RACING TOWARD THE LIGHT
© 2009 Sandra Pavloff Conner
By the following Monday, Lacey had decided that the spell on Moondancer had failed. Troy and some of his friends had been on the beach that weekend and seen the horse alive and well, so she decided she needed to get more help if her plan were going to succeed. That’s when she made the decision to ask Miss Parker about getting some more books for her. She went to the school early, with the excuse that she would offer extra help, since this was the last week of the club, and when she entered the library, Miss Parker seemed glad to see her.
Lacey didn’t want to tell her exactly what kind of spell she had failed to have success with, so she tried to talk in generalities, hoping Miss Parker wouldn’t ask too many detailed questions. While she helped put out materials for the students she asked, “Miss Parker, you know those spell kits that Troy and I ordered through the Internet?”
“Yes, I remember. Have you been having fun with them?”
“Well . . . sometimes . . . but I don’t seem to be able to do everything right, and I wish I could learn more about being a real witch. Are there any other books that could help me?”
Miss Parker stopped what she was doing and looked long and hard at Lacey, as if she were sizing her up somehow. She had recognized the presence of a strong principality in Lacey, and she wanted to make sure it didn’t try to take over her own domain here in Hamsted. Finally, she seemed to come to a decision and spoke. “Lacey, I know something that could help you develop to a much higher level if that’s what you really want, but you would have to be sworn to secrecy concerning everything I tell you or show you.”
“Oh, I can keep a secret, Miss Parker. I keep lots of secrets now that Luna guides me in my life. She’s helped me understand that most other people aren’t able to understand the level that true sorcerers live on, and so I must keep a lot of what she tells me and what I do to myself.”
Miss Parker nodded. “But this would be even more serious, Lacey, because if you told anything of what you learn from what I have in mind, it could be very dangerous for you personally. Do you understand?”
Lacey looked at her silently for a moment, and then, as if accepting a challenge, she lifted her chin a little and said, “You mean I could die if I told what I learned.”
“It’s possible,” Miss Parker said. “You see what you read about in the Sally Stone books really is the way witches and the supernatural forces in their world function.”
Lacey nodded. “I understand, Miss Parker . . . but I want to be a witch. I want to belong to a real coven and practice all the magic arts the way the characters in the books do. I feel . . . I feel like that’s what I was born to do. Luna has helped me see that.”
“All right. I’ll tell you what we’ll do. I know of a real coven that you might be able to become a part of . . . but there will be a price to pay. You will have to be willing to do whatever is asked of you by the leaders,” she added with a warning tone in her voice.
“Oh, Miss Parker!” Lacey scurried over to stand right in front of the librarian. “Do you really mean it? I can’t believe it. You know about a real coven? Around here?”
“Did you understand what I said, Lacey. You will have to do absolutely everything the leaders require of you, and you cannot tell one soul what goes on in those meetings . . . ever.”
“That’s all right. I don’t have any real friends anymore anyway, and, like Luna has told me, my mom and dad don’t understand me or really care anything about me, so I wouldn’t have anybody to tell.” She reached out and touched Miss Parker’s hand, a pleading look in her eyes. “Please show me how to be a part of this coven.” Suddenly a new thought struck her. “Oh . . . are you a member?”
“That isn’t necessary for you to know right now, Lacey, but I am in a position to take you to a meeting and let the leadership decide about you.”
“Oh, thank you, Miss Parker. Thank you so much!”
At that moment, several of the other students began to filter into the library, so Miss Parker told Lacey that she would explain more after the Library Club was over for the day. Lacey could hardly wait. Finally, she felt, she was going to get to do what she wanted to do more than anything else in the whole world: learn how to be a real witch! Now she wouldn’t just be reading about the exciting life Sally Stone lived. Now she, Lacey Dillard, would be living that life too.
So the following Saturday night, Lacey met Miss Parker at the school parking lot. She had told her parents that she was going to a movie and spending the night with one of her friends from school, knowing that friend would be out of town that weekend. Miss Parker had told Lacey that if they were very late, Lacey could sleep over at her house, and go home in the morning. It never occurred to Lacey that she was doing anything hurtful to her parents, or that it was wrong to tell so many lies. She had become so immersed in the Sally Stone way of life that she now saw lying and deceiving as tools to be used to accomplish whatever goal seemed worthy to her, and her conscience had become seared against truths she’d been taught in Sunday School all the previous years.
That night, as she met with the leaders of the coven, she was drilled with so many questions her head was spinning when they were through. But she had evidently answered all of them satisfactorily, because she was received into a training program, which would include her attendance at certain specific meetings of the coven. She would certainly not be allowed to participate in any of the rituals at this point, but she was moving closer, one step at a time, to her highest goal. She did learn that Miss Parker was indeed a member of the coven, and she was turned over to that woman for the major portion of her training.
The next morning at Christ Community Church, Pastor Carlyle announced the special meeting for the following Sunday afternoon. After service, several people asked him what the meeting concerned, but he told them he felt it best to explain everything when everyone could be present at the same time. That was not a very satisfactory answer for some of the members, but they had to accept it for the time being. And Pastor Carlyle was hoping that even those who wouldn’t ordinarily come to such a meeting might come this time just out of curiosity. He smiled to himself as he spoke quietly to the Lord. “You have a sense of humor, God. You’ll even take advantage of some people’s nosey nature to get Your work done. But I’m really believing that most of the people will show up because they really care about this body and what Your will is for it.”
Monday, when he met with Noah, Serenity, and Clint for prayer, he told them that he was expecting a good crowd the following Sunday, so they all got to their knees and prayed for the Lord to prepare hearts to receive the truth that would be presented to them at the meeting. They decided to meet together and pray again on Thursday and Saturday also, and during those sessions of prayer they asked the Lord to guide the pastor and Noah both as they spoke to the congregation.
By 2:00 Sunday afternoon, the time set for the meeting, the church sanctuary was full. Pastor Carlyle walked to the front of the room. He was a tall, handsome man, his brown hair liberally streaked with silver, and he commanded attention almost anywhere he went. That fact was no different among his own congregation. The people in general respected him for his solid stand on the Word of God and his gracious and comforting manner to any of his flock who were hurting. He had proven himself a faithful and loving shepherd over the past eight years, and today, he counted on that fact to help cause his words and requests to find favor with the people assembled before him.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m so glad for such a great turnout. I’m sure you’ll find that this meeting was well worth your time. Let’s begin with prayer, shall we?” he said, bowing his head, and everyone in the room followed suit.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we are gathered this afternoon in the name of Jesus to make ourselves available to You and what You have to tell us. We want to be obedient to all that You require of us, Lord, and we may need extra help from Your Holy Spirit in order to do that. But we rest assured that all the help we need will be forthcoming. Please give us spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear and understand, Father. We want to please You above all, and we ask that You be in control of this entire meeting. In the name of Jesus we ask it, and we thank You. And every believer here says . . .”
Everyone spoke with him . . . “Amen.”
A large contingent of the Hosts of Heaven were also in attendance in the sanctuary. They were not visible to any human beings in the room, but they stood shoulder to shoulder around the perimeter of the sanctuary, with at least one angelic being standing beside every believer who was assembled there. Two huge warriors stood on either side of Noah and two more on either side of Pastor Carlyle, as extra protection, and outside the church building, another company of warriors stood shoulder to shoulder around the entire building and across the roof.
A few of them were almost late in arriving, because they had been working faithfully up to the last minute making sure their charges made it to the meeting. Some of the people could be convinced only by words spoken into their minds by their invisible angels. Some of them had to have words quickened to them that would combat the demonic voices that gave the hearers all kinds of excuses not to go. And a couple of them had to even be tugged along by the arm until they finally got going under their own steam and started toward the church. Then there were a couple of them who had run into legitimate hindrances that their angels had been required to fix in a hurry. But now all were present and accounted for — both in the human realm and in the angelic sphere. Prayer had paid off again.
Pastor Carlyle continued: “Well, we’re here to pass on some important information to all of you and then to discuss what our responsibility is concerning an evil spiritual attack on our whole community. But I think we need to begin by looking at what the Word of God has to say concerning the subject at hand. I did suggest that you bring your Bibles with you, so if you would turn to Leviticus, chapter 19, verses 26-28 please.” He paused while the congregation found the passage, and then he turned to one of the elders who sat on the front pew. “Howard, would you read those verses out loud please?”
“You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”
“Thank you,” Pastor Carlyle said and looked out over the congregation. “Is there any question about what this verse is saying?” He waited for a minute, and since no hands went up, he continued. “Good, then let’s turn next to chapter 20 of Leviticus and read verse six. Howard, if you will ….”
“And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.”
Pastor Carlyle looked out over the people again. “Okay, any questions concerning this verse?” He waited a reasonable time and then spoke again. “I think when I included some of these verses in a sermon or two last year, most everybody got a really good understanding of them then, but if you do have a question of any kind, please ask it now.” One lady’s hand went up. “Yes, Mrs. Tennison.”
“I wasn’t here last year, so I’m not quite sure about one thing. Exactly what is a familiar spirit?”
“Very good question. I’ll give a simple answer for now, and if you would like more information later, I’ll be glad to enlarge on my answer for you. Basically a familiar spirit is an evil spirit that is familiar with a human being and his habits, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Often, when people go to mediums to try to contact a loved one who has died, and the medium tells them that they can speak to that loved one, what actually happens is that the medium calls up an evil spirit that knew the person well. A familiar spirit will know how the person spoke, how he acted, and any number of other things about him, and can emulate the person quite well enough to deceive someone who doesn’t have the Lord’s protection and who wants to believe what the medium tells them.”
Mrs. Tennison’s eyes were wide. “You mean there really is a way for someone to call an evil spirit and have it come to them!”
“Yes, there certainly is. And that’s why the Lord is warning His people to stay away from all of that. The Lord’s power is the greatest power in the universe, but the devil can use spiritual power also to bring a great deal of evil and harm into people’s lives and into God’s creation. So God is telling us to stay away from all of it.”
Her eyes were still wide, and her mouth was open slightly. But she answered him in a somewhat subdued voice. “Oh . . . I . . . I see.”
“Anyone else have a question?” Pastor Carlyle asked, and when everyone seemed to be shaking their head, he continued. “Very well, now let’s turn to Deuteronomy 18, verses 9-14.” He nodded at Howard again, who began to read.
“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abominate to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.”
Pastor Carlyle spoke again. “I’m pretty sure these verses are clear enough. However, I want Howard to read one section of the passage again.” He looked at his elder. “Verses 10-12, Howard.”
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abominate to the Lord —”
“I think that’s far enough, Howard,” the pastor interrupted. “Thank you.” Then he turned his attention to the group as a whole again. “Now . . . what I want to ask you is this: How many of you believe that these verses that we just read are the Word of God? Raise your hand if you believe that they are.” Everyone raised his hand. “Next . . . how many of you believe that the Lord meant exactly what He said here in these verses?” Again everyone raised his hand.
Pastor Carlyle nodded his head and smiled at them. “Good. I felt sure that you believed that, but it’s important that we get that truth firmly established before we go on.” He had been standing in front of the pulpit, on the same level as the rest of the congregation, and now he walked up beside the front pew and leaned his weight against it as he continued. “What we need to talk about today is the rampant increase of a great deal of literature and other media that is being loosed on the public, and especially our children, that is intended to draw people into practices such as these that we’ve just read about in God’s Word. The plan is to deceive the general public into believing that all of these books and games are harmless entertainment, when, in fact, they are precursors to more intense interest in the occult and open doors to demonic possession.”
“Are you talking about stuff like the Sally Stone books?” one young mother asked.
“Yes, Linda, I am, in fact, referring to all of the Sally Stone materials, and a number of other things like them . . . some of which have been around for generations, but have become more popular recently because of all of the newer occult subject matter coming onto the market.” There was a general stir among the people seated before him, and the pastor could sense a slight current of something negative as well as just curiosity in the crowd. He knew there was bound to be some degree of defensiveness on the part of the people who had been reading the material and seeing the movies, but he was hoping that it wasn’t to the point of being a feeling of animosity toward the stand he was taking. There were a few whispered comments in scattered areas, and he put his hand up to quiet the congregation. “You will all be invited to say or ask anything you want in a little while, but first, I need to finish my main point.”
He took a long, slow, deep breath. “Now all of these materials involve the readers, or movie audience, or game players in all of the kinds of activities that the verses we just read explicitly describe as being an abomination to the Lord. And since He tells us to stay away from all of them, I believe that we really need no other reason to throw those materials away and abstain from participating in them in any way. However, there are some first-hand experiences connected with those materials that will give some of us concrete, present-day reasons to stay away from them also, and that’s part of what we’re here to share with you.
“Now, as we discuss all of this, I want you to be thinking, not only about what you should do concerning your own involvement, and your children’s, but also how we can help rid our whole community of this evil before we have some of the horrible consequences that the Lord wants to protect us from . . . and which other people have had to suffer as a result of not obeying God’s Word on this subject.”
One of the young fathers raised his hand. “Yes, Brent?” Pastor Carlyle said.
“I just want to make sure I understand. Are you saying that we should totally refuse to read any of these books or let our children read them . . . or see any of the movies . . . for any reason?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“But I’ve read an article or two written by other Christian leaders saying that anyone who refuses to let their children read them is just trying to shelter their kids from the realities of the world, and that unless we expose our kids to these kinds of things, we’re going to cause them to grow up handicapped in some way.”
“Yeah,” one of the young woman added, “and I read an article the other day that really made a lot of sense . . . that said if we’re going to decide what we’ll read or allow to be in our libraries or schools based on whether the author believes the way we do about the Bible, then we’re going back to the way people acted in the Dark Ages.”
“And besides,” the woman beside her piped in, “we don’t want our kids growing up thinking that the devil and spiritual forces don’t exist.”
“You’re right,” Pastor Carlyle responded to her first, but hoped what he said would cover all their questions and comments. “We don’t want our kids failing to understand about the devil and all of the demonic spiritual forces at work in the world they live in. But that’s just my point. If they continue to read these books and watch these movies, they are going to be living in deception. They won’t really understand those forces and how to deal with them at all.
“Now listen to me carefully. I’m not suggesting that our children should be sheltered from knowing about Satanism or witchcraft. What I’m saying is that they should be taught the truth about them by their church and their own Christian parents. Our kids should be made to understand that witchcraft and Satanism are real and that they are forces of total and unrelenting evil that came from the rebellion of Satan in Heaven and then moved into the earth as he gained authority here, through man’s sin.
“They need to understand that there are only two sources of supernatural power and activity. One is from God and always glorifies Jesus Christ, no matter how it’s used. The other is always from the devil, and no matter how it’s disguised, will always wreak evil and eventually destroy everyone who uses it or takes part in it.” He could see that he had their attention completely, and he thanked God that he recognized some expressions of agreement on several of the faces before him. So he shifted his weight against the pew a little and continued.
“They also need to be taught that even though the devil, because he is a spirit, knows how to use the spiritual power that is available — it isn’t his power, you understand, but he knows how to appropriate it for his evil purposes because he is from the spirit realm — but the important thing is that even though the devil can use the spiritual power, Jesus alone has supreme power and supreme authority. So even when the devil uses the power that is available to him, Jesus and His Church can defeat him. As our Lord says in Matthew, all authority has been given to Him. And make no mistake about it, beloved saints of God, nothing except Jesus and His authority can defeat these evil forces. We, as the church can do so only as we are in submission to Jesus and acting as His representatives on the earth.
“But these Sally Stone books, and all the other books and movies and games similar to them, even some of those that have been considered classics for generations, don’t teach those truths. Some of them teach that all of this is like some game people can play and not be affected by it for the rest of their lives. Others teach that all supernatural power is the same, and that there is a way to use that power for good without being connected to Jesus Christ. Both of those teachings are lies, and it’s our duty as parents and the church to safeguard our children from those lies and deceptive snares.”
“I don’t understand,” one of the other men said. “I just heard a pastor on a radio talk show the other day saying that he encourages his young people to read the books because they teach the ideals of friendship and courage, and show how people can fight oppression and prejudice.”
Noah raised his hand at that time, and Pastor Carlyle acknowledged him. “Noah, would you like to respond to that question particularly, or did you want to share your experience right now?’
“I’d like to respond to this brother’s question, if you don’t mind, Pastor.”
“Come on up here,” Pastor Carlyle said, and as Noah came forward, the pastor explained to the congregation. “Most all of you are acquainted with Sheriff Noah Bennett by now, and I’ve asked him to come here today to share his own personal experience as a law-enforcement officer concerning the horrible events that can result from an involvement with these kinds of materials. So I think I’ll let him respond to the question on the floor and then go ahead and tell you his story.” He turned to Noah and stepped back a little.
“Good afternoon, everyone. I’m glad to see so many of you hear today to discuss this problem and hopefully help solve it. First of all, in response to this brother’s question, let me say this. These Sally Stone books and movies, and all of the others like them that have been around for several years have absolutely no value! All this talk about their holding forth ideals of friendship and courage is a lot of smoke-screen! There are thousands of examples of true friendship and courage in the stories of the Bible, as well as the millions of pages of wholesome literature that have been written for generations. The same goes for teaching people how to fight oppression or prejudice, or any other evil of society. There’s wonderful literature out there that covers all of that thoroughly. And there are many such stories that are being written right now that do the same, but none of them requires entering into the realm of sorcery and Satanism in order to get those messages across.
“What I’m trying to say is that there are plenty of books out there, for all ages, to teach those ideals without drawing the readers into the powers of darkness that will have a lasting evil effect on them. Why let your children read these stories that could eventually destroy them or someone else in their lives . . . why even risk it . . . when they can choose from all kinds of literature that is really good for them?”
A middle-aged lady spoke up then. “You and Pastor Carlyle keep referring to something in these books and movies being able to cause evil consequences and destroy people. What exactly are you talking about?”
Noah looked at the pastor, who nodded his head to indicate that it was time to tell the story, so he turned back to the congregation. He took a deep breath. “I think if I tell you what I experienced last year, along with all the people in my county, it may make it a little easier to explain what we mean. But before I begin, I’d like to make sure you understand that a lot of what I have to share will be horrifying to hear about, and that’s why the pastor limited this audience to people only over the age of twelve. However . . . if any of you have children in here today who, although they’re older than twelve, still might be likely to have nightmares or emotional problems from hearing about real-life satanic sacrifices and the activities that accompany them, you might want to send them out until we’re finished with this part of the meeting.” He looked over the congregation and waited a minute. He saw a couple sets of parents confer with each other and then ask their teenage children a question. But after a couple of minutes, when no one left the room, Noah figured he’d given them enough warning and could proceed with his story.
As Noah retold his story, exactly as he had told it to the Lawrences and Pastor Carlyle, he felt a continuous flow of grace and courage from the Lord. His voice faltered a couple of times, and he had to stop twice to fight back the tears that had filled his eyes and threatened to spill over, but he didn’t break down. There were a few gasps from some of the members as certain details came out, but there were no interruptions. The people could see that telling the story was causing him pain, and their compassion for him was obvious. The fact that he was allowing them to share his emotions made them even more receptive to the truths he was presenting to them, and when he had finished, there was absolute silence throughout the room.
Noah let it hang there for a while, and then he spoke again. “The reason all of this has come to a head right now is that a number of things have happened in this immediate area that are similar to the way things began out in my home county.” He proceeded to tell them about the two ritual animal sacrifices in the Barclay area and then about the whole episode with David and Moondancer after Lacey’s abnormal behavior.
