Tag Archive | angels

No One Believes In Me Anymore

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. ~ 1 Timothy 4:1

The last days will be characterized by a departure from the faith.

Ladies and gentlemen… we’re there.

DemonFrom well-known pastors speaking out against Biblical values to entire denominations abandoning sound Biblical truth for the sake of political correctness and societal relevance, we are seeing the prophecy of 1 Timothy 4:1 play out in all it’s real-time, full color, live-action reality. In Matthew 24, Jesus said that, when He returns again, the societal climate would be “as it was in the days of Noah“. In order for that to be the case, it would make sense that some form of influence from Noah’s time would be present at the time of Christ’s return.

An ancient evil, as it were.

We live in a society that, for all of it’s animosity toward God and His commands, is fascinated with the supernatural. Because of this fascination, the idea of angels and demons is quite popular, being the subjects of books, movies, video games, music, and more. But like so many things in politically-correct pop-culture, we want to believe as long as we can do so on our terms. This is EXACTLY what the enemy prefers… an unrealistic, cartoonish view of demons that takes the edge off who they really are, how they really work, and the danger they REALLY pose. As the late Keith Green so accurately penned…

Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As time keeps slipping away
I can imitate your brightest light
And make your night look just like day
I put some truth in every lie
To tickle itching ears
You know I’m drawing people just like flies
‘Cause they like what they hear

I’m gaining power by the hour
They’re falling by the score
You know, it’s getting very simple now
‘Cause no one believes in me anymore.

~ from the song, No One Believes in Me Anymore
from the album For Him Who Has Ears to Hear
©1977 Sparrow Records

In order to face our enemy in a realistic fashion, we must first clear up some misconceptions about the enemy and spiritual warfare. Let’s dive in…

Misconception #1: Demons, Alive During Biblical Times, are Only Active Today in Pagan Cultures.

Nothing in the Bible restricts demonic activity to certain times and cultures. On the contrary, the Bible states that we are in a constant battle (2 Corinthians 2:11). The devil would like nothing more than for people to deny his existence.

Misconception #2: Demons Cannot Bother Believers.

While a Christian cannot be totally taken over (possessed) by a demon, Christians can be oppressed, harassed, and dominated by demonic activity. Unrepentant believers can open themselves up to demonic oppression (Acts 5:3, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5). Ephesians 6:10-15 speaks of our wrestling against the powers of darkness, questions the enemies fiery spears, and stands firm against his assaults. The enemy can attack the mind and body of a Christian. Christians need to embrace deliverance as a part of their salvation. In Matthew 6, Jesus Himself commands us to pray daily, “Deliver us from the evil one.”

Misconception #3: Only Occult Involvement Leads to Demonic Difficulties.

Occult involvement leads to demonization. However, occult involvement is not the only avenue to oppression by the enemy. Every believer is subject to temptation, deception, oppression, and strongholds.

Misconception #4: Demonic Operation Incites only Extreme Behavior Such as Violence and Gross Sin.

It is true as is seen in Mark 5 that total demonization can lead to extreme behaviors. However, look at Mark 1:23-24. We have a man in the synagogue who cries out in his oppression. There is no violence here at all.

Also in Luke 13:10-16 we find a woman called “a daughter of Abraham” (Luke 10:16) bound by “a spirit of infirmity.” The name infirmity is “asthenia” in Greek. It means feeble, lack of strength, weak, disability. Jesus says to her, “Thou are loosed.” That word “loosed” is apoluo, which means “to free fully and set at liberty.” This woman was sick and helpless by demonic oppression for l8 years. She was a church-going believer but bound by Satan for 18 years. Jesus set her free on the day of worship.

Misconception #5: Christians Are in Personal Danger in Dealing with Demons

I often hear people say in fear, “I do not want to stir up anything by getting involved in warfare.” My friend, Jesus laid hands on this poor woman and she was delivered. Demons are under the authority of believers and can only affect us if we give them place.

What kind of surgeon would not operate because of the fear of inflicting pain? What kind of doctor would not treat a disease for fear of exposing himself? The doctor would put on protection and do his job. Likewise we can suit up in God’s armor and help others to freedom.

Misconception #6: It Is Dangerous to Touch or Be Around Someone Who Is Demonically Afflicted.

Fear invites the attack of the enemy. However, other believers are not transmitters. A person right with God has nothing to fear from the enemy.

Misconception #7: For Deliverance, You Can Plead the Blood of Jesus Without Having Understanding and Faith.

