needs. The fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. Here is the “lust of the eyes” John refers to. Finally, Eve somehow perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Here is the essence of the pride of life—anything that exalts us above our station and offers the illusion of God-like qualities, wherein we boast in arrogance and worldly wisdom. Eve wanted to be like God in her knowledge, not content to live in a perfect world under His perfect grace and care for her. Satan tried these same three temptations on Christ during His 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, bread for His hunger (vv. 2-3), the lust of the eyes, “all the kingdoms of the world with their splendor” (vv. 8-9), and the pride of life, daring Him to cast Himself from the roof of the Temple in order to prove that He was the Messiah by an ostentatious display of power that was not in the will of God or His plan for the redemption of mankind (vv. 5-6). But Jesus, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), resisted the devil and used the Word of God to ensure victory over him.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21). He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and “the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).
Recommended Resource: Landmines in the Path of the Believer: Avoiding the Hidden Dangers by Charles F. Stanley


Related Topics:

What does it mean to boast in the Lord?

How should a Christian view self-esteem?

Why are there so many tragedies among celebrities?

What is the lust of the eyes?

What does the Bible say about ego?



Return to:

Questions about 1 John


Return to: GotQuestions.org Home


What is the pride of life?


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Calvinism vs. Arminianism

Calvinism vs. Arminianism - which view is correct?




Calvinism vs. Arminianism
Question: "Calvinism vs. Arminianism - which view is correct?"

Answer:
Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.

Both systems can be summarized with five points. Calvinism holds to the total depravity of man while Arminianism holds to partial depravity. Calvinism’s doctrine of total depravity states that every aspect of humanity is corrupted by sin; therefore, human beings are unable to come to God on their own accord. Partial depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that human beings are unable to place faith in God of their own accord. Note: classical Arminianism rejects “partial depravity” and holds a view very close to Calvinistic “total depravity” (although the extent and meaning of that depravity are debated in Arminian circles). In general, Arminians believe there is an “intermediate” state between total depravity and salvation. In this state, made possible by prevenient grace, the sinner is being drawn to Christ and has the God-given ability to choose salvation.

Calvinism includes the belief that election is unconditional, while Arminianism believes in conditional election. Unconditional election is the view that God elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will, not on anything inherently worthy in the individual. Conditional election states that God elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ unto salvation, thereby on the condition that the individual chooses God.

Calvinism sees the atonement as limited, while Arminianism sees it as unlimited. This is the most controversial of the five points. Limited atonement is the belief that Jesus only died for the elect. Unlimited atonement is the belief that Jesus died for all, but that His death is not effectual until a person receives Him by faith.

Calvinism includes the belief that God’s grace is irresistible, while Arminianism says that an individual can resist the grace of God. Irresistible grace argues that when God calls a person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation. Resistible grace states that God calls all to salvation, but that many people resist and reject this call.

Calvinism holds to perseverance of the saints while Arminianism holds to conditional salvation. Perseverance of the saints refers to the concept that a person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him. Conditional salvation is the view that a believer in Christ can, of his/her own free will, turn away from Christ and thereby lose salvation. Note - many Arminians deny "conditional salvation" and instead hold to "eternal security."

So, in the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, who is correct? It is interesting to note that in the diversity of the body of Christ, there are all sorts of mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism. There are five-point Calvinists and five-point Arminians, and at the same time three-point Calvinists and two-point Arminians. Many believers arrive at some sort of mixture of the two views. Ultimately, it is our view that both systems fail in that they attempt to explain the unexplainable. Human beings are incapable of fully grasping a concept such as this. Yes, God is absolutely sovereign and knows all. Yes, human beings are called to make a genuine decision to place faith in Christ unto salvation. These two facts seem contradictory to us, but in the mind of God they make perfect sense.
Recommended Resource: Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views by Hunt & White
Chosen But Free, revised edition: A Balanced View of God's Sovereignty and Free Will by Norm Geisler
The Potter's Freedom by James White
Why I Am Not a Calvinist by Walls & Dongell
Why I Am Not an Arminian by Peterson & Williams





Related Topics:

What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?

