Neil's Blogs

Today's Post

Spiritual Demise

Spiritual Demise

Saul had sinned, causing God to turn away from him. After much prodding by Samuel, Saul made a half-hearted attempt at repentance, but it was not complete (1 Samuel 15:24-31). “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14). Under the Old Covenant, the presence of the Holy Spirit was a temporary gifting, just like God’s blessings were conditional. Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in those who believe, and God says He will never leave or forsake us.

The evil spirit was not of God, but was sent by God. God reigns supreme, and He can use Satan and his emissaries as a means to discipline His people, as He did with Saul. He also used the godless nation of Assyria to discipline His people (see Isaiah 10:5-6). Even the Church is advised to turn grossly immoral people over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh so that their souls may be saved (see 1 Corinthians 5:5).

After Samuel died, Saul sought guidance from a medium. Saul had previously purged the nation of mediums and spiritists (see 1 Samuel 28:9), but now he was paying a visit to the witch of Endor. Coming to the witch in disguise, Saul persuaded her to call up Samuel (see verses 11-19). However, the scheme backfired when God permitted Samuel himself to return, which terrified the medium. Samuel foretold the imminent capture of Israel by the Philistines and the death of Saul and his son (see verse 19).

God expressly forbids the practice of necromancy, which is an attempt to bring up the spirits of the dead (see Isaiah 8:19-20). The story of the rich man and Lazarus teaches the present-day impossibility of communicating with the dead (see Luke 16:19-31). When a secular psychologist claims to have regressed a client back to a former state of existence through hypnosis, don’t believe it. When a psychic claims to have contacted the dead, don’t believe it. When a New Age medium purports to channel a person from the past into the present, realize that it is nothing more than a demonic spirit or the fraudulent work of a con artist.

A lady was once working through the Steps to Freedom when she suddenly became frightened. When the encourager asked what she was hearing or seeing, she said, “You mean you don’t see my father standing right there?” The encourager didn’t bother to look, because he knew he wouldn’t see anything. Instead he asked, “Tell me about your father.” She said, “I’m responsible for my father.” Of course that was not true, but that was what she had been taught by her father, who was a Mormon. When they started the Steps again she had another apparition of her grandmother, who had introduced the family to Mormonism. The woman became free when she renounced Mormon practices and beliefs.

Mediums have to reach a passive state of the mind in order to channel spirits, which is the most dangerous thing one can do spiritually. God never bypasses our minds; He works through them. Hypnosis also bypasses the conscious use of the mind and is not a practice in which Christians should participate. “Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog

The Seventh Step in Overcoming Depression

The final step in overcoming depression is to let go of the past. A woman shared that her best friend ran off with her husband ten years earlier. She was deeply hurt by this incredible betrayal. She thought her life was ruined by those adulterers, and there was...

Overcoming Losses – Part Three

5. Facilitate the grieving process The natural response to any crisis is to first deny that it is really happening, then get angry that it did happen, then try to alter the situation by bargaining with God or others. When that doesn’t work you feel depressed. You...

Overcoming Losses – Part Two

4. Convert imagined and threatened losses to real losses Imagined loses are distortions of reality. They are based on suspicions or lies that we have believed, or presumptions that we have made. The mind doesn’t like vacuums and will make assumptions when we don’t...

Sixth Step in Overcoming Depression – Part 1

The sixth step in overcoming depression is to process your losses. A loss can be real, threatened or imagined, which is often a negative thought or lie that is believed. Either one can precipitate a depression. How we respond to any loss or crisis will determine how...

Fifth Step in Overcoming Depression

One of the major symptoms of depression is withdrawal from meaningful relationships. Isolating ourselves and being alone with our negative thoughts will only contribute to the downward spiral. You may feel like you want to be alone, but you need to stay connected to...

Fourth Step in Overcoming Depression

The fourth step in overcoming depression is to make responsible behavioral changes. We are not instantly delivered from lifestyle depression, we have to grow out of it. It takes time to renew our minds, but it doesn’t take time to change our behavior, which a...

Third Step in Overcoming Depression

Renewing your mind is the third step in overcoming depression. Depression can be divided into two categories. One is related to life-style and the other is precipitated by some crisis event. Lifestyle depression can be traced to early childhood development or living...

Second Step in Overcoming Depression

The second step is to commit your body to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), which may mean “Go see your doctor.” Depression is a multi-faceted problem that affects the body, soul, and spirit. Consequently, a comprehensive cure for depression will require a...

First Step in Overcoming Depression

Recovery begins by saying, “I have a problem and I need help.” There are adequate answers for depression but you have to want to get well and be willing to do whatever it takes to be free. The key to any cure is commitment. Over the next few days I will share in...

Learned Helplessness

Scientific studies have shed light on the relationship between learned helplessness and neurochemical changes in the body. Researchers describe an experiment where rats were “taught” helplessness by the use of shock. They were able to measure neurological changes...

9051 Executive Park Drive, Suite 503 • Knoxville, TN 37923 • 865.342.4000