Thursday, October 3, 2013

Spiritual Gateway Drugs



You may have heard of gateway drugs before.  Drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are often called gateway drugs.  The theory is that some of the less destructive drugs lead to harder drugs.

There have been numerous studies conducted which support the gateway theory, as well as numerous studies which do not. 

Whatever the studies show, most people who have used a variety of drugs are aware that there are few people using hard drugs who did not use alcohol or tobacco first. 

That is not to say that these drugs necessarily lead to harder drugs.  It's just uncommon to find a person on crack or meth who has never smoked a cigarette or had a drink of alcohol. 

At the very least, substances that are considered gateway drugs change your social landscape.  People who drink are more likely to spend time in bars with other drinkers.  People who smoke are more likely to meet other smokers outside, in designated smoking areas. 

It is interesting to note that the drugs which provide these gateways are typically the ones which are either legal or considered more socially acceptable.

As in so many other ways, the spiritual realm mirrors the physical and  many of these same physical struggles also occur on a spiritual level.  C.S. Lewis referred to occultism as a drug, as he was once an "addict" of the preternatural. 

I too experienced occultism as a drug, especially when I went through "withdrawals" after quitting and renouncing it.  I literally craved yoga poses, Tarot cards and mantras  the way some people crave chocolate. 

It took a long time for me to stop experiencing those knee-jerk reactions to everyday situations.  Just as an acoholic might struggle to stop habitually walking to the fridge for a beer after dinner every night, I had to make a conscious effort to stop old habits. 

I couldn't learn a birthday without automatically sizing a person up astrologically.

My head still wanted to figure up and break down every address and phone number numerologically. 

I continually caught myself pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth whenever I was relaxed, like I'd been taught to do in Reiki.  I found this was especially the case in church whenever I was getting absorbed in a sermon.

I had been on the hard stuff and some of my withdrawals were literally physical.  Kundalini withdrawal is not a pretty thing.  They're not kidding when they refer to it as a serpent.  There is actual real, physical pain involved when you turn your back on that entity.

I have observed a phenomenon in occultism similar to the gateway drug theory.  I have found that there are certain spiritual "drugs" that are more common and mainstream.  These are typically the ones which are generally considered acceptable, "legal," or "safe," by a good portion of Christendom.  These spiritual drugs often precipitate deeper involvement in the occult.

That's not to say that these things will necessarily lead to "harder" spiritual drugs, but they certainly increase the likelihood of it happening. 

For example, rarely will you find a professional psychic who has never read his or her horoscope.  You would be hard pressed to find a practicing witch who has never used a good luck charm.  And there are few die-hard new agers who have never explored breathwork on any level.

Undoubtedly, spiritual gateway drugs can change a person's spiritual landscape.  When you practice yoga, play with a Ouija Board or take a Feng Shui class, you are going to gravitate more toward occult-oriented people, and they to you.

This can lead to greater exposure to deeper degrees of occultism and deeper degrees of deception, and with that, spiritual imprisonment. 

However, unlike physical gateway drugs, with spiritual ones, there is a paranormal component as well.  Spiritual gateway drugs are actual spiritual doorways which invite living beings into your life - unclean spirits that have capabilities far beyond the realm of human capabilities. 

Here are some things I have come to recognize as spiritual gateway drugs:
  • A Course In Miracles
  • acupuncture, acupressure
  • angel worship, or obsession with angels
  • archetypes
  • Ayurvedic medicine/diet
  • Bach flower remedies
  • belief in karma
  • belly dancing
  • binaural beats
  • bibliomancy
  • bindis
  • breathwork
  • chain letters, chain emails and chain posts for good luck
  • circle prayer
  • color therapy
  • crystal jewelry
  • dancing around a Maypole
  • dowsing rods
  • dream boards
  • dream catchers
  • fairy/elf lore
  • Feng Shui
  • fortune cookies
  • fractal imagery or mandalas
  • Freemasonry
  • ghost hunting or visiting haunted houses
  • good luck charms, amulets, or talismans
  • handwriting analysis
  • homeopathic medicine
  • horoscopes
  • hypnosis
  • iridology
  • Kirlian photography
  • labyrinths
  • mantras
  • messages to dead loved ones
  • muscle testing
  • occult books and movies
  • Ouija Boards
  • out-of-body travel
  • pendulum diagnosis
  • power animals and medicine animals
  • Reiki, therapeutic touch, energy healing
  • sacred geometries
  • soaking, contemplative prayer
  • sound and light machines
  • The Law of Attraction
  • visualization
  • wishing on stars, eyelashes, or anything else
  • yin and yang
  • yoga

And these are just a few.  This is by no means a comprehensive list.  I've also written an article on spiritual deception that mentions some of these items as well as a few others.

As occultism becomes more and more mainstreamed, the numbers of spiritual gateway drugs will increase.

I know some of the things on this list seem obvious but you might be surprised at how many people think they are compatible with Christianity.  Actually, they might be compatible with Christianity, but Christianity is not compatible with them.

I'm going to go "out on a limb" and say that it's highly unlikely you'll ever find a person involved with occultism in any way who has never engaged in at least one of the things listed above.

You might not become a witch if you experiment with one or more of these items, but the likelihood of that happening certainly will increase. 

Your children might not become possessed, but they might become oppressed and find themselves led more into temptation.

Your family might not fall apart, but it might become strained and suffer undue hardship.

You might not go to hell but you might end up feeling like you're already there.

The biggest danger in all of these things is that the enemy can step up and take advantage of the opportunity to make a believer out of someone. 

What happens when your horoscope is strangely "on the mark," or a dead loved one seems to be answering your message, or your bad dreams actually go away after you hang a dream catcher over your bed? 

These are the places where deception begins.

As much as people would like to believe they are spiritually safe, no one is protected once they walk through a gateway into occultism.  Occultism is the enemy's territory, and when you're in his territory, he's the one who calls the shots.

Let's remember, no meth addict ever thought their first cigarette would lead to such an extreme.  And any ex-occultist like myself will tell you that they never would have guessed those first stages of experimentation would lead to where they ended up.

Your best bet is to never take that first step.  Never open that first door.  Like my dad told me about smoking when I was a child, "You don't have to quit if you never start."

No matter what payoff you might imagine lies behind that door, Jesus is enough and His grace is sufficient for you. 

Let Him be your only door and you'll never have to worry about ending up where you don't want to be.



Monday, September 9, 2013

An Open Halloween Letter from an Ex-Pagan









Written Halloween, 2009...


Hi. My name is Pennie De Witt and I'm a recovering occultist. A former slave to Satan. Below are just some of the thoughts that have been pouring through my mind today.

Can I do pagan things if I just don't think of them as pagan?

What if I dance naked around the fire for Jesus instead of for Hecate?

What if I get a new deck of Tarot cards, assign each of them a Bible story, and use them to get closer to God?

Why don't I redeem orgies and abortion for Christ while I'm at it?

For that matter, why don't I just open back up for business as a psychic and dedicate it to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Isn't it okay to do house cleansings with a rattle? Well, how about if I ditch the rattle and just wear the mask? Would it be better if I put a smile on the mask? And how about, while I'm wearing the mask I go reveling with my friends, but only for candy? How about if I just make a Talisman and put a cute, innocent, funny-face on it?

Of course I would never do such things!

It doesn't matter if you change your intentions. If you read the Bible you'll see, as I have, that the one thing that always ticked God off the most was when His people adopted the customs of the pagans. It was an abomination to Him.

He is the same yesterday, today and always. And it still angers Him today when we adopt pagan customs, even if we try to do them "with different intentions," and "redeem them for Christ."

As I sit and watch many of my Christian brothers and sisters posting on Facebook about their Halloween festivities, my heart breaks. I'm frightened for them, for our nation, and for God's people.

You see, I spent 26 years in the occult. I started out with Wicca as an adolescent, and throughout the years moved on to every corner of alternative spirituality that I could find - Shamanism, New Thought, Rosicrucianism, Eastern Mysticism - you name it.

At age 24 I became a professional psychic. I spent fifteen years serving Satan this way. I made a lot of money, got my own radio show and developed a world-wide following. I thought I was on top of the world.

Slowly, my world started falling apart. Before it was over, I was being evicted from my home, and my daughter was writhing on the floor, growling, hissing and clawing at the carpet on a daily basis.

I sought answers. I tried all my techniques. I reached out to others and, eventually, I started praying. I told God that if He didn't give me some answers soon, I was going to kill myself so I could stand before Him and get them myself.

Then one morning I was hiking behind my house, and I noticed something moving next to my shoe. I took a couple steps past it and turned around. It was a rattler, coiled, and ready to strike. I looked around and realized I was alone on that mountain. If I got bitten, I could definitely die.

Suddenly, as I stood frozen in front of that snake, it was like the sky opened up, and I saw the King of the Universe sitting on His throne. And for the first time in my life I feared Him. He was so perfect.

I thought, "I could never measure up to that perfection. No matter how perfect I made myself, I could never come close to that."

His purity was like a clean fire. It would burn me up in an instant. That's when I started thinking, "Maybe those Christians have a good idea with that redemption thing."

So, you know what I did after that? I went home and did the only thing I knew to do. I looked up "snake" in my power animal dictionaries. In dictionary after dictionary, the message rang loud and clear: "Give yourself over to transformation, let the old die so that the new may be reborn, let go, new life, new spiritual path..." It would have been almost spooky if it hadn't been so precious. He met me right where I was, and he spoke to me in MY language. I wouldn't have listened to anything else.

I knew those terms, "reborn," and "new life." I knew those were from the Bible. I wondered if perhaps the Christians could help me, so I went to church and started investigating Christianity. It took several months of reading and studying, seeking answers to my questions and facing my fears.

Finally, as I sat on my bed one night, reading "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel, it finally hit me! That twisted, tortured figure on the cross was there out of compassion for ME! Jesus died for ME! God cared about me so much that He came to this planet in human form and did this for ME. He saw me, He knew me, He understood my pain and my suffering. He felt it, and He wanted to carry it for me. My whole life culminated in this one moment, and I could see that it had all happened for a reason, that God had been pursuing me through it all. I mattered.

I curled up in a little ball and just sobbed. I was ready to give it all up to Him and let Him take care of me.

That Sunday, Sept 9th, 2007, I got saved. I admitted I was wrong, that I had disobeyed God. I renounced all my occult practices and was set free.

The following Saturday I burned all my occult books and paraphernalia, and eleven decks of Tarot cards, per Acts 19:19-20.

Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, I was baptized.

A few weeks later, my sister got saved and left prostitution and the porn industry.

I sit here watching some of my loved ones turn away from the occult, and yet I see many others still entrapped - people dying in sweat lodges, for example. And then I see the very people who threw me the lifeline now turning toward what nearly destroyed me.

I don't understand. Is Halloween that important? What is so valuable about costumes and Jack-o-Lanterns and candy that it can't be renounced for this God who loves us so much?

I've read articles in which people say things like, "I'm not going to let Satan take away my fun." What is Satan's "fun" compared to the joy of the Lord? He can have Halloween for all I care! There's no fun for me in celebrating Satan's schemes.

My daughter, who was raised from birth in occultism, doesn't miss it at all. She once said, "I can't wait 'til Halloween so we can NOT celebrate it!"

Halloween is pagan, it's based on witchcraft, and it's part of my old life. All things have been made new for me. I don't even feel I need an alternative. I'm not missing anything. In fact, I plan on spending my evening in prayer for those who are still in slavery to Satan. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for the sacrifice He made, and giving up Halloween is the least I can do. I'm free now! Why bother putting my chains back on for one night, in the name of fun, or tradition, or anything else?

_____________________________________________________________________________
If you have chosen not to celebrate Halloween and would like to find support online for your choice, visit the I Hate Halloween page on Facebook for a fast-growing community of like-minded others.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ten Misconceptions that Make Occultists Laugh and Why You Should Care



If you want to witness to pagans, witches or other occultists, there are some things you should know.  Because if people don't respect you, they're not going to listen to you.  And pagans will not respect you if you go around spouting off misconceptions as though they're facts. 

Christians already have a reputation among occultists as ignorant and uneducated, and they are greatly annoyed by Christians who speak falsehoods about them. 

If you know a little something about what you're talking about, at least enough to avoid spouting off myths, you're more likely to be heard when sharing the Gospel. 

Here are ten common misconceptions you can learn the truth about so you can be a more effective witness:

1.  The words cult and occult are interchangeable. 

They are not.  Whenever someone accuses an occultist of being "in an occult," if they don't laugh out loud you can be sure they're at least cringing inside. 

The word occult means "secret or hidden knowledge, even though, ironically it's becoming mainstream and not so secret anymore.  It refers to teachings and practices that attempt to bring powers of the supernatural under control.

The word cult refers to a specific spiritual system or group that adheres to a spiritual system.  This is a group of people or the cultic religion they adhere to. 

Some cults are occultic and some are not.  And some occultists are in cults and some are not.  When I was in the occult, I spent some time in a cult, and some time as a solitary practitioner. 


2.  You can identify occultists by the way they dress.

Not all occultists dress in all black or wear lots of gaudy costume jewelry.  When I worked at a psychic line, there were some who wore stereotypical gypsy garb, some who wore pajama pants and some who wore jeans. 

Many occultists look just like everyone else, and some occult professionals wear business attire just like other professionals.

Often they will have at least one jewelry item that identifies their beliefs, but they don't always wear these.  I had a variety of items in my wardrobe.  There were times I sported pentagrams and crescent moons, and other times I donned classic pieces that had no symbolic meaning at all. 

Most occultists dress the same way others do:  for the occasion. 


3.   People in the occult are very gullible and not very intelligent.  At best they are insane.

Ironically, many occultists think the same thing about Christians. 

The truth is that many occultists are highly educated people who exercise critical thinking very well, in many areas of their lives.  Many of them are doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, political leaders, professors, police, fire fighters and computer systems analysts.

It's not lack of intelligence that causes occultists to be deceived.  It's a lack of wisdom.  Wisdom does not come from intelligence.  It comes from a fear of the Lord


4.  All occultists love satan and enjoy being evil. 

You might be surprised how kind, loving and humanitarian many occultists are.  In fact, most of them believe they are serving the Light (usually spelled with a capital L, the way we spell God with a capital G) and do not believe in any kind of devil. 

When they are sinning, like most people, they don't think of it as sin.  When they are doing evil, they believe they are doing good. 

They're not sitting around rubbing their hands together and laughing sinister laughter while they plot how they're going to destroy Christians.  At least most of them aren't.  And most of them do not take pleasure in causing harm to anyone.  In fact, many of them are very much against causing harm to any living being. 

They just believe, mistakenly, that Christians have been misled and they want to disabuse them of their so-called false beliefs.  They really want to make the world a better place.  They've just been deceived about what that means.


5.  Occultists fear crosses and Bibles. 

Actually a lot of them wear crosses, and many of them read the Bible more than the average Christian.  In fact, I quoted it often and even used scripture in some of my pagan/new age articles.  Many occultists love the Bible.  They just interpret the Bible differently and they either don't believe in the whole thing, or they believe in it symbolically.  Some actually use passages from the Bible in incantations.

Contrary to what has been shown in some deliverance videos, most occultists will not scream if you put a Bible on their heads. 

Although, I did know a witch once who screamed "I'm melting" when someone threw holy water on her in a restaurant.  But that was a joke.  She never really melted. 

By the way, holy water isn't really holy, but that's another article.


6.  Witches worship a god named Sam Hain and Halloween is his birthday. 

The word Samhain is pronounced "Sowen," like cow and pen, and means "summer's end."  Sam Hain is not only a mispronunciation but also an urban legend

Halloween, or Samhain, is a celebration that marks the point between autumn equinox and winter solstice, which is in some ways more interesting than a god named Sam Hain, if you understand the significance of the equinoxes and solstices among witches. 

Since much of witchcraft was originally driven by a desire to please the gods so the crops would grow, the course of the sun (which is worshiped by many witches) is very important to them.


7.  All occultists are Wiccans. 
Wiccans are witches, yes, but not all witches or occultists are Wiccans. 

Just as Christianity has many denominations, there are many different traditions of witchcraft.  Aside from Wicca, there are also the Asatru, the Alexandrians, the Gardnerians, Dianics, Romanis, Druids, Teutonics,  Discordians, Georgians, Celtics, Thelemics, Deboreans, and Eclectics, to name a few.  There are also traditions of Qabala, Stregheria, Voodoo, Shamanism, Hermeticism, Santeria, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and many more. 

If you meet someone who is an occultist, ask the person what tradition he or she follows, rather than automatically referring to Wicca.  It will be appreciated and you are likely to learn something about the person that could help you further in your witnessing.


8.  All witches are meat eaters. 
Actually, vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity in a lot of pagan circles.  It is true that they like to eat meat with their hands and get it all over themselves, which is a lot less appealing in real life than in the movies, especially after five days in the woods or the desert. 

But there is a huge movement toward vegetarianism that has been catching on for some time. 

Some of it stems from Hindu teachings which state that animals are our ancestors reincarnated.  Other influences come from the Mother Earth agenda, which is related to indigenous teachings, and says that it's harmful to the earth to eat meat because it consumes too many of our natural resources. 

This is one reason Whole Foods is so full of pagans.


9.  Occultists stay out of churches. 
Occultists of all kinds attend churches.  In fact, that's where they find many of their recruits.  It's quite possible, even likely, that you have at least one occultist in your church.

