God is Not Disappointed in You

27 11 2013

(This is a great addendum to today’s post. I didn’t want to save it for another day…enjoy!)

Because we aren’t omniscient (all-knowing), we don’t know how our relationships will wind up; therefore we believe we need to take them in hand and determine how each person must function for us. We may not share them with the other person, but we will, nonetheless, have expectations that we want met by each individual we know.

The closer he or she is to us, the higher our expectations.

This opens us up to hurt, frustration, and disappointment.

For instance, you know from my other posts that I have no real expectations from any person who does not know Jesus. They are dead (spiritually), and dead people stink – they can’t help it. If their behavior stinks – it’s no biggie.

From my brothers and sisters in the Lord, however, I expect better behavior. I expect to be loved, nurtured, and encouraged. When their acts or words toward me are less than Christ-like, I get offended.

From my husband, my expectations are much higher. I expect him to always be loving, to always be engaged in whatever topic I choose, etc. When he does not live up to what I expected, I get very offended.

The expectations I have of my spiritual leaders (be they pastors, elders, teachers, or mentors) are probably the highest. I expect these “spiritual giants” to have a hotline to heaven, and be the most godly people I know. When they are less than perfect, I’m apt to be highly offended – and leave my current church and go find one where the leaders are truly “men (or women) of God.”

BTW – I haven’t found that church yet!

It doesn’t take long to discover that the other person does not necessarily want to play the role in which we have cast him or her. If we try to force our expectations on our spouse, for instance, he or she could feel trapped and angry – or guilt and shame for not measuring up.

They are not free to be who God created them to be,

and we judge them for not being who we want them to be for us.

Setting expectations for others then, is to “love” for the sake of getting what I want from that person. It is conditional, dependent upon their ability to satisfy my demands. This certainly is not the agape love Jesus desires us to show to one another.

Expectancy, on the other hand, looks forward to growing in unity and intimacy with others. Without the “rules” of expectation, each person is free to grow and “become.” We are free of the bondage of another person’s list of “oughts” and “shoulds.”

This kind of relationship requires trust in God’s ability to continue to transform and develop each party. Without faith that God will meet the needs we can’t get met elsewhere, we are forced to control those around us and try to wring from them the love, acceptance, and grace we long for.

I discovered this the hard way in my own marriage. I had a very long list of expectations for my husband. Where he fell short, I criticized, manipulated, cried, and was a royal pain. At the same time, he also had a long list of expectations for me, and had his own methods of trying to extract the behaviors he wanted from me.

I was angry and hurt that he seemed to have no interest in meeting my demands. He was angry and hurt that I wouldn’t do things his way. In less than three years, we were separated and talking about divorce – no big surprise there!

The number of relationships I’ve ended due to unmet expectations is countless. No doubt, I am not alone in this.

But what about God? Does He have expectations for us? If so, have we met them? or is He disappointed with us – with you?

Let’s consider what we know about God:

He IS omniscient. He knows exactly who we are becoming. He’s also never caught off guard – “Oh dear! I didn’t see that coming. Now what am I going to do?”

He is patient – and content to take His time fashioning each one into a unique masterpiece, according to His plan. We are His poema. Study Scripture, and you will discover that there isn’t a single needless word or bit of information in all the Bible. Ditto for us. Every bit of it – every experience – becomes a word in His poetry – which is the story being written of our life.

He is faithful – and does not stop until He has completed His work in us.

He does not commit Himself to man – He knows our hearts.

He has compassion on us. He knows our frame, and remembers that we are dust.

Go outside and pick up a handful of dirt. How great are your expectations from that dirt? Will you end up disappointed in the end?

Hardly.

Yes, there are commands – by which we can better know God’s nature, and thereby become more like Him. (i.e. “Do not lie” – God does not lie; “Do not commit adultery” – God is faithful, etc.).

But what does He expect from us? Nothing. He knows the end from the beginning. He didn’t expect us to do one thing – only to have us do something totally different and random.

If you “get” this, you will “hear” the sound of chains breaking and falling to the floor – especially if you’ve bought into the lie that you’ve let God down.

Here it is:

GOD IS NOT DISAPPOINTED IN YOU !

Never has been, never will be.

No wonder they call the Gospel “Good News!” Tell someone about it!!

