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About 3:30 AM I woke up because of some strange noises outside of the bedroom window. I should explain that the guest bedroom doubles as my prayer closet. When hubby is out-of-town, I often sleep in the guest bedroom, which is downstairs. Anyhow, the noises sounded like someone trying to break into the house through the guest bedroom window. I decided to get up and open the door so that my large (110 pound german shepherd) dog could protect me if anyone tried to come in. However, I found that I was totally parallyzed. I could not move. I though that was really odd. I felt like it was important to get up and open the door and I could not move. Yet, somehow, I was not frightened at all. I decided to ask the Lord about this. "Lord," I prayed, "please show me what is going on. I expected Him to answer me with the still small voice He usually speaks to me with. But instead, someone seemed to be standing next to the right side of my bed and they extended their arm over me pointing at something on my left. All I could see was an arm pointing at something. My eyes followed the arm towards what it was pointing at. I was able to turn my head slightly to look. (Thinking back, I should have been startled at this arm coming out of nowhere just over me and pointing to my left. I think I should have been frightened, wondering who (or what) that arm belonged to. But at the time, those thoughts did not cross my mind.)
When I saw what it was pointing at, I instantly knew it was a demon. You know how the room is dark but not completely black when you wake up at night. Things are sort of grayish and you can make out alot of details in the room. There was this black cloud-like thing hovering about 2 feet from the edge of my bed, just about at eye level. It was shaped sort like a two-ball snowman and was very dark. I don't know how I knew this, but I knew it was a spirit of fear. As soon as I saw it, I tried to rebuke it and found that my voice did not work at all. (Oddly, I never once felt frightened during this encourter.) But I was truely parallelyzed and unable to speak.
[This reminded me of a long time ago before I understood the authority that Jesus has given us. I had started to get interested in demons and a couple of times a spirit of fear had come and brood over me -- totally paralyzing me and terrifying me for hours. Back then I did not know much about how to fight evil spirits and would silently cry out to the Lord for help. It had been a horrible experience and as a result, I'd decided to stay as far away from studying demons as possible. I figured that if I left Satan alone, maybe he'd leave me alone too. Of course, that is bad theology, but at the time I was not very mature and did not know any better.]
The paralysis was just like before, but I knew I had authority over this thing, so I did not really feel frightened at all. I knew I did not have to speak audibly to command a spirit -- they don't even have physical ears. So, I musted up a very authoratative tone of thought and commanded the spirit, in Jesus's name, to be gone. It did not leave. That really surprised me. I tried it several more times and it seemed to be some sort of standoff -- the spirit could not frighten me but I could not make it leave. I asked the Lord about it and wondered if perhaps I'd jumped the gun by commanding it to leave before God told me to. The Lord told me that this was a bit a stronger spirit than I was used to and I'd have to wrestle with it for a little bit. At one point, I did pray for the Lord to send His angels into the room to help me. I continued to wrestle with this thing for about 15 minutes. As this occurred, I slowly got the use of my voice and body back. At one point I rememebered shaking my finger at the spirit in my mind's eye. Shortly after that, I was able to shake my finger at it for real. I was making a shaking gesture and pointing at the thing, commanding it to leave and telling it that it had no authority to be here. Somehow, I misjudged distance between that thing and myself and I accidently stuck my finger right into it. It was a very yucky sensation, as if I'd just stuck my finger into a pile of doggie poop. I pulled my finger back, thinking "Yuck!" Then I had full use of my physical facilities... As odd as this sounded, I knew that it would be some sort of milestone for me to get up out of the bed and open the door. I sat up and then I stood up. I started to walk to the door. It felt like I was wading through quicksand... my moves were still slugglish. But I was able to put hand on the doornob, turn it, and open the door. Then I went into the hallway and to the bathroom, where I washed my hand. There was nothing physically on it, but my finger "felt" slimy and dirty after accidently poking into that thing.
