January 19

Exodus 7-9, Psalm 19

In 1973 a statue of Mary in the Japanese church of Our Lady of Akita was shown to be weeping and was telecast widely on Japanese television. This miracle was recognized in 1988 by the Vatican. In 2016, in Guadalajara, Mexico the statue of Mary reportedly was weeping blood. Many churches in Italy have relics which supposedly come to life annually. In the Duomo in Ravello, there is a vial of blood from Saint Pantaleone from the third century which presumably liquifies every July 27th. Some of the miraculous events appear to be hoaxes and frauds. Others seem to be actual events which leads people to worship these statues, Mary, or the saints. It's important to realize that the entire purpose of miracles, worship, etc. is to focus on God and His glory. Anything which draws our attention away from Him is not of God, but is either a fraud or if real, demonic. Don't mistake what has been said. Mary truly was a blessed and remarkable character in the Bible, but she never allowed herself to be worshipped in the Bible. The many "saints" were truly men who lived very godly lives, but never would have allowed themselves to be worshipped. When Cornelius wanted to worship Peter in Acts 10:25-26, Peter stopped him. When the people of Lystra wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:14-15, they tore their clothes and stopped them. So when we hear of apparitions associated with various statues, we must realize the power behind them is demonic and not of God. This is not to say that the priests, the church or the people are demon possessed, but they are deceived and led astray. God can not and will not be shared. Anything which causes us to divert our worship in any other direction is not from God.

We read in 2 Timothy 3:8, that the names of a Pharoah's magicians were Jannes and Jambres, who were called men of corrupt minds.

We see that they indeed had powers. We see in Exodus 7:11-12, that like Aaron, they could drop their rods and they became serpents. But we notice that Aaron's serpent swallowed theirs. In the first plague, we see in 7:22 that Pharoah's magicians could also turn water into blood. Moving onto the second plague, we notice in 8:7 that the magicians were also able to bring up frogs from the rivers. But they were unable to stop the plague, so we see in 8:8, "Then Pharoah called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and my people;...". When we get to the next plague which was lice, we read, in 8:18-19, "Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not...Then the magicians said to Pharoah, "This is the finger of God"...". Satan has power to perform miracles, but his power has limits. His purpose is always to get people away from following and worshipping the One True God. Though he would like the worship to be placed on himself, he will be satisfied with at least having it off of God. From the third plague forward, God's powers are unquestionable and the demonic powers are absent being dwarfed in comparison.

Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:24, "For false Christ's and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." As we go through the book of Revelation we see that the Antichrist and the False Prophet perform many miracles to cause people to worship the Antichrist and Satan. Many like to minimize the spiritual world consisting of angels and demons, but Paul warned us that our true fight is against the demonic realm and instructs us on how to defend ourselves with the "Armor of God" in Ephesians 6:11-18. We read the first two commandments in Exodus 20:3-5, "You shall have no other god's before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath,..., you shall not bow down to them or serve them." So when we hear about a miracle, we must ask ourselves whether as a result of this God is glorified or whether anyone or anything else is venerated. If it is the latter, we must be careful for Satan will be satisfied to simply direct our worship away from God. I put saints in italics above, for as you go through the New Testament, anyone who is set apart as a believer in Christ is called a saint. All one has to do is look at the introductions in most of the letters and it is addressed to the saints. So, we, His saints, must remain vigilant and aware realizing there is a true battle ongoing for the souls of the people. We must have answers for our friends and families who lift up the many miracles occurring. As Jesus warned, they will only increase and deceive many.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster