How to be chosen at Harry Potter World, and beyond.

Emma and Vanda at Hogwarts

Emma and Vanda at Hogwarts

She’s read all seven books at least twice.  After years of intrigue with the fantasy world that includes muggles, Dumbledore and hallway pictures that interact with their observers, Emma had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios’ Harry Potter section of their theme park when our family went to Florida last week.

Among other things, Emma had anticipated visiting the shop where you choose, and of course purchase, your wand – though I’ve learned that the wand actually chooses you.  The easy way is to go through the main entrance into the store. But for those Harry Potter enthusiasts who want to wait an hour in line (with their parents), there is the opportunity to watch a wizard do his thing in a another part of the store. He shows you some of the mystery behind finding your wand and helps one lucky child in each group learn how to discover which wand is theirs. With a little Universal Studios magic, the child gets to try out the wand on things in the room with the wizard’s help.

Emma was hoping to be the chosen one for our group of 30 people. Her chances were good since she was the only child among the thousands in the park wearing an authentic cape in the Florida heat.  While we were waiting she asked me for suggestions on how to improve her odds. I told her to make sure people would know how thrilled she was to be there and to tell me about everything in the room as we would enter.  Basically, she should be herself.

We were finally ushered in and the children were assembled in the front so the wizard could see them. He made his way down the steps, greeted us and looked at all of the children before him . . . and he chose Emma!  It was dark in the room so I couldn’t get a picture, but I could easily see Emma’s face beaming during the rest of the presentation. What a great day for her.

Waiting in line for Emma's wand. The fake snow is a bitter irony.

Waiting in line for Emma’s wand. The fake snow is a bitter irony.

To be chosen is an awesome thing, but to be chosen by God is life changing. It means acceptance, validation and a offers a sense of self-worth. And then there’s hope; that gift from God that helps us to endure anything on earth because we know that something amazing is yet to come.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

Friend, there is no need to try to impress God anymore. If you’ve asked Jesus to be your Savior and have committed to following him, you’re already in! Whatever you do for God from now on is in response to having been chosen.

Even if this simply a reminder for you, I hope your face beams today as you enjoy your chosen-ness.

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16 thoughts on “How to be chosen at Harry Potter World, and beyond.

    • Nope. My daughter knows the difference between truth and fantasy because I make sure she knows it. Harry Potter is no less real than Superman, yet so many people are okay with the latter while dismissing the former. Emma knows the Bible as much as she knows Harry Potter stuff. She believes in one and just enjoys the other.

      • Just so you know, I’m not a “legalist”, I am a Christian who comes from a line of witchcraft ancestors. Let me tell you, the evil side is nothing to mess with. I would spare you the pain that I had to endure. Harry Potter himself is not real, but the learning this stuff opens the doors to demons. Again, I am just trying to spare you the nightmares.

      • I get that, Sue Ann. Though I’ve never been drunk, I’ve seen the devastation of alcohol abuse first hand and I’ve learned that it has run in my family in previous generations. So we don’t have alcohol in our home. That doesn’t mean that everyone else has to abstain. But I still reserve the right to warn brothers and sisters about the dangers of it, just like you are doing here. Thanks for your comments.

    • Sue you are greatly misjudging harry potter fans around the world if you misjudge emma. Harry potter brings people together because its something they like to read and talk about. She is just a 12 year old girl that found something she likes and takes pride in and isn’t afraid 2 show it. She just is a huge fan. Nope. Doesn’t believe in it. Its just imagination. Creativity. I know this because I’m Emma! Harry potter is all about love and how it keeps us together and can withstand any force. The magic just gives it a twist,makes it interesting.

  1. “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you:

    who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, (abortion)

    who practices divination or sorcery, (some video games)

    interprets omens, (Astrology)

    engages in witchcraft, (reading about Vampires and Zombies)

    or casts spells, (Harry Potter)

    or who is a medium or spiritist (Fortune-teller)

    or consults the dead. (Seances)

    Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord,

    and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

    You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” –Deuteronomy 18:9-13

    • Again, the major difference is that my daughter knows she’s not actually casting spells. She’s actually fearful of the topic of powers that aren’t from God. My wife and I believe that surrounding our kids in sort of spiritual bubble-wrap stifles creativity that God has given them.
      As far as this passage goes, “imitating” refers to God’s people calling on evil powers to cast spells and all that other stuff. That’s simply not happening here, so I’m cool with it.

