The Gospel Coalition website posted a story about a recent survey. It found that a slight majority of people actually do believe that Satan is real and that demons can possess people. If you’re a Southern, born-again, Republican black woman in her 50’s with a post-graduate degree, you’re especially likely to believe that. Good. If we don’t think Satan exists, we aren’t looking for his influence in our lives. We aren’t wary of being manipulated by him. And we won’t pray against him. Those who know he’s out there will be stronger Christians for it. Just like those amazing Southern, born-again, black women.
So, I guess Catholics like their sports. Did you know that there are entire lines of rosaries devoted to sports? There are rosaries with tiny footballs for beads, as in the one above, so that you can count your Hail Marys while simultaneously praying for a hail Mary on the field. And there are rosaries with tennis balls for beads so that you can ask our Father for His love while watching the players score love. How about that? Here’s a link to purchase them.
- The Venerable Beads (beadswithfaith.wordpress.com)
1 Corinthians 10:19-21
What am I [Paul] saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
As Christians we need to be cautious about our pursuits. I used to think fortune telling was silly and harmless. Now I realize that demons can use stupid things like fortune cookies and visits to psychics against us. They take the opportunity to influence us because we go looking for wisdom in the wrong places. We have no business communing with tarot-card readers or practitioners of crystals, or hanging out with “good” witches. God hates that. He knows how dangerous it is. We can’t be fooled by popular culture into allowing demons into our lives. In Los Angeles, I encounter “spiritual” stores everywhere I go. There are psychics on every corner. Crystals and magnets promise healing. It’s easy to dismiss these things and laugh at them, but I’m learning to take them seriously and to avoid them at all cost. Not because they have a power of their own, but because demons will use these tools to get close to people. I don’t want to commune with demons. I have to be smarter than that.
- Satan Exists, And Sometimes He Reveals Himself! By: Msgr. Charles Pope (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
I’ve been meditating on some verses in Matthew. Jesus is setting up Peter as the head of His new church. It’s a huge moment. He gives Peter, and by extension the members of His entire church, the keys to the kingdom.
‘And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’
Keys represent authority and Jesus made a point of transferring that authority before He left earth. We’ve already seen the apostles casting out demons in Jesus’ name and by His authority (Acts 8:7). Now Jesus mentions Hell, and He tells Peter that the demons there cannot win against the church. So what is being bound and what is being loosed here? I think that Jesus, in this passage, gave us authority to bind demons and loose angels.
This same phrase comes up again in Matthew 18:18 where Jesus is talking to all the disciples. He brings it up in the midst of a discussion about forgiveness of fellow Christians. So He is definitely referring to binding sins on earth that have already been bound in heaven and forgiving sins on earth that have already been forgiven in heaven. But I think we can also apply this verse to binding demons and loosing angels. Demons are often manifestations of sin. And angels are often manifestations of grace.
There are other biblical references to binding that are tied up with sin and demons.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?
Wickedness (including sin and evil spirits) can bind us and hold us in bondage for years, if not a lifetime. But Jesus sets us free from that.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has annointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
In Acts 12:7-11, God sends an angel to free Peter from prison. So angels can be freeing agents while demons can bind us. But Jesus gave us authority to bind those demons and loose the freeing angels into our lives. So let’s use it. The next time you’re feeling angry or oppressed, try calling on Jesus’ authority to bind the demons that are disturbing you. Bind them and send them to hell. Then try calling forth God’s grace by asking for angels to be loosed into your presence. Surround yourself with the manifestations of God’s love and protection. He gave us the keys to the kingdom. Let’s use them.
- Loosed on Earth also Loosed in Heaven… What? (studyinthewordblog.wordpress.com)
Bilogos conducted a fascinating and uplifting interview with astrobiologist Stephen Freeland. It’s definitely worth reading. He speaks about how his faith is bolstered by his scientific discoveries. Here’s an excerpt:
I kinda want a terebinth tree. All sorts of wonderful things happen under and around them in the Bible.
In Genesis 18:1-2
“Then the Lord appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him;”
In Judges 6:11
“the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor’!”
Of course, it takes more than a terebinth tree to get a visitation from the Lord or His angels. But it might help.
I’ve heard of anime: Japanese-drawn cartoon television shows like “Speed Racer.” But until recently, I hadn’t heard of manga: Japanese-drawn comic books. Anime and manga can both be written or spoken in English but the aesthetic of the characters is definitely Asian with sharp cheekbones and tiny chins. Well, now there’s Christian manga! Halleleujah for that! You can get the snazzy number above on Amazon.
Christian comics aren’t completely new. After all, Archie’s creators struck a licensing deal with a Christian comic book company back in the 70’s and churned out 19 titles. You can read more that about that here. My poor memory somehow retains the images of Archie and Betty spouting scripture. For years I figured my brain was playing tricks on me. But no, it was real. Here’s the issue that somehow made its way into my home and my hippocampus, lo those many years ago: