August 26, 2009

Dead Man Talking?

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Ouija boards. Fortune tellers. Tarot cards. Psychics. Mediums.

They can seem harmless, and even helpful. Something to do at a sleepover party. A way to peek into the future. A dare done with girlfriends. A guiding light during confusing t

imes. A way to comfort those who grieve.

And who among us has never read a horoscope, pulled out a Ouija board with our pre-teen girlfriends, or even visited a fortune teller or psychic?

If you’re reading this and saying, “No, I never have and never will!” Good for you. But there are many of you who have—and do.

But really, are these things wrong? Modern spiritualism offers a lot of appealing tenets like wisdom, healing, reverence, continuous life and mystery. Psychics can be kind people who truly want to help. If the information they provide through one-on-one encounters, books and TV shows offers direction, provides comfort or gives closure, is it really such a bad thing?

Certainly the world around us doesn’t think it is.

This very topic came up on the Today show this morning. The two female hosts, who themselves appear to be intelligent, caring women, casually chatted about the pros and cons of seeing a psychic. The one who had visited a psychic explained her choice for doing so. She sounded logical and I’m sure left many viewers thinking, “Hmm, maybe I’ll try that.”

As I wrote earlier, my daughter has a casual friend who’s a wiccan. (Wicca is a neo-pagan, nature-based religion, aka witchcraft.) I know this girl and she comes from a nice family. She’s smart, charismatic and personable. I would venture to say she’s a leader among her peers. Certainly some of the friends with whom she talks about her religion, even the ones who go to church, are left thinking, “Yea, that sounds okay.”

I have friends, Christian friends, who read horoscopes, do numerology and have even visited with psychics. Some mention these things casually. Others do so apologetically. A few are proud. I know a woman who quotes a famous psychic on one hand and Jesus on the other—giving each top billing. How easy it is for those around these women to say, “Hmm, if she’s doing this, it must be okay.”

I use these illustrations not to bash, but to point out how fuzzy our thinking has become in this area. How easy it is to look at the evidence all around and wonder, “Is toying with the spirit world really that bad?”

In a word, yes!

God made His feelings on this topic crystal clear: “Let no one be found among you… who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

Detestable! An abomination! A disgusting thing if you turn to any supernatural means other than Him. God leaves us no room for any of our “Yea, but…” rationalizations.

In her book, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs talks about spiritualists and one in particular, mentioned in Samuel:

“The medium of En Dor was the worst kind of Bad Girl because she directly opposed God and his Word, yet clothed herself in the guise of a helpful soul. It’s easy to be taken in by her caring, generous ways and her servant attitude. Visit a medium today and you’ll no doubt find the same warm welcome and desire to please.

I studied various books on the occult and found safe-sounding, familiar practices: Prayer and meditation. Ceremonies and sacred days. Music and worship. Sharing of food. Storytelling. Rituals for birth, marriage, and death.

Many similarities. But oh, sisters, one big difference!

Our relationship is not with a dead spirit but with a LIVING CHRIST.

Our God does not come from within ourselves but from ON HIGH.”

We are all looking for something. For answers. For purpose. For hope and healing. For revelation and redemption. For help and holiness.

But we must test everything, even if it makes sense to our sinful minds! Does the message align with God’s Word? Is it from God? Does it glorify Him?

There is one place and one place only to find that for which our souls craves. It is not in the spirits of the dead—but in the Spirit of the living God.

Turn to Jesus. He is enough.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)


Get Real Girl said...

What a great post! So many things in the world today are looked at casually but are completely against the Word. Thanks for talking about this topic today.

Runner Mom said...

Hmm..Kelli! This is a great topic! It is not a subject to be taken lightly. I don't hear of these things that much where I live, but they are out there. Thank you for writing about this and sharing the scripture and excerpt from the book. Have a great day!

Sassy Granny ... said...

How timely! I have been amazed at the number of television and theater offerings associated with the occult. Obviously people are enamored of the spirit world, and very likely clueless as to the dangers abiding there.

It's no secret that evil transforms itself into light, or to the appearance of light. It may help some for a season, but when the lights reveal themselves for the darkness they truly are, then that darkness is hideous, if not downright dangerous.

Be blessed,

Pierre said...

