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Christ Is Still Our Deliverer

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The Bible is full of military metaphors and the Christian’s life is one long battlefield, but the forces engaged and the weapons employed are very different from man’s campaigns. The greatest victories of the Bible all foreshadow these higher forces and hidden foes.

The warfare in which we are engaged is the fight against sin, Satan, and the world. The battlefield is very often within our own heart: the foe is invisible and the conflict is secret and all unseen by mortal eyes; but nonetheless is it intense and decisive for the issues of heaven and hell. Indeed, it requires far higher qualities to stand true in the spiritual conflict than even upon the bloody battlefield.

The weapons of our warfare are spiritual. The first is the name of Jesus. We cannot fight under our own flag. Satan has little fear of us. The battle is not ours, but God’s, and as we go forth making Christ responsible and meeting every temptation in His name, we shall be conquerors.

—A. B. Simpson, adapted from “Our Spiritual Warefare,” Christian and Missionary Alliance, June 18, 1904

These stories from around the world are being told to glorify Jesus, whose power alone rescues and releases His people from the spiritual forces of evil.

I’ve Got to Save My Family!

by Bob Fugate, serving with The Alliance in Mexico

During our first year planting a church in Guadalajara, a man I’d not seen before came up to me after a Sunday service. Haggard as could be, he grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Pastor, I’ve got to save my family!”

“Not a problem. What’s going on? I can help.”

“My wife tries to kill me every night,” he replied.

“Bring her,” I said. “We’ll help her—God will help her.”

When Carlos* brought his wife, Maria*, to our small, packed church one Sunday morning, she sat quietly in the back. But when I began leading Communion, Maria started shrieking as I described the bread symbolizing the body of Christ sacrificed for our sins. Jumping up from her seat, she headed out to the hallway.

My wife, Cheryl—a good athlete in college—was able to intercept Maria, who was trying to throw herself down the stairs. Cheryl wrestled Maria to the floor, ordering the demonic spirits to stop trying to hurt the screaming woman.

The outburst frightened our congregation, especially the unbelievers. But that morning we all witnessed the powerful presence of God in our midst, including Carlos, who decided to follow Jesus on the spot. By the time the service was over, Cheryl and some lay leaders had exorcised several demons and Maria was conscious, sitting in a chair.

Maria’s journey to freedom from demons took about two months because she had powerful spirits controlling her. We learned that for years she thought herself worthless and unlovable—even evil. At age 16 her parents had offered her as a sacrifice to Santa Muerte, a strong cult in Mexico.

At first, Maria couldn’t say “Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior” or tolerate Scripture readings about Him. But she wanted to be freed. After several deliverance sessions, she was able to hear the good news and pronounce her faith in Jesus, renouncing all evil spirits. Seeing God’s power at work in his mom’s life, Maria’s 11-year-old son gave his life to Christ and was baptized.

Maria’s moment of freedom came when she realized she was valued, precious in God’s sight, yet had been unwilling to accept God’s forgiveness in Jesus. She had a breakthrough when she was able to forgive her parents.

Wanting to show the world that God was more powerful than Satan, Maria asked to be baptized. But the night before the service, she had an all-night struggle. Fearing the demons were too strong and would attack her for taking that bold step, Maria almost decided not to go through with her baptism.

Our congregation was concerned as well, thinking there would be a violent demonic manifestation during the service. We know God is immensely powerful and no demon can stand against Him. Yet I’ve got to confess. Before her baptism I said to the Lord, “I’m not drowning today, am I? Right? OK.”

But when Maria surfaced from the water, a big smile spread over her face—God’s great love and power had completely freed her from fears. She, and our congregation, witnessed His faithfulness to those who place their trust in Him!

“I’m convinced that God saved me and my family that Sunday morning I brought Maria to the church,” Carlos says. He and Maria are now involved in our Alliance Marriage Encounter program, piecing together their relationship that had been all but destroyed.

*Names changed

I Don’t Need Prayer

by Esther Schaeffer, serving with The Alliance in West Africa

In a recent prayer time with one of our Bible school students, I asked the woman why she had come for prayer. “I don’t need prayer,” she answered, but with a different voice. I knew right then that it wasn’t the woman talking but a demon, since they often say things that don’t jibe with the person speaking. She would not have made the effort to come for prayer if she didn’t need it.

Our prayer team forged ahead, seeking to discern when and how this woman had opened herself up to demons. We know ground is often given to them at a funeral, since this is a culture that worships death, which allows Satan to have a hold on people through fear. A funeral, especially if sacrifices are made, is a time when mourners, even believers, are vulnerable. 

