Monday, April 9, 2012

Cursing Your Enemies the Bible Way: More on how not to use the Bible.

We all have people in life that we don't like, don't get along with or simply wish would go away. They are people with whom we may disagree or find that they get under our skin. And we are all probably guilty of sending little wish prayers up that sound something like: "Lord, I would be most grateful if you would ring so and so's neck." Or we might wish that the Lord "would move them on" to another church, job, town, etc. And while we may feel and even pray this way sometimes, we also know that Jesus calls on us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44). 


But what do we with all of those imprecatory Psalms? You know, the ones where the Psalmist asks God to come down and stomp out the Psalmist's enemies by making their lives hell on earth. I am thinking here of Psalm 109

 6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;    let an accuser stand at his right hand. 7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty,    and may his prayers condemn him. 8 May his days be few;    may another take his place of leadership. 9 May his children be fatherless    and his wife a widow. 10 May his children be wandering beggars;    may they be driven from their ruined homes. 11 May a creditor seize all he has;    may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. 12 May no one extend kindness to him    or take pity on his fatherless children. 13 May his descendants be cut off,    their names blotted out from the next generation. 14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;    may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. 15 May their sins always remain before the LORD,    that he may blot out their name from the earth.



Pretty harsh stuff from the Bible. You wonder if Jesus had ever read this Psalm when he was giving the Sermon on the Mount. But of course he did. Jesus acknowledges in Matt 5:43-46 that the prevailing wisdom of the day was to love your neighbor but hate your enemy. Jesus calls us instead to love our enemies. So while Psalm 109 may provide us some insights to the way the ancients felt and even expressed themselves to God, it is not necessarily a prayer we should pray. Psalm 109 can help us realize that not everyone in the Bible had feelings of love for everyone, but asking God to kill the children of your enemy does not reflect the cruciform way that we should be viewing all of life. 


Which leads me to a recent news article. According to USA Today, there are people who are "praying" Psalm 109 against their enemies. A former Navy Chaplin was sued by an atheist organization who discovered that the former Chaplin was saying the prayer hoping that God would bring harm to the atheist and his organization. The judge in the case, however, ruled that it is ok to recite an imprecatory Psalm, as long as no one actually gets hurt. 


I can't comment on the judge's ruling, but I do wonder about people who are asking God to curse their enemies rather than bless them or, if this Chaplin really believes what he preaches, that God would change this man's heart. The article doesn't say, but I wonder how the Chaplin reconciles this with the words of Jesus? 


Another example of this type of behavior was also exhibited by the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Kansas. Apparently he was emailing Psalm 109 to his colleagues and commenting that "At last — I can honestly voice a biblical prayer for our president!" Whether or not he agrees with the president's politics, I don't think this exhibits the kind of charity that we are supposed to show to others. Does he really wish that Mrs. Obama would be widowed and her daughters fatherless? Again, is this what it means to exhibit love to others, even those we consider to be our enemies? 


I admit, Imprecatory Psalms are a tricky thing for us. They are Psalms that call down curses upon an enemy, full stop. But that does not mean that we have to or should use them that way. There is a lot of stuff in the Bible that we don't or shouldn't apply (Anyone for stoning rebellious children?). These Psalms remind us that the presence of evil in the world is very real and that it causes untold suffering on many. And they remind us that God is not pleased with such wickedness. But the words of Jesus are the other side of the coin for Christians. We recognize the evil that is in the world and may even experience it. But we also know that we are called to do something even harder than asking God for revenge. We are to love our enemies, and pray for them. Somehow I am not convinced that is what these other gentlemen are doing. 

46 comments:

  1. Gee, I was a rebellious child who got stoned...often.
    I'm glad that God has revealed the divine heart in all of this conflict with enemies stuff. I wrote last week, "The Scripture also speaks about rain falling on the just and the unjust. Luke 6:35 even takes it a step further. 'But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.'" God is good!

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    1. Mike, God bless your soul. It sounds like you have chosen forgiveness.

