COMING FACE TO FACE WITH DEMONS
“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
A TYPICAL DAY WITH JESUS...
An average day with Jesus going from village to village was anything but boring or normal by any one's measure to be sure. Casting out demons, healing lepers, the blind, the crippled, and doing more good in an hour than most of us will do in a lifetime was not unusual for this son of a carpenter. His very first day of "official ministry" in His hometown of Nazareth, where He stood and read from Isaiah, chapter 61, verses 1-3, ended with those hearing Christ proclaim Himself to be the "Messiah" - the very One that Isaiah had prophesied about, being more than they could take. In a frenzy of seething rage they hurried to escort him to a cliff where they could hurl him to His death for uttering such blasphemous assertions! Imagine your first day of ministry beginning with such deep offenses and threats being leveled against you. I've thought about Jesus first day of announcing His earthly ministry many, many times - and it still shakes me to the bone. And, this was just His first day on the job - Wow!
Today, following most modern day ministers of the gospel, would seem rather tame and unlike the ministry of Jesus and the early followers of Christ. Why? Because, instead of miracles, signs and wonders, and the power of God being manifested we would probably see a nice illuminated sign in front of a big church with the words: Chicken dinner this Sunday afternoon/everyone is welcome. Hey, I like chicken as much as anyone, but honestly it is no substitute for going out and seeking the lost and hurting souls that are most likely not going to be at this weekend's Chicken Dinner... Would you be surprised if you witnessed an honest to God miracle sign or wonder this Sunday at your church?
Yes, I'm convinced as a church we have gotten away from the basics of the faith, and that includes "casting out demons", and healing the sick through the power of prayer and fasting. When going to church becomes a place where no one present expects to see God's power -no miracles, no signs, no wonders - no one being healed, no one being set free from demonic spirits and the evil oppression of the devil; WE ARE IN A VERY DANGEROUS PLACE AS CHRISTIANS! If you're afraid of having God "interrupt your predictable and carefully scripted" church services, and are uncomfortable with the idea of God doing amazing and awe inspiring things in your presence - you might find my story of having to confront and cast out demons a little unsettling. Just keep in mind, that for Jesus and the disciples, it was just another normal part of their ministry to people... really.
3 DAYS WITH A WOMAN DEMON POSSESSED
Let me first begin, by letting you know that I do not have a fascination with demons, the devil, or evil. I hate horror movies and avoid them like the plague. I have never watched the movie the "EXORCIST" in it's entirety, as it is too creepy for me, I kid you not. Truthfully, I have an aversion to everything that is on the "dark side" of Christianity, and I attribute that to the Holy Spirit in me and the changes God has affected in me since coming to Christ. I share that so you will know that I did not go seeking for a confrontation with demons or the devil; as a new Christian my life was busy with just trying to grow by reading the Bible, going to church regularly, and being active in various ministries in and outside of the local church.
What happened to me, less than a year earlier as new Christian was to change my life forever, and my view of sin, evil, and demons. In my last blog, I shared how God had allowed me to be attacked by demons in my bedroom, and how I was able to gain the victory by simply exercising my faith in the name of Jesus. As I thought the name Jesus in my mind, and then began to speak out loud the name of Jesus to the demons who were attacking me - experienced compete peace and victory over the demons assaulting me. This earlier battle had taught me many things, and built my faith up significantly. Now, I was about to face demons face to face, in a battle that was to test me and several other Christians to the utmost degree... (this all took place sometime in 1973)
THE BATTLE BEGINS...
I can't remember exactly how this whole episode began, but I can tell you it involved some Christians I knew very well, who were going to the same church as me. They were new believers in Christ, and very involved in our church; we all were on fire for God and talking about the Bible, Jesus Christ, really - anything to do with Christianity was really the center of our lives at that time. There came a day when this couple, who had several children; called me and informed me that a family member, a woman they were related to was at their home and that she was acting very - very strange. They sensed that she was in need of prayer, and deliverance - though they knew very little at that time about how to engage in anything like that. I headed over to their home not knowing what to expect, but having a sense that I was about to confront something or someone very evil. That proved to be true. I was not ready for what about to happen in the next three days - this was going be a confrontation with unspeakable evil and darkness that none of us could have imagined.
