December 12 2016

Keep Christ In Christianity

Today as I drove by the little church in my neighborhood, I just had to read their sign and laugh. They change it up often, usually to something humorous and thought provoking. Today the sign read “Keep Christ in Christianity”. I thought it was going to read something like “Keep Christ in Christmas”, so I was surprised by the statement. Why would a church have to tell Christians to keep Christ in them?

I have thought for a very long time about what the definition of Christian is. Many people call themselves Christian, and each one has a different set of standards why which they determine there are Christian. Some people simply call themselves Christian because they believe in God. Some because they go to church regularly. Some people say they are Christian because they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and have accepted His free gift of salvation.

If we look at the definition of Christian here is what see according to dictionary.com:

1. of, relating to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings:
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ :
3. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike:
4. decent; respectable:
5. human; not brutal; humane:

So as we can see, Christian is a term that is quite broad in it’s definition. It can refer to following Jesus Christ, or it can refer to being a decent and respectable human being. In the eyes of the world, this is how it is seen. There are other religions such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Science and so on that claim to base their religion on some of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are also other religions, such as Muslim, that include Jesus Christ as an authority figure in them. So technically by these definitions, we can call these religions Christian as well.

So what exactly does it mean to follow Christ? Does it simply mean you go to church and try to be a good person? That you read the Bible and conform to a certain standard that Christians certainly must adhere too? It seems to mean different things for different people. Even amongst Christians there is a battle over who is a true Christian and really saved. Some would say that if you live a life with certain sins, then you aren’t really a Christian. Others would say that all you need to do is love Jesus and you are Christian.

The problem with being called a Christian is you fall into many religious traps. Being Christian may well mean you believe in Jesus Christ, but it also means that you are putting yourself into a box, one that is there to define you and allow the world to make it’s judgement upon you. As the world sees it, Christians are good people who have good moral standards and help people, but are also very judgmental and condemning to anyone who isn’t Christian or Christian enough in their eyes. It is a double edged sword.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18

I have seen Christians fight with each other on any topic that can possibly be debated upon. However, the Bible makes it clear we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this world; aka Satan. Satan has been using the words of God to turn us against God since the Garden of Eden. He tempted mankind into sin so easily, and even used scripture to try to turn Jesus Christ Himself. Satan absolutely loves religion, and loves to use it against God’s people.

The early church was very simple. It was people who loved Jesus and wanted to spread the Gospel to everyone they could. They gathered together to pray and study God’s word daily. They helped each other and took care of each other. No one was in need or want. They were doing life together in order to create unity and further the Gospel message. Yet as the movement grew, people brought in many ideas and practices from the world around them. The church began to adopt many customs from many religions and as the church grew, Christianity evolved.

Christianity is really a hybrid religion. It’s a mesh of Judiasm, paganism, and the teachings of Christ. People have added many things in because our human rituals and traditions are comforting to us. We have adopted and adapted Christianity to fit our needs as the centuries have gone on. It has become a religion and not a relationship. The root of Christianity is a movement of people who wanted desperately to follow Jesus Christ and experience the Living God. And that is what they did. They lived all their days out with a passionate zeal for Christ.

Somewhere along the line we have gotten religion and Jesus mixed up in one big bag together. We have started to believe that God is Christianity, church and the Bible, and therefore began replacing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus with these beliefs. We began to believe that in order to be good, to know Jesus, to do the right thing, we had to go to church, read the Bible and do all the “Christian things”. We had to do service work and be involved in church and be on committees and in groups. We had to look to Christian leaders and pastors to help us and teach us. We have gotten very lost.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.

1 Corinthians 3:2-3

Jesus Christ is not a religion, nor is He only to be found in the Bible or church. Jesus Christ is everywhere and in everything. We were created through Him and for Him. We have His Holy Spirit living inside of us. We were created in heaven for His purpose. No matter what we do, what religion we affiliate with, or what church we go to, Jesus is with us. Always, even until the end of the age. Jesus does not care if we are Christian or not. He cares if we have a relationship with Him. A deep and intimate relationship. Outside of that, nothing else matters.

There is a lot of condemnation when it comes to Christianity. Christians are pitted against other Christians over trivial matters and the world hates us because of this hypocrisy. The world doesn’t hate the light, it loves it. The problem is, while we have been so busy filling ourselves up with religious practices and self righteousness, the devil and swooped in and deceived the whole world with his light. Lucifer is beautiful and bright and hides all of his destruction and death underneath it, so that all the world can see looks good and right. And he has crept in with his disguise and made Christianity look like the real evil of the world.

Christianity has become symbols, rituals, ideals and actions. It’s time to let go of all of it if we truly want to chase after Christ with the same desperate passion of our forefathers, the disciples. Jesus wants a relationship with you right now, exactly where you are. God speaks to you and you do not need an interpreter. The Living God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is inside of you right now. God has done everything He can to make our part easier. If you are struggling with feeling condemned or hearing the voice of God, that’s OK. God can help you with that. Just keep seeking Him and trusting Him to lead the way.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13

christianityIf we want to see the message of the Gospel progress in this world, we need to each one do our own individual parts. That means starting first with Christ as we let everything else in our lives fall away. Every person needs to come before the throne of God and seek His glorious presence and know Him personally. We were created for this. It is only through this relationship we are going to find freedom from oppression, healing, who God created us to be, and the call He has placed over our lives. There is no thing that can do that for us.

No matter what happens with the church or religion, God will always stand strong and prevail. If we want to focus on God, then we need to reevaluate our priorities and beliefs and bring them all before the throne room of God. Then we need to be willing to allow Him to come into our hearts and lives and show us where we have succumbed to idolatry and pageantry so that we can find His freedom. Jesus died for our freedom to be with Him all of the time. Let’s not waste our time looking for Him and realize He has been inside of us all along.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Romans 8:9

February 1 2016

What Is Normal Christianity?

ChristianityAs a pagan I had many preconceived notions about what Christianity was or what it meant to be a Christian. I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ, and honestly He was never a thought in my mind. Jesus Christ was a swear word to me. Outside of that He was either a mythical figure or a historical figure. The guy with the long hair and white robes. I had nothing but disdain for Christians for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately part of that I was taught at the Mormon Church as a child. They do not hold the same beliefs as Christians, and I was taught away from the Truth of the Gospel message. I didn’t realize this though, being just a child, so I never questioned why I hated Christians.

As far as I was always concerned, Christians were a bunch of perfect people with no problems. At the same time I also thought Christianity was filled with hypocrites who thought they were better than everyone else and looked down on everyone from the pedestals they stood on. Admittedly there are people like that, but not all of them are Christians. As a pagan, I didn’t see it that way. I just hated Christianity and everything it stood for. Funny thing is, I didn’t actually know what Christianity was all about. I assumed it was about following rules and a God that was far away and judgmental, waiting to send you to hell. Another belief instilled by the Mormon Church. It wasn’t until I read the Bible for myself and encountered Jesus Christ, that I realize how very wrong I was all my life.

There is nothing perfect about Christianity. There is not perfect formula for getting saved and living a perfect life, free of problems. The only thing perfect in Christianity is Jesus Christ, perfect and sinless because He is God. Outside of that, we are all broken people, living in a very broken world. We are all hurting and lost in some way or another. We are all searching for the Truth and ultimately for perfect love, that only comes from God. There is not one certain way to be or act. We are all doing the best we can with what we know.

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14

I have pondered the question many times, what does it really mean to be a Christian? Do any Christians really follow Jesus? Is the life of a true Christian, as modeled by the Bible even possible? It seems to me even now, in the midst of Christianity, that no one is even doing this walk right. No one is following Jesus with full surrender and abandon. Christianity is filled with paganism in every facet, and other Christians tear each other from limb to limb, using the very scripture we hold so dear. We sin, yet judge others for their sin. We go to church like it’s a social club. We do life like everyone else in the world, just going to work and taking care of our families. There is nothing special or out of the ordinary about us.

So what exactly is normal Christianity? Is it someone who strives to be as Christ like as possible, loving everyone completely, feeding the poor and devoting their time to ministry? Is Christianity about striving for a sinless life and being on a constant spiritual high? No. This is not what normal Christianity is. This is what we imagine we should be as Christians. This is what the world thinks Christianity should look like. This is not anywhere near the norm, for any of us.

I believed for a while that when I became Christian I was going to be perfect. I kept waiting for it to happen, and it didn’t. The Holy Spirit continued to convict me of things about myself and in my life that needed to be changed. I kept feeling better about myself as I made those changes, and I kept looking down on the other Christians around me. Why was I getting more Christ like while everyone around me had plateaued back in high school? No one was moving closer to Jesus, but instead staying where it was comfortable. Meanwhile I saw examples of other Christians who were out there healing the sick and casting out demons and praying the fire of God down on people so they could encounter the presence of the Holy Spirit. They were walking in selfless love and what I saw closely resembled the disciples and apostles in the Bible, rather than your average Joe.

So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hebrews 9:28

What I didn’t understand is I was not seeing the whole picture of any one individual. The Christians who were stagnant were not wrong for staying where it was comfortable and the Christians who were out praying for the sick were not right because they were doing something extra ordinary. There is no right and wrong when it comes to Christianity. There is no set of rules on what Christianity needs to look like or feel like. God is much bigger than all the ideas that we could ever come up with, to limit Him and Christianity to a set of rules or behaviors or standards. Yet that is what I thoroughly believed in my walk into Christianity.

