Author Archives: Ashley L Jones

About Ashley L Jones

My heart's desire is to show people of all ages how the Bible applies to their lives. I use my Masters in Biblical Studies to dig into the Word, and I share what I've learned on my blog (BigSisterKnows.com). Check out the About section of my blog for more details. Thanks for stopping by!

Are You Spellbound? A Biblical Look at Witchcraft

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October is in full-swing, which means many of us are jonesin’ for cooler weather and anything pumpkin spice related. We’re also gearing up for the biggest family events of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But what about Halloween?

It’s everywhere. Stores are selling decorations like coffins and animated, life-size grim reapers. Magazines and social media are quick to recommend ideas on decorating your home, hosting scary parties, and fun crafts for kids. Then there are the TV shows and movies that seem to take over our screens until Thanksgiving Day (if not longer). And let’s not forget about the big event itself: trick-or-treat.

Christians have wondered for awhile how we should respond to the world’s promotion of Halloween. Some ignore the day all together. Others have attempted to replace its darker leanings with more faith-filled—if not just safer—activities, such as indoor trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treat.

Still, some wonder where to draw the line. At what point is celebrating Halloween actually celebrating evil? That was my question for a long time, and it’s certainly not one I can answer for you.

However, I think there’s a better question:

Do my actions glorify the Lord? This should always be our goal, regardless of the situation.

Before we can answer that question, though, we need to know more about what we’re dealing with. In this post, I’ll tackle one of the biggest aspects of Halloween: witchcraft.

Witchcraft: The manipulation of oneself, other people, animals, natural elements, or events.

Many people believe that witchcraft and those who practice it don’t exist. They argue that dressing up as a witch and pretending to use spells is a healthy way for children to exert self-control, use their imaginations, and be creative. But what does the Bible say?

 

Real or Fake?

Witches, magicians, conjurers, sorcerers, and mediums (whom I’ll refer to collectively as witches) appear throughout the Bible, including the following passages.

  • Genesis 41 – Pharaoh’s witches fail to interpret his dream, but Joseph is able to through the power of God.
  • Exodus 7-9 – Moses obeys God’s commands and performs a series of events that set off the 10 Plagues. Pharaoh’s witches use their “secret arts” to mimic those events and are successful in several attempts. When they fail to conjure gnats even they realize that Moses is working on behalf of God.
  • Book of Daniel – The kings all sought counsel from witches to interpret their dreams. However, only Daniel—by seeking God’s knowledge—was able to provide accurate interpretations.
  • 1 Samuel – Saul was so desperate to know the outcome of his battle with the Philistines that he used a medium to conjure the spirit of Samuel to ask him what he should do. Saul paid for this trespass with his own life, and his kingdom was handed to David.
  • 2 Kings 21 – King Manasseh practiced every form of witchcraft imaginable and even erected idols in the house of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.

Clearly, witchcraft was a real, established practice among the nations in the Old Testament. This carries over into the New Testament, as well, as we’re instructed in Galatians 5 that “sorcery” is a deed of the flesh that should be avoided if we want to enter the Kingdom of God.

 

How Does it “Work”?

All Christians have access to the power of God through the Holy Spirit. That power can be manifest in many ways, from answered prayers to divine healing. However, in every instance, it is the power of God at work through man.

When you think of witchcraft, you might imagine someone using a spell or incantation to call upon the power of the devil. While that is certainly one form, today’s imagery (and practice) is much less obvious. In fact, many practitioners may not even think they’re performing witchcraft but, instead, that they’re drawing upon “inner power” or tapping into the “power of nature” or the “great divine.” Whatever terminology or form this takes, it lacks one thing: God.

So what power are these people actually drawing from? The Enemy.

Just like the false prophets and witches of the Bible, these folks are accessing a power outside themselves, but it’s counterfeit. It’s destructive. And it’s evil.

 

Permissible or Not?

With all this talk about witchcraft in the Bible, why isn’t there a commandment against it? Well, actually, there is:

“Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them” (Leviticus 20:27 NAS).

In the Book of Deuteronomy, in which Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s Law before they pass over to the Promised Land, he expands on what this commandment means to them:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.

For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so” (Deuteronomy 18:10-14 NAS).

This passage couldn’t be any plainer. Yes, the Israelites were surrounded by nations that practiced witchcraft, but God found it “detestable.” Not only was He calling the Israelites to avoid such practices, He would go on to use the Israelites to drive out the nations that practiced witchcraft. In effect, God was cleaning house.

As Christians today, we are no longer under the Levitical Law that commands witches to be put to death. However, the reasoning behind the law—and the fact that God found it detestable—still stands. We are called to be dependent on God alone. He is the One who provides for us, protects us, and works through us to advance His Kingdom.

Witchcraft, on the other hand, is dependence on the Enemy. Instead of seeking God’s will, those who practice witchcraft in any form use it to bring about their own will through the power of the Enemy. No wonder God finds it so detestable and forbids it among His people.

 

Are You Spellbound?

