Recognition and Discernment of the Demonic in Us and in Others by Pastor Don
Pastor Don started with 1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Pastor Don contends that the reason we don’t discern is because we rely on the wisdom of man. Our carnality causes us to not see the work of the evil one. We do not want to admit struggles or that we need help, and we rationalize what we are feeling and seeing. When we observe behavior, we interpret it to agree with what others are saying and what we want to hear.
In today’s culture we have redefined alcoholism as an illness, a disease. A person is now no longer responsible for their behavior, and because of that, many of these “illnesses” are becoming more rampant because man has been given a socially acceptable excuse. The wisdom of man has made these “illnesses” even more prevalent.
The one thing necessary for all of us is BEING IN TRUTH. When we define things through the wisdom of man, we create a lie. The wisdom of man redefines, and removes the self from responsibility, defining and permitting the demonic. When we put another label on it, we are not looking for the source of the real problem, and it is easy to get off on a rabbit trail where people deceive and redefine behavior. We are not to be deceived by our human understanding.
Most often we redefine behavior when it shows up. We see something going on and redefine it. For example, one of our members who is a child psychologist, told us all ADD behavior is not physical (although some is), some stems from the demonic and others stem from poor parenting. But, when we see the behavior, we instantly medicate it. The problem is teachers and psychologists can’t fix the family so they drug the kids.
The demonic will defend itself against self and outside influences. It will use the sound of our own voice in our head, pride, ownership, and implanted ideas to gain a hold in us.
Sometimes the Spirit-filled believer just loses it and they think they hear from God. They may not discern the demonic. They may believe, “I’m Good. The voice in my head quoted Scripture, so it has to be God.” Is it true that, if the voice inside our head quotes Scripture, it is God? NO!
Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came to reside in Him – and you could say He was a spirit-filled believer. Yet, see what happens.
Luke 4:1-11 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: (10-11) ‘ He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you, and, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus quoted Scripture to the devil (one of our best defenses), but does the devil know Scripture? Yes, he has been around since the time of Adam and Eve. He knows Scripture better than us. The devil can quote scripture, but in verses 10-11 he quotes them out of context. So Jesus quotes back to him Luke 10:12- And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. (Heather’s note, satan left Jesus for a time – for an opportune time. We don’t just defeat him once and he goes away, he will keep coming around looking for weakness.)
Pastor Don said a person of God can use the right Scriptures, but if they are quoted out of context, it can cause us to have a check in our spirit. For example, some use Scripture to tell us we are not to judge, that everyone will be saved. This is not Scriptural and, if we believe these lies, we are in Biblical error. We have to make sure we see Scripture in context.
Also, we can’t just crack open the Bible and put our finger on the page and find a Scripture or, as the classic joke goes, we may come across two Bible verses out of context, “Judas went and hanged himself, go ye and do likewise.”
God has told us to take every thought captive and be obedient to Christ. What does Christ do to satan? In Verse 12 Jesus took the thought about jumping off the pinnacle and came to the conclusion He was not to tempt God by His death, that satan was in error. Jesus discerned the lie satan was trying to use to destroy the Messiah.
Pastor Don said sometimes a man will pray to God that a sister in Christ will be his wife. The man reads the Scripture that tells him God will give him the desires of his heart, but doesn’t subject himself to the whole Scripture. The desire of our heart must be in line with Scriptural authority. Unless you can confirm your desire in more than one passage of Scripture, don’t act. God wants to give you the desires of your heart, but if that sister is married, it is not God’s will that you break apart a marriage to have a relationship with that sister. God will not honor the desire of your heart if it involves a sin like adultery.
People always try to find a way to take Scripture out of context. It is dangerous to underestimate a spiritual person. If you are plugged into the Holy Ghost, He will reveal your errors in doctrine. Pastor Don talked about a time when a pastor came into our church and preached that in the End Times the elect would be misled. People in the congregation applauded this pastor, but Pastor Don was surprised no one challenged him to point out where in Scripture that was written. The real passage says, that the elect, IF POSSIBLE, would be misled. If you understand the grammar in that passage, you would see it was the subjunctive clause, and comes with the supposition it is contrary to fact, so it could read, “If it were, but it isn’t.” It is not possible to fool the elect who are well grounded in Scripture. Pastor Don encourages us to question, respectfully, anything preached from the pulpit, if we feel it is not Scriptural. Pastor Don countered the false teaching by teaching the truth of those Scriptures. The pastor with the false doctrine was never invited back to our pulpit. People are like sheep, easily led, but we are not to blindly follow lies.
Pastor Don then shared about a person with a charismatic personality who came into our church, and people were looking up to him – but the Spirit gave Pastor Don a check in his spirit that told him to keep his eye on this man, and not let him get elevated. The man was wanting to recruit men to himself, and although he claimed to be led by the Spirit, the Spirit did not lead him the right way. This man was listening to the wrong voice. At one point Pastor Don took a bunch of men from church to a Promise Keeper’s meeting, and they arrived late, so seating was difficult. This man said that people should follow him for the Spirit told him where they would get good seats. Pastor Don was told by the Spirit to wait, so he waited. The end result was Pastor Don and the men who stayed with him had seats 100 feet from the stage – all the seats together in one area. The man who listened to the wrong spirit ended up so far from the stage sitting on a park bench. Pastor Don sent someone to get the people who went with that man so they could sit up close – this man chose to remain on the park bench, claiming that was the best seat, but the others left and came to the good seats. Not long after that incident, this man moved to another church, and has been church hopping ever since. Sometimes people who look godly, sound godly, and talk godly are not what they appear to be. If you have a check in your spirit, pay attention to that, watch and wait.
Pastor Don said that there are various ways the demonic can come in to a person: through the body, through the soul, through the spirit, and through money. He then gave detailed information about how to recognize the demonic in these various areas.
BODY: When the demonic comes in through the body it manifests as strange symptoms. Not just high blood pressure, but blood pressure so strange it doesn’t fit the normal symptoms. It can manifest as swellings, rashes, sharp disconnected pains. You can pray for severe symptoms to go away but the pain moves; the pain in the hands then goes up the arms and hits them in the chest. The demonic can knock you down. There can be strange manifestations that are not of the Lord. Some moving and shaking is not of the Lord, it is a demonic spirit seeking to disrupt and block the Spirit of God. The demonic spirit can be very strong, and hold on to the person’s will. It will attack and try to bring down the person, attacking the heart of the person with intent to kill, possess, or scare so the person stops praying. We are not to lay hands on a person who is possessed by a demonic spirit. In every case when Jesus cast out the demon He did not lay hands on them. Jesus did not need to, He just spoke God’s Word to the demon and the demon had to go. Demons will try to counter attack and jump across space. When they are in the room they can make you uneasy. Pastor Don can tell when a demonic spirit is trying to come to our church by a feeling he describes as a fullness in his neck area, his hair stands on edge. Sometimes that feeling can last half an hour or longer even after the presence has left. It is important and a blessing to be able to discern when evil is present, for its goal is to attack and disrupt. If we know of the presence we can, through Christ, make the presence leave.
The evil one can also imitate what was at one point a way God communicated with you. For example, if you get a tingle in a particular body part and in the past that was an indicator that someone in the house needed prayer for that body part, satan can use tingles to get you sidetracked from what God is wanting to do. You will end up tingling all over and maybe even bent over in pain from all the supposed areas that need prayer – but it isn’t from God, it is from satan. You need to discern where the source is coming from. Pastor Don pointed out this is not how God operates, and brought it to its most far-flung conclusion – stigmata, where a person has the marks of being crucified and supposedly experiencing the anguish of Christ. Would God really see that as a blessing? Christ was sacrificed ONCE, why would God get the glory of seeing someone He loves experiencing what He went through? If we do not discern the source of the demonic spirit, we can fall into the lie of the devil. God doesn’t want to double you up in pain. God wants us to operate in the Word of Knowledge, not the pain of the body.
It is a demonic spirit that tells us our suffering is for Christ. The only time we really suffer for Christ is if we are persecuted for sharing His Truth – not every illness, disease, or tragedy is suffering for Christ – there is no glory in that for God! If we don’t eat right, sleep right, and we get sick – that is not to the Glory of God, that is to the stupidity of us who are not taking care of the bodies God gave us.
When you have strange symptoms in your body, it is important to examine yourself, and see if there is something you are doing that is giving a way for a demonic spirit to touch your life. Pastor Don has at times come to church feeling he was coming down with a sickness and would be unable to preach, but he does not give in to that impulse. In each instance he was able to give a powerful message. Remember satan wants to stop what God is setting up. When you get strange symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere, then you get a thought to not do this or don’t go there, and it is a place God is directing you to go, examine those thoughts for it could be demonic influence.
What can trip up believers is the belief that being saved makes them the picture of perfection, and thus they can’t come under attack by demonic spirits. Pastor Don told us to pray before we fall asleep that our spirit protects us, for when we are asleep, the Holy Spirit is the guardian of our Spirit, Soul (mind, will, emotions) and body.
We are to continue to renew our minds. We need to put the Word of God into our minds so, when we are under attack, the Word of God comes out of our mouths. We need to quote the Word, to state that no weapon formed against us can prosper. If we fall asleep quoting the word, satan cannot bring you troubling visions so you wake up in a sweat, terrorized when we remember the dreams. God can bless us to do spiritual warfare in our dreams. Our Spirit can recognize an attack from the evil one and tell us we don’t have to wake up. We can tell the devil to leave us alone.
The mind needs to be subject to the Spirit. What we put in our mind is what will come out. If we have a spirit of infirmity, the person may focus on the symptoms, and not realize that a demonic spirit was able to convince them there was greater reward in staying sick than in being well. Usually a trauma comes to the person and they find that they like the attention they get by being ill. No matter what promises they have from the Word of God about divine health, they cling to their illness. Pastor Don said, when an illness is caused by a demonic spirit, there is a central illness that resides and others revolve around it.
In an alcoholic, demonic possession may have as the central problem addiction. This central demonic addiction is surrounded by other spirits that seek possession of the person such as spirits of lust, manic depression, and alcoholism.
Some people come for a healing and they are willing to let go of one aspect of the demonic that is bothering them, but they want to keep their pet sin.
Pastor Don talked about a man who came to him with a transvestite spirit, and psychology was unable to help the man. He came to Pastor Don, and they talked about the symptoms and what was going on. Pastor Don told us the way to draw out the demon is to talk about the symptoms and about the demon. When you do, the demon manifests and then you can cast it out. When the demonic spirit manifested in this man, Pastor Don wanted to take him to the altar and cast out the demon. The man refused and left – he liked the attention he got because of the demonic spirit. He liked being so sick he couldn’t work, keep a job, etc. The lie the man was believing was that his first marriage was a failure and he was less of a man because his wife had left him. Until the man was willing to repent and take this to the altar, that spirit would remain with him.
Pastor Don did not let the man stay around, he prayed him out of the church so the spirit would not try to reach others in the church. Sometimes, when a person is so caught up in their problems and resistant to solutions for help, you are not helping them by helping them. Sometimes they have to reach the bottom, and realize they really want to get free – if you help them before that point, the problem persists longer. It is sometimes greater love to let a person reach the bottom of the problem. They have to WANT to be helped.
Pastor Don then gave a Biblical example of a demonic spirit that affected the body.
Mark 5:1-2 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
An unclean spirit had come to this demonic of the Gadarenes.
Mark 5:3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,
This spirit in him was extremely strong.
Mark 5:4-5 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
The demons are strong, but the power for good is even stronger.
Pastor Don then read this in the Amplified Mark 5:4-5 AMP For he had been bound often with shackles for the feet and handcuffs, but the handcuffs of [light] chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he rubbed and ground together and broke in pieces; and no one had strength enough to restrain or tame him.Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always shrieking and screaming and beating and bruising and cutting himself with stones.
This is a demon attacking the body, and shows the torment to the physical body. It shows the lie of self-mutilation – the lie that tells you that you will feel better when you have mutilated yourself when, in reality, you end up in shame feeling you deserved the mutilation, your body is scarred, and you do not feel better. You feel worse. A familiar spirit can cause a person to do something, telling them they will get something for doing something destructive to their lives. For example, when you get drunk, at first you feel fine – the life of the party, a lightness, but that only lasts a little, until you are making friends with the toilet and have the terrible hangover. Depression feels strong, and sometimes the self mutilater thinks that cutting themselves will help to ease their depression.
Mark 5:6-7 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. (7) And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
The man’s spirit was able to come forward for a moment, and that caused him to come and fall at Jesus’ feet – the demon spirit did not have complete control over the man. In Verse 7 it is not the man speaking, but the spirit speaking through the man. When the person is under the influence of a demonic spirit, the person will say things they would ordinarily never say. There is a confusion in deep possession and often the tenor of the person’s voice changes. The person would never be expected to say what they are saying. The body may experience a different personality energizing it, and the person may find they are in self conversations with themselves. They may feel their self is saying what they normally wouldn’t say. If you find yourself saying weird things, stop and puzzle it out, ask yourself, “What did I say?” See if it is really from you. Sometimes the demonic spirit can turn a moderate reaction to an annoyance to rage, and then we have to ask ourselves, “Where did that come from?” We usually don’t think about what we are thinking about and think about what we are saying. We need to take ownership of our thoughts and words.
When Jesus stepped out of the boat, the demonic of the Gadarenes’s spirit drove him to the feet of Jesus. The man was still under demonic influence, but the Holy Spirit helped the man to bring him to the only One who could help him – Jesus.