What is Arminianism and is it biblical?

What is Amyraldism?

What was the Synod of Dort?

Monergism vs. synergism – which view is correct?



Return to:

Questions about Theology


Return to: GotQuestions.org Home

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

President Abraham Lincoln involvement with the Occult

SEANCES IN THE WHITE HOUSE? LINCOLN & THE SUPERNATURAL

One of the most fascinating characters in American history was undoubtedly President Abraham Lincoln. In addition to his many contributions to our history,  connections between Lincoln and the supernatural were maintained throughout his life, and some say beyond it. Much has been made of Lincoln’s prophetic dreams and of his belief in the spirit world and of course, of the hauntings which are said to be connected to his home in Springfield and his mysterious tomb. Stories have also been told of his belief in the spirit world and for our purposes here, that is what I wish to focus on.
Did séances really take place in the Lincoln White House? Did Lincoln really believe in Spiritualism? And if so, what event occurred that could have caused him to want to make contact with the dead?

Lincoln in Illinois
Abraham Lincoln was always a melancholy person. The death of his mother when he was still a child, hard labor to make an existence for himself in the wilderness and his struggle for an education, all combined to make him a serious man, even when he was making a joke. The Civil War caused him great sorrow and the heavy losses on both sides filled him with sadness. Lincoln paid obsessive detail to everything about the war and by 1864, portraits of him show a face etched with lines. He slept very little in those years and during the five years he lived in the White House, he spent less than one month away from work. His only escape was afforded him by the theater, a late night buggy ride or from his books.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky in 1809. His father, Thomas Lincoln, had married Nancy Hanks, a tall, pretty, uneducated girl, three years before and they had built a log cabin at a place called Sinking Springs Farm. Later, the Lincoln family pulled up stakes and moved across the Ohio River to Indiana, where they settled on Little Pigeon Creek.  In 1818, Lincoln’s life changed abruptly when the family was struck by a terrible frontier disease dubbed "milk sickness". Tom and Betsy Sparrow, close friends of the Lincoln family, died first, while Nancy Lincoln faithfully nursed them to their last hours. Then, Nancy too was struck down with the disease and followed her friends to their graves. Abraham helped to fashion his mother’s coffin with his own hands and then placed her in the ground. It was later said that he held his head in his hands and wept for hours. At that point, his father and sister forgotten, Lincoln later said that he felt completely alone in the world.

In 1820. the Lincoln's moved to Illinois. Thomas had re-married and for a time, the family lived in a small cabin outside of Decatur. The younger Lincoln later moved to New Salem and Springfield after working on the riverboats and serving in the military during the Black Hawk War.  He began working in a law practice and found that he had a gift for politics and oration. He was soon a popular young man about town. In 1839, Lincoln met a young woman named Mary Todd and after a rocky courtship, they were married in 1842.
Lincoln’s love for travel and the law caused his marriage to suffer badly in those early years. At that point in his career, he was active in court cases all over Illinois and was constantly away from home. Mary gave birth to a son, Robert, and their second son, Eddie, was born in 1846 but only lived to the age of four. Willie followed in 1850, not long after the death of his brother, and Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was born in 1853.

Mary Todd Lincoln around 1846


Lincoln served a term in Congress in the late 1840’s, but his law practice kept him too busy to consider much of a political career. He had always been opposed to the further spread of slavery in the country and was contented that the Missouri Compromise had outlawed slavery further west, where America’s future would be built. But in 1854, a congressional act provoked by Lincoln’s long-time personal and political rival, Stephen Douglas, threatened to allow slavery in the territories. Lincoln’s anger at this got the best of him and he made the decision to return to politics.

