"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Monday, December 12, 2011

Glimpses of Grace 16: Behind the men

     I don't want to give you the impression that the spiritual attacks Jerry and I and other intercessors have been under are always trivial. Remember the eye of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings? On the Sunday I fell apart (GOG 12), I saw in my spirit a beam of light, an "all-seeing eye" of evil, swing around to fix me with its awareness. I felt caught, exposed, helpless, and at the mercy of an unseen force like the one by which Gandolf was hurled across the room and smashed against a wall by a gesture. It made me want to run from the church and never come back. I was literally incoherent with terror. 
     Yet two days later, as you know from the letter I wrote that day (September 27), God had so calmed and energized us that we knew without a doubt He is about to do a mighty work in our church and that it is a privilege to play a part in it! He may have led other members of our church to leave but He is calling us to stay and to stand for truth. In Christ, we are armed and dangerous. 
     We don't want to focus on the enemy because he is pretty small potatoes next to the Almighty and, like any other bully, he takes all attention as a compliment. But you do have to be aware and diligent and know how to fight him. 
      Jerry and I have had a lot of experience with spiritual warfare. As a couple, we have been involved in a ministry of inner healing and spiritual warfare since we married--and I myself since the late 90s, when I was taken through deliverance by an American Baptist pastor Paul Cox of Aslan's Place and added to an intercessory team with him and his successors at the Center for Prayer Mobilization in Idyllwild, California. We have led or been part of prayer teams throughout more than 40 ministry weekends. I have also been trained in spiritual warfare and other forms of prayer under Dr. Neil Anderson, Dr. Charles Kraft, Dr. Ed Smith, and Dr. Tom Hawkins.
     We know we have an enemy and we know our enemy is not flesh and blood but "(evil) rulers (principalities, cosmic powers) of the unseen world, powers (mighty satanic beings), world forces (authorities, potentates, great evil princes) of this present darkness, spiritual (superhuman) spirits of wickedness," according to Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12. 
     Some of the evil forces we have dealt with can be intimidating but they must yield to the delegated authority of Jesus Christ in us. In His name, we have learned to break curses, cancel any "legal" rights the enemy claims to keep people captive in lies, sickness, emotional torment, addiction, or sin, and break their power over individuals.
     In each situation, the Holy Spirit gives prayer team members whatever spiritual gifts they need to know what must be done and how to do it. Despite all our training, we come to each situation with "an empty tool box" and ask Him to fill it with the insight or other tools we need. Often we only get that insight in part and those tools one at a time as we listen to the person we are praying for and to the Lord, following what usually seem gentle nudges as we go along. It is only looking back, after the Lord has delivered someone from  demonic oppression, that we can see how the Lord was leading all the way.
     The ministry has many intercessors, three or more of whom can be gathered at any time of crisis. They are from many different denominations and backgrounds. Many have been through deliverances or healing themselves. They each have different spiritual gifts and when we gather the Lord generally assembles a gift mix that is just right for the need at hand.  
     I have always been thankful I don't have the gift of seeing demons. Friends of ours who do find it unnerving. It's always easier to face these ugly brutes and command them to leave in the name of Jesus if you can't actually see them. 
     The Bible says in Hebrews 5:14 that as we mature in Christ and exercise our spiritual capacities, "our senses will be trained to discern good and evil." I used to have zero capacity to know what was going on in the spiritual realm. Now I get mental pictures or words of knowledge when God wants me to have them for the purpose of ministering healing to someone.
     Since God revealed we are in this battle for our--His--church--I've been getting all kinds of discernment--and so have others as they pray for us.   

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