One evening back in
the seventies, I received a phone call from a distraught young
woman. Karen, the stranger on the other end, had immersed her heart and
soul in a satanic cult -- a dark spiritual reality that was virtually unknown
to most American Christians. I knew nothing about the
terrifying occult bondage that had enveloped her. But I invited her to come
to my home later that week. Then I started to pray.
A few weeks earlier, with God's guidance and
Andy's blessing, I had joined the "Compassion Corps" at our church. My first assignment was
to counsel a young woman with a three-month old baby. Karen [not her real name]
had called the church for help and had indicated she was a Christian. She
said suffered from fear, anger and depression as well as mental and spiritual confusion.
The church office gave her my name and phone number. When she called, I felt utterly inadequate
to help her.
Two years earlier, God
began to prepare me for this assignment. A shy, quiet person whose heart
would throb at the thought of speaking up in a group, I never thought I
would ever be involved in counseling. But the night God opened my eyes
to see His amazing love, I knew I wanted to share His wonderful life
with others. So I asked Him to fill me with His love and courage. And He
did! The incredible joy that followed caused me to cry out to Him for a
place to spread that love. Suddenly I knew in my heart that I needed to
contact the local veterans hospital.
So, less than ten
hours after my conversion, I was talking with a chaplain at a local
Veterans' Hospital and receiving my first assignment. That same day,
God began to train me through tough ex-soldiers with more bitterness
than love toward God. Twice a week for the next three years, they
would bombard me with challenging questions about my Lord and the
Bible. I had no choice but to search God's Word continually for
later, one of the chaplains invited me to
a holiday prayer meeting. Knowing that many
patients faced intense loneliness during the Christmas season, I agreed to be
part of a prayer team. When the meeting ended, I had no idea how
one of the strangers I had met would soon touch Karen's life.
A few days after her
initial phone call, Karen and I sitting in our
kitchen and praying to our all-knowing Counselor for guidance.
He led us for the next seven hours as Karen shared her traumatic life history, read
Scriptures, extended forgiveness to all who had hurt and abused her, confessed her own
sins as God brought them to mind, and then praised the God who had begun to heal her. She
left full of joy, cleansed by the blood of Jesus and fortified with His Word and hope.
God had indeed touched her, and her heart was singing.
The joy didn't last long. That evening
she called me in a state of panic. Her home was in chaos. The baby was
screaming, her husband was threatening suicide and she was terrified.
God prompted me to ask if she
had been involved in any occult activities in the past. "Yes," she answered.
She was aware of the evil behind that dark seductive power that had
been tormenting her.
I knew little about demonic oppression
and spiritual bondage, but again God prompted me to ask some questions. First, had
she kept any of the objects and symbols that still linked her to the cult? We
asked our Shepherd to help her remember, and she began to list all the objects and clothes in her
house that had been used in ritual worship. We prayed that He would guide both Karen and
her husband as they sought to do their part in cleansing their home of all
When Karen called back the next
day, she had completed her search and discarded all relics from her years of
bondage. We thanked God, but my concern had deepened.
Ephesians 4:27 and other
Scriptures suggested that she might face more battles before she would walk freely in
victory. Remembering Mark 9:29, I suggested we fast for
disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So He said to them, 'This kind can come out by nothing but
prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28-29
Andy, my wise husband,
suggested I call our church for help. So I did. The only available pastor was supportive
but could offer no advice. He prayed that God would lead me, and we both trusted that He
Some hours later, the phone rang. A woman I barely
remembered meeting at the Christmas prayer meeting introduced herself. She told me that God had
prompted her to call
me with some advice and she had found my name and phone number on the old
Christmas list of prayer
A bit skeptical at first, I listened, praying that God would guard me against deception.
"Open your Bible to the blank pages in the
back and write down these instructions," she said. "You need to know how to lead
someone through deliverance."
How did she know about Karen? Neither
Andy nor I had told anyone other than our associate pastor. When I told her about my
need, she shared my awe at God's amazing ways.
her instructions, I wrote three
pages of notes. Then we prayed together, and she added an interesting comment. "If
you are fasting," she said, "drink juice as well as water. You will need it."
Wow. That was good news.
Half a day after starting the fast, I had felt waves of nausea. God knew something I didn't at that
moment: I was pregnant with our third son and desperately needed something more than water in my stomach.
Three days later, on a
Thursday, God led us through the steps He had given me through the woman.
This time, Karen left my kitchen with the certain knowledge that God was her
Savior, King, Lord and Shepherd.
who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with
Christ....For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone
should boast." Ephesians 2:4, 8-10
A week later
But Karen's battle was still not over.
That Sunday night, Dr. Dick Hillis, the General Director of Overseas Crusades
International (OCI) -- spoke at our church. By God's amazing
providence, he described the demonic oppression, possession and deliverance he had
witnessed on the mission field from 1933 to 1961 in Asia. Then he
stressed this warning:
unclean spirit goes
out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I
will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put
in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself,
and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
I took God's words to heart.
Karen had already memorized some key Scriptures in preparation for spiritual warfare. But we needed to discuss
the Armor of God and make sure we were
both covered by His life.
The next three days went well,
but on the fourth night she called again. Her frightened voice exposed the intensity of
her battle. She began to describe the demons that were pressing into "the door" of
her mind, and what she "saw" seemed strangely familiar. As she
described her scary, hideous
tormentors, they seemed to resemble some of the strange creatures we now see -- and children
idolize -- in televised Saturday morning cartoons for children.
I wanted to go to her home and pray with
her through the night, but Andy told me to stay home. Covered by his prayers, I
put some bedding by the phone and prayed with Karen against the forces of evil through
By God's grace and power, Karen won
the initial battle.
Through the next few months, she learned how to resist the evil
through prayer and with Scriptures. The personal combat with her demonic
oppressors finally ended. Hungry for His Word and presence, she grew fast and became strong
in faith and spirit -- ready to fight the ongoing battle we all face for daily victories
in our challenging times. Christ had set her free, and within two years, she was teaching Bible studies and encouraging
other women in their faith.
"...thanks be to God who
always leads us in triumph in Christ!" 2 Corinthians 2:14