Lincoln’s Prophetic Vision
In the summer of 1854, Lincoln decided to campaign for a seat in the Illinois State Assembly. He easily won the position, but then quickly resigned. What he really wanted was a seat in the US Senate, where he believed he could really make a difference for his country. In February 1855, he sought but failed to get the coveted seat. Things started to change in early 1856 however, as a new political party was created called the Republican Party. In these years, passions were beginning to ignite in the nation and dire predictions began to be made about the possibilities of secession and Civil War. In Illinois,  Republicans nominated Lincoln to run against Stephen Douglas for a seat in the Senate in 1858.

On July 24, Lincoln proposed that the two opponents meet in a series of debates before audiences all over the state. Douglas agreed and the two began a series of appearances that have become legend in Illinois for their volatile content. "The prairies are on fire," wrote one reporter, after witnessing a clash between Lincoln and Douglas. The debates were bitter and powerful between the two long-time rivals. Lincoln argued that slavery must be abolished, while Douglas insisted that it could be contained and allowed to flourish in the South, as long as the states there wished it. The final debate was held in Alton and the story was reported all over the country in newspapers.
Finally, in November, word reached Lincoln that he had lost the race for the Senate seat. Surprisingly, this loss was the best thing that could have happened to him. Wise political analysts, on both sides, had watched this race very closely and had seen the way the debates had captured the attention of the entire country. Soon, word among the Republicans began to favor Lincoln as their choice for President in 1860.
Lincoln began to travel all over the country, backed by the Illinois Republican contingent, making his name known and becoming a recognizable entity. On May 16, 1860, the Republican National Convention opened in Chicago and ended with a presidential nomination for Lincoln.  The city of Springfield had a carnival-like atmosphere about it that summer, highlighted with a Republican rally at the fairgrounds. The parade took more than eight hours to pass the Lincoln home and ended with a picnic, where tubs of lemonade and whole cooked steers awaited the revelers.
Election Day in the city dawned with rousing blasts from a cannon, with music and contagious excitement. Lincoln spent the day and evening with friends at a telegraph office. By midnight, it was clear that he had been elected President of the United States. A late night dinner was held in his honor and then he returned to the office for more news. Guns fired in celebration throughout the night. Lincoln may have won the day, but he fared poorly in the popular vote. He had soundly defeated his closest opponent in the Electoral College, but had won just forty percent of the vote among the people. He had become a minority president with no support at all in the southern states.


Lincoln as he would have looked around the time of his vision in Springfield
Lincoln finally managed to return home in the early morning hours although news of victory and telegrams of congratulations were still being wired to his office. He went into his bedroom for some much-needed rest and collapsed onto a settee. Near the couch was a large bureau with a mirror on it and Lincoln started for a moment at his reflection in the glass. His face appeared angular, thin and tired. Several of his friends suggested that he grow a beard, which would hide the narrowness of his face and give him a more "presidential" appearance. Lincoln pondered this for a moment and then experienced what many would term a "vision"... and odd vision that Lincoln would later believe had prophetic meaning.

He saw that in the mirror, his face appeared to have two separate, yet distinct, images. The tip of one nose was about three inches away from the other one. The vision vanished but appeared again a few moments later. It was clearer this time and Lincoln realized that one of the faces was actually much paler than the other was, almost with the coloring of death. The vision disappeared again and Lincoln dismissed the whole thing to the excitement of the hour and his lack of sleep.

Later on that evening, he told Mary of the strange vision and attempted to conjure it up again in the days that followed. The faces always returned to him and while Mary never saw it, she believed her husband when he said he did. She also believed she knew the significance of the vision. The healthy face was her husband’s "real" face and indicated that he would serve his first term as president. The pale, ghostly image of the second face however was a sign that he would be elected to a second term -- but would not live to see its conclusion.
Lincoln apparently dismissed the whole thing as a hallucination, or an imperfection in the glass, or so he said publicly. Later, that strange vision would come back to haunt him during the turbulent days of the war. It was not Lincoln’s only brush with prophecy either. One day, shortly before the election, he spoke to some friends as they were discussing the possibilities of Civil War. "Gentlemen," he said to them, "you may be surprised and think it strange, but when the doctor here was describing a war, I distinctly saw myself, in second sight, bearing an important part in that strife."
Lincoln & the War
Lincoln was soon sworn in as President and began one of the most troubled periods of American history. The great loss of life and the bitter turmoil of the war took their toll on him. His personality changed and he became more bitter and dark. He became a sad, gloomy leader who was prone to severe depression. It was as if the weight of the entire nation had fallen on his shoulders.
Documents of the Union War Department contain one occasion when Lincoln burst into the telegraph office of the department late one night. He had visited earlier, looking for the latest news, but when he came back, he was in a panic. He ordered the operator to get a line through to the Union commanders. He was convinced that Confederate soldiers were just about to cut through the Federal lines. The telegraph operator asked where he had obtained such information and Lincoln reportedly answered, "My god, man! I saw it".
The war took a terrible toll on President Lincoln but there is no doubt that the most crippling blow he suffered in the White House was the death of his son, Willie, in 1862. The boy had been born in Springfield in 1850, shortly after the funeral of the Lincoln’s second son, Eddie. Willie was much like his father and probably because of this, was the special favorite among his much-loved sons. William Wallace Lincoln, named for a family doctor in Springfield, was a quiet, thoughtful boy who excelled at reading and education. His brother Tad was just the opposite and could not read or write by age 12, while Willie was beyond the basics by 8. He had a wonderful memory and could recite long passages from the Bible with ease. He often told his parents that he was going to be a minister when he grew up.

The tragic figure of Willie Lincoln

Lincoln and Mary grieved deeply over Willie’s death. Lincoln was sick at heart over Willie’s death and it was probably the most intense personal crisis in his life. Some historians have even called it the greatest blow he ever suffered. Even Confederate President Jefferson Davis expressed condolences over the boy’s death.

Lincoln did not fare well in the days that followed the boy's death. Willie had been embalmed to make the trip back to Springfield and be buried beside his brother, but Lincoln changed his mind about that at the last minute. He accepted an offer made to him by a friend, William Thomas Carroll, to place the body of Willie in one of the crypts in the Carroll family tomb. This would be until Lincoln retired from the presidency and returned to live in Springfield himself. He could not bear the idea of having Willie so far away from him just yet. In fact, Lincoln returned to the cemetery the next day to watch the body as it was moved from the cemetery chapel to the crypt itself. Word got out that Lincoln returned to the tomb on two occasions and had Willie’s coffin opened. The doctor had embalmed Willie so perfectly that he everyone said he just seemed to be sleeping. The President claimed that he was forced to look upon his boy’s face just one last time.
After the funeral, Lincoln tried to go on about his work, but his spirit had been crushed by Willie’s death. One week after the funeral, he closed himself up in his office all day and wept. It has often been said that Lincoln was on the verge of suicide at this point, but none can say for sure. He did withdraw even further into himself though and he began to look more closely at the spiritual matters that had interested him for so long.
Lincoln & The Spiritualists
Although many Lincoln scholars say otherwise, it is more than possible that Abraham Lincoln didn’t just believe in the supernatural, but that he actually participated in it. Many have scoffed and said that Lincoln had no time for ghosts and spirits, but there are others who say that he actually attended séances that were held in the White House. Whether he accepted the movement or not, it is a fact that many Spiritualists were often guests there. Several of them were even said to have given him warnings about the dark shadows that hung over his life.
Of course, Lincoln himself was convinced that he was doomed and adopted a very fatalistic attitude during his presidency, especially after Willie’s death. His friends stated that Lincoln would often watch the door while he worked, as if expecting the boy to run through it and give his father a hug, as he often did in life. Lincoln also began to speak of how Willie’s spirit remained with him and how his presence was often felt in his home and office. Some mediums theorized that Lincoln’s obsession with the boy’s death may have caused Willie’s spirit to linger behind, refusing, for his father’s sake, to pass on to the other side.
Regardless of how he felt about Willie’s spirit, Lincoln publicly avoided connections to the Washington spiritualists, so much of what is written about his contact with them comes through accounts and diaries written by friends and acquaintances.
While Lincoln avoided the spiritualists in public, Mary embraced them openly. She had been quick to turn to contact with the other side for comfort after Willie’s death. Once he was gone, Mary never again entered the White House guest room where he died or the room in which the funeral viewing was held. Some historians claim that this was the beginning of Mary’s mental instability, but not because of the mediums, because of her fervent grief instead. The obsession over Spiritualism was just one of the symptoms, but none could ignore the fact that her headaches, mood swings and bursts of irrational temper were growing worse.
Mary began meeting with a number of different Spiritualists and invited many to the White House, as each claimed to be able to "lift the thin veil" and allow Mary to communicate with Willie. Mary’s closest spiritualist companion, and one of whom there is some record that Lincoln also met with, was Nettie Colburn Maynard. Many are familiar with a tale told about a séance held by Nettie Maynard in 1863 where a grand piano levitated. The medium was playing the instrument when it began to rise off the floor. Lincoln and Colonel Simon Kase were both present and it is said that both men climbed onto the piano, only to have it jump and shake so hard that they climbed down. It is recorded that Lincoln would later refer to the levitation as proof of an "invisible power."

Rumors spread that Lincoln had an interest in the spirit world. In England, a piece of sheet music was published which portrayed him holding a candle while violins and tambourines flew about his head. The piece of music was called The Dark Séance Polka and the caption below the illustration of the president read "Abraham Lincoln and the Spiritualists".

It was also rumored that Lincoln consulted with these mediums and clairvoyants to obtain information about future events in the war. He found that sometimes they gave him information about matters as mundane as Confederate troop movements -- information that sometimes matched his own precognitive visions.
  
Illustrations from a book in my collection called "Was Lincoln a Spiritualist?", which was written by medium Nettie Colburn Maynard

During a séance that was supposed to have been held at the home of a Mrs. Laurie in February 1863, a spirit come through Nettie Maynard who identified himself as Dr. Bamford. Lincoln was allegedly in attendance at this séance and listened as the spirit described the critical conditions of the Federal Army at the front lines. Lincoln replied that the spirit seemed to understand the situation and asked what he would do to remedy it. The spirit answered that he did -- but only if Lincoln had the courage to go through with it. Lincoln said that he did and asked for assistance.

The spirit told Lincoln that he should make an informal visit to the battle front, accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln, and that he should mingle with the men and hear their grievances and stories. This, said the spirit, would unite the men behind him. Lincoln followed his advice and managed to rally the troops behind the cause. By July of that year, the Union was dominating on both the western and eastern fronts with victories in Vicksburg and Gettysburg. The following of the spirit's advice was credited by many for beginning the turning point of the war. 

The Foreshadowing of Doom
Despite these somewhat apocryphal stories, there is little doubt that Lincoln believed a dark cloud hung over his head. The constant threats of death and violence that he received kept he and his bodyguards on edge at all times. It is also believed that some of his spiritualist friends felt the end was near. During a session that he was said to have had with Nettie Maynard, she allegedly told him that "the shadows others have told of still hang over you." Lincoln told her that he received letters from spiritualists all over the country that warned him of impending doom. When she got ready to depart, the president insisted that she come and visit he and Mary the following autumn. "I shall come, of course," Nettie answered, "that is... if you are still among us."

Perhaps the most famous supernatural incident connected to Lincoln would be his last prophetic dream of the assassination.

One of Lincoln’s old friends from Illinois was a lawyer with whom he had ridden the legal circuit named Ward Hill Lamon. Lincoln had appointed him to a security position in the White House and he worried constantly over Lincoln’s seeming indifference to threats and warnings of death. Lamon often resigned his position because his friend did not take the danger seriously. Lincoln always convinced him to stay on, promising to be more careful.... as he vanished out of the White House at night, or attended the theater without protection.

Lamon became obsessed with watching over Lincoln and many believe that the president would not have been killed at Ford’s Theater had Lamon been on duty that night. As it turned out, the security chief happened to be in Richmond, Virginia, on an errand for the president, when disaster struck. He would never forgive himself for what happened -- especially since he believed that he had a forewarning of the event, from Lincoln himself.
Years later, Lamon would remember that Lincoln had always been haunted by the strange vision that he experienced in the mirror in 1860. Several years after that, it was to Lamon and Mary Lincoln to whom the president would recount an eerie dream of death, just shortly before his assassination.
"About ten days ago, I retired late. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along.
"It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me, but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully.
" ‘Who is dead in the White House?’, I demanded of one of the soldiers.
" ‘The President’, was his answer, ‘He was killed by an assassin.’
"Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
Lincoln was murdered just a few days later and his body was displayed in the East Room of the White House. Mary would recall this dream of her husband’s quite vividly in the days that followed. It was said that her first coherent word after the assassination was a muttered statement about his dream being prophetic.

On April 14, 1865, a few days after the horrifying dream and on the night he was to attend Ford’s Theater, Lincoln called a meeting of his cabinet. Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, arrived twenty minutes late and the meeting began without him. As Stanton and Attorney General James Speed were leaving the meeting, Stanton commented to him that he was pleased about how much work was accomplished.

"But you were not here at the beginning", Speed said. "When we entered the council chamber, we found the president seated at the top of the table, with his face buried in his hands. Presently, he raised it and we saw that he looked grave and worn".
" Gentlemen, before long, you will have important news", the President told them. The Cabinet members were anxious to hear what news Lincoln spoke of, but he refused to tell them anything further.

"I have heard nothing, but you will hear tomorrow, " he said, and then continued, "I have had a dream. I have dreamed three times before; once before the Battle of Bull Run; once on another occasion; and again last night. I am in a boat, alone on a boundless ocean. I have no oars, no rudder, I am helpless. I drift!"

That evening, while attending a performance of a play called Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, Lincoln was killed by an assassin named John Wilkes Booth. He died the next morning, April 15, the anniversary of the southern assault on Fort Sumter, the event which officially started the Civil War.

Lincoln spoke of death and prophecies to other members of his staff also, like Colonel William H. Crook, a member of the White House security team and one of Lincoln’s personal bodyguards. Crook took his task seriously, often staying awake at night and sitting outside Lincoln’s bedroom while the president slept. Crook even refused to read a newspaper while on duty so that he would be ready should an emergency arise.

Crook was on duty the evening of April 14 and that same afternoon, Lincoln spoke to him about the strange dreams that he had been having. Crook pleaded with the president not to go to the theater that night, but Lincoln dismissed his concerns, explaining that he had promised Mary they would go and that he needed a night away from the problems of the country. Crook then asked to accompany the president, but Lincoln again refused, insisting that Crook could not work around the clock.
Lincoln had a habit of bidding Crook a "good night" each evening as he left the office and went to his bedroom. On that fateful day, according to Crook, Lincoln paused as he left for the theater and turned to the bodyguard. "Good-bye, Crook," he said significantly.
"It was the first time that he neglected to say ‘Good Night’ to me", Crook would later recall. "And it was the only time that he ever said ‘Good-bye’. I thought of it at that moment and, a few hours later, when the news flashed over Washington that he had been shot, his last words were so burned into my being that they can never be forgotten."

