Monday, December 20, 2010

Chapter 7 Sandie Freed's Crushing the Spirits of Greed and Poverty: My Study Notes

Here are the notes I took while reading Chapter 7 of Sandie Freed's Crushing the Spirits of Greed and Poverty. To read previous notes please check the October/November/December archives.

Chapter 7 is called Anointed to Defeat Mammon, Babylon and Divination.

The chapter begins by recounting the conversion of Saul, a great persecutor of Christians who literally became blinded by light. While blind Jesus spoke to Him, changing Saul forever.  In fact, even his name changed. You may know him as Paul, one of the greatest messengers of the Christian faith the world will ever know.

-Damascus was where Saul encountered the blinding light. This was a fertile place about 30 miles in diameter which ironically was surrounded by a desert with nothing living. Saul was in a desert land looking for lush land just like his forefathers did when they traveled to the Promised Land. The symbolism for life and transformation didn't escape Saul when he became blind in Damascus.

Damascus was also the most ancient city in Syria where the people worshiped Mammon. It was connected to trade and Tyre.  Do the math. Mammon. Babylon. King of Tyre. Damascus. Saul.  In time, God would use Saul's conversion to expose evil spirits.

Straight Street---Even a blind man couldn't miss the symbolism of being blinded on Straight Street.  I pray we don't need a literal blindness to do the same, to find the straight way in Christ.

The Spirit of Divination-Acts 16:16 shows us the girl who was a false prophet that Paul exposed. She made a good living for her boss so here we go again, Mammon at work. Satan was using the fortune teller to distract Paul, again, the motive behind Mammon and Babylon---to distract us from our mission in Christ.

Day after day this girl kept making a scene, coming across as flattering but truly trying to wear Paul down. Sandie shares that she believes Paul knew something was up, but asked for discernment. He recognized exhaustion, confusion, physical infirmity, lack of self control and anger. This is divination.

Divination---opposes us and we know something isn't right but when we try to discern, we doubt the discernment. It's a vicious cycle of confusion.

I've seen churches frown if not outright ban what might or might not be Holy Spirit manifestations because they've been burned. That burn is divination---someone drawing attention to themself even though it looks like an act of worship. If a person is shaking, jerking, falling in a trance, yelling, screaming or having prophetic words that are so loud the focus is on them it very well could be divination at work. The key is where is the focus. If it's all about the person, it's probably not God.  Ask Him for discernment.  Sandie has an excellent point.

God doesn't compete with Himself.

The spirit of divination has a co worker, the occult. Divination distracts us from Christ's mission and the occult hides comprehension from the truth so we can't live free.  If truth is hidden, it's the occult. Jesus is the key to freedom.

Paul was hounded constantly by divination and the occult. He was trying to discern what was going on and was blocked by warfare. As soon as God gave revelation Paul was able to address not the girl, but the spirit with confidence. He knew His authority came from Christ and Paul spoke out and the spirit left the girl.

As soon as the spirit left the girl, her bosses lost their moneymaker. Sandie likens the scene to the mafia as her employer was under a Mammon and Babylonian influence. They weren't going to let this girl go without a fight. They beat Paul and Silas and threw them in prison.

Those who fight the occult MUST do it under God's discernment and revelation through the blood of Jesus.  Acting in His authority will result in taking back what satan has stolen. One great idea Sandie has is when driving by tarot readers, fortune tellers and the like, proclaim in Jesus' name that the money made be given to God's kingdom more than praying the building be used. Declaring the property for Jesus just gives the occult a new place to find. Declaring the money be made for God's Kingdom will shut the occult down once and for all.

It's not just about praying for money, it's about praying Kingdom money, money for the promotion of God's kingdom.

Paul faced persecution for exposing evil and we will, too. Whether we physically see angels release us as Paul and Silas did, angels under God's command will shake the demonic structures that try to shut us down.

Symptoms of an Occult Stronghold
1.Divination. The Greek word for divination is linked to python. Pythons squeeze life out of their victims and suffocate them. This is divination. Satan wants to shut down the message of the Gospel and he'll try through squeezing victims and suffocation.  Sandie shares a python story so chilling I can't even type it. I shudder every time I read it but it is a real warning for us to seek God and see if divination is ruling our lives at all. We don't have time to waste worrying about the past or future. We must trust God and not Mammon.

2. Jezebel. Jezebel with Mammon seeks to control through flattery. If you receive a compliment followed by a request for money, Jezebel and Mammon are behind this. Command those spirits to leave in Jesus' name.

3. Not discerning truth. There are so many organizations and even so called ministries asking for donations that it's easy to be confused. Sandie explains discernment takes time, but ask God to help you know who is really for God and who is not.

4. Money motivated ministry. It's so easy to start off for all the right reasons, to share the Gospel. Some have fallen for the trap of large offerings and great gains, responding in turn to only serve when the money is big. Teaching and preaching should always be about Godly obedience, not financial motivation.  When that happens it's not God, it's Mammon.

It sounds so simple but the chapter ends with a call to surrender. We can't take it with us. One of my favorite sayings is no one has ever seen a funeral with a U-Haul attached. Sandie admitted her move to a new home caused her issue when she had to give up several boxes of things to Goodwill. It wasn't an easy choice for her, but it was the right choice. She leaves the chapter with a call to ask God what we need to surrender.

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