Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When Spiritual Warfare Strikes

I found myself in a dark field, in the middle of the night, yet I was not alone.

Although I could sense the presence of other people scattered throughout the field, I could not see them clearly since the only light was coming from a few slivers of moonbeams that danced across the acres. Then I looked up, and saw a figure hovering near me, as my eyes strained to try to make sense of what I was seeing. 

This figure, along with all the others roaming throughout the barren field, seemed to be shaped in the silhouettes of army soldiers, exuding the odorless scent of control and power. Suddenly somewhere deep in my soul, I felt an overwhelming sense of danger, so thick it was almost as if I could reach out and touch it, although I had no idea what danger lurked in this unknown place.

Before I could comprehend what was going on, I felt my weak body being thrown to the ground with great force, landing hard on my back as my head hit the cold dirt. One of the silhouette figures then pressed its weight on top of me, pinning me firmly to the ground with my arms crossed across my chest, prohibiting me from fighting back or trying to defend myself. 

I could feel the hatred spewing from their spirit, and the presence of evil dripping from the empty face that I could not see. I could hear the wails of the other people in the field, and my mind was encompassed with fear and confusion about what was happening. Then in the midst of this heart ripping struggle,  I had a divine revelation, as if God's voice were echoing through the air, but only I could hear Him.

I became acutely aware to the depths of my soul that God's Words were my only hope. My only lifeline. I knew His promises would protect me. I knew His Words held power over evil. I knew His Sovereignty was my only chance in this battle against unseen forces.

As could only happen in the context of the imaginary dream world, where anything is possible, my body instantly shrunk down to the size of a pencil. I wriggled out of the evil one's grip and slung myself onto the pages of an open Bible that just happened to be lying in the tall grasses beside me.

I then reached over and grabbed a handful of pages by the corner with both hands, and began to roll with all my might; tearing the holy pages from the creases of the Book, and wrapping myself tightly into the pages of God's Word, as if I were a caterpillar entombing itself in a cocoon.  

Instantly, the faceless enemies retreated in fear. My spirit felt the evil leap from my presence, and I was freed from its weight upon me.  Then suddenly, all was quiet. My heart was beating quickly and my breathing was labored, and although I was shaken up, I was left unharmed.

And then -  I abruptly awoke from the deep slumber that had been holding me captive in this nightmare.

As I lay there, staring out at the pitch black darkness of 3:00am, my mind raced in every direction. My thoughts stumbled over each other, with each one trying to be the first to figure out what had just occurred.  Although I knew I was safe and sound in my own warm bed, with my husband sleeping quietly beside me, my heart felt ravaged by this battle between good and evil that I had just experienced in the deepest recesses of my mind.

In that fragile moment with God, as my dreams still hung in the quietness of the air, I could do nothing else  --but pray. I spent the entire next hour in deep conversation with Jesus. Then as if a lightbulb burst on in my head, it suddently became clear that myself, and my entire family, had been engaged in a fierce battle of spiritual warfare. The past year seemed as if one blow after another kept coming, but we had merely attributed it all to 'life', instead of giving credit, where credit was due. 

So during this quiet time with Jesus, when the house was silent and it was just me and Him, all the fears and hurts and longings of my heart overflowed onto His feet like never before, and amid my pleas for His forgiveness and mercy and compassion, I felt a sense of freedom overtake my spirit. 

It was a freedom I had not felt in a long time. A peace that had been escaping me for months as my mind struggled with negative emotions that had kept my heart trapped. As I allowed my mind to be engulfed with God's love, I was overcome with gratefulness.  I could not help but ask Him ....why?  Why would He would care so much about me? Why do I matter? Why would He go to such lengths to get my attention, and to rescue me from this invisible battle, not only in the dream world, but in the reality of my life? Why did He die for me? Why does He love His children so much?  Why were we worth it?

The only answer - a love that we cannot comprehend, from a Father who will fight to the death for us. In fact, He already did.

I believe with all my heart that God was showing me through my most subconscious dream-induced thoughts, that I had been living as an oppressed woman lately, fighting a battle that I was slowly losing. I had been trudging through each day, unknowingly carrying the weight of the enemy's oppression, because I had given Him a foothold in my life by not guarding my heart from the enemy's tactics. In Proverbs 4:23 we are instructed to "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." (NLT).... and I now fully understand the importance of this command.