Lord,

The idea that we ever “held you up” in the first place is absurd. You need nothing from us. We were made from the dirt of the ground, and have nothing that was not first given to us from Your generous hand. Help us to fully grasp that You are not disappointed in us. After all, every day of our lives was recorded when as yet there were none of them. Thank You for loving us with Your everlasting love and drawing us to Yourself with cords of kindness. Help us to completely rest in that love.

In turn, Father, help us to extend Your kind of love to others wherever we meet them. Forgive us for enslaving our loved ones, for trying to play “god” to them, defining who they could be according to our desires and wishes.

Thank You so much for setting us free from the belief that we are a continual disappointment to You. Help us to walk out our lives in light of this truth. May we be forever changed because of this revelation from You.

I love You!

\ 🙂 /





Struck Down But Not Crushed

3 10 2013

Your past is insignificant except in its value to shape and mold you into the person you are today.

Please stop displaying the tools used to form you. They are not the masterpiece –

You are.

What the enemy meant for evil, I intended to use for good.

You are the showpiece of what I can create using the roughest of tools…everything the adversary brought against you.

Yet you sit on your haunches, whining and holding up the tools of yore for all to behold.

“Look what they did to me!” you cry to passersby.

Yes look. YOU look! Take a good long look.

Do you see the effects? The faith, mercy, compassion, empathy, grace, love, strength, endurance, perseverance, and patience that are now yours?

They are within you in greater measure than they were even a few years ago.

The trials have been hot – intensely hot, I know. They were necessary.

You are clay. Do you know anything of the potter?

The clay is rolled into a ball, then slammed onto the wheel. More pushing and shoving takes place. It takes a fair amount of force to center the clay on the wheel to keep it from slinging off when the work begins.

Then comes more pressure – and going round and round…wall, wall, wall, shirt…over and over. Seen the same scenery time and again? Now you know why.

The implements used are hard. Some smooth, some pointed and sharp.

The potters fingers are poked into the center, pushing, pressing, thinning out the walls.

More implements are used on the outside, and on the inside.

All the while, the potter’s eyes never leave his project. All could be ruined in an instant by distractions, so he stays focused.

The spinning finally stops; but it’s not over yet.

The pot is cut off at the foot…that useless excess clay that held it to the wheel.

Next it’s time for the drying rack; a place where no water is added, and the excess moisture can evaporate. Feeling like you’re cried out? Hmm.

The pot is shelved, seemingly abandoned and rejected.

At last it’s a beautiful earthen vessel. Not good for much, though.

If bumped, it will crack. If filled with liquid, it will absorb the fluid and begin to sag…until it becomes a useless lump of clay again!

What to do? It’s of little value if all it can do is sit there, untouchable.

The firing furnace is necessary to make it useful.

Glazes may be applied, then baked into the piece. What special “glaze” do you have? An illness, injury, or disease? These add to the beauty and uniqueness of each piece, you know.

An interesting thing happens in the kiln. The piece becomes transparent! The potter can see right through the pot. It’s at this point that he knows this vessel can hold water without reverting back to its original form.

Some vessels receive more layers of glaze to achieve the desired result. That, of course, means more time in the kiln.

This has been the story of your life: squished, rolled, smacked down, a life that goes in circles, pressure, your insides messed with, drought, the heat of trials and so forth.

But look, will you? As a result of all you’ve gone through, look what you’ve become!

The only significance those past experiences have had is that they’ve made you what you are today –

My masterpiece.

Without those implements, you would be a lump of clay that melts away into nothingness.

Stop cursing them and be grateful for their value in forming you.

It is My work in you that I want to show off,

not the tools I used.

I want My work in you to declare my glory to the world…my ability to use everything the enemy threw at you to create beauty from the ashes he left behind.

So long as you insist on holding up the tools as if they are badges of honor, that’s all people will see.

Pity will be your reward…a sorry substitute for the glory I want to display through you, don’t you think?

Stand firm…it’s time to rise from the ashes and see –

– not “what might have been”

-but God’s redeeming work in…and through…You!

Praise Him, He saved you from what you would have become, and used your past to make you into who you are today.

If you’ll only see it.

*****

God does not commit evil against us, but the Bible is clear that He allows mere man to choose to do whatever he wants, and also allows the adversary a certain amount of freedom to do likewise (Job, Peter).