I knew a Voudon priestess who attended a Baptist church.  I knew Wiccans who attended Methodist churches.  I knew Theosophists who attended Presbyterian and non-denominational churches.  And as an infiltrator, I attended a variety of churches. 

Not all who attend church are doing it to infiltrate.  Some are doing it to socialize, some for the sake of their children, and some actually believe erroneously that Christianity is compatible with their beliefs.  Their beliefs might be okay with Christianity, but Christianity is not okay with their beliefs.  But again, that's another article too.


10.  Occultism is all about symbols and hand signs. 
No, witches are not running around flashing one another back and forth with hand signs, and the symbols they use are not of utmost importance to them. 

Yes, hand signs and symbols are significant to them and are indeed used, not only to communicate certain things but also to perform magick.

But symbols and hand signs are not the bulk of what consumes most occultists.  They use symbols and hand signs, as well as many, many other things.  Study, spell work, worship of deities, self-evolution, global ascension, and healing others are just some of the things that take priority in occultists' lives.


If you learned anything new from this article, you are now a little bit better equipped for witnessing to occultists.  You will gain a tremendous amount of respect for having taken just a few moments to educate yourself. 

Jesus died for occultists too.  The least we can do is be a little less annoying and a little more informed. 


Image courtesy of [Lindsay Polyak] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, August 12, 2013

Manipulation: The Heart of Witchcraft


You might have heard some Christians say "Manipulation is witchcraft."  Is that true, and where does this idea come from?

When I was nineteen years old, a girl I knew from high school asked to interview me for a college paper.  One of her questions had to do with what I had learned in life that I considered valuable.  At the time I had no compunction about providing an honest answer: 
I valued what I had learned about how to manipulate the world around me to my advantage. 

Of course, what I was referring to at the time was witchcraft, along with other spiritual techniques that could also be classified as such.

When I first became a Christian, along with a whole host of other character defects, I discovered I had a serious manipulation problem.

I have discussed power and control in previous posts.  Manipulation is an offshoot of power and control, a manner in which they are applied.  It is one of the most nefarious because it is so covert and deceptive, it often deceives even the one who is using it into being unable to recognize it.  In fact, most of the time when people are manipulating, they are unaware of it. 

The first definition for the word manipulate on Dictionary.com says, "to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner."

It seems to me that the key word here is unfair.

I'm sure most of us would agree that managing or influencing skillfully in certain cases is sensible, even wise at times.  It's when it becomes unfair that it goes from managing to manipulating.

Add selfishness to managing and/or influencing and you have manipulation.  Selfishness is never fair.  It's too concerned with self to concern itself with others.

True fairness requires compassion.  The compassion of Jesus.  Only Jesus knows what each person needs in order for true fairness to exist.  What we may deem fair nearly always falls short, and sometimes what we deem unfair is actually right in God's sight.

However much we know or don't know about another person, manipulation insists on getting its own way, regardless of what the other person needs. 

Concerning oneself with others requires a radical ability to take a blind leap into the unknown.  It requires a sacrifice of the self, a dying to the self, and if you want to do it right, it's a death of self that lets Jesus live in us.

Manipulation is an unwillingness to "let go and let God," so to speak.  It utilizes the power of the flesh rather than trusting in God's power.  It seeks ones own glory - or vindication, or absolution, or some other similar benefit for self - before, or rather than, the glory of God.

All the same things could be said of witchcraft as well.  That's because manipulation is the heart of witchcraft.  Even when utilizing of the power of the flesh.  A witch might think of his or her workings as purely spiritual but they always begin with the desires of the self (which is the flesh) never with the desires of God.  After all, God condemns witchcraft in His word. 

As much as some witches would like to claim the ethics of never violating another person's free will, that is exactly what witchcraft does.  It forces, or attempts to force another person to do what he or she would not do otherwise. 

Likewise, that is what manipulation does. 

Manipulation uses the needs of others as leverage for one's own agenda.  It may even pretend to be kind and good, helpful and trustworthy while gaining the upper hand for ulterior motives.

Jezebel is often referenced as a witch.  In 1 Kings 21, she tricked Naboth by setting him on high among the people in order to obtain his property for her husband.  Just as she manipulated her community, so witches manipulate the spirit realm in order to obtain their desires. 

I've heard it said that manipulation is like a dog that's licking your face while urinating on your shoes.  I can tell you this:  every person who ever spiritually deceived me flattered me in the process.

A manipulator has to be the one who makes all the rules, and is only concerned with how he or she benefits from them.  Never mind the risk or cost to another.

Now, does that mean every person who seems to manipulate is a witch?  Not necessarily.  I'm sure almost everyone has manipulated at some time or another.  That doesn't make a person a witch. 

Also, we don't always know every detail of a person's situation, and sometimes people who accuse others of manipulating are doing so out of their own selfishness.  Take for example, the Nazis who tried to shame Corrie ten Boom for lying about hiding Jews during the holocaust.  They weren't exactly being selfless.

Each of us can only look at ourselves and check ourselves against the Word and the Holy Spirit to see whether we are submitting to God's will or being selfish.  One question we can ask ourselves in any given situation is, "Who benefits?"

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  (Philippians 2:3)

The best way each of us can avoid manipulation is to put others before ourselves.  And that should be easy to do when we put Jesus first.

So, what it comes down to is our heart's allegiance.  Is our heart's allegiance with Jesus or with ourselves? 

When someone is doing witchcraft, this is what's at the core of the matter.  The heart's allegiance is to the self.  Even in many new age teachings, self is revered, sometimes to such an extreme that it's spelled with a capital "S," because the "Self" is "God."

As Christians we know how absurd that is, but when we begin to place self before God, even in the slightest, we are treading on thin ice.  And beneath that ice is the cold reality of witchcraft, just waiting to take us under.

The thesaurus at Dictionary.com says that the opposite of manipulate is to leave alone.  If you find you have manipulated a person, or you are tempted to, the best thing you can do is step back and get alone with Jesus. 

