Escaping the Shadows Preface
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
—1 Timothy 4: 1-4
Now is the time for a book that will challenge your thinking and, at times, leave you breathless and begging for more. You will ask questions and you will get a lot of answers. I do not profess to have all the answers, but, by sharing my knowledge and experiences, I truly believe I can shed some light through the use of Scripture, so we are no longer walking in the shadows. This book will stretch your view of the world we live in while strengthening your understanding of God. I am convinced that the more we learn of the dark world, the more we will believe that God truly exists and He holds all the power. Through my experiences with people involved in the satanic occult and with professed Devil worshipers, God has revealed Himself to me in ways that are unfathomable. I struggle with painting a clear picture for you of the one implanted in my mind that illustrates the experiences I have had, but the canvas is set.
My faith in God has grown so much because of what I have seen. I hope this book will give you a glimpse of the enormity of God’s power and goodness. I feel like Paul when he was called up to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 11 and heard things which were inexpressible. In this book, I have included Scripture in every section, so that you will not just see my own words and interpretations. Enjoy the illustrations in this book, but allow God’s Holy Spirit to move you by the untainted truth of God’s Word. As you read this book, the one thing I ask is do not look to me as special or heroic because of the experiences I have gone through, but rather, view me as a simple minister who has a deep love and passion for God and is trying to make a difference in today’s predominantly corrupt world.
Satan is extremely powerful and he is the prince of this world, according to John 16:11 NASV when it says, “the prince of this world now stands condemned.” In this book, we will take a deep look into a dark world that is corrupted by the influence of Satan, his angels, and evil spirits. We will not only look at darkness, but because of the darkness, we will appreciate the light even more. Many may believe Satan’s influence is not widespread, but is this belief because of ignorance? That was the way it was for me. What I did not see, hear, or know of in the evil world did not really exist for me. The reality is that many of us are ignorant of Satan’s schemes and he deceives us without us even knowing. This can change and we can answer God’s calling to be the church.
Many of us live our lives in the shadows. The shadows represent living among the world’s deception and lies due to our own ignorance. This ignorance is simply because we have always believed what we have heard without examining the Scriptures to see if what we have heard is true. The shadows I am referring to in this book are false beliefs based on the inaccurate teachings that we have heard. God did not intend for us to live in the shadows, so he gave us the light of the world and His Spirit so we could behold truth. God did not give us the Bible and said, while laughing, “Ha, ha, figure this out.”
The Bible is not for the ordained priests and ministers of the world to dictate its interpretation. First Peter 2:9 says: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Does that seem peculiar? We are not even out of the first chapter and we are already challenging the traditions of churches. According to 1 Peter 2:9 in which Peter is talking to Christians, he refers to them all as priests. Do not fall into the deception that the Word of God is hard to understand. Most of the Scriptures are simple enough for even a child to understand.
I have heard an inspirational quote that fits perfectly into this book: “You don’t need to fear shadows because it means there is a light shining nearby.” Although, it was C.S. Lewis who said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun is risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” This is not a book intended to instill fear of evil with knowledge, but rather the objective is to prove that shadows do exist and that we may be walking in them without even realizing it. In this world, when we are standing in a shadow outdoors, we are unable to see the sun. Likewise, when we are in the shadow of deception, we are also unable to see the Son.
May this book help us see Christ, the source of true light, so that the shadows can dissipate in our lives and we can be in direct contact with the true light of Christ. Remember, if we are in the shadows, the true shining light is close by. Together, let us see the true light of Christ and allow the ever-present God to expose the shadows.
We can choose to live in the light instead of the shadow, but we will have to be open-minded while searching the Word of God diligently. Our comfort is that the shadows can only be seen when light is present. In 1 John 1, John says, “God is light and in him is no darkness.” It is time for us to allow God to shed some light on the truth of Satan and his followers. In 1 Timothy 4:1-4, it says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” This Scripture clearly says there are deceitful spirits and even doctrines of demons that will mislead people. These deceitful spirits are in the world today, proving that not all the people who claim to know God are following truth. With Satan being the deceiver, it would seem that he has distorted truth far more than we previously believed.