What an awesome blog! It was bold, biblical and beautifully written! I will be passing this along to some family members.

Keep up the great writing!

Sue J. said...

"My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent."
--Proverbs 1:10

It's one of the very first verses in Proverbs, after Solomon introduces the value of wisdom--what we wear as a garland or an ornament, reminding us of timeless Biblical truths passed down from our parents for generations. Sadly, what you are exposing here is that this wisdom is not being passed down but passed away.

Horoscopes are like daily fortune cookies--sweet enticements with a message of direction. And if one said to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge..... ??

At our first opportunity, we must step away from sin's direction and take up what we know is right--God's Word--no matter what.

Prayers that your daughter's friend can see the Light that shines through your daughter!

Irritable Mother said...

"Our relationship is not with a dead spirit but wit a LIVING CHRIST."
Amen and amen!!!

Terri Tiffany said...

Turn to Jesus. He is enough.

This line says it all:) Great post!

Kelly Combs said...

Tell it Kelli! It scares me to hear all this stuff, and you mix Oprah into the mix with all the new age stuff and people are seriously confused.

Jesus is the ONLY way. That isn't intolerance, it's truth. and the TRUTH shall set us free!

Cheryl Barker said...

"There is one place and one place only to find that for which our souls craves. It is not in the spirits of the dead—but in the Spirit of the living God." Amen and Amen!

Keep up the truth-telling, Kelli!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Well said and studied. We can't hear it enough...

Align the "truth" we're hearing with the truth of God's Word. It's not always an easy swallow, considering that I feel, like Paul, the worst of sinners on earth. I can certainly find enough OT and NT principles to bring on the guilt. It's sometimes hard for me to differentiate between God's grace and my sin. Does that make sense?

Anyway, thanks for this post. I hope you are well and that life is getting into some type of routine for you all as fall arrives!


Carmen said...

A great post! I couldn't agree with you more. Really thorough and well written!

Drinne said...

I am sorry to have come to you blog and seen what amounts to religious discrimination in the name of making a point.

Ouija Boards, communing with the dead, tarot readings are all things that should rightly be warned against in the context of religious instruction, but the characterization of Wiccanism as "witchcraft" and compared to these desperate and trivializing practices and gathering them all under the heading "occult" lumping it under "She's a very nice girl "but"" is not allright it is stereotyping and intolerant casts the rest of your assumptions in a poor light for anyone who does not share your particular view of a "Living Christ."

Prayer, storytelling, ritual and personal responsibility are hallmarks of religions other than Christianity and I wonder if you lump Judaism in with the same "occult" practices since there is all of the above without the Christ part?

Could you have perhaps made your point without slandering another person's religion while reinforcing your beliefs?

Samuel was brought back from the dead by Saul. Samuel was holy and a prophet and yet he was brought back. This is not because a the woman of Endor has greater power than God's, it is because her power was acceptable in God's world (at that time in the Bible) but not for Saul or his kingdom. Saul was committing a sin by looking for knowledge he should not have had. It is Saul's sin. Saul is the one who promised her safety after initially banishing the practice, and she is the one who stood by her word and her beliefs and ethics when Saul proved unable to handle what he had caused, she was the one who brought him food and set him back to his work and his own world. She acted morally within her own religion and God punished Saul but did not punish her. Samuel:25 ends with her giving Saul the respect of an honored guess although he endangered her life and took advantage of her thrice over. Calling on her as the greater evil ignores the intensity of Saul's numerous sins that led him into all of the actions and warnings that led to Samuel:25 in the first place, which are the true insights into the sin of dealing with the occult. It's not about the Woman of Endor. It's about the person who made a covenant with God.

You are not supposed to have truck with the dead because it goes against God's order. All of the other examples you gave are examples of trying to in effect change God's game. It the hubris of it that makes it a sin, It's violating the experience of being in this world and focusing on the next that make it an abomination.

You can pray for her to find God and accept Jesus, by that standard she is pagan but she is not "occult" Just being pagan is not an abomination in the bible. As a matter of fact Moses married one and Miriam drew God's wrath for pointing it out.

There are evil people who use belief in the occult to take advantage of others, steal their money, manipulate their actions. This is obviously not the case with this girl or her family, by your own description. Instead of sticking to your point you have chosen to use a real live person and her family who will now be identifiable in your community seems like very unchristian behavior to me.

As someone who agrees with you on the point that the occult is too seeped in our culture as acceptable to "play with" and feels that people should turn to their own religions for guidance or surcease from pain, I am saddened that your point comes with an incidence of a sin that a historical Jesus would have shunned "Lashon HaRa" in hebrew, "The Evil Tongue" in english, "gossip" in easily understood American.

You should have left the friend, casual or otherwise and her religion which you don't agree with, out of it.

Members of your community who feel strongly about it might identify her and take action. Harrass her in school, or worse. I am sure that is not your intent but now it is out and it is possible. That is why you guard against the "Evil Tongue" because of it's unintended consequences.

Drinne said...

In fairness, I have linked to you through a friend's website, so I am obviously an outsider to your community.

I am concerned with bringing live people especially minors into the web as part of a debate.

Please feel free to ignore me at will. I think your title is wonderful and it made me want to hear what you had to say, so I wish you well on your journey and hope your life has all the light and peace that God can grant.

Analisa said...

All I can say is praise God! As a young teenager I got into Psychic,Tarrotcards,horoscopes. There is dark power behind those things, his name is Satan. He appears as an angel of light. While I practiced them and things happened and things came true...there was a price to pay.

I fought depression had serveral suicide attempt and dark visitations. It is not harmless. When you take hands with the devil you take his crap too.

Thank God I am delivered and living for God!!!

Sue J. said...


I'm back to, again, support and encourage you in what you have said here--because what you have done is not something you have done lightly nor without great care.

Your explaining of Wiccanism was to the point. There are many other things you could have added, but they would have sent you off on a tangent (i.e., like serving multiple gods).

I know you are holding up this child in prayer, and have nothing but good intentions in bringing to light what she believes. She has obviously shared her beliefs with others. This post is by no means a slam, but it is stating God's truth on the subject--which just happens to directly oppose what this girl believes.

If you read the account of the medium from En-dor in I Samuel 28, I think one finds a woman in fear for her life (she should have been stoned, per the law), and, yes, a Saul who is extremely far from God to the point that God has ended communications with him (which is why he seeks the medium--to find his mentor, Samuel).

I'm not sure I like the Liz Curtis Higgs wording from the book: "...she directly opposed God and his Word, yet clothed herself in the guise of a helpful soul." When I read the Scripture, the woman does not speak against God or His Word, nor does she pretend to be helpful. Now, she IS still a medium, and her choice to continue in a way that would have her killed is baffling. I also need to disagree with your commenter to say that God will bring about punishment to fulfill His law, whether we see it (or read it in the Bible) or not.

We also need to remember that GOD was the one who allowed for Samuel's appearance, not the medium. And she knew it!! She didn't have the power to do that, and she also, then, understood that it was Saul (who came in disguise) and she was afraid.

Something else to add...we don't know what happened to that medium. Had she accepted her actions and turned to God, we might have read another Rahab story. But, again, just because her end isn't printed in the Bible doesn't mean we know what happened.

But we do know that God's presence was there in a tangible way.

And one last thing: We all sin and fall short of the glory of God--Christian or not; king or medium.

(For you) "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."--Joshua 1:9

Jill Kemerer said...

I've been extremely cautious my entire life about anything spirit-based. Why would I want to play around with anything directly opposed to God? No thanks! The Bible has all I need.

Great post!

Laura said...

This stuff always scared me too much to let curiosity lead me there, but I too have heard others speak of such things casually. I like what you say: "Our relationship is not with a dead spirit but with a LIVING CHRIST."

That is awesome!

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Kelli, my heart sinks when I hear of anyone indulging in the dangerous (yet seemingly innocuous) past-times you mention here. Our God is a jealous God. And He wants His children walking in the truth.

And Amen to Kelly's comment below...Oprah perpetuates quite a confusing mixture.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Great discussion in these comments. There is a lot of "toying" with the darker elements of spirituality, and when I was an atheist, I toyed. It seemed harmless and fun. Now those things not only turn me off, but they frighten me -- that I did not see the darkness right around the corner during those years. I see it now, and I avoid it. Thanks for bringing up the topic. Clearly, it resonated with quite a few people.