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Archive for November 2nd, 2012

SATAN’S TOOLS: FEAR AND RICHES

I am writing this post especially to those whose relationship to the Lord has been hindered by a fear of, or by the riches of the world.  In the Lord’s Parable of the Sower, it is clear that the first of the four types of soil fails to “get the message” (Mt. 13:4 w/ 13:19).  It is also clear that the fourth type of soil receives the Gospel, and multiplies (Mt. 13:8-9 w/ 13:23).  But what about the other two?

Matthew 13:5-6 says, “Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”  The explanation reads, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Mt. 13:20-21).  These appear to be believers who, when faced with opposition, become silent out of fear.  Their lack of faith in God’s ability to protect them results in their failure to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Matthew 13:7 says, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them.”  Jesus explained these in Matthew 13:22, which says, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”  Again, these “sprung up” meaning the “seed” produced life, but their focus was upon their own enjoyment of life rather than on those around them who needed to hear the Gospel.  The key here is that they “becometh unfruitful.”  They had life, but produced no fruit.

I want to ask you who are reading this:  are you afraid to witness for Christ because you do not want to be ridiculed, rejected, or even worse, harmed?  The solution is to compare the Lord’s Omnipotence to the impotence of the world!  God is greater than Satan and his minions!  Jesus said that He would always be with His disciples (Mt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)!

To those of you who would rather spend your lives on trying to make for yourselves a heaven on earth, do you not realize that by so doing, you are failing to present the Gospel which offers an eternal heaven to those who do not know Christ?  Are you so selfish that you do not care churches all over the world need Sunday School teachers, outreach workers, evangelists, etc.?  Have you no gratitude for what Jesus has done for you, that you would waste your time in pursuit of riches rather than pursuing the lost?  Shame!

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: 

for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7)! 

http://skipslighthouse.blogspot.com/2012/10/satans-tools-fear-and-riches.html#comment-form

A sower went out to sow

A sower went out to sow (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

sower went out to sow (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

 THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER

A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up.
Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture.
Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’

His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that they may see but not perceive, listen but not understand

‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God.
Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved.
Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up.
As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity.
As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance
.

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/29770761@N06/5765705109http://www.flickr.com/photos/29770761@N06/5765705109

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The Witch Who Found Christ

CBN.com – To Sherry Barnett, wicked things were cute, the concept of death inviting. But her growing obsession with the occult brewed serious side effects. She felt her very life being sucked out of her.

Barnett: “In kindergarten, during art time, I made — out of Play-Doh — a little coffin with a little body in it. And I explained to the teacher that this was a vampire.”

Just listen to Sherry Barnett for a while, and it won’t be long before you’ll detect a consistent theme running through her conversation.

Barnett: “Halloween was to me as a child what Christmas was probably to other children. I thought it was a cool thing. You know, wicked things were cute, and I didn’t see any harm in it. When the going got rough, I could always rely on suicide because that was a way of escaping. I liked the idea of just being dead, not existing anymore.

Barnett says that there was nothing unusual about her home life. So what is it that makes a person’s obsession in life, death?

Barnett: “My childhood was the perfect childhood. I had perfect parents. We did not have the Lord in our home, but I had everything a child could want. The fascination for the occult began back when I was five, and it started with simple things like little childhood storybooks about witches and ghosts. And that just grew.”

As she grew older, Barnett’s childhood obsession with vampires increased.

Barnett: “It just grew into a lifestyle for me. I mean, as opposed to somebody else just, watching a vampire movie and saying, ‘Oh, you know, that was cool,’ I took it to heart. I made it my life.”

Indulgence in drugs, alcohol and sex were also becoming a lifestyle for Barnett. And her fascination with the occult brought with it a price. When she slept, her dreams became nightmares that were hard to distinguish from reality.

Barnett: “Sometimes I could even almost hear something coming down the hallway. I could feel it, like something was coming into my room. And it got so bad that I couldn’t move, I couldn’t wake up. And I just always remember that every time I’d struggle, I’d hear the same voice telling me, ‘You know, Barnett, don’t struggle. The more you fight, the worse it’s going to get for you.’

Barnett’s drug and alcohol use escalated as she tried to suppress the dreams, but the result was depression and worse nightmares.

Barnett: “I would feel this heavy presence on me, pushing me down, trying to suck all the life out of me. And then I would hear this screaming. It would start real quiet, and the scream would get louder and louder and louder to the point where it was just deafening to my ears. And I would wake up screaming myself.

“I remember this one night that I was just so depressed, I wanted to die. But that night, I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to give myself one more chance, and I’m going to pray to the devil.’ I wanted to pray to Satan himself.

“I’m going to pray to Satan and I’m going to ask him to come and help me. I’m going to give my life to him. I’m going to give my soul to him. And maybe, he’ll help me out of this. And so I drew a pentagram on the floor, I got the candle, put it in the circle with me and I prayed to the devil. And I just gave him my soul that night. Nothing happened. I cried and cried and cried, and still nothing happened. And I thought, “Well, that’s not going to work’.”