    • This is all just for fun not the real thing! God is our Father and I know and trust what he says. And I don’t think he’s saying that Harry Potter is bad. Not in my case.

  2. If you truly feel that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the real thing, you would flee from these demonic false teachings. Thank you sueann for standing for the truth. Also, you would flee from catholic mystic teachings that are prevalent in your denomination.

  3. Again, there is no teaching going on. You seem to know all about me from one blog post. Maybe you avoid every form of entertainment out there, but we’re not stoics. If you try hard enough, you could find references to sin in every from of entertainment. Does that mean you avoid it all? Remember that whole food sacrificed to idols thing Paul wrote about. Feel free not to eat, my friend.

    BTW, what mystical teachings are prevalent in my denomination?

    • I don’t know anything about you. I was just weighing in on the conversation. The Bible is clear on “having fun” and dabbling in things that are antiGod, but that is your business. Why post something if you just want to put your thoughts on others, and not listen to the other side. This is not personal at all.
      As for the mystic teaching. On a Converge Worldwide web page http://www.scene3.org/grow-spiritually/the-journey-within, books by catholic mystics are listed. The site is entitled The Journey Within which encourages contemplative prayer and spiritual formation, and some time ago, I was on a page by Rohmyer who had the writings of Theresa of Avila, the levitating nun. I don’t have that page anymore to post, These are extrabiblical revelations that would have never been in a Baptist Church even 10 years ago. The church needs to wake up, as we are being infiltrated by many false doctrines and man-made programs to “grow the church”. leaving out the pure Gospel of salvation by faith alone. Again, this is not meant as a reflection on you or your ministry, but these things are troubling.

      • You have a valuable place in Christianity. You are passionate about this because maybe you have had experience in the dangers of it. If I didn’t want to hear your thoughts I would have deleted them before they saw the light of day. It’s not that your sentiments are in opposition to mine, but that I believe you take them to a greater extreme. Practicing witchcraft is wrong. None of my family have been involved with it, and I teach my kids the right way without stifling their imaginations. Your difference with me isn’t the concept, but the intensity.

        I suggest that you do all you can to avoid alienating people in your passion to share the Truth. If they feel attacked they won’t listen. You say that your comments aren’t “a reflection on [me] or [my] ministry.” Yet you describe me as someone who doesn’t want to year your thoughts (Just check out comments on other posts for the truth on that one) and blast the denomination that I am a part of as being infiltrated by false doctrines. You can’t say things like that and then expect people to take that final sentence – or anything else you say – seriously.

        I’ve known Gary Rohrmayer for many years. I can assure you that he is a man who lives by faith in Jesus Christ alone. You saw him refer to Theresa of Avila. I don’t know the context or much about her, but I do know that Gary is a great man who has been involved in helping start hundreds of churches that subscribe to the Statement of faith, which I’m pretty sure you missed. (BTW, I don’t see any books you’ve described listed on the link you provided.). I’ve been involved with many training sessions with him, and there was no levitating or mention of it. If his programs to grow the church are “man made,” then I’m all for them. The success is staggering. That’s what the great commission is all about, and I’m sure God is pleased with him and our denomination.

      • I am truly sorry if you felt attacked, but I know I am talking with a seasoned Christian, so I spoke without thinking that it would offend you. I truly mean that..

        Regarding the denomination. How am I attacking it by showing you on their own website what they teach and use?
        I really take issue you that you would even suggest that I would think Mr. Rhyomyer was mentioning or practicing levitating. That was not at all what I was saying. I was saying what he posted on a website sometime back along with other catholic mystics, so I am wondering if he endorses or recommends reading the works of Theresa of Avila.

        Regarding the website on Converge, the books I referred to is under “resources”. They include:

        Lists of Books
        ◾Celebration of discipline by Richard Foster
        ◾A Work of Heart by Reggie McNeil
        ◾Handbook on Prayer by Kenneth Boa
        ◾The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
        ◾Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
        ◾Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
        ◾Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
        ◾Prodigal God by Tim Keller

        Below is an article regarding contemplative prayer, and spiritual disciplines. I believe it defines what I am trying to say.
        I appreciate your time in answering the posts. I will end it here.\
        God Bless!
        In much sincerity

        Who Goes There?

        by Pastor Larry DeBruyn for Contemplative Spirituality

        Encountering voices in the quiet of contemplative prayer.

        “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” The Apostle John, 1 John 4:6, NASB

        Through practicing the discipline of solitude and silence, contemplative spiritualists hope to hear God personally speak to them. As one nationally known personality stated on the Be Still DVD, “intimacy automatically breeds revelation.” [1] But if a voice speaks, there is some question regarding its identitity. Therefore in the video’s same segment, “Fear of Silence,” Richard Foster offers advice about how to discern who might communicate in the stillness. He said:

        Learning to distinguish the voice of God . . . from just human voices within us . . . comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we can know the difference. [2]

        Though there could be others, Richard Foster admits to cacophony of possible voices that might speak: first, human voices within and without (a source that could involve hearing oneself speak, in which case, contemplators would be listening to themselves); second, Satan’s voice; and third, God’s voice.

        In order to determine whose voice might be speaking, Foster provides criteria. If the voice is positive and reaffirming, then the voice is God’s. If however the voice is that of a bully who “pushes and condemns,” then the voice must be that of Satan. To discern whether or not the voice is human, Foster offers no advice.

        If the voice is human, one is left wondering, why go into a meditative trance to hear yourself or another human speak? After all, in the normal concourse of life people talk to themselves and listen to others all the time, unless contemplators feel so isolated and alone, or unless in accord with the eastern monistic worldview, meditators believe they are gods so that when they listen to their voice, they are listening to god!

        Yet Foster is also of the opinion that the voice could be Deity’s. He errs however, by asserting that the divine voice invariably “draws and encourages.” Scripture does not record that God exclusively speaks in that manner. Yes, God speaks positively. To disobedient Israel he said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). But God also speaks negatively. Speaking for God, the prophets of Israel called the sinful nation to repentance as they warned the people of coming wrath and judgment. Of the prophets who droned on and on with their “encouraging” message even in the face of Israel’s utter moral and spiritual collapse, the Lord said, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14). In light of God’s manner of speaking through the prophets, can biblical Christians legitimately dismiss negative messages as being from Satan?

        In his classic work on the subject of holiness, German theologian Adolf Köberle countered the significance of the negative criteria Foster mentions. He wrote:

        The clear-cut difference between mystical piety and that of the Bible can be seen most clearly in the attitude towards prayer. All mystical prayer . . . becomes a blissful absorption into divinity, where personal consciousness ceases, like the impassible, dreamy rest of Nirvana. The experience of all Biblical suppliants stands in direct contrast to this beatific transcendence. When anyone has really encountered God Himself and not merely a higher ego or an imaginary, fantastic portrayal of God, he is roused from dreaming to watchfulness, from an impure approach to a terrified retreat, from the familiar confidence of bombastic prayers to words that express a real feeling of awe towards the One Who is so far above the suppliant himself. [3]

        Köberle then cites Isaiah’s response to his beatific communion with the Lord when he exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). Can Isaiah’s beatific experience accurately be described as one of being drawn to and encouraged by the Lord? If not, then to use Foster’s expression, was Isaiah being “bullied” by Satan?

        Assuming that God speaks Soul to soul today, what if Foster’s paradigm for determining “the voice” were reversed; that the negative voice is God’s, and the positive is Satan’s? It happened that way in the Garden. God warned Adam and Eve that for disobedience to God, “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17), but Satan reassuringly told Adam and Eve, “You surely shall not die!” (Genesis 3:4). The point is that when engaging meditative spirituality, the contemplator can never be certain who will speak, and as a consequence, the experience can become the spawning ground for myriads of flashy ideas based solely upon, “he heard this,” or “she heard that.” And at that juncture, Christians and the church will have turned aside “to myths” (2 Timothy 4:4).