The blood of Jesus cannot be “plead” like some good luck charm! We honor the blood of Jesus and trust its cleansing, protection and delivering power. The blood pleads itself when applied to the life of the believer. Revelation 12:11 speaks of the blood’s overcoming power against Satan.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

The blood speaks of forgiveness and cancels the enemy’s right to attack. The blood does not “plead to Satan” for anything. The blood’s plea is to the Father. The blood rebukes Satan.

Misconception #8: Spiritual Warfare Instruction is Unnecessary.

Some time back, a pastor and a former longstanding member of a church informed me that their church had gotten along without this teaching for years. I replied, “look at your church and mine.” Half their membership did not attend. Sin was rampant in their body. Depression and oppression dominated many of their people’s lives. Ignoring the truth leads to disaster. 2 Corinthians 2:11 warns us not to be “…ignorant of Satan’s devices.”

MIsconception #9: One Can Make Light of Satan and the Truth of Spiritual Warfare With Impunity.

I had an evangelist tell me that Satan is a toothless tiger! That cliché sounds good, but is it true? Look at 1 Peter 6:8-9.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, stand fast in the faith…”

The word “devour” means “to gulp down.” We are to realize our enemy is defeated but still dangerous.

Misconception #10: It Is Enough Just To Resist the Devil Over a Period of Time.

Resisting the devil is necessary and important. Yet this is defensive. There is an offensive side to spiritual warfare whereby ground gained by the enemy must be retaken. Ephesians 4:27 warns us about “giving place” to the Devil. In Matthew 12:43 demons seek “places.” It is the same word found in Ephesians 4:27.

We must come to the rescue of those captured by the enemy. Colossians 1:13 speaks of salvation as being “…delivered from the kingdom of darkness…” Matthew 16 Jesus said of the church, “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.” This text speaks of the church attacking the very gates of hell’s strongholds.

In John 12:31 Jesus spoke of the cross as a place where the enemy would be “cast out.” Every lost person lives under the domain of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.

When Paul stood before King Agrippa he stated his mission in Acts 26:18…

“To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance…”

Salvation is a rebirth of those in darkness, under the rule of Satan.

Misconception #11: Freedom From Multiple Attacks is Instantaneous.

Sometimes it takes intensive warfare to get rid of all the invaders in your life. Years after his entry in the ministry, Timothy battled a stronghold of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) God will do a complete work if we let him. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJ)

Misconception #12: Freedom Gained is the End of Spiritual Warfare.

No, it is only the beginning of a life of discipleship. Ground retaken in one’s life must be defended. Sin must be purged, and a life of commitment continued. We must wear our armor until that day we exchange it for a robe of white.

~ Today’s blog was adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare

When Legends Come to Life

Halloween is traditionally a time of ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night. For many, it is a time of parties, costumes, and candy (lots and LOTS of candy). According to Alliance Data Retail Services, Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday that prompts people to spend money, behind Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Sleepy Hollow stampWhether it is stories and folklore from the likes of great authors such as Washington Irving or Charles Dickens (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and A Christmas Carol come to mind), or stories and characters based on actual historical figures that have morphed into legend, there has always been something about stories of suspense and mystery that intrigue people. One such popular Halloween figure is Dracula, who is actually based on Vlad III (Vlad the Impaler), Prince of Wallachia (Romania). A brutal and merciless killer, he preferred to be known as “Dracula”, which means “Son of the Dragon”.

Earlier this year, the movie Noah was released in theaters. While there was much of the story that deviated from the historical account we find in Genesis, one of the elements in the movie that drew an inordinate amount of attention were the Nephilim — if you saw the movie, they were represented by the giant “rock people”. Although the portrayal seemed rather fantastical, the producers of the film attempted to address something that is an often overlooked part of the Genesis account. It is one of those afore-mentioned historical facts that have morphed into legend (if not even cartoonish characters).

Caesarea By The Sea2

So, who were the Nephilim? Were they real or just figurative characters in the Bible? Let’s take a look…

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. ~ Genesis 6:1-2 (NKJV)

Here we have the intermarriage of the descendants of Cain and Seth with embodied demons. This produced a race of people called “giants” in the English Bible. They are literally Nephilim, which means “fallen ones”.They occupied the land of Canaan (this view is supported by both Falvius Josephus and Philo Judaeus). These beings produced a subhuman or hybrid race prior to the Flood. These hybrid beings could be the beings that became the ancient mythological gods (see John Fleming’s The Fallen Angel and the Heroes of Mythology and Thomas Horn’s Nephilim Stargates). This race brought vile immorality, crime, terror, and war on the earth. We have a grievous picture of what this means in Numbers 13:32-33…

 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (NKJV)

As we can see, these hybrids were present when the children of Israel entered the land of promise.

