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 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.