August 15, 2014
We're going to run long today as we finish up this story. Sorry about that, but when Holy Spirit goes to work, we have long since come to the place of not thinking about time.
As I shared last week, it really didn’t matter that I’d never engaged in any ministry of deliverance before this. The Lord was about to do what He does best: save, heal, deliver, make whole, etc., etc., etc. I didn’t know else to do but to take the man’s confession at face value. So I put my hand on the bishop’s shoulder and started in, “You Spirit of Adultery, come out of him in Jesus’ name.”
What happened next was something none of us were prepared for. He was yanked into mid-air and levitated as though by a gigantic unseen hand. His body rotated in the air horizontally, then slammed to the floor, and he began to writhe on the floor like a snake. I’d never seen the human body go through the contortions he was going through. I didn't know the human body was capable of such things -- and, honestly, it isn't! Normally, that is.
Guess the Lord had taught me well. Despite the natural reaction to seeing such a demonic display, there was no stopping. I was like a bulldog. Display or no display, these things were gonna go! I kept right on commanding the evil spirits to come out. According to the confession the bishop had made, I named those evil spirits by name and commanded them to leave him in the name of Jesus.
Pardon me for a second while I share something. You understand, don't you, that using the name of Jesus isn't some kind of formula? We are not rattling off the name, Jesus, or Yeshua, or anything like that and expecting things to happen. We are actually functioning in the very onoma, the character, the essence, the makeup, the personality, the very authority of Jesus and His anointing! This is not a case of using some name like, Tom, Dick or George. It just doesn't work that way! We are IN Christ Jesus!
With my lack of previous experience in deliverance and the Enemy thinking he could bluff me into yielding, it was like a spiritual tug of war. Nevertheless, they began to leave – one by one. Each time an evil spirit would leave, there was a visible change. Easily twenty minutes elapsed between the departure of the first and the seventh evil spirit. It was a non-stop battle. We couldn’t -- and wouldn't -- quit.
We were determined this man was going to be free, and Brother Bill and I stayed with it. Finally, we watched as his body went through one last wrenching contortion. What flashed through my mind as I watched it was the event recorded in Mark 9 and Luke 9, where the evil spirit convulsed and tore the young man.
It was just like that. His body jerked, and suddenly went limp. In Mark 9:26, we are told that the evil spirit tore the young man’s body and left him for dead, so much so that folks standing around said, “He’s dead.”
The bishop’s eyes rolled back in his head, the color disappeared from his face, the death rattle came from his throat, he ceased to breathe, and to all the world he looked dead. As far as I was concerned, he probably was, but at that moment I didn't care.
As noted in last week's portion of this story, no one had left the place. The auditorium was still packed. A mother and her young -- perhaps nine-year-old -- daughter were sitting on the front seat. I heard the little girl lean over to her mother and whisper, “Mommy, he looks dead!”
In that instant, what flashed through my head was Jesus with Jairus’ daughter. Everyone had said, “Don’t trouble the Master. She’s dead.” Jesus had responded, “She’s not dead, she’s just sleeping.” It was Jesus’ way of making them understand that death, to Him, is no more consequential than sleep. He could wake a person from the dead as easily as He could awaken someone who was asleep. I remembered that Jesus had stretched out His hand, taken the dead girl by the hand, and said, “Little maid, I say unto you, Arise!”
So I reached down, took the limp arm of the bishop, and said to him, “Sir, in the name of Jesus Christ, arise and be made whole!” His eyes snapped back into place. There was a sudden inrush of air filling his lungs, and he began to breathe. Color flooded his face, and he leaped to his feet. He began to dance across that platform, shouting at the top of his voice, “I’m free! I’m free! Praise God, I’m free!”
I broke. The emotion of the moment overtook me as I began to weep. Seeing the “signs following” that night in one continuous display after another, hour after hour for more than five hours just caught up with me.
Never in my life could I have imagined what the Lord was going to do in Eskdale, Utah. What Holy Spirit began that weekend was a long way from finished.
In fact, I can't say that I had really connected the fast to the events that followed. It actually was several years later – eight or nine years later – that the significance of the fast, and the fact that the Lord had waited until the eighth day to show me that I could continue the fast with water, actually registered.
I should point out that all of the events I’ve related thus far took place on our first night in Eskdale, a Friday night, and the end of the 21st day of my 21-day fast.
Saturday morning was like being amongst a bunch of kids who had been given new toys. The excitement and joy over all the miracles of the night before animated those folks in a way they had never known. There were few prayers that day for miracles -- at least in the way that folks had seen the night before. The bishop was anxious to talk. He was anxious to know Jesus Christ in the way he had seen demonstrated the night before. We wound up sharing the principles of salvation with him, and with the majority of the townspeople. One after another, and sometimes in groups of several at a time, we spent the entire day and early evening on Saturday leading people in prayers of salvation and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
You have to understand that these folks were Mormon – every last one of them. They had grown up in Mormonism and in making a regular profession of faith in Jesus Christ and their founder, Joseph Smith. The problem was, their profession of faith was a ritual. It was predicated on a formula. It was based on the doctrines they had learned and grown up with – not on having a real relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
They had grown up in a religious atmosphere – one that’s not any different from those who grow up in the Catholic church, the Methodist church, the Episcopal church, the Presbyterian church, or any other church regardless of whether it is evangelical, hierarchical, or Pentecostal. One doesn’t have to be Mormon to be religious.
What I was seeing happen throughout our weekend in Eskdale forever altered my perspective of religious names, denominations, titles, and all that. I didn’t see these folks as “Mormons,” just like I don’t see other folks as “Presbyterian” or “Baptist” or any other denominational label. They are “people,” PERIOD!
They need Jesus Christ, just like we all need Jesus Christ. The labels are meaningless to the Lord. He’s not looking for Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Church of God, Foursquare, Assemblies of God, or any one of a bazillion names folks have over the door of their churches. He’s looking for people who’ve committed their lives to Him, made Him the Lord of their lives, and walk with Him in a personal, intimate relationship on a daily basis. Period! End of argument.
These folks in Eskdale weren’t any different. They grew up thinking just being “Mormon” would do it. Problem was, there were no “signs following.” Once they saw the “signs following,” heard the truth, and determined to make Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives, everything was simple.
There's a principle here many believers have lost sight of. Paul speaks of it in his sharing with the Corinthian Ekklesia. "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (II Corinthians 11:3) That's it! The Gospel of the Kingdom IS simple!
By the end of the day on Saturday, we had prayed with the overwhelming majority of the people in Eskdale, and when we left Sunday morning to head back to Salt Lake City, we estimated that some 75% of the people in that community had personally accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Of that group more than half had been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the clear evidence of speaking in tongues.
I still hadn’t put two and two together concerning the 21-day fast, but the events of those three days stirred something in me that has never quit from that day to this. My head was swimming in the events.
One thing I lacked was teaching concerning the ministry of deliverance. Until Eskdale, it had never been a part of my life, my understanding, or my teaching and preaching. Oh, sure. I knew it was a major part of Jesus’ ministry, but applying it in a modern sense was missing.
It was shortly thereafter that I met Derek Prince for the first time and began to be exposed to some really in-depth teaching. Derek was a former WWII British soldier whom the Lord had given some of the same extraordinary experiences I’d just had in Eskdale. His experiences began during the War, but they continued – virtually nonstop – for many years.
He moved to the U.S. and became an American citizen, and ultimately began pastoring a church in Chicago before being dis-fellowshipped by the denomination the church belonged to. Like so many structured, denominational churches, they had a doctrine that was in opposition to this ministry of deliverance. Derek ultimately became a major voice, a teacher and evangelist in the rapidly-growing Charismatic Renewal movement that swept the nation in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
His sharing and teaching from Scripture, as well as his personal experiences in dealing with evil spirits, opened up my understanding and began to fill the huge void for me in this dimension of Jesus’ ministry. This, however, is not the place nor the time for me to share the experiences I began to have in the years that followed ministering deliverance to people from demonic influence and control. That will wait for another time.
