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The Witching Hour

As the practice of witchcraft spread through Europe, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited activities between 3 and 4 in the morning beginning in 1535. This paranoia spread across the Atlantic Ocean to colonial Massachusetts, spawning the Salem Witch Trials. Between February 1692 and May 1693, a series of hearings and prosecutions of people took place as all were accused of practicing witchcraft. Thirty individuals were found guilty and nineteen were executed by hanging, (fourteen women and five men).

So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, using the same words. 45 Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of especially wicked sinners [whose way or nature it is to act in opposition to God]. 46 Get up, let us be going! See, My betrayer is at hand!-Matthew 26:44-46.

While Jesus predicted his betrayal, it was during the witching hour when Judas led the chief priests and elders to Jesus’ location. Meanwhile, Jesus is wrestling with fulfilling God’s will, becoming obedient to death on a cross and the other 11 disciples were too tired to pray. Jesus’ advice to his disciples to overcome falling prey to evil is “the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41. Every year after the NFL Draft, there is a rookie symposium for the newest draft class. A common message is repeated year after year, “nothing good ever happens after midnight.”

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good, Romans 12:19-21.

While walking to class one day at college, I noticed a female student carrying a Bible in one hand. On the surface, it appeared this young woman was a Bible believing Christian. After complimenting her boldness for not hiding her Bible in a backpack, her response caught me off guard. Without hesitation she replied, “I read it every Day so I know how to pray against God.” This brief encounter opened my minds to zealous witches, hungrier than most believers. In the passage above, the apostle Paul provides advice on how to overcome the witching hour. Rather than become overwhelmed by evil, overcome evil with good, by the love of Jesus in your hearts.

by Jay Mankus

Idleness

As a former teacher, I discovered many of my students confused idle with idol.  The term idle means to be inactive, inoperative, unoccupied and still.  Meanwhile, idol is either a deity, god or statue created to pay homage to and worship.  According to a famous Spanish Proverb, “The busy man is troubled with but one devil; the idle man by a thousand”.

One of the greatest examples of idleness is found in 2 Samuel 11.  Each spring, kings were responsible for taking their army to fight, securing their land from any anxious or greedy nations seeking to expand their borders.  However, in verse 1, King David sends his commander Joab off to war, but he remained in Jerusalem.  Not being where you are suppose to be is the epitome of being idle.  Yet, some may say, “so what, he’s the king, who needs an extended vacation.”  Wait and see!

At the annual NFL Rookies symposium Herm Edwards, former NFL player and ESPN analyst, Edwards gave a sermon to all the first year players.  One of his best lines was, “men, nothing good ever happens after midnight!”  According to verse 2, David began to wander around the palace after midnight.   Instead of channeling surfing or scanning the internet, David chose the next best thing, taking a stroll on the roof to search for chicks.  Either David quickly became a peeping Tom or Bathsheba was trying to get someone’s attention by flaunting her beautiful body?  Regardless of the facts, neither one was demonstrating noble character, Proverbs 31:27.

Everyone knows how this story ends, if not read 2 Samuel 11 for yourself, but 2 things could have prevented sin from being born.  First, if David went to work, going off to war, he wouldn’t of had 3 months of idle time.  Second, once he discovered Bathsheba was married in verse 3, he should have sent her home.  Yet, like Eve with the apple, once David lusted in his heart, there was no turning back.  Sin is often a byproduct of idleness, poor foresight or bad decision making.  Break free today by following Paul’s advice in Romans 13:13-14!

by Jay Mankus

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