We have looked at how strongholds develop in our culture by the ideas which are untrue and opposed to God’s Truth are embraced by society and accepted. We have looked at the way strongholds develop over our lives as individuals as a result of untruth and lies which have been spoken to us or over us and we have accepted to one degree or another as being true of us. Now I would like to investigate the strongholds which can take hold from the evil world.
God tells us in His Word not to have anything to do with: fortune tellers, spiritualists, necromancers, shamans, mediums, spirit guides, familiar spirits, those who consult the dark world in any way seeking to find answers or direction for themselves in any way at all apart from the God who made us. Yes, that also includes tarot cards, tea leaves, crystals, stones, ouija boards, seances, divining truth from body parts (chicken hearts or livers) and even horoscopes God did not give us the stars to predict our future. He set them in place and named them to make His plan clear to all mankind.. The above list is not meant to be exhaustive. There are many other things which could be added to the list.
Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. [NLT]
When people tell you, "Try out the fortune tellers. Consult the spiritualists. Why not tap into the spirit-world, get in touch with the dead. Tell them, "No, we're going to study the Scriptures." People who try the other ways get nowhere—a dead end! [MSG]
(Isaiah 8:19-20 in two versions)
I know some of you will react to what I have written above. Some might dismiss all of the above as hocus-pocus nonsense. Others embrace all or some of it as legitimate ways of seeking guidance and direction for your future. But perhaps you draw the line against necromancy or sacrificing an animal or worse yet a child. Believe me it happens in this day and age. I no longer dismiss any of the above approaches I have listed as being hocus pocus. Living among various tribal groups of people over the last thirty years I have seen that there is indeed power in these things. Yet I would never embrace any of it as being some that is useful or acceptable. God has made it clear to us that we are to stay away from any and all such practices. It is not nonsense, it is true and it does work. But anything which emanates from the evil world has only one purpose – to rob, kill and destroy. It is not truth neither is it an alternative option of seeking secret or hidden knowledge. It is evil and to be avoided. Don’t think that you can play with or experiment with those things, they will mess up your life
Permit me to tell you one story before I get on to the explanation of what Portals of Power are, which I gained from being given a video series by George Otis Jnr who wrote the book The Last of the Giants when we returned from Indonesia the first time. It was very helpful in explaining a lot of what we had witnessed there.
On visiting one village area up in the mountains in Sulawesi where we spent 6 weeks doing a language survey, we were ready to leave and begin the two day tramp down to the coast. I went out outside to find my shoes but they were nowhere to be seen. They had disappeared. I looked for them everywhere and others of course asked me what I was looking for and joined in the search. The villagers, especially the ones who had hosted us in their house, were mortified that the shoes of this international guest had gone missing from their house. Next there was a procession of shoes being brought to me to try. It would have been shameful to them for me to have to make the journey to the coast in bare feet. They were desperate to find something that fitted me. They brought out every type of footwear imaginable but it was obvious to me and then to them that nothing was large enough. I was convinced I would have to make the journey barefoot. Finally they brought out a pair of gumboots and when I put my foot into them and my feet disappeared from view they chorused out, “Ya cocok!” (“Yes that fits” “That’s suitable”. It didn’t matter that I was walking on the heels of the folded over gumboot and flopping around on them. I knew to agree they were “cocok” knowing that they would never find shoes the right size for me and if they couldn’t find something I fitted we would have to stay there.
While the search for suitable shoes was going on, something else was happening. The older people of the tribe were gathering and then a woman walked in, rather gnarled and bent over, and carrying a collection of plastic bags filled with ingredients and other paraphernalia. A large enamel basin was brought to her and it was filled with water. She then proceeded to get a fresh egg still in the shell and put it into the centre of the basin. Then she tipped contents from her various bags into the water. They consisted of dried leaves, dried other indeterminant ingredients and powdered material of various sort as well as small fresh leaves of some kind. Then she took her machete and began to stir the water in a clockwise direction while she mumbled incantations using words we had never heard before. Those gathered were staring intently at both the woman and the contents of the basin.
Our eldest daughter, Marissa, asked what was happening. I told her that the woman was a shaman and she was calling up the spirits, likely as not to seek answers as to who it was who took my shoes.
Marissa said, “They shouldn’t do that should they dad.”
I replied, “No they shouldn’t. But that is the way they do things here. I will cover us in prayer so we will be protected. You don't have to worry.”
The woman suddenly after 10 to 15 minutes started to speak in a very shrill voice in rapid staccato sentences for about 3 or 4 minutes and then everything fell silent. Whereupon the man of the house came up to me and told me in Indonesian what she had said. Indeed I was right in thinking that they had called the shaman to find out where the shoes were and who had taken them. He announced she had told them that the shoes had been taken by two teenagers about 6.00 am that morning. They were not from this village. He then described what the teens were wearing and then explained that they had taken the trail over the mountain that disappeared over the ridge leading to the villages on the other side. They were in the third house on the right in the second village down from the ridge. Immediately two larger young men from the village grabbed their machetes and setting off running in the direction the man of the house had indicated.
In the meantime we continued packing and when we were ready we loaded our stuff on the horses and we set off on the trail to get down to the coast road. Me bringing up the rear and waving to the villagers while I flopped along in my newly acquired ill-fitting gumboots. As soon as we cleared the village I gave the gumboots to one of the guys leading the horses because they were going to be of no use to me. They would give me blisters in next to no time. He was delighted to have a ‘new’ pair of gumboots. We walked for a few hours until we stopped for a drink and some trail mix. While resting there for a few minutes who should come along but the two guys who had set off after the teens who had stolen the shoes. Yes you guessed it they were carrying my shoes and what’s more they had found them in the third house on the right in the second village down from the ridge together with the two youths who were dressed in the very same clothes the woman had described. Chew on that one for a while.
How did this old shaman woman gain such accurate information? By seeking the spirits of the ancestor to tell her what had happened and who was to blame. Oh indeed she gained the information she wanted but at what cost both to her and to the people in the village who had asked for her help
The evil world has access to us when we seek help from the portals or entry points through which the enemy can enter. It can happen via
People who acts as the intermediary for satan or any of the evil spirits or demons at his command.
Places which have been set aside for honouring, worshipping practicing demonic rituals or ceremonies.
Objects which have been used in such ceremonies or knowingly given to the use of satan in ritual.
Ceremonies, Rituals or Agreements performed or made in seeking the help of the evil one.
These are what the experts call the Portals of Power in the literature.
Oh I am aware that I have written satan, whom I believe to be a real being, but I refuse to spell his name with a capital letter. It is a practice of mine.
Any encounter you have with this dark side will only end up hurting you in the long run, no matter how right or good it feels while you were doing it. The devil’s plan is always to rob, kill and destroy. I have seen all manner of things over the years which prove to me what God tells us in the Bible about the world of evil is true.
I don't wish to sensationalize the idea. I am not telling you these things to shock you or titillate you. I am telling you to warn you as God does in the verses in Isaiah 8 and many other places in the Bible. I have encountered many people who in later life have become Christians but are plagued with oppression, evil sensations, strange haunting experience or other weirdness or phenomena from the world of the occult. Invariably it stems from contacts made through one of these Portal of Power. But this topic is dealt with in all sorts of ways now. It is a trendy topic to talk about and to dabble with but the end result is always detrimental to your well-being. Anything good that God does, the devil will try to counterfeit. I have seen such phenomena with my own eyes while ministering to people who wanted help.
Above all don't rubbish the notion or assign it to the world of wackyness. It is real but the kind of stronghold you definitely don’t want to get caught up in.
During our initial time in Sulawesi, we were privileged to attend a two or three day workshop with Jo Shetler, who described her work in bringing the Good News of Christ to the Balangao people of the Philippines. As she talked to us about power encounters with the evil world of the animistic groups in the Philippines, she shared some wonderful principles to practice to keep ourselves safe and suggest ways that we could help the people we were serving.
What was interesting to me was an encounter I had of a different kind with some of my fellow translators at the coffee urn during the first break. Some were having a conversation over why we had to listen to this nonsense. Some were saying it was all mumbo jumbo and myth; certainly not something we Bible translators needed to be taught. I spoke up and said I thought what Jo was telling us was excellent and it was something we needed to know. Living with the people groups we were living with, meant that we were certain to encounter these kinds of things. Jo was just telling us what she had learned from her experience with the Balangao. My esteem colleagues laughed me down and then we returned to the next session. Imagine my surprise when several years later one those colleagues called us one night and asked for help and advice because something had happened in their village that scared the pants off them (figuratively speaking). It is real.
Don’t ridicule something you know nothing about or have not experienced to date.
And don’t think you can play with this stuff because it’s harmless fun. It is not! Satan will have you in his grip and weave his evil intent around your life without you realising it.
More next week. . .