"To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to him? The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold, and the silversmith casts silver chains." Isaiah 40:19-20 It's hard to understand why people spend good money for gold and silver images, to wear them or to bow down before them. It's hard to understand, though at one time I did it myself. It's for lack of knowledge of the Word of God. I had never heard this passage from the Word of God: "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; YOU SHALL NOT BOW DOWN TO THEM nor serve them." Exodus 20:4 The Lord began early teaching me against these things, although I didn't "get it" at the time. One day, I was a passenger in a car and before we started out I prayed to Saint Christopher, "the patron saint of travelers," asking for protection. We were rammed by a car going through a red light and sustained much damage to the vehicle, but though I emerged from the car with a broken bone and bruises from neck to toe, all I could think of was "how could this happen just after my prayer to Saint Christopher?" The patron saints to whom I prayed, and the "blessed Virgin" whose favor I sought, failed miserably when I asked from them the help I needed. When I later left that religion, someone asked why I would leave it and I answered, "because in all the problems I brought to this church and to the saints and to the "blessed Virgin," I never obtained from them the help I needed." I left that religion weeks after Jesus Christ came into my life, opened my eyes, and brought me through the "born again" experience. In the years to come, HE did for me all that the others were not able to do. Satan is the "father of lies," who seeks "to steal, to kill, and to destroy." His method is shown in the very beginning chapters of the Bible as he leads our first parents to disobey God. His method? Lies. He is the father of lies (John 8:44.). He does the same today, and easily misleads the multitudes who believe the suggestions he presents to their minds, with no clue that a malevolent being made those suggestions to them. Many don't even believe he exists. I've heard it said that one of Satan's greatest accomplishments has been making people believe he doesn't exist. Once he's accomplished that, people will think that all that comes into their minds is only their own thoughts. What a trap! Religion is a set of practices designed to make a person feel "good" but it is a stench in God's nostrils. It bypasses the Word of God, in fact most religions have replaced the Word of God with their own "holy" book. So the Muslims have the Koran, the Jews have the Talmuds, the Catholics have the Catechism, the Mormons have the Book of Mormon, the Jehovah's Witnesses have the Watchtower Bible, and on and on and on the deception goes. Today, many new "versions" of the Bible have been presented to believers, all promising that their version is easier to read than the old King James. But the truth is that most of the new versions have altered many texts, and even omitted many passages. Because this is so widespread, I would not put my trust in any "new" version produced in this generation. Most of them are corrupted to one extent or another. We live in the age of deception, and if we do not make a serious effort to know God and to know his Word, we will live in deception. So many follow the traditions of their fathers, never questioning whether those traditions rest in the truth or in deception. How often have I heard, "I was born a 'xxxx' and I'll die a 'xxxx.'" I once asked someone whether he would want to know the truth if the truth was different from what he was raised to believe, and he honestly couldn't answer me. He stayed with the traditions of his fathers, because to question them was too threatening for him. Yes, there is a cost in following the Lord. "Surely our fathers have INHERITED LIES, worthlessness and unprofitable things.” Jeremiah 16:19 Pray with me: Father God, most people keep the traditions that were handed down from their generations without questioning whether those traditions are rooted in truth, while often their traditions are actually rooted in deception and idolatry. I realize that all religions have their version of tradition, yet they contradict each other, so what is the truth? They can't all be truth if they contradict each other. Father, I know that truth is one of the most important things to you, and I ask you to show me any traditions that I practice which are a stench in your nostrils. Help me to question the traditions of my particular inherited brand of religion. Put in me a hunger for TRUTH and reveal to me any lies I have believed and followed. I choose this day to seek truth rather than tradition, so I come to you because you ARE the truth. Help me bring my life into what is true, and give me strength to part with what is not. In Jesus's Name I pray. "Jesus said to him, 'I AM the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT through me.'" John 14:6
