Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Remarriage after divorce… Spiritual gifts… Spiritual warfare at Bible study… Pants at church)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question.

I like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar (at the very bottom of each page) can be a helpful tool!

Or maybe I answered your question already? Check out my article The Mailbag: Top 10 FAQs to see if your question has been answered and to get some helpful resources.


I am wondering what your thoughts are on remarriage post divorce?

Great question, but let me tweak it just a little bit. “My thoughts” on remarriage after divorce are irrelevant. As Christians, what we want to know is what the Bible has to say about it. Unfortunately, every situation is different, so I can’t give you a simple answer that would apply to every single situation out there. But here are a few general biblical principles:

  • God makes clear throughout Scripture that He doesn’t like divorce and that He intends marriage to be for life.
  • There are two biblical grounds for divorce: adultery and abandonment. It is not a sin for a Christian to initiate a divorce when his/her spouse is guilty of one of these. Remarriage after a divorce for one of these two reasons is biblically permissible and is not a sin for the Christian.
  • But even in cases where there are biblical grounds for divorce, God does not require it. Scripture is saturated with the teachings of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, even after heinous sin, and if reconciliation is in any way possible after a spouse’s sin, that is the route that should be pursued, with copious amounts of pastoral counseling.

If you are a Christian who has been divorced (either before or after salvation) and you’re thinking about remarriage, my best counsel would be this: If you’re not already joined to a doctrinally sound church, find one and join it immediately, then set up an appointment with your pastor so he can shepherd you through applying Scripture to your particular situation. (If, for some reason, you can’t go to a doctrinally sound pastor for counsel, check out the Biblical Counseling Resources tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.)

Additional Resources:

The Mailbag: Is it all right for a Christian to get divorced?

The Mailbag: Must I reconcile with my abusive ex-husband?

Remarriage Forbidden?

DivorceCare


I have been thinking about cessationism and spiritual gifts for single women in the church—especially those who have been converted later in life with no prospects of marriage or child rearing in their future. What are they to do, and how does the Reformed church help these women find and nurture their spiritual gifts for the service of the church?

I’m so glad you asked. Every Christian is given at least one spiritual gift by God to use for serving the church. (I’m a little confused as to what marriage and parenting have to do with that. God gives spiritual gifts to every Christian, regardless of his or her station in life, and spiritual gifts are primarily for serving the church, not the family.)

There are a variety of spiritual gifts, but because the sign gifts have fulfilled their function and ceased, miracle working, healing, extra-biblical revelation (prophecy), and the ability to spontaneously speak a foreign language (“tongues”) are not among the gifts God bestows today.

“The Reformed Church,” as you’ve termed it, isn’t really a monolithic entity. There are all kinds of Reformed churches. You would have to ask each individual local church how they help their members find and nurture their spiritual gifts.

Personally, I do not recommend so-called spiritual gifts tests. However, I have developed a resource that I think will help Christians who are trying to find a place of service in the church as well as discover their spiritual gifting (and for churches who are trying to help their members with that). It’s called The Servanthood Survey.


I am one of the leads of a prayer group that also does a Bible study. We are doing chapter by chapter in the Old Testament. Most of the ladies are name it and claim it and speaking prophecy, casting out demons, health and prosperity expectations, one speaks in tongues, etc. I have disagreed with this which has upset the women for the sake of unity. I have stayed to try to give the opportunity to share Biblical Gospel, but it wears me out after each session. I let the pastor know. He’s planning changes to the group and I’ve let him know I’m not going to lead the group anymore. I feel like I’m letting God down. I also need to think of my spiritual well being. This is a Wesleyan church BTW. I plan on using your Bible studies. Your thoughts will be appreciated.

Having been in a few situations like this, I can certainly understand how spiritually, and therefore emotionally and physically draining this kind of thing is. This is true spiritual warfare.

I’m not quite clear as to whether or not you’re a member of this church, but if you are, you shouldn’t be. Any church, Wesleyan or not, that condones, encourages, or fails to teach biblically about “name it and claim it and speaking prophecy, casting out demons, health and prosperity expectations, [speaking in] tongues, etc.” is not a doctrinally sound church, and it’s no place for genuinely regenerated Christians. You can’t have “unity” with false doctrine and, very likely, false converts.

You’re not letting God down. On the contrary, you need to run, not walk, out of that den of demonic activity as fast as you can and find a doctrinally sound church to join.

It’s admirable that you’ve tried your best to teach these women biblically, but you cannot continue to be a member of this church. And even God the Father, Jesus, and their admonitions in Scripture don’t teach us to keep pursuing indefinitely people who have rejected biblical truth:

  • Think about Old Testament Israel. God pursued them, disciplined them, sent them prophets, performed miracles – the whole works – and He bore with them in their idolatry and disobedience for hundreds of years. But not forever. He eventually sent them into exile.
  • Remember the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler? Did Jesus chase him down and keep trying to convince him once he rejected biblical teaching from Jesus Himself? No. He let him go. What about the father of the prodigal son? Dad lets that rebel leave. (You can probably think of many more examples.)
  • Matthew 7:6: Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
  • Mark 6:11: And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave [this phrase assumes they will leave], shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.

Go. Get out of there while the gettin’s good.

Additional Resources

The Mailbag: How should I approach my church leaders about a false teacher they’re introducing?

The Mailbag: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?


So I’ve been going to this new small church I found, seemingly very sound and conservative. The first time I went, I wore flowy pants, not immodest at all in my opinion. And I noticed all the women wearing skirts or dresses, and so I felt out of place. And I also attended a father/daughter camping trip, and lo and behold, all the girls are wearing skirts to this camping trip.

I am not a dress wearing type of girl. I have usually worn jeans to church, I try to dress it up and look feminine and also wear makeup.

I don’t like feeling self-conscious, and I don’t want to look like I’m some sort of feminist by wearing pants. And I feel like I’m less of a Christian woman if I wear pants to church. But at this new church, I’m one of maybe a few other women who has worn pants. I also don’t want to just start wearing dresses and skirts to church JUST because I want to live up to this standard I feel the church is setting. I have talked to the leadership there and they said I’m fine wearing pants. I But I still feel like I’m out of place. How do you think I should be thinking about this?

Nobody likes to stick out like a sore thumb. I get it. Personally, I kinda like to blend into the wallpaper wherever I go, if possible.

And I think that’s the heart of your dilemma – you feel self-conscious and it makes you uncomfortable, and you want that uncomfortable feeling to go away. (Go back to your original email and count how many times you said “I feel” or referred to your feelings.)

This isn’t an issue of modesty, because you’re neither outlandishly (you said a few other women had worn pants) or provocatively dressed. This isn’t an issue of the other women or anyone else unbiblically judging you for wearing pants (at least you didn’t say that anywhere in your email). And though you describe the situation as, “this standard I feel the church is setting,” you said you had talked to the elders and they said you were fine wearing pants. So the church is not actually setting this standard, you just feel that it is because of your own self-consciousness.

This isn’t about other people, this is about you. What you’ve got here is a battle of the feelings. Feeling 1: I don’t want to feel self-conscious by wearing pants. Feeling 2: I dislike wearing dresses. Welp, as I see it you’ve got three options:

  1. Wear pants and stop worrying about it. Focus on worship or whatever activity you’re at and stop focusing on yourself and how you’re dressed. (We’re not supposed to be focusing on ourselves anyway. That’s a form of pride and narcissism. You might want to explore that with the Lord in prayer. Go back to your original email and count how many times you used the words “I” and “me”.) After a while you’ll get used to it and that self-conscious feeling will fade. And besides that, maybe those other pants-wearing women will be emboldened to wear pants once they see you wearing them. You could start a trend!
  2. Wear a dress and stop worrying about it. How do you know you’re not a dress-wearing kind of girl if you don’t give it a good faith effort? Try it for six months. It’s not going to kill you. It might grow on you. You never know.
  3. Find another doctrinally sound church in the area where more women wear pants. This is an option, but, honestly, I would not recommend it. It sounds like you’ve found a good church and God is trying to do some sanctifying work in your heart and life. Don’t kick against or run away from what He’s trying to do, submit to it and grow to greater Christlikeness.

And one last thing- from the way you described everything, I’d be willing to bet that nobody at your church is fretting about you wearing pants as much as you are. I encourage you – hang in there, stop looking down at your pants, start looking up at the Lord, and walk with Him as He works this out.

(And before I hear from the “women can’t wear pants” crowd: The Mailbag: May Christian Women Wear Pants?)


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Encouragement, Suffering

Five Words of Encouragement for Spiritual Warfare’s Battle-Weary Soldiers

Anybody who tells you the Christian life is all lollipops and unicorns is selling something. No reasonable person who is the slightest bit familiar with the New Testament or church history could honestly believe that. The New Testament church was born and baptized in blood – first the blood of Christ, and the blood of His martyred disciples ever since.

In the spirit, God blesses us with joy unspeakable and full of glory, the peace that passes all understanding, and the comfort of “Lo, I am with you always.” And that is much to be thankful for, because life in the robe of flesh would be unbearable without those blessings.

But as we walk this real, tangible, eat your veggies and brush your teeth phase of existence, Jesus isn’t just a pretty pink purse we pick up along the way to complement our life’s wardrobe. To put on Christ is to volunteer to wear a target on your back. And your front, come to think of it. Because when you unapologetically stand for Christ and the truth of His Word, you will not only face a full frontal attack from the world, you’ll also risk being stabbed in the back by those you thought were comrades in arms.

Dealing with and responding to those attacks – that’s what spiritual warfare is. Not this modern, ridiculous, NAR-inspired version of “binding” Satan and bellowing commands into the air as though you have the power and the authority to boss the devil around (Even Michael the archangel wouldn’t go there.). We’re called to be good soldiers of Christ Jesus, not the Commander.

As good soldiers in the Lord’s army (yes sir!) real, biblical spiritual warfare is being protected and prepared in the spirit to righteously and courageously walk out biblical truth on the battlefield of whatever tangible circumstances God has placed you in. It’s understanding that those attacking you are not your real enemy – not the ones calling the shots. They’re soldiers, just like you. They’re either lost and ensnared by the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (kind of a spiritual Stockholm Syndrome), or it’s friendly fire from someone in your unit who’s saved, but has somehow, momentarily mistaken you for the enemy.

But the wounds of warfare are painful and debilitating no matter who’s wielding the weapon. So for all of you ladies who have been persecuted by the world, attacked by family, abused by fellow church members, and abandoned by friends simply for holding fast to Christ and His Word and refusing to compromise, let these words of encouragement from the very One you cling to salve your soul…

1.
Jesus knows how you feel

There will never be a moment when we can cry out to Jesus from the depths of our desperation, “You have no idea what this is like – how badly it hurts!”. Yes, He does. Not just because He’s omniscient. Not just because He knitted you together in your mother’s womb and knows all the secrets of your heart. But because He walked that lonely and painful road Himself, as a man in the flesh, just like you.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not…
…we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted…
…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted…
…By oppression and judgment he was taken away…
…And they made his grave with the wicked…although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
From Isaiah 53

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Psalm 22:6-8

Many of them said, “[Jesus] has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”
John 10:20

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me [Jesus] before it hated you.
John 15:18

and coming to his hometown [Jesus] taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?…And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
Matthew 13:54,57

Jesus knows how you feel, Dear One. He knows.

2.
Jesus loves you

There may be times when you feel like everyone is against you. It’s hard to be hated. But hold on to this truth and don’t let go of it: Jesus loves you. He delights in you. He will never turn His face away from you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3b

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25.10

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
Psalm 31:7

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

3.
Jesus will sustain you

Jesus isn’t a lifeline that only reaches halfway across the rushing river. He is our rock. Our fortress. Strength. Sustenance. Stability. What He brings you to, He will bring you through, as the old saying goes. He’s not going to abandon you in the middle of your troubles or fail to provide grace and help when you need it. You can trust Him.

you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:9-10

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Psalm 54:4

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7b-8

4.
Jesus will honor you

In the world’s eyes, voluntarily suffering for the name of Christ is shameful, pitiable, foolish, and worthy of derision. In God’s economy, sharing in Christ’s sufferings is an honor and worthy of reward.

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Acts 5:40-41

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12

[Moses] choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:25-26

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:13-14,16

5.
Jesus will vindicate you

Perhaps one of the greatest comforts in the midst of the battle fatigue of spiritual warfare is God’s omniscience and justice. Not a single insult will be hurled at you that escapes His notice. None of the flak you’ve taken for Him will slip through the cracks and be forgotten. One day, whether here or hereafter, God will set everything right.

Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.
Isaiah 41:11-12

For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
Psalm 135:14

You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause. You have seen all their vengeance, all their plots against me. You have heard their taunts, O Lord, all their plots against me. The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long. Behold their sitting and their rising; I am the object of their taunts.

You will repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. You will give them dullness of heart; your curse will be on them. You will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under your heavens, O Lord.
Lamentations 3:59-66

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Revelation 6:9-10

As you suffer for the Name above all names and do battle for His cause, strengthen your hands for combat with His great and precious promises, which can never be broken. Rest in Jesus’ love for you. Know that He understands your pain and anguish. Trust Him to sustain you. Believe that He will honor and vindicate you. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Which promises do you cling to in the midst of spiritual warfare?

Mailbag

The Mailbag Guest Post: What is the biblical understanding of spiritual warfare?

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com,
and let’s chat about it.

 

Due to teaching Vacation Bible School at church this week, I’m turning today’s Mailbag over to guest poster, Nikki Campbell. This article was originally published at her blog.

What is the biblical way of understanding exactly what spiritual warfare is? How do we “do” spiritual warfare in a way that lines up with Scripture?

Biblical Spiritual Warfare
by Nikki Campbell

Have you ever prayed for a hedge of protection around someone? Have you ever rebuked Satan in Jesus’ Name? Have you ever walked around your house and prayed in ‘Jesus’ Name’ for the cleansing of each room?

If so, then you may be as surprised as I was a couple of years ago when I found out that none of these are Biblical. I was taken by surprise because these are terms and phrases that are widely taught by many popular teachers in the “Christian” world.
And, so I assumed that they were Biblical.

“Few areas of the Christian life are more misunderstood than that of spiritual warfare”, writes Justin Peters in the forword for the book Truth or Territory.  He goes on to say, “Books and conferences on the subject provide instructions on how to wage this warfare by breaking generational curses, praying hedges of protection, exorcisms, mapping the spiritual realm, rebuking and binding the demonic hierarchy all the way up to Satan himself……Would it surprise you to learn that none of these techniques is necessary or even biblical?”

In fact, some of these superstitious techniques can lead to much fear and bondage. When we believe that we have the power and responsibility to rebuke and bind Satan and his demons, we can often feel trapped in a cycle of feeling the need to do it day after day in order to be safe.

“It is critical to accurately understand and apply what the Bible has to say about overcoming temptation and withstanding the wiles of the devil. If the evil one could convince a large enough percentage of Christians to substitute a superstitious approach to doing battle with him in place of the Biblical model, he would largely neutralize the witness of the church.” (Spiritual warfare- God’s way, Elliot Miller)

So, what is true, Biblical spiritual warfare?

Here are some suggestions of how to dig deeper in the Word regarding this subject.

1) Read Ephesians 6:10-20 several times. Notice that the word “stand” is mentioned four times. Why do you think it is emphasized? What are we standing against? Do a word study on the word “schemes”. Where else is it used in the Bible?

(Blue letter Bible is a great tool where you can find root word definitions, cross references and commentaries)

2) The Bible clearly teaches that our flesh, not the devil is our most influential enemy. Look up how many times the NT refers to the “flesh”, and how many times it refers to “demons”.

(Bible Gateway is a great tool for this)

“We have three enemies-the world, the flesh and the devil. These three work in concert with each other against the believer.  If our focus is only one of these enemies, we will quickly find that we are losing the battle on the other two fronts. Too often attention is focused on the devil and defeating him, while the battle against the world and flesh is neglected. As a result of being so preoccupied with only one phase of the battle, many Christians have suffered great infiltration on the fronts of the world and the flesh” (Jim Osman, Truth or Territory).

Here is an amazing sermon by Voddie Baucham, that addresses how the world the flesh and the devil work together.

Did you see “War Room”, where the main character walked around the house in one scene screaming at the devil to leave and go back to hell where he belongs? This movie, along with many famous preachers and teachers today, falsely teach that Christians have some kind of power and authority to boss Satan around. I encourage you to be wary of women’s Bible studies on spiritual warfare that teach women to ‘speak out loud so that that Satan can hear’, and that ‘we are to put Satan back in his place in Jesus’ Name’.

Ladies, we can’t just add “in Jesus’ Name” to the end of sentences and think that gives us the power and authority to do whatever we want. Other than Jesus Himself and His Apostles who were given Apostleship power, no where else in the New Testament are we told that we have the power to do this kind of thing.

In fact, let’s see what the Bible says about people who boldly and willfully yell at and command demons.

3) Look up 2 Peter 2:10-12 and Jude 8-13. What do these passages say about those who blaspheme the glorious ones (angels and demons)?

Did you notice that even the archangel Micheal would not not pronounce a blasphemous judgement against the devil, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

4) In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul referred to being given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass him. Although the Bible doesn’t specify what this messenger of Satan was, some people believe that it was some kind of demonic harassment.

(Other views are that it could be (1) an inner psychological struggle, or (2) continued persecution from an opponent, or (3) some kind of a physical affliction. I tend to lean toward the physical affliction.)

For the sake of those who take the view point that it was demonic harassment, let’s look further into how Paul handled it. Look at verse 7 to see why it was given him. Did Paul command this messenger of Satan to leave in ‘Jesus’ Name’?  No!  What did he do/who did he turn to about this? (Verse 8).

Paul pleaded with God to remove this thorn, but when God responded with, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9), Paul not only accepted God’s will, but boasted about his weakness so that the power of Christ would rest on him.

5) 2 Corinthians 10:3-6  is one of my favorite passages addressing spiritual warfare.

According to this passage, what do the weapons of our warfare have the divine power to destroy (Verses 4 and 5)?

“The weapons of our warfare are not physical, but spiritual, such as prayer, the Word of God, faith, and the power of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit we tear down the strongholds of wrong thinking and behavior.” (ESV study Bible notes, pg 2235)

This is a truth war. A battle for the mind. Not a territorial, physical battle against Satan and his demons.

I highly recommend the book Truth or Territory, by Jim Osman. It really gave me great insight in understanding this subject from a Biblical perspective. So good!

I also recommend the 4 part sermon series called, Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare, by David Platt. HereHere, and Here are the other three parts.


Nikki Campbell is a Christ-follower, a wife, and a mom of two. She loves spending time in God’s Word, being with her family, and discipling women. She has a passion for learning and encouraging others to walk in truth. Her prayer is that God would be glorified, His kingdom would advance, and women would grow in knowledge, discernment and unity through her blog Unified in Truth.


ALTHOUGH I DO MY BEST TO THOROUGHLY VET THE THEOLOGY OF THE BLOGGERS WHO SUBMIT GUEST POSTS, IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE FOR THINGS TO SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS. PLEASE MAKE SURE ANY BLOGGER YOU FOLLOW, INCLUDING ME, RIGHTLY AND FAITHFULLY HANDLES GOD’S WORD AND HOLDS TO SOUND BIBLICAL DOCTRINE.
Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Gina’s Story

Gina’s Testimony

I grew up in a Lutheran home. I heard about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, about believing in Christ and His death and resurrection- and doing good works. I didn’t hear about my desperate need to repent of my sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation though. I was reassured my baptism, confirmation and good works kept me in good stance with God.

I was a kid that hardly got in trouble. At 18 I met my soon to be husband. He was a cradle Catholic and his parents were devout. After we married and I was pregnant with our first child, I decided to become a Catholic too. As a so-so Catholic, I figured I was a good enough person to make clearance on Judgment Day being I didn’t murder anyone or rob banks. I believed any other small sin of mine was forgiven through the works I did and because I believed in God.

I was around 23 years old, a wife and mother to a one-year-old. I started watching John Edwards. He is a practicing medium with his own talk show. I found it entertaining. I definitely questioned the validity of it all, but I was still intrigued and tuned into every episode. I thought either the man’s claims were true or the whole show was a farce. I didn’t even think about there being a third option- like say…demonic deception.

I soon found myself deep into something I NEVER thought I would be. It all started off with me seeing a figure of a man walking behind me as I stared at a darkened computer screen with the lamp on behind me. No one was there when I turned around. I wondered, an overactive imagination or a ghost? I tried to ignore it. But soon followed several other encounters; hearing voices, seeing things move that shouldn’t and even feeling a mouth blow hard in my ear as I sat in my living room. I wasn’t able to ignore it anymore. Most people seemed hesitant to believe me, except those in the Catholic faith, kid you not, who would then proceed to tell me their own stories! I knew my experiences were real, I knew I wasn’t making it up. I was just trying to make sense of it somehow. Someone reminded me that the previous owner of our house talked about someone dying in that house years before. So I started entertaining the idea of a dead person making himself known to me. I stuck with that story, because I really didn’t know what else to think.

Weeks after all of this began I entered college. I enrolled in Psychology 101 and about a week into the class our fun-loving, charismatic teacher started talking about her ability to read people’s auras, tap into past lives and speak to dead people (yes Psych 101 at a decent college. Be warned parents! The college let her stay there for years knowing she taught this stuff during and after class. Scary!). She told us it was a “gift” she had since the age of 4. She would go around the class and tell people what injuries they had, what they had done earlier that day, etc. Some kids seemed uncomfortable with her unexplained knowledge, yet with all that had been going on in my own life, my ears perked up and I was intrigued.

One day, early on in the semester, she made the statement that when we find a feather in a peculiar place, it’s an angel telling us we are on the right path. The VERY next day while taking a shower I reached up to put shampoo in my hair and felt something poking out of my hair- it was a HUGE feather!! I mean, it was a big one, not a soft little fuzzy one. I thought, hmm, maybe this lady’s teachings were the right path and an angel is telling me so? As silly as it sounds, when you are given a “sign” that seems to validate prior feelings or information, it gets your attention – and without necessary discernment you are soon locked in.

I became locked in as I kept hearing voices and having unexplained spiritual experiences. This teacher would invite a few of us naïve ones to hang out at her place and call on the dead. She would school us on all the ins and outs of the spiritual world, on her experiences and how to orchestrate our own encounters. She taught us “thought-ology” as she called it, which is the practice of thinking positive thoughts enough that they come true because of the energy they possess (I later found out this is what Word of Faith circles teach, but with all the right words). She would give us Bible verses (and twist them) to show us that reincarnation was biblical and she would tell us that we had past lives and that we need to tap into those lives to grow in our knowledge. I was taking notes, buying books she recommended and worst of all, telling my family and friends all of this ‘wonderful’ insight, trying to get them to fully endorse it. Most did. I was reading auras on other people, using crystals and tapping into the spiritual world as this woman had instructed me. The semester ended but we kept in touch over phone and I met with her and a few others occasionally. This teacher would tell me, while in front of the others, that I have a special gift in the spirit realm and would treat me with special gifts and praise. I enjoyed the limelight. Boy, I was in deep. Blech!

A week after 9/11, I realized my husband found someone better. I was headed for a divorce while pregnant, in the middle of college and unemployed. I was utterly devastated. It was extremely difficult, but it was the very thing I needed in order to eventually fall on my knees before God. At a low point, when I felt I couldn’t trust anyone, not even myself, I remember crying out, literally, “I just want the truth. Is there such a thing?!” I desperately hoped that God, if there was a God, would help me. The “dead people” sure weren’t helping!

My aunt Tami was recently saved herself and heard of what happened. She also knew of my history in the occult. She took the opportunity to reach out to me in truth. Email after email she talked to me with much patience and compassion, yet with boldness and clarity, the Word of God. I kept arguing against her beliefs with things I believed to be true in the occult practices. But as hard as I argued, she didn’t waver – and I still listened. After all, I claimed to be a Christian, shouldn’t I be ok with talking about the Bible? I began to be very surprised with myself – of how irritated I got with Scripture and the name of Christ being discussed for more than a few seconds. I could tolerate an hour long church service at the Catholic and Lutheran church talking about God but 5 minutes of Aunt Tami talking about Scriptures or Christ, was torture.

As months went by and as I tried to rely on the occult practices for strength and guidance, I would see more holes appear in its authenticity. This would eat at me! I tried so hard to make it all fit. I poured more into the occultic books to reassure myself. I had sold this so hard to everyone, including myself, so I wanted to hang on to it even harder. My psychology teacher had taught me that we have the control over spiritual beings, spiritual matters, and all outcomes in our live if we just thought right. But seeing that wasn’t exactly panning out, I didn’t know what to do about it.

Right after my daughter was born I moved back to my home town to be closer to family. Looking back I could see God working in getting me there. What would end up being the most crucial part of the whole thing was the fact that God was moving my aunt Tami back there as well. After we were both moved into the same town we would visit one another, just getting to know one another even better. She would increasingly bring up the truths of the Scripture to me; of how to be saved.

One day I went over to her house to help her paint. We were side by side painting a wall when we both heard a man’s voice say VERY loud and clear as if he was yelling at the back of our heads, “Hey!” We both quickly turned around and saw only our little kids playing behind us. Then we both looked at each other and simultaneously said, “did you hear that?!” All of a sudden my right shoulder started to tingle and her left shoulder started to tingle really hard as if something was standing right in between us. She said later that when that happened she first freaked out a little but knew right away what was happening – it was apparent that God was allowing her see the world that I was living in; the world of dark, demonic deception. Right after it happened, she silently prayed and I just kept saying, “See, this is what I’ve been talking about!” She came over to me with fervency and said something like, “Gina, these are demons. There is no such thing as dead people walking around. In Christ’s presence, the demons tremble. Jesus is the only One Who can make the demons flee out of your life.” I believed her for some reason, probably because God had been working on my heart. I was relieved to know the identity of the spirits that kept taunting me and that there was someone who could deal with them once and for all, Jesus!

Shortly after that incident, she convinced me to attend a Bible group. I wasn’t sure if I could handle an hour or so of talking about Jesus and Scripture so I was hesitant but I loved spending time with the other women and talking. After attending a few times we were discussing a Scripture verse on ‘inheritance’. I think the verse literally slapped me across the face. I can’t remember the Scripture reference because at that time I didn’t pay attention to those things, but God was letting me know that I will not share in His heavenly inheritance if I don’t repent and go to Christ in confession and faith.

At that moment, without making it aware to anyone else, I understood exactly what I needed to do! I don’t remember anything right after that, just getting home and running to my bedroom, falling down to the floor and crying to the Lord Jesus to forgive me, something Tami had told me many times before that I needed to do. I finally saw that I didn’t really have Him but that I needed Him and I wanted Him. Instantaneously my eyes were opened. I remember standing up and realizing I saw sin differently, or rather for the first time. I remember thinking, “oh my, lying and bad language is such a sin” I was thinking of family and friends and the desperate state they were in and knowing I had to tell them about their need for Christ. I soon went to all those that I shared the occult with and told them I was wrong, it’s demonic and Christ saved me out of it. I asked for their forgiveness and I gave them the Gospel. I looked at my precious kids, who were so little and unaware of what was going on in my life, and knew life just drastically changed for them too! Praise God!

From that day on I was going 100 mph towards God. I could finally understand God’s Word so crystal clear (it no longer seemed as if I was reading a different language!) and I soaked in it. I talked till early morning with Tami on the things of God and asked a billion questions. I joined Bible studies, attended Christian seminars and ate, drank, and slept Jesus! I couldn’t get enough of His Word. He poured so much life and truth into my heart as I read His Word, it was beyond amazing. I eventually got what I asked for on that dark day I cried out for truth. God in His great mercy gave me saving TRUTH. Thankfully, not too long after my salvation, I was able to witness my sister’s salvation and transformation. What a blessing!! I just think of how awesome it is that God saved Tami, my sister and I within just a few years time. Thankfully so – because as the Lord was growing us the devil was attacking us and we were able to lean on the Word together to encourage one another in God’s truth as we battled. Thankfully I now also have a solid Christian husband who encourages me to live out my faith; who I lean on for encouragement as well.

Tami was right. Demons were kicked out once Christ gave me new life. But they were not happy about it and the attacks came in different ways, especially when I tried to share my faith- but I kept remembering the power that I possessed, the Lord, and because of Him I was no longer in their snares and thankfully became less and less naïve to their devices.

I’m reminded often when reading the Word and thinking back at what Christ saved me out of that I must put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6). Christians these days want to turn a deaf ear to a lot of what Satan is up to. It sometimes frightens them, yet there is nothing to fear when we are in Christ. Sometimes demonic activity just doesn’t concern them and they end up buying what the demons are selling in a saint’s suit. Christ just wants us to be aware of the powers that want to destroy us so that we can resist them by holding fast to the Truth of God’s Word. Through Christ we have victory!

Since my salvation, I have a growing desire to witness to those who are lost but to those especially ensnared in Catholicism, mysticism, spiritism (which is heavy in Catholicism as they do much conjuring of the dead, supposedly) and other false teachings-some of the avenues through which Satan tries to kill, steal and destroy.
Demons are clever, fast and seasoned. They parade as an angel of light/godly, or as something innocent and non-threatening. We need to be on the alert. Tami was the ONLY person in my life to warn me of the dangers that I was entangled in and to give me the Gospel straight up. I’m forever grateful! And I believe we all need to do more of that.

I was a sinner deserving of Hell. I was what Revelation 21:8 speaks of, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” I was also what Leviticus 20:6 speaks of, “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.” By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, He didn’t let my story end there.

By the way, I tried to reach that psychology teacher after I was saved. She wouldn’t answer the phone or respond to my messages. I’ve continued to pray for her and all of her students over the years.

I was saved from MUCH. ALL glory to God! I most definitely cannot boast. Thank you Lord Jesus!


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Try to be brief (3-4 paragraphs or less) if possible. I’ll select a few to share on the blog another time. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!