        We live in the age of the Holy Spirit and His spiritual communion and communication with the human soul. But the Spirit’s communication is not always pleasant. Of the Holy Spirit Jesus predicted, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Even the Comforter does not always comfort. Sometimes He convicts, and conviction of soul is not pleasant to experience. It upsets. We do not like to be told we are wrong. Yet without the voice of the Spirit’s conviction, we would continue in sin, pursue unrighteousness and deny we are accountable to God for our behavior. So when for legitimate reasons the Spirit’s conviction comes over them, will Christians be so deluded by the positivity and feel good message that saturates today’s evangelical church that they will ignore the Spirit’s conviction; or worse, in a turnabout, they will assign the criticism to be the bullying voice of Satan?

        None of us likes criticism. Never is it pleasant, especially if deserved. Instinctively, we become defensive. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is not only the Comforter of believers, He is also their critic. As we might indulge the fleshly inclinations of our hearts, the Spirit brings feelings of guilt to bear down upon us. He calls us to repent of sin and return to God’s righteousness. Again, should believers rightfully assign all guilt feelings to Satan? If the message of the plethora of positivity preachers who dominate evangelicalism is to be believed, then the answer would be, “yes.” Negativity is satanic. But if the Bible’s standard of spirituality is believed, the answer is “no,” for one mark of spirituality in the Bible is a person’s sensitivity to sin (See Genesis 18:27; Job 42:5-6; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8; Romans 7:14-25; etc.).

        That contemplative spiritualists engage in practices that by their own admission expose them to the influence of Satan’s voice is troubling. Scripture admonishes believers, “Neither give place [i.e., an opportunity] to the devil” (Ephesisns 4:27). But in his advocacy of contemplative prayer, Richard Foster admits that Satan may seize the silence as an occasion to speak. He states:

        I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance . . . there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! [4]

        Question: In light Scripture’s admonition to “resist the devil” (James 4:7), why should Christians flirt with a spiritual practice that might expose them to hear Satan or a demon speak?

        The fact that contemporary evangelicals seek “fresh” revelations from God indicates that they no longer consider Holy Scripture to be sufficient and authoritative in matters of faith (Contra 2 Timothy 3:16.). Yet if the Bible is no longer considered sufficient, the coming of “fresh revelations” raises the following conundrum: If whispers repeat the Word of God, then they are unnecessary; if whispers contradict the Word of God, then they are heresy; or if they add to the Word of God, then the fresh revelations point to Scripture’s inadequacy and insufficiency. But to this last point, Proverbs warns: “Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he [God] reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6, KJV).

        The Apostle Paul warned, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Colossians 2:18-19). One of the marks of spiritual defrauders is that they take their “stand on visions they have seen.” Is it not a legitimate application of Paul’s words to think that such defrauders might also take their stand upon voices they have heard?

        ____________________
        ENDNOTES
        [1] Michelle McKinney Hammond, “Fear of Silence,” Be Still (DVD © 2006 Twentieth Fox Home Entertainment LLC).
        [2] Ibid., Richard Foster.
        [3] Italics mine, Adolf Köberle, The Quest for Holiness, John C. Mattes, Translator (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1938): 35-36.
        [4] Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) 157. In a bibliographical note regarding Foster’s initial work Celebration of Discipline (New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1978), philosopher Arthur Johnson stated, “In an attempt to provide advice on living the Christian life, Foster promotes a very mystical view of Christianity.” Johnson concludes that, “Much of what the Protestant Reformers opposed is promoted by Foster.” See Arthur L. Johnson, Faith Misguided: Exposing the Dangers of Mysticism (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988): 153.




      • “. . . Also, you would flee from catholic mystic teachings that are prevalent in your denomination . . . ”

        Those are your words that sound to me like you believe that false teaching prevails as part of the belief system of my church. I don’t doubt that you didn’t mean it as an attack, but is sure sounds like one. My suggestion is that you consider your words more carefully before hitting enter.

        If you take issue with legitimacy of the likes of Foster, McNeil, Keller, and Thomas A Kempis, then we are as far apart in our thinking as two Christians can be. DeBruyn suggests in this article that Foster and other modern evangelicals look for revelation from God that in someway supersedes the Bible. That leads me to question if he’s ever read an entire book by any of them. In fact, I just read a chapter in Foster’s newest book this morning where he praises John Wesley for his emphasis on the prominence of Scripture and how tradition, reason and experience are second to it. I’m afraid you’ve been mislead.

        Thanks for your time and this interesting discussion.

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