David would finally wipe them out (we assume). The human race seems to have experienced this activity before the Flood, and in seizing Canaan during the Exodus. In the last days, this pit will be opened, and the Antichrist will be the seed of Satan born to a woman.

These fallen angels, Nephilim, left their own estate and cohabited with women and produced horror for the earth. These demons disrupted God’s order on earth. This is why the Flood came. It explains the order by God to kill the inhabitants of Canaan. Many of them were not fully human.

For the sake of clarity, it needs to be explained that while this initial population of Nephilim were eliminated by the Flood, the abomination happened again. In Genesis 6:4, we read…

There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (NKJV)

This indicates that after the Flood, these fallen angels came again and procreated with “the daughters of men”.

So again… is it just a “story” from the Bible? Could it really have happened?

The wonderful aspect of this is that God’s Word is true, and truth does indeed “spring from the earth”. The subject of the Nephilim is, as some have said, “the elephant in the room” for the archaeological, anthropological, and scientific communities. Here are some interesting facts…

  • In AD 1692, a skeleton was found near Angers, France, of a man measuring seventeen feet, four inches.
  • In 1950, in the Euphrates Valley of Southeast Turkey, several tombs were found containing full skeletons of giants fourteen to sixteen feet tall.
  • Digs in China have uncovered skeletal remains of giants over fifteen feet tall.

But the evidence is not relegated to just skeletal remains…

  • I once visited the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Crete, and there exists an exhibit of ancient bronze battle-axes from as far back as 1700 BC. This is not that unusual until you consider that the axes are over five feet in length. These are not, as some assert, decorative, but show signs of use in battle.
  • In the Great Orme Copper mine in the coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales, sledgehammers of over sixty pounds have been found. These hammers, used in the mining of copper, would have had handles of approximately nine feet.

You may say, “These are all very interesting stories, but what do they mean to me, for my life today?”

These things, and countless other facts, artifacts, and historical records bear out the truth of the Bible. “The rocks cry out” and declare the truth and glory of God! The psalmist bore witness that Creation itself testifies to the handiwork of God when he wrote…

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. ~ Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

If we make the decision to ignore the empirical evidence that supports God’s Word, then we choose to live in ignorance and disbelief. However, if we choose to believe the Bible as truth, then we must believe it in it’s entirety. The same Word that tells stories of floods, giants, angelic visitations, and miracles also gives us this dire warning…

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. ~ Matthew 24:37 (NIV)

Immorality, crime, terror, war… any of this sounding familiar?

But there is also hope, for the same Word also gives us this promise…

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16 (NKJV)

Salvation is here, my friend. His Presence in your life is only a prayer away.

Pastor Ron

 

Much of today’s content was adapted from my book Unexplained Mysteries of Heaven and Earth
(Copyright © 2013 Ron Phillips, published by Charisma House).

Angels In The Snow

Ok… we’ve finally made it to summer weather (winter just seemed so unrelenting this year in the Tennessee Valley). Feeling the warmth outside as we head into the dog-days of summer, I thought I’d give you a brief respite from the heat and tell you a little story… about snow. Snow and angels.

Gena’s story…

There are angels among us. You never know if it’s that person standing next to you in the elevator, behind you in line in the market, or even the pizza delivery guy.

One of my dearest friends worked as a full-time nanny for a very nice family of five that lived way out in the Indiana countryside. Being a mother-to-be herself, she certainly had her hands full with taking care of their children… but she did an amazing job.

imageI’d gone over there one weekend to spend some time with she and the kids while the parents were out of town. It was a wonderful December day and had started to get late. It was time for me to leave. It really snowed that day, so everything was completely covered. After I’d warmed my car, I was trying to back out and had somehow found myself no longer on their driveway, but instead on their lawn. That’s when I got stuck. I tried rocking the car back and forth in my attempt to get the car out, but all that did was make a mess of their yard. Feeling just awful about it, I went back inside and announced to my friend, “I’m stuck.” My friend began looking for shovels, salt, two-by-fours… anything that might help. “Surely these folks have tools; they live in the country!”

No luck.