“Now, I can’t prove to you that everything that happened with David and Moondancer is the result of witchcraft, but all of my experience, as well as my spirit, tells me that it is exactly that, and that if we don’t move now to put a stop to this, the people here could find themselves facing the very same thing we faced last year, maybe at the same level . . . maybe worse. I’m planning to talk to Chief Weston tomorrow, but we wanted to let you know what’s going on first and hopefully enlist your prayers and your faith in this battle.”
After a couple of minutes, Pastor Carlyle stepped forward and said, “I think the best thing for us to do right now is spend a few minutes in personal prayer. If you want to come to the altar, you’re welcome, or if you want to just sit or kneel right where you are, that’s fine too. Let’s each spend some time talking to the Lord about what He’s wanting from us concerning all of this situation.” With that, he turned and knelt before the altar, and Noah, Serenity, and Clint joined him there. After another minute, all three elders knelt beside the others at the front of the church, and almost everyone found a place to bow before the Lord.
The Hosts of Heaven waited. Some of them were bowed before Jehovah also, and the others stood with their heads bowed in worship, waiting for the results of the meeting to become evident. They hoped these people would be able to see the truth and accept the responsibility of doing something about it. It would make their own job easier, because faithful prayer and obedience by Jehovah’s people always opened the way for the spiritual warriors to fight and win against the evil kingdom.
Gradually, as the people continued to pray, some of them silently, but most in subdued voices, the Hosts of Heaven began to feel a rising energy within themselves. They knew that was an indication that the prayers of the saints were reaching the throne, and Jehovah was releasing the power to bring forth the answers. One by one, the captains of each detachment of Heavenly warriors called their troops to attention and began to give them their orders.
The warriors surrounding the outside of the church came to attention, each one clasping the handle of his golden sword. There was new activity in the spirit realm. The demonic powers that had been prowling around the perimeters of the well-guarded territory during the earlier part of the meeting were now pulling in reinforcements and obviously preparing for warfare. They were aware of the prayers of the saints within the church, hearing some of the words as they passed through the airways, and they were now on alert to find an opening through which they could attack and turn the Godly forces back before they got any farther in their plan to overthrow the carefully devised strategies of the demonic kingdom in this region.
But Serenity and a few of the others were praying specifically for God’s protection on all of them as they moved forward to lay out a plan to defeat all of this evil. And with those prayers, Jehovah had a way open to send his mighty warriors into the enemy troops to rout them and hold them at bay until the saints could implement the plan He would give them.
Inside the church, the people were rising and taking their seats again, and Pastor Carlyle spoke to the whole group again. “Now I’m not going to ask each of you individually what you’ve decided to do about all of this. But . . . if you feel that you want to stand against this evil, and you’re ready to rid your own home and your own life of all of this stuff . . . because unless you do that, you can’t fight it anyway . . . if you want to make that stand, I’m asking you to remain for a few more minutes to plan another meeting where we can decide how we can help our whole community get free from this evil. If you don’t feel that you can commit yourself to taking that kind of stand right now, then you are free to go at this time, but I ask that you do so quietly and without any extended conversation. Since this meeting has lasted so late, I believe we need to set aside our regular evening service, and you can use the time to spend with your families this evening.”
There was a slight stirring through the group, and six people got up and slipped out of the room without saying anything else. The rest turned their attention back to the pastor, and after he had breathed a deep sigh of relief, which in itself was a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, he began to suggest possible meeting times during the following week. They decided to hold a meeting the following Tuesday evening and pray that the Lord would give them His own ideas to share with each other at that time. Pastor Carlyle closed the meeting with a prayer that the Lord would keep their body of believers in love and unity in spite of some differences of opinion on this subject, and he prayed again for the protection of all of his flock as they prepared to take their stand in faith for the Kingdom of God.
Tomorrow: Chapter Sixteen