January 25 2016

What Worship Means

handsMusic has always been a huge part of my life. As far back as I can remember I loved to listen to the radio and sing, or make up my own songs. I always participated in school Christmas programs where I would either sing or play bells or something cute when I was very young. As I got older I was in the orchestra at school for six years. Then I took a year of piano and two years of choir. After I graduated high school I bought myself a drum set and taught myself to play. I tried my hand at the acoustic guitar and bass also, not taking to them quite as well. I have always had at least one musical instrument in my house, even if I didn’t have time to play it much.

If I was too busy to play an instrument I would sing. All the time. In the car, in the shower, around the house. I love to sing. I even had a stint in a garage band for a bit after high school where I played drums and sang. Music has been a direct line to my heart and soul. Something strange happened about 9 years ago that put a huge interference with my singing. While I was pregnant with my third son, my voice just started to go out. I could not sing high notes or even scream for that matter. My voice would just disappear if I tried to go higher.

Not only were any high notes gone, but my voice became gravely and raspy. I should say my voice has always been a bit raspy, but now I was being asked if I was a smoker (which I wasn’t) or if I was a man over the phone. It was horrible. And embarrassing. I didn’t fancy myself some sort of great singer, but now I just sounded bad.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 103:1

When I became Christian I started listening to the Christian radio station. I was so moved by the music I heard and I didn’t think I could like Christian music. There is so much modern Christian music that it made it easy for me to transition from secular music. In church I heard modern worship music, which I began to love. The worship music would just touch my spirit in ways I had never experienced. One day while I was driving and singing to a worship song on the radio I prayed and asked God to heal my voice. I wanted more than anything to be able to sing the way I used to and to sing in the worship band at church. I didn’t have any confidence in myself unless God was to heal my voice.

A few weeks later worship band auditions were announced in the church bulletin. I knew it was a sign from God, but I was scared to death to even try. I knew I was not “good enough” to sing in the worship band, no matter how passionate I was about worship. Somehow I gathered just enough courage to try out, and was not given good news. I was told I had a good tone, but that my voice needed some work. I was not going to be able to sing in the worship band, but the worship leader was willing to work with me. Unfortunately that didn’t go as well as I hoped because it ended with being told I wasn’t improving enough to sing with a microphone.

I was absolutely devastated. I wanted desperately to sing in the worship band. I saw my dreams come crashing down before me. I don’t know if it was my perception, but all I heard was “you aren’t good enough and never will be”. It haunted me. Yet somehow he must have changed his mind because he asked me to sing in a vocal team (not with my own mic) a few months later, in the classic service. I had to learn hymns for this service, which I found were pretty difficult. I really did not like hymns at first, but soon grew to love them.

It probably took me a year to really get comfortable with worship. The church I belong to is a Presbyterian, and if you have ever heard the term “frozen chosen”, then you know exactly what a worship service is like at a Presbyterian church. No one raises there hands or shows emotion or anything like that. Very stiff. Well so was I at first. That is until my first women’s retreat. On Saturday night of the retreat, there was an extended worship session for whoever wanted to join. It was the longest I had ever been in a worship session. Before at church if I did not know the song, I would not sing, and I would be annoyed. I wanted to be comfortable to be able to participate. I certainly did not raise my hands. Well this extended worship session changed my life. I walked away with a new attitude towards worshiping God.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26

I was really on a high from all the worship. I let go and closed my eyes and listened to the song if I didn’t know it, letting the words penetrate my soul. I told myself that from now on, no matter what, I was going to be an active participant in worship, not just a passive onlooker. So every Sunday I would lift my hands into a posture of submission, where my arms were about waist high and hands turned up. I was opening my arms to my Father, and opening my heart in the process.

Before I knew it, worship began to take on a whole new life for me. It was a deep connection with Father God. He moved me in new and amazing ways. It helped to grow my relationship with Him as I opened up to Him. My love only grew deeper and I would find myself raising both arms high as I could with tears streaming down my face. What a miracle to take this girl who hated God, and turn her into a passionate love of Jesus Christ! What a Redeemer He is!

During this time I was able to sing with the vocal team in the classic service about once a month. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, and I loved it. I brought my new found passion for worship with me, raising at least one hand high to praise my wonderful Jesus, Lord God of All. I was the only one ever raising any hands at any worship services at my church. I did not care. I closed my eyes, sang my heart out, and let God fill me with absolute joy! He is so very good.

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

worshipSlowly I began to see one or two others on the worship team raise a hand about midway. And then a couple of parishioners raising some hands part way. It was a beautiful thing. The glory of God is infectious! And to worship Him and feel His presence on you is spectacular! Over time I have seen more and more people in my church raising hands to praise and worship God.  I have had many more opportunities to sing in the classic service than I ever dreamed, and sometimes even with the microphone I thought I could never hold. God is so loving and wonderful. I have even seen some improvement on my voice, even though God has not healed it completely yet.

Our God is so very worthy and so very wonderful. He has done amazing things in your life, even if He hasn’t taken you out of darkness as He has me. You do not have to have some “big testimony” to see how mighty God is, or what miracles He has done in your life. The fact that you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ right now is a miracle in itself, because the devil wants to steal you away from God and has been trying to do so from day 1 of your life. But God sought you out in His great love for you. He has wooed you and drawn you nearer to Him, day by day. He has given you blessings and strength and love, even when you felt you were completely unworthy.

That is why we worship God. He deserves all honor and glory and praise, forever! Hallelujah! So I urge you, come to the altar of praise and worship your King for all that He is. Give Him all that you are, all your heart, mind and soul as you worship Him. Come before Him unhindered and unbound by what man thinks of you. See what blessings God will pour out on your life when you take that leap of faith to stop being a passive onlooker in worship, and start being a worshiper. God loves you so much! He is not upset with you, if you have not been truly engaging in worship. He loves you right where you are at, no judgement, no anger. Do not be afraid of your Father. He adores you. Come to Him dear children! Come to your Father and forget everything else around you, for that one small moment in time, and be with Him completely.

Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
 Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and joy are in his dwelling place.

 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his[e] holiness.
     Tremble before him, all the earth!
    The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

1 Chronicles 16:23-31

 

Let us Worship our Lord right now – join Him!

 

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 12 2015

The New Age Deception

NewAgeOn a recent weekend, I had the most amazing getaway with my husband! We had not been away alone, without kids, in about 8 years! As soon as I found out we had a sitter for two whole nights, I started planning our trip. I was unbelievably excited, and I wanted it to be super romantic! After much searching around I decided to book a room at a little inn we went to 10 years ago where I first fell in love with my husband. It is a tiny town where a gorgeous river meets the Pacific Ocean. There are other little towns near by, and so I knew that we would have lots of adventures while we were there.

We got to the room late the first night, almost 9 o’clock, because we stopped to have dinner before checking in. We found a cozy restaurant with views of the river and the ocean, where we watched the sun set. It was a marvelous beginning to a romantic weekend! The room was actually a whole house with two stories. We resided mostly on the bottom floor, where there was a bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom. Not to mention a private deck with hot tub. The house was very old, probably about 100 years or more, and didn’t look like it received a lot of upkeep. We were excited nonetheless, because hey, we were alone!! You really can’t beat that, no matter how dirty an old house is.

It is funny because the house was kind of eerie. And when I say funny, I mean if you would have asked me a couple of years ago (before I was Christian) I would have told you that the house seemed haunted. There was just something about that old house that really creeped me out. Not to mention the Buddha statue in the back  yard. The next morning we went to the inn’s restaurant for breakfast. I noticed right away an altar in the corner of the room, complete with a large Buddha statue, crystals, and other such things. It reminded me quite a bit of the alter I had back when I was a witch. There was a sign attached about wanting to spread good vibes because there is enough negative in the world already.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

My inner alarm was going off by this point. I knew that being near the ocean there was a chance that we would run into a New Age mindset, but I thought this sleepy little town would not be affected. Oh how wrong I was. This was only the beginning of the New Age movement I would see on our trip. We visited several stores, shops, and boutiques in the surrounding towns, and every single one of them was filled with charms, idols, crystals and other New Age items.

What exactly is the New Age Movement? New Age is a mix of different spiritual and religious practices that each person chooses to adopt for their belief system. It includes things such as witch craft and the occult, shamanism, mysticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, yoga and much more. It is a way to identify who you are spiritually, and to find higher ways of consciousness and thinking, or enlightenment. It’s main purpose is to help a person to connect with their inner being, and with the universe around them. New Age promotes oneness with the universe and the earth, because they are sacred and living beings in which we are connected to, and come from. The New Age movement teaches that everyone is basically good and a part of god. God can be one or many gods, but always an impersonal force that manifests in many ways, such as nature. New Age also teaches that evil does not exist, especially Satan and hell.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Psalm 14:12

I know this all very well, because I spent a good part of my adult life heavily involved with the occult and New Age. I had no idea that I was even involved in New Age though. It started with my interest in the occult (okay interest is not really the right word. I was a practicing witch.) I became very interested in Eastern Religions and everything about them. I studied Buddhism and Hinduism as I tried to understand higher levels of consciousness and loosing myself to be more god-like. I can’t say I really knew what I was doing, but I really wanted to be connected to the higher power I knew I was a part of. It just wasn’t the Christian God. I tried meditating and placing crystals and gem stones on my chakras and opening my third eye. I tried yoga, astrology, tarot cards and reading the I Ching. I did this alongside of my normal practices of casting spells and performing rituals as a witch.

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Romans 1:25

When I stopped actively practicing witch craft I still had my New Age thoughts and practices to lean on. I was ever searching for the Truth of what the meaning of life was, and why I was here. I wanted desperately to connect with whatever higher power there was out there. I worshiped the earth and practiced being a good person and taught my kids about being good people. It was so very important to me to be ‘good’ and do rack up good karma points. I wasn’t sure what was waiting for me after death – possibly reincarnation, but probably just my spirit being released back into the energy I came from.

All of this might sound a little out there to some people, but to others a lot of this (or maybe even a little) is going to resonate as truth for you. You have been searching, and you may even already be a Christian. You have never made a deeper connection with God or maybe were not sure if you really believed that Jesus is God. You have been hurt and alone for so long, that you want to find that deeper connection. And very possibly you had no idea that you had been lured in to the New Age Movement. The New Age is very seductive in its ways. It comes to you wrapped in sweet-smelling incense, the health consciousness of yoga, and the beauty of connecting with your higher self or nature. It is so very appealing! Yet I am here to warn you on how dangerous the New Age Movement is.

Once I became a Christian I spent the first few months coming to understand who God the Father is, and what Jesus had done for me. I received the Holy Spirit and He began to do a great work in me, to help me understand the will of God. So I easily got rid of many of my New Age items. It was a process, because it took me a year to realize that the yoga I had been doing was also part of the Eastern Religions and was actually a form of worshiping other gods and inviting the demonic in. I easily got rid of the more obvious items, such as Buddha statues, books on witch craft, and tarot cards.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:34

It has been two and a half years as I write this that I have come to a glorious relationship with Christ Jesus. He has taken all of the New Age and occult beliefs I instilled in my heart for so long, and redeemed me and filled me with the Truth I so desperately had been searching for! I can’t tell you what comfort I have in the knowledge that I was created for a purpose! By a loving God who knows me by name and loves me deeply enough to die for me. And to know I was created, not evolved from monkeys are some sea sludge (yes I seriously believed that too). And there is no more fear of death for me, but sweet joy in the knowledge that I will be with Jesus in heaven! Hallelujah!

Thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life, I have been giving great discernment and understanding of the workings of the spiritual realm. Satan meant to destroy me with his New Age deceit, but God has turned it around for my good, by giving me this gifts. I now can see how the enemy has tried to harm me and many others in this world by propagating the New Age lies. The New Age Movement brings death and deception, unlike the Truth that Jesus died to save us from death and hell. What glorious freedom we have in Christ Jesus!

So back to my vacation. In times past I would have been very charmed by the shops with the Hindu gods on the walls, and the incense burning, and the Indian music playing sweetly in the background. I would have felt peaceful and enchanted. Now I felt repulsed for the first time by these things. I could feel the demonic presence emanating from these occult and New Age trinkets and other cursed objects. It only took two steps into a building to register the evil that had been welcomed into each place. At first I was repulsed and afraid. I know how to deal with the demonic and walk in the power and authority Jesus has given me, but it was surprising and overwhelming. But eventually I just felt sad and angry. The New Age Movement has brought death to so many people, while they unwittingly fall prey to its beautifully packaged lies.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

John 16:13

cloudsI wanted desperately to help these people, to bring Christ into their lives. Jesus is the only True source of Power! So as I walked through the last of the shops I prayed silently or in a whisper to bring the Holy Spirit into these places. To ask God the Father to come in with His power and authority and make Himself known to these lost souls. We need our Father so badly. We just can’t do this life without Him, and we were not meant to. We were created by Him for a loving relationship. We are so passionately loved by Him, and He wants nothing more than to bring each one of His children into His Kingdom!

If you have fallen prey to any of the lies of the New Age, then rejoice now! Rejoice? Yes! Rejoice because your freedom is now here! It is as simple as renouncing all activity you have done that has purposefully or inadvertently involved you in the occult and New Age. Then repent of these things and ask God to forgive you. Which He has already done! Ask your Father to show you anything else you have done unknowingly to practice New Age beliefs and to cleanse you of them all. Then ask Him to bring you the knowledge and wisdom of His Truth. It really is that easy! Your Heavenly Father is here to walk you through this, by way of the Holy Spirit. He loves you and is not at all angry with you for any of these practices you may have done. On the other hand, He is very saddened to see His children be lured into this horrible deception that leads to the path of destruction.

Thank you Father that you have loved us so much that you sent your only Son to die for us. Thank you Jesus for your work on the cross, and for defeating sin and death for each one of us. Thank you Holy Spirit that you live in each one of us, and lead us in all Truth and wisdom. We love you so much, and we ask for your protection from any ways that the enemy might try to deceive us from this day forward. We pray this in Jesus mighty name. Amen!

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

 

September 28 2015

Knowledge Is Not Power

knowledge“Knowledge is power”. This famous quote from Francis Bacon in 1597, has given many men inspiration over the centuries. When I look around our world today, I can see the influence this saying has had. We truly believe knowledge is power. We believe that we gain the most important things out of life through knowledge. We spend most of our childhood attending schools and then pursue higher education as an adult to advance our knowledge. Our knowledge leads us to higher ways of thinking and understanding the world around us and ourselves. It has birthed great philosophers and teachers into this world. We feel accomplished and important the more education we receive. We send our children to learn from the best teachers and schools we can possibly afford. We take out huge loans so we can attend this prestigious schools, causing us to go into debt for years. All because “knowledge is power”.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

Where does knowledge come from? Let’s go all the way back to the Creation of man. God created Adam from the dust and breathed His life into him. God also gave Adam all of the Garden of Eden to take charge over and care for. In the middle of the Garden was a tree – the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God’s only command was to not eat of the fruit of this one tree. We cannot be sure how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before they tasted of this forbidden fruit, but we do know that while they lived there they walked and talked with God daily. How amazing this must have been for them. What a wonderful relationship, to be so close to our Creator, Our Father, in a way many people have not known, but long for!

Yet the day came when the desire for knowledge became greater than this wonderful relationship with God and the security of the beautiful garden, and the desire for knowledge overtook them. Satan was there with just right words to help Adam and Eve make the decision to ignore God’s heeding to not eat the fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Was it all Satan’s fault? No, he just had great timing. He already knew that in their heart’s. Adam and Eve were longing for knowledge because secretly they felt it would make them better. In their hearts, they felt they were missing out on something – something that God was keeping from them.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

The blame cannot be laid solely on Adam or solely on Eve. Together both Adam and Eve ate of the fruit. Each of them had this hidden desire for more knowledge. And with this pursuit of knowledge came death in their relationship with God the Father. Somewhere in the hearts they began to believe God was not enough anymore, and that knowledge would bring them power. Satan is the great tempter, but he did not cause them to make this decision. Once Adam and Eve gave in to their temptation their whole world began spinning out of control. The knowledge that they believed would give them great power – that would indeed make them like God; instead gave them fear, confusion, pain and a separation from God. How deeply they must have regretted that decision. And we all have been paying the price for this sin ever since. Yet we have not learned how dangerous the belief that knowledge equals power is.

Don’t we all desire knowledge and believe that it can somehow advance us in our lives? Knowledge of what the future will bring, knowledge of how to handle problems at work or in a relationship, knowledge of technology so we can make our lives easier, and on and on. Yet we fail to see how knowledge in this world can become another temptation to be like God. Knowledge can become an idol. We crave more and more of it. We seek after it constantly, hoping it will bring power and fame and fortune. We seek to follow our own path, only to find that after years of pursuing it we have completely failed at it. That is because it was not the path God put us on.

After spending a long life in the dark, I have come to understand one vital fact. Knowledge of God is the only knowledge that has ever advanced me in this life. I did not know God, but in fact rejected Him. I embraced the knowledge of many other things however. Knowledge of many other religions, gods, knowledge of the world and of man, knowledge from my education full of facts and theories. All this knowledge never gave me Truth, nor did it give me joy or hope. I was completely lost in all this knowledge. I was confused, and constantly searching because I knew something much greater than myself was missing from my life.

God is the creator of and originator of knowledge. Knowledge is not about how much you know, how long you have studied, where you went to school, etc. Knowledge is about knowing God, our Creator. God who created the entire universe and everything in it will give you the knowledge of everything that you will ever need. How often do we spend countless hours seeking knowledge which only complicates our lives? Or confuses us? We were not made to know everything there is to know. We were made to know God. God has given us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is our one true source of power. The power that God gives is not like the power of the world. It is true power – divine in nature, full of love and hope, healing and joyous. We were made to walk and live in power, but not the power that comes from worldly knowledge.

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

2 Corinthians 4:20

Have you ever considered that our endless pursuit for knowledge and power has been a distraction of the enemy? While we are so busy seeking to further ourselves in this world, we are falling further away from the work to be done for God’s Kingdom. We are to walk in the power and authority of Christ, heal people, bring life and hope into hearts, cast out and fear and depression, and live a life where miracles and wonders are not the exception, but the expected. How can we have time to live a life like that, a life that truly looks like Christ, when we are too distracted to give time to those that are hurting around us. How many times have you seen a prayer request and just ignored it because you knew you didn’t have time to pray for that person. Or maybe you just didn’t want to put the energy into it because there was something else on your mind? Distractions are everywhere in this world, and they are keeping you from the real power that you are desperately seeking.

rainbowOnce you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are given the glorious gift of the Holy Spirit. When you have God living inside of you, you are walking with all the knowledge and power that you could ever hope to tape in to. Stop living life by searching through books and questioning teachers, and start living life learning from the greatest teacher you will ever know! The Holy Spirit is there to lead us in wisdom and guide us in Truth. There is no other Truth outside of the Bible and God. Man will always have his interpretation of how he understands God and the world, but that will always just be man’s interpretation. Seek ye the Kingdom of God first, and all these things will be given to you!

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24