I went back into the room and laid back down. I expected the spirit to be gone now and was really surprised to find it was still there. It did not seem to have any power over me at all -- I was no longer paralyzed and I had full use of my voice and I did not feel at all frigthened. But I did feel annoyed and wondered what was wrong with me that I could not get the final victory by forcing this thing to leave the room. After all, Jesus has given us total authority over all the power of the enemy, so why couldn't I command this thing out of the room? I stopped to ask the Lord about this and ended up praying for a while. As I prayed, I sort of forgot about that thing's presense. And I was getting very tired and sleepy. Besides that, the Lord's peace seemed to be on me dispite the presense of the enemy. So I had this really odd idea. I turned to the demon and said, "You have no authority here. You can't control me and you can't scare me. I don't know why you haven't left, but I'm not going to bother with you any more. I've asked the Lord to send His angels to come deal with you. I'm going to sleep now."
Then I rolled over and went to sleep. (Looking back, I can't believe I did that! But at the time, it seemed the right thing to do. Besides, I was really tired from having wrestled with that thing.)
I was awaken at 6:30 AM by my dog. He had climbed onto the bed and was standing over me, licking my face. I pushed him away (doggie kisses can be slimy, especially in the face) and sat up. Instantly I remembered what had transpired the night before. I looked at the spot where the demon had been and it was not there. I began to wonder if maybe it had been a dream. But if it were a dream, then how did the door get open to let the dog in?
The CD player was on "repeat" and was still playing. Just then a song came on about the authority He had given us in Jesus. I remembered that I had been worshipping for 40 minutes or so before I fell asleep last night.
"Lord," I said. "It does not seem fair. I was worshipping you. How could you let a demon come to me when I'd been worshipping You?" I reminded Him of that passage in Luke 11 where Dad does not give his kids a scorpion when they ask for an egg. It ends with "how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." (Luke 11:13)
"Teresa," He answered. "You knew you were right with me and that nothing was separating you from Me. Thus you knew the enemy had no hold over you, which left you well prepared for battle. I wanted to give you some practice wrestling with enemy so you would be trained/prepared when I need you in battle. What better time let you wrestle than when you are full of My Spirit and in good relation with Me? I did not abandon you to the enemy, I carefully prepared some training for you so that you will be ready for what I need you to do later." He went on to explain how the enemy is preparing to launch a big attack against worship and that one of his main strategies is going to be fear. So is it surprising that a spirit of fear would try to attack me after I had been lost in worship?
Have you ever noticed that the Lord always has a way of explaining things that makes sense?
I just want to attach a quick prolog to this story. The next morning at church I was assigned to be with the worship team (part of my pastoral internship training). Everything was going wrong that morning -- sound equipment not working right, the sound man did not show up, the keyboard would not play, etc. We pulled aside to pray as a group. I mentioned what the Lord had showed me the night before about the enemy launching an attack against worship and about fear being one of his primary weapons. The worship leader confirmed this -- the Lord has shown him a similar thing that same night as I had my little adventure with the spirit of fear. Lani had also joined the worship team for pre-prayer and so had one of the pastors. So we went into a warfare mode and did spiritual warfare for about 1/2 hour. While there seemed to be a breakthrough, the keyboard still would not work. The Lord reminded me of an experience in Moscow where a demon had been backstage sabotaging the sound equipment and how it had to be battled and sent away. He said there was also a spirit sabotaging the equipment and showed me where it was (back stage on the left side of the stage.) I grabbed Lani and dragged her to the room that enters to the left side of the stage. I told her about the spirit. We started to pray and suddenly two things happened. First, we could both see the spirit and knew exactly where it was. Second, a very strong warfare spirit came over both of us and we went into battle and took authority in Jesus' name. This particular battle was fairly easy and about 5 minutes later, the demon left. Both Lani and I saw it go at the same time and just then the intensity for warfare also lifted off of us. Lani looked at me and said, "It's gone." I nodded, also knowing it was gone. Just then the keyboard suddenly started working again. The worship that morning turned out to be pretty incredible.
I believe that this little incident was just another trainging ground for Lani and myself... and opportunity for God to teach us that He is much greater than all of the power of the enemy... another opportunity for Him to prepare us for the battle that lies ahead. Through the blood of the Lamb, we will be overcomers; but He still needs to teach us how to fight. I think God has begun to train His troops.
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