Tag: manipulation

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part four)

img_9344

Is there witchcraft in the church?

Here’s part four…

Witchcraft, as I’ve shared in previous posts, isn’t necessarily about hexes, potions, and Ouija Boards. It IS about seduction, manipulation, deception, poisoning, and medication for the purpose of control.

Galatians 5:19,20 mentions witchcraft as one of the works of the flesh. One doesn’t need to be a bonafide sorcerer or warlock to dabble in witchcraft. Simply giving in to certain fleshly tendencies is enough to open the door to the spirit of witchcraft.

Remember these words of Paul?

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:5 – 8:8 ESV)

Even seasoned, Spirit-filled believers must be aware of the continuous battle between flesh and Spirit. No one outgrows the desires of the flesh; if we are going to have victory we must crucify the flesh, training it to obey, instead of yielding to our baser tendencies.

And that brings me to this: ways witchcraft has made its way into the Church.

Nice, well meaning believers have succumbed to witchcraft without knowing it. Some preachers, worship leaders, Christian leaders and celebrities are dabbling in it.

Here are some areas I see it happening:

1. Hype, bigger and better advertising.

The need to build up, to promote in order to get a certain natural reaction, can be nothing more than manipulation, or witchcraft. It’s very essence reveals where one’s trust truly lies.

2. The wisdom of man.

Realizing God can give a person creative ideas is one thing. Yet scripture indicates the wisdom of man is foolishness to God. Touting one’s ability to “turn a phrase”, “preach the house down”, or use the right amount of voice inflection to “move a crowd” is NOT the anointing of God. It’s something else.

Paul said, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1 – 2:5 ESV)

3. Rebellion toward God’s authority. 

God has set in the Church…leaders. Not the kind that lord their authority over others, but those who are called to a life of servant leadership.

However, when people fail to recognize the leaders God has placed into their lives, they are quick to either speak ill of them or step away from the proper relationship with them. In a way, their words are calling for curses upon God’s leader.

A manifestation of the flesh.

4. Manipulation/coercion of members.

On the flip side, there are leaders who aren’t clear about their calling, or are simply so stuck on themselves they abuse their supposed authority over their flock.

Peter warned against such actions (1 Peter 5), but sometimes people don’t recognize the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.

They “feel” the Spirit, and make demands of others because God has “given them charge of His flock.”

A favorite passage is “don’t touch God’s anointed”.

Too bad, because dictatorship isn’t the nature of the kingdom. We are supposed to submit to one another in the fear of God.

God’s way produces godly results. Fleshly ways may produce numbers and excitement, but the final tally may be lacking.

To be continued… (I’ll include another group of areas where I believe witchcraft has found its way into the Church. I have a total of 15. I’ll list them here, then explain them later.)

5. Reliance upon gimmicks/mood setting
6. False prophecies
7. Extra-biblical/non-biblical experiences
8. Being above correction
9. Fleshy “word of knowledge/wisdom”
10. Discerning of spirits
11. Idolizing a leader, doctrine, etc.
12. Misinterpreting the Spirit’s direction
13. Counterfeit spirit
14. Forcing a word from God
15. Desiring the show rather than the grow

Is there witchcraft in the Church? (part two)


Really.

Throughout the New Testament we are taught the reality of the spirit realm, the power of the Name of Jesus, the miracle working power of the Spirit, and the need for the Body of Christ to know the difference between true and false manifestations.

But witchcraft in the Church? That should be easy to detect, don’t you think?

Yeah, you’d think so. 

But not if you’re unaware of how it’s manifested.

Witchcraft is listed in Galatians 5 with a long list of “now the works of the flesh are…” It’s translated from the Greek word, “pharmakeia” which means to administer medication, magic, and sorcery. It refers to manipulation and deception, in connection with idolatry; the worship of man or things.

Witchcraft camouflages, or conceals, hides, the spirit behind the manifestation’s true identity. In other words, it medicates people so they can’t discern truth from error.

We understand how people, not walking in the Spirit, can yield to such things as sexual immorality, envy, even murder; things listed as the works of the flesh.

But we somehow skip over the notion that witchcraft is among those “works” listed.

The man or woman “performing” can become so dependent upon the performance (because they have a reputation as a prophet or miracle worker), they become the focus of trust, adoration and worship.

Which, of course, is exactly what the devil is after. 

And if and when their performance begins to weaken, i.e. the excitement wanes, the temptation to “help God” can become too great to resist.

Yielding to temptation always results in walking according to the flesh. Which could include witchcraft.

Philip performed many miracles. So did Peter and John. But they never seemed to be enamored by them.

In awe, yes. Enamored, no.

Luke wrote of God working special, unusual, extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, “so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11,12 ESV).

Not only were miracles wrought, but they were extraordinary miracles! 

But Paul didn’t act as though the miracles depended entirely on him.

In Acts 28, while shipwrecked on an island, God used Paul to bring healing to many.

“Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.” (Acts 28:7 – 28:9 ESV)

But Paul always remembered Who the miracle worker was.

He told of a time to come when people would give heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, and lying wonders (1 Timothy 4).

A time much like today.

I’ve noticed something happening in the Church over the last, say, twenty to thirty years; even in “Pentecostal” churches.

There’s a separation, a dividing taking place. Three groups are emerging: those who have moved away from allowing (or seeking) any “manifestation” of the Spirit in their worship service, those who allow anything and everything (as long as it’s God – their words, not mine), and those who attempt to follow Paul’s admonition: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19 – 5:22 ESV).

The first group can end up missing out on what God wants to do or say because of their rigidity and misunderstanding of the Word.

The third group is one I believe the Lord wants each of His local churches to be like.

The second group, the subject of this series, can open the door to much confusion and guile within a local church.

To be continued…

Puppets and People 

IMG_7383.JPG

Have you ever watched a puppet show? The shows where the puppets are worked by strings? Marionettes, I believe they’re called.

Marionettes are quite fascinating to watch. Especially when you’re far enough away that you can’t see the strings. It appears the puppets are acting on their own; dancing, twirling, bowing, and skipping.

I see a resemblance between puppets and people. Puppets only do what they are manipulated to do.

And that’s exactly what people do.

So you think I’ve gone off the deep end?

Follow me for just a few moments.

People call themselves free thinkers; those who believe they alone control their lives. They think for themselves; no one influences their opinion.

But they aren’t free thinkers at all. They’re actually under the control of the god of this world, the devil.
Manipulated.

Please stay with me just a bit longer.

When God created mankind, there were no strings attached. 

None.

Man was given instructions, but he was allowed to make his own decisions.

Man chose wrong. 

THAT’S when the strings became attached. And ever since, man has been manipulated by the one whose only desire is to steal, kill, and destroy.

A dark, evil, rebellious nature replaced the one Adam was initially given. That nature is directly tied to the nature of the evil one himself.

People lie because it’s their nature. They steal for the same reason. Murder is simply the result of unrestrained lust, greed, hatred, or some other emotion or desire.

And it’s tied to the puppet master.

The devil.

But Jesus cut the strings!

People are screaming these days about freedom. They demand to be allowed to live the way they want.

And that’s why Jesus came!

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

“…By nature…like the rest of mankind.”

It’s one thing to sit and enjoy a puppet show. But it’s another thing altogether when you’re the puppet.

Are you tired of the way you’ve been dancing lately? Have you wondered how your life will end; after the show is over?

It’s time for the strings to be cut!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-8 ESV)

When Jesus went to the cross for our sins, our rebellious nature, He broke the devil’s right of ownership and control.

By faith in Jesus, and obedience to His word, we find ourselves with a brand new owner, a brand new nature, and brand new life!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

We GET to walk with the Creator of the universe; the Lover of our soul.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8 ESV)

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 ESV)

Puppets and people. So much alike. No wonder we can become so entangled with ourselves we can no longer think or act straight.

No wonder.

But he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Worship is not a Magic Lamp

100_1171“Do we sometimes treat worship like a modern day Aladdin’s Lamp?”

God is not trying to hide from you. He hasn’t locked Himself away from you, expecting you to figure out the lock combination before He’ll “step out into the open.” He doesn’t dwell inside a beautiful, old, lamp; just waiting for us to rub it so many times in a certain direction. He does not want our worship to be a production, dance steps, or an equation of so many fast and slow songs. None of those things will automatically produce the Presence of God.

God will not be manipulated. He will, however, respond to simple, from the heart, worship. In fact, Psalm 22:3 says God is enthroned, or seated comfortably, on the praises of His people.

See if you can sense God’s desire to fellowship with His people:

Gen 2:7
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Ex 25:21-22
You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat…

Ex 40:33-34
So Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

Ps 84:1-2
How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Rev 21:3
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
[all scriptures NKJV]

God never intended for us to treat worship like an Aladdin’s lamp.

The truth is – GOD is the One Who has been chasing man for the past 6,000 years.

He’s the One Who created man, filled him with His heavenly breath, and fellowshipped with him throughout the day. God’s the One Who told Moses to build the Tabernacle; a place where God and man could fellowship.

God is the One Who filled the Tabernacle with His Presence, much like He filled Adam’s lungs with His breath.

And, it is God Who has planned to tabernacle, dwell, fellowship, with man forever and ever. It is God’s Son Who offered His blood so we could have eternal fellowship with Him.

Who needs a lamp and a genie?

But don’t expect every “worship experience” to be the same. Sometimes, when the Lord steps into our room, it is simply to receive our worship and fellowship with us. He doesn’t make a huge entrance; but those who expect Him, “wait” for Him. “Seeing” Him walk in, they usher Him to His favorite chair. From His place of enthronement, He communes with His family. He and His kids, enjoying each other’s company.

Other times His appearance may even be more subtle; one won’t even know He’s in the room. People all around, talking, laughing, enjoying each other’s presence. He’ll sit quietly, listening to our conversations, ready to join in. But only when asked. Though He is jealous, He isn’t rude. He loves us so much, yet He will not force Himself upon us or into our world.

He man step into our world like He stepped into Abraham’s. In the heat of the day (Gen. 19) God came calling. Abraham recognized Him and asked Him to stay a while so he could serve Him properly. So Abraham worshipped God by feeding Him. THEN, the actual purpose of the visit became clear. Worship led to intercession, with God drawing Abraham into His plans and purposes for the deliverance of Lot and family.

And then there are moments…yes, those times when His Presence in the room is much larger than the room itself! As He enters, everything within us wants to fall prostrate before Him. Our shouts of joy are silenced by His eternal awe and beauty. Songs become mere melodies within the presence of His Glory. Even our breath responds to His Presence, becoming so “thick” we cannot speak, as He adds His breath to ours. The Eternal God, fellowshipping, communing, with man.

He rejoices with us! He sings and shouts with us! “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

He DESIRES to be with us. Whether we’re doing well, hurting, mad or happy. He desires to be in our presence; it’s been that way since the foundation of the world.

So, throw away the magic lamps, special charms, or anything else you feel you need to “conjure” up God’s Presence. You don’t have to talk Him into coming!

Simply worship Him.

%d bloggers like this: