Exodus 7:10-13New Living Translation (NLT)
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! 11 Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. 12 They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted.
People are fascinated by the bible, God and all that pertains to Christianity for one reason only, the supernatural. We love to read about Moses parting the Red Sea, angels, the sick being healed and people being set free from demons. We look to God to change us in ways that we cannot, and ask Him for answers to questions we don’t understand. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so if we are going to believe the bible then we have to believe that these kinds of miracles haven’t stopped, but continue in the present age. This fact has always interested me in learning more about God and seeing real life manifestations of His power, so I dedicated this article to helping you discern some of the different ways God’s power shows up, and how to recognize when it’s not Him.
I started to attend the largest church in the city of Miami, where every week there were healings, prophecies being spoken, prayers in tongues and other miraculous occurrences. I had read about these in my bible after I was a Christian (previously I had never read the bible), but had never seen them happen! The more people I met who actually had a God encounter, the more normal it became for me to see someone healed or delivered of addictions. Even speaking in a heavenly language (tongues) became as easy as speaking English, with practice of course.
From talking to people who used to delve into witchcraft or séances with demons, to reading books or articles on those who took the plunge with taboo, religious practices, my interest continued to grow. It could have been someone who was possessed by demons, searched for inner peace in Buddhism or went to India in search of mystical powers from gurus or yogis; the result was all the same. They were convinced that what they were doing was correct, but as they started to dig deeper into their beliefs they realized that Satan had deceived them.
Truth Or Lies
I’ve experienced and studied the supernatural realm for over 10 years, and I am still hungry for more of God daily. The devil can be very deceiving in demonstrating power and often they look very similar to God’s gifts of the Spirit, so you need to be prepared to know how to distinguish between the two.
8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said […]
Each gift has a function and they are still active today, but many Christians believe that:
- All miracles, signs and wonders stopped with the Apostles (Cessationism)
- They’ve never seen one and if they did (or heard a story, watched a video) it was all fake and the person was bribed in some way.
Let me be clear, there are fakes! Yes, there are people who want to hype a crowd by saying that they can do miracles. I once was at a service where this young, traveling preacher said that he could turn water into wine, poured liquid from one cup to another and it turned red. Thousands of people in attendance witnessed it, it was recorded and got hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube, but I was skeptical. He was later caught lying about this “miracle” and wasn’t allowed to come to the church again (on top of being under investigation for a scandal with a minor). He’s still preaching (as of this writing) in large venues with popular speakers and artists, even after all of this.
Since there are many false manifestations, I want to list the more popular ones that have shown up in the New Age and other popular cults (if I missed any, let me know in the comments section below).
Levitation or Astral Projection – This is when your body levitates off the ground (levitation) or when your spirit leaves your body and you can see what’s happening around you. As Chrisitans, we don’t seek these kinds of displays but many occult practitioners really like these because it is something that cannot be “explained away”. Even in the book 90 Minutes In Heaven, author Don Piper explains that he had an out of body experience and saw Heaven, as have many other people with similar stories. God can have someone have these experiences, but remember that we seek Christ and His righteousness, not an experience. It is even mentioned in the bible.
2 Corinthians 12:2
2 I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven.
Psychic, palm or leaf readings, tarot cards – All these are forms of the prophetic gift (1 Corinthians 12:10, see above) but are twisted versions. Can these people actually tell you a possible future? Oh yes they can! You may be wondering how that can be, if God is the one who is in charge of what happens and not satan. See, when you open a door to the devil and allow someone who is being used by him to speak into your life, you are cursing yourself and letting him say what he wants to happen, and not God (Deuteronomy 30:19). People will believe these soothsayers, and start repeating this possible future into existence. What you speak has power, so if you have ever indulged into this make sure you pray for forgiveness in the name of Jesus, reject those words and speak words of life from your Creator.
Temporary Healings – I saw a report on a national TV news station about people getting healed by Satanists. Yes, you read that correctly. They were sick and went to a witch doctor who did some form of ritual and they got better! Of course, these “doctors” are channeling a power not from Christ so what often times happens is that they will be tormented in some form by demons, unlikely situations start happening in their life or they lose their healing. The only one that heals, without a catch, is Jesus Christ the Great Physician. Call on Him, whether it’s cancer or a headache, He will do it.
Séances, speaking to the deceased, seeing dark figures or familiar spirits – Now we are getting into the heavy duty stuff. These are the experiences that many people seek, even the wife of President Abraham Lincoln, Mary Lincoln, had these sorts of practices done in the White House! I don’t have to tell you that you should stay far away from these, even though there are many liars out there who just want to make some money. King Saul of the bible wanted to speak to the Prophet Samuel and actually sought out someone who could do the deed (1 Samuel 28:7-14). Dark figures at night in bedrooms or other places are demons that come to disturb people, but they all leave when you declare the name of Jesus is mighty and tell them to leave. I’ve met several people whom have had this happen to them, so don’t expose yourself to media or other forms of witchcraft that have the potential for evil to enter your life.
Now I’m going to go over the gifts of the Holy Spirit and a few related experiences. Each of these are unique and can show up in many ways, which is up to God to demonstrate.
Prophecies, Words of Knowledge and Faith – A prophetic word is when someone who is moving in this gift will tell you what they are hearing from God about your life. It could be something that may happen in the future, or something you are dealing with right now (word of knowledge). It’s up to you to see those results though, and it takes work. For example, if a Christian felt from God that you were going to get a new job, or discover hidden talents, or do something extraordinary, you can’t wait around for it to happen. Think of a prophecy as what God wants for you, but He needs you to take action on them. Faith has to do with having the boldness to do things that most are afraid of, or hesitant to try. This could be someone starting a business or moving to a new place, etc.
Healing, Miracles and Heat or Electricity In The Body – A healing is when someone prays for you in the name of Jesus Christ to be healed, and you start to feel better. This can be instantaneous (miracle) or progressive (healing). When something is healed, it may leave some scar or it could take time, but a miracle is when someone has a physical ailment or disability and it is instantly gone (migraines, tumors, blindness or bleeding suddenly healed, etc). Sometimes people feel heat or electricity in their bodies when they are getting healed, but it doesn’t happen every time. I personally have felt electricity when God’s presence falls on me, but not every single time. Remember, you’re not seeking an experience, you are seeking Him who gives you peace.
Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues (Acts 19:1-7) – Tongues or speaking in the spirit is when someone is baptized in fire (spiritually, not real fire) and begins to speak in what sounds like gibberish. That was my honest analysis when I first heard it, but now that I speak it daily I understand it much more. You don’t need to speak in tongues to get into Heaven, so please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. If you don’t care to speak it, that’s fine, God loves you either way. Think of it as a “power up” in the spirit, to help you hear His voice more and flow in the supernatural. Interpretation is when you have the gift to translate what is being said in tongues into an understandable language. I’ve witnessed this myself, where one person would speak in tongues then the other one would translate it. Oftentimes, it’s just praise to God or prayers that Holy Spirit is speaking through you (1 Corinthians 14:13-15).
Visions, Dreams, Seeing in the Spirit Realm – There are many people whom God speaks to in dreams. Sometimes they can be hard to understand, while others are pretty straightforward. I myself do not have many dreams, but my wife dreams every night and many times they are direct messages from God about something occurring in our lives now or the future. There are biblical dream dictionaries you can find, I recommend this one that I personally use (be careful, there are many that are not Christian, instead they are aimed at New Age followers). Open and closed visions are images that you see with your eyes open or closed. You might see something in your mind about someone or an event, and it’s God that’s showing it to you for a reason. Seeing in the spirit is what some call a seer (prophets in the bible were called seers), where they can see all sorts of things from demons, angels and other heavenly beings with your open eyes. This also happened several times in the bible (1 Samuel 10:9-11, seers in the bible) , and many times those who are psychics or related professions are seers for the Lord but they are serving the wrong master.
I am well aware that many people who read this will get offended, not believe a word I said, doubt, or have had a spiritual authority tell you that miracles are “not for today, they already passed”. Read your bible for yourself, stop listening to what everyone is saying and I hope you are more aware of other ways God can show up in your life. I hope you continue to press in to see more of God and to see Him move in a real way through your loved ones, friends and even enemies. We are called to love the world the way Christ loved us all, who died on the cross and resurrected from the grave. If you know Christ personally, then it’s your job to show those around you who Christ is. If you don’t believe in God, or are on the fence, I encourage you to not give up your journey, but start taking steps to know who He is. Talk to those who say they know Him personally, not someone who is “phony baloney”. He loves you, and wants the best for you.
Some modern day supernatural testimonies and healings (Click on the links below for video)
What have been your experiences with the supernatural? Did you used to practice the occult, and had some unusual experiences happen to you? What are your thoughts on God performing miracles, healings and other encounters today? Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section below.