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  2. As Christians we need need to learn the art of treating those with whom we disagree with charity. Far too often the blame for the worlds troubles is placed on those that are different than us. This move is a sad attempt to push off blame and to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. In either case this scapegoating prohibits self-reflection. As Jesus points out, we need to "take the speck out of our own eye." The problem is not the other, but our projection of the problem on the other. When we can get off of our moral high-horse,and realize that we are not all that much different than the other, perhaps we can begin to pray for both our enemies and ourselves for the beautiful mess that we find ourselves in.

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  3. Mike and Bryan,
    Great job to both of you.
    Couldn't have said better.

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  4. This is not an earnest discussion of the issue and seems to avoid the real problem(s)-- namely how to, and how not to, read ancient literature. The Bible has been pulled out of its own historical and literary context and conceptualized as a text written for our sake, to quote Paul. But this is no being true to these once separate biblical texts, nor the many and divergent authors that wrote them. I sincere and transparent discussion needs to unfold here. I am starting a blog for this purpose: everythingbiblical (.) com

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  5. I'd much rather curse them than ask god to bless them because how will they learn not to be evil. I have people lying about me calling a prostitute on facebook and showing up at my house at 4 am sitting my porch and asking my roommates about the black whore.. Because of liars I love Jesus but I trustGod so I will pray the psalms until I see my desire upon my enemies andi see them drink the cup of sorrow they have said to me drink. God is just and He will plead my cause for me.. And I don't have to have liars bully me to the point of hopelessness their evil will be upon their own heads. I am not a gay child who hangs herself God is my help and I will ask for vengeance.

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    1. same feeling i have it now,to that persons,who sent bad words to me and judge my family,,,i am full of anger today,i want something bad to happen to the two of them...God knows why i felt this now towards them,but i ask God to forgive me,for asking im to curse them,b-coz i felt so hurt,i want something bad to happen to them,i want them to suffer and struggle....

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    2. When you hold on to bitterness, it doesn't hurt the one you are bitter at, it hurts you, eats you inside. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord - give them to Him. Remember that your real enemies are spiritual, as are your weapons - and pray the imprecatory prayers of David against those enemies...and ask God to help you forgive those people who have hurt you...He will take care of them. By the way, if you truly believe the bible...it is all the word of God....Davids psalms are no less inspired than the sermon on the mount. Someone else has mentioned the verse of being kind to your enemies is as heaping hot coals upon their heads...because if they don't repent, God will judge them for what they have done. This verse is in Proverbs 25:22 and repeated again in Romans 12:20.

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    3. LOVE THY ENEMY!!! be forgiving no matter what for the lord will love you for the rest of your lives. The more we hate, the more we feel hurt. Live your life with love and always remember that GOD loves us all that he give his only son JESUS CHRIST for us to be saved. Let go of your anger. Do not let it overcome you. Trust him with all your heart and surrender to HIM all your burden.

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    4. vengeance is mine saeth the Lord, is that not true and I hope the lord punishes the evil, on earth and after death, well I have to believe that, otherwise I might have killed somebody by now, I have turned the other cheek a lot and feel that sometimes I wish I didn't, but I feel the lord will handle them so I don't have too, so am I wrong for wanting people to pay for there sins and telling them ?

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    5. Every word in the bible is truth, and we are to use them. This is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me, we can pray for our enemies (the person) and bless them, love them, do good to them, and we can pray against our enemies (which is the devil in them) that is causing them to act the way that they do toward you. Pray for their deliverance, get into spiritual warfare, bind that devil, and if that person refuses to change, then God will judge them, I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you,Genesis 12;3. When we read PS;109 or any other scriptures we need the HOLY SPIRIT to teach us and to open our spiritual eyes, understanding so we may understand the scriptures and to ask God for Wisdom.

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  6. psalms is from old testament,to change it Jesus brought us new testament.
    but people are still following old testament..Guys
    we have to follow Jesus,not Moses who wrote old testament.