I’d gone back out to the car to have another go at it, and was getting really frustrated. By this time, it was around 11:00p.m., very cold, and although the snowing had slowed to almost nothing coming down, it was difficult to get around since the snow from the day was fairly deep. Back in the car, I sat there thinking that I didn’t want to worsen the near-ditch I had already dug in their front yard. I couldn’t believe this. “How could I have done this?” I asked myself, I didn’t even have anyone to call for help. I started to pray. After a few minutes, for some reason I glanced down at my odometer. To my ironic horror, it read the numbers 666. I became angry and yelled, “I rebuke this!” I quickly pushed the button, resetting the odometer back to zero.

Just then, a small car with a Domino’s Pizza delivery sign on top pulled up to the house. I remember thinking, “Way out here? That’s odd.” A man got out of the car. With a big smile, he walked over and chuckled, “Looks like you could use some help.”

I was giddy with thankfulness and replied, “Oh yes… thank you! Thank you so much!”

He laughed and said he’d give it a push while I gave it a little gas.

I sat in the car and looked behind me through the rear window. The man stood behind my car, and for a few moments, he looked at it in what appeared to be a very thoughtful way. It was like he was gathering information with his smiling eyes.

“OK, then!” he called out. I pressed gently on the gas pedal… I certainly didn’t want to fling the icy slush and mud on him.

He placed his hands on the trunk of my car and forward, up, and back onto the driveway I went. I thought, “Oh my! He didn’t even lean.”

I got out of the car and was so surprised, all I could get out of my mouth was a barrage of “thank you”s and a “Wow! You’re strong!”

He laughed and asked that I be very careful out there on the road.

I went to reach for my purse in the car to give him some cash for helping me out, and when I looked up, he’d already gone all the way back to where his car was on the road. He stood by his car and waved before getting in and pulling away.

I quickly jumped into my car and backed out to the road. He was gone. No taillights…

No tire tracks in the snow.

AngelsYour prayers matter to our Father and activate angelic assistance. Remember, no prayer goes unnoticed or unanswered. I realize that, to some of you, that doesn’t make sense, when you have prayed for healing and the healing hasn’t come, or when you have suffered greatly and there seemed to be no relief. However, our prayers have been entrusted to angels until their appointed time. As allies with the angels, we must be reassured by the power of prayer and spend time regularly with God.

— from the book, Our Invisible Allies by Ron Phillips published by Charisma House Publishers Copyright © 2009 by Ron Phillips

Angels on I-40

MapAs a pastor for so many years, I love hearing stories of how God is working in the lives of His people. Whether it’s how He guides us along the paths of life in quiet, subtle ways, or interjects Himself in more obvious displays of His power, as I travel around the world, I hear so many stories of both natures. It is especially significant when I hear the stories from those in my own church, the the people to whom God has called me as shepherd. One such story happened last weekend.

Dana works in the media department of Abba’s House and Ron Phillips Ministries. He is also a long-time musician and worship leader, and as such, had made the decision to attend The Next Step Gathering, hosted by my friend, Ray Hughes. The event was in Asheville, NC, which is about 3.5 hours from Chattanooga. On the final day of the event, it began to snow in Asheville. Due to some previous commitments Dana had made, he felt he could not afford to get snowed-in in Asheville, and decided to head back early to Chattanooga. He posted his story on social media, and I’ll share some of it here…

I had been on the road for a little less than an hour when my daughter Maddie felt the urge to pray for me. She went into her room, and began to pray. Within minutes of her prayer, as I came out of a curve on I-40W, I was in the left hand lane, and was merging right when I inexplicably lost control of my vehicle (at first, I thought I had hit a patch of ice, but upon further review, it seems that something in the steering/suspension mechanism of my vehicle may have malfunctioned/failed). I completely lost control, crashed nearly head-on into a concrete barricade, and came to rest on the shoulder of the road about 150 feet from the point of impact. A couple of things of note are the fact that, had I broken through or flipped over the concrete barricade, I would have dropped about 150-200 straight down into the river below. Also, the front right of the vehicle basically folded up under the chassis. I am completely puzzled as to how the vehicle managed to roll another 150 feet. I am also amazed that, in spite of moderate traffic, no other vehicles were involved.

I walked away without a scratch.

Prayer2Wow! So why would a daughter nearly 200 miles away inexplicably drop what she was doing and pray for her father at almost the exact moment he was in trouble? How does someone lose control of a vehicle, crash into a concrete wall at nearly 50mph, and walk away without so much as a scratch?

We serve a God that operates and communicates with us through the power of His Spirit. It was the prompting of the Holy Spirit that directed Dana’s daughter in how to pray. When she acted in obedience to the Spirit, angels of protection were dispatched to that place on the highway to put a hedge of protection around her father. The prayers of His people are a sweet aroma in the nostrils of a Holy God. A simple prayer offered in faith is all it takes to activate angelic power in our lives.

‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ ~ Jeremiah 33:3

God is not looking for the smartest, biggest, strongest, or most talented. God is looking for obedience. He is looking for those who will be the Joshuas and Gideons of this generation. He is looking for the ones who will operate in “ridiculous obedience” to achieve the impossible.

The angels of Heaven are available to us as ministering spirits, and offer us guidance, protection, strength, and assistance. When we activate their presence through the power of prayer, great, mighty, and miraculous things can happen.

Pastor Ron

Understanding Mystery

I think that it would be safe to say that archaeology fascinates most people. Whether it is the stories we see on the news when a significant artifact is located, or historically-based fictitious movies such as National Treasure or the Indiana Jones movies, people are drawn to a good mystery that has it’s roots in truth.BLOG_ARC

I would contend that there is no more intriguing mystery or powerful truth than that contained within the pages of Scripture.

   BLOG_NOAHFrom Noah’s Ark to the Ark of the Covenant to the crucifixion of Jesus, the earth itself holds clues and keys in unlocking the veracity of these historical objects and events. Is it possible that the Bible explains the origins and events surrounding discoveries like…

  • The skeletons of giants discovered in places like France, Turkey, and China that range from 14 to 17 feet in stature?
  • Encapsulated sulfur (brimstone) in the ash and rock formations located near the base of Masada in Israel (the location of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah)?
  • A grave site around which no bones were found?
  • Burial clothes in which no body was actually found?

Blog_AtlantisOr maybe some of the “myths” we have learned about as children – that have been turned into folklore and Disney movies – are actually based on scientific, historical fact:

  • Are angels and demons real?
  • Was the lost city of Atlantis an actual place?
  • Who were “the Magi”?
  • Do we know the real identity of the one known as Melchizedek?

Do you struggle to find the answers to questions when it comes to science and faith?

Do you want to have the ability to give an answer for the hope you have?

Do you want to understand why you are more than an accident of evolution, destined for more than a six-foot hole in the ground?

My new book, Unexplained Mysteries of Heaven and Earth (Charisma House) will help you unlock some of the mysteries of the faith, as well as bridge the gap between science and faith. For more information, click the image of my book in the sidebar to the right.Blog_Pyramid

A Midnight Stranger

“Well… that was a close one!”

How many times have you heard that said? How many times have you said it yourself?

We may never know how many accidents, injuries, and “near misses” we have had in our lifetimes. We may never know how many times we have received angelic counsel from a quiet “impression”, a “still, small voice”, or a stranger who may have, in fact, been an angel. Hebrews 13:1-2 says:

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing, some have unwittingly entertained angels.

In my book Our Invisible Allies (Charisma House), I convey one such story…

It happened just past midnight on March 26, 1993, to Vincent Tan, and analytical chemist  who works in Chattanooga, TN.

Vincent was born Tan Ban Soon in Singapore, of Chinese Buddhist parents. A few years ago as a young boy in Singapore, he was in the library reading a book on nuclear physics and discovered an offer for a Bible course stuck between some pages. He ordered the course and later became a Christian. He came to the U.S. to attend a Christian college, then gave himself the Western name of Vincent. After four years, he graduated with a major in science. He has been very active in his church and in sharing his faith.

On the night of Thursday, March 25, 1993, Vincent was working late in his laboratory to complete tests due on Friday. During the evening he moved his car close to the front door of the building, since there had recently been criminal activity in the area. From time to time, he looked out the window into the almost empty parking lot to check on his car. At 1:30a.m., he finished working in his lab. As he was preparing to lock the door, he saw a person standing by the passenger side of his car. Vincent assumed the man was trying to steal his car. He noted that the stranger was of medium build with clean-cut, straight hair and had on a T-shirt, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes. Unsure what to do, he went back into the lab and prayed, “Lord, help me to do what I have to do. Do I have to use chi-sao?” (Chi-sao (pronounced “chee’-sow-o”) is a form of martial art in which Vincent is proficient.)

To be extra safe, he looked around the lab and picked up an 18-inch metal rod, held it behind him, and stuck his head out the door. He said, “Hi, can I help you?”

The stranger answered, “Hi, Vincent.”

Startled, Vincent asked, “Do I know you?”

The stranger replied, “Not really.”

“What is your name? Who are you?” Vincent probed.

The stranger said, “I have the name of your primary and secondary school.” He added, “I’m a friend. You don’t have to use chi-sao or the rod on me.”