Those who do not belong to the household of God belong to the household of the devil, and carry out his will against humans who were made in the image of God. Watch the evening news or read the paper. You can see that he is still hard at work to steal, kill, and destroy. His tools? Other humans.

The amazing thing is that God comes behind him and uses this to turn us into vessels of honor…fit to house the very Spirit of God. I do not pretend to understand this completely, but it has been my experience absolutely.

I’ve been on the receiving end of a great deal of evil, so I’m not talking in theory.

I’ve seen His handiwork as He’s healed this brokenhearted woman, set this captive free. He’s given me the ability to rise up with wings like eagles, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. It wasn’t until I was able to see His ability to give me beauty for ashes, and to redeem every bit of darkness within me that I was finally able to let go of my posture as a victim and walk in freedom and Light.

We must let go of unforgiveness and bitterness or learn to be content with pity as our reward for all we endured. I don’t know about you, but I suffered enough at the hands of others. I’ll be hanged if I’m going to pick up where they left off. I’m on my feet and heading for the battle field. There are many others who need to know of God’s healing power. They’ve been taken hostage, and enough is enough! Let’s go get them.

To God be the glory forever!

Amen

\o/





Unlock Your Shackles

25 09 2013

“The key to freedom is not merely what is written in the bible,

it’s what’s written between our ears.”

{This quote comes from one of the 900+ posts I read last weekend. If it’s from you, please let me know so I can properly credit you! ;)}

As a twenty-something year old, my understanding of God was so skewed that I don’t even want to capitalize His name in this sentence. Whatever it was that I “loved” – it certainly was not YHWH!

It is unfortunate that we liken our heavenly Father to our earthly one. While there are some men who are excellent fathers, the majority are not.

Oh, in public, they’re the model of love and kindness.

Get them home and it’s another story. There they reign like a tyrant – selfish, demanding, and subject to outbursts of anger when they don’t get their way.

Others, sadly, appear to be spineless and impotent.

From these “living” examples, a child develops their concept of what God is like.

I was no exception.

My birth father – Mel – abandoned me, I was told for years. (I learned this was not true just a few years ago…thanks Aunt Katie!)

Abandoned? You must have been really bad if even your own father didn’t want you. That’s what a child’s mind does with this information. The identity issues this causes in a child aren’t worth the momentary pleasure a divorced woman derives from such a put down. This doesn’t inflict nearly as much pain on your ex as it does your child. If you are doing this, please stop!

I grew up believing that I was worthless because of this lie.

To make matters worse, I was adopted by my step-dad. He was the embodiment of all that is selfish, demanding, and wrathful. In addition, he was capricious. One never knew what the slightest disturbance might bring in the way of affection or anger. This isn’t the place to expose him – just suffice it to say that he was a very poor representation of our heavenly Father.

As if this wasn’t enough, the church I attended during my teen years was extremely legalistic; so much so that we didn’t even associate with other churches in the same denomination because they couldn’t “toe the mark!” The “god” these dear, devout believers taught about lurked around every corner; watching, just waiting for us to mess up so we could be punished.

Hmm. Not much different than my step-dad.

I pictured life with God like this:

He and I sat across from one another, a game board was spread between us. With a broad grin on His face, “God” said,

“Let’s play a game and have some fun.”

“How do we play?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m not going to tell you. Just make what seems to be the right move. It will be fun!”

I looked over the various parts – the board, markers, dice…I know what to do!

The dice were scooped up and I tossed them onto the board.

Without warning, “God” reached across the table and slapped me hard enough that I fell to the ground. Red with rage, He said, “That was the wrong thing to do. Try something else.”

A smile lit his face, and He brightly said, “Isn’t this fun?”

I made some other move, and all was well…

…and the game went on.

This was my understanding of “God.”

Perhaps now you understand why He’s provided so many “freakin’ miracles” in and around me. He was determined to show me that He was nothing like what I believed Him to be.

To say that He is patient is a gross understatement. He loved me with an everlasting love, therefore He drew me to Himself with lovingkindness.

He has a great sense of humor, too. Remember the church I mentioned? Well, they had a library. Among the books there was one by A. W. Tozer entitled, “The Knowledge of the Holy.” An avid reader, I checked it out and brought it home. God used that book to begin to break through the lies I believed about Him.

