Tag: lying spirits

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (sixth and final part)

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This is the sixth and final post dealing with witchcraft in the Church. Some of these points could probably be lumped together, but I felt it was important to be as clear and defining as possible.

At the end of this post I’ve listed seven things a person should do if they believe witchcraft is operating in their church.

8. Above correction (not above reproach). 

There are times when a person acts as though they’re infallible; they’re incapable of making a mistake. That should be a warning sign to everyone else.

It is a controlling spirit that demands submission even if clearly in the wrong. “Do as I say, not as I do” is not in sync with kingdom principles.

9. Word of knowledge/wisdom. 

The gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) are given to benefit people. There are people who may tell you some secrets about your life, but that information isn’t necessarily an indication of the Spirit of God.

What else is going on? Does the “word” bear witness with your heart? Is the minister demonstrating the love, compassion, and character of Jesus?

A good safeguard? Make certain you are actively in fellowship with the Lord. Seek Him above everything. Don’t go around hunting for a “word from the Lord”. You can find that for the price of a Chinese meal.

10. Discerning of spirits. 

Is someone always telling you about the demons and evil spirits they see? Maybe they are, but maybe not.

According to my understanding of the Word, there are numerous angels in the spirit realm, as well.

A preoccupation with the spirit realm is an open door to deception. Although a person may be able to have such a vision, it is always as the Spirit wills; I’ve not seen anything in the scriptures that indicate it’s okay to seek a vision.

I may be wrong, but the only time someone was seeking such a thing was King Saul. That didn’t turn out so well for him.

Witchcraft, or seeking to manipulate through fleshly means, is something evil spirits love to accommodate.

11. Idolizing a leader, doctrine, etc.

Here’s where people like you and I can push someone toward witchcraft. How? By demanding so much from them, and not checking their message with the scripture.

Paul said to, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good”(1 Thessalonians 5).

Regardless of how wonderful a person preaches, or how many miracles they may perform, they are still human. They can miss the mark, just like the rest of us.

Esteem them highly for their works sake, but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

12. Misinterpreting the Spirit’s direction. 

One Sunday, probably ten years ago, while we were singing and praising God, I was at the piano feeling all frustrated. It was as though God was locked out of the room.

Suddenly I sensed the Lord saying, “Call brother Francis to the platform and have him lead in the shout.”

I called Francis up, and told him what I thought I heard the Lord say. He looked at me kind of funny, but started shouting praise to God.

In almost no time the whole church was shouting, and the dryness and frustration left. God’s presence filled the place that day.

Never happened before or since. I had learned not to do something simply because it “worked” before.

Here’s where I learned it:

At a previous church the Lord directed me to have a tent meeting. We rented a tent, called an evangelist, and had four wonderful meetings. People were saved and healed.

Well, it worked so well, I planned a meeting for the next year. Bigger tent, same evangelist, but I planned it all in the flesh.

What a flop! I was wrong, and operating by a wrong spirit, in the flesh.

I had to repent and yield to God’s direction.

13. Counterfeit spirit.

In Acts 16 you’ll read the story of the girl possessed with the spirit of divination; a lying, death dealing spirit. She said the right things, but was “inspired” by the spirit of darkness.

I knew a man twenty some years ago who had a terrible battle with depression; and I believe he was specifically bothered by evil spirits.

I had ministered to him a few times, and one evening he stopped by the house to give me a “praise report”. It was late when he stopped by, so the rest of my family was in bed.

He wanted to thank the Lord, so I took his hand and began thanking God rather quietly, so as not to wake up my household.

He started getting real loud, saying, “Praise the Lord, Pastor Grace. Praise the Lord, Pastor Grace!”

All of a sudden I sensed something evil and I said, “I rebuke you lying spirit!”

At once, he changed into a crazy man, walking wildly around the house, yelling and screaming.

I told him to sit down and shut up in the Name of Jesus, and then called my next door neighbor who was a believer.

When he arrived, as soon as I opened the door, the man stormed past me and took off.

Unfortunately, the man never was able to get free and ended up taking his life a couple years later.

14. Forcing a word from God, rather than relaxing and resting in His grace and ability. 

Sometimes people think there has to be a demonstration of a spiritual gift or two in order to “have a good service”.

Those who believe that are apt to be duped into operating in the flesh; i.e. witchcraft.

Why not simply seek the Lord, whether at church or not, and follow His direction? As long as His will is accomplished, what else really matters?

Besides, if we’re too busy looking and waiting for something “spectacular”, we just may miss the real supernatural move of God.

15. Desiring the show rather than the grow (Simon – Acts 8).

If you desire “the show”, rather than “the grow”, you will be fooled. If you’re only satisfied with hype, you’ll never be grounded in truth.

Paul said, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:1 – 12:3 ESV).

Throughout the New Testament Paul tells us to put away the old man. The old man is easily deceived, can be manipulated as well as manipulate others. It loves to be caught up in the excitement, attributing everything happening to God, even if it doesn’t pass any scriptural litmus test.

Witchcraft, misuse and fraud, which lead to deception and ultimately broken lives and churches, is breaking out in churches.

Is it breaking out in yours?

No, I’m not on some witch hunt, but I am hungry to see the genuine move of God I read about in scripture.

I’ve given a number of examples of where witchcraft could be showing up in the church, as well as reasons why.

But what should we do if we suspect things aren’t exactly right?

Try these seven things…
1. Examine the scriptures.

2. Examine your own heart.

3. Pray for the leadership.

4. Speak to leadership (pastor, elder).

5. Confused? God is not the author of confusion, but we don’t always see things God’s way. Give the leadership the benefit of the doubt.

6. Still unsure? Maybe it’s time to speak with another spiritually mature person.

7. Truth or error? When you’ve settled the question, act accordingly.

Please let me know if any of this helped you. I’d love to visit more with you, so please drop me a line.

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part five)

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Throughout the last twenty centuries, supernatural and spectacular miracles have been used by God to not only authenticate the Word of faith the servant of God is preaching, but also draw millions to services where they hear and believe the gospel, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Awesome!

But try and imagine a guy, let’s call him Brother I. M. Anointed, who seems to be used by God in powerful ways. His words are smooth as silk, and people are greatly blessed by God’s presence when the man ministers. He gets a reputation as someone God anoints with signs and wonders. Someone who always has a “word of the Lord” for a congregation, and maybe everyone in the church.

People are funny, church people even more so. When the “gifts are flowing”, so does the excitement AND the money.

It’s much easier to book meetings when you can draw a crowd. 

But what if the meeting takes place, the songs are sung, the shouting begins, and God doesn’t anoint as in previous services?

Sometimes the preacher gets used to the “flow”, that special feeling of being used by God, as well as the words of affirmation from those who have been helped. And if the feeling isn’t always present the preacher can “press in” more and more until the people receive the word they’re looking for.

Even if he has to rely on the flesh (Galatians 5:20) to do so.

Here’s where witchcraft can enter in undetected.

The preacher, Brother or Sister Anointed, can “hear” something from a familiar spirit (a false spirit), even information about someone in the congregation whom they’ve never met, and give a “word”. There is no life attached, but because the info is spectacular it’s swallowed up as coming from God.

Over and over it happens until the fake has overtaken the genuine.

Some have become addicted to what they call the anointing, but it could be something from a source other than God.

Don’t misunderstand me; there is a genuine work of the Spirit. God DOES anoint men and women with the Holy Spirit and power. Miracles DO happen, even in the twenty first century.

But God isn’t a genie, or a dealer at a blackjack table. As Paul wrote, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11 NKJV)

The Spirit distributes as He wills (WHEN He wills).

There is no magic formula or incantation that automatically opens the windows of heaven. There’s no song, shout, liturgy, or offertory that can push the “anointing button”. Loud or soft music, dim or bright lights, do not move Heaven.

Here are some more areas in the Church where witchcraft can be found.

5. Reliance upon gimmicks/mood setting. 

Somewhat like our first example, but I’m thinking more in the area of an actual worship service.

Lights up, lights off. Music loud, music soft. A specific order of service.

And let’s not forget the altar call.

Are these things bad? No. But why do we do these things? Is it because it’s the best way to move people through the maze of faith? Because it makes sense? Because we’re trying to appeal to their emotions and intellect?

Am I saying that whoever gives an altar call is involved in witchcraft? No!

But have you ever heard these phrases?

“I’m going to count to three, and when I reach three I want you to step out and walk the aisle.” Then, the preacher takes five minutes between numbers doing everything but toss a rope over the person’s head to get them to the altar.

“If you were to die tonight…”

“I’ll tarry just a minute longer…” Meanwhile the worship team plays something that draws on a person’s emotions.

Can people be talked into the kingdom of God?  Does an emotional experience equate with the new birth?

Manipulation is not the anointing of God.

There ARE moments when the Spirit says to sing a certain song, say a specific word, or prolong an altar call. Yes!

But this is what I’m trying to get us all to see: we’re either gonna be led by the Spirit of God, or we’re gonna develop our own fleshly way of doing kingdom business.

6. False prophecies (out of the flesh). 

Balaam, Numbers 22-24, had a business of blessing and cursing. He was known as a man who could conjure up a supernatural blessing or curse upon someone; for a price. People, especially leaders, from all over the known world had Balaam’s cell number in their phone.

But he was NOT a man of God.

If you read those chapters in Numbers, you’ll notice he tried everything he could in order to curse God’s people, Israel.

Why? He was after the money. 

It’s true, Balaam gave an appearance of having connections with the Most High God, but the true picture is found in Balaam’s character. He wanted Balam’s paycheck!

God had to override the message the evil spirits were giving Balaam.

How can I use such an example, claiming there are people in the church acting like Balaam?

Because the Word of God says so.

“They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2 Peter 2:15 NKJV).

Also see Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14.

Again, not every supernatural manifestation is false; or true. If there are false prophets, there must be true prophets. If there is a real thing, there’s also a counterfeit.

It’s happening in the Church, and many believe everything spectacular is of God.

7. Extra-biblical/non-biblical experiences. 

I’ll not say much about this point, other than God’s Word is our pattern for living. Be careful, though, in judging someone’s experience. There were a number of times in both the Old and New Testaments when God had His servants do some wild things. Or, maybe it wasn’t anything THEY did, but God used some different situations to perform His works.

Examples? How about dividing the Red Sea, the Jordan River, Joshua fighting Amalek, the Walls of Jericho, the sun standing still, the floating axe head, etc.?

Jesus spit on the ground, made mud, and dabbed it on a blind man’s eyes. Peter walked down the street and people got healed as his shadow passed over them. Paul had a handkerchief ministry in Acts 19.

But here’s the thing we must understand. None of those experiences were designed to become “the formula”, or a “pattern”.

Jesus is the pattern. He’s the One Who will lead and instruct us as we walk with Him. He won’t lead us into foolishness and/or error.

By the way, if you haven’t read the other four posts in this series, I encourage you to do so.

Also, please comment below, or ask any question you’d like pertaining to this subject.

To be continued…

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