It seems like only yesterday that the Goth craze sent many teenagers out partying in graveyards – decked out like Monster High dolls, resurrecting their own version of the "Night of the Living Dead."
Over time, it seemed this fad had been put to rest but as we learned last week, some Christians have made the grave choice to participate in a similar tomb-side practice known as grave-sucking. They are not the first with such a morbid fascination, as we read in scripture we learn of a possessed man who actually lived amongst the tombs… unable to be confined by physical chains and shackles, yet a legion of demons bound his spirit.
Ironically, he knew exactly who Jesus was as he ran towards the Son of the most High God. I'd imagine we'd be no different than the swine owners, not only being in shock for having just witnessed 2,000 demon-possessed pigs run to their death, but even more astonishing would be seeing such a dramatic and spontaneous change in this once demonic man.
As Jesus boarded the boat, the man begged to go with him but Jesus directed him back to his own homeland to go and tell what great things God had done. The story concluded as the people marveled by this healed man who went about proclaiming his deliverance throughout the whole city. (See Mark 5: 1-20, Luke 8: 26-39)
This type of account is not uncommon, as we find that Jesus quite often sent the one who had just been healed or delivered back home to tell others of the wondrous work God had done in their lives. Those who had known the person prior to their God-changing encounter were awestruck by the very evidence that stood before them.
In John 20:29, Jesus addresses a doubting Thomas saying "because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." While this scripture reveals the blessedness in having faith without seeing, it also addresses the "Thomas" in us or those whose faith has not yet increased to believe beyond the physical. In this day we have more than our share of doubting Thomas' that thrive on tangible evidence in the life-changing power of God.
In my early Christian years, every Sunday night service, we marveled as believers shared testimonies of how the miraculous hand of God changed the course of their lives. It would seem testimonies aren't as readily shared nowadays, leaving skepticism instead of an increased faith.
Jesus instructed those who had been touched by God to share and we, the church are missing something if we don't heed to His Word. Testimonies are the evidence of the supernatural power of God lived out loud. Formed out of the difficult chapters in our lives, it is there that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (See 2 Corinthians 12:9). He erases the segments of our sin and re-writes them on a clear slate. Our testimony becomes a declaration of praise to our God and a portrait of our deliverance. Rev. 12:10-11 reveals that testimonies are a powerful weapon in overcoming the accuser as they proclaim the Gospel message, and bear witness to Jesus' shed blood.
In my latest book, From The Craft To Christ, I share the inspiring and deeply personal stories of nine former witches, ranging from high priest and priestess… down to the solitary practitioner. Each story proclaims the restoration power of God who delivered them from darkness to light. Let me take a moment to introduce them to you.
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Mike is a former Third Degree initiated witch with 20 years' experience in traditional witchcraft and a former clan head of the Black Forest Tradition. Today, this gifted musician and songwriter is actively involved in his church's worship team and plays a crucial part in ministering to the occult.
Lupe was labeled a natural-born witch who became a Third Degree High Priestess in the heart of Salem, the witch capital of the world. She is now the Head of Intercession and serves on the pastoral team of discipleship and mentoring at an Apostolic Center in Massachusetts.
Shalom had been a practicing witch for over 20 years and was well connected in the pagan community. Having been brought back to the Hebraic Roots, she changed her name from Serene… to Shalom as a declaration of her faith.
Victoria was a former initiated eclectic witch for over 5 years and had contributed articles to several pagan publications. Today, she is a member of a small Baptist church in Northern California.
Ron is a former initiated witch with over 21 years of occult involvement. He founded The Coalition of Inter-tribal Native Students at the University of New Mexico. Currently he is an evangelist in North India.
Tayrn is a former initiated witch from South Africa, who pursued the path of high magick teetering on the threshold of Satanism. From a turbulent and painful past, she now delights in God's blessings on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
Mark's spiritual journey began with parapsychology that eventually led him from magician to a solitary eclectic witch. He has been actively involved in Christian outreach to various occultists through the old ex-witch forums and now at the Ancient Crossroads website.
April was a solitary practitioner of Wicca, certified as a level one Reiki practitioner and worked at a psychic hotline. She has returned to the Catholic Faith where she is devoted in deepening her relationship with Jesus.
You can read their full testimonies in my book, From The Craft To Christ: The Allure of Witchcraft and the Church's Response, to experience the Exodus for yourself.
Next… Instead of relying on hearsay, folklore and other superstitions, see what witches actually do on Halloween in my next article "Steeped in Superstition." You just might be surprised! (Previous: Sorcery in the Sanctuary; Witchcraft (Part Two), Witchcraft - The Next Generation (Part One))