Bible verses about contacting the dead

Not only is necromancy evil, it is forbiddenPlaying with things of the occult like Ouija boards is very dangerous and Christians should have no part of it. Let’s say you try to contact dead family members you are not speaking with them. You are speaking with demons and you will indeed open your body up to them. All it take is one time.
Wiccans will not get into Heaven. The more and more you mess with demonic things the more you will start changing. Demons can indeed attack you and remember all it takes is one time and you will start growing deeper into darkness. It might seem harmless, but it’s not. Don’t let Satan deceive you. You have no business trying to contact the spirit world. 

What does the Bible say?
1.  Leviticus 20:5-7 I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek. I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people. Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.



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Friday, June 23, 2017

EXEGESIS VS EISEGESIS

What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis?



exegesis eisegesis
Question: "What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis?"

Answer: 
Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.

The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.

Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.

Second Timothy 2:15 commands us to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself. Eisegesis easily lends itself to error, as the would-be interpreter attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us.

The process of exegesis involves 1) observation: what does the passage say? 2) interpretation: what does the passage mean? 3) correlation: how does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible? and 4) application: how should this passage affect my life?

Eisegesis, on the other hand, involves 1) imagination: what idea do I want to present? 2) exploration: what Scripture passage seems to fit with my idea? and 3) application: what does my idea mean? Notice that, in eisegesis, there is no examination of the words of the text or their relationship to each other, no cross-referencing with related passages, and no real desire to understand the actual meaning. Scripture serves only as a prop to the interpreter’s idea.

To illustrate, let’s use both approaches in the treatment of one passage:

2 Chronicles 27:1-2
“Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. . . . He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the LORD.”

EISEGESIS
First, the interpreter decides on a topic. Today, it’s “The Importance of Church Attendance.” The interpreter reads 2 Chronicles 27:1-2 and sees that King Jotham was a good king, just like his father Uzziah had been, except for one thing: he didn’t go to the temple! This passage seems to fit his idea, so he uses it. The resulting sermon deals with the need for passing on godly values from one generation to the next. Just because King Uzziah went to the temple every week didn’t mean that his son would continue the practice. In the same way, many young people today tragically turn from their parents’ training, and church attendance drops off. The sermon ends with a question: “How many blessings did Jotham fail to receive, simply because he neglected church?”

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with preaching about church attendance or the transmission of values. And a cursory reading of 2 Chronicles 27:1-2 seems to support that passage as an apt illustration. However, the above interpretation is totally wrong. For Jotham not to go to the temple was not wrong; in fact, it was very good, as the proper approach to the passage will show.

EXEGESIS
First, the interpreter reads the passage and, to fully understand the context, he reads the histories of both Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chronicles 26-272 Kings 15:1-632-38). In his observation, he discovers that King Uzziah was a good king who nevertheless disobeyed the Lord when he went to the temple and offered incense on the altar—something only a priest had the right to do (2 Chronicles 26:16-20). Uzziah’s pride and his contamination of the temple resulted in his having “leprosy until the day he died” (2 Chronicles 26:21).

Needing to know why Uzziah spent the rest of his life in isolation, the interpreter studies Leviticus 13:46 and does some research on leprosy. Then he compares the use of illness as a punishment in other passages, such as 2 Kings 5:272 Chronicles 16:12; and 21:12-15.

By this time, the exegete understands something important: when the passage says Jotham “did not enter the temple of the LORD,” it means he did not repeat his father’s mistake. Uzziah had proudly usurped the priest’s office; Jotham was more obedient.

The resulting sermon might deal with the Lord’s discipline of His children, with the blessing of total obedience, or with our need to learn from the mistakes of the past rather than repeat them.

Of course, exegesis takes more time than eisegesis. But if we are to be those unashamed workmen “who correctly handle the word of truth,” then we must take the time to truly understand the text. Exegesis is the only way.
Recommended Resource: Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck


Related Topics:

Why is it important to study the Bible in context? What is wrong with taking verses out of context?

What is Biblical hermeneutics?

What is good Biblical exegesis?

What is the difference between a Christocentric and a Christotelic hermeneutic?

What is Biblical typology?