When we start to view Christianity through this strict confines, we are turning it into a religion instead of a relationship. Christianity started out very simply – a group of men and women who knew Jesus and spent their days with Him. They talked to Him, they told them their hopes and fears, they shared lives together. They broke bread together, traveled together, and they learned to trust Jesus with all their hearts. They learned to see that Jesus loved them unconditionally and that through them they could experience life with a new freedom they never knew was possible. Because of that they were willing to abandon what they had known and live unconventionally. Yet they never became perfect.

They argued, vied for the affections of Jesus, were competitive with each other for prominence, denied Jesus as God and even ran away when things got hard. That is just a small list of the mistakes the disciples made. They were only human – broken in a very broken world that has been ruled by the evil one, the devil. Jesus did not come here to start a religion or have us follow rules or standards. That was what the Pharisees were doing. No. Jesus came to love us, to heal our brokenness, to free us from the captivity that the devil has ensnared us in, and to show us that to Him, we are very worthy. God loves us so very much, enough that He would sacrifice everything for us. He did not give us the Bible as a set of rules to follow, but as a living testimony of His love!!

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Matthew 16:22-23

The devil would love for us to turn Christianity into a religion. We have done a very good job with his help. We take up all the shame and fear and need for approval and turn our relationship with our Creator into great works to get us into heaven. That is one thing that is supposed to separate Christianity from all other religions. Every other religion ever is based on working your way into heaven, without any real relationship with the god figure. Only Christianity offers redemption through a relationship with a perfect and holy God. How can you beat that kind of gift? You don’t have to do anything, other than believe and have a relationship with Jesus? Amazing and simple! So why do we make it so complicated?

Are people just inherently complicated? I don’t believe so. I think that the world would have us believe that things are much more complicated than they are. And the world is owned by the devil. This is his domain, in which he is the prince of. The Bible makes that clear. The devil only has a few goals for us – steal us away from God, kill our souls so we go to hell, and destroy all of our hope. If he can do that, he has found success. Yes he wants us to die, but what better than to send us to hell to rot with him for all eternity? True hell is the absence of God. I should know, because I was there for most of my life.

So again, what is normal Christianity? Normal Christianity is someone who loves Jesus with all their heart. They are not perfect, but completely broken. They may be in denial that they are broken, or they may be in full surrender to God in their brokenness. Normal Christians are walking through life trying to do the best they can with what they have. They try the best they can to give their lives to God, but fail more often than not. They have good intentions and try to love others and give selflessly. Yet they fail often and feel disappointed or ashamed. They may grow spiritually in leaps or bounds, or may not grow at all preferring to stay where they think they are safe. There is always two things that are underlying our motives in life and how we behave and relate. 1) Our relationship with our Creator God, and 2) The pain and brokenness we have experienced through our lives. This is what shapes a normal Christian. This is what shapes every human being.

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Galatians 4:6

jesus loveIf you have been beating yourself up because you don’t think you are a good Christian, or maybe not even a real Christian; or maybe you think God is angry at you; then I am telling you right now to stop. You are listening to the lies of the devil. He wants you to feel bad about yourself and to believe God is disappointed in you. He is not. He loves you, right here, right now, no matter what. You are good enough for God, imperfection and all. Whether or not you are stuck in sin, or feel far away from God, you are doing the best you can with what you know. It is OK. You just have to keep going, one step at a time, to move closer to God and closer to finding the healing He has for you. We are never going to have a perfect, sinless life, or be just like Jesus. We were not meant to be. We are meant to be His children and to be loved by God, and love Him back. Everything outside of that is just part of the details and circumstances of your life.

You are the Jewish man who was beaten and left to die by robbers. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He is the one who you least expected to come rescue you, and saw the value in you. Jesus is the one who saw you broken and bandaged your wounds. Jesus is the one who cared enough to stop everything He was doing, and take you in so you could live.

It is time for you to come out of the darkness, brothers and sisters. It is time to stop hiding behind the lies that you need to be OK all the time, or that everyone needs to live up to some godly standards that are impossible. Let down your guard as you hide behind walls of fear and pain and move closer to the God who loves you with a never ending love. Let Jesus renew and strengthen you as you just sit quietly with Him. Believe He is right there, even if you can’t feel it. He is. Forever. You are His. He will never let you go. That is what normal Christianity is. It’s time to embrace it.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

January 18 2016

Paganism Is Not The Real Enemy

paganismWhen I first became a Christian I was walking away from a life of what I called paganism. To me, I identified as a pagan, because I worshiped the earth, was at one with the universe and practiced ‘magik’. I was also completely against organized religion, so I did not align myself to any one pagan religion, such as Wicca. So I was just a pagan, or a witch. I associated paganism with witchcraft, because to me it was one and the same. What I didn’t understand was that paganism and witchcraft were not the same thing. This is simply how I chose to identify myself so as not to be indoctrinated into a religion. The truth is not all pagans do witchcraft.

