Monday, August 8, 2011

Tennessee's Sweet Melanie.

There are many experiences I could share from the mission trip to Nashville I took last week but one specifically stands out. Typically I don’t spend much time thinking about the evil spirits that are around me all the time but I know that the bible tells us that there are such spirits and what we need to do if we happen upon one.

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

His (Satan) angels refer to demons, spirits of darkness that are all around us all the time. Even Jesus told the spirits to get behind him.

Matthew 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

As I was serving along side six Godly people I do believe that God allowed us to experience what He has warned us about in scripture in regards to demons. I can’t say that I have ever experienced a real demon but in this situation I am pretty sure that Satan had a foothold on a seemingly sweet and gentle mentally handicapped women.

We were doing service projects on the property of a residential home for mentally handicapped adults, in the hills of Tennessee. Each adult that lived there was kind, sweet and had a very gentle spirit about them. They were fun to talk to, helpful and lacked any kind of sarcasm or negative attitude, it was refreshing.

All was good until our team sat down to do our devotions right after lunch. We sat outside at a picnic table in a valley between two mountains, with the shade of the trees somewhat protecting us from the 100 degree weather and the heat of the sun, ready to learn an important lesson from God’s word.

The male residents often came out and joined us listening and then sweetly participating in our prayer time. But where our story becomes a little unsettling is when our sweet orchestra loving Melanie joined us.

Melanie who was sweet as can be all day literally became a different person two days in a row while we were doing our devotions. The first day as soon as I started reading the devotion she started talking in a different voice, a deep upset sounding voice, rambling words we all knew but in a matter that did not make any sense. The first day we didn’t think too much about it. But the second day was a difference story.

Our team decided to forgo lunch on this day, because we had spent so much time with the residents playing Whiffle ball, yes Whiffle ball, we were running out of time to complete our work. God had us there for the people, the work could be completed by the other volunteers that were coming the following week. So we decided we would have our devotion time at the same place we had the prior days. Moments before I started reading a very powerful devotion Melanie began acting like a witch, holding her hands up in a clawing fashion and saying in a scary witchy voice, “I am a bad witch, I’m bad.” She continued this for a few minutes until her voice then changed into a ferocious barking sound, holding her leather purse between her teeth and shaking her head back and forth like a dog. She then started licking the table, which was very old with splinters and had bird droppings on it. The whole time she was behaving this way she was standing just behind my left shoulder, while the rest of my group was facing me (and her) as I led the devotion. Honestly, I thought she was going to bite me. The Holy Spirit was definitely hovering over us during this time. I was able to focus on the reading, and everyone else was able to focus on the thoughts at hand. As we continued on to the heart of the devotion we were all able to put the behavior of Melanie out of our minds and be thoughtful of the participation part of the devotion. When we were finished and getting ready for prayer Melanie stopped acting like a dog and the powerful wind that started blowing during our devotion stopped. A calm and peace came over our picnic table, which now had six additional residents that had joined us, as we began to pray as a group the residents also prayed, including Melanie. While she prayed she spoke in a sweet kind voice and we never saw her dark side again.

The first night we were assigned our groups, I was a little confused about why my group had so many “older” students in it and three out of seven of us were leaders, I know now that God purposed us to be there and for us to experience spiritual warfare. It would have been very easy to just skip over our devotion time {instead of skipping lunch}, it would have been easy to go where the residents couldn’t join us, it would have been easy to just give up when there were so many scary distractions but the team God placed there would not have given up.

As we reflected on the week’s events we all agreed that God had allowed some evil spirits to dwell in the area of Cave Springs. Satan was at work trying very hard to get us to give up, be distracted, to be discouraged to be scared and to react in a non-Godly way. We could have made the residents leave us alone, {side story, the residents seemed fearful of the lady that was in charge, she would have shewed them away if we would have asked her to} but it never crossed our minds.

We were reminded that day that God’s word is not wasted pages of nonsense. The Bible is a God inspired book intended for us to not just read but to live by. It’s a book full of warnings, encouragement, affirmations and instructions. We were given the opportunity during our visit to Cave Springs to trust that God was with us as He has told He would be.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
1 Timothy 1:7