MONDAYS WITH KERRI
Last week I talked about the power we possess as a follower of Jesus Christ, this week I am going to share with you one of the most impactful moments of my life.
Obviously, having already looked at our human frailty and weakness, we know it is found solely in the love of Jesus Christ. Our power is only in knowing and walking in our identity as His Beloved. Ephesians 3:16-20 makes this abundantly clear:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.
In this passage Paul is encouraging the church at Ephesus to recognize, embrace, and take advantage of all the power they have been given. He is reminding them to ask, and expect, to be strengthened through the ministry of the Holy Spirit–challenging them to live in the unlimited resources available to them at all times.
Notice that Paul uses the words power and love three times in this passage as he stresses the fact that we posses more than we would even dare to ask or imagine. There is literally no limit to all we have available to us as sons and daughters of The King. No wonder our enemy wants us to live small and defeated lives! He knows we have all we need to rebuke and defeat him on a daily basis. Therefore, he tempts and deceives us to take our eyes off the source of our power and put them back on ourselves. In doing so we are made to feel weak and hopeless. In that place we become easy prey for the roaring lion that seeks to destroy us. However, when we claim the power we have in love, we are a threat to the domain of darkness!
My first encounter with the magnitude of this power came while I was doing my Seminary internship at Shepherd’s Door, the women’s division of the Portland Rescue Mission. Two nights a week I taught a class for the residents, and afterwards I would meet with the women one on one for counseling and prayer. One particular night, during finals week, I grudgingly got into the car to head to the “The Door.” I almost called to cancel my class that evening. I simply felt I didn’t have time to lead it, meet with the women, and study for my exams that week. Instead, I headed dutifully in that direction, but my heart was not in it. My plan was to show up for class and excuse myself as quickly as possible; I had a long night of studying ahead of me.
When I arrived, the residents formed a circle and we began our study. Just then a new woman, Cassandra, stepped into the room. She had just come in off of the streets and was still high on meth-amphetamines. She sat down with us but proceeded to interrupt me repeatedly, making it difficult for me to make any progress in the lesson. In my annoyance I stopped teaching and looked at her sternly. In an attempt to threaten her into silence I made the mistake of stating that if she would sit quietly I would meet with her privately when we were done with our group session. Cassandra excitedly agreed and then respectfully subdued herself for the rest of the class. I was amazed! Never had I seen an addict respond in this way. My attempt to scare her into submission had backfired. I was dismayed as my plan to leave immediately after class had been foiled–studying would just have to wait.
When Cassandra joined me in the small meeting room that night, she was extremely nervous and fidgeted violently. She started talking from the moment she sat down. On and on she went and it wasn’t until I felt the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit that I realized I hadn’t really been listening to her. As soon as I did, however, I was appalled by what was coming out of her mouth. Her story was the most horrific I had ever heard. And after working with women coming out of prostitution, addiction, and abuse for fifteen years, it still is. She was raised in the satanic occult. Her whole life she had been ritually abused and violated. She had endured evil acts that were too perverted for me to even wrap my mind around. She shared them all in painful and heart wrenching detail. She had fled from her home that day in order to save her young daughter who had recently been brought into the occult ceremonies and was being ritually abused as well.
Suddenly, in mid-sentence, she stopped talking, pointed at me and asked me about the light. Confused, I asked her what light she was referring to. She then explained that there was a bright light emanating out of me. She saw it clearly and wanted to know why no one had ever talked to her about it. Still confused, I asked her explain it further. “I have lived my whole life in the darkness, so much darkness all around me. I have always known that there had to be light if there was so much darkness. I had never seen it until you spoke to me in that group earlier tonight. I saw the light in you and I wanted to meet with you so you could tell me about the light.”
Amazed and humbled, I started at the beginning of the story. I told of God’s love, of how sin had entered the world and separated us from Him and so He sent Jesus, His son so that we could find our way back to Him. I told her that the light she saw was God in me–that His Spirit was in me and that He was the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. I shared the light of truth with her for over twenty minutes and when I was done, I looked at Cassandra and asked her if she wanted to have the light in her too. Without hesitation she said, “Yes,” so I reached for her hands and told her that I was going to pray for her before I led her in prayer. The moment I bowed my head the spiritual assault began.
Suddenly, I was being choked to the degree I couldn’t breathe. I literally felt claws around my neck, and at the same time, I was aware of Cassandra’s nails digging into my hands as if holding on to me for dear life. I knew she was in a choke hold too. “Jesus,” I gasped, “please help me.” A million things flashed through my mind in that moment, but the dominate thought was that I had no idea what to do. I was not trained in spiritual warfare; I had not taken a class on it or even read a book about it. Why was this happening to me? Why wasn’t someone who was experienced, someone who would know what to do, in the room? Suddenly, as I prayed, I knew exactly what to do and I knew that it was the Holy Spirit that guided me in that moment. I started worshiping The One who created me and praising the name of Jesus like my life depended on it. Over and over I thanked Him, told Him He was beautiful, claimed His power and authority and confessed my love and allegiance to Him. Suddenly, with my eyes closed, I saw what was going on in the spirit realm as clearly as you see the words on this page in front of you. I saw both Cassandra and I sitting together, hands enfolded, and from me was emanating what seemed to be a million watts of light. The light spread out around us in a circle that was six feet in circumference. Just beyond the circle of light I saw a wall of angels about eight feet tall. I couldn’t see their faces but their huge wings overlapped in a way that created a fortress around the circle of light. Behind them I could hear what sounded like a mountain of beetles crawling on each other and it was as if I could feel the sound. The darkness, just beyond the perimeter of angels, was scratching to get in but was unable to penetrate their wall of protection.
As I continued to worship and praise my Heavenly Father, the claws loosened and then subsided altogether. I understood in that moment that the darkness cannot tolerate our worship of The Most High God. Every time we praise the name of Jesus, we can rest assured that our only company in the spirit realm is the battalion of angels that are standing guard. Once I was able to breathe freely, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me pray for Cassandra. What happened next is still inexplicable. It’s simply not humanly possible. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I walked Cassandra through a recantation of all she had claimed in the darkness. She did not tell me anything she had vowed (in agreement to the enemy); I knew through the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead inside of me! In prayer she broke all commitments she had made to Satan. She rebuked him and all agreement with him. The Holy Spirit led me through each word to say until every evil act, and every demonic word she had spoken was verbally rejected. Once we finished, I led her in the sinner’s prayer of salvation. Cassandra not only recanted her life in the darkness; she accepted the life and light of Jesus Christ!
I have never had another encounter quite like the one I had at Shepherd’s Door that night. I have worked with many woman as they have been rescued out of the domain of darkness and into the Kingdom of Light, but I have not seen the battle so clearly again. The truth is I don’t need to. Cassandra and I both experienced the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead that night and neither of us will ever be the same. I will never fully grasp the power of the resurrection inside of me, but I can trust it is real. I also know that I have nothing to fear. The Betrayer has no authority when we, as His Beloved, stand firm in our identity and claim the power given to us through the blood of Jesus Christ.
As stated in the Ephesians 3 passage, there is literally no limit to all we have available to us as sons and daughters of The King, but do we live this out? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you today if you have put “limitations” on your life and what He can do through it.
Pray a BIG audacious prayer today…without limits…one that lines up with God’s Word and that is based upon Abba Daddy’s heart for you. One that truly believed God loves you and is waiting for you to ask without limits, pray that prayer. Now, write it down and don’t forget to come back and record how God answered it.
To read more on this topic order Kerri's book