April 16 2015

The Seduction of Magic

magicThere is a battle waging for your soul, right in this very moment. Whether you have any idea at all, there is an enemy lurking in your life, and pitting the powers of hell against you. Sounds crazy, huh? Yeah, I would have thought so too a few years ago. As a matter of fact, I did not even believe in Hell or the Devil. That is exactly what he wanted though. To convince me that all the lies he spun in my mind were true. Once I became a Christian I started to read the Bible. And the Bible makes it very clear that Hell and Satan are very real indeed . And because I choose to believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, I had to believe that things did exist, whether I could see them or not.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

As a brand new Christian I had very little understanding of the spiritual realm and how it worked, even though I had entered in to it many times during my time with the occult. Little did I know, all those years I was opening up the door to Satan and welcoming him in. I had no intention of doing so; only intentions of doing good. You see as a witch it was very important to never harm anyone or anything, and to never use black magic, which would be of the devil. Another lie I believed. All magic comes from the power of evil and darkness, and is a counterfeit of God’s power, which is holy and pure. You are literally harnessing the powers of darkness to do magic and other occult and new age activities.

Ouija boards, tarot cards, divination, crystals, chakras, mediums, psychics, astrology, numerology, palm reading, yoga– these are just a few of the examples of participating in the occult. Many people have dabbled in these seemingly innocent things all in good fun. I got my start into the occult as a pre-teen when my sister made a ouija board one night. I had no idea what it even was, but when it began to move on its own it opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was scary, but intriguing. That was just the beginning of my fascination with things of darkness and mystery. Soon I was obsessed with vampires, witches, checking my horoscope daily and trying to understand astrology and how to predict how my life would go.

It seemed innocent enough, but it was really a path leading me straight into darkness. I began to desire more, to  fantasize about a life in darkness as a witch, or to meet a vampire lover. It sounds so silly now, but as a young girl it was very real to me. I wanted to wield magical powers and have a life that was so much more than the mundane and depressing one I was living. I wanted to escape into a world of magic. It was not hard to do as I spent my time watching movies and reading books and writing my own stories. I could not see the bigger picture of how romanticized these things was so very dangerous to me. I could not see I was entertaining evil or how it was enticing me into a seductive life that was far away from God. Of course at that point in time I cared very little for God.

It is very easy for me to look back now as see how this fascination as a young teen drew me into the world of the occult as an adult. A world that held on fast to my heart and wrapped itself around everything that I believed. I can see now, in hindsight, how dangerous walking into the world of the occult was, and the repercussions of it that I still am dealing with so many years later. At the time it was just innocent and fun; a fantasy. I can see now how it was no accident that drew me into this darkness, but someone with an evil intent for my life. An intent to steal me away from the life I was created to live.

It was not until about a year ago, when I realized that spiritual attack was real and it was happening to me. I began to have horrible brain fog (confusion, memory loss, inability to focus and understand things). At first I just thought there was something wrong with me. I began to seek treatment for my problem, desperate to find out what was wrong with me. But as time passed I would seem to get better and then I would just get worse. More symptoms began to appear. I sought out prayer from healing ministries and would begin to get better, only to get worse again. It made no sense, and I could only come to the conclusion that is was not just a physical problem, but a spiritual problem.

Why would Satan want to keep me oppressed in brain fog? Because when I had brain fog, I could not read the Bible, I could not pray for myself, I could not encourage and pray for others as I had become accustomed too. During this year my spiritual gifts began to blossom and God was moving me in amazing ways. But with horrible brain fog, those spiritual gifts were of little use to anyone who I might help. It is like being held captive in your own mind.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

It was through many different prayer sessions that God began to reveal to me truths that had been hidden from me by the lies of the enemy. Lies I had completely bought into. Satan had been working hard to oppress me since I was a young girl. He wanted to turn me far away from the path God had before me, and it worked. I fell into a life of drugs and the occult. But Jesus is so much bigger than that, and His plans would be accomplished. I was saved by Jesus and now here I was, still held captive by the devil. How miserable it is to find the most amazing saving grace and mercy of God, to know Him, to experience Him, and then to be cast into darkness all over again!

Do not think you are exempt from the schemes and attacks of the devil. He is a hunter, and you are his prey. He knows all your weaknesses, your fears, your guilt and your shame. He knows your past, and the darkness inside that haunts you. He will use all of it against you, to feed a never-ending string of lies to you so he can keep you in some form of bondage. Many of us are captive to a stronghold in some area of our lives, and Satan is all to happy to keep us there. He will place temptations before us and try to keep us distracted.

The New Age Movement has only grown in the past 20 years since I became involved in it. It has seeped into many Christian homes, with seasoned Christians falling prey to its seductive ways. All Satan needs is an open door into your life, and he can begin to bring his demons into your home. He can start with something as simple as a TV show or music, and once you let that in, it opens the door to more. God has warned us many times not to have anything to do with things that take us away from Him. It is a subtle trap, waiting for someone to stumble into it.

Psalm 91: 1-6

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
 You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

March 26 2015

Satan Has No Power

satanDuring your life God will let you experience things so that you can learn a lesson. Like the loving Father He is, He has to let us struggle through things so we can gain wisdom and understanding that we otherwise would not have. Sometimes it is the life experiences that teach us the most, when we would not have listened to His instruction for our lives. Other times we want something so bad, that we just have to have it to see it was not what we thought it would be. Indeed, it was not actually even good for us.

I have heard the question asked so many times “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”. I have asked the same question myself many times as I walked a life far from Jesus’ redemption. It made no sense to me then, so I can see why such a question could plague a soul. The world is so full of devastation and despair, violence and death. Why would God let bad things happen to seemingly good people? I had no idea what a fully loaded question that really is.

You see while I denied and rejected Jesus and any value He had on my life, I thought the world was made up of two kinds of people. Those that were good and wanted to do good, and those that were bad and wanted to do bad. Good vs. evil. And why not? You see the dynamic of good vs. evil all over TV and movies, and it has been portrayed that way as far back as I can remember. It is the eternal battle that plays out, yet good always wins. The funny thing is, for a while there, I really wanted evil to win. I got bored with always see the good guys win. I wanted to know what it would be like for the bad guys to win. After all, how bad were the bad guys really? Maybe they had a messed up childhood and needed help. I mean, doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? Or to be loved?

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Luke 10:18

hellThis is all a complete ruse. There is no eternal struggle between good and evil, and there never has been. It might be fun to think there is, because we all love a good drama, but it is a complete and utter lie. God is in full control over everything. He created the heavens and the earth and everything in between. Including evil, aka Satan, The Great Deceiver. God is in control over evil, and as a matter of fact, Satan needs God’s permission to do his evil work! Of course Satan does not want us to know that. He wants us to believe he is all-powerful, like God, and that he has just as good of a chance at winning the fight as God does. But he has no chance of winning anything, except a one way ticket to the fiery pit of hell.

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.  Job 1:12

Many years ago there was a great book written about just such a story. It is still on the best seller list as a matter of fact and the end is really the best part. This book is called the Bible, and in the last chapter, Satan gets sent away from earth forever, by the King of Kings. Jesus. Does that mean we are waiting for Satan to be defeated? No. Jesus has already defeated Satan, death and hell, forever, by dying on the cross and giving each and every one of us a free ticket into heaven. All you have to do is believe Jesus is the Son of God who died to save you from you sins, and ask for forgiveness. Satan has no power over God, and he never has. He just wants us to believe he does so that he can continue to spin lies into your head and hold you captive to them.

he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:8

So wait a minute here…you mean to tell me God is in control of everything – and gives Satan permission to do evil?? Well the simple answer is, yes. God knows that Satan is doing his evil deeds all over, but it is not just Satan out there doing evil. It is also man. Man is not born mostly good. Man does not depend on the good deeds he does to determine whether he is a good person or not. Because man is not good. Not even a little bit. We are born with sin in our hearts, and with a free will. Therefore we are quite capable of doing evil just as easily as Satan himself. When we have a heart turned away from God and  towards ourselves, it is quite easy for Satan to let us go about being destructive and cruel without any of his help at all.

But the thing is, God knew exactly what He was doing when He sent Satan down to the earth to be with His children. God has already won the fight, and as it is written “on earth as it is in heaven“, that is what God is calling us to do. Kick Satan’s butt. Seriously. We do not need to fear Satan or death or evil. Jesus has already overcome it. So God allows him to do things because it gives us a chance to practice living a life the way we were meant to! Jesus came to free the captives from sin and sickness and fear. It was His example of how we are to live here – on earth as it is in heaven.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19

Which brings us back to those life lessons God lets us experience sometimes. God will never tempt us, but instead He will always give us a way out of our temptations. That doesn’t mean that we will take the way out He gives us. With our free will comes the choice to take the path that God gives us, or to try things out on our own. Much like a toddler who has been told not to touch the hot bbq, we decide that the temptation is just too great and we end up getting burned. A parent cannot shelter their children from every decision that may be bad, nor can they control a child who is willfully rebellious.

heartI have spent a good portion of my life rebelling against God and His ways, but I truly believed in my heart I was a good person. Yet I continued to lie, cheat, steal and hurt those I loved. Did I do it maliciously? Not likely. Yet a heart turned inwards is a heart bent toward sin. There is nothing to be done about it, but to take the free gift of salvation Jesus offers to us. With that we must turn our heart towards God, and towards everything that He loves.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekial 36:26

March 12 2015

Fear of the Dark

sleepingWhen I was a child, I was deathly afraid of the dark. My room always seemed to be pitch black, even with a tiny little Cabbage Patch Kids night light I had for a time. When I would go to bed, I would try very hard to turn off the light without getting off of my bed. I even had a back scratcher at one point to try to hit the light switch off. Anytime I had to turn off the light before getting into bed, I would immediately run and jump onto my bed as fast as I could, so nothing could get me.

Even my bed wasn’t a safe haven though. In my bed I was still paralyzed with fear. I would lay in the middle of the bed, for fear something could come up and reach me from the sides. There was a space between the bed and the wall, only a couple of inches, but enough that I knew I wasn’t safe. As if that wasn’t enough, I also had to have at least a sheet covering me at all times, no matter how hot I was. It seemed that sheet was like a protective barrier between the monsters and I. My room would get sweltering hot in the summer. It gets to be up to 100+ where I live, and there was no air conditioning in my room. So I would be miserably hot, yet still be covered up and hiding under that sheet to protect myself.

If I ever had to get up to go to the bathroom, it was even worse. I would get up as much courage as I could and then run out of my room and into the bathroom. I would turn on the light and shut the door as fast as I could. I did not like the darkness at all. Then I would get up enough courage to run back into my room and launch myself onto my bed. This lasted for all my childhood. I can’t remember when I started to become less fearful of the dark, but eventually it did get better. That fear never completely went away though.

darkAt one point in time, when I was about 18 I think, I decided I wanted to conquer that fear of the dark. I wanted to believe there was nothing out there, waiting to get me. So I began to take walks at night, alone, in my neighborhood. I lived in a fairly good neighborhood, so I don’t think I would have ever ran into much trouble. Not that I am saying it’s a great idea, but nothing bad ever did happen to me. It was difficult for me to lose that “something is going to get me” feeling that I had in the dark. At that time I was very into the occult, and I thought my gods and goddess were protecting me. I used “magik” to put a protection around myself, so nothing with ill intent could harm me. And since nothing bad every happened, I believed it worked. I was completely opening up myself to and immersing myself in darkness, and the darkness was welcoming me with open arms.

It has been many years since I was 18 and testing the limits by walking around alone at night. It seems very silly to me know, but I had courage from my beliefs and from the substance (drug) I was using. I can say I have lost my fear of the dark though. I easily sleep in a very dark room, and do not have to run and jump on my bed when I get up to go to the bathroom. I think I had a period where I was very into horror movies where I did have a fear of the dark again, for a short time. For years I have been perfectly fine, and had forgotten all about it. That is until recently.

You see, recently I have been getting in touch with spiritual gifts that God has bestowed upon me. One of them is the gift of discerning spirits. Discerning spirits is one of the gifts listed in the Bible, and it means that you can tell if there are good or evil spirits present, even if they can’t be seen. Some people with this gift can actually see the spirits, I am not one of them. The gift of discernment also helps you to understand things about people by revelation of the Holy Spirit, that you would not otherwise be able to know.

In the past few months I have had several occurrences where I came into the presence of an evil or demonic spirit. As I mentioned, I cannot see them, but I can feel them. For me, this means when and evil or demonic presence is near, I get short of breath, my heart rate speeds up rapidly, and I feel shaky, as if I am very cold. This all happens very suddenly. I also get a sick feeling in my stomach and sometimes I even get that feeling that something wants to get me.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 7:10

At first when I began to have these experiences, it was quite scary. I had no idea where this was coming from or why it was happening to me. I had never felt demons to my knowledge before, so why should it start now? I have been save for almost two years at the time of this experience. The first time was an isolated incident that didn’t happen again for two weeks. Then another two weeks after. Then it was a week later. It just started happening more often. I started to feel as though maybe I was crazy, yet it was clearly real to me. When someone told me I had the gift of discerning spirits, I laughed. Surely that wasn’t me.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Of course I quickly came to accept that God had given me a gift, a gift I was to use to help others in whatever way I could. And to tell you the truth, while it was a little scary, it was even more exciting! I began to see how God has appointed us to live a life that is far greater than anything we could ever imagine for ourselves! He has divine power He wants to use through us! Not everyone is going to have this particular gift, because there are so many, but we each have spiritual gifts from God, that are to be used in accordance with God’s Word to help and encourage others.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God. 1 Peter 4:10

So back to being scared something is going to get me at night. It was just a couple of weeks ago, when this gift was really starting to get active in my life, that I suddenly began to feel very afraid when I would wake in the night. I would have this sense of dread come over me and I would find myself fearing that something was going to get me. It was very out of the ordinary for my life at this point in time and it brought my memories of childhood flooding back to me. Why would I have that feeling after so many years? It was easy enough answered for me. There was a demonic presence near.

So many things have happened to me so quickly during this short walk I have had with Jesus. I have prayed to God over and over again, to please take me and use me for the good of His Kingdom. I want nothing more than to give my life over to Him, the best I can. I want to help people and I am open to God working in my life, because I love Him so very much. That is the only reason I can think that my spiritual gifts have really opened up to me. But another thing is, I realized that I have had this gift of discernment all along. As far back as I can remember, it has been easy for me to understand people and things about people I couldn’t have known on my own. And there have been times when I had that sickening feeling in my stomach that someone was just behind me, waiting to hurt me, even when I knew there was no one there. This was long before I became a believer in Jesus Christ.

It was very easy to begin to succumb to the fear I felt. The fear seemed to creep up out of nowhere and take hold of me. It whispered in my brain that I was not safe and that evil was lurking to take hold of me at any minute. And I believed it for many nights. It was so easy to believe, because it was just like being a little girl, alone and vulnerable, all over again. That is exactly the place that our enemy wants us to be in. In a place where we let our thoughts and feelings control us. It makes his job very easy!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For in our fears, our worries, our anxieties, we are not submitting to God, but to ourselves. For God has promised us countless times that He is with us, protecting us, taking care of us, and that Satan cannot harm us. We are His dear children and He wants to help us when things in life are difficult or scary. He delights in us coming to us with our problems! That means Satan cannot harm us, he can only lie to us and make us believe he can. We are to cast all our cares to God, and let Him comfort and guide us through life. When we stop trusting God and letting Him be our primary lead, we start giving the devil a foothold in our lives.

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 1 John 5:18

jesuslightWe are not to be afraid of the dark. Jesus came to defeat death and darkness. Darkness can never win, unless we give ourselves over to it. That is through fear, worry, anxiety, anger, rage, unforgiveness, or any other sin that causes us to fall away from God. All of these things are like a slow poison that is killing our relationship with Jesus, our Savior. We must remember to daily repent of things that we do that grieve the Holy Spirit, and to continuously move closer to God. He has a plan for our lives, and He wants to prosper us and watch us be mighty warriors in His Kingdom! Do not let fear hold you back from the victorious life in Jesus Christ that God has given you!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

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March 7 2015

The Righteous King; A Parable

crownOnce upon a time, there was a little girl. She was a beautiful little girl, with long golden locks. She was very quiet and shy and always kept to herself. This little girl was the daughter of a king. The most powerful and righteous king that ever lived. He was the most loved and feared king in all the land. All of his subjects worshiped him and adored him, and all of his enemies hated him and cursed his name.

The king loved his daughter more than his own life. He adorned her with beautiful garments and jewels and delighted in spending time with her. The king even made a seat for his daughter right next to his in the royal throne room. His daughter was precious and well-loved by her father. There was only one problem. This little girl had no idea how dearly loved she was by her father. You see, a wicked king had come and kidnapped her away and locked her into a prison cell.

The evil king hated the righteous king. He hated him and wanted nothing more than to steal everything away from him and what most precious to him – his children. this evil king thought that if he targeted the righteous kings children, he could overpower him and take over his kingdom. Little did he know that the righteous king was far more powerful and his kingdom was destined to go one forever and ever. Yet evil never wants to give up, so this wicked king continued to try to attack him, waiting to be crowned in victory.

The poor little girl was treated very fairly in her prison. So much so she began to forget she was in a prison. She was given a new set of parents, a home to live in, fed, clothed and given many fun things to play with. But something was just not quite right, something always seemed to be missing. She could never remember what it was though. For the evil king had sown so many lies into her head, she forgot all about her wonderful father, and his undying love for her.

The righteous king loved his daughter so much, he refused to abandon her or give up on her. He sent in some of his mightiest warriors in the enemy territory in disguise, to look after and protect his daughter. While they could not completely protect her from every bad thing, they did protect her from many terrible things the evil king threatened to do to her. So the righteous king just continued to rule over his kingdom with justice and peace, waiting for the day his daughter would return. For he knew that his daughter would return to her rightful place, reigning next to him.

The poor little girl endured many, many hardships as she grew up, never realizing that her father was there, watching her and protecting her. And the evil king sent many of his most powerful soldiers to visit her often over the years. Yet these soldiers were disguised as beautiful and righteous, so she could never see through to the truth of how evil they were. Their beauty and their lies were so deceptive and she was so immature and weak, she simply could not fight it. So she continued to live in a prison cell, for it became quite comfortable in each passing year.

Until one day, the poor little girl began to wonder why she always felt sad…and lost. She began to wonder why she always felt as thought something very important was missing from her life. Almost like a piece of herself that was gone. At first the thought just quietly nagged at her. But as time went on, the thought became bigger and bigger, until it began to haunt her. Soon she became obsessed at knowing what it was that was missing. Why was she even missing something in the first place? It was a hunger that nothing could satiate – not even the beautiful lies the enemy king put in front of her. Before those things seemed to be like a band-aid on a child’s cut – perfectly soothing for a time. But now, she wanted nothing to do with those band aids, but wanted to rip them off and have a healing of the wound. Not just be temporarily soothed.

prisonThat is when the righteous king knew that it was time to rescue his daughter. She was finally ready! For you see, if he had tried to rescue her sooner, she would not have recognized him, and would have even ran from him in fear. But now, now was the time, the perfect time, to see her father for who he really was. The love of her life, her savior and her redeemer!

The righteous king told his soldiers who were in the enemy camp in disguise to begin to reveal themselves to her, slowly and steadily. And it was as if a veil had been ripped from before her eyes! Suddenly she was able to see that she was not at all in a comfortable home, but a horrid prison cell! Being held captive by deception and lies. But could she really come out? Was she really ready to come out? What would be waiting for her on the other side of that door? The little girl was afraid, for the evil king had tormented her for so many years.

The righteous king knew all this, and came to her. He stood before her, in all his splendor and might and held his hand out to her. He opened the door before her and called her out. “Come daughter, your freedom awaits you!” She looked at this man who stood before her, and wondered who he was. Was he really going to rescue her? “Yes daughter. I am here to give you salvation from this hell you are in.”

The girl took another look at the man, and tears began to spill from her eyes. The memory of her fathers kingdom, her beautiful garments and jewels, and the throne next to his, all came flooding back to her. She was overcome with anger and pain. Why had her father, this stranger before her, abandoned her? Why had he let all these evil things happen to her?! What kind of father would do such a thing? Is this how he showed his love?

Yet, tentatively she walked towards him, towards his open arms and his loving embrace. He looked to warm and inviting, his eyes so tender and loving. She moved closer, afraid, yet curious, but still an anger simmering just beneath the surface. Into his arms she inched until he had them wrapped around her. She melted at that moment and knew, yes, she was home!

The righteous king explained everything to her. The evil king and his plans, and how he tricked her and lied to her, and how the righteous king had been there all along, watching her and protecting her, even when she didn’t know it. At first it was hard to accept. But as he took his daughter home, he began to lavish her with love and blessings like she had never know before. It felt so amazing, and so right. That missing piece, that sadness was gone. Replaced with pure joy, hope and trust in her father, the king.

righteous kingHealing and restoration began to take place in her life. She was no longer a little girl, but a queen. She was strong and confident and fulled with power and majesty, all because her father had been patient enough to wait until the perfect moment to save her. Through the righteous king, the girl saw what it was like to live in freedom from fear and oppression, and to fight the evil king. He often tried to come back to steal her away again, but he never could. For through her father she had enough wisdom and strength to fight him and send him running away in fright.

Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. Psalm 45:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:3

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14-15

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

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