Thanks to a high school English teacher who had a classroom full of foul novels…and a “speed reading” machine in the back corner of the room, I can now read somewhere around 700 words per minute with 85% comprehension. (I asked if I could use the machine instead of reading novels and turning in book reports. He graciously consented – anyone else see the fingerprints of God here? ;))

Despite my reading abilities, after three weeks, I’d read only 26 pages in Tozer’s book.

Well, read isn’t the best word to use. Eaten would be a better choice. I had several versions of the Bible, a dictionary, and a notebook. I spent eight or more hours per day absorbing every word that was written. This influx of information, combined with my Fearful Flight, served to greatly alter how I saw God.

In fact, the entire year was one of a rapid transformation as God used His lovingkindness to continue to renew my mind concerning His character.

It was the year of Problematic Food, and How Can You Say You Understand?

The Bible states, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32). By the time that all this took place, I’d read my Bible cover-to-cover no less than six or seven times. I “knew” truth…knew about it, but did not know it by experience until God stepped in and began to reveal Himself. When He said, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13), that’s exactly what He meant.

Bit by tiny bit, God has been replacing what was written between my ears!

How I love Him today because of His patient teaching. He never gave up on me – even when I was maligning Him and accusing Him of many atrocious and cruel actions against me. In the process, He’s shown me how deep His love is for me.

If He can love me like this…

…Oh how much He loves you!

What we believe about God will determine how we live our lives. If your concept of Him is anything like mine, ask Him to show you the truth.

Like me, you will learn that:

“The key to freedom is not merely what is written in the bible,

it’s what’s written between our ears.”

You’ll hear the sound of shackles falling to the ground – like a gentle spring rain in no time at all as He replaces those old lies with the glorious truth of Who He is.





Gleaned Lessons – Your Call To Engage

10 09 2013

Prior to our experience with Brandon, we had never been involved in anything like what I described through the series You Need To Read This. As I told many of you, the episode ranked high on my “weird-o-meter.” If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I doubt I would have believed the story!

It is my understanding that spiritual warfare can’t be reduced to five points and a poem. However, I believe there are some things that can be gleaned from what happened. It is my intent to boil each post down to simplest terms that have value as far as application goes. After all, if there’s no takeaway, then all I’ve done is provide you with a thriller.

Someone needs this breakdown of our story. Perhaps you have an “impossible situation.” You may want to review this information often and adjust it to your particular situation. You read this story for a reason. This was no coincidence.

Let’s begin with Part One – You Need to Read This:

We saw Brandon as a hopeless cause. In God’s mind, there is no such thing.

Every person has value in God’s eyes. After all, He made them. If someone in your life seems worthless, then ask the Lord to give you His heart for them. Ask Him to show you that person through His eyes.

Expect Him to do this. It is His will, so you can ask, confident that He will say, “Yes.”

Seek to find God’s fingerprints at every bend in the road. They are there for the one who has eyes to see. For us, it was my stillborn grandson which the Lord graciously returned to us. Ask Him to give you words to speak to those around you at such times. We used this opportunity to talk to Brandon about his eternal destiny.

Ask the Lord what He wants to do in you through this experience. If there wasn’t something for you to learn, you wouldn’t be in this position.

Utilize your church’s intercessors. That’s what they are there for. Call on them to “stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30).” Spiritual warfare is nothing to be ashamed about, or to worry about what others might think. You’re dealing with a person who has been taken prisoner by an enemy who makes Hitler look like Shirley Temple.

Be prepared to hunt for people who are “on the same page” when it comes to this type of battle; for those who are willing to wade into the mess to rescue a lost soul.

Part Two – Faith Like Potatoes:

Listen for God’s voice concerning your POW. For me, He spoke through the movie by the same title. It stretched my faith, and caused me to say often, “I believe; help me with my unbelief.”

Return to the vision God gave you for that person; rehearse it often – especially when things look bleak and impossible. Ask Him to show you how to release the person’s behavior and focus on loving the person. For me it was my God Box. The inspiration He gives you may be very different from mine, but act on what He tells you to do.

LOVE. True love for the person is vital to the success of your mission. Without love, you will be just so much noise and a bunch of hot air. (1 Corinthians 13). Do not actively engage with the person if you can’t do so from a position of love. God will give you the love you need if you ask Him (James 4:2-3).

Remember that this person is GOD’s masterpiece – not yours. If you keep “digging up” your spud, he will not grow. He or she is not your project. but God’s (Ephesians 2:10).