You see, I have been harboring anger and resentment for an adversity in my life, and although I know God commands us to choose faith over feelings, I was completely unaware of the toll my emotions had taken on my spirit. Therefore, over a period of time, a wall had been erected, blocking my view of what God wanted to do in my life and in the lives of those I love.

I had temporarily and inadvertently allowed the frustrations to become my focus, instead of the life saving promises of my Bible. So although my physical body was not actually at war with the unseen enemy as it was in my dream, my spiritual body was -and the time came for God to pry away the life robbing grip that the devil was trying to have around my throat. The time came for God to remind me that He does not leave His beloved ones to fight the battle alone.

Friends, this may be a lot for you to digest today, and I will admit, I hesitated about sharing my dream with you, for fear that you may question my mental faculties, or maybe wonder if I need serious professional help. But I deeply believe that when God speaks to our hearts this profoundly,  regardless of what method He uses to make His voice known, that it is not meant to be kept a secret.  So even at the risk of ridicule or being called a religious fanatic, I felt called to share this with all who would listen.

God blessed me with a glimpse of the unseen spiritual battle that takes place every day in our spirits. A battle that is waged against us by the prince of this world, through the adversities, circumstances and heartaches that we endure. A battle that we are hopeless to win, unless we wrap ourselves in the promises and truths scrolled onto every single page of God's Word. 

I will never again merely treasure my Bible as a possession that I often take for granted. Instead, I will treasure the Words within it as my lifeline,  and my only hope for fighting this battle against the one who wants to destroy us from the inside out.

Ephesians 6:12 says "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (NLT) 

There is a battle going on for your mind and your heart, even if you have a hard time grasping the reality of spiritual warfare. You don't have to believe in spiritual warfare, for the enemy to wage war on your life. In fact, he'd rather you not believe in it, because that makes his battle much easier. But when it strikes, and it will, know that you have the power within you, and at your fingertips, to fight it.
 
Maybe you have felt an unrest in your life lately, as I had.  Maybe you have felt oppressed and distant from God, but haven't been able to pry yourself free from negative memories or emotions holding your heart captive. Maybe you have been feeling confused and alone, but unsure what steps to take to make things better.  Maybe your unwillingness to let go of anger, or unforgiveness, is building a wall that you can no longer see over.

Maybe you have accidentally, gradually and unknowingly given the devil a foothold in your heart.
 
Sweet sister, you can be set free today. Surrender to God whatever it is that is weighing your heart down, and pray for spiritual freedom. If you ask you will receive, and the battle will be won - until tomorrow. 
The war continues, but the Prince of Peace will always have victory. And freedom is ours for the taking.

Isaiah 43:1-3a   Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (NLT)

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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tracie,
This post really spoke to me! I have been in a spiritual warfare for quite sometime and it really helps to know I am not the only one. It's so easy on one hand to turn it all over to God based on his promises, so why do I hang on? I believe it's that I let Satan get a stronghold on me. Through continued prayer, I will trust the Lord my God to deliver me from this ridiculous fight. Thanks so much for sharing. I will bookmark this and read it when I need comfort and hope.
Thanks so much! God Bless!

Donna said...

Tracie,
Thank you so much for sharing your dream and insights! I shared with you last week that my parents had been killed last April and my sister-in-law was battling Lou Gehrig's disease. She went to be with Jesus last Friday night. Her funeral is tomorrow. She asked me to speak at her funeral before she passed away. I am honored but felt I could not hear God's voice.

I burst into tears while reading your blog and felt God's presence. I feel that God has given me a message thru you. I pray that thru my sharing tomorrow my sister-in-laws family will see Jesus as they are not Christians and Kate prayed relentlessly for them.

Thank you for being an obedient servant!

Donna
P.S. I shared about Kate and her family in my blog.
http://TheGod-Quester.blogspot.com

meridith said...

thank you so much for sharing this, it was exactly what i needed to hear and totally applies.

Sandie said...

Tracie, Thank you so much for sharing. Too many times fear stops us from sharing something that will possibly benefit and encourage many. The truth is we are in a war. A spiritual war with power and principalites of an unseen world. This war rages around us every single day. It is only through the power of God's word, His promises and faith that we gain the victory. Praise the Lord that you were willing to see and accept what God so desparately wanted to show you.

Te! said...

This is so powerful THANKYOU! and may God's blessings pour forth because you didn't give into your fear of not sharing.. You said 'yes' and now you have given myself and others power in knowledge.. God is good.. So very very good.. Thankyou again for sharing..

DawnEDorsey said...

I had an odd dream two nights ago. The only thing I remember is many demons pressing in towards me, one of them was pretending to be my grandmother. I felt OVERWHELMED by them and so I began to sing "Jesus loves me, this I know". I woke myself up singing out loud. I was breathing heavily, I was aware that I was on my own bed, safe. I was aware that the name Of Jesus is what saved me...

Sharon mi said...

Tracie,
God used your powerful post to confirm what He put on my heart in my prayer time with Him this morning. I don't ussually comment, but I felt like I just had to let you know this. I also noticed that you posted this yesterday but it did not come to my inbox until this morning ; just when it would make the biggest impact. Thank you!

Susanne said...

Tracie - Thank You! I rarely hear much about spiritual warfare, and if so, never to this depth. But, it is so true. I did not have a dream, but I have felt the blackness of evil around me and I knew what it was, who it was. I immediately tell satan that I am resisting him and he MUST flee - that is God's word!! "Resist the devil and he will flee" I stand on that. You are right, God's living word will protect us from Satan - always. And, you are so wise, we should never give the devil an opening - never!! Bless you!!

Pam said...

What love HE has for us to go all out to get our attention and reveal HIS truth to us in whatever way HE deems necessary whether it's through dreams, books, devotions, movies, songs, etc. Thank you for your boldness in sharing what HE showed you through your dream : ) It has encouraged my heart today reminding me I have a GOD that will fight my battles for me and is ALWAYS by my side.

Jane Duell said...

Dear Tracie-

Your words gave me hope, strength and a determination to fall at the Lord's feet to rescue me from the anger, anxiety and unforgiving spirit that has consumed me this past year. Your images were so very real to me and so powerful!

The Lord surely gave you this dream to share with Sisters in Christ so we can form a united army to collectively battle our greatest enemy. We are Satan's favorite target. He feeds on our compassionate, tender hearts, our vulnerabilities and naivete, especially when we have a deep desire and passion to grow closer to Christ.

Sisters in Christ- Join with Tracie and let's take her message and Scriptural truths to say boldly,
"Be gone Satan in the name of Jesus! We hate you and want you out of our lives!!"
Christ has already won the battle for us! We will fight with God's armor every moment of every day! Amen and Amen. Thank you Tracie! You are a woman of courage!

Anonymous said...

I can really relate! Last night I lost (actually gave - to Satan) all control. My cheating husband told me he wants a divorce last week. I have been up and down emotionally/spiritually ever since. But yesterday was an all time low in spiritual battles for me. Thank you for the reminder....it's not flesh & blood....

Toni Ryan said...

Tracie,

Your honesty is what comes through each and every time regardless of the topic. Some may feel a bit overwhelmed by the subject, but may also need to learn about it too. When I post a new devotional on my site I am always hopeful that God will use it to bless at least one reader. I have no doubt God has used this one to bless not only myself, but many others as well.

God bless you and your ministry Tracie!

Toni

Colleen Reske said...

Praise God that we can know victory over darkness. His Light will always overcome it. We just need to be mindful, and remember to call on His name. A great reminder to be aware, and a beautiful message thru Isaiah. Thank you.

Kathy said...

Tracie
I came back to this today to let you know that I praise God for your blog. You are real sister and I love what God says through you.

Last week my daughter was telling me again of thoughts that pop into her head that are "scary"... Not dreams but fears like mommy will die or that she will say or do something stupid in school. Little and big things that we all struggle with at a young age and then seem to plague us into adulthood. I told her my "trick" of repeating the name of "Jesus" over and over....or to sing "I love you Lord". Real slow.