It is a common misconception that paganism is inherently evil. It actually is not. Let’s look at the definition of the word pagan, according to dictionary.com:

Pagan: 1) one of a people or community observing polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks. 2) a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; neopagans. 3) a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen.

So as you can see a pagan is not someone who practices witchcraft, but someone who subscribes to a religion that is polytheistic or don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, who died to save the world from sin. Now let’s look at the definition of paganism:

Paganism: 1) pagan spirit or attitude in religious or moral questions. 2) the beliefs or practices of pagans.

Paganism is not related to witchcraft. I have researched what the Bible says about pagans or paganism, and these words are not found. The words commonly used are idolaters and unbelievers or gentiles. Let’s look at the definition of these words as well:

Idolaters: 1) a worshiper of idols:  2) a person that admires intensely and often blindly one that is not usually a subject of worship.

Unbeliever: a person who does not believe something; especially : a person who does not believe in a particular religious faith

Gentile: 1) a person of a non-Jewish nation or of non-Jewish faith; especially :  a Christian as distinguished from a Jew.  2) heathen, pagan

So a pagan is basically the same as someone who is not Christian, and who has other religious beliefs that include worship to gods other than the One True Living God. This does not mean that a pagan is practicing witchcraft. So this bears the question, why is paganism so wrong and bad in the eyes of so many Christians? The argument is that  paganism is a problem because it leads us away from the One True Living God. The problem with this argument is that our entire culture in America is pagan, even our Christianity. Christianity is rooted in Judaism, but then took on many pagan practices over time. Our society is filled with paganism, and incorporated into most everything there is. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of paganism in our society today:

The Church Building – There is nothing in scripture that tells us to create buildings for the purpose of meeting together and talking about God. The first Christians met together in homes. Churches began to be built during the reign of Constantine, and they were not called church, but temples. Temples were in all the big cities in that time, but they were dedicated to various gods and goddesses. People would go to meet and worship their gods and goddesses in their temples daily. The very idea of a church is pagan in origin.

Weddings – Almost every wedding practice we have today is based in pagan roots. There is no place weddings are commanded in scripture, nor the use of wedding rings. The bridal veil, flower bouquet, wedding cake, and much more are all practices from the Romans and Greeks and symbolic of their polytheistic beliefs and superstitions. None of these things is Biblical.

Makeup – Ancient Egyptians used makeup because they believed the powders contained magic powers and believed green paint around the eyes protected them from evil spirits. They also used the dark eyeliner to make the almond shape around their eye, because it represented the Eye of Horus. Horus was their patron god and his eye was a symbol of restoration and sacrifice.

Calendars – The Gregorian calendar that we typically use is completely pagan. It is based on the sun, not on the moon as the calendar of God and the Jews. The sun-god was one of the most important gods in Roman and Greek society, so their based their calendar on this, so it would revolve around their holy days. The names of the days of the week and the months are all based on gods and goddesses.

Thanksgiving – Celebration of the harvest has been around since ancient times, and is not something new created by Americans. While the first Thanksgiving was reportedly done by Puritans, it was a custom taken from pagan practices. Other religions commonly offer their first crops to their gods and goddesses in thanks, so as to assure continued prosperity. Thanksgiving is not in the Bible as a mandated festival, and neither are any holidays we celebrate for that matter.

Birthday Celebrations – There is no mention of celebrating your day of birth in the Bible. It is said that the first birthdays were celebrated by ancient kings, who executed people as part of the festivities, as well as drunken orgies and the like.  Did you know that the most important Satanic holy day is one’s own birthday?

This is just a short list of the many practices that are pagan in origin that we do or use on a regular basis. The bottom line is we live in a broken world full of sin, in which the devil has his playground. There has never been a time when paganism wasn’t predominant. If we try to escape paganism, we become legalistic, using the idea that paganism is evil to fight against people we see in the midst of practicing paganism. It become a vicious cycle, in which we lash out with hate and pride, instead of loving people into the arms of Jesus. Am I condoning paganism? No. What I am saying is, paganism is not the real problem or the enemy we should focus our fight against.

When I first began my research two years ago into Christmas and whether or not it was right to celebrate, I came to realize that not only is Christmas full of pagan roots and origins, but so are most things we incorporate into our daily existence. I became despondent, as all I wanted was to remove myself from paganism after coming out of it, and yet here I was still in the midst of it. It is true that other religious beliefs, practices and customs can lead us away from God, but more importantly it is witchcraft that leads us away from God, and into danger. Paganism in itself is not evil, and I propose to you that the real problem is witchcraft. What exactly is witchcraft?

Let’s look at what the Merriam-Webster has to say about witchcraft:

Witchcraft1)  the use of sorcery or magic 2)  communication with the devil or with a familiar (spirit)

Witchcraft by definition in the Bible: worshiping idols (demons), necromancy (contacting dead ancestors), mediums (contacting the dead, seances), divination or fortune-tellers or omen interpreters (predicting the future), human sacrifice, animal sacrifice to idols (demons) sorcerers, wise men, enchanters, magicians, astrologers, drinking blood, cutting your body for the dead or marking your body i.e. tattoos (blood rituals), curses, spells, magic charms (cursed items), soul selling.

And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

2 Kings 17:17

As you can see, this is quite a comprehensive list I have found, through researching scripture. The reason God hates witchcraft, is because it is the practice of using the power of demons to either harm others for self gain, or to seek to find power, blessing or fortune from demons by worshiping them and giving them rights into our bodies, souls and minds through blood covenants, etc. Opening yourself up to witchcraft can kill your spirit, destroy your relationship with God, and you can potentially give yourself to Satan for life. God does not want to see His children falling prey to the evil devices of the devil. The devil lures many, many people in with promises of fame, fortune, power and more, as they give over their lives, or even the lives of those they love in order to gain these things. In exchange for these things they give the devil the control of their free will and the keys to generations to come.

Magic or witchcraft is extremely dangerous, yet it is also very seductive and deceptive. It comes wrapped up in a pretty package as everything you ever wanted, and more. It comes in the form of music, tv shows, movies, religion, and charms (crystals and other new age trinkets). It draws you in pretending to know your future or give you insight into life or a higher spiritual awakening. It disguises itself as fun and games, and it is the most deadly weapon the enemy has in his hands right now. Witchcraft is everywhere in our society, and just about everyone I know enjoys it in one form or another. Yet they do not label it as witchcraft, but rather their favorite book or movie they love (are obsessed with). I have experienced the danger of witchcraft first hand, and I know how deadly it truly is.

God’s warnings to us in the Bible are not to stay away from paganism, but rather to stay away from magic in all of its forms. In ancient times it was quite common to sacrifice your child to your “god” which was really a demon. It was also quite common to perform sexual rituals or blood rituals to make a sacrifice to your “god”. It was also believed to be necessary in order to appease to gods and receive whatever gain you are hoping to achieve. These gods often were represented by idols or statues which made people feel that their gods were more tangible and real, while the One True Living God was inaccessible. These sacrifices and rituals are witchcraft. Practicing witchcraft is akin to selling your soul to the devil.

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

1 Corinthians 10:20

The devil is very busy distracting many Christians with the bait of paganism. He tells us how evil paganism is, how much God hates it, and how we need to fight against it with all of our might. Meanwhile we are being completely blinded to the depth and level that witchcraft has pervaded the entire world. Take Christmas for example. There is a group of Christians who believe that God hates Christmas, the Christmas tree, and thinks the whole thing is evil and pagan. Yet the rest of the world is using this as a time of peace, joy, giving, and sharing Jesus Christ. These Christians are actually at war with other Christians yet they believe in their hearts they are being righteous. Pitting yourself against other Christians never brings righteousness. Human anger does not bring on righteousness. We are called to love one another and lift them up to the One who has the power to transform lives. Not condemn them for what we believe is wrong. The devil has a heyday watching Christians fight among each other, whether it be over Christmas, the rapture or whether or not you can lose your salvation.

That is why I say paganism is not the real enemy. We need to stop focusing on paganism because it is only causing us to judge and condemn others, spreading hate and self-righteousness. It is causing us to turn away from God, and make ourselves our own Gods. Paganism is a part of this world, and as long as Satan has free rein here, paganism will prevail. You cannot stop it, but you can love others right where they are, even in the midst of paganism. You can accept them for who they are and love them with the love of Christ. Only Christ can bring these people where He wants Him to be. We have no say in where people need to be with their walk with Christ and we cannot try to control them through our own beliefs. Focus yourself on Jesus Christ, and through Him alone great things will happen.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;

Romans 14:10

I can say all this because I have spent the last two years judging everyone around me for their involvement in paganism. Everywhere I looked Christians were getting drunk, dressing provocatively, watching television shows about sex and drugs, watching movies about death and destruction, etc., etc. I was painfully aware of every single person being involved in things ungodly and unrighteous, meanwhile unknowingly lifting myself up onto a pedestal above them all. If God convicted me not to do any of those things, if He showed me the Truth of the wrong in those things, then they must be lying to themselves. I was on my way to becoming holy in my own mind, but in reality I was only becoming holier than thou. It was never my intention, nor my heart, but it was only a symptom of something greater.

What I failed to recognize is that people who are involved in paganism are doing so out of pain. Paganism at the core is all about pleasure and self fulfillment. It seems to be an instant remedy to pain, misguided as it may be. And while many people cannot even recognize nor admit their own pain, many are still operating out of it nonetheless. The devil has done a great work in this world to cause us more pain than we can even bear, and then try to numb ourselves to it as we bury it as deep as we can. Paganism is just another symptom of a broken world run by the devil. Witchcraft is the real enemy. Witchcraft will destroy your very soul. Witchcraft can take you straight to hell and you won’t even realize it until it’s far too late

God does not hate anyone who has been involved in paganism or witchcraft. He loves every single person that has ever been, or will ever be. He loves them no matter what – whether they are trying to find righteousness based on the law, or turning completely against Him. God’s love knows no bounds, no constraints, no matter what you have done. Even if you have knowingly chosen to practice witchcraft God does not hate you. He loves you more than you can ever know and wants to save you and bring you home with Him forever. We need to cast of our own constraints of religious thinking and find the truth in God’s own heart. His heart is for all of His people – to save them and bring them restoration. Come to Him now, and see what miracles He has waiting in His storehouse for you!

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 14:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 14 2015

Witchcraft In Mainstream Media

witchcraftIn my pre-Christian life, I had a fascination with witchcraft and vampires and horror for a long time. I remember being a teen and loving the Dracula movie and the Vampire Lestat books. Witchcraft seemed so romantic and exciting! I often fantasized about meeting a vampire and living forever or becoming a witch. A life of witchcraft and romance sounded amazing, and from the books and movies I saw, it was. This fascination never left me, and even as an adult, the shows on my DVR were shows like The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries and The Following (about a serial killer). I loved these shows and they were the highlight of my week. It wasn’t just TV shows that filled my life, but a general fascination with witchcraft, fantasy and darkness. Our culture has a never-ending stream of shows, movies, books, etc to feed these kind of fantasy worlds. It starts with our children. Disney is a huge proponent of magic, but their magic is safe and innocent because it’s a cartoon. I mean, who doesn’t love Disney? They have been number one for kids movies since they began making movies for kids. And almost every single Disney movie has witchcraft of one form or another in it.

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

1 John 5:19

It’s not just Disney that brings witchcraft into our children’s lives. Harry Potter, Monster High, Pokemon, My Little Pony, Every Witch Way, Adventure Time, Percy Jackson, and Mike the Knight are just a few of the programs that is popular right now for kids. These shows all openly have witchcraft in them as a normal part of life. I know I have always had shows about witchraft to watch through the years: Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Game of Thrones, True Blood to name just a few. I never thought much about watching these kinds of shows or letting my kids watch them before I became Christian. After all, I was a witch for a season in my life, and I was pulled in to the lies of  the new age movement and the occult. Magic is good, fun, enchanting and exciting. Who isn’t attracted to it? Witchcraft opens up new worlds to us and new possibilities. Yet when I became a Christian I began to see the world in a whole new way. The veil had been lifted from before my eyes, and the evil hidden in all the world that we see as normal, became exposed for what it was.

It didn’t take long for me to feel very wrong about watching these shows, and let me kids watch them also. Once the Holy Spirit invaded my soul, everything changed for me. I could not watch my favorite show about vampires that I had been following for years without feeling very wrong. I did try quite a few times, but I knew in my spirit that it was wrong and displeased God. Yet everywhere I would go, Christians loved Harry Potter and other shows with drugs, murder and sexual immorality. Honestly that was one thing that baffled me completely. I had lived in the world for so long, and here I was removing myself from it many of the Christians around me were completely immersed in it.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:13

It was a process to really understand how much witchcraft I was letting into my home. It took even longer to realize how much witchcraft I was bringing in just with Disney alone. We bought Frozen and Brave and watched them half a dozen times, not even thinking about the fact that the whole premise of these movies was about spells being cast on people and the effects of the magic, (usually harmful). It was visually pleasing, we were drawn into the characters and the plot was suspenseful and moving. The witchcraft just sneaked right past me! I know a lot of people don’t think that this type of magic is relevant to witchcraft and the occult. After all it doesn’t look real and it doesn’t seem to be based on reality. It’s just fantasy and entertainment and therefore should not be a problem. That is why it is so deceptive! We are not carefully guarding our hearts and minds, but instead just exposing them to whatever the world throws at us. The more we see other Christians watching Harry Potter or Frozen, the more we feel that it must be OK. Witchcraft becomes normal and acceptable, and just innocent magic that is for fun.

Satan will always be there tempting us with something pleasing and delicious, just as he was in the Garden of Eden. He did not tempt them with something awful that would be easy to detect as evil, but instead with something forbidden and alluring. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The next thing you know, Eve was questioning what God had told her, and giving in to that sweet moment of satisfaction. She could have never known that by eating that fruit she would cause her own death, as well as every generation under her. If she could have foreseen how fatal this decision would have been, she would surely have not done it. And it is the same way for us now. Satan is holding out shows and movies full of all sorts of witchcraft, sexual perversion, murder, and the like to our us and our children and asking us “Did God really say not to have anything to do with witchcraft? Surely he did not mean this magic. It is harmless fun!” And we bite into the apple, believing the lies once again.