Sure enough, when I asked the woman if she had attended one recently, she said, “I have been here at the school just since my aunt’s funeral.” I then told the demon to leave, and our team prayed together that this woman would know the freedom that Christ gives and not allow the demon to return.

We continued in prayer until we sensed the Holy Spirit had moved in her and it was evident to all of us that she had been set free. What a wonderful day of delivery for this woman, as she finally was able to pray and be released from the evil spirit. We are so thankful she made her way to us and we pushed through to deliverance. She is doing great!

Battle in the Heavenlies

by Cheryl Phenicie, a retired international worker who served in Europe

Planting an Arabic-speaking church in the heart of an atheistic city in Europe seemed like a daunting task for a young Syrian man, John*, and his wife, Sarah*. Yet they had a call from God to do so, and they pursued their calling with all they had.

They developed media programs, discipled people at their outreach center, and planned their Sunday afternoon church meetings to be as meaningful as possible for people who practice the Middle East’s majority religion. And it was working.

One day, a door to the center was inadvertently left unlocked, and the new photography and recording equipment was stolen. John was devastated, knowing this was an attack from the enemy to shut down his media ministry. He rebuked Satan, declaring that he would continue to serve God and trust Him to provide. Soon after, several European and U.S. partners provided the funds needed to replace the stolen equipment.

A week later, when John was leaving a conference, his car windows were smashed and his keyboard, which he had spent countless hours programming with his compositions, was gone. The same day, Sarah called him, saying hundreds of dollars were stolen from their bank account.

This young family who had committed their lives to Christ recognized the source of these attacks and asked God to raise their spirits and return their joy. God continues to provide. His Word is being preached with power, and people are being saved and baptized in this small church plant. The Lord is building His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!

*Name changed

Are They Going to Come Back?

by Esther Schaeffer, serving with The Alliance in West Africa

Our Alliance church in West Africa is right next door to a Christian school. Recently, a young girl came running into the church, screaming, “I have to see the pastor!” When he came out of his office, the girl fell to the floor. He knew immediately that she was possessed by demons and made her stand up, commanding the demons to leave.

Illustrations by Kenneth Crane

“When the demons left, it was like a strong air current rushing out the door,” he said later. Frightened, the little girl ran to hide behind him, asking, “Are they going to come back?”

“No!” he replied. “We are going to pray, and you will belong to the Lord Jesus, who has all authority and power—even over demons.”

He then led the girl to pray and ask Jesus to come live in her. A short while later she was on her way back to school. (We don’t know why she was possessed, but often the stress of school drives children to wear charms or seek help from demons, which is a common practice here.)

This has been a witness to the girl’s family, who follow the majority religion. They are supportive of her continuing to follow Christ and have thanked the pastor for helping their daughter.

The Conquered Foe

by Steve Irvin, an Alliance international worker serving in Madrid, Spain

At the beginning of my service as an international worker, three young men from our church in Cali, Colombia, accompanied me as part of our open-air evangelism team to Buenaventura. I brought them to give them a taste of ministry—it was not in my plans to lead them into a direct confrontation with the forces of darkness.

After preaching at a Sunday morning service in the hot coastal climate, I was weary and ready to head home. At the back of the sanctuary, a woman standing by herself seemed to be waiting for me and my team. I asked how she was doing. “Pastor, please pray for me,” she said. “I’m afflicted by evil spirits.”

I impulsively replied, “Come with us to the front of the sanctuary, and we will take care of this.” Little did I know that what I thought would be five minutes of prayer would end up being three hours of physically draining, intense wrestling with a foe who was not impressed by a “young-buck” missionary with no experience in such situations.

This poor woman lay writhing on the floor with a physical strength that required several of us to restrain her—she was held by strong bonds that we could not easily break. Not really knowing how to go about helping her, we prayed in the name of Jesus and sang songs about His blood.

The Lord brought truths from Scripture to my mind—that we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11), that the God of peace will soon crush Satan beneath our feet (Rom. 16:20), and that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Though he will not accept defeat easily, the enemy is utterly vanquished and cannot stand against Christ and His authority. He is a conquered foe.

This fight was still exhausting. As the struggle continued with no sign of abatement, it was tempting to just stop and walk away. But by God’s grace and empowerment, we persevered until the woman was finally set free, and we all rejoiced in the Lord.

A few years later, I saw the woman again. God’s peace and joy were on her face. She had chosen to follow the One who died on the cross for her and rose from the dead; He who is King of Kings and is seated at the right hand of the Father—the One who set her free.

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