Jesus is the Messiah

The Enemy Hates The Name Of Jesus

“The man shouted in a loud voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I command you in God’s name not to torture me!’” Mark 5:7 NCV

Several churches in my city combined their resources many years ago to create a local, non-denominational outreach to help the underprivileged. It’s called, “Caring & Sharing.” They serve over 1000 families per month primarily with food and clothing. Many volunteers from several local groups are involved with helping on a regular basis.

One day there was a problem with one of the applicants. This woman was anxious and quite upset; so much so that she starting yelling and causing a commotion. Some of the volunteers who were nearby tried to jump in and help, working to calm her. But it wasn’t helping.

One of the volunteers was a good friend of mine. She quickly came to try and calm the situation, dismissing the other workers and taking over. She talked quietly and softly as they were seated, assuring the woman that she would be served as quickly as possible. It began to work. Everything was improving until she said something that upset the lady.

“We love you,” she intoned. “We are going to make sure you are helped.”

The woman got quiet, nodding and settling down markedly.

“And Jesus loves you,” she continued.

At the name of Jesus, the woman went crazy. She jerked her head away quickly yelling and screaming, “No.”

At first the worker didn’t make the connection. She had been making progress until something had set the woman off. What was it?

The worker’s gentle calming voice again assured this woman that she would be taken care of.

“We love you,” she said again, “and Jesus loves you.”

It was the same automatic, frantic response from the woman in need. She screamed and yelled and moved away waving her arms in frustration.

That was it. The name of Jesus is offensive to people who have a demon.

The volunteer went on to tell me that she felt sure this woman was possessed. “It was almost like foaming at the mouth,” she explained, “It was that wild.”

“A man out of the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.’”
Mark 9:17-18 The Message

Lord, deliver me from evil, but help me to help deliver others from evil, too. Many are possessed and need Your divine intervention. Tell me what to say and teach me what to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible-Based Thoughts Based On This Event:
Demons absolutely hate the name of Jesus Christ.

“What Are The Stakes?” (God Markers On the Land), by Steve Hemphill – Pages 14-15

Demonic Dreams

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Demonic Nightmares

”When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none.” Matthew 12:43 NLT

Honestly, because of my very conservative Christian background, I went home and thought, “How am I going to write this story and not look weird to all of my friends?”

I got a call one day from a teacher. “Is it true,” she began, “that your next book is about demons and prayer and spiritual warfare?”

‘Yes,” I replied, “Why?”

“Then I’ve got to come talk to you right now,” she continued. “Can I come over?”

“Sure. Come on over.”

When she arrived, you could almost see the fear in her bloodshot eyes. We sat in the living room and her story came spilling out.

She had been on a mission trip with her church to a foreign country. After she returned, she had demonic nightmares. This had never occurred before in her life. They were very real, extremely frightening, and gave her the feeling of being violated in every possible way. She woke up in terrified a cold sweat and remembered every awful detail. Then she was too frightened to go back to sleep. In the low light in her room when she awoke, she could see figures in the darkness—not clearly, but absolutely present and demonic. She couldn’t feel safe in her home anymore, and was exhausted from the lack of sleep. “What should I do?” she demanded.

Much later I discovered that Job 4:13-17 revealed a demonic encounter that was exactly what she had described:

“It came to me in a disturbing vision at night, when people are in a deep sleep. Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled. A spirit swept past my face, and my hair stood on end. The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape. There was a form before my eyes. In the silence I heard a voice say, ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’” Job 4:13-17 NLT

Keep in mind that Satan is called the accuser:

“The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accused them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.” Revelation 12:10

So here we have an “Accusing” by a demonic entity.

I really didn’t know what to suggest, but could feel her desperation, and my mind raced through everything I knew, looking for some tidbit that might help. Without really thinking, I asked, “Did you bring anything back with you?”

She thought for a moment and then answered, “Two things. A brochure about one of the local gods worshipped there, and a letter from a lady I studied the Bible with.”

“What did the letter say,” I inquired.

