From THE ILLUMINATED AMERICAN: Overcoming Our Dark Enemy
Religion is an attempt by man through an exercise of his natural intellect to understand and explain God and His workings. In fact, the word religion comes from the Latin word re-ligare, which means to re-bind, or to re-connect. The implication is that a bond that once existed with the divine is now broken and there remains a drive within the human for restoration. So, the activity of religion, in essence, is mankind’s quest to find a way to re-connect with a higher, infinite power.
If, in fact, there exists a source of power in an invisible realm responsible for the creation of the visible, physical world, then the unseen realm is superior. If we are, in fact, spirit beings and will live on following the death and deterioration of the physical body, then the invisible realm is, indeed, superior.
The word seduce is derived from the Greek word planao. It means to be led astray. As we previously pointed out, Savannah is a beguiling, seductive Lady. Her soul emanates this magnetic, fascinating quality because she has been led astray; she has been seduced! She has wandered from the pathway of promise, as if lost in the dense woods that cover much of her ground.
The principle is set forth that any attempt to understand and interpret life on Earth solely through our physical senses, is sure to fail. It is by (and through) faith that we possess insight and understanding.
Faith is the key that opens the door to the unseen world. As we exercise faith, our spirits awaken from their perpetual slumber and become acclimated to this greater, superior reality. It is the absence of faith, unexercised faith that makes us dead to spiritual truths. Faith will “take” from what exists in the invisible realm and make it a reality in the natural, physical world.
So often we have the inclination, the desire or passion to express that which we feel from deep within. Then our inner voice of doubt kicks in, But, what if I fail? What will others think of me? We then dismiss the prompting as silly or a passing fancy without ever acting on it. I encourage you to step out and take the risk! What you are experiencing is the bud of your talent seeking the daylight of outward expression, so it may bloom and be the fragrance to others for which it was intended.
God is the ultimate risk-taker. God has gambled in allowing us autonomy and permanence with regard to these innate giftings, distributed among mankind. The gift or talent is neutral in and of itself, so the risk lies in how we will exercise and apply these precious possessions during our lifetimes.
So, the soul of a city, her character and personality, is the collective representation of her citizens. Her soul is formed by the activity and conduct of many people over the course of many years. Decades and even centuries of time may be involved, and, as such, this molding process is fluid and subject to both the positive and negative input of its citizenry. Because each is a part of the whole, every person will impact the outcome in one way or another.
The people are the city, and the city is the people. Although the city is shaped by her populace, she has a reciprocal power to influence her citizenry. And what the city gives back will be more complex than our individual contribution, given her soul is formed by many.
The various Savannah ghost tours are, primarily, an exploitation of this natural curiosity, as well as a morbid fascination that human beings have with the spirit world. It is an intrigue, that often results in spirit attachments to the seeker, and a dependency on occult arts and practices. The idea that an unseen realm may exist, populated by spirit entities, whether benevolent or wicked, is often bait that is too inviting to not bite.
A culture molded by embracing the latest fad, message, or movement, may temporarily exude a degree of excitement and purpose, but, inevitably, the train on which that society rides will derail, leaving its passengers stranded, hopeless, and alone. The foundation upon which an individual life or a society of lives must build is that of God’s unchanging, righteous law.
Churchgoers are subject to the same entrapments of human nature as those who deny Christ. Hero worship, in a subtler form, is rampant within these religious bodies as many attendees seek to conform their lifestyle and self-image to the “super spiritual” among them, becoming followers of man rather than followers of God.
Truth commands, it conquers, and it sets free as it marches forth.
Of this we can be sure: the battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil does not involve two equal combatants. In the battle between good and evil, the Devil, especially in the contemporary entertainment mediums of television and motion pictures, is depicted as a formidable opponent, if not the favorite. God is presented as an equal combatant, at best, if He bothers to show up at all.
The bottom line is that the prince of the power of the air will manifest dominion and control through the destructive effects of volatile weather, which is often a precursor to plagues of disease that result in greater degrees of human suffering and death. He is the god of this world and he makes his presence known.
These various idols were not just products of the ancient’s imaginations. Actually, these sky beings were demonic entities to which these deceived societies of human beings paid homage. And these various dominant, evil spirits ruled from within planet Earth’s atmosphere. Remember, they are not physical creatures, hence, they are not earthbound. They do not walk the earth as we do, but they do inhabit and move within its atmosphere.
We traditionally think of idols as being distorted little characters carved from wood or stone, set before an individual, to which they bow. While this does occur, the greater, more subtle fact is that idols are formed within the mind of a person. We imagine what God should be like and we move through life with that marred concept. Instead of discovering through divine revelation that we are created in God’s image, left to ourselves, we involuntarily “create” God in our own image.
Pride is insidious, cunning, deceptive, a deadly beast perpetually poised to spring and consume its human host. Multitudes lead arrogant-driven lives then choose to go to their graves rather than exercise humility.
God’s intention and hope for mankind is that we would choose Him above all other personal relationships, that we would value His presence and companionship more than anything else in life, and, in doing so, would know the love of One whose motives are pure and true.
Any human effort, including those of Christian organizations, to subdue the Devil and his dark forces, are futile if we are not foremost in a love relationship with our God. We are not enabled to love our fellow man until we have first received the love of God. It is His love in us that qualifies us.
God-fearing citizens must be vigilant to confront these demonic manifestations with divine authority, and the human being with the light of Truth. Too often we argue politics and economics in an effort to convert their thinking and gain their allegiance to our political views of social issues. Instead we must address their spiritual blindness with that which will deliver them from the hold on their lives and source of their bondage.
I believe God has participated in the founding of our cities from their inception. This includes prompting human agents with vision of the city’s purpose, the geographical location, and the moral nature of law that will govern society . . . This is the providence of God in action; His superintending care and guidance in bringing you, me, and our cities into that which was divinely predetermined.
Since the fall of mankind, there has never existed a paradise on Earth. Man has attempted to organize and strategize to bring about a utopian society where peace and good will prevailed; however, it has never been accomplished. Mankind, without the blessing of his God, does not possess the “stuff” to live in harmony with his fellow man.
Bear this in mind: America was not founded as a Christian nation. America was founded as a free nation; a society wherein freed men and women would live out their days on Earth with the liberty to pursue personal fulfillment and contentment.
God has a specific destiny and purpose to be fulfilled, a calling to be answered for this world’s cities. Too often that call is drowned out by mankind’s clamoring attempts to forge his own path, in his own way, and God’s gift to the city lies buried under the rubble of wayward, failed human effort.
This was what James Oglethorpe perceived in his spirit as the potential for Savannah. The three-pronged Oglethorpe Vision is as pertinent today as it was in the early 1700’s. Just as God’s plan and destiny for you and I never change, so it is true of our cities.
Clues to what God has purposed for your city are best determined by observing what has presented itself over the course of her history. What has come forth that has stood the test of time and are the identifiable attributes of her character? These features will, to varying degrees, depict the design of God. However, as good and evil wrestle for control, the image of what God intended is often blemished and marred.
As we examine the history of our cities, the sins of the city fathers, perpetuated over time, must be identified. It is from those attitudes and acts that present leaders and citizens must confess and turn.
Frequently, God can’t trust human lips to speak the words that bring recognition and acceptance of His existence among men. So, He orchestrates the building and placement of things that announce His presence and purpose. These things can also speak of the invisible conflict being waged for the soul of the city!
Greed is the ultimate outworking of the pride of man. Pride breeds a “love” for anything that will empower the natural man or woman to attain its elusive goals. It breeds moral insensitivity, a corruption of personal conscience, and the justifying of the actions taken to acquire regardless of the injury inflicted on others or to one’s own soul.
Seldom do human authorities within cities connect their own deeds and those of the citizens, with the influence of dark forces that impress, suggest, and manipulate. Savannah’s elite fell prey to seducing, manipulative spirits that exploited their misguided human passions. In yielding to satisfy their carnal desires, they turned blind eyes to their trespasses, and justified their actions to soothe the guilt of conscience.
Forgiveness is the most fundamental issue and need for the wayward person or city. Acknowledging culpability for having violated God’s divine law, and the need for pardon, is the ultimate turning point for the soul of the individual or of the city.
Ancient pagan people were clearly aware of demons and the supernatural but knew of no way of escape. They would appease evil spirits out of fear. On the other hand, the means of deliverance has been clearly revealed to contemporary man, but he denies the existence of the supernatural and demonic, and, therefore, remains bound.
The battle in the spirit world is for the right of entry, to occupy, and then to control the man, woman, or child. In order to enter, the consent of the individual is required, and consent is given when the person is in agreement with what is offered.
Spiritual bondage is at the core of those who labor under the tyranny of evil. The relationship between the Devil and his slave is dominated by fear, and fear has torment. The outworking of this slavery is visible in many forms in our physical world and societal relationships. It is a by-product of that which exists in the spirit realm, made manifest in the physical world and its system.
Bottom line, our battle, personally and corporately as a race of intelligent, spiritual beings, is against the power of sin intent on our enslavement and destruction . . . The power of sin operates in three distinct areas of life: our humanness, the world system, and the supernatural realm of spirit.
We’ve coined the name ghost towns for those failed societies and communities of the past that once supported life, but now lie abandoned and desolate on Earth’s landscape. The reasons for the abandonment are varied, including economic collapse, natural disasters, war, political disruption, and anarchy.
Vision and compassion are inseparably linked. True compassion for your city will give birth to a vital vision for your city. Within that vision will be the pathway to fulfillment.
We must be prepared to speak divine purpose and promise into the life of an individual or the community of people. God delivers us out of, to be released into. Freedom is merely another word until it is lived out as we walk our intended pathway of destiny.
At the center of worship is the idea of worth. To whom or what we believe is most worthy of our time and attention will define the object of our worship. Where our treasure is, there, too, will be our hearts. And whomever or whatever we treasure will be revealed by our words and actions.
It is from a place of worship that we will be sent. Others will know when we have been in God’s presence. We can’t feign love or holiness. They are foreign to the physical capacities of man, but native to the spirit of man.
We are empowered to love when we have personally experienced God’s love. We love because we are loved. It is from that sure foundation we approach our communities, burdened by the plight of our cities, and seek to see them liberated.
The love of God is a foreign virtue to the culture of the world. The culture of Heaven is counter to that of the world. Heaven thinks and acts “you” and “yours”, while the world thinks and acts “me” and “mine”. Heaven freely gives while the world keeps and covets.
God will not honor competition, envy, and self-promotion with His presence. It is when Christ is lifted up that He will draw men and women to Himself. The enemy will be vanquished from society only when the churches of our communities recognize this, join in coordinated efforts and redirect their weapons at the enemy instead of one another.
A battle for human souls, our cities, and our nation is in progress, right here and right now. It is occurring within our families and within our communities, and our action or inaction has a direct bearing on the outcome. To the degree that we rise up and boldly confront this evil, will be a corresponding measure of empowerment, and souls saved from destruction.
In any city, there are those who cooperate with God and those who resist. Their histories are marked with a moral fluidity, as over time the tide of God’s grace and mercy advances and then recedes among the society. Enlightenment, like the moon, waxes and wanes. Although this has been the human experience, it does not have to be. As citizens, we need not settle for less than total liberation.
Excerpted from The Illuminated American: Overcoming Our Dark Enemy, Copyright © 2023 by Michael K. Mancha. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.