Part Three – Get Me Out of Here:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the problem person; on the Lord, not the waves! Keep reviewing the vision God gave you for him or her.

So long as there is no domestic violence, support the spouse (if there is one). Fill them in on what God has shown you, and keep this truth (for it is truth) before them when things get tough or all seems to be lost.

Teach the spouse about “carpet time.” Get them on their face before God, hands extended with palms up…the problem person in the palms of their hands and offered up to the Lord. Beth spent lots of time in this position!

If someone tosses a book at you and suggests you read it – especially if the topic is out of the ordinary for you – read it! God prepares us for our battles if we are sensitive to His Spirit and leading. Unger’s book, What Demons Can Do To Saints was vital to our understanding of what later came our way. If we’d dismissed this book as silly, the battle would have been much more difficult for us.

Before you dismiss something as bizarre and “too Hollywood,” be sure you search the Scriptures to see what the Bible – and NOT your favorite Bible teacher – has to say on the topic (Acts 17:11).

Keep asking God for help. Believe that He hears your every word…and gives His answer to your cries. Watch for His direction. EXPECT IT (James 1:5-8).

Part FourWhere God Guides He Provides:

If you are seeing demonic oppression in one spouse, be alert for more of the same in the other one. In this instance, my daughter was temporarily overtaken as well. I completely missed this – even though it stared me in the face. Watch for it in the children as well.

Remember that God cares about this person far more than you do. Refuse to carry the burden of their deliverance. You are not their deliverer…merely the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus. He’s invited you along for the ride because He wants you to learn that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Like Corrie, we need to decide, “I believe God’s Word, and if He says I am to do this, then I need to obey, pertaining to Mark 16.” (Disregard the “Bible Version Wars.” All they do is cast doubt on every version of the Bible until your faith becomes weak that any version is reliable. That causes you to enter the battle with a dull knife rather than a sharp Sword! Your doubts will weaken your ability to stand firm. Not good.

Get excited! Jesus is always victorious. You’ve been given the honor of seeing Him at His finest – and to be a participant, if you so choose.

You would not risk open war?

Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not!

~ Strider from the Lord of the Rings series.

Check back tomorrow for more gleanings!





Not Over Yet!

3 09 2013

{Relax, Mom Barbara – this happened in Sept. of 2011. Steve is safe :)}

When my husband got Brandon back to our home, he was behaved like a three-year-old. He got into everything and ran around the house. We tried to get him to lie down and take a nap, but to no avail.

Although we were a little distressed that Brandon still seemed to be demonized, his antics gave some comic relief to the situation.

We were certain that he needed some rest after the morning’s events. Beth took him to the bedroom and tucked him in. He immediately pulled the pillow over his eyes, the blanket up to his nose, and peeked out at us like a playful child.

We returned to the living room, and chuckled about his behavior. We barely got seated when we heard the soft “plink, plink” of the piano in the bedroom. I went to the door and scolded him. I told him to get his little butt back into bed before he got a spanking. He giggled, and plopped back on the bed.

Back in the kitchen, we ate some lunch, then realized that Brandon was probably hungry as well. He’d eaten a sandwich at church – the first meal he’d had since their arrival two days prior. We brought him to the table. He took a couple of bites of his food and spit it back onto the plate.

Suddenly, he ran to the bathroom and emptied the contents of his stomach.

We got him to lie down for a little while after that.

About an hour later, Brandon got up. He walked to where I stood by the front door, and wrapped me in a big hug. He thanked me for what we were doing and began to sob. The sobs turned into a great heaving of his chest – a horrible sound to behold.

“Whoever you are, in the Name of Jesus, and by the power of His shed blood, you have to leave this house.”

As the demon left, Brandon collapsed to the floor.

“Oh, God!” I cried out to the Lord, “Did I kill him?”

I knelt next to Brandon and began to stroke his head while I recited the ninety-first Psalm. He seemed better after that.

The rest of the afternoon, he and I sat at the kitchen table. We talked and prayed.

At one point, he put his hand behind my neck and pulled my face close to his. He peered intently into my eyes; a menacing look on his face.

I calmly stated, “Brandon, this is going to be good because

Jesus is always victorious!”

He snapped back to what seemed to be normal, gave my neck a light squeeze, and then let go.

A little while later, he placed his hand on my knee and began to squeeze.