So now, I have this really awesome vision (thanks to you sharing your dream) of my daughter banishing her "scary thoughts demons" to the place they belong- in Hell, not in her head where Jesus is Lord.

God bless you and that pyramid your son and hubby made rocks!

Kyla said...

Thank you Tracie for sharing this.

I have experienced the PEACE the Spirit of Jesus brings, when FINALLY I realized that I was fighting a losing battle!! I was stuck in my own anger and resentment toward some people in my life.
Slowly God has revealed His truth about what I need to do.To trust in His perfect justice. He's showed me how to love those same people, with the same grace and compassion He has shown me, over and over throughout my life.

We'd been studying 1 Corinthians in the small group I lead and I was convicted by Ch.1v10...
"I appeal to you brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ALL of you AGREE with one another in what you say and that there be NO divisions among you, but you be perfectly united in mind and thought."

It troubled me for a minute or 2 about why Paul said united in "mind and thought"...no mention of the heart. But then a dear friend put it to me simply..."we can't be united in heart; our emotions are different because our perspectives are different." So without being united in the facts of God's Word in our "thoughts and minds", it is not possible for us to understand each others heart.

I don't know if this makes any sense at all...I just felt like I should share.

God Bless you in your Ministry Tracie as you seek to honour God with your life!!!

Sheila said...

Thank you, Tracie. I needed to hear this. You are not crazy.

I have let Satan have a stronghold on me for the past 1-1/2 years through a tumultuous time that has turned my life upside down. It's been just this week, as I'm reading the book "Waking The Dead" and now reading your blog, that I realize what I've allowed Satan to do, because of my hurt, dissapointment, brokenness, fear, etc. (I emailed you awhile back.)

But I want to be done with that. I'm ready to give it up. My will, that is. My pride. It doesn't matter what someone has done to me. I can't change it. I HAVE to believe God will take care of it. How HE sees fit. WHEN He sees fit.

I had a dream just a few nights ago and I know it was a picture of the warefare that's going on. I felt it.

Thank you again, Tracie. I want to thank God for what I KNOW He will do in my life.

Gearing up for the battle,
Sheila

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tracie, we need to be reminded that we are not fighting flesh and blood enemies. It is time we took up the Sword of the Spirit and fight. Thanks so much for your boldness in speaking what He has placed on your heart.
Darlene

Robyn Buxton said...

Thank you for sharing. I needed those reminders myself today.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Tracie. I can totally relate right now. I am drawing closer to the Lord in this valley even as further attacks occur. His Word is my covering also. When faced with temptations I say, "Get behind me, Satan." I am from a conservative traditional background, but just a few days ago I did something uncharacteristic I felt God calling me to do. I walked around my house pretending to flick the blood of Jesus on every entryway to our home--windows, doors, etc. (Need to do TV and computer too as I forgot those and was attacked there!) I imagined myself as one of the Israelites painting their doorposts with the blood of the Lamb to keep the death angel from entering their camp. The devil is seeking the death of my marriage. I refuse to submit. In the past six weeks, the devil has attacked my marriage, finances, family health, and other relationships. It seems overwhelming and I am battling depression, but I claim the promise that "a bruised reed He will not break." Through the Lord I am more than a conqueror over the powers of evil. I pray he will break the divorce curse of several generations. I feel God calling me to ministry for adult children of divorce, and I know that is one reason I am under attack. I share my story in the hopes that others will be encouraged that God will never leave them nor forsake them even in the heat of the battle.

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this. Thank you for being authentic.

Tracie Miles said...

Friends - I have read over all your comments several times, and each time I get chill bumps. Rather than try to answer individually, I just want to corporately thank you all for posting and being so transparent and vulnerable with how you have felt the enemys pressure, and have chosen to trust God and His power over all else. I have prayed for all of you and that the situations you face will be covered with God's love and intervention. Sweet blessings...

Anonymous said...

Did you think that two weeks after sharing your dream, I would find your words and be encouraged? Wow, this is so much like we are going through and have been going through. I grow weary and feel pressed back down in the field and then I hear God calling again to trust Him. Thanks for sharing. This is what I needed to hear.