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.
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)
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:
Candida Moss wrote a really nice piece for the Daily Beast about the supposed angel priest who showed up at the site of a car wreck. (I wrote about the angel priest here.)
Moss’ story goes on to talk about the modern cultural perception of friendly, pretty angels who are at our beckon. She explains that angels can be terribly frightening when encountered by humans. And she reminds us that they are part of God’s army with the power to destroy people, demons, and cities. You can read her article here.
This is a hummingbird with a broken wing that floundered into my life quite by accident. I named the wild hummy Patience.
I gave him/her that name because the little birdy wanted to fly so badly, but it needed time to mend. It needed time to heal. And it needed patience to allow the healing to happen. Watching the hummy made me keenly aware of my own unwillingness to wait for God’s hand in my life. I want to flap my wings constantly, I want to just keep moving regardless of whether or not I know where I’m going. But that isn’t always healthy for me. Just like I knew the hummy needed to calm down in order to get to a better place, God knows what is best for me; His angels are watching out for me. And it would be easier on both of us if I would just have some patience and let His will work in my life.
I fed Patience, kept him safe, and found a veterinarian that would give him medical care and rehab him. I would have probably kept him if it weren’t illegal in California to do so. There’s something about caring for another being that really produces a bond. I can’t even imagine how much God is bonded to us. We all need so much care and love.
I came across two verses in the Old Testament which refer to God sending evil spirits upon people. The first is
“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech that the crime done to the 70 sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon] might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his own brothers.”
And the second is 1 Samuel 16:14
“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
Some translations actually say “evil spirit” instead of “distressing spirit.” Does that mean God will send evil spirits into our lives? No, not necessarily. But He might allow evil spirits to get to us if we are constantly sinning. Both Abimelech and Saul had it coming. They were severely disobedient to God and His laws. They didn’t run from evil. They didn’t fear God.
My MacArthur Study Bible notes that God allowed these evil spirits to torment Abimelech and Saul because of their considerable sin. It says, “There are several NT occasions where God turned people over to demons or Satan for judgement (see Acts 5:1-3; 1 Cor 5:1-7; 1 Tim 1:18-20).”
Yikes. This is pretty heavy motivation to keep on the straight and narrow and to listen to my conscience. There’s demons out there and I don’t want them getting through my hedge of protection.
For Further Reading:
An article by PopSci discusses the implications of the findings from a study of twins. The study shows that faith has a genetic component.
I can see evidence of this in my own family. Faith is abundant on my father’s side of the family but not so much on my mother’s side.
I’ve noticed, while reading the Old Testament, that God had a way of genetically selecting faithful men for the tribe of Israel. He started by choosing Noah and his family, the only people He deemed worthy to save in a world full of wicked people. God weeded out the bad seeds with a flood, and let the good ones propagate. Then He chose Noah’s son Shem, over his brothers, to be the head of the Semitic people.
Later on, God chose Shem’s descendant Abraham to be the father of Israel (through Isaac, but not through his half-brother Ishmael). Isaac’s son Jacob fathers the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, but Jacob’s twin brother Esau (truly the eldest) gets sidelined because he didn’t value his birthright. He therefore didn’t get to contribute to the gene pool of Israel the way his fraternal twin did. Interesting, huh?
So if we apply genetics to theology (which is probably a bad idea–but that isn’t going to stop me from doing it), maybe genes are the way that God predestines us to be Christians. Maybe He knew that some of us would be more likely to turn to Him than others because of heritage and He explained that to the apostles through the concept of predestination. Or maybe I’m off my nut.
What do y’all think? Let’s chat about it.