I looked at him and said,

“I’m the blood-bought daughter of the Lord Most High. You cannot hurt me.”

“That’s right,” he said with an evil grin, and let go.

We moved into the kitchen. I began to tell Brandon about how God healed my back injury from when I was nineteen. With a look of astonishment, he stated that his back no longer hurt.

This was amazing. Since his first hip surgery three years prior, he’d been in continual pain. I recalled the numerous times he’d collapsed at the church – and again at home. I was astonished, and wondered if the spiritual battle had masked the pain and would return once this fight was over.

Prayer and conversation continued the rest of the evening. We were amazed that Landon left his father alone, and that both of the children seemed oblivious to what was taking place before their very eyes.

God is so good!

At about ten p.m., Brandon and I went outside to continue our conversation without distractions. He was very distraught that he didn’t have the Bible completely figured out. I explained that it is a really big book, and would take many years of study to have a grasp of it.

He sobbed, “I don’t have to get it figured out right now? Oh, thank you, thank you!”

Without warning, he stood up and walked down the sidewalk toward the road. He’d done this several times since their arrival, so I thought nothing of it and waited for his return.

After about five minutes, I realized that he wasn’t coming back. I sensed the Lord tell me to let him go.

At eleven p.m., we all went to bed. Brandon, however, had not returned.

I woke up at midnight and went out front to pray for him.

At three-forty a.m., Landon sat bolt upright in his bed and began to cry, “I’m scared. I’m scared.” His mom cuddled him until he finally fell asleep.

We serve a mighty God! This story begins here: You Need to Read This

Part 2: Faith Like Potatoes

Part 3: Get Me Out of Here

Part 4: Where God Guides

Part 5: Stranger Than Fiction

Part 6: There Will Be More Than One





“There Will Be More Than One”

2 09 2013

At the same time, the Lord impressed upon me the need to get as many people involved as possible. It was important that no one person could be accredited with Brandon’s deliverance.

God alone was to receive the glory. 

(This was the same message Brandon received the day before at the rest stop, although we didn’t piece this together until later.)

Saturday was a wild day. Brandon and I had long conversations that were interspersed with prayer.

At other times, he had periods of silence when he was listening to the voices in his head. These were followed by crying jags and senseless statements.

At my wits end, and without thinking about it, I said, “Demon of confusion, in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the power of His shed blood, you have to leave. Go wherever the Lord Jesus send you.” Brandon’s thoughts instantly became clear.

I was stunned – and also encouraged.

The calm lasted about an hour, and then we were right back where we started.

As with Beth’s convulsions at the hospital, the children were completely unaware of what was happening with their father. Even Landon (who previously would not leave his dad alone), did not disturb us.

Over and over, I would remind Brandon, “Jesus is always victorious!”

The Lord gave me great confidence in this truth. He also reminded me of His words on the cross:

“It is finished!”

Oh Lord,” I breathed, “make it so for Brandon!”

I called a couple of people and described what I was experiencing. I was hoping for help, without actually asking for it. None was forthcoming because of the way I “hemmed and hawed” about needing assistance. I was on my own. I kept reminding the Lord that I was clueless and desperately needed His help.

One of the things Beth, my husband, and I prayed for was the assistance of warring angels to protect everyone involved. We needed all the help we could get!

Bedtime was a welcomed relief. I was on the worship team and had to be at the church early the next morning, so we all went to bed.

Beth later reported that during the night, Brandon cried out in pain. She began to sing over him and pray for him as she stroked his head. After a while, he settled down and went to sleep.

The next morning, I left a note on the table addressed to Brandon, stating that I hoped to see him at church.

Between sound check and first service, I saw Brandon being taken into the kitchen by one of the elders. Neither Wendel nor I knew he was at the church, and no one from our fellowship knew who he was or what was going on.

They saw a desperate man in need of prayer, and reached out.

After first service, and without knowing Brandon’s connection to us, the elder commented to me, “Man, that guy is really oppressed!” as he passed by me on his way into the sanctuary. I told him who the man was, and that we’d been praying over him since Friday night.

About that time, a deacon we’d called on Saturday arrived. We told him about the elder who had spent the entire first service in prayer with Brandon.

The elder and the deacon found Brandon, took him into the church’s kitchen and began to pray over him again. Another man joined in the battle for my son-in-law.