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    1. I've read these post and no one seems to understand that we wrestle not against flash and blood ... there is a spiritual realm that these curse apply too...Psalm 149 v 9 to execute upon them the judgment written this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

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  7. After my husband died, I learned of his three-year infidelity with a close friend of mine. For the past two years since his death, I've seethed with loathing for my former friend (and my late husband). I cursed her and her family. In the last three weeks I've found myself able to forgive her and my late husband. It was sudden and unexpected because nothing in my life had changed except something in my heart - maybe it is because forgiveness sometimes takes time. Now I pray for God to bless her health, happiness and prosperity. God took away my bitterness and replaced it with peace. Asking God to curse someone made me miserable. Makes you wonder if God was throwing my curse back at me and teaching me a fortunate lesson.

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    1. wow! This is really inspiration...thank you.

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    2. Thanks for sharing your story, this has motivated me to forgive others.

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  8. I can't remeber what verse it is in the new testament, but I know everyone will know which one I am talking about. It says something to the effect that being kind to your enemy is like heeping hot coals on their heads. I know this to be true. There is a relative of mine who is mean, hateful, and glad when others have terrible things happen to them. It really makes him mad to be kind, honest, and behave as a Christian. He despises Christians and he will tell you so. The more good you do the more he doesn't know what to do with himself and he ends up making a spectacle of himself in front of everyone and then he is embarrassed.

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  9. Jesus said i tell you the truth love your enemies and pray for those who despicefully use you. Mathew5:45. This is when we become the children of the Heavenly Father who send his rain both to the Just and the unjust. Please Child of God, remember this are the words coming from Jesus our Lord, who is greater than all prophets, Bible do to others what you wish them do to you for this is the Fulfilment of the law and the prophets. There the who scripture is fufllled in JESUS, we should not ignore the words of Jesus on this matter. Even the prophets knows Jesus Christ is Greater than them

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  10. I read this article hoping to find something different that might justify praying Biblical passages, such as the imprecatory psalms. I have a wife who recently, flagrantly cheated on me, over and over. I found myself in a situation similar to Hosea. I prayed verses from Hosea to adversely affect her activities, but with the goal of God causing her to turn from her ways. Eventually, God showed me he had removed me from evil. Her entire family practices witchcraft. Even after seven years of knowing her before we married, she turned out to be someone different than represented. She now is in bondage to her ways. I pray for her salvation. At this stage she is trying to take everything I have after only a one year marriage. She and her lawyer lie in Court and the Judge buys it all. There seems to be no justice. But the bottom line is this article is a good analysis of the topic. Believers are not to curse anyone, period. God owns the right to any vengeance. To take any vengeance ourselves is to steal from God. He knows and watches everything. He provides perfect justice. Let us also not make Job's mistake. He was a great man but slipped into pride and self-justification during his afflictions. Self-justification slanders God. We are to continually thank Him for what we have been given, including discipline. We are to worship Him for His works, bless our enemies, do good to them, give them more than what they want to take from us, and lend without expecting anything in return. We are promised rewards for this, and some may be given to us while we are pilgrims on this earth. And finally, we are to keep our mouths shut about it all, a lesson he has been teaching me. We are not to complain. To complain is to slander God. God is good. All things work for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. Bitterness only hurts us. Jesus kept His mouth essentially closed during His affliction. Isaiah 53:7 God Bless.

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    1. God bless you because He had to have lead you to post this!! Our story is so similar that I do not even know how to express how encouraging it is to hear you and to know that the forgiveness and love that I pray for my ex and his family is the right thing to do. The hurt and affliction is so hurtful at times but I continue to repent for when I feel that hurt. The Holy Spirit lead me to Job too!! God had given me Hosea when I was in my last marriage to show me what I was experiencing. My daughter recently confessed that he has touched her inappropriately. The fact that you are suffering righteously is such an encouragement to me. Jesus is the perfect example and GOD BLESS YOU for your truth and testimony!!