Where have you been afraid to trust in Him?  What is it that you're really afraid of?  If you make the Lord your stronghold, you will have nothing to fear. 

We all have our moments of humanness, but the more we seek Him, the more we find Him.  When we are manipulating, whether spiritually or otherwise, we are not seeking Him. 

Our security is in Him.  When we seek Him first He teaches us the compassion that we need to put others before ourselves.  And when we have the compassion of Jesus, manipulation ceases to be a temptation.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Spiritual Deception vs. the Counterfeit Currency Analogy



"When the existence of evil spirits is recognized by the heathen, it is generally looked upon by the missionary as 'superstition' and ignorance; whereas the ignorance is often on the part of the missionary, who is blinded by the prince of the power of the air to the revelation given in the scriptures, concerning the satanic powers."  - Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, War on the Saints

Many years ago, I heard a preacher advising his congregation on how to avoid being deceived by the devil.  He offered an analogy of currency.

He said that in a bank, a teller is not taught to recognize counterfeit currency because one can never anticipate what will make each counterfeit identifiable.  Rather, he said, the tellers are taught to know the real currency well enough that a counterfeit will be spotted immediately. 

He said that we should do the same with God.  Know Him well enough that if you see something that is not of God, you'll know it immediately.

Ironically, during the very time I was listening to that preacher, I still subscribed to occult beliefs.  Although, if you'd told me I was in the occult at that time, I would have laughed at you. 

I thought if I wasn't sacrificing infants on a stone slab, wearing an upside-down cross, or drinking blood, I wasn't in the occult. 

I knew "God" and that was all I needed to know.  So I thought. 

We absolutely must make every effort to know God.  But unfortunately this "currency analogy" doesn't always work against deception, especially when it comes to occult deception, and I have discovered five reasons for this.

Reason #1:  False Christs and False Conversions
It is possible to spend a lifetime "getting to know God/Jesus," and all the while, wasting your life away on a real, living entity who is not Jesus at all, but just does a superb impression of Him. 

I actually said the sinner's prayer countless times in my life.  That doesn't mean I was submitting to or even meeting the true Jesus, and it certainly never drew me out of the occult.  I had no idea that the spirit I was accepting was a false Christ

If your initial experience with Jesus is with a false one, your very frame of reference for what's true is flawed.  If that's the case, you can dedicate yourself to "knowing God" all you want, and all you're going to get is more deception.  This is the equivalent of getting to know the counterfeit while thinking it's the real thing all along.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know might be a false convert, watch this video:

 

Reason #2:  The Devil Doesn't Always Deal in Dollars
Not every occult thing the devil dangles in front of you will present itself as spiritual currency.
Many occult practices and teachings masquerade as things that are seemingly not spiritual at all.  The more occultism goes mainstream, the more desensitized society becomes to it, and the more "innocent" it appears to be.  It often presents itself as purely secular or spiritually neutral.

I have seen occult practices and teachings masquerade as...
  • jewelry or decorative items - spirals, crescent moons, dream catchers, fairies
  • decorating styles - Feng Shui, Zen gardens and fountains
  • exercise - yoga, Edgar Cayce-prescribed exercises
  • art - fractal imagery, mandalas, tribal sculptures, totem poles
  • music - binaural beats, beta and theta tones, solfeggio frequencies
  • science - The Law of Attraction, neuro-linguistic programming, evolution, pyramids
  • fictional entertainment - Harry Potter, Twilight, The Wizard of Oz
  • practical healthy habits - progressive relaxation, Ayurvedic diet
  • medical treatment - acupuncture, touch therapy, Reiki
  • cultural traditions - Native American power animals, belly dance, fortune cookies
  • technology - subliminals, lucid dreaming masks, sound and light machines
  • childhood games - "He loves me, he loves me not...," cootie catchers
  • numbers - 11:11, 333, 12/21, 1234
All of these things are spiritual in nature but people often fail to recognize them as such.  Remember, doing something unwittingly doesn't change what you've done.  Running over a pedestrian in your car isn't any less horrible just because you did it unwittingly, and neither is occultism.

Reason #3:  Really Close Counterfeits
Some spiritual counterfeits pass easily because they're simply so close to biblical truth that it might not even occur to some people to question them.  Things such as angel statues or angel cards, contemplative prayer, circle prayers and prayer labyrinths are all occult.  But since angels and prayer are found in the Bible, many people think they're okay. 

Some of those people have read the Bible numerous times and would never be caught spending a moment of thought on the devil or his tactics.  It's not for lack of time spent getting to know God that they have been deceived.  It's for lack of knowledge about the deceptions. 

Remember, "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."  A prophet of God was deceived in 1 Kings 13.  I'd say he knew God better than most.  Prophets generally do.  But when spiritual deception shows up, it doesn't always look like deception, especially in these last days.  It often looks surprisingly like God Himself.  Even Adam and Eve were deceived and they walked in the garden with God every day.

Bank tellers get fooled sometimes too.

Reason #4:  God Is Not Entirely Knowable 

He is infinite and, in our humanness, we are not.  There is no way we can possibly contain total knowledge of the infinite God in our small, finite brains.  We're too small and He's too big.  We would explode. 

None of us will ever be the experts on God that bank tellers are on currency.  It would take eternity.  We can know the word and we can come to know God very, very well, yes.  We can even grow in extremely powerful discernment, but we cannot hold God in the palm of our hands and examine His every nuance like a dollar bill. 

Even knowledge of the word takes a lot more time, study and examination than knowledge of a dollar bill.  You can see every nuance of a dollar bill in less than a day.  You'll never read a whole Bible in less than a day. 

Reason #5:  This Is a War, Not a Bank
The devil doesn't want to make a deposit.  He doesn't even want to make change.  He wants to take you prisoner. 

Banks generally are clean, well-lit, temperature-controlled environments with security guards on site.  War is dirty, it takes place outside, sometimes in the dark, often in brutal elements, and sometimes the soldiers have to watch their own backs.

