Friday, October 13, 2006

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Today is Friday, October 13th. Isn’t that bad luck? After all, this is the month of Halloween. This is the time of year that as we walk through stores and drive through neighborhoods we see many different decorations shaped to look like ghosts. So, do you believe in ghosts? I don’ least not as the world would define one.

However, I will make one exception. I may just believe in one “ghost cat.” Let me explain. For a couple of weeks this summer, my son was in charge of caring for some animals of a family in our church while they were gone on vacation. Usually my wife would take him over a few times a day to accomplish his responsibilities. One day, neither he nor my wife could make the visit so I went over by myself. As part of my task, I made sure that all the animals were accounted for and came back and made the report to my wife. The problem is that my report included one too many cats. Now listen. I’m a pastor. I know how to count. Numbers is one of the things we pastors do best. I’m telling you, I know how many cats I saw and there was an extra cat in that house.

This family has yet to let me live this one down. They call this extra cat their “ghost cat.” They even came into the church this week and brought me a Beanie Baby Cat dressed to look like a ghost as a reminder of my mystical experience. I still hold to my story. There was an extra cat in their house that day. One of these days there going to open a drawer, door or closet and there going to find out I was right. It’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

But what about ghosts? According to 2 Corinthians 5:8, when we die and our soul separates from our body, if we know Christ, our soul goes straight to heaven. According to the parable that Jesus told in Luke 16, when the beggar named Lazarus died, his soul went straight to Paradise; and when the unbelieving rich man died, his soul went straight to hell. I do not believe that our departed spirits float around our world as ghosts. Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross that he would be with him that day in Paradise. So what about all the stories we hear of ghosts and hauntings? What about those shows where mediums talk to the dead? What about the stories of many individuals who claim to have seen dead relatives or to have had dead relatives visit them and talk with them?

Let me be honest. I do not think that these experiences are the actual spirits of the dead. Then what are they? Well, they could be human trickery or even our minds making something seem real that isn’t. But they also could be demons. The Bible teaches us that Satan is an “angel of light.” He is very good at the art of deception. He can make things seem to be contrary to what they really are. He is also a liar. He cannot tell the truth. Anything that he says and anything he is behind is always false. You can count on that.

I don’t believe in ghosts. In other words, I don’t believe that the spirits of dead people roam around the earth communicating and haunting people. However, I do believe in a demonic army at Satan’s command who uses the art of deception to create fear and to mislead. If there is an exception to this, I’m pretty sure it’s a cat.

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