(Originally Posted 3-11-2018)
It was nine years ago at the time of this writing that I experienced things that for a long time was unable to talk about, much less did I feel I could adequately put them into words to describe what God showed me—what God was preparing me for. But out of that experience came one of the greatest revelations and deliverance of strongholds that had competed within me seeking to keep me from realizing God greatest blessings and His destiny for my life. As scripture says, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV), “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” And even as much as I had sought God and allowed him to work in my soul and life, there was still some work that needed to be done. This work is, in fact, an ongoing work as long as we are on this earth. From this experience, came this song which I sing to God every day—“You alone are worthy to be praised!” So…here goes.
It was the beginning of the year of 2009. As it is common with each new year, I seek the Lord for scripture and his plan for the upcoming season of my life. In this year, he reminded me of a time I came into the New Year of 2002 with “Delight yourself with the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” and reminded me of what he called me to do. The Lord then spoke to me and said, “It’s time. Get ready.” The Lord led me to begin to fast and pray during a season he was preparing me for the beginning of a new phase of my life and ministry. I counseled with my pastor’s wife and told her what God was speaking to me. It was in this season God gave me a new, fresh anointing that came upon me that I had never walked in before. God’s words were pouring out of me like a river—like the time I experienced being on the mountaintop with God, talking face to face with him and walking side by side with him for what seemed like lasted for months several years ago. It was supernatural. It was incredible. It was life changing. It was glorious and so vividly real.
I learned many things during this season. One of which is of utmost importance. Seek a prayer covering when you are fasting. You absolutely need a person(s) to keep you covered in the protective covering of prayer while you are emptying yourself and interceding on the behalf of others and/or yourself. You need this covering to stave off the unforeseen (but should be expected) attacks and devises of the enemy to thwart off the work of the Father and extinguish the fiery missiles that will be aimed at you in a mission to render you unable to see, hear and discern clearly what the Lord will show you during this season of fasting and prayer. We war against the power and principalities of the unseen world. We succeed in pulling down these strongholds through the word of God and as Matthew 17:21 says, some of these only come by prayer and fasting (KJV).
It became an intense season. I was drawn deeply into the spirit realm. At one point, I was awakened by a demonic presence that was swirling about me. I jumped out of bed and began quoting 2 Peter 2:1-22, realizing it God was showing me how Satan had sent forth many false prophets and in this passage of scripture, God painstakingly describes their characteristics and for us to be aware and discern their destructive nature. It was pointed out to me in verse 19 that these false prophets “promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” I prayed for what seemed like half the night against the powers and principalities who have send these agents of lies, confusion and deception assigned to keep people from coming to know the true love and grace of God.
I found myself praying for several different people during this time. One of which was a young woman who was hurting and convinced God was not real, did not care, so why should she. I saw this woman in the spirit and I saw three demons rise up from within her—one came up from her right side, one from her left side and one from the middle. They had names, which I will not mention in this writing, but they were sent to literally suck the life and hope out of her. I did not know her personally. All I could do was pray. But this I did. I prayed.
Have you ever felt like something was making fun of you? Laughing at you? Have you ever felt as if you were being taunted mentally or emotionally? It was revealed to me the source from which it comes. You got it! They are little imps—little evil spirits that literally cause you to feel as if you are the biggest loser, low life or jerk that exists on the planet. They are the ones who are responsible for making you feel as if you are the laughing stock of your peers for having an as sundry of shortcomings—you name it, they are responsible for its presence in your mind and emotions. The only way to overcome it is to combat the lies with positive truths. And you need to speak them out loud so your mind can engage in their existence and so it will get into your heart so you know your worth and that you are valued and worthy of good things and worthy of love.
At one point, I was taken deep into the spirit of darkness. I felt as if I was being pulled down and down. There was no light. The darkness was so dark, it was suffocating. I could smell a stench so disgusting it made my stomach turn and took my breath, although I continued to breathe. I could hear screams and shrieks so shrill it pierced your ears with striking pain and it made the hair on your head hurt at the roots. There was no bottom. There were no walls or anything to assimilate with familiarity. There was only torment and endless pain. I could hear a what I perceived as rushing presence, rushing to overtake me.
I suddenly woke up and was terrified. I didn’t know what was coming against me. I couldn’t see anything. I could only feel the presence of evil. Even awake, I felt as if it was still coming after me. In a split second I cried out, “What is it? Jesus!” In that instant, I literally saw the shadow of Jesus rise up from my side and surround me and instantly, the fear was gone and I felt peace and comfort as I rested in the shadow of his presence. Psalm 91:1, 2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” I knew in that moment, my safety, protection and well being was provided through being covered in the presence of the Almighty. I was safe in the arms of Jesus. It was an incredibly real, visible display of the darkness as described in Matthew 25:30 and Matthew 22:13 “Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Separation from God renders you into utter darkness. There are many scriptures that speak about darkness. Many believe there is no hell, and the hell that Bible speaks of is the earth we live in today. I would have to disagree. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard the cries of torment of those who have refused to accept that Jesus gave his life as the atoning sacrifice for their sin. It’s so simple. As 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Well then. If God is light and there is no darkness, doesn’t it stand to reason that if we experience darkness, it is not from God—since God is light and in Him there is no darkness? I believe so. Of course, there are perhaps at least a million different definitions of what darkness is. My purpose in this writing, however, is to describe those things God showed me during this time.
It was during this time I realized God was not holding me back and keeping me from realizing His promises in my life because of the mistakes I made. It was indeed strongholds of doubt, fear, misunderstanding his word, and (as he most recently showed me again) Matthew 23, which I have referred to as a “Pharisee spirit.” I challenge you to read it. We’ve all been subjected to this in some form or fashion. The Lord has been very diligent in teaching me through this that “sword of truth” cuts both ways. Be sure your house is in check before you start trying to get someone else’s house in order. There are a plethora of little evil spirits and demons at work in this arena. I’ve seen them. I’ve heard them. You have too. Satan puts thoughts in our minds to either play against the truth or cast a shadow of doubt on the sender of God’s truth. Unfortunately, much of the time, we fail to recognize that sometimes subtle yet intrusive voice and wake up one day wondering why the very thing we did not want to happen has happened. Good grief. As Jesus said in Luke 9:41 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” One can say they do not believe there are actual demons and evil spirits at work against us, but then again, perhaps those are the same that says there is no God and no Satan. This would be a great deception given by a great false prophet. One of which we all should be aware and on the lookout for.
I would also caution you to remember, we all filter through a different lens. I’ve learned when God’s word is being given, there are many things at play against an effective delivery and an effective reception. We MUST be aware of all these things. Just as God show no favoritism, neither does Satan.
Hell is real. On the flip side. Heaven is real. I’ve seen shown this too. I’ve seen the river of life that flows through heaven. I’ve seen tall, lush green meadows and colors that breathe life that so vivid and bright it exudes peace and joy. I’ve seen Jesus standing in the presence of the 24 thrones in heaven as described in the book of Revelation. I’ve heard children laughing and singing. I’ve seen some in my family who have gone before me. You might think this is hard to believe—in fact, rather unbelievable. Sounds like something out of a movie or a good book. Right? Believe me when I say, I don’t know why God chose to show me these things, but I can honestly say seeing my children in heaven who have gone before me breathed life into me and allowed me to forgive myself for what I did. Heaven is perfect. Heaven is perfect peace. And in that perfection, we are all made completely whole.
It has been said to me many times, “I’m not religious.” That’s great! Neither am I! And neither is God! He is in fact about love, grace, forgiveness and relationship. It is in his presence we live in his grace. This grace comes only through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the light and the life that develops us—if we choose to believe.
We are in the end times. Jesus is coming back soon. My message is simple. Hell is real. Heaven is real. God is love. So much he sent his only son, Jesus, to give his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and when we accept that, we can know and be assured we will spend all eternity with him in heaven. If a person chooses not to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for their life, then they instead choose to live an eternity separated from God in utter darkness.
The Lord revealed to me during that season of the time when I was saved at nine years old. I knew at that time God would use me in music. I started playing piano when I was nine years old. I started playing Beethoven a few months after I started playing. I learned to play Fur Elise and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. My teacher called me “the next Liberace.” I wasn’t so moved with what she said, I simply loved playing the piano. Making music took me to a place no one else could invade. It was my secret place of peace, contentment and fulfillment. I continued to study as time and my parent’s ability to pay for lessons allowed. By the time I was in college, I had developed my own style. Without going into the many times my hands and desire to play were attacked, and I can assure you they were many, it is by God’s grace, I still play and I still love to play. I can’t say I continued to study like I did in the beginning and for a time after that, but I am thankful I never stopped playing. I’ll never really know where piano might have taken me had I not stopped studying, but I can say those strongholds that once threatened to take the fulfillment of playing my beloved instrument are gone. They were overcome during this season.
There are many reasons we struggle while we are on this earth. Jesus came so we would have life and have it abundantly. As long as we are living on this earth, there will always be that force that tries to take away the gifts and promises God made to you. When we realize the war we are up against and learn to use the weapons of effective warfare, we will then realize God’s power working on our behalf and will be able to shut down the attacks of Satan that comes against us. It was during this season of my life God took me through the refiner’s fire and delivered me from mental and emotional bondage that had perpetuated me smoking cigarettes for years and empowered me to take control over my health. It was also after this season, I made my Abrahamic journey into a foreign land far away from family and the life I had known, into the new life God prepared for me. A journey I am still fully engaged in.
I learned many things through that season in 2009. Some things come only through fasting and prayer. From this experience, I’ve learned to make fasting and prayer a continued part of my life.
God tells us that when we say the Name of Jesus, demons have to flee. It is in our praise that God is exalted and lifted high. It is through our praise we receive miracles. It is through our praise that the enemy in our life is defeated. It is through God’s gift to us we are saved and delivered from the works of evil. His name is Jesus. And it is through that season in 2009 God gave me this song.
Jesus…You alone are worthy of our praise.