When the elder realized what the time was, he found Wendel and said, “I’ve got to go. I teach a Sunday School class. I’m should have already been in my room.” Wendel told him that someone else had already stepped in and taken care of his class for him.

The elder was now free to continue in the prayer session for Brandon. 

By the time I’d finished worship for the second service, the men had moved out behind the church. I was greatly concerned when I saw Brandon suddenly collapse onto the ground and get up, only to collapse again. This happened several times.

Remembering that both of Brandon’s hips were artificial, that he’d had back surgery the year before, and had two more disks that were deteriorating and would soon need surgery, I feared what these sudden impacts were doing to his poor body. I asked God to protect these areas and not allow more damage to take place.

Meanwhile, Wendel took Landon out the front doors of the church to the curb by the parking lot. Our grandson, who normally loves Sunday school, was screaming uncontrollably. At about the time the “last” demon was cast out of his dad behind the church, Landon suddenly stopped crying and sat peacefully in his grandfather’s arms.

In about five minutes, he was asleep. 

Brandon and the deacon stayed at the church until about two in the afternoon. They sat in the sanctuary where worship music still played over the speakers. It appeared that Brandon had been restored; however, as soon as they were out of earshot of the music, Brandon became like a little child. He kept running off in all directions. Wendel and the deacon kept redirecting Brandon to get him to the truck so they could come home.

We knew it wasn’t over yet.

If you think you dropped into the middle of a story, you’re right. It begins here: You Need to Read This

Part 2: Faith Like Potatoes

Part 3: Get Me Out of Here!

Part 4: Where God Guides

Part 5: Stranger Than Fiction





Stranger Than Fiction

31 08 2013

Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.
This vision… is a witness
pointing to whats coming.
It aches for the comingit can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
Its on its way. It will come right on time…”

(Habakkuk 2:2-3)

The nearer Beth and Brandon got to our home, the more agitated he became. He began to say things like, “I don’t think this is a good idea,” and “Maybe we should just go home.”

They stopped at  a rest area about half-way between our houses. Brandon ran to the fence and jumped over it – no easy task for a man who’s had back surgery and both hips replaced, who lived with excruciating pain.

Brandon later told us that he’d seen a great light in the field and had to run toward it.

(It took several weeks to piece together what took place in that field. He later told us that a voice came from the light and said, “There will not be just one name.”)

When they were about thirty miles from our home, Brandon took off his seat belt and began to open the door…

…on the freeway.

His “fight or flight” mechanism kicked in, and He was trying to run away.

Beth told him to get his seat belt back on.

Confused, he asked, “What?”

She pointed to the buckle in his hand and told him to refasten it. Surprised to find his seat belt off, he obeyed.

They arrived at around eight-fifteen that evening. Our company was just leaving, so we introduced everyone the kids to our guests.

Brandon was agitated; face flushed, and eyes wild. He heard voices and thought we were “in his mind,” talking to him. He paced continually. He left the house on foot for a couple of short walks, then returned to tell us his new “understanding” from his contemplation.

Nothing he said made sense.

 We also noticed a strange attachment between him and his three-year-old son, Landon. It was as if the boy had some sort of power over his dad. Landon would lead him all over the house. Every so often, Landon picked up one thing or the other and dash it on the floor while his dad looked on – then Brandon picked up the pieces and set them back in place. It was bizarre.

Eventually, we got Landon to sleep. We talked with Brandon, and prayed over the situation.

We had no idea what to do.

 My own prayers were of the, “Oh God, if You can help us, please do so,” variety. I excused myself and headed for my room when I saw Corrie’s book. It’s title stared me in the face:

JESUS IS VICTOR

Of course!

Dear Lord Jesus, You already won this battle on the cross. What am I thinking? Here, I’ve been saying “if” You can. Forgive me. You are already victorious. Help us to take possession of what You have done! You are always victorious.

 A sense of great anticipation and faith flooded my being. I clapped my hands together for joy. I told Brandon that Jesus had already beaten the enemy – that this visit was no coincidence, and I couldn’t wait to see what God was going to do.

I felt confident trust in the Lord…

…and had peace that passes all understanding!

Don’t miss the next chapter in this story. It will continue on Monday.

If you missed the beginning of this display of God’s power and glory, you can find it here: You Need To Read This!

Part 2: Faith Like Potatoes

Part 3: Get Me Out of Here!

Part 4: Where God Guides