And nothing else was working for Barnett. Even marriage and a baby could not drive the depression away. When a co-worker gave her husband, Rick, a Bible, Barnett took an interest in it.

Barnett: “I sat down and read a little bit of it, and then I started thinking about it. And that’s really what started me thinking about God. And when I started reading that Bible, it was like something started asking me, ‘Well, Sherry, where is your hope?’

“I just grew up thinking that God was out there, but he wasn’t for me. He was for priests, he was for pastors, he was for other people, but not for me.”

Barnett says she was finally ready to believe that maybe God was for her.

Barnett: “I was in the kitchen doing my housework, and I just kind of like whispered to myself, ‘Well, God, if you can take away the love for drugs, I will give my life to you.’ And I just said, ‘God, I can’t do ‘it. I cannot do it.’ And I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was really talking to God. And God heard me.”

As she went to sleep that night, Barnett says that something unusual happened.

Barnett: “It was like a flash of lightning went through me. And then I just sat up in bed, I bolted up and I felt like I was sober — instantly sober.”

“And then all of a sudden I heard this voice tell me — it was a comforting voice. It wasn’t anything scary this time — a voice telling me, ‘Sherry, you’re going to stop this. You have to stop this. No more drugs; no more. You’re going to have to stop this.’ And right away, I just felt like I was sober, but I was scared. I was shaking. And I had this new type of feeling in me.”

“That little prayer that I rambled off in the kitchen — it wasn’t even anything real formal. It was pretty much just talk, you know. To me, I didn’t think that He was really listening to me. But He did. He delivered me. And that day was when I gave my life to the Lord. I said, ‘Lord, this is it. I’m going to be a Christian. I’m going to live my life for you.’ And I’ve never been the same.”

“There was no more blackness inside. There was no more having to run out and try to do something else to fill up that blackness — that darkness, that oppression that was inside of me. It was just — it was gone. It was gone. And I never think about death anymore.”

Barnett’s husband gave his life to Jesus Christ soon after Barnett. They’re now rearing their three children in a home where love, not fear, reigns.

Barnett: “The Lord has brought so much hope into my life. I know who I am. I know why I’m here. And I have stability now. He’s faithful. He’s been faithful to me to this day. He hasn’t let me down at all.”

http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/onlinediscipleship/halloween/kithcart_witch_found_christ.aspx

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Confessions of a Teenage Witch

 By Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Guest Writer

What God Says

Want to know more? Check out these Scriptures about witchcraft.

Galatians 5:19-21
2 Chronicles 33:6
Micah 5:10-13
Exodus 22:18
2 Kings 9:22  

 CBN.com

When I opened the door, he turned and leveled the shotgun at me.  The bedroom was ice cold and he stood inside of a wooden laundry hamper wrapped from head to toe in a blanket.  All I could see were his eyes and the gun. 

I threw up my hands in surrender.  “Dad! It’s me. Sarah.”

He kept the gun leveled at me.  “What are you doing here?  Go!  Go outside!  He’s hiding in the trees.”  He gestured with the gun.  “Go look in the trees!”

I turned and ran downstairs, out the back door and into the frigid air.  I looked up at my parent’s bedroom window where the gun barrel now rested on the windowsill and the blanket shaped figure peered out.

I looked up in the trees thinking I’d see my father’s hallucination.  Thinking that my father couldn’t be wrong about intruders living in our attic and outside in the trees.  Suddenly, he disappeared from the window and I shivered.  My mother had left me there while she took my sister somewhere safer. I had nowhere to go but back inside.

That was the day my whole world shifted.  I was fifteen and I had grown up as “daddy’s girl”.  In my eyes, there was nothing he couldn’t do.  Until that horrible day.  The cocaine made my father a different person, someone I could no longer trust, and even though I was far from grown up, I felt like I was all on my own.

So I became a witch.  Just like that.  Witchcraft was something my father had introduced me to through an old book he once gave me.  I dabbled in it for years, but never really took it seriously until I realized that I needed more help than I was getting.  (And I think a small part of me wanted to do something that I knew my father would approve of).  My encounter with the barrel of that gun made me wonder what life was really about.  I began visiting New Age bookshops, reading books on witchcraft, and looking for answers.

Within months I had collected crystals, conducted séances, and built an altar in my room to worship the god and goddess I had chosen.  I read incantations, used Tarot, cast spells and took on a brand new identity.  I was a witch, and proud of it.  Resources were a little harder to come by back in the pre-Internet days, but it never stopped me.  My mom was more than willing to shell out money to buy the stuff I wanted. 

My father eventually got clean, but our relationship was severely damaged.  Things were a mess at home, they were a mess at school, and I became more and more depressed.  I wanted out, and I began to believe that the answer was to kill myself.  In fact, my “spirit guide” seemed to confirm that this was the very thing I was supposed to do.  I desperately wanted things to change, but no matter what I tried, things just got worse.  So one night I drove away in my car intending to never come home again.  As I was driving on the back roads, waiting for the carbon monoxide leak in my car to do its work, I remember feeling relieved.  Perhaps now, I thought, I can finally escape.

