Some weeks, the topics for Faithful Families Ministries roll off the top of my head. Sometimes I write two or three ideas down and save them for times when I need a direction for an article. This week, there was no such abundance of free-flowing ideas. So, with a blank screen on the computer for more than 30 minutes, I decided to surf the web. Going to my favorite newspaper on-line, I read comics. I did crossword puzzles. I solved the word jumbles and glanced at my horoscope. It read, “Today you will write an article about astrology.”
Well, since I can’t argue with what my future holds, and since it’s certainly futile to try to alter my future, I guess I am going to write about astrology and horoscopes. What’s interesting is that until I read that horoscope, I didn’t even know I was SUPPOSED to write about that! All I can say is, “Thank you stars, planets, and moons for aligning just right to allow me to put out another article before deadline.” Also, while I’m at it, I’m going to read all my past horoscopes to see what I missed and how my life would be today had I followed the advice of these wise, all-knowing sages. My apologies to any readers who inadvertently read an article I shouldn’t have written because I didn’t seek guidance in the matter beforehand. I feel you may have been cheated and I let you down…please forgive me…
Anyway, since the horoscopes were right all along, I decided to grab my credit card and have my tarot cards read on-line. Well, it appears that my life is so complicated that she ran out of cards. But she directed me to a site that could pick up where she left off. I was having a real-time conversation with a medium on the other end of the website. She instructed me to place my fingertips on my computer monitor. It began moving, and kept moving until it fell off my desk and broke. I knew I was in for it financially because this morning’s tea bag broke in my mug and the leaves were in the shape of dollar signs. Of course I was optimistic thinking I was going to GET money not SPEND it!
I could go on, but I’ll spare you. But know this, 27% of Americans, according to a 2003 Harris Poll believe in astrology to the point that they use it to make decisions in daily life. An estimated 75% of newspapers in the U.S. carry a daily horoscope report. Astrology and other forms of the occult are so much a part of our lives and it’s so subtle, that it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow for the rest of us anymore. Oh sure, we can watch people like David Blaine and Chris Angel, both illusionists whom, you could argue, pull off their tricks with the help of demonic influences, and we could even recognize that mediums like John Edwards can’t really talk to the dead unless they be equipped with abilities from demonic sources. But there’s a slow and subtle indoctrination going on today from so many sources, especially targeting the young children and teens in our day and age.
Children are being introduced to the occult world before they’re even able to read a horoscope. Nearly every Disney movie has occult practices somewhere in the film: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Pinocchio, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and the list goes on. There’s something about the occult that appeals to young and old alike. Interestingly enough, there is a nighttime show at Disney’s MGM studio that is Disney’s most fantastic show. Crowds begin to gather 2 hours before the show and in the summer, they run two shows. The show is called Fantasmic and is based on the character of Mickey Mouse in a roll called The Sorcerer’s Apprenctice. The movie depicts Mickey Mouse learning how to use magic to get his chores done, and the show at MGM is jam packed with sorcery, witchcraft, divination, and magic.
But it’s not just Disney cartoons. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, according to IMDb website, has a tag line stating, “Everyone’s life could use a touch of magic.” And the plot line is, “A sixteen year old high school student finds out she’s a witch.” How many countless teenage girls watched an innumerable number of hours, during which time they were introduced to the idea of magic to the point where they became desensitized to any evils inherent in the occult. The Wizard of OZ and Wicked even explore the notion that there are good witches and bad witches and that there are such things as black (bad) and white (good) magic.
There are even Barbie dolls on toy store shelves now called “Secret Spells Barbie” and they are described this way: “Transform Barbie from an ordinary girl to one of the Charm Girls. Just put on Barbie’s “enchanted” Charm Girl jacket and she’s ready to mix up delicious potions that you can really drink. Barbie comes with costume, dragonfly, mixing pot, stand, spoon, stirrer, three bottles, book with a secret compartment, and two packets of “magic” powder (sugar-based mixes you mix with water).” Imagine, a Barbie doll, for a child, that you can mix potions with…and then drink them. Obviously it’s a powdered drink, but doesn’t a game of “pretend” get you interested in the “real thing” later?
OK…horoscopes, astrology, witches, divinations, spells, chants, magic, conversing with the dead, sorcery, wizardry, séances, channeling, clairvoyance, spiritism, omens, etc…(did I miss any?) are condemned by God in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18:9-12, God warned Israel not to become involved with the heathen practices that were going on there: “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out before thee.”
The power of the occult is alive and well today, but I’ll show you an example from the Bible that proves the fact that no matter how powerful the evil forces are that create these phenomena, God’s powers trump them all. Consider Exodus 7:7-12, the biblical account of Moses before Pharaoh when God commanded Aaron to throw his rod on the ground and it turned into a serpent (vs. 10). Pharaoh was unimpressed and called his sorcerers and magicians and commanded them to do the same. Behold, they too cast their rods down and their rods became serpents as well (vs. 12). But, to prove the power of God over the power of the devil, Aaron’s rod swallowed all the other serpents the mighty magicians had created (vs. 12).
Another biblical account of God’s powers superseding those of the “magicians” and “sorcerers” of the days of the early church is found in Acts 13:4-12. There was a certain man traveling with a sorcerer named Barjesus. This man, named Sergius Paulus, called on Paul and Barnabas because he had a desire to hear the word of God (vs. 7). But, Barjesus, opposed the truth of the gospel and sought to deceive and prevent Sergius from hearing the gospel (vs. 8). So Paul, under the power of the Holy Spirit, rebuked the sorcerer for engaging in deceptive acts and “perverting the right ways of the Lord” (vs. 9-10). Paul, under the power of the Holy Spirit, immediately caused this man to go blind for a while (vs. 11) and because of that display of power, Sergius Paulus became a believer (vs. 12). So the devil used all tricks of cunning against Sergius, using his very own traveling companion, to prevent him from believing, and God used the acts of the Holy Spirit against the devil’s own surrogate to cause another to be saved.
There are dangers that come with not recognizing the occult. There are dangers with becoming interested in the occult. There are certainly dangers associated with becoming involved with the occult. First things, first. To avoid becoming involved in something one does not want to be involved with, you need to educate yourself to make the right decision. Read what the Bible says about astrology and other occult practices listed in Deuteronomy 18:9-12. But as you read and study, don’t allow the knowledge you gain to turn into an unhealthy curiosity and fascination, because once you, or someone you love, become involved in the occult, it promises to have terrible consequences.
Case in point. In First Samuel 28:7-25 you can find the account of Saul seeking guidance and direction from a witch. Saul had drifted from the Lord to the point where he was going against the Lord’s command to avoid even getting within the presence of a medium, witch, sorcerer, etc (Leviticus 19:31). So, to seek the advice and guidance of such an entity was truly insulting to God. So, the Bible plainly states in First Chronicles 10:13-14, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; and inquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” Pretty severe consequences, huh? Do we think God is any more lenient and less severe these days?
Like most things that have infiltrated the church today, the occult came in very subtly and innocently in the form of movies, television, children’s toys, and yes…horoscopes, to name just a few. And while fairies and wicked witches battle it out in movies where good always conquers evil, the good magic and wizardry are still things condemned by God in Deuteronomy and many other places in Scripture. In fact, both my children attend a Christian school and they have a Tinkerbell back pack and another backpack depicting the Disney Princesses from movies filled with the occult. I’m surprised the school allows them.
Most of us would be scared to death to attend any ritual in the deep woods where a pentagram was displayed and everyone wore dark scary cloaks, and right we should be. But how many people do we know stand by Wicca because it’s all about nature and balance and using creation for the betterment of all around us. They are seemingly harmless because they state on one of their websites, “Contrary to what those who choose to persecute or lie about us wish to believe, Wicca is a very peaceful, harmonious and balanced way of thinking and life which promotes oneness with the divine and all which exists” (http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm).” But, if you read any of their websites, they all will use the terms “witches,” “witchcraft,” “spells and rites,” and many other terms present in Deuteronomy 18.
First Peter 5:8 reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Vigilant, in that verse, is translated from the Greek word gregoreo, which means to keep awake and to have spiritual alertness. Again, it doesn’t take a bunch of alertness to know that pentagrams and animal sacrifices are wrong. But don’t forget that the devil can also transform himself into an “angel of light” (Second Corinthians 11:14). I believe that to be a warning that Satan can be subtle. I already described how innocently and subtly the occult has infiltrated Christian homes, but now, and with further study on your own, maybe we have keener eyes and wake up to the occult in our homes.
I’ll be honest with you, the reader. I am not going to be pre-emptive in my approach in dealing with the presence of some of the things I mentioned, namely the Disney movies, because really, that’s all that’s in my home with any link to the occult. They’re too young to be able to understand the stands I would have to take against Disney and other such avenues of subtle introduction to the occult. But I’m going to be vigilant (awake and spiritually alert) to notice the first signs of influence of these things on my kids. Because once they begin pretending to do magic and sorcery, that shows a basic enough understanding to be able to teach them what is wrong with it.
Anyway, it’s lunchtime and this has made me pretty hungry. I think Chinese food is the way to go today. Fried rice, chicken fingers, lo mein, and of course…fortune cookies!!!