This is why God has given us armor.  Some bank tellers sit behind bullet-proof glass, but they don't have to wear armor and you'll never see one wielding a sword. 

Not to mention, God and mammon are worlds apart. Mammon - or money, at least in the United States, is covered with masonic (satanic) symbols. 

And God doesn't decrease in value like currency does. 

What Can We Do?
We should not stop seeking to know God even for a moment.  But we also shouldn't refuse to educate ourselves about occult deceptions, either. 

We should not obsess ourselves with it.  This is yet another danger - when Christians live occult lives vicariously by researching it too much. 

Studying your bible is an absolute must, and knowing God's character can help tremendously when it comes to discerning what is of Him and what isn't.

Know the Holy spirit.  The Spirit of truth guides us into all truth.

When watchmen and watchwomen warn us of spiritual dangers, listen.  Granted, there are some who cry wolf every day.  But there are others whom Jesus has rescued out of occult deceptions for the express purpose of standing at the very gates of those deceptions, to warn oncoming travelers of the danger therein.

You can't always know every counterfeit that's going to come along, but you can know the ones that the watchmen and watchwomen are warning you about.  You don't have to study them in detail, just heed the warning.

A person who scoffs at a warning might actually end up okay.  It could happen.  But there might be someone watching who needs that warning, yet follows the cue of the scoffer and disregards it...like I did.

Jesus wants us to have victory over the darkness, so we will be free and so He will be glorified.  Let's take advantage of the many resources He has given us against deception and win that victory!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Interview with Laura Maxwell




You may know or may have heard of Laura Maxwell.  A resident of Scotland, she is the author of a book called A Spiritual Quest. 

She was a New Age Spiritualist for ten years and has been a guest speaker around the United Kingdom educating people about the dangers of occultism and helping them find freedom through Jesus.  She has also appeared on numerous TV and radio shows aired around the world, and she provides a wealth of informational videos on her YouTube channel.

Laura is one of the gentlest, humblest, most loving people I know, and I am blessed and honored to be able to share with you her words and experiences. 

Meet Laura Maxwell.


Pennie:  What have you been doing today?

Laura:  Recently a few programs were filmed where I interviewed Michael Cummins, a Deliverance Minister from Revelation TV. Today, I uploaded the videos to my blog. Last week, a clip of my testimony was shown on a program by British Christian TV, so I uploaded the video onto my blog today too.

Pennie:  What is a typical day like for you?

Laura:  It varies, but usually involves answering people online who have saw me speak in a church, on TV, or YouTube and have asked me for advice. Some enquiries come from those still in New Age or Occult activities, and some come from Christians. A typical day may also find me preparing notes for interviews such as this one, or for radio, etc. Some days I meet people saved from similar backgrounds to advise them, or I might be involved in the prophetic ministry. I'm also working on a couple of writing projects.

Pennie:  How is everyday life different now from the life you led when you were in the occult?

Laura:  There's more peace in everyday life now! Being a Spiritualist affected all my thought processes and decisions. Instead of relying on Mediums or spirits for advice, I trust the Holy Spirit for guidance. The supernatural phenomena may have seemed interesting at the time I was a Spiritualist, but knowing Jesus, feeling His presence, seeing Him transform lives and heal people is actually far more awesome!

Pennie:  Prior to your involvement with the occult, did you have any Christian influences that you feel made a difference in your life?

Laura:  When I was about 5 years old, in school we were taught to sing Jesus Loves You and similar songs. We prayed in school every morning too. I believe the basic message about Jesus stayed with me, so that in later years, when I was struggling in the Occult, God brought it back to my memory. Then when we were about 12, the Gideons visited our school and gave all of us a Bible. I read all of the suggested readings. It's very possible I said the sinners' prayer to receive salvation, but I can't remember. Because of this, I feel that I was more protected than my mother, when our lives became at risk in the Occult.

Pennie:  How did you get involved with the occult?

Laura:  I'd always been interested in the supernatural. As for most people, it was a gradual progression, starting from being fascinated as a young child in fairy stories, children's tv shows or movies about magic, the supernatural, etc. Such things add to children's imagination and encourage them to believe the supernatural does exist. Then things such as Star Signs and Astrology attracted me. Again, I remember reading Horoscopes in children's magazines. From there, it naturally led into other New Age practises, such as Meditation, Yoga and so on. This all seemed harmless and 'mildly' New Age at the time. I didn't realise it was drawing me deeper in. Eventually that led into the Occult itself. My mother had been interested in Spiritualism for years. When she joined a Spiritualist Church in Glasgow, it wasn't long until I joined it too. We went there weekly, sometimes several times per week to watch the Mediums communicate with spirits that claimed to be our dead relatives or 'Spirit Guides,' also known as 'Guardian Angels.' It was addictive, as the spirits would give us very accurate messages, direction and advice that always worked!

Pennie:  What was your most profound occult experience?

Laura:  The Spiritualist Church sometimes had a special event known as the Transfiguration. This was a more intense supernatural practise that didn't happen every week. The church members were invited to attend. The Medium who led that church went into a very deep trance. Rather than just communicating to spirits and relaying their messages to us, he actually allowed the spirits to talk through him. One by one, different spirits came through him. His actual face and voice would change. The spirit claiming to be a dead relative would begin to materialise, coming out of the Medium's body, nose and mouth. It would then walk amongst the people, still attached to the Medium by wispy cords. We were invited to touch it, but I didn't want to! Everyone found it very eerie and yet we wanted more! It wasn't a stage show, it was very real. Scientists investigated Mediums before, during and after Transfigurations. They found that during the Transfigurations, there are very significant measurable changes. The Medium's body loses weight, as the bodily fluid that mixes to produce the ectoplasm substance leaves the Medium's body! They also found changes in temperature and so on. However, even famous Mediums have written in their books that Transfigurations, are dangerous and that the Medium can be burnt, blinded or even killed during it.

Pennie:  What belief or beliefs did that experience seem to confirm for you?

Laura:  It seemed to prove the existence of life after death, that our dead relatives live on and can come back to talk with us. Of course, I had no idea then, that spirits could be demonic impersonators, able to mimic anyone accurately. Also, when these demonic spirits would tell us the Bible was false and that Jesus wasn't the Saviour, we would believe them!

Pennie:  What did you think of Christians and Christianity when you were at your deepest point in the occult?

Laura:  As I said, because these demonic spirits would appear and tell us the Bible was false and that Jesus wasn't the Saviour, we would believe them. Many Mediums said they had often spoken to a spirit called Jesus. Now I realise that was a demon claiming to be Christ. As the Bible says there are many false Christs. The spirits taught us that Christianity was a man made new religion; that ancient Spiritualism, Paganism, Freemasonry, and other 'brotherhoods' were the true religions. They taught us that Christians were not evolved spiritually and were holding back the enlightenment of the New Age in the last days. Because of this, in the last days, all over the world Christians will be either removed or killed by Spirit Guides or aliens. This would result in more positive vibrations and a healing for the world! They said Christians think they will be raptured by Jesus, but it will actually be their supernatural removal to cleanse the earth! We were taught that Christians will have a final opportunity to reject their faith, and get involved with New Age practises. Like New Agers, Christians and non-Christians will be encouraged to meditate, receive their own Spirit Guides, etc, and join in the New World Order. We were taught the basics of Theosophy, the teachings of famous Mediums such as Madam Blavatsky and Alice Bailey. Blavatsky was known as the mother of the New Age Movement. She said her Spirit Guides appeared and told her that Lucifer is god, and he was the one who gave people psychic and clairvoyant abilities. We were taught Lucifer would bring a Messiah type figure onto the world's public scene, a man who would bring global peace and spiritual unity. Spirits taught Blavatsky that Lucifer would bring light to the world, and that Jesus wasn't the Saviour. Even although many Mediums, Psychics and Lightworkers will say they haven't heard this before, it is the basis of New Age and Spiritualism. It can be easily verified by reading Blavatsky's work or Theosophy. Famous Mediums today still teach this and have written in their books that they follow Theosophy and the Luciferian Doctrine, eg., Benjamine Creme, David Spangler, Barbara Marx Hubbard and others.  See this video in which I explain how Luciferianism and Theosophy is behind the New Age and Spiritualism:


Pennie:  When you began to turn toward Jesus, did you encounter any obstacles or anything that made it difficult for you to continue in that direction?

Laura:  A Christian friend invited me to her Pentecostal Church, where I heard the gospel and saw others give their heart to Jesus. Hearing people prophesy and pray in tongues caught my interest. That night when I returned home however, the spirits and Spirit Guides were furious. They didn't want me to accept Christ as my Saviour, and attacked me. They showed their true identities. This just proved to me that they were evil spirits, and had pretended for years to be dead relatives. My mother felt I had betrayed Spiritualism by accepting Jesus into my life. But soon after, she also renounced Spiritualism and got born again.

Pennie:  What about right after you became a Christian? Did you experience spiritual attack during this time? If so, what was that like?

Laura:  Yes. People would probably describe it as Poltergeist Activity, but the spirits weren't 'poltergeists.' They revealed that they were evil spirits or demons that had previously pretended to be loving relatives or Spirit Guides.They mocked me, hit me, threw me out of bed, etc. They became aggressive when I tried to read the Bible, pray or sing worship songs. This continued until I found a Christian Deliverance Minister, who cast them away from me and our home in Jesus Name. It's interesting that when I was a Spiritualist, spirits often tried to contact me, but when I came to Jesus, those spirits no longer tried to talk to me! No so called 'dead relatives' have ever appeared again! Another fact that highlights their true identity and also that it's impossible for the dead to come back, as they go to heaven or hell at death.

Pennie :  What happened to your mother?

Spirits spoke to Mum constantly, depriving her of sleep and attacking her physically. Once, when spirits forced her into a trance against her will, she was frying food. When she came out of trance, the kitchen was consumed by fire. I arrived home after the Fire Brigade had extinguished it. We all realised Mum and our pets could've been killed. Another day, I watched in horror as Mum was lifted and catapulted from the pavement, landing on the bonnet of a passing car. Mum’s doctor couldn’t accept poltergeist activity was real, so diagnosed as Schizophrenic, Mum was then detained in a Psychiatric Hospital.
Although my Mum gave her heart to Jesus a few months later, the Pentecostal Church I’d joined had no experience of praying for people like Mum. At that time, they didn't have the Deliverance Ministry. They didn't know that Christians can need demons cast out of them in Jesus Name. When psychiatrists discharged Mum, she returned home. She endured further harassment from spirits. So, tragically committed suicide. This left me in great shock. I feel this emphasizes the crucial importance for Christians to embrace the Deliverance Ministry, and be God's instruments to bring freedom to such tortured people in Jesus Name. Over the years as a Christian, I have been honoured and delighted that the Holy Spirit has used me to see people and homes be set free from demonic harassment. "Greater is He (Jesus), that is in you; than he (satan) that is in the world."

Pennie:  What advice would you give to people who have loved ones in the occult?

Laura:  Pray for them and show them love, because most of them will have been hurt by cruel comments from judgmental Christians, and this only pushes them farther away from Jesus! Try to show them a relevant video testimony, from YouTube or a similar site. One which shares the salvation story of someone who was into the same branch of the occult that your loved one is in. For example, if your relative is involved in Wicca, don't show them a testimony of an EX Satanist, as it won't be relevant and will insult them!

Pennie:  How can people get your book?

Laura:  From contacting me directly via my blog or Facebook page A Spiritual Quest. I'd also like to recommend Jeff Harshbarger's book, Dancing With The Devil, published by Charisma House and available on Amazon, etc. Jeff is an EX Satanist, who has spoken on various TV channels. His book contains chapters by myself and others involved in different branches of New Age or the Occult, such as, Ghost Hunting, Spiritualism, Wicca, Satanism & Vampirism. It highlights how each of us, endured horrors and that it was only the Lord Jesus Christ who could set us free from occult traumas.