Mark 5:8-9 For He (Jesus) said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He (Jesus) asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
When Jesus asked how many demons were in the man, the demon answered legion – that is five to six thousand entities, God is big – demons are small. Jesus spoke to the one in charge – the unclean spirit, but the legion were under the commanding spirit. The will of the person is necessary to come in cooperation to remove the demons.
But sometimes a person does not want to give up all their demons. For example, if a person has a cocaine addiction, the person might be willing to give up cocaine, but not fornication. Most people on earth are without a clue regarding the demonic, but we have a Wonderful Counselor who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life who can come into a life and dramatically change the life. Most people will stay bound until they run into the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jesus).
Pastor Don talked about Son of Sam who was in jail for 10-15 years before he met the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one would come close to the Son of Sam, except one fellow inmate who would speak a word about Jesus. Son of Sam would tell him to leave him alone, but after a while, after a few seeds of truth were dropped, the Son of Sam met Jesus and was dramatically converted.
King Nebuchadnezzar (the book of Daniel) was proud of his kingdom and took credit for it, stating proudly, “Look what I have done.” God permitted a demonic spirit to come on King Nebuchadnezzar for seven years, and King Nebuchadnezzar lived like a wild man, eating the grass, his hair grew so matted it looked like feathers, and his nails were like claws. He remained in this wild state until he came to his senses and acknowledged God’s sovereignty, then the spirit was removed and King Nebuchadnezzar continued being a great king.
Mark 5:10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
Demons crave a body, and did not want to be disembodied spirits. So they begged that Jesus would not send them out of the country. They were in submission to Jesus.
Mark 5:11-12 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
They asked to be put into the swine – pigs were considered unclean animals by the Jews, so why were the Jews tending flocks of pigs? But Jesus permitted the demons to enter the swine, and notice it was unclean spirits (plural) that went into the pigs. It drove the pigs mad and they drowned.
Mark 5:13-15 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
The people could see that something was different in the man, for he was now sitting, clothed and in his right mind. With demonic possession the body language changes. Pastor Don says that often the person drops their head and looks at you from the top of the eyes, peering up at you with eyes like a mad dog. While that looks like an attack and challenging, it is really a fear response, for the demons fear the Greater One (God). They know they have to pay homage to Him. This can happen in the mildest of people, it can happen to a person you love dearly. You can just feel the hate. The person can have an anger response that is off the charts, and you get the feeling of their pure rage. The demon is telling the person they are justified for their rage, that they were wronged and the other person deserves the worst of rage. The person allows the demon to be in charge. Pastor Don pointed out that, at times, the drugs we use to medicate people just give the demon more freedom to move around in the person’s life.
Often a person who has a demonic spirit cannot stand to stay in the sanctuary where praise and worship is going on. They can’t sit, so they get up, leave awhile, come back, get up, etc. That is why Pastor Don does not want the lobby to become a place to socialize during service. It needs to be an extension of the sanctuary.
Someone asked about where demons came from, assuming that all were destroyed in the flood. Pastor Don pointed out that the demons left the bodies they were possessing and then started looking for new hosts once the earth was again populated by Noah’s offspring. The demons do not fit in either heaven or hell. If you cast one out and send them to hell, they stay there a few seconds and then come back to look for a new host. It won’t be until the final judgment, the lake of fire, when they are permanently destroyed. Demons were the offspring of the mating between fallen angels and people. They are territorial, staying in their area, moving from host to host. Some are familiar spirits, that are attracted to a particular sin like alcoholism, drug addiction, fornication, etc. They so desire to be in a body that five to six thousand will crowd into one body.
Pastor Don continued with the other categories of the demonic, but I will share that tomorrow.
I hope that this helps you to understand some of what is going on today. I truly expect this type of behavior will only increase in the end times as satan gets more desperate. After this Bible study I told Pastor Don I learned more about demons than I ever learned in all my years in the occult, and I had extensive training in the occult circles I traveled in. The problem is, many in the occult, as well as many Christians, do not recognize there really is an enemy out there that needs addressing. And the one thing we have that occultists do not, is we have a Mighty, Powerful, Loving God who is far Bigger than anything satan can throw at us. Satan is a defeated foe, satan knows this, yet he wants to drag down as many as possible. We need to become wise, follow our Shepherd, and have the discernment to recognize the lies when they come at us. This study is a valuable tool for discernment of what is going on in the world today.
I pray that your day is blessed and that your Thanksgiving was a day of giving much thanks for all God has done in our lives.
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