Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro with a family of elephants in the foreground. Just a few miles from our churches along the Kenya/Tanzania border.
(Click image to enlarge)
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
Posted by Mark Maynard at 6/09/2009 03:03:00 PM
The Full Story
In our day, the church in the United States rarely discusses the activity of the evil realm. Spiritual warfare, to us, means something entirely different than it does in primitive cultures and societies. We view it as the loss of a job, the loss of our health, or even the loss of our joy. We attribute these things to the discouraging work of Satan and his minions. Or worse yet, we don’t even make a connection between Satan and events in our lives.
In the bush villages of East Africa spiritual warfare is much more personal and much more costly. Demon possession is not uncommon. In fact, it is a reality that pastors must deal with with great frequency. Witch doctors and wizards practice their evil casting spells and serving the evil one freely.
Just three weeks ago, while visiting one of our church plants at Python Hill, Kenya, I experienced the power of the evil one first hand.
I had just finished preaching and praying for the children and the sick in the small church of 30 when a woman was brought in supported by a man on either side. Her head hung forward as if her neck was broken and her legs dragged behind along the earthen floor.
Alarmed at what we saw we rushed to her side to see what was the matter already intending to pray for healing.
Now nearer to the women, I could see that she was gasping for air as though someone was strangling her. Each attempt to suck in air was accompanied by a sickening sounding rasp.
I checked her pulse at the Carotid Artery. The powerful pulsating rush of blood revealed a heart that raced as if it might explode out of her chest.
We asked the men who brought her in if they knew what she suffered from. The husband said that she had been to the far away clinic many times but they could find no reason for the symptoms.
As we began to pray, my friend and ministry partner along the Kenya/Tanzania border, Pastor Reuben ole Tiges, turned to me and said, “She is not sick. She is demon possessed!”
I am almost embarrassed to admit that a cold chill ran down my spine. I have worked in the remote bush of East Africa for several years now often hearing stories of encounters with witch doctors and spirits and demons. I had believed “almost” every story that I had heard. But this was no far off story, no tale that made its way to me, this was happening right in front of me.
As we prayed for the woman to be delivered, in Jesus name, she began to tense up. Then began to wail. Then began to fight us with a strength that alarmed me. It took three, then four, then five of us to hold her there. I began to understand that she was not trying to get away from us but from the powerful name of Jesus Christ.
Suddenly, she fell to her knees and began to throw up a white foamy sputum. Her body wrenched and convulsed several times, all the while, struggling to get free. Almost as quickly as she had begun to fight she relaxed and came to rest. She seemed to have been freed from the demonic hold but we continued to pray for her deliverance.
Then the eerie scene began to repeat itself exactly as before. This time more violent than before.
Somewhere in the midst of my prayers and trying to make sense of what I was seeing, two thoughts came into my mind.
My own helplessness and dependency expressed in this prayer, “Lord, I have no power to help this woman. But you are all powerful. Your Word says that we will cast out demons in your Name. I know that this is your will. So Lord, please do it now.”
And a realization, “Lord, when this demon comes out it is going somewhere. Please protect the people in this church who do not know you. Lord, send this demon far, far away.”
Three times we wrestled with the demon. Three times she fought and convulsed and threw up. The members of the small primitive church prayed loudly and intensely around us for the entire forty-five minute ordeal.
And then a peace came over her that spread to everyone in the tiny church. Without a word or question I knew that she had been delivered. I knew that Jesus had commanded the demon to leave and that she was free.
Immediately she was breathing normal. Her pulse was normal. Her eyes opened and she began to look around. I got down in front of her and called her name. “Felista, Felista look at me”. As her eyes began to focus on me I said, “cheka”, which means smile in Kiswahili. And as naturally as can be, she gave me the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.
Soon she was talking and moving around as if nothing had happened. In fact, I don’t think she ever understood the depth of her condition.
As the other women in the church cared for her we began to speak to her husband. “Do you understand what Jesus just did for your wife”, I asked? “Yes”, he said. A gospel presentation, a prayer of faith and a celebration in heaven for one new saint.
Then, a tap on my shoulder. It was Felista who had been possessed by a demon not 15 minutes earlier. “I want that too”, she said! And, by faith in the One who had just freed her, she was saved.
Thinking back, I now believe the woman had been possessed by three demons. Each time she threw up one had been commanded to leave.
Yes, the power of the evil one is very real. A personal encounter with his fallen angels will change the way you view the promises made to those who believe...by Faith alone.
“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons...” Mark 16:17
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Posted by Mark Maynard at 6/09/2009 12:42:00 PM