July 19, 2010

Wrestling with Demons

I was recently praying with a girl who had a demon who had attached itself (himself\herself\itself? what do you use when speaking of unseen evil fallen angels) to her. She was fearful that she was possessed by a demon because whenever she prayed for deep inner cleansing from the Lord...something that felt like it was deep within her resisted her prayer. She felt something physically and felt as if she needed to vomit. No one had pre-conditioned her to expect this...it's just that she felt it. When this happened she would become fearful and stop praying. She came to me asking, "Am I demon possessed?"

Knowing her genuine commitment to Jesus Christ and that she was born again, I assured her, No, you certainly are not possessed". I explained that when someone is born again it means that the Spirit of God has taken up residence in the spirit and soul of person and that a demon cannot "possess" that territory any longer.

However that doesn't mean that demons can't attach themselves to our thinking, to our emotions. Paul when writing to the Ephesians told us to be very careful not to give the Devil a "foothold" (4:27). "Foothold" is a Greek word meaning "a space that is marked off from the surrounding space". In this context, we are being told to deal with our anger quickly and healthily or we will give the Devil a "marked off space in our lives", a "foothold", or a "stronghold".

When that happens we are certainly not possessed but we have allowed a place where a demon can get its talons into us. We must aggressively take that space back through confession and deliverance.

Another picture is "wrestling". Ephesians 6:12 describes demons as "wrestling" with us. When a demon takes hold of us in certain areas, it does not want to let go. It has grasped us in an aggressive wrestling hold. When we begin to exercise the authority of the name of Jesus against it, it wants to hold on and this can be a struggle. When manifestations take place (writhing on the floor, eyes rolled back, different voices coming out of a person, coughing, vomiting, supernatural strength, death appearance, hissing, drooling and many more which I have encountered) I believe these are efforts of demons to "hang on" resisting the power that is breaking their hold on an area of a persons life.

As the person confesses their sin, confesses the name of Jesus, confesses the defeat of the Devil and his demons through the blood of Jesus and Word of God, the demon must give up that foothold, it must release its wrestling hold on the person.

This young lady met us for prayer, actively engaged the area of demonic stronghold, and agreed with us as we prayed for breaking the hold of the enemy. There were some violent manifestations that could only be attributed to a demon reluctant to release his territory. But after a short while of prayer, the demon left and she felt a tremendous release. She was glowing even several days later. She testified to the difference that she felt in her life. Praise to the one who "ALWAYS give us the victory".

July 01, 2010

Duckies and Horsies and Jesus

I know blogs are intended to be original work, but David Burchett said some things I resonate so strongly with that I had to share them from site too...Read and enjoy the horsies and duckies of God's love

On a recent flight home I spent a fair portion of the time just gazing out the window at some amazingly beautiful clouds. The sun reflecting off of the magnificent formations was spectacular. I tried to make out shapes like I used to when I was a kid. 
The exercise reminded me of a classic Peanuts cartoon when Charlie Brown. Lucy, Linus and Charlie Brown are all gazing lazily at the clouds. Lucy asks the two boys what they see.
Linus Van Pelt: Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. [points up] That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there… [points] …gives me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.
Lucy Van Pelt: Uh huh. That's very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown: Well… I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.
I get that "Charlie Brown" feeling when I read many of the other bloggers and theologians that I share space with on Crosswalk. I still can't believe they give me virtual real estate to post my humble ramblings. While other Crosswalk contributers are writing deep theological treatises I feel like I am posting a spiritual version of "duckies and horses". Perhaps we are all simply fulfilling our niche in the body of Christ. I know there is a need for theologians who can wrestle with complex passages and doctrinal issues. I know that men and women who can define and defend sound doctrine are vital to the stability of the church. I have spent many hours reading these deep works and working out my practical theology. I am grateful for the faith and intellect of these scholars. But when I look at my spiritual cloud formations I am very much like Charlie Brown. It is pretty simple.
I see that Jesus loves me.
I see the grace of God.
I see my identity in Christ.
I see my need for the community of believers.
I see forgiveness.
In those spiritual cloud formations I see the brilliant light of hope and love.
I am grateful that there are brilliant scholars who can write about topics like "A Test Case For New Testament Aphorism" and "A Review of Carsten Peter Thiede, The Qumran Fragment 7Q5 and its Significance For New Testament Studies". If the church depended on me to research topics like those then Jesus might as well come on back. My brain would vapor lock and then explode if given an assignment like that.
I take comfort in a story recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." (Luke 18, NLT)
Jesus is not saying that I should act childish and immature. He meant that I must have that child-like trust, dependence, surrender to authority and need for relationship. So here's to you theologians and scholars! I am grateful for you and your difficult work. You free me up to look at the clouds and sing my theology boldly.
Jesus loves me,
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so….
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker.