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The Spiritual Battles, Here and Now (Intermission – Issue 36)

The following stories are from those in New Zealand and all around the world who are aware of and have been fighting spiritual battles recently. Ephesians 6:12 says

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

My purpose for collecting and sharing these stories is so that you become aware that this spiritual battle is very real. And I believe that God wants more of us to become aware of this so that we can begin to learn how to fight against "the spiritual forces of evil" for the extension of his Kingdom. 

Jonathan Hicks – CMS Mission Partner in Solomon Islands

“The Song”

Parents in Melanesia face lifelong liability for their children’s actions. Silas and Aiye’s son has a sexual addiction. Already in significant debt, the couple is broadsided by a series of compensation claims from families of several young women. One family threatens violence. Ashamed to ask their community to help them with their expenses, the parents are paralysed. Then Silas comes to our house telling us that Aiye has gone missing for a whole day. As evening sets in, we pray that God will bring her safely home.

After dark, she arrives at our house: “When I heard about my son this morning, my heart became like a stone. I wandered in the bush until evening. I came to a tall cliff. I stood there on the edge of it, imagining myself falling down. Then a bird flew over me and sang brightly. My heart felt something again. The light came in. I woke as if from sleep and walked home.” We had prayed with Silas fifteen minutes earlier. The place where she was standing? A fifteen-minute walk from the village.

“A Warrior Spirit”

Melanesian priests often begin their training with significant spiritual baggage. Sometimes they have invited evil spirits into their lives to give them more spiritual authority. Sometimes this was done for them at birth. In May 2018, the Lord made it clear to me and Andrew that we needed to confront his fellow student because he had a very powerful devil-spirit. The student was convicted by our message and agreed to meet at the school chapel to pray for deliverance.

During the deliverance, we realised we were confronting a warrior spirit that had caused the death of several people before. Surprisingly, this realisation caused absolutely no fear at all. As we prayed for him, I was aware only that we were being helped by the Prince of Peace. Andrew – who has a gift of discernment – said he saw a figure dressed in white standing above the two of us. The Lord answered our prayer and the evil spirit left our friend. When it had gone, the student did two things he had never done before. He wept - his wife of thirty years had never heard him do this – and he asked to be re-named. We anointed him and he received the name of a great priest-king from the Old Testament. 

 

Peter - Vicar in Christchurch at Halswell-Prebbleton parish and Archbishop’s Commissary

“A Story from Christchurch”

As a vicar or minister of the Gospel, you get called on to do some pretty strange things every now and then.

About a month ago, the Cathedral staff fielded a call from a man who was convinced his house was haunted. Strange things were happening, and he was hearing voices urging him to kill himself. More seriously, his adult son living with him had, in fact, attempted suicide. He wanted "the bishop" to come and exorcise his house. So in due course, Mark Barlow and I visited a state house on the east side of Christchurch.

Listening to his story, it would have been easy to dismiss it as schizophrenia or something similar – except  for one thing. He said that because he was so scared, he had called on the name of Jesus, and the voices and evil presences left him alone "but still hung around." He was impressed and so started reading an old Gideon's Bible he found.
 
While he was reading it, he was left in peace. Even more impressed, he started attending a church. His problem was he couldn't keep speaking the name of Jesus, and he couldn't read the Bible all day. He wanted the evil out of his house.

Mark and I went from room to room and in the name and authority of Jesus commanded whatever evil beings were in the room to leave. Then we asked the Lord to wash the room clean and blessed it with water. In the son's room, we also prayed for the son's recovery and prayed with the man himself. We led him to commit his life to Jesus, cast out the spirits that were in him and encouraged him to continue attending church and join a group where he could be discipled. The wonderful thing was that not only was the house a different place, but he was also a different person when we left – even his voice had changed. He was so grateful.

 

Katie – CMS Mission Partner in Spain

“The Neighbourhood”

The man entered the second-hand clothes shop regularly. We knew he was a witch because he had mentioned it before. There's another man who walks past the shop with his hood up and clasping a symbolical necklace as he speaks words over the suburb. Yet another shop has opened close by that is full, like all the rest, of objects, bottles and cards that can be used to call on the spiritual world. A fellow painter in my art class talks about someone who can come and “clean” your house of spirits.  

In Europe, we too are in a spiritual battle from internal and overseas influences. Our deepest longing is that people can be set free from this oppressive spiritual bondage and know true freedom in Christ. So, we are moved to pray and to intercede.     

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).

 

Andy Miller – CMS Mission Partner in Costa Rica

"The Timing Was the Givaway..."

We have been in Costa Rica for two months now and we had been here a week when my wife Shona was admitted to hospital for five days with acute diverticulitis (you can Google it!). I know that we are in a fallen world and we can’t give the enemy credit for all sickness, however the timing was the giveaway.  

We started the day taking Shona for a doctor’s appointment at 9:30am as she had a sore stomach. Twelve hours later, after blood tests, ultra sound, more blood tests, a lot of waiting/ insurance negotiation and a CAT scan, she was finally given a bed at 9pm. Essentially, if you wanted to plan something that would be the most disruptive for our lives at this stage - this would be it! Plus, we have three children who felt very anxious as they are in a new country, new school, with a new language and Mummy is in hospital.  

As it happened, we decided to relax and trust in the Lord and enjoy spending time together. We hadn’t had a whole day together, child-free, since our wedding anniversary. It was a hard day. However, we decided not to be afraid or discouraged and spoke lovingly to each other. This whole experience with the ongoing tests has made us slow down and put each other and family first. As we put our trust in the Lord and reach out for prayer and help, then we see what the enemy intended for evil turned around for good and a testimony of his love and peace invading our circumstances. 

5 thoughts on “The Spiritual Battles, Here and Now (Intermission – Issue 36)

  1. I was also encouraged by your stories. It is a comfort to me to know that our enemies are not ‘flesh and blood’ ie other people. So often, we mistake our enemy.
    I and my husband have also worked in the area of mental health and can appreciate what David is saying. You have to be careful with vulnerable people.
    However, we also noticed the difference it made when we prayed for for those who were mentally ill, although we kept things low key. There is a need for balance, but there is also a battle. Thank you.

  2. I am alarmed that NZCMS is publishing stories that encourage belief in the threat of evil spirits or name a person as a witch. Such stories can have a devastating effect on people who are mentally unstable. My time of employment by the Schizophrenia Fellowship NZ, and the many years since when I have supported individuals with schizophrenia have made me acutely aware that talk of being possessed by evil spirits exacerbates the paranoia to which people with schizophrenia are prone, sometimes with tragic consequences. I thank God that, as a result of advances in psychiatry, we need no longer stigmatise those with a chemical imbalance in the brain as ‘possessed’.

    1. Thanks for your comment David! I really appreciate it. I agree with you that we also need to have a medical response to situations. I myself have benefited from counselling in the past and also have friends who have received help for more serious mental health issues and conditions.

      However, I do believe that a medical response is only one of a couple options available to us. I believe The negative effects evil spirits can have on people and environments is very real and, just as we have a medical response, we need to have well discerned, spiritual responses to these situations. (see Mark 5, Mark 9, Matthew 17:14-20, Acts 13, Acts 8, Ephesians 6).

      The temptation is to feel like we need to choose one option for all contexts; either medical or prayerful. But I don’t think that’s the case. I believe the only option for all contexts is wise discernment, led by the Holy Spirit and scripture. And then, from this, we can decide if a medical response or a prayerful response is the best choice.

      I think it’s so important for people to be aware of the spiritual world so that they can hold prayer alongside the medical responses we have available and allow God to lead them. Speaking on behalf of NZCMS, we know and trust all the people’s discernment here that have written for us. They are all very experienced. I hope this gives you a bit more of an understanding for why we published these stories.

      I would encourage you to read the article “What is the battle?” which is available on our website and gives a bit more of a context to why we are publishing these stories. Another article you might find interesting is called “The Battle Within”. It’s written by a trained counselor and is very good! See our latest Intermission to read this or I can definitely mail it to you.

      Thanks again David! I really appreciate your comment. Feel free to reply any time.

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