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We have been talking about the battle (enemy attack) that comes against many of those who move in God's power and anointing, such as those who pray for the sick to be healed.
In each case, the people who got attacked were godly people, mature believers who lived in obedience to the Lord, and who served Him powerfully. The reason that they got attacked was not because they were doing something wrong, but because they were doing something right for God's kingdom. As a result, the devil felt threatened by their ministry, so he counter-attacked them. And God permitted these attacks.
We already looked at James Trumbo's and Randy Clark's stories in our last lesson. Now let's take a look at enemy counter-attacks in the lives of these people:
Bill Johnson is very well known in healing circles. God always seems to show up at his meetings in powerful ways and do amazing things. If you attend any of his meetings, you will hear the testimonies of how God touched people and healed bodies; and it is easy to see that Bill has his share of victories. But what you might not realize is that Bill has also had his share of warfare, and of enemy attack.
Bill's church is known as the "no cancer" church and they have seen a very large number of people completely healed of terminal cancer. But that healing came at quite a cost. Bill's secretary (and close friend) contracted cancer, and she believed that God would heal her of it. The whole church (Bill included) believed along with her and they prayed for her healing in faith, fully expecting her to be healed. But she wasn't healed, and she died. This was a huge defeat for Bill and his church.
After recovering from his initial grief, Bill got mad--not at God, but at the devil. He and his whole church decided to take a stand and make their church a place were cancer wasn't allowed. Even after her death, they continued to war in faith against cancer--and people started getting healed. You might say that they rallied for the battle, fought in faith and turned a defeat (their secretary dying) into a victory (a lot of other people getting healed).
You would think that anyone who won such a great battle over cancer would have a clear road ahead of him, at least in that one area. But that hasn't been the case. The enemy counter-attacked Bill for his healing activity by causing Bill's dad to contract cancer. At this point, one would expect Bill's father to be healed, since his church had become known as a "cancer-free zone." But the enemy fought harder (maybe out of spite) against Bill's father, and he died from the cancer.
Bill's own health has been attacked as well. Even though God has healed countless people through Bill's ministry, this did not protect him from being attacked in the area of his own health. In 2009, Bill contracted a serious condition that required surgery. Fortunately, his church (and many others around the world) rose up in prayer and spiritual warfare on Bill's behalf and the enemy was not able to kill him off. He is recovered from that surgery and actively back in ministry.
Rodney is the senior pastor of a spirit-filled Southern Baptist church in Hayward, California, and he has also served on the state board and the international board for the Southern Baptists. More recently, he has been traveling with Randy Clark and speaking at some of Randy's conferences in the USA and abroad.
Rodney has been doing healing and deliverance ministry for a long time, so he doesn't remember what the warfare was like when he first started, except that it did increase a lot when he started doing the power ministry stuff.
However, there has definitely been an increase of health related attacks against Rodney's family that came since he has stepped up the healing ministry. For instance, one of his sons was diagnosed with colitis and a serious liver condition shortly after Rodney started being one of the main conference speakers/ministers with Randy Clark's ministry. Also, Rodney's father (who was in full-time ministry himself for several years) came down with cancer and just very recently died from it. Shortly before that, Rodney's mother-in-law got seriously sick. She was on her deathbed in the hospital in November of 2009, but (to the doctor's astonishment) she recovered after a great deal of prayer and intercession went up for her.
Rodney is a seasoned warrior who understands "counting the cost." He is not easily scared off by the attack of the enemy and he understands that warfare 'comes with the territory. Rodney intends to keep on keeping on for God's kingdom, despite his recent personal loss.
Rodney also recognizes that there will sometimes be attacks on his own health when he ministers healing--and that God does allow some of these attacks to land. He recounted one story where he was teaching at a huge healing conference, and he had laryngitis the whole time. He could barely squeak the teaching out.
At the same time, Randy Clark (another speak at the conference) got bit by a bug and came down with a really bad fever. Randy was so sick that he could hardly stand up to minister. Leif Hefland (the third speaker) had just recovered from something physical, was but was distracted by a crisis with his ministry back home. All three teachers/leaders of the conference were seriously attacked at the same time. Yet God managed to glorify His name there, despite their weaknesses. Many were healed, equipped and empowered at that conference.
I don't want you to get the impression that only the "big name people" face spiritual warfare and enemy counter-attacks, so I want to briefly share two stories of "everyday believers."
The first is Anne and her father. Anne was a high school junior who I met in Mozambique. She had come to Heidi Baker's complex because she felt the call of God on her life for both healing and missions, and wanted to explore it further. Anne was a bubbly and enthusiastic girl, the kind it is impossible not to like, and it was easy to see a call of God on her life. She had been praying for sick people in Mozambique and was seeing God heal them. Her father was a soft spoken and very nice man. He accompanied her, not because he felt a call of God on his life but because he loved his daughter didn't want her to be unaccompanied as she traveled so far from home.
I only overlapped them by three days; they went home shortly after I arrived. But it was easy to like both of them, especially Anne. Unfortunately, Anne's father got Malaria towards the end of their trip and when home sick. About a week or so after they left, one of the staff members told me the sad news that he had died of Malaria complications shortly after returning home. Looking back on it in retrospect, I now believe that his death was actually a spiritual warfare counter-attack against Anne, designed to shut her down before she got established in healing and missions.
And I'd like to close with a story about Lois Smith. She is a friend of mine who lives on the East Coast, and she has accompanied me on a couple of mission trips to India. Lois prayed for the sick in India and she saw God heal a lot of people through her. The enemy did not like her ministry activity, so he choose to fight back. Lois had very good prayer coverage over herself and her family, especially for God's protection from any type of injury, sickness or disease. But the intercessors were not covering her finances and that is the area the enemy attacked her in. She returned home from India to discover that she had been laid off from her job while she was on the mission field in India. (This was before the economy turned so bad, but it was a long time before Lois was able to find another job, and it was a real financial hardship on her whole family.)
So what is the point that I'd like you to take away from this teaching? It is that the war is real, that the enemy does counter- attack us for our kingdom activity and that we need to learn how to defend ourselves against his attack. We will talk about how to do that in subsequent lessons.