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    2. the replies are just as encouraging as the article... I was terminated employment for no reason by my boss who is a minister. She used me, openly ridiculed me, and acted on every lie or rumor spoken about me,knowing they were not true. When i would call her 2 plead my case she would hang up. Bieng that the job was my fsmilies sole source of income we were devastated. How could a Minister who calls herself a leader of sheep be so 2faced...Anywho..I will not let her actions deter me from my belief in Jesus Christ. Clearly this woman is not a woman of God...regardless.. my duty as a Christian is to focus on myself and my life and continuing to walk in the light of God.

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  11. Yeah, so ummm... when are we all going to have an open discussion about the 2 stories of the Bible? The 2 sides of representatives of its words? The truth and also the twisted? What New Agers call the Ying and the Yang? And what is generally known to all who actually take the time to read the Bible as the story of 2 Creators, 2 seeds and even 2 faces represented by the offspring and the eternal battle of good verses evil? Please let's have that discussion.

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  12. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father: Our Father in heaven,
    Hallowed be Your name.Your kingdom come.Your will be done
    On earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts,As we forgive our debtors.And do not lead us into temptation,
    But deliver us from the evil one.For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
    It seems to me that the theme is "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" and "lead us not into temptation" for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    We will never fully experience Christ until we FORGIVE. We don't have to feel like it. We don't have to convince them or their errors or evil ways or hurtful actions. We only have to FORGIVE them by an act of our will. For example, "I forgive (name) for everything he/she has said or done to me." I always add, "I release him/her to be all that you created him/her to be, and I leave them in your hands." The enemy will bring it back to you many times, but you just need to keep saying, "I forgive him/her/them." God will deal with the mess.

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  13. Jesus cursed the fig tree, which represented israel. i've been curious about that a few times, after all He was sent to save the lost sheep of israel. at a place i used to work, i attended business fairs and health expos to promote the company i worked for. my wife often volunteered with me on week-ends and she was paid accordingly. after i changed jobs, she was owed 16 hours of work, but the owner refused to pay her. i cursed the owner's business...not the man...and the business went bankrupt.

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    1. You are more honest than most... Thank you! Ok, if our country is at war with another country, what prayer shall we make? I mean, say a foreign army has invaded our country and are killing us superfast...shat we not pray curses on them and pray that our army flattens them out decisively? Applying curses to simple day to day nuances and agreements is premature but if your boss just sacked you because you are honest and you are stopping him from committing fraud, you may invoke a curse on them because going ahead with their actions may jeopardise lots of things and harm multitudes but if your boss is destroyed by your curse, he falls on his on snare. Just wondering, some situations may call for curses; really!

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    2. That's how it works! You pray that God stop the enemy and take all means necessary! It's okay to pray against a person, to ask for them to be shut down and no longer persecute you unjustly!

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  14. I experienced this first hand today at work when a customer was calling in for a stranger that I couldn't help. He told me that he was going to Pray to God that everything that happened to this woman would come back on me personally 10 fold. That's what prompted me to research the issue and read this article. I couldn't believe that someone would say or do such a thing. I Prayed for the man that God would bless him and show him the error of his way. I also Prayed for the elderly lady that I couldn't help as well that God would find a way to help her.

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    1. That's called praying for God to STOP your enemy by any means he sees fit. He says you shouldn't do so.. he's taking the scripture wrong. You can pray to defeat your enemies without doing wrong to them! Pray just keep praying and ask others to join you in prayer against your enemy and evil.

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  15. Because the verse is taken out of context. It in noway states to let my enemy run over me. I can have mercy upon my enemy.However I can pray for my enemy. When the pharoh had abrahams wife in the integrity of his heart it was abrahams sin. So god gave pharoh a chance. If someone wrongs you without meaning you pray to find forgiveness but if someone wrongs you on purpose like kill a family memeber viciously destroys your life you praybfor God deliverance. His delieverance from the enemy is swift and tramatic. That doesn't mean that you have to sin against this person cause problems for his family. It means I can stay in my home and ask God to bring judgement without my sin. This world is filled with false gulit. Read the whole bible then come back and make a quote

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    1. Good post. I agree the scriptures can be taken out of context.

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  16. Being sweet as Ned Flanders about the CRIME of bullying (destruction of another human being) only ENABLES the bully to hurt more people. If God let something unpleasant happen to the creep, it would weaken him and might scare him away from going to hell.

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  17. I don't know , I say you learn more about God by praying to him rather than decoding the bible! Vengeance shall be his fine it means he doesn't want you to have enemies and wants you to be political cause friends change but enemies don't I guess they stay the same unless you apologize like a kid which is a half ass thing to do ok so don't hurt them like kill them or anything but you can observe their lives and ask if anything goes wrong, the best position to attack is the position of self defense even God will understand you got to be political and also it's ok to spy on your prey and don't attack, observing their lives if anything goes wrong so you can take joy from it! Still you are a good kid I know but you've got to be political it's a game I guess and everybody is involuntarily get caught in it, well you know play by the rules be political which means you don't give anybody the chance to attack you and insult you in any sort of way while still keeping him close to you (I am a good kid , hated It got end up this way but that's how i'll be) it's a game better be an artist that a denier or a beggar (Don't ask me why I wrote all this perhaps i'll write my own book one day)
    For some reason when you treat those who treat you bad with empathy they hurt you even more but when you treat them with ruthlessness and hurt them they accept it! I was surprised to see that .
    Peace guys gotta get some bullies

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  18. I figure the cursing psalms, as they have come to be known, are there for a reason. Like any piece of scripture, these too can be taken out of context. The thing is, the Holy Bible paints mankind as he really is. Even those people of the bible we hold in such esteem, we know made some really gross sins. That is because the Bible is not some polyanna type of story. These were real people with real honest, sometimes raw feelings. Just like we have. I refuse to condemn them for their expressions of it. I write my own poetry. Sometimes, often times, it is expressive of a dark and evil place. It is expressive of pain and anger. I think thats okay. Like crying. It is cathartic. Maybe the judge who refused to prosecute the individual for praying such a prayer understood that. Yeah, I suppose it might upset you that someone is speaking horrible things against you, but tears can be just as upsetting. Besides, if this was in America, I think there is still such a thing as free speech as well as a right to practice our faith however we see fit. Anyways, anger is part of the healing process and the words that flow from tbose feelings. No good hiding them. And no good judging others for them.

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  19. The Bible gives us tools to pray for others. However, I disagree with you on stopping the enemy. The enemy my sister is against is pure evil out to destroy her. We are to use scripture to ask God to stop our enemy! To take the enemies power away. It's the same thing as prayer against the devil. I feel that hate can not be in your heart when you do sat these prayers. I think that is what your trying to say but have misinterpreted the use of prayer. I will pray that the enemy/devil be defeated aging my sister and her children. He comea in the form of the flesh. He prowls looking for someone to devour. His presence in today's world is stronger than ever. God knew this would come about and has given us tools to not hate, but pray that he shuts the enemy DOWN! One asking God to stop the enemy is not ruthless and hate.
    This enemy I speak of for my sibling is a Father to a child of hers. He seeks only to destroy her and in his path he takes everything that is connected to her, all good that is within her. The law limits what one can do, God can DO ALL THINGS! Don't limit my God's power, he will seek revenge on my enemies, he will destroy them where they stand.

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  20. The word enemy in the contest here i believe is not referring to just anyone whom you disagree with.. But the enemy here is referring to people with the spirit of satan in them like the witches the deities and so on. Psalm 109 is really meant for those enemies who attachs you spiritually i believe cos as Christian we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. So cursing just someone you disagree with is not right but if spiritually the person works against you then i edge you to speak the words of psalm 109 on him or her when you pray.. If you leave in my world in Africa where witches and wzards sits on your pregression you curse them with pslam 109

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  21. I THINK IT IS JUST RIGHT TO PRAY NEGATIVE PRAYERS FOR A GOOD CAUSE OR GOOD END SO PEOPLE WILL LEARN THEIR LESSON, AND REPENT. UNLESS YOU ARE PRAYING ONLY FOR MERE VENGEANCE WITH NO GOOD CAUSE.