She hesitated, then answered, “Well,” she began, “It said, ‘Thanks for coming, but Buddha is the true God, Your God is not the true God.”

“OK,” I replied, “I have two suggestions for you if you’re willing.”

“I’ll do anything,” she answered, “At this point, I’m scared to go to sleep.”

“First,” I began, “Burn the brochure about the local god. And, burn the letter from the woman.”

“Second,” I continued, “stake out your place.” Since she lived in an apartment, and didn’t own the property, I encouraged her to stand the stakes in the four most remote corners. She complied. Then she prayed for God to make her home a place of peace, privacy, and safety from all evil in the Name of Jesus Christ.

The nightly episodes of terror abruptly stopped. Problem solved by the Word of God.

Lord thank You for the power of Your word and your promises. Thank You for protecting and providing. Please make my home a place of peace and safety just like You did for her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible-Based Thoughts Based On This Event:
Demons can act today just as they did in ancient times.
Demons may attach themselves to literature on demonic gods.
Demons can be persistent, returning to the same place night after night.
Demons may attach to seemingly innocent items that can be given to you.
God’s Word can protect you from continual nocturnal demonic harassment.

Demonic Nightmares Returned

”When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest, but it doesn’t find it. So the spirit says, ‘I will go back to the house I left.’” Matthew 12:43-44 NCV

The most comfortable place for a demonic spirit, I have learned, is the place where it’s already been. A familiar spirit desires greatly to go back where it has been. Which also coincides with the fact that bad habits are hard to break. There’s a definite connection between the human tendency to relapse and the spiritual being to revisit familiar territory and continue to entice you to experience and enjoy evil.

The lady I just described who had experienced her terrifying nightmares coming to an end called me back one day. “The nightmares are back,” she began in a panic. What did I do wrong?”

“Tell me about them,” I inquired. She did, and it was much the same as before. Same verbiage. Same fear. Same panic. The exact same desperation was in her voice. She had lay in her bed with every light on, trembling with panic, waiting for morning to dawn so she could call me and ask what to do.

My first thought found voice: “Did you have any visitors in your home yesterday?” I asked.

There was a moment of silence—like it hadn’t dawned on her that another human could bring a demon into her personal, protected territory.

“Yes,” she said very softly; as if the event was replaying in her mind like a familiar movie, “Just one,” she concluded.

When she didn’t continue with any details, I asked gently, “Who was it?”

“A man I’ve been seeing.” She spoke this softly, too, as if she really knew deep down that this man might not be of the highest character. But lonely people don’t always use wisdom as they search for a companion, do they?

Not wanting to get too personal, but sensing that this individual was the root of her new problem, I gently asked, “Was there any physical contact?”

“Yes.”

“That’s the problem,” I responded. “You invited evil in by inviting a person in who is personally involved in evil. And your physical contact with him—however innocent it might have been—also invited the unseen evil on him right into your place of safety. And it’s not safe right now.

“What do I do?”

“Sever contact with the man,” I suggested, “and clean up the house again, just like you did before. Ask God to forgive you and to give you discernment for this in the future.”

All this she did, plus she added an additional set of stakes, a prayer sticker on her car, and prayers stickers on every window and door.

Early the next morning I texted her. “How did you sleep?”

“Great,” she quickly replied. “It worked.” Then she thanked me. Then I thanked God, the Great Protector.

Lord sometimes I return to the evil thing I thought I had learned to avoid. Forgive me—again. Cleanse me from the inside out—again. And help me to do better in the future. Fill me with Your Spirit, and lead me closer to You each day. I don’t want anything in my life to separate me from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible-Based Thoughts Based On This Event:
Demons sometimes go right back to where they just came from.
Demons that have been expelled for a time are still near, hoping to return.
Demons can attach themselves to people who are actively participating in evil.
Demons attached to evil people who penetrate and invade the defenses
of a protected person can then remain inside those defenses.
Demons can be expelled a second time (after re-invasion).