Could we not expect one of Satan’s main tactics to be perverting the Scriptures so many of us can be misled? Is that not what he tried to do with Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4, but Jesus was not ignorant of his schemes. It did not work on Jesus, but could it work on us? Satan’s job on earth would be a lot easier if he could get people to feel as if they are walking with God when, in fact, they are actually walking in the shadows.
Also, should we expect that distorting salvation through Christ would be one of the first things Satan would pervert? Jesus clearly says in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” What does it mean when Jesus says that few will find it? We never want to believe in the simplicity of this statement. Why will only few find it? Is it because God has hidden it or made it too complex? Of course not! It is because Satan has provided so many other ways to “be saved” through traditions and man-made ideas that are found nowhere in the Scriptures. If anything, they clearly divert from the truth found only in God’s Word.
I have committed myself to the Word of God, so I do not fall prey to the one who hates God and hates His Word. In the end, I do not know how God is going to sort it out, and I will not get caught up trying to play God. The one thing I do know is God is not a liar and He will be as merciful as His very words allow Him to be, but do not expect Him to compromise His own words.
Our responsibility is not to be like the Pharisees, who thought they had it figured out when it came to God’s desires for mankind. Instead, our responsibility is to live faithfully based on what we know while humbly continuing to learn and grow in the understanding we gain from His unaltered Word. We will all stand before God and it will be His Word that judges us. Let us not act as judges, but let us live obedient and faithful to our King, allowing Him to be the Judge.
At times when we read the Scriptures, we make assumptions about what we believe the writer is trying to say and get across to us. There are times in the Bible where we can make assumptions, but the problem is that people make assumptions when the facts are there and obvious. An example of this is in 1st John. We can read chapter 1 and try to figure out why this book was written. We can make all kinds of different assumptions, but we do not need to assume when the fact is, the true purpose of the book is written clearly in 1 John 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Many people believe so many different things about Christian religion based on incorrect assumptions instead of on the clearly stated truth. As you read through this book, I challenge you to make as few assumptions as possible from the Scriptures so the truth can be clearly seen.
At times, you will be challenged to view a Scripture differently than you have always heard it, but that is what reading Scripture open-mindedly is all about. For example, I was taught to read and see 1 Timothy 2:8 a particular way. 1 Timothy 2:8 says, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger of disputing.” I was taught to read this as saying that only men are authorized by God to pray everywhere,” which would exclude women from praying anywhere that Christian men are present. What if I read this differently? Could it be that Paul was writing about a specific issue—that men were praying when they had anger and divisive issues that would cause their hands to not be clean or holy as they raised them in prayer? The following verse on women cannot be interpreted just for women to adorn themselves properly. Wouldn’t that be absurd if women were to be modest and men were not? Similarly, it would be absurd for men only to pray without anger and for women to pray as they please. Read 1 Timothy and see what Paul was dealing with.
For those of us who have been brought up with religion, our minds have been conditioned to see the Scriptures the way the people whom we love and respect taught us to understand them. Through years of prayer and my goal of reaching humility, I realized it was all right not to be perfect and right in my understanding of everything in the Bible, as long as I was open and obedient while I continued to grow and learn. With this attitude, it is now God starting to teach me the truth through His Word. I believe that, for many years, I had been blinded by my own pride because I felt I had to be perfect in my understanding of the Scriptures or my life with God would be discredited.
I finally realized I was not converting people to Christ but to my way of thinking, and, by doing that, I had fallen prey to the shadows and lies of our enemy. Now I see Christian life as a journey where I learn new things and then become obedient to what I have learned. This is because my life is motivated by love for God, not by a sense of pride where I think I have all the right answers.
I did not realize that believing things a little differently to what I was taught and what my past teachers taught would cause judgments and, at times, resentment. Being a follower of Christ instead of a follower of traditions and names can result in persecution from family, friends, and, sadly, other churches. I would rather follow Christ and endure with Christ then to live my life in the shadows because of people. I want to enjoy the abundant life God gives, not allow my enemy to rob me of what God wants to give me because of deception and legalism, which is excessive adhering to laws.
May this book bless your life as you humble yourself before the Almighty God and see clearly the truth God has set before you, letting Him expose the shadows of deception so you can escape and get out alive.