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28 May 2014

The Power of Love

As the typical tropical rain clouds where gathering for their usual afternoon downpour we sat on our verandah feeling the rapidly rising humidity. Moy and I were finishing off the last Bible study in his preparation for the long awaited baptism of the first spirit priest in his tribe. The day before, I had once again challenged him about any remaining paraphernalia that he had not yet surrendered. After the study he sheepishly pulled from his pocket two small rectangular bottles containing powerful concoctions that the spirits had given him many years earlier. The contents of these bottles enabled him to ‘heal’ many sick people and gave him protection from any who would try to harm him. With a trembling hand he clutched these two tangible links to his life on the dark side and asked for help to destroy them so he could be free once and for all.

Moy’s journey into the Kingdom began over a year ago when the Lord spoke to him through a graphic vision. At that time he was still deeply involved in his animistic practices that included animal sacrifices and the drinking of bowls of their blood. He was an angry opponent of an outreach going on in his village and had more than once planned to make malicious use of his firearm to silence the singing of the believers. As a result of this vision, the Lord gave us the opportunity to spend several days with him explaining the word of God and setting him free from some powerful demons. This was repeated on two more occasions over the year. Once when in a possessed state he tried to kill one of the church leaders!

I remember what happened on that day very well…

One afternoon as the sun was dropping low in the sky and we were starting the daily routine of bathing the kids, preparing the meal and shutting up the house for the night, we heard a lot of shouting and screaming coming from a group of houses near by. We thought there had been some terrible accident or something. The old lady I questioned who came running past our house was so hysterical I couldn’t understand a word she said. I grabbed my flashlight as darkness was about to fall like a thick blanket and ran down the hill to where all the commotion was coming from.

What met me was not what I expected. Outside the house of one of the church leaders were two of his sisters who, in an attempt to protect their brother hiding inside were shouting and commanding all sorts of things at a demon possessed man wielding a large bush knife. Others nearby had armed themselves with whatever they could grab. The man, Moy was not phased by any of this, but continued his violent threats against those around him. He was even taunting them to try and subdue him. What disturbed me the most was that the new tribal believers were trying to fight fire with fire. Angry shouts of “in Jesus’ name!” had no effect on the fury being displayed by this man. It was a pathetic situation where these believers were not applying the truths they had recently come to know.

When I could stand it no more I forced the two ladies making their verbal attack on Moy to quiet down and retreat. I then began to walk toward this machete wielding man. As I moved closer I reminded myself of the words of the apostle John, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” I felt no anger or hatred, only love for Moy. The spirit controlling him recognized this too and caused him to back away and flee to a safe distance among the trees in the growing darkness.

You are probably thinking that only a fool would chase a demon-possessed man wielding a machete through the woods in the dark, armed only with a flashlight! But, after preaching to these believers for so long about the love and power of God I felt it needed to be demonstrated. As fire is extinguished with water, hate and fear is diffused by love, and this is what I wanted all these animistic background believers to understand.

After pursuing him through the trees and eventually catching up with him in an open area of long grass, it was just Moy and I in a stand off. The crowd had caught up and stood at a safe distance just watching and wondering what this crazy missionary was up to. The community guards had been summoned, but also stood at a distance with their rifles at the ready.

God’s love for the world included Moy and I believed He wanted this demonized man to know that. As I drew closer to him with nothing but love burning in my heart for him he suddenly dropped to his knees, held up his hands in surrender and begged me not to come closer. Now with only a short distance between us I could see that his trembling body was bathed in sweat and his eyes were like saucers. As I spoke gently to him he began to vent his anger and frustrations in a flood of colorful speech. Then I proceeded to tell him of the love of God for him and God’s plan for his life.

The anger and fear ruling him began to subside – God’s love was melting the demonic grip. An unusual sense of calm had settled all around us and I asked to pray for him. Suddenly in a last-ditch attempt the spirit caused him to spring to his feet and shout a strong refusal at me. Edging further forward I spoke gently again of God’s love. In my heart I knew the promise of Jesus that the, gates of hades will not overcome His church. Eventually I was able to get close enough to actually embrace his sweaty, trembling body.

With the machete now lying in the grass, the crowd watching in silence and the moon glistening off Moy’s sweaty face, we prayed. His body trembled all over as the messenger of Satan reluctantly fled. Peace entered his heart and enveloped us as we stood there in the open field.

Now here we were several months later and in very different circumstances. Not as enemies, but as brothers in Christ. Instead of a machete as the focus of attention it was now a Bible. Here Moy was asking for help to be set free from the final clutches of Satan on his life.

The expected raindrops began to fall, signally the coming downpour. We moved quickly to the backyard to light a small bonfire. I called Caloy down from the roof of the school house where he was working. Mundo was just passing by after tying up his water buffalo and was also called over to stand with Moy in prayer. We lifted our voices in heartfelt united prayer. Moy’s whole body shook as he stood clutching his last demonic possessions, but like the approaching rain, victory was coming fast. With great courage and force he hurled the charms into the inferno and instantly experienced the joyous victory and freedom that only Christ can give. The heavens suddenly opened soaking us all as we rejoiced in the victory gained that day.

Christ has promised to build His church and the gates of hell will not be able to stand up against the advance of His kingdom.

Will you pray for the Philippines?

  • Pray for God’s love to shine into the hearts of the people of the Philippines.
  • Pray for God’s people to live in freedom and victory.

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