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"Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, 'Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God!' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him!' And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him." Mark 1:23-26 The ministry of "deliverance," such an important ministry in the life of Jesus Christ as he walked this earth - where has it gone? Why do we hear little about it these days? The ministry of deliverance, or setting people free from demonic affliction, played a major part in the ministry of Jesus. There is account after account after account of Jesus's interaction with demonic spirits. Early in my walk with the Lord, I was reading a book on deliverance and I remember putting it down on my lap and asking, "Lord, is this true? Are there really such things as demonic spirits? And if you casted them out of people, where did they go? Are they still here?" Shortly after that prayer, I found myself in the first Christian conference I ever attended. After one session, I stayed behind while the others left because I wanted to ask the speaker some questions about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, a doctrine I had only just heard about. As we talked, I heard a terrible sound coming from the back of the auditorium. It was so startling that I automatically turned around to see what it was. There was a young man about the age of 20 sitting in a chair, and two ministers of the Gospel were commanding a spirit to leave him. What was so astounding was that the spirit answered back in a voice that was definitely not human. It argued that it had been in this man since he was born, and that this was his house and he would not be leaving it! The ministers answered, "oh yes, you will leave, because he has surrendered his life to Jesus Christ who is now the owner, and you are no longer welcome here." The argument continued for quite some time, with the spirit convulsing the man several times, sweat dripping from his very pale face, a look of utter misery upon him. Finally the command was given to leave immediately, and the spirit once again convulsed the young man, brought him to the floor, and it looked like he was dead. But he wasn't. He was set free. It was a spirit of homosexuality. The next morning he was at the conference and he radiated the freedom he had obtained the day before. I knew someone, a believer, who had a lying spirit, and saw that spirit cast out of him. He who had been a compulsive liar ...never spoke a lie again, and that was earth-shaking to me, because I knew this person well. An argument one hears from many believers is that a born-again person can't be "possessed" if they are filled with the Holy Spirit. The error in this argument lies in the mistranslation of the word. It isn't "possessed," it is correctly translated "demonized." One wouldn't say a person cannot be “possessed” by a bacteria or virus. No one would make that connection. A person can be afflicted with agents of evil, bacteria, viruses, and also evil spirits. Once a believer realizes this, then it becomes easier to recognize a demonic affliction as a source in people so afflicted. Believers can be held in bondage by deaf spirits, dumb spirits, the number and name of them is myriad. A believer can be afflicted in their bodies, and they can be afflicted with "mental illnesses" caused by demonic spirits, making the soul sick. "Science" puts names to these afflictions, such as "paranoia," "schizophrenia," but paranoia and schizophrenia won't hold conversations, yet the demonic spirits behind them will if one with authority casts them out. Jesus told the one in the passage above to "be quiet and come out of him." To whom was he speaking to be quiet? And to "come out of him?" These are sentient beings who speak and act and can cause all manner of havoc in a person so afflicted. For many afflictions, doctors can only give a person medications and treatments which can subdue the symptoms somewhat. A person with an affliction caused by a demonic spirit cannot become well because the underlying cause is not taken care of. The best they can hope for is medication to ease some of the suffering. A tell-tale sign that an affliction is demonic lies in the fact that nothing and no one can succeed in curing the person. If Jesus were walking the face of the earth today, his ministry would be the same. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If you have an affliction that won't yield to any kind of treatment, or a sin you cannot control, ASK the Lord to reveal to you if it is being caused by a demonic spirit, and if so, ask him how to proceed to deliverance. Don't ever try to deal in this area alone, because you will encounter resistance and even retaliation. Ask the Lord to bring someone to you who is trained in this ministry. Better yet, ask Jesus himself to set you free. Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the CAPTIVES and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are OPPRESSED;" Luke 4:18
