Do You Believe in Ghosts?

 "I was sound asleep when I felt as though someone sat down on the bed beside me," related Christian musician Fernando Ortega.

"The only problem," he continued, "was that I was the only person in my room."

 Ortega was in Augusta, Georgia, last weekend to lead worship for Anne Graham Lotz's Just Give Me Jesus revival. Staying at the renowned Partridge Inn, he had just fallen asleep when he was awakened by the curious sensation.

He felt around on his bed, shrugged his shoulders, and rolled back over to sleep. A short time later, he was awakened again by the same phenomenon.  "This time I turned on all the lights and searched the whole suite," he said. There was no one there.

The next morning at breakfast, another guest asked him how he had slept. "Not well," he replied, and proceeded to tell of his experience.

 "I'm not surprised," the other guest responded. "You do know that this hotel is haunted?"

"Emily," he related,  "a heartbroken bride from the 1800s, is said to haunt the inn. A beautiful young girl with long, flowing chestnut hair, Emily was dressing in her bridal gown on her wedding day. Just as she was putting on her veil, she heard the news that her fiance had been killed. He was mistaken for a soldier wanted for treason and was shot as he rode his horse into town.

Devastated, Emily wore her wedding dress for weeks. She never married, and it was said she died of a broken heart. Emily can still be seen as she was on that fateful day, dressed in her wedding gown, wandering the hotel as she waits for her groom to arrive." *

Ortega related this story at a concert he delivered at Lexington Presbyterian Church in South Carolina on Sunday night following the weekend revival.

"I don't believe in ghosts," he said, "but it was hard to convince myself of that with something sitting on my bed."

Scripture is clear about the afterlife.

For Christians, "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).  Based on this, we know that Christians never return to this world to visit its inhabitants.

But what about non-Christians? Could their restless spirits be sentenced to wander the earth forever?" Scripture is equally clear on this point. In the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, the rich man "lifted up his eyes, being in torment," and saw Lazarus resting securely in Heaven. He asked Father Abraham to send Lazrus back to earth to warn his brothers of the coming judgement.

Abraham replied, "between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us." From this we see that the eternal souls of non-Christians also spend eternity in a fixed place.

I posed a question to Ortega. "You were in Augusta alongside Anne Graham Lotz to help lead 8,000 people into a fresh encounter with Jesus. Did it occur to you that what you were experiencing might be spiritual warfare?"

"As a matter of fact," he replied, "I thought a lot about that. And I quoted a lot of Scripture, " he said with a grin.

While we don't want to be overly fearful and suspect a demon behind every bush (or sitting on every bed), we would be wise to remember that when we are called to do something for God that will impact eternity (and everything done for God impacts eternity), Satan is not going to be pleased. He has fallen angels (demons) at his disposal to do their best to disrupt God's work on the earth.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood," says Ephesians 6:12, "but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

If you are doing God's work and find yourself encountering unusual difficulty and unmistakable interference, you may want to consider whether the source of your disruption could be spiritual rather than physical.

"Therefore," continues Paul in Ephesians, "put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Ortega was right in his approach -- pray a lot. Quote God's Word. Claim the blood of Jesus. For we know that "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

May God guard and protect you as you seek to follow him. 

I hope you enjoy Fernando Ortega's signature version of "Give Me Jesus," performed in honor of Ruth Bell Graham.


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  1. Most "ghostly" encounters can be explained by something called "matrixing" which is basically your brain finding patterns in the pattern-less. It's why you often hear voices in the wind/fans/creaking floors (I personally hear a baby crying most often), why out of the corner of your eye you see a figure which on closer inspection is a shadow but looks so much like a person that it scares you a bit. Experiences such as feeling like you are being held down or touched at night are also part of a natural happening called sleep paralysis. Your body goes through various stages of paralysis as it falls in and out of sleep and sometimes they can make parts of your body feel as if some outside force is preventing them from moving.
    However, as a person of faith, I don't believe we can know all the mysteries that are out there. It may just as easily have been an angel sitting at his bedside. Those are around us all the time.

  2. Heidilyn,
    Thanks so much for commenting, and share your knowledge of the elements of this experience. Sounds like you've done some research! And I absolutely love your reminder that just like demons are all around us, so are angels. Once again, the Lord's army triumphs! Blessings to you this day :)

  3. Spiritual warfare is a very real thing and I think it helps us to know this. Not so we can fear it, but so we can be ready and realize when the enemy is attacking us. The more I feel under attack, the more I think God is working on something big. :)

    Lori, thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog today (I replied to your comment). I enjoyed this post and look forward to coming back.

    In Christ,

    1. Laura,

      Wise words not to be fearful, but respectful, recognizing that wherever Satan is at work, God is at work even more powerfully if we call upon him! Thanks so much for visiting :)

  4. It's so hard to dispel things that were taught to us as children. But it is still spooky none the less!

  5. Great post, Lori. It's always good to bring these experiences back to Scripture. I agree that Satan may create such illusions to make us fearful or to doubt our protection in Christ. But he is limited in the life of a Christian. And while Scripture doesn't give us all the details, it does appear that he has freer reign in the lives of unbelievers who get involved in his kingdom. But either way, you're right about no ghosts...just illusions.

  6. This was such a sound post. I loved your illustrations and conclusion on the ghosts.

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home Wednesdays. I am so thankful that you started linking up because I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Linking up is a sure way of keeping me current with the blogs of those who stop by :-)

    1. Thanks for visiting, Judith. You're right. It is a treat to read how God is at work in so many hearts in so many different ways!

  7. You made an excellent point Lori : "when we are called to do something for God that will impact eternity (and everything done for God impacts eternity), Satan is not going to be pleased." Absolutely true !

    Like you and other commenters have mentioned, we do not need to fear what Satan will do because Jesus overcame him on the cross. Hallelujah !( Excuse me, I always get really excited about that. Haha). I come from a cultural background where people are extremely superstitious and will attribute just about anything to evil spirits. I always end up asking, " Well, who is greater : Jesus or the evil spirit ?" Usually that question is usually enough to warrant silence.

  8. Gertrude, I don't blame you, I get excited every time I think about Christ's victory over death, hell, and the grave. And you can bet when Satan gets banished to the Lake of Fire, I'll be the one yelling "Yay, God!" the loudest. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  9. I don't believe in ghosts, but I certainly believe in SPIRITS and no, those are not the same thing! You are right, Scripture is clear- there are no "lost souls" wandering around looking for help to get to the afterlife. But there are spirits who can appear even as an angel of light who love to cause fear and make us question our faith.

    1. True that, Milehimama. We need to be aware and prayed up! Thanks for commenting :)

  10. So glad I stopped by! We do encounter a spiritual world and need to be on guard. I agree with you, and know that souls do not stay here on earth. Love your verses and with Halloween just around the corner very timely!

    1. Leslie, sometimes I wish, like Elisha, we could see the hosts of heaven camping around us -- what a different perspective we'd have then! Some day. . . :) Thanks for stopping by!

  11. So many brush spiritual warfare off and do not take it seriously. You did an excellent job of showing how Scripture speaks to ghosts while highlighting the reality of demons. Thanks for linking up with WIP!

    1. Thanks, Mary BEth, for giving me a forum at WIP to share my thoughts :)

  12. Having experienced a "ghostly" encounter myself when I was younger, I am convinced of the existence of spirits. In many cases I do think this is evidence of spiritual warfare, be the sightings demonic or angelic. However, I also think that many cases are natural phenomena as well. We should be careful not to poo-poo the spiritual nor to eager to call happenstance with reasonable explanations from biology, physics and human psychology spiritual warfare either. It never hurts to pray when you're afraid . . . just remember, that it may have been a change in air pressure or a waking dream, not a demonic attack. I think when we ask God to help with our fear then the Holy Spirit can help us discern if it's actually spiritual warfare we are dealing with.

    1. Amy, your comment demonstrates a very balanced, wise perspective. Like Heidilyn above pointed out, there are natural reason for much of what we see, but we also need to never discount the possibility of spiritual warfare, both postive and negative. I'm thankful everything is subject to the Lord who loves us :) Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  13. Lori...What an incredible comfort to know that God is sovereign and mighty over all...including spiritual warfare in our lives. Great scripture references. Thank you for sharing at WJIM this week. Blessings to you.