Aaron’s Birthday (Part II)

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 1:14

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”

Acts 10:3

Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.

Acts 27:23

I shared a little about what my family was doing on Aaron’s Birthday a few days ago, but I didn’t share everything. Missy and I took the kids over to my parents’ house and we had lunch together. The kids played with Teagan, Aaron’s youngest, and I visited the columbarium at the cemetery that holds Aaron’s cremated remains. Later, Missy and I took the kids to Washington Monument State Park just northwest of Frederick, Maryland. One of my favorite overlooks is there. Then we finished the day with good food at Black Hog BBQ and ice cream at Baskin-Robins.

But that wasn’t the best part of the day. God gave our family a unique gift the morning of Aaron’s birthday this year.

When Emily woke up that morning, she came downstairs, and the first thing she said to Missy was, “I saw my first angel!” When Emily woke up the morning of Aaron’s birthday, she saw an angel circling above her bed. She described yellow, shimmering wings, a long robe that covered down to its feet, and no face. She told me it was about as big as me. She could immediately discern that it was an angel and was not afraid of it.

Then, she spoke to the angel and said, “Go tell Jesus to tell Uncle Aaron ‘Happy Birthday!'” And as soon as she said that, the angel left. I believe the angel went and did just that. I love that Emily’s first thought when seeing an angel wasn’t about herself but was about Uncle Aaron. What a precious gift on such a sad day!

God was so kind to send an angel just for us as a sign of His comfort and faithfulness. And how kind of God to allow the angel to be revealed in plain sight to Emily. I believe it was there specifically to allow Emily to tell Uncle Aaron “Happy Birthday!”

And we have seen this over and over again when it comes to Aaron’s death. God has continued to show up in supernatural ways and has continued to speak clearly into this situation. Back when my brother’s accident happened, I wrote a blog post about how talkative God was. God’s kindness continues to amaze me in the midst of grief.

So now all three of my kids have seen angels at different times. And I pray that this only continues for them. That they would continue to know the reality of the unseen world right at our fingertips–the spirit realm that is so actively participating in our lives. Thank you Jesus!

Angels and other things

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:10

I was late to the worship service that night. By the time I got there, they were already halfway through the worship songs. I stood in the back of the sanctuary at the center aisle for a bit looking for any friends that I could sit with. While I was scanning the room, an African-American man in his 50s turned around and noticed me. He stared at me. When I found my friend Cam, I worked my way up the right of the pews and sat right behind him.

Toward the end of the evening, the African-American man who had been looking at me earlier came and sat next to me. He told me that when I first entered the sanctuary and was standing in the back, he turned around and saw a huge, 9-foot warrior angel directly behind me. This angel followed me as I walked. He was dressed in armor that would be typical of a first century Roman soldier. That’s how the man knew he was a warrior angel.

This wouldn’t be the last time a person with a prophetic seer gift* would tell me this same thing about this same angel. In addition to that, I’ve had four different individuals, each with a seer gift*, tell me that they see armor on me. As they describe it to me, it is obvious that it is the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6. One lady told me about my shield. One girl told me about my plumed helmet. Two men have mentioned and described the sword that I carry in the spirit realm.

*Note: having a seer gift is a kind of prophetic gifting where one can see through