His voice had unusual authority, and it seemed he knew the question before it was asked.  Now Vincent was really startled. No one, not even his best friend in this country, was familiar with chi-sao, nor did anyone even know that he knew it. Also, there was no way the stranger could have seen the rod behind his back.

Vincent later reflected that the stranger had used terminology (“primary and secondary school”) of Singapore and not the U.S., and that the name of his school back in Singapore was St. Gabriel. The stranger was saying his name was Gabriel!

“How do you know that?” Vincent asked.Angels

“I know,” the stranger replied. “By the way, Mum is fine.”

Vincent was startled again. Just the week before, his sister had called from Singapore saying that his mother had heart complications, and Vincent had been quite worried about her.

Gabriel continued, “You love the Lord very much, don’t you?”

“That’s right,” Vincent replied.

“He loves you very much too,” Gabriel said. Then he added, “He is coming very, very soon.” He seemed to emphasize the “very soon.”

Vincent answered, “That’s great!”

Gabriel then asked, “Can I have a cup of water?”

Vincent said, “Sure,” and turned momentarily to get him the water. Then he decided to invite the stranger inside to drink from the water fountain. He turned back to invite him inside — but Gabriel was not there. He had suddenly and inexplicably vanished! Vincent had not turned his head for more than three seconds.

There was no place for the stranger to have gone. Puzzled, and not wanting to go back into the lab, Vincent laid the metal rod down by the front door and headed to his home outside of Chattanooga. When he came back to work later that morning, he wondered if he had dreamed the whole experience. As a scientist, he wanted to prove whether it had really happened. When he got to the building, he found the metal rod lying by the door just where he had left it. He knew he had not been dreaming. Upon entering the lab, the first thing he did was to lock himself in the restroom and kneel in prayer. “Show me what to do Lord. I know what I remember, If I’m supposed to share it, I must believe it myself,” Vincent pleaded. He then sat down at his computer and recorded every word said, and everything that had happened.

That night, March 26, 1993, in a dream Vincent relived the whole experience, seeing himself and, word for word, hearing the whole conversation. He awoke at about 3:30a.m. and wrote down every word in the dream and the description of the stranger. What he wrote from the dream confirmed every detail he had written earlier. Also, a week after the experience, he learned that his mother had received needed surgery and was recuperating nicely — and that the medical decision about her improved condition came a week earlier at about the very same hour as he was talking with Gabriel!

On July 29, 1993, Vincent was asked what effect this experience has had on him. He said he believes more strongly now that we should be ready every day for the Lord’s coming, and not worry about which day He will come. He said the experience has intensified his dedication, causing him to spend more devotional time than before, wanting to know more about God and be closer to Him. For some time, even before that experience, Vincent said he had been asking God, “Am I ready, right now?”

Now more meaningfully than ever, this writer is asking that same question.

Would you like to find out more about angels… where they came from, how they operate, and how you can activate them in your life? Click here for more information about my book, Our Invisible Allies.

What A Difference A Year Makes

As I sit in my office contemplating the last year, I am overwhelmed by a profound sense of thanksgiving. At this time a year ago, I was lying in a hospital bed, recovering from open heart surgery.

As many of you may (or may not) know, a year ago things were very different in my life. After more than a week of exhibiting some very serious symptoms, my family, staff, and friends began voicing their concerns. My son, Ronnie Jr., had been out of the country preaching, and while he was away, had a heavy burden for me. He and his host pastor prayed and interceded for my life, and upon returning home, tried to convince me to go see my doctor. Reluctantly, I did so, and was diagnosed with “severe sleep apnea”. However, that diagnosis did not quell the stirring of the Spirit for those concerned about me.

On that Friday, I was taken to the emergency room, but everything was deemed “normal”, and they sent me home. Now, anyone who knows anything about Spiritual Warfare has heard of “generational curses” or “generational demons”. I believe that generational demons can play a strong role in our lives if we fail to recognize their patterns and method of working. Looking back on my case, this is very obvious… my own father was sent to the emergency room twice the week he died. Both times he was sent home, being told he was okay. A couple of days later, he was gone – at the age of 69.

After being released from the ER, Ronnie and I had a couple of discussions. He was still concerned, but I tried to assuage his fears. I had speaking appointments, a church to shepherd, and much to do. Going in for medical tests – being poked and prodded by doctors and nurses – just did not fit into my schedule. In frustration, Ronnie contacted a dear friend of mine by the name of Ron. He asked Ron to talk to me, and try to convince me to go have some tests done.

On Sunday, April 15, Ron spoke to me, and convinced me to change my plans. I was actually scheduled to leave the next day for Louisiana to speak in the very area where my ministry began. After hearing the concerns of my best friend, my son, and others, I decided to cancel my trip, and go for the tests. On Tuesday, Ron picked me up and took me to the hospital for a stress test…

I failed miserably.

As the providence of God would have it, when I failed the stress test, my cardiologist just happened to be there. Two nurses in the room who “just happened to be Christians” immediately laid hands on me and began to pray. The doctor immediately took preventive measures, admitted me, and sent me for an arteriogram. It was at this point they discovered that I had extensive blockages – what doctors term “the Widow Maker”. Among others, I had a 4cm blockage (100%) in my main artery.

Now, what makes my trip to Louisiana significant is that I was going to the very place (the 9th Ward) where my ministry began… a place and time of poverty, struggle, and depression for my family. I firmly believe that the enemy was taking me back there to kill me, for had I not had those tests, the doctors believe I would have been dead within hours.

I was put into intensive care, and they proceeded with surgery the next morning. I came through the bypass surgery and was put into recovery. It was during my time in recovery that I had a sensation that I was choking, and I heard the voice of the devil tell me, “I’m going to kill you!” But before fear even had a chance to take hold, I heard the voice of an angel say, “You’re a liar!” It was then that I saw a golden blanket descend on me. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that this blanket was my prayer cover. I went back to sleep, and woke up to the beautiful face of my wife telling me everything was ok, and that I had made it through.

They moved me back to the intensive care unit, where I noticed one nurse in particular who seemed to be there a lot, almost like a guardian angel. She was working a double shift, and I came to learn that her father had come to a saving knowledge of Jesus toward the end of his life through the ministry of Ron Phillips from Abba’s House. This kind nurse said that the Lord told her to take care of me, and even though hooked up to wires and tubes, I had the opportunity to pray with her.

Over the next few days, God gave me the opportunity to rediscover the joy of the simple things in life – things like getting to sit up in a chair, walk down the hallway, or carry on a conversation with a friend. There is so much in life we take for granted.

My experience was a wake-up call. While I have made a living and lifetime out of feeding my mind and spirit on the things of God, I failed to take very good care of the “earthly temple” that God entrusted to my care. However, I have learned that living a “life more abundantly” is all inclusive… body, mind, and spirit.

RP Year

Top image: Just prior to surgery
Bottom image: December, 2012 (8 months later)

It’s now April, 2013, and I feel very thankful to be alive. I am thankful for the life God has given me, and for the second chance at being the best husband, father, grandfather, friend, and pastor that I can be. I am thankful for morning cups of coffee, looking at the sunrise, and making the most of the life God has blessed me with.

God has slowed me down a little, but not in a bad way. He has just made me more observant, has taught me to listen more to others, and care about what affects them. He has taught me to look for the lonely and hurting, and to take the time to hear what they are saying, not just be an advice-giver.

I am looking forward to many more years serving the King, listening to His voice, and sharing His Good News with anyone with an ear to hear.

Angels, Architects, & the Not-So-Perfect Storm

Angels.

We hear about them in church and Sunday school. We see images of them during holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. We see them depicted (often unflatteringly) in movies and TV shows. But do we recognize their hands in our lives? Would we know an angel if we saw one? Have you ever experienced an angelic visitation?

Several years ago, a couple of friends of mine did… and in a big way.

March 6, 1996

Dana and Julie had almost completed building their brand new two-story home. The lower level would house Dana’s recording studio and business, while their family would live on the second level. Dana and Julie had done much of the work during the construction of their dream home, along with the help of friends and family. The house was 98 percent complete; all that was needed were gutters, drainage, and some backfill work.

When they went to bed that spring evening, a storm was starting to brew. By 3:45 a.m., it had reached full force. “There was a huge clap of thunder that shook the house and woke me up,” recalled Dana, a very sound sleeper who had actually slept through an earthquake once. “Something inside of me told me to go to the basement. I looked out the window, and it looked like a waterfall coming off of the roof—a solid sheet of water.” Dana went down to the then-unfinished recording studio. “We had just moved in four days before, and the studio space was just a big, open room.” Except for a couple of support walls and some boxes stacked against the east wall, there was nothing there.

Dana walked across to the opposing wall and looked at it. First shock gripped him, then horror set in as he saw the first signs of impending disaster. “When I looked at the wall,” Dana said, “I saw a crack beginning to form.” The crack was about five feet up the ten-foot block wall and was running horizontal the entire length of the fifty-two foot foundation wall. When the rain came off of the roof, it poured down along the foundation of the new house. Several tons of loose fill dirt unexpectedly settled instantly and created a trap for the water where it could not escape from around the foundation. More water poured off of the roof, but with no place to go other than to put extreme amounts of pressure on the foundation walls—walls that were never meant to withstand the untold tons of water pressure being exerted on them.

Dana ran up the stairs and woke Julie with the news that the walls were cracking. Julie got out of the bed, put on a robe, sat down on the couch, and began praying. Dana was immediately on the phone with Mike, his good friend and builder, who assured him that he was on the way. Within ten minutes, Mike was there, assessing the situation. “This is really bad. I’m going to get my work van [with all of the tools], and I will be right back,” Mike declared. The crack in the wall had  opened up to about a half-inch and showed no signs of stopping. To make matters infinitely worse, the thirty-two-foot end wall was beginning to show signs of stress and was beginning to crack as well. As Mike flew down the dark, wet streets, formulating a plan of action in a mind that just went from peaceful sleep to waking nightmare, Dana went out into the maelstrom to attempt to divert the potential disaster that was coming, fighting the rain, mud, wind, cold, and the desire to fall facedown in the mud and scream.

But all the while, Julie prayed.

And God showed up.

Actually, to be more precise, He sent His angelic messengers. As Julie sat inside praying, wide-awake at this point, she suddenly had a vision.

“I saw the downstairs, and there were angels standing around the perimeter, lining the walls of the basement.”

She initially thought that they were there to support the walls so they would not cave in. As their true purpose was revealed, the reality of the situation became even more miraculous.

At about 4:30 a.m., forty-five minutes after the whole series of disastrous events began, Mike pulled back into the driveway with his work van. A cold, wet, and muddy Dana met him as they walked into the basement (the house was built into a hill, so one end of the house actually had an  outside door, with three sides being predominantly underground). When Mike saw the wall and the crack that had tripled in size since the time he left, he exclaimed, “Get Julie out of the house NOW!” Dana sprinted up the stairs, picked Julie up, and got her out into Mike’s still-running van. Mike escaped right behind them.

Then it happened . . .
House 1996Within sixty seconds of getting out of the house, the entire fifty-two-foot span of foundation wall collapsed. A tidal wave of mud, rock, water, and various other objects came flooding into the basement. As Dana stood in the rain and watched his dreams cave in with the wall, he recalls thinking, “God, if the whole thing is coming down, just let me be in there when it does.”

Now, normally in such a situation, once one wall caves in, the house above it would, at the very least, sag several inches. This would create a chain-reaction of cracked drywall, broken tile, misaligned doorways, broken glass, and a host of other problems. However, since the far end wall had extreme amounts of pressure against it, was cracking, and had already lost one side support wall, once the end wall collapsed, the house would basically shift, and the whole thing would cave into the hole that had been the basement. “I was at my wits end. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Dana recalls.

It never did.

Julie later realized that although she thought the angels in her vision were there to keep the walls from collapsing, they were, in fact, holding the house up. God supernaturally showed her the angelic hosts who were there protecting them from what could have been catastrophic loss. The end wall, as damaged as it was and with as much pressure as it was bearing, never let go. The side of the house that was suddenly left with no support under it sagged less than three-eighths of an inch. There was virtually no damage to the inside of the house. “Unless you knew exactly where to look,” Dana stated, “there was no damage. In fact, all of the damage that was done was hairline fractures in drywall joints and a couple of bathroom tiles that have almost unnoticeable fractures in them. Basically, the kind of stuff that would have happened over time as the house settled anyway.”

Over the next several hours, as the cavalry of friends and workers arrived to help, the house was shored up, and the situation was downgraded from “life-threateningly dangerous” to “how many wheelbarrows full of mud can you remove from a basement?”

        Through the whole experience, and to this day, Dana is still amazed: “Through the whole day and through all of the chaos, Julie was the rock. I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel, but God had given Julie the vision and had allowed her to see that the angels were there protecting us and supporting us. There was peace in her that, at the time, I  didn’t understand. I could only see in the natural the chain of events that happened and what the logical conclusion should have been. God showed Julie what the true reality of the situation was.”

       Just as Jacob had a dream of angels, so did Julie at Sea Level Studios, and their home still stands. ~ from the book Our Invisible Allies

       So, what are those unexplainable things that have happened in your life? What are those things that have happened that defied logic? Who knows? Maybe angels are closer than you think. Want to know more about angelic protection and the role of angels in our lives? Click here.