Magic is a term often used by witches when describing spells they cast. Magic is indeed the same thing as witchcraft. All magic is witchcraft. What exactly is witchcraft? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes witchcraft as the use of magic or sorcery. Witchcraft includes, but is not limited to: harnessing the power of demons to effect change in people, or to gain material possessions; gaining power or wealth; gaining knowledge; reaching or accessing higher levels of consciousness; achieving powers to become like God; hurting other people or hurting animals; getting revenge; spying; protection; and much more.

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.

Deuteronomy 18:10-11

All magic is of Satan, no matter which way you slice it. Whether it is a witch in a Disney movie, a character in a Harry Potter story, a cute teen witch or a sexy vampire, it is all of the devil. I know that can be a hard pill to swallow! Believe me, I fed myself on this stuff and much, much more for many years. God does not do magic or make magic. No matter how cute or innocent or fun or sexy the character wielding the magic is, it does not make the magic innocent or unreal. It is a portal into your home for the demonic to enter. It is a subliminal message in your mind that magic is good and right. It is letting in the lie that God did not say it was wrong. It is dangerous.

The things that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis are defining and shaping factors of who we are. Even more so for our children, who are so young and impressionable. If we spend more time filling up on the ways of the world, instead of God’s Word, that is how we start to shape the way we think and see things around us. We begin to forget the Truths of the Bible as we feed ourselves the lies of the world. We must be diligent to hold fast to what is good and right and true, according to the Word of God. Even when it is hard, and even when it means being set apart from those around us. I know how hard it is to be set apart and feel different. Yet I am willing to go down the narrow path in order to be closer to my Lord Jesus. What I have found in Him is worth more than anything in this world I have ever had. I have seen and done many things seeking pleasure and entertainment, but none has been as satisfying, as wonderful and as delightful as God Himself.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 34:7

childGod does not look down on you for exposing your children to Disney movies or for watching Harry Potter. He does not hate you because you have let witchcraft into your home inadvertently. It is a work in progress as you learn to navigate the world and all the illusions it throws at us daily. But once you are exposed to the truth, you are responsible to take ownership of the decisions you are making. Don’t let the devil continue to have a foothold in your home and teach your children what he values in this world. Do not be conformed to the world, but test everything instead, to see if it is of God. God didn’t tell us not to participate in witchcraft because He wants to steal our fun, but because He cares about us and He knows the hidden danger in magic. The Bible has story after story of His children who became lost into a world of witchcraft, because they were led astray by other cultures and religions of the day. That is why He is so adamant in His warnings on witchcraft.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8

Pray for God to give you insight and wisdom into witchcraft you have let into your home without realizing it. Repent and ask Him to forgive you for allowing witchcraft into your home, and then be willing to give Jesus access to bring healing and restoration into your home and your relationship with Him. Allow Him to show you what He wants you to remove from your home and why. He loves you so dearly and only wants the very best for you. Jesus died for each one of you, so that you could experience freedom by His blood. You can experience so much more than what you have been, if you tear down the strongholds in your life and bring them before the Lord Jesus Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

October 26 2015

Is Halloween Evil?

halloween-72939_1280I have recently written a post about Halloween, and why I do not believe Christians should celebrate it. I have been blessed with this post being shared quite a bit over social media and have received many wonderful comments from readers. The Lord has done an amazing work spreading the Truth of His Word with my post on Halloween! Just last year I wrote about Halloween, and it did not get much attention. I tried very hard to post it around on social media sites. I also made a video on Youtube about Halloween. That got more interest, but not as much as it has gotten in the past couple of weeks. It is all due to the Lord, and not at all due to anything I have done. I praise His holy and mighty Name for that!

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8

I normally would not write another post on Halloween with the fact that I just wrote one, but I have seen some comments that really bothered me. It is these comments that have inspired me to write another post. These are comments I have already heard from many people I already know from my church or that I have met in the past couple of years. The one that bothers me the most is that, Halloween is not right for me to celebrate because I used to be in the occult. Therefore, I cannot handle Halloween. But for others, who have never been involved in the occult, it is OK. They have not done anything wrong, and they are doing something perfectly innocent in celebrating Halloween. I have to say that hurts me in a deep place in my heart. God has not convicted me that Halloween is evil because I was in the occult. God has convicted me that Halloween is evil because God knows it is evil.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

There are some who would say that Halloween is a day that the Lord made. God has made all days, and we should celebrate each day and be joyful because of that. We should not hide in our houses and let the devil win. I have heard all these comments many times to give reasoning to celebrate Halloween. But I ask you this. Would you tell that to the thousands of humans who are going to endure being brutally murdered in a satanic ritual? Or what about the others who will be beaten and sexually abused in a satanic ritual? Would you look them in the eye and tell them that you are going to dress your children up and go out and have fun with friends because you are doing nothing wrong?

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Ephesians 5:11

Can you imagine the horror of satanic ritual abuse survivors as they drive around their neighborhoods as Halloween draws near? They see yards decorated with witches, ghosts and other ghouls down every street. When they go to the neighborhood Wal-Mart they are confronted with mummies, demons and pumpkins carved to look scary. It brings back horrifying memories and searing pain into their lives as they try not to relive the hell they experienced. Then there are those who were not abused, but were forced to participate nonetheless.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 1 Corinthians 10:21

The thought of people being tortured and killed in satanic rituals may seem like something to surreal for many people to grasp. It is not something often talked about in our culture. We can glorify death and violence in our mainstream horror movies and our Halloween fun, but thinking about satanic ritual abuse is to close to reality for us to deal with. We have been desensitized from a young age to violence and evil. It is everywhere on TV, music, cartoons, comic books, etc. that many children are exposed to on a daily basis. So we grow up thinking that witches, ghosts and vampires are all good fun. And as a child it is quite fun – especially when your parents are advocating it and turning it into a special family tradition.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

I understand that not every family allows the scary costumes or decorations into their house for Halloween. So they are basically putting on a filter over Halloween, so that their family does not see the evil of it for what it is. It makes it very easy to see Halloween as a great family time to indulge a little. I often hear that families won’t give up celebrating Halloween because it is for the kids. The kids love candy and they wouldn’t understand if they couldn’t celebrate anymore. The problem with this is that you are not seeing Halloween for the evil it really is. Therefore you are teaching your children that it is not evil. And they will teach their children Halloween is not evil, and so on and so forth. It is a vicious cycle that is propagating the lies of the devil.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

It reminds me of the Israelites in Exodus and Deuteronomy where the fathers did not teach the children the ways of the Lord. Soon the next generation was not holding fast to the ways of the Lord and then not teaching their children about the Lord at all. God was forsaken and the Israelites were worshiping false gods (demons), sacrificing their own children and giving themselves over to sexual immorality. They always paid a high price because they were inviting the devil right in to their lives and they didn’t even know it. They began to follow the ways of the culture around them, and began to believe that there was nothing wrong with these practices. If everyone else is doing it, how can it be wrong? Why do you think God warns us so many times not to follow the pagan practices? Why do you think he has such harsh consequences to this? Because it is dangerous – we are opening our lives up to demonic activity and giving them legal rights to stay.

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 18:2-5

So it is much the same with Halloween. We are forgetting the teachings of the Lord and going along with what culture dictates is right and good instead. We are to live our lives as set apart and holy, but often we find that isn’t convenient for what we want. God never said to live for Him when it was convenient, He said to love Him with all your heart, soul and mind. To do that you need to sometimes do things that are difficult and uncomfortable, like go against the grain of what is popular in our society. Even when you have already been completely immersed in it and have taught your children to follow it as well. But let me ask you this, do you want your children to grow up and stand firm against the devil, and follow Jesus Christ? I know I do.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

Let us not take Halloween and use it to glorify ourselves, as we are accustomed to doing. Most people who celebrate Halloween are not doing it for the Lord, but for themselves. It is not a celebration that we are doing in honor of God. We are not thinking of God or using it to thank Him for anything. It is pure paganism at it’s finest. It is a day where we get attention for our costumes and get treats (and for many adults drink and party). How does this honor the Lord? Am I saying that you cannot have fun as a Christian? Absolutely not. What I am saying is we need to stop making excuses for why it is OK to celebrate Halloween. We are glorifying the devil by participating in a day that he uses to destroy people. Even Anton Levay, founder of the Church of Satan has this to say about Halloween. “I’m glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year.” If the founder of the Church of Satan is happy we are celebrating Halloween, we should seriously rethink what we are doing with this day.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

1 Corinthians 6:14-16

set apartOn Halloween I will wake up and thank the Lord for another beautiful day. I will thank Him for the many blessings He has given me in my life – my husband and family, my home and my church, and especially my salvation. I will have joy because I love the Lord and not feel as though I have somehow been defeated because I am not celebrating Halloween. I will spend time with my family and we will pray for the poor souls who are being tormented on this night, and for the lost souls who are witches and Satanists, worshiping the devil on this high holy holiday. I urge you to do the same. How can we reclaim this day from Satan? By not recognizing Halloween, and not participating in it. We can spread the truth of the evil of Halloween and urge our family and friends to not participate in it either. If more and more Christians stop celebrating Halloween, think of what a kick in the pants that would be to the devil! That would be a truly amazing way to honor the Lord!

“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.  There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer  or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,  for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.  You shall be blameless before the Lord your God,  for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.” Deuteronomy 18:9-14