Thank you so much, Laura.  It's been a great pleasure, and I pray the Lord continues to bless you, your family and your ministry.

For more from Laura, visit her blog, YourSpiritualQuest and her Facebook Page, A Spiritual Quest.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Jesus Is Our Hiding Place



I recently finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. 

Before you think this is just another boring book review for a book you either can't afford or won't have time to read, I want to do much more than just review this book, here. 

I want to share with you the fruit of the story, the fruit of the life lived that caused the story to be written in the first place.  I want you to taste it and be nourished by it, even if only enough to cause your eyes to open a little wider.

For those of you who don't know, The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie ten Boom, a woman who survived life in a Nazi concentration camp for hiding Jews in her home. 

She and her sister Betsie were in their fifties and living with their father, a watchmaker in Holland when they began their work in the Dutch National Underground.

They actually went to the extreme of having a special hiding place constructed in their home, behind a false wall in Corrie's bedroom.  They held practice drills routinely, to prepare in the event of a raid by the Gestapo. 

Corrie, Betsie and their father were all arrested together but only Corrie survived to walk free less than one year later, due only to a clerical error, or what we as Christians know as "the grace of God." 

One week later, all the female prisoners her age were exterminated.

While in prison, though it was illegal, Corrie managed to get her hands on a small Bible and managed to keep it hidden throughout her imprisonment, even though she used it daily. 

After leaving solitary confinement, she read it aloud to the other prisoners, many of whom died with the name of Jesus on their lips, shortly after surrendering their lives to Him. 

Through challenge after challenge, from strip searches to supervised showers, Corrie depended on God to protect her from being caught with that Bible.  And protect her He did!  Even when only the impossible would save her, the impossible came through.

I'm crying as I write this and I can't even wipe my eyes because I have to keep writing, the way Corrie had to keep tramping the world for the Lord after she was set free from prison. 

Because I know that God of impossibilities.  

It's so amazing.  He has shown me time and time again that when we trust Him for impossibilities, He delivers.  It's what He seems to live for when it comes to His children. 

I was naturally captivated by Corrie's story, and though I tried to read it like a writer, slowly, carefully, watching verbs and metaphors and taking notes, I often found myself carried out of my living room and into the mind of this intriguingly faithful woman. 

I found myself unable to notice the words on the page for the images in my mind and the sobbing (and even wailing) they often induced.

The horrors and atrocities Corrie witnessed were enough to shake the faith of any human being sane enough to function, yet she found a deeper meaning to the term "hiding place." 

Jesus is indeed our hiding place.  (Psalm 119:114)

That's not just a sweet metaphor.  For those who live it, it is absolute reality.  It's as simple and straight forward as the letters on this page. 

Even more so.  Because it's a fact that remains no matter how the world around us changes. 

The words on this page can disappear.  They can be deleted.  The Internet could even cease to exist.  But the hiding place that the Lord gives to those who love Him will always be there.

Ironically, I used to believe that Psalm 119 was a description of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. 

What a breakthrough it was for me to be able to see that Psalm through the eyes of one who loves His law rather than one who rejects it in favor of the chains of occult deception.

There are many different kinds of prisons in life, but the most destructive kind is the spiritual kind.  In most other kinds of prisons, you know you're trapped there. 

Even alcoholics and drug addicts will tell you they are in a prison with their slavery to substance.  But in a spiritual prison, you don't even have any desire to get free.  You think you already are.

The greatest miracle God did in my life was to show me I was in a spiritual prison.  To open my eyes and let me see that I was not free.  I was a slave to the one who wanted to destroy my soul. 

Jesus removed my chains.  That's what it means to be in Christ Jesus

And when He truly becomes our hiding place, we are free wherever we are.  Even in a Nazi concentration camp.

One of the most profound things about Corrie's story is what happened to her after she began her ministry.  After one particular speaking engagement, a man walked up to her and thanked her for her ministry because he himself had come to Jesus and received forgiveness for his sins. 

When she looked into his eyes, she recognized them.  This was the same man who had stood in a guard uniform and mocked her and her sister's emaciated bodies as they were forced to stand naked for inspections, repeatedly.

He asked her forgiveness and extended his hand to shake hers.  She could not lift her own.

But Jesus could.  And He did.  Proving that in everything, even in the things that God requires of us, He is always all we need.

She had to ask Him first, though.  As she stood there struggling with her pain, she asked Jesus to help her forgive, and suddenly, forgiveness flooded through her heart for that man who had been so cruel.  And she was able to shake his hand.

All we need to do is turn to Jesus.  Depend on Him.  Trust in Him.

That is what He wants from us most of all.  It delights His heart so much when we trust in Him for all we need, for everything from the breath of life to forgiveness in our hearts for others.

You might be wondering, "What about her sister and father who died?  Where was God for them?" 

To that I would say:  You need to read the book.

You need to be humbled like Corrie was by her sister, who is the one that taught her how to love like Jesus did. 

You need to be broken by the atrocities they faced and worse - by the hate Corrie discovered even in her own heart.

You need to see how, for each and every one of us, God in His wisdom and mercy gives us exactly what we need.

Look at Corrie's face.  Look at that joy.  That is the face of a woman who knows the heart of Jesus.  That is joy.  Joy.  The kind of happiness that doesn't leave, no matter the circumstances.  Even when you're living in a concentration camp full of lice and fleas and disease and death. 

You can have joy.  Even in the midst of suffering.

There is joy waiting for you. 

Seek to know His heart.  His heart longs to envelop you.  To enfold you in Him.

When you make Him your hiding place, He truly gets to be your everything.  And when He gets to be your everything, you need for nothing, anymore.

No wonder there will be no more crying in His kingdom. 

He is there. 

We need nothing more.  Corrie ten Boom proved it.  And I pray you and I prove it too.