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I have been putting off writing this story. I had lots of other stories to share–exciting successes of folks all over the country who have shared their fears and problems with me and applied my biblical concepts in their lives. It’s really fun to feel like you are truly helping people.

This is different. Personal. Sobering. Please bear with me as I do my best to share this. I see it as a wake up call for me–and for you.

Sam (not his real name) grew up in a good Christian home with love and family. He had a successful father, a loving mother, and a sister. They went to church and did good things in their home town. The perfect American childhood, wanting for nothing, enjoying the love of family, and being actively involved in community.

Like most kids, Sam questioned some of the concepts his Pastor taught and recognized the hypocrites sitting near them in church. But he went to a good, Christian college and focused on his major–and the parties on campus. All this to say that he was a very typical millennial.

More and more, Sam became disjointed from church life. And more and more he saw discrepancies between the “Christian” lifestyle and the double-standard that seem to constantly rear it’s ugly head. One friend told him she was in her church choir and attended church services three times a week.

“So you are a Christian?” Sam asked her.

“No,” was the girl’s response. “I just go to church and sing in the choir.”

Sam was more confused than ever.

Then one of his favorite fishing buddies told him on one of their regular bass runs, “I’m gay.” This buddy of Sam’s was a very active Christian in his denomination.

Sam’s confusion escalated. “I’m not a Bible scholar,” he began, “but that’s just not right.”

These conversations–and others like them–caused Sam to think all Christians are a strange mixture of weirdness and confusion; laking focus, purpose, or even the ability to be in touch with the real world today.

This was where Sam was in his life when we met and began to study the Bible together. The first session was over four hours long. He felt so encouraged and changed. But he was fighting a past and a long list of connections to sin–including porn and other things. We must always remember that those things give Satan a right to be in your life.

We had studied together and texted back and forth for weeks. He had been to my home for a Bible study more than once. But this time he snapped.

His anger erupted, and he came at me, wrapping his arms around me in a tight squeeze. I have never felt that kind up strength up close. Although he was about my size (I’m 5′ 9″), he felt superhuman. As he wrapped his arms around me, I said out loud, “Get back in the Name of Jesus; leave me alone by the blood of Jesus.”

He let me go and went to the kitchen sink. He turned on the water and started throwing handfuls at me. But then he began to grab pots and pans and kitchen utensils, hurling them right at me–and I was only 10 feet away. Nothing at all ever hit me. Things flew by me on both sides, but I didn’t get a scratch. I picked up my cell phone and walked outside, dialing 911 for the first time in my life. As I talked to the 911 operator, I heard crash after crash inside my home. He flipped a baby grand piano by himself–it has taken about seven of us to set it up. He threw my furniture through large windows along the back of my home, he smashed our furniture. Glass was broken into such small pieces that it was a fine white powdery dust on the mantle and in the fabric of the carpet and couches.

Words can’t describe the scene when he was done. It was like living a nightmare. Family photos smashed and torn, keepsakes and nicknacks in pieces around the room. Memories seems to lie there among the ruins. But I was safe and “stuff” can be replaced. My worry was Sam. He needed prayers and help.

I looked at the timer on the phone call to 911 later. He did all that destruction in less than five minutes.

One of the police officers saw the mess and asked, “He did all this?”

“Yes.”

“What were you doing?”

“We were having a Bible study.”

Lord, please bless Sam with what he needs most of all. Help his family through the difficult task of helping Sam get better. Give them the professional help they need. And give Sam a heart willing to do what’s necessary to change and become more like Jesus. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Please pray for Sam. And please pray for me. In the war against Satan, ALL Christians are participants. Some are active; some are dormant. Everyone is supposed to be a missionary, sharing Jesus with those we meet. C.S. Lewis once said, “Every Christian is a missionary or an impostor.” Are you a missionary or an impostor?

Steve Hemphill, author / inspirational speaker
“My Search for the Real Heaven”
(Also Available In Spanish)
“My Search for the Real Heaven Workbook”
“My Search for Prayers Satan Hates”
“What Are The Stakes?”

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I was speaking to a non-denominational church in Oklahoma. I taught on spiritual warfare and the Spiritual Warfare Stakes.

During my lesson, I noticed an older woman (perhaps in her 70s) softly crying on the second row. There were tears running down her cheeks.

I expressed to the group that I was uncomfortable sharing these stories, since they didn’t jive well with my very conservative background. I’m the LAST guy they should be hearing miracle stories from.

After the lesson, this lady came straight up to me.

“Thank you for having the courage to share this,” she began. “This is real. The enemy is real. Over 40 years ago, when my son was only 11, he started having night terrors, bad dreams, or demonic dreams, whatever you want to call them. They went on for weeks. It was at the same time every night. The procedure was the exact same every single night. He would wake up at the exact same time on the clock screaming and crying out for me. I would jump up, run to his room, scoop him into my arms, and–though he was already 11 years old and his feet almost drug the floor, I would rock him and softly sing church music.”

This reminded me immediately of Saul’s harassment from evil spirits. When they would come on him, David would be called to come and sing praise songs–some of the psalms–until the evil spirits departed.

“When the evil spirit from God troubled Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then the evil spirit would leave him, and Saul would feel better.” 1 Samuel 16:23 NCV

“Once my son settled down and began to relax in my arms,” the woman continued, “I would take him back to his bed to tuck him in, and then return to my bed.”

“This went on for weeks, and he began to be afraid to go to sleep. So one night, after I had him settled him down and tucked in, instead of returning to my own bed, I went back to the rocker to pray.”

“Lord,” I began, “We can’t keep this up. Please tell me what to do. …”

“After saying these words,” she said, “I looked up from my rocker and saw a large, black demon with piercing red eyes sitting on our dining table staring right at me, and I immediately knew what to do. I went and got some oil, and I put it on every entrance to our home–every window and every door–praying as I went for the protection I knew we needed from God against the enemy and his forces.”

“My son never had another bad dream.”

Steve Hemphill, author / inspirational speaker
“My Search for the Real Heaven”
(Also Available In Spanish)
“My Search for the Real Heaven Workbook”
“My Search for Prayers Satan Hates”
“What Are The Stakes?” (God Markers On the Land)

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