Friday, November 15, 2013
Identifying and embarrassing the works of darkness
Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations. The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth:“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Saviour comes! See, his reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies him.’” They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
How do we prepare the highway? This doesn’t require membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In road terms, it is more like preparing for a cycle race, making sure that everything is ‘fit’ for the event, and lined with supporters, not protesters.
The so-called shoe tree between Stokenchurch and Studley Green – sign that all is not well
The aim of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 was to prevent money being made by persons fraudulently pretending to be a medium or spiritualist, but its provisions included the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1735. So overnight witchcraft, satanic worship and the occult became legal – and grew rapidly.
‘Occult’ means hidden and by its nature it is something done often under cover of darkness and in some secrecy, so the public profile is low. There are covens operating in our area which means there are people directing curses against Christian worship, belief, churches and leaders. Where the spiritual armour of holy attitudes is slipshod it starts to gain entrance, and more easily affects communities with spiritual blindness. Now we start to see how the battle intensifies around Alpha and why it is so vital to cover the candidates and the team.
There’s a piece of work for us to do, according to Isaiah’s prophecy, to remove stones and obstructions. We as a Christian church are there to bring the presence of Jesus. The stones are out to jam the wheels and keep Jesus out as far as possible.
Of course the battle is not one of flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). We may know some of these people! We may feel uncomfortable knowing that, but it is nothing to the discomfort experienced by them when we get praising God and praying with the Spirit who is described as the Greater One within us (1 John 4:4). It’s not a lot of fun working with curses that get broken or meeting for a ritual which becomes strangely impossible.
The danger to us is our ignorance, and not reading the signs for what they are. The last page of the book is written – and the Lamb wins.
However, our job is to assert the victory. To bless homes and families with the knowledge of peace of Jesus, to bind evil doing and attempts to impose a spiritual blindness (2 Cor. 4:4), to identify confusion and stop it and in everything to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus is what we do.
A friend of mine, a pastor, knows a former witch, who was healed physically by a Healing on the Streets encounter with Jesus. She is in the congregation, largely freed up and going on well.
Another vicar friend has a couple of churches in beautiful rural Dorset – God’s own country, you might think, apart from the level of witchcraft, satanic worship and New Age practices in the area which, he says, can affect even mature Christians in the church on occasions when they allow their prayer shield to drop.
Any kind of prideful and independent action, or thinking patterns that set themselves up to oppose God (Colossians 2:8), are those “stones” that need to be removed to prepare the highway for Jesus to come in. We do it by prayer and praise, by intercession and by blessing, individually and together – especially in our togetherness – as a church.