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and he who formed you from the womb: 'I am the Lord, who makes all things, who stretches out the heavens all alone, who spreads abroad the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of the babblers, AND DRIVES DIVINERS MAD;'" Isaiah 44:24-25 He drives diviners (witches, fortune tellers) mad... There is a great truth hidden here, which most probably don't notice. The reason I noticed it is because when I came to the Lord many years ago, I came in by way of the deliverance ministry. I learned right from the start all about the occult (which I was involved in) and the curse it brings upon those going anywhere near it. It's deadly. It destroys. It brings about all sorts of tragedies, takes people in their youth, destroys families and relationships, wreaks havoc upon all who involve themselves with it, even those who do it "innocently." People are willing to believe in extraterrestrial life "out there," ET's who sometimes show up in our world. How, then, do they refuse to consider what God has said about extraterrestrial beings? If there is a Creator, why not ask him? Do extraterrestrial beings exist? Oh yes. Oh yes they do. But they are not what they are portrayed by the world to be. The Catholic church has a huge and powerful telescope atop Mount Graham in Arizona, and they're using it to try to find life "out there." The pope has actually said that they might eventually baptize these "alien beings." At CERN in Switzerland, there is a subterranean particle collider, manned by some of the top scientists and physicists in the world. They have stated that they are trying to make contact with beings from "another dimension." In fact, in their great wisdom they have no idea that they are opening up "portals," which are openings through which alien beings (which are actually demons) might come through into our world. Interestingly, CERN is dedicated to the Hindu god shiva. Imagine - dedicated to a false god by the world's top physicists. The foolishness of men. Why not ask the highest mind in the universe, the mind of Almighty God who has told us much about these extraterrestrial beings? Simply put, the Word of God (the Bible) describes extra-terrestrial beings as angels, fallen angels, and demons. If mankind would simply accept what God has said on the subject, they would save themselves a lot of money and effort in the quest to make contact with them. If mankind knew that the beings they are contacting are actually demons, they might consider the rest of God's Word and stay away from them, because the Word of God says that fallen angels and demons are not benevolent, they are totally evil. They even have names for the different functions they perform. In one Bible passage four of these categories are named for us, sort of like the military has generals, sergeants, corporals, etc., so does the hierarchy under Satan: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against (1) Principalities, (2) against Powers, (3) againstThe Rulers Of The Darkness Of This Age, (4) against Spiritual Hosts Of Wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-12 People who entangle themselves in occult activities are opening doors for demonic oppression in their lives, and they have no idea the seriousness of what they're bringing onto themselves. For example, when you hear of a family where there have been multiple tragedies, it often can be traced to demonic or occult or "New Age" involvement by that person or even by a parent or grandparent as far back as the third and fourth generation. (Numbers 14:18, Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:7, Deuteronomy 5:9). In the passage at the beginning of this article God shows that "diviners" are driven mad. That's exactly one of the chief signs of occult invovement – mental ilness. It has been observed that mental illness can often be traced to involvement in occult activities, again, to the third and fourth generation. This is the seriousness the Word of God places on this kind of sin, because to consult any being other than God for information is to commit spiritual adultery. There is a God and he reserves to himself the right to be the only contact we may have with anyone outside this world. There are two sources of all things supernatural, God and Satan. In the world of the supernatural, any contact you make will be with one or the other of these two alone. And if you try to contact anyone other than God, you just may be driven mad. Or your children may, or grandchildren down to the third and fourth generation. For a list of occult activities specifically mentioned in the Bible, read Deuteronomy 18 starting with verse 10. Briefly, it specifically mentions witchcraft, fortune tellers, sorcery, mediums, astrology, those who contact the dead (necromancers). And it goes on to say that all who involve themselves with any of these - are abominations before God. It's interesting how he puts it: not that the practices are abominations, but those who DO them are abominations. Are you an abomination to God? If you're involved in any of these practices, then yes you are. Friends, the first act of Satan way back at the beginning was to discredit the Word of God. And that is his tactic today. "Has God really said ...?" When the disciples of Jesus asked him what would be the signs of his return, the very first thing he told them was to take heed that they be not DECEIVED (Matthew 24:3-4). This is the age of deception, the final days of the age. Listen to Jesus Christ. Listen to his Word. Take heed and be not deceived. Your eternity and that of your children just might depend on it.
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