Has God convicted you of something but you just couldn’t let it go? Maybe it seemed benign (like a kid’s movie), or you rationalized that everyone else was doing it. Or maybe it was a book that you found so engrossing that you refused to put it down. Whatever it was, if God told you to set it aside and you couldn’t, then it may already be an idol in your life.

Don’t live spellbound and dependent on the Enemy!

Repent now and either get rid of the offending item or stop the activity.

On the other hand, you may have dabbled in witchcraft by trying to manipulate things that are outside your control, such as your mental and spiritual abilities or your bodily functions. Or maybe you tried to manipulate other people, natural elements, or events. Perhaps you’ve glorified evil unwittingly by participating in evil activities. If you’re not sure if God finds something “detestable,” you can ask Him through a simple prayer like the one below.

“Lord, please forgive me if I’ve used witchcraft in any form. Convict my spirit of anything unclean in my life that I need to get rid of and give me the strength to do so. I want to walk blamelessly before you, and I can’t do that if I seek my own will. Help me to seek your will from now on. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

[Click to Tweet: Don’t live spellbound and dependent on the Enemy! Avoid witchcraft in all its forms and seek God’s will for your life.]


If you find this content a bit disturbing, I understand. Many churches don’t talk about such things. However, this has left many believers ignorant of important biblical passages, making them susceptible to the tactics of the Enemy. In fact, the Enemy has become so bold that he doesn’t even hide his attempts any more. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the TV or look for the “hottest” new movies. The Enemy is out there, and he’s seeking whom he shall devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). Don’t be destroyed due to lack of knowledge (see Hosea 4:6).

However, if you’re looking for the lighter, usual fair here at BigSisterKnows.com, don’t worry. I’ll be more than happy to switch gears and focus more on God’s goodness in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

The Secret to Getting What You Want Out of Life

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Earlier this year, I traveled to The Book Expo in New York where I met the folks from Red Lightning Books, an imprint of Indiana University Press. When I saw how cool their books are, I had an idea. Actually, it was more like a vision, a complete download from God of the kind of book I could write for them.

Breathlessly, I pitched my idea to the publisher: The book would be all about cast iron cookware, from the history of it to the care and use of it. I could even include a bunch of recipes that are easy and relatively healthy—with professional photographs, of course. And to make it even more fun, I could visit the Lodge Manufacturing Co in Tennessee and explain how they’ve made cast iron cookware since 1896.

The publisher loved the idea! (Yippee!)

Once the contract came through, though, I had a moment of truth: would I be able to tour the Lodge? While they host a public tour once a year, that isn’t until April, and my deadline is the end of this year. I could call and ask for a personal tour, but who am I? I’m not a big-time chef or retail giant. Would they even answer my request?

And how would I secure a professional photographer on a budget (not to mention cook all the food for the photographs!)?

And did I mention that I’m expecting our first child in November?!

Still, my vision for the book was so clear that I could only move in one direction: forward. So I said a few prayers, sent some emails, and made a few calls. Thankfully, God’s favor continued to go before me!

Not only were the folks at Lodge receptive to my request, but they gave me a lengthy tour of their new foundry and let me take photos for the book! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I know my readers will appreciate all the fun info I can now share with them first-hand.

As for the photographs, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wonderful family photographer with an eye for food photography. It’s been a joy getting to know her and her family, and the pictures have turned out great!

 

Get What You Want

I’ve prayed for a lot of things in my life, from “Lord, please help me get to work on time” to “Lord, please let me win the lottery!” While many prayers have come true, many have not. For those prayers that went unanswered—or for which God said “No”—I used to wonder if I just didn’t have enough faith. After all, didn’t Jesus say that we could move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed?

As my walk with God has matured, though, I’ve learned a secret: faith is only a part of the equation. There are actually two steps we need to take to get what we want out of life.

1) Want the right things.

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:4-6 NAS).

My flesh wants to win the lottery so I can spend my days in leisure and isolation. God wants me to work for Him to expand His Kingdom.

My flesh wants to be able to do whatever it wants to do with impunity. God wants me to be disciplined and to work as if for Him, not unto man.

And therein lies the rub: God won’t give you something He doesn’t want to give you. If you’re praying for something that doesn’t align with His will, He’s not going to give in…no matter how much you beg or how much faith you have in His ability.

The key, then, is to want what God wants—and for that, you’ll need to surrender your earthly desires to Him. Only then He can place His desires in your heart and work to bring them about in your life.

So how will you know if a desire is from God? By “delight[ing] yourself in the Lord.” Spend time with Him and in His Word, learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and become sensitive to the very mood of God. If that sounds like a tall order, it is. It requires discipline, discernment, and the expense of personal time (but trust me, it’s worth it).

2) Ask for what you want.

Remember the story of the blind man in Mark 10 who called out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”? How did Jesus respond? He asked the man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Certainly Jesus knew what the man wanted! Not only was Jesus fully God, but it was clear that the man was blind; what else would he be begging for? And yet Jesus wanted the man to state out loud what he wanted:

“‘Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road” (Mark 10: 51-52 NAS).