Upon my arrival, I found this Christian couple, praying for this *woman who was seated in a chair, with both of them praying quietly over her. They were praying in English(their native tongue), and also in the spiritual gift of tongues, that is listed in the Book of Acts, and in Paul's letters to the Corinthians,etc. I observed that this woman was making facial contortions, which twisted her face all out of sorts -and that she was cursing and making whispering sounds as well as muttering sounds. It was obvious that this woman was deranged by normal standards of observation; her eyes, face, and body language all gave evidence that this woman was mentally unstable, and not in control of her speech or her body's movements. This prayer went on for hours - with the most bizarre manifestations I had ever witnessed in a person, especially at this close proximity to them. I was literally face to face with this woman, whose eyes would glare at you - piecing right through you to the core of you very being and soul! This was very frightening and stressful, and I sensed this was not going to be over quickly.
THE MIND GAMES AND DEMONIC PLOYS...
This was not something anyone of us present were experienced with, so we called in some Spirit filled pastors to assist us and give us their assessment of what we were dealing with. Two Assembly of God ministers came to the home of this couple and prayed for this woman, and were convinced that we were in fact dealing with a "possessed woman" with many powerful demons tormenting her. We were already in our 2nd day of prayer and fasting, and we had the children removed from the home to ensure that they were not involved or adversely affected by this ensuing battle we were engaged in. We had take time off from our jobs so we could pray around the clock, but our flesh and emotions were beginning to show the signs of fatigue and there was a sense that we might not win this battle. We had many people praying for us and this woman; but as time dragged on we were becoming less and less effective in battling with these demons. We were doing our best to win this battle, but I will admit our faith was shaky at best, this was evil beyond anything I had ever confronted; worse - far worse than the demons of "fear" that had attacked me just months earlier in my bedroom at my sister's house where I had been staying. I knew this was actually happening, but it seemed like a very bad dream, a horrible nightmare - but we all knew that what was happening was actually happening to us - to her. We were committed to seeing this through to the end, but honestly - our bodies were already feeling the strain and stress of being in the presence of such intense evil for hours, and now days...
The woman we were praying for would act completely normal and tell us she was okay, that we could let her go; but we knew she was not telling the truth; and when told to tell the truth in "Jesus name" - she would scream and begin to curse and shout at us with all her strength. She tried to claw us, scratch us, and her voice would change to a low beastly growl that can only be described as beyond anything I had ever heard in my life at that time. There was a smell, a foul, ghastly - odor that came out of this woman's mouth that was enough to make you vomit. At this point the demons were challenging us with many words, and taunting us; somehow knowing we were very new at this - and sensing we were afraid and not in control. I had learned from my earlier battles with demons, that demons can sense "fear" in a person, not unlike a dog or animal can; and they will pounce on you if they think you're afraid or fearful. I refused to be afraid. I would rebuke and command the demons to shut up and to be quiet in the name of Jesus. This would work for a short time, and then the demons would begin to talk again, or try to physically attack one or more of us.
We cast many demons out of this woman, how many I'm not sure but we finally realized that the most powerful demons in this woman were religious spirits and very knowledgeable and prideful. They would quote scriptures back to us and remind us that they were around when Jesus walked the earth, that they knew the Bible better than we did. They were most cunning and intimidating in their ploys to engage in conversation with us. We were now exhausted, and becoming increasingly more and more mentally drained and ill equipped to keep this fight going much longer. The remaining demons, or "demon" simply refused to exit or come out of this woman and though we had experience partial victory in casting many demons out of this poor tormented soul - it was becoming increasing clear that we might not be able to rid this woman of this unwelcome intruder. Later, we were to find out that this "religious spirit" was not unwelcome, but had probably been invited in to this woman's life - which is what "seducing spirits" do by the way. How these demons, any demons for that matter enter a person, or gain access to someone's body - is not what I'm attempting to explain here - that is a lengthy and complicated message in itself. This testimony is not about "how" this poor woman became possessed and under the control of demons; but how a few new Christians dealt with someone in need of deliverance on short notice...
THE BATTLE ENDS...
By the third day, we were spiritually, physically, and mentally spent - we knew we could no longer continue our around the clock "prayer and fasting" vigil/intercession for this woman. We realized that though we had experienced some victory over the demons that had tormented this woman, and had in fact cast many of them out of her. The most powerful of the demons, we sadly - were not able to force out of her. We ended up having to commit this woman temporarily to a mental ward, where she was later released and went on to lead a very normal life and serve God and attend church regularly. We felt defeated at that point, but God in His mercy showered us with a baptism of "joy and laughter", that all of us experienced immediately after we had this woman put in a facility where she could be cared for. God knew we had done all we could do for this woman, and He would do the rest as we prayed and continued to intercede for her; which we all did. I believe this woman eventually was freed from the remaining demons - through the prayers and intercession on her behalf long after our 3 day battle had come to an end.
Later, God revealed that this woman did not want to let go of this demonic spirit of "pride" that she had. She refused at that time to relinquish or let go of this demon's control over her. That may sound strange to you and me, but then again this entire confrontation with demons and evil is not really everyday stuff - is it? When we got down to the controlling spirit, the "strongman" in this case - we could not force it out. I believe we could have, if we were stronger in the Lord at that time. We were all baby Christians, and looking back now I realize that we were lacking in not only experience and knowledge of the scriptures, but we were also weak in our new Christian faith. We didn't win the battle entirely as we should have, but we did fight valiantly and we learned many lessons about spiritual warfare that you can't learn from simply reading a book. The next time, should the occasion arise - all of us would be better prepared to deliver anyone whom we might find in need of prayer and deliverance...
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
Why God allowed a few new Christian believers, who had no real experience casting out demons, or confronting evil to go through what we experienced those three days is something I've pondered often. I believe it was because we were willing to help a woman tormented by demons, in need of deliverance. I also believe it's because we all believed that the things we were reading in the Bible that Jesus did, and that the early apostles and disciples were doing in the Book of Acts and the New Testament were still for us as believers today. That being said, I must admit - God probably could have chosen more qualified believers if He wanted to. In the end, I also believe it was so we could gain valuable experience that we could use in later battles with evil and demons as we went on in our Christian walk with God down here on earth.
This much I do know, the devil, demons, and evil are real, very real.But the Lord Jesus Christ is greater than the devil, and all the demons in hell! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Jesus did not leave us here to watch people suffer or be tormented and oppressed by demons or evil. He has given us every spiritual weapon to overcome all the devices and schemes of Satan and to destroy and tear down every wicked stronghold in Jesus name.
He promised that we would do "greater works than He did", because He was going to our Father in heaven. Does that sound like you or me today? Does that sound like the church you or I attend now? I pray we rise up and begin to do great exploits for our King. Let us believe God still can and does do miracles, signs and wonders; and let us reach out to those bound in chains of addiction or under the curse of sin and iniquities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Dare to believe God, His word, His promises - step out in faith and watch God do miracles and wonders before your very eyes!
God is waiting for you and me to simply go out and do what He said to do. NOW LET'S GO!
1 John 4:4 (KJV)4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Matthew 10:8 (NKJV) 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,[a] cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Blessings to all/michael/fool4CHRIST *Note - for the sake of this family's privacy, I've not given their names... also, the title: 3 DAYS WITH THE DEVIL, does not mean I was with Satan himself, but a reference
to being in the presence of "his structure/kingdom of darkness" first hand, up close - and with some of his many "powers and rulers of darkness"... see Eph.6:12
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I love God, people, and all of God's creation. For me there is always something or someone to write about...