Nevertheless, Eskdale became a watershed in my personal growth and understanding. If I had griped to the Lord prior to that time concerning the lack of any significant “signs following” the teaching, preaching, and pastoral ministry, my gripes were no more. From that time forward, they followed – virtually nonstop.
There was something else that followed: fasting. I began to realize that the 21-day fast in obedience to the command of the Lord was directly responsible for the incredible events that unfolded. A determination engraved itself in my being. I resolved that my life would be given and available to the Lord for whatever realm of ministry He chose to steer me to – that I would never again resist any kind of ministry He called me to perform, regardless of how controversial or challenging it might appear.
Beginning in 1973, and for ten consecutive years, I went on at least one 40-day fast each year. During most of the 1990's Della and I frequently were on two 40-day fasts in any calendar year. There were many years in which there were multiple fasts of varying lengths. The overwhelming majority of these fasts were water only. The fasts have continued throughout my life but they have changed in scope and nature. So has the dimension of ministry, and the incredible experiences that have accompanied our walk with the Lord.
It was either late in 1979 or sometime in the early part of 1980 after moving back to Barrow, Alaska that I was thinking about Bill Christopulos and our experiences together in Eskdale. I decided to give him a call and check up on him.
Very nearly the first thing out of his mouth when he heard my voice on the telephone was, “Brother, do you remember Eskdale?”
My immediate response was, “Brother Bill, how could I EVER forget Eskdale? Witnessing the miracles that took place there changed my life! That was a watershed event for me spiritually.”
He continued. “You need to hear the end of the story, Reg. The miracles didn’t stop after we left. The change to that community was continuous.
“In the two years after we were in Eskdale, people continued to make commitments to Jesus Christ until the entire community turned to Jesus Christ. I think there were two or three folks that were afraid to commit their lives for whatever reason and chose to move away from the town, but literally everyone else accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The last I heard, more than three-quarters of those folks had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
“It was in 1973 – two years after we had been there -- that the bishop called the community together and they agreed to have a public ceremony similar to the one recorded in the 19th chapter of Acts. They gathered together all of their copies of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Abraham, and books on Mormon doctrine, piled them together in the middle of the town and had a great bonfire. The entire community renounced its ties to Mormonism. They concluded that they needed no “extra” doctrine or teaching other than the Bible as the Word of God.
“Brother, do you realize what happened? You remember the first seven, almost eight, days of your fast without food or water? Remember how Esther’s three-day fast altered the course of history for Israel? Your days without food and water played a role in altering the course of history for that community. That entire community came to accept and know Jesus Christ! It’s incredible, Brother! I don’t know of any recent parallel in modern times where an entire community turned to the Lord. We were part of something absolutely miraculous! What God did among those people was stupendous!”
Finally! Two and two made four. For whatever reason, I hadn’t seen the connection before. To hear that the entire community turned to the Lord almost left me speechless. Now, maybe you understand why the word “impossible” is gone from my dictionary. There is no such thing in God. There is no such thing for those that walk with Him in intimate love, whose lives are totally committed.
There is a dimension of life, of authority and power available to the believer in Christ Jesus that knows no bounds. The reason why we have nutty doctrines that abound in churches today that limit the believer is because those who teach such doctrines have never really launched out and stepped past the boundaries and boxes of their religious understanding. Relying on human understanding so places limits on our relationship with the Lord that folks get shortchanged in their walk with God. Jesus made some incredible promises that all Christians have access to, but rarely avail themselves.
In John 14:12, Jesus makes the statement, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father.”
Isaiah prophesied it, and Paul repeated it in I Corinthians 2:9: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
Want the adventure of a lifetime? Want to see some of what God has prepared for them that love Him? God HAS revealed it to us by His Spirit! It’s available to those whose pursuit after God’s best knows no holding back, no restraints of any kind.
“These signs shall follow them that believe; in My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
And that’s only the works that Jesus did – never mind the promised “Greater Works”!
Let me remind you that if you are in need of healing or deliverance from any kind of torment, please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday or Wednesday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. To get into the queue for prayer, when Randy opens the call up for everyone, hit *6-1 on your keypad. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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