It’s not enough for us to know what God wants for us and to want it for ourselves. We must actively ask God to fulfill His will in our lives!

It takes an act of faith to pray for God’s will to be done, even if we’re certain we know what His will is. However, when we take that step of faith, we become partners with God as we help to bring about His will on earth. Not only is this a crucial step in getting everything we want out of life, it’s necessary for our ongoing spiritual development. For like the blind man in Mark 10, we’ll be compelled to follow Jesus wherever He goes.

 

What do you want?

What do you want…I mean really want? Do you want to publish a book of your own? Do you want live in another town or get married and have kids? Are you stressing over a budget that won’t stretch anymore?

The secret to getting what you want out of life really isn’t a secret at all; it’s clearly outlined in Scripture for you to read and understand. Start by making a list of your desires and determine which ones are of the flesh and which ones were put in your heart by God. If you’re not sure, spend time with God and in His Word until you have clarity. Then pray for all the things that God wants for your life, from the small (like a pay increase) to the ridiculous (a huge promotion).

Then enjoy a life in which your heart’s desires become your reality!

[Click to Tweet: If you want God to give you the desires of your heart, then make sure your desires come from God.]

 

3 Ways to Foster Integrity (And Still Keep Your Friends)

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As I’m sure you know, Senator John McCain passed away this week. A war hero and presidential nominee, McCain is probably best known as a man of integrity. It seems that McCain always tried to stick to his principles, regardless of how politically expedient his words or actions would be. This gave him the added reputation of being a “maverick,” because he was known for disagreeing with his own party on certain issues.

Integrity isn’t a word we use often, perhaps because it’s so rare these days. Indeed, it’s interesting that those with integrity are seen as mavericks, or rebels swimming against the tide of the rest of the world.

 

Integrity Defined

So what exactly is integrity? There are three main definitions for this word.

1. Sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition – After an earthquake, the integrity of a building may be called into question, requiring the occupants to be evacuated until an engineer can confirm the building is safe. To live in a home with compromised structural integrity could result in the walls or roof falling down around you.

2. State of being whole, entire, or undiminished – The integrity of a country is at risk when a foreign power begins to seize control of it. Likewise, the integrity of your heart and home may be at risk if negative influences begin to eat away at you and the bonds of your family members.

3. Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty – McCain was known for adhering to his principles regardless of popular opinion. The alternative is to believe one thing and do another or to be deceitful in your actions. This creates conflict that can destroy a person internally and professionally.

 

Fostering Integrity

Integrity isn’t something that happens automatically or overnight. It takes effort. The following are three ways you can foster and display integrity in your life.

1. Internal soundness – The Bible tells us to seek God with a whole heart, not half-heartedly. (See 1 Chronicles 28:9.) Unfortunately, many of us hold beliefs that are contrary to each other and to the Bible, either out of ignorance or willfulness. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you where your thoughts and beliefs are in conflict with each other or the Bible.

“Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:2 NAS).

2. Personal and family wholeness – The Enemy is constantly seeking ways to destroy us, both individually and collectively. Be on guard against negative influences that turn your heart away from God or create unnecessary conflict in your home. Examples may include music with negative lyrics, movies with ungodly messages, and even new friends with different values that entice you down a negative path.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NAS).

“…be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” (2 Peter 3:17b-18a NAS).

3. Godly character – Ethics is a set of guidelines for moral behavior. However, ethics is relative to the culture in which it is created, which means that ungodly actions can be deemed as “ethical.” That’s why Christians aren’t called to follow good ethics but to follow Jesus, who is the perfect example for us all. To be a person of strong moral (and biblically-sound) character, ask for God’s guidance in each decision. He will never lead you astray.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAS).

 

Acting Out Integrity

It’s not easy to think and act differently than the rest of the world. You may find yourself disagreeing with your friends, avoiding the most popular entertainment, or unable to take a questionable assignment at work. This can create conflict in your life, which can be especially hard if you’re a natural peacemaker and just want everyone to get along.

On the other hand, it can be easy to develop a spirit of criticism where you focus on all the mistakes everyone else is making (and none of the ones you’re making yourself). While you might be able to act with integrity, your criticism will ensure that no one will want to be around you, and you’ll be a poor example of a Christ follower.

The answer, then, isn’t to compromise your beliefs or to push them onto others. Instead, extend a liberal amount of grace to everyone around you. When conflicts arise, take a breath and pray about what you need to say and do. Then follow God’s lead.

Ultimately, the integrity of your heart should be acted out with a measure of grace. By combining these two characteristics, you’ll be able to glorify God in any situation (and still keep your friends).

[Click to Tweet: Ultimately, the integrity of your heart should be acted out with a measure of grace. By combining these two characteristics, you’ll be able to glorify God in any situation.]

Have you tried to live with integrity, only to struggle with the resulting conflict? Do you find that extending grace to others helps you to focus on God and avoid a spirit of criticism? I’d love to hear your feedback! Leave your comments below.


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