All I remember now is that I woke up face down in a small park some time later.  I don’t remember parking the car, or getting out, but there I was – very much alive.  I felt like a failure, I couldn’t even kill myself.  Yet because I had failed, and college was just a few months away, I figured I would just stick it out till then.  Maybe if I got away from my family, I’d be able to get my head cleared.

I continued to practice the witchcraft, though not as enthusiastically.  I moved into my freshman dorm and to my utter horror, I was placed in a room with two Christian roommates.  I was not amused.  I was completely dumbfounded by these two girls who talked about God and carried their Bibles around.  They could even quote things out of it.  At first, I thought they were just weird, but they were totally serious about it.  They didn’t swear or smoke or drink – which meant that our room was a no-party zone.  Which I was also not happy about.

But I couldn’t deny that they had a peace and security about life that I had never experienced.  Despite being a witch, I was intrigued by their faith and began to eavesdrop on their Bible studies.  And it wasn’t long before I accepted their weekly invitation to the Friday night Intervarsity meeting.  It was there that I heard a message that made me think that I could get a fresh start on life after all.  I made God an offer that night, right before Thanksgiving.  I told him that if he was real, and if he really wanted me, then I was his. 

He took me up on the offer.

Things shifted in my world once again, but this time, I wasn’t alone.  It took me a while to get my footing with God, but even though my parents hated that I had become a Christian, I knew that it was exactly what I was missing all along.

Many people assume that witches are the fake sort with pointy hats and brooms that we see every year around this time.  But they aren’t.  They are people just like you and me.  People who are searching for answers.  They just happen to be searching in the wrong place.  Gretchen, a character in my book The Alliance said, “It’s like a religion without the rules.”  The practice of witchcraft is very open-ended, allowing you to practice in any way you choose, so it can be very fascinating to some. But it’s deadly – it nearly killed me.  And there is also the fact that God strictly forbids it.

Most of you probably know that.  So instead, I want to look at why.  Why is witchcraft such a dangerous activity?

It’s the wrong power source.
Any supernatural power that does not come directly from God comes from Satan.  Satan is a real being (see Job 1:6) that likes to masquerade as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).  So even though most witches do not believe in Satan, they are playing in his playground rather than God’s.  That’s always a dangerous place to be.

It’s real.
Since the power source that witchcraft taps into comes from Satan, a lot of stuff actually happens.  I don’t even like to think about the things I saw.  Yet, just because “stuff happens” doesn’t mean that it’s truth.  Satan does have some limited power on earth, so that’s why psychics are sometimes right and why witchcraft seems to “work”.  Don’t mistake Satan’s power for God’s.  They can’t even compare!

It’s an assault on God’s nature.
Think about it this way.  God gave us his most precious gift when he sent Jesus so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for our sins.  He doesn’t withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11).  So if we go elsewhere to get guidance or power or entertainment, then we are basically telling God that he’s not enough for us.  We act like he is keeping something from us.  When he is really trying to keep us from being led astray by a very convincing enemy.

Satan is an enemy of God.
When we dabble in witchcraft, we are playing with a very real predator.  Most predators don’t simply grab someone off the street by force.  They tempt and lure us with innocent questions or pleas for help or even offers of gifts.  Once the predator lures you close enough, it’s only then that he can snatch you away.  Satan works the same way.  He uses innocent looking activities to lure us farther and farther away from the truth. (Check out 1 Peter 5:8)

The truth – God’s Word – is really your best weapon against the enemy.  The more familiar you are with God’s Word, then the easier it will be for you to tell when Satan tempts you with something fake.  So you don’t need to become an expert on witchcraft in order to talk to someone involved in it.  You just need to know God, and His Word.  It’s all the ammunition you’ll need. 

After I became a Christian, I gathered all of my materials, the idols, crystals, books and candles I had used, and burned them all in a big bonfire.  I know God was pleased with that.  I had traded a whole lot of nothing for a whole lot of God.  It was a pretty good deal if you ask me. 


Sarah Anne Sumpolec is the author of the YA series, Becoming Beka and lives in Virginia with her husband and three little girls.  She speaks to teens and parents and continues to write both fiction and non-fiction that deals with the tough issues that young adults face today.  She is one of the founders and a contributing author to Girls, God and the Good Life (www.girlsgodgoodlife.blogspot.com), a daily blog ministry for teen girls designed to encourage them to grow in their faith and is active online through her own website www.sarahannesumpolec.com and blog, www.girlsandgod.blogspot.com

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The Witch Who Found Christ

More Youth articles on CBN.com

http://www.cbn.com/family/youth/Sumpolec_teenwitch.aspx

Execution of alleged witches, 1587

Execution of alleged witches, 1587 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Satan Is Real

Satan Is Real (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Punishments for witchcraft in 16th-century Ger...

Punishments for witchcraft in 16th-century Germany. Woodcut from Tengler’s Laienspiegel, Mainz, 1508. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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