Blessings, Curses, Tithes and other Superstitions

22:10 Sunday Feb 1, 2015

Do you have a white rabbit foot 'Just for luck'?

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Here is the picture of a man who described what he observed -  a Christianity more akin to tribal traditions, with all their superstitions and pagan practices, than to a relationship with a loving God by salvation through grace.

Superstition (Swahili: ushirikina)

: a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck : a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck

It is only natural that we want to have some sort of control over our lives - some control over our destiny and successes. We want to feel like what we do now has a positive effect on our future. We want to know for certain that nothing bad will befall us - we want above all to keep our loved ones safe from future danger or harm. Therefore, we turn to a version of Christianity that would say: “Do this, or do that, and then you will be blessed and all will go well.” No wonder so many Christians admire the teachings of Buddha:


As a child, Siddhartha the Buddha, was troubled by some of the same thoughts that children today have. They wonder about birth and death. They wonder why they get sick and why grandfather died. They wonder why their wishes do not come true. Children also wonder about happiness and the beauty in nature.

Because the Buddha knew what was in the hearts of children and human kind, he taught everyone how to live a happy and peaceful life. Buddhism is about looking at and thinking about our own lives. It shows us how to understand ourselves and how to cope with our daily problems.

There are three primary laws of Buddhism - the main one is Karma:


“The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future

Remember this is Buddhism - not Christianity!

We look at the things that go wrong in our lives and point to something said or done and blame that for the ‘bad luck’ we are experiencing. We then pray and ask God to forgive us and then ask him to take away the curses and replace them with blessings.

While humbling ourselves before our creator God, we think in someway our prayer has control over Him to make Him change His mind regarding His will and plans for us. But do we pray, “…not as I will, but as You will.”?

Do we really want the will of God to reign in our lives? Do we truly believe that he wants what is best for us? Or are we rather using God as some sort of superstitious talisman (Swahili: kishirikina hirizi) that we hang around our neck to try and keep the Devil at bay?

Grace not Law

When we take the grace by which we are saved and mix it with Mosaic law we become quasi Christians practicing a mixture of old Judaism and Christianity.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.Galatians 3:10-13 (NIV)

You cannot serve two masters.

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

It is interesting that one of the laws we hold onto the strongest is that of Tithing. We believe that unless we tithe a curse will come on us. We look at:

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

…and then we read the whole section relating to tithing…

8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you? “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3: 8-12 (NIV)

…and we shudder at the curse that could befall us if we withhold our tithe.

We run back to the law so as not to anger our God and bring His curses upon us.

11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.Galatians 3:11-12 (NIV)

Therefore, when we run back to the law, we do not understand that the law brings with it the curses of not fulfilling the whole law.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.Galatians 3:10 (NIV)

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.Galatians 3:13 (NIV)

Our walk is one of faith - not law.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24 (KJV)

So if we live by faith, what do we have faith in? Do we have faith in our actions? Do we have faith in the law of Karma? Or do we have faith in a loving God?

16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16 (NIV)

When we give ourselves over to this God as a slave, it must be from a heart that says, “I trust you in all things: in both the good and the bad. I will go wherever you lead me - even through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Once we choose this path, being lead daily by the Holy Spirit, we must not turn back to our superstitions for comfort. This is what the Israelites did in the desert when they made the golden calf. They felt like they had lost control over their destiny. They were being lead around the desert in some endless nightmare of uncertainty by Moses and his God. They wanted back the control that they assumed that they had when they were in Egypt.

There was one small point that they conveniently forgot: in Egypt, they were also slaves!

We cannot be a slave to ourselves - for this is being a slave to our human nature, which is sin.

Obey the law of love

If we do not obey the law, what command then do we obey when Jesus says, "if you love me you will obey me"?

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:10, 12 (NIV)

We obey the law of love, which calls us to a higher standard.

Walk by the spirit

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever  you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18 (NIV)

When we live by the spirit we act out of love - not obligation.

We, in fact, live to a higher standard - beyond that that is required by the law - that is, we give more than just 10%.

God is Love

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

I personally had to go on a journey to discover the heart of God. I didn’t just wake up one day and know that God is love. He had to teach me of His faithfulness over time before I could give my whole heart to him. But one thing that I can now testify to is that God truly is love.

He wants what is best for us, even when we don’t know what that looks like.

When our mind is so focused of wealth and gaining the respect of our fellow men, we completely miss out on the true joy of serenity and the peace God has is store for us. We also loose sight of the fact that God created this whole world for our pleasure - and if we would just give ourselves fully over to him, seeking first Him and His righteousness, then all else will be given to us. More than we could possible have imagined or hoped for.

We strive after security, even when we know that the watchman watches in vein if God does not watch over us.

We fear the horrors of disease and death when we know that the final resting place for us and our loved ones is paradise.

Are we so fearful of our future that we simply see the light at the end of the tunnel as a train coming to run us down?

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalm 23 (KJV)

Know who you are in Christ

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

While life may take unexpected twists and turns:

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

His love never fails:

Psalm 136

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

God’s Love Never Fails

1 Praise the Lord! He is good.

    God’s love never fails.

2 Praise the God of all gods.

    God’s love never fails.

3 Praise the Lord of lords.

    God’s love never fails.


4 Only God works great miracles.[a]

    God’s love never fails.

5 With wisdom he made the sky.

    God’s love never fails.

6 The Lord stretched the earth

over the ocean.

    God’s love never fails.

7 He made the bright lights

in the sky.

    God’s love never fails.

8 He lets the sun rule each day.

    God’s love never fails.

9 He lets the moon and the stars

rule each night.

    God’s love never fails.


10 God struck down the first-born

in every Egyptian family.

    God’s love never fails.

11 He rescued Israel from Egypt.

    God’s love never fails.

12 God used his great strength

and his powerful arm.

    God’s love never fails.

13 He split the Red Sea[b] apart.

    God’s love never fails.


14 The Lord brought Israel safely

through the sea.

    God’s love never fails.

15 He destroyed the Egyptian king

and his army there.

    God’s love never fails.

16 The Lord led his people

through the desert.

    God’s love never fails.


17 Our God defeated mighty kings.

    God’s love never fails.

18 And he killed famous kings.

    God’s love never fails.

19 One of them was Sihon,

king of the Amorites.

    God’s love never fails.

20 Another was King Og of Bashan.

    God’s love never fails.

21 God took away their land.

    God’s love never fails.

22 He gave their land to Israel,

the people who serve him.

    God’s love never fails.


23 God saw the trouble we were in.

    God’s love never fails.

24 He rescued us from our enemies.

    God’s love never fails.

25 He gives food to all who live.

    God’s love never fails.


26 Praise God in heaven!

    God’s love never fails.


You are held in His hand:


10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Nothing can separate us from His love:

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)

If you live with these truths as the foundation of your life, then you will live in the freedom Christ intended for you.

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (NIV)

You can live knowing that all that happens to us and around us will be turned to good in the end:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Therefore, you can relax, knowing God is in control - and he, ultimately, knows what is best for you.


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