“What Are The Stakes?” (God Markers On The Land), by Steve Hemphill – Pages 17 – 20

New Stakes

A friend called me one day. He had discovered I was writing on Spiritual Warfare.

“I heard your next book is on spiritual warfare and prayer,” he began. “I have a friend who is not a Christian,” he continued. “He has a spiritual warfare issue going on. Would you talk to him? It might be a chance to bring him to Christ.”

“Sure,” I responded, and he set up the meeting.

“I have demons on my property.”

I didn’t know how to help with that. Raised in a very conservative church group, I had no experience in this area. I didn’t know if they were real demons or imagined ones, but they were real to Bill. That was evident because of his next statement.

“I’m getting ready to commit suicide,” he continued, “but I wanted to talk to you first.”

Talk about pressure. …

Now I HAD to come up with something, so I began to pray as Bill continued to talk. “Lord, he’s not a Christian, and he’s talking about suicide. Tell me what to say. How do I stop this?”

Deuteronomy 6 popped into my mind immediately after praying.

“You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 New Living Translation

Doors and gates protect. God’s Word protects better.

We put Bible verses on tent stakes and hammered them all the way into the ground on the four corners of his property. He claimed that the atmosphere changed. I know his attitude changed. He and his wife became Christians the next week, naming Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and putting Him on in baptism.

Honestly, my first thought (because of my conservative background) was, “How am I going to write this story without looking weird to all of my friends?”

This led to other “stake stories.” But I’ll share them in future posts.

But now I understood why atheists, agnostics, and satanists want the ten commandments removed: they are a symbol of God’s authority and power on the land. They can’t STAND that. Because they know that God’s Word is STILL powerful.

The entire story and connected events are related in “My Search for Prayers Satan Hates,” and in “What Are The Stakes?” by Steve Hemphill. The subtitle of “What Are The Stakes?” is “God Markers On The Land.”

Prayer IS The Battle

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Now What?

Now we come to the part I don’t hear anyone talking about. Once you’re dressed in your armor, what next? Let’s look back at the Guidebook (the Bible):

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” Ephesians 6:18a (nlt)

“Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believ- ers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18b (not)

“And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.” Ephesians 6:19 (not)

Lord, what do you want me to learn from this? Have I misun- derstood prayer? Often in the past I have used prayer as a last resort to my struggles. Does this teach me that prayer is what I need to be doing as I face every new obstacle?…

Prayer IS the Battle

Three times in the next two verses we are instructed to pray! Pray all the time (verse 18a). is goes along with the com- mand in 1 essalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” I pray all the time. I pray when I drive (with my eyes open), when I go to sleep, and when I wake up. I pray when I’m worried (don’t you?), when I have a sick friend, and when my children have me con- cerned. Never stop praying. Once you’re dressed for battle, hit your knees. at’s truly where the real battle lies.

Lord, thank You for opening my eyes to where the true battle is. Please remind me of this until I learn to make it a habit in my daily life. Nudge me when I forget and try to solve my problems without Your input. In Jesus’s name, amen.

“My Search for Prayers Satan Hates,” by Steve Hemphill – Pages 28 – 29

armor

“And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 NLT

There is an invisible war going on. It’s a life and death struggle. But most are totally unaware.

Pretend I’m an Alabama football fan. It’s noon. It’s game day. It’s time for the kickoff. But as you grab your drink and snack to enjoy the kickoff, you see something strange on your 70-inch ultra-hi-definition television: the team is lazily walking out on the field in shorts and tennis shoes strolling toward mid-field carrying bags with their equipment. Their helmets and shoulder pads are still in the bags. They throw the bags down and start … what are they doing? Making sandwiches?

The opposing team is lined up to kick off, but your Bama heroes are passing the mustard and chips to each other. You can’t believe your eyes. Your mouth is open, and your heart skips a beat.

The whistle blows to signal the opposing kicker it’s time to start. You panic. The other team races down the field after the ball, running over your heroes, knocking them down, causing injury and insult.

Three Alabama players had the sense to be suited up and ready, but the rest of the team is oblivious to the opposition’s preparedness and strategies. Many are moaning and rolling around on the turf in pain, screaming for help and angry at their own coach. They shout obscenities at the very ones who were supposed to have them ready for this day. But the Bama coaches are also getting run over and hurt.

One Alabama player catches the ball, and two others try to block for him, but there are just too many. He gets hit hard, the ball pops out, and the opposition scoops it up and runs it in for a touchdown.

Bama players shake their heads and walk around in a daze. “We’re a good team,” they scream. “How could this happen to us? Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Did they suit up? Did they put on their helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, belt of truth, shield of faith, and take up the sword of truth? If you don’t suit up for the battle and get in position and know your weapons, you’re bound to lose—and get hurt in the process.

Christians are in the most important war of their lives. And, sadly, many aren’t even aware of the usefulness of the armor, much less donning it every day with purpose.

You are in this war. Have you suited up? Have you read Ephesians 6 lately? Can you quote any Scriptures to the enemy when temptation comes your way, like Jesus did when Satan tempted Him?

This war is all about where you and your loved ones will spend eternity. Prayer matters. The words you speak every day can make a difference in your own destiny as well as the destiny of those all around you. Make them count.

Lord, open my eyes to the unseen war going on all around me. Help me to know what to say and what to do to defeat the enemies who are after me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“What Are The Stakes?” by Steve Hemphill – Pages 5 – 7

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Prayer Made the Difference

“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!”
Job 42:10 NLT

I own a copier business in Longview, Texas. We also serve Mt. Pleasant. One day, I got a call from a ministry outreach there who had recently leased a new machine on a 3-year lease. Steve was quite upset on the phone, and wanted his machine picked up as soon as possible. He said, “your salesman promised that we could cancel this lease at any time, so I’m calling now to get it picked up.” I took down his number, and promised to locate his paperwork and call right back.

I discovered he was 6 months into a 3-year lease, and that he was 4 payments behind.

In addition, he owed us over $300.00 in service and supply charges. It seemed obvious to me that he was in a bind financially, but there wasn’t much I could do at that moment. We had already been paid by the leasing company, and he owed them the balance of the payments.

I returned his call, armed with this new information, and was greeted by a rather cold response. I apologized that he had the misconception that he could cancel at any time, because we go to great lengths to train our salespeople NOT to say that. However, since I was now aware that he needed out, I promised to make every effort to find someone else to take over the payments for him, thus relieving him of the obligation. He then asked what I was going to do for him “today”. I suggested that all I could do “today” was recommend that he catch up on his payments, since he was 4 payments behind.

His response was curt and rude. He said, “I have already talked to my lawyer about your salesman’s promise, and he said that it was definitely a verbal contract. So you will be hearing from my lawyer SOON!”

“O.K.”, I said. “But before we hang up and you go see your lawyer … you’re in the ministry, right?” “Right”, he said. I asked if we could pray about it together on the phone before we hung up. He said, “… o k …”. I have been in situations before where conflict was involved and he other person offered to pray, and they prayed a very condescending prayer. So I said, “I’ll tell you what, I will start the prayer and you can finish it.” He agreed.

“Dear God,” I prayed, “please bless Steve in his ministry work there in Mt. Pleasant. I feel like he is in some financial trouble right now, and I pray that whatever you want him to learn from this that he will learn QUICKLY, so that his life, his work, and his ministry can be a blessing to you. And if I have done anything wrong or unfairly, I pray that you will put it on my heart to make that right. In Jesus Name, … “.

There was a short pause, then I heard Steve quietly say, “God, … I agree with everything he said. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
I never heard from Steve again, OR his lawyer. And he paid us for the toner. Prayer worked … again.

Lord, whenever I’m confronted with a new problem help me to make prayer my first response instead of my last. Give me wisdom in those moments and a reminder to seek Your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.

“My Search for Prayers Satan Hates” by Steve Hemphill – Pages 103 – 104