I’ve heard of the squirrel that got loose in church, and I even saw a bat get loose in church. I’ve heard of snake handlers, but never before have I heard a story like the one I heard from a pastor’s wife in Gulfport, Miss. It seems that this preacher’s wife was also a preacher’s kid. And one day when she was a child, they had a snake visit her father’s church.
Her father was preaching with all of his might, when suddenly the serpent poked its head out of the ceiling, extended part of its body down, and looked at the congregation. The members responded by screaming, but the pastor thought they were shouting. Feeling the power of the Spirit, the pastor preached with even more fervor, as the congregation screamed all the more. Then the snake decided to ascend back into the hole in the ceiling. Whether it was all the noise, or the lack of anything to interest him, nobody knew. But thankfully, the serpent slithered away, the congregation calmed down, and the pastor finished his sermon.
On the way home, the pastor told his daughter, "Boy, I preached a good one today!" His girl didn’t have the heart to tell her daddy that the people were moved more by fear than by the Spirit. In fact, she never did tell him. But she told me.
Satan himself dressed up like a snake one time (Genesis 3), and he still tries to slither his way into our churches with deception. Deuteronomy gives three tests to recognize whether a Satan is deceiving you: false words, false ways, and false worship. False words: Deuteronomy 18:21-22 says if a prophet says something and it doesn’t come true, he’s a false prophet. False ways: Deuteronomy 18:9-14 warned against "detestable ways" of the Canaanites, which included divination, fortune-telling, interpreting omens, sorcery, casting spells, and consulting with spirits and the dead. False worship: Deuteronomy 13:1-4 warns that even if a prophet’s words come true, he is still a false prophet if he tells you to worship any other God than the Lord.
So the next time a snake slithers into your church, check to see if he speaks with forked tongue. You don’t want to be moved by the wrong spirit.
(Copyright 2012 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)