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  22. I was thinking about Isis. Should we be asking God to bless them as they cut off the heads of children, mothers and fathers. Jesus requires us to pray that we be delivered from evil. If Isis was in your living room with an ax, would you refuse to protect your family and, instead, bless the enemy with the ax?

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    1. I truly believe we need to pray for God's enemy! Anyone or any organization who doesn't respect God as sovereign almighty, is God's enemy! Praying for their salvation is our duty but that doesn't mean we are asking God to bless them, though! Blessing comes from God only, based on his mercy, not based on our request or our desire for God to bless some one! If you find yourself with God's enemy in your living room, do anything you can to protect your family and trust in Lord who never gives you more than you can handle! But say a loud prayer for God's opponent with an ax first! It will make them tremble! Trust me!

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  23. If the law of the land does not bless murderers,etc., why would we do that?

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  25. see look at the post above! while some want to play nice...oh, we shouldn't use the word and say that... the devil is busy. we have a real enemy. there are hundred of sites of spiritual spell casters, hoodoo workers all in the name of God. But, many of you are questioning the use and how to use the Word of God? God gave us his word! It is our sword WEILD IT! He gave us his armour put it on! Use his word! David was a man after God's own heart, and when he prayed God and all of heaven listened.

    Repent and use word. God answers how he wants to. If the person is in sin, judgement will come upon him. Just make sure your heart is clear. It is God's business how he deals with out enemies. Spiritual and Physical, those who willing allow satan to use them to come against the people of God don't stand a chance....WHEN WE PRAY. God doesn't move until someone prays.....

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  26. I engage some people for an urgent life dependent job; they insisted on advance pay as is predominant in my local environment. Once they collected the money, they show up for 2 days and vanished evading communication efforts. Lives are adversely being impacted and lean resources gone. Should we be blessing these workers while their victims are in pains?


    I am

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  27. The battle we have is not for flesh and blood but for power and principalities in dark places. When i read this verses i see demonic spirits that frustrate our lives and take our blessings. These spirits work as families and as organisation. I do not see human beings. For example a witch with familiar spirit. The witch uses it doing incantations to cause havic to my life. I pray God almighty to kill the FAMILIAR SPIRIT and set my life and the life of the witch free. Yes kill destroy all the demons responsible. And set your children free. Out of Gods mercy forgive the witch but God send your wrath on the familiar spirit. Thats how i look at all these cry. The pharaos of my life are not the egyptians but they are demons and strongholds/ strongmans. God almighty make them perish in the red sea and set me free. Thats my prayer. Kind david in psalm cried to be delievered from enemies thats were too strong for him. Remember he was a king and his responsibilty was not for him and his family alone but for the whole city. He will have spiritual enemies and physical enemies. Who will threaten the well being of his city. Like Obama he can easily pray these imprecatory prayers with all the shooting in the country. These prayers are so needed sometimes. N God please listen to these prayers and keep the innocent safe.

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  28. This is what Freemason preachers do. They use the Psalms to curse their enemies into performing their own human will. They believe their will is Gods will but if it requires using the devils tactics to perform the will of God, chances are it's not the will of God they're after.

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  29. Old testament enemies are new testament demons. Everyone should know that.

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  30. Yes we wrestle not against flesh but against rules of darkness against demons in high places and when we pray God to deliver us he will. When you trust in him u will c ur desire on your enemies. Some repent some don't but its not your job too see them fall. Its your job to pray for their salvation. That doesn't mean u be stupid and allow to he mistreated or used and abused . it means if itdoes happen, when it does what to do . You pray to the father to remove the overbearing giant in your life whatever it may be. Some people have allowed the devil complete control over them . no remorse or guilt or shame or repentance of what they do . But when u pray you ask the Father for protection vendiction . You having a clean heart with no selfish motive he will allow u to c ur desires. And you with humility give God glory testify his goodness to you. Where he has removed you from . What persecution he has saved you from . this my insight

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