Navigating the spiritual world: Paranormal: the first two marks of the occult
The paranormal is an important conversation to have, because it has exploded onto the cultural scene in ways it never has before. TV shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Stories, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and Long Island Medium, to name a few. We’re inundated with ads for psychic hotlines and online psychic readings. Recent polls have shown that belief in ghosts has just skyrocketed, especially in the past 3 to 5 years. Now about half of people believe in ghosts, or that the spirit of a dead person can come back in certain places or situations. But it’s also left us confused. What’s real, and what’s fake? What’s true, and what’s a lie? And most of all, what’s safe, and what’s dangerous?
Something To Talk About:
The word “occult” just means that which is hidden, or secret, beyond the range of ordinary human knowledge, or below the surface of normal life.
- Seeking supernatural knowledge or guidance from a source not ordained by God: Astrology and horoscopes and fortune telling: This would involve things like horoscopes, fortune-telling, psychic hotlines, and tarot cards. That knowledge comes from somewhere but it’s not from God through the sources God has ordained, Think about astrology and horoscopes. Astrology is the ancient belief that a person’s destiny can be found in the pattern of the stars and planets at the time of one’s birth. The “horoscope” is the chart that attempts to describe that destiny. The basic belief of astrology is that planets and stars exert an influence on our lives. Those with special knowledge—astrologers—can predict events in a person’s life. This isn’t about astronomy, which is the scientific study of the stars, or even God’s use of the stars in His own workings and miracles, such as leading the wise men to the baby Jesus. We’re talking about astrology, which is the attempt to use them for some kind of hidden knowledge in a supernatural form. The reality is God alone knows the future. Nobody else has that kind of power. Not even Satan. God and Satan are not on equal footing. Satan is a fallen angel, created by God. He is neither all-powerful nor all-knowing. And in Isaiah, we read these words: “I am the Lord, the Creator of all things. I alone stretched out the heavens…I make fools of fortunetellers and frustrate the predictions of astrologers” (Isaiah 44:24-25, GNT).
- The placing of persons in contact with supernatural powers, paranormal energies, or demonic forces: This involves things like spiritual energy in a crystal or any other entity, attempting to summon up a spirit or a deceased relative through a séance, channeling a spirit, or procuring the services of someone claiming to be a medium. Here is Scripture’s clear witness: “For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you” (Deuteronomy 18:10–12). ‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die.… ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too” (Jeremiah 27:9–10, 15).
- Why is there such a fascination with the supernatural?
- What are some examples of occult groups and practices in the US?
- What does the Bible say about the occult?
- Is it OK for Christians to read horoscopes?
- What does the Bible say about palm reading or fortune telling?
- How does focusing on Christ help avoid unhealthy supernatural speculation?
- Do you think interest in the supernatural could provide an opportunity for sharing the gospel?
- What challenges might there be in discussing the supernatural?
- Does it matter what we think about the supernatural? Why or why not? How might you discuss the supernatural with unbelievers?
- Is there anything we are involved with or influenced by that we need to stop?
- How can we seek the Lord and Him alone for guidance in our lives?
Take One Thing Home with You:
We all have different fears about the future. There are unknowns about the future. During these times we need to remember Who holds your future instead of what the future holds. The future will look a whole lot better if we intentionally choose to trust God instead of worrying. Giving our future to God frees us to live the life that God has given us now.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have goals for the future. The problem arises when the goal becomes God. Or in other words, when we sacrifice everything to achieve them, including our family and God.
You don’t have to have your life all figured out; you only have to take one step at a time walking with God. And every time you put your hands in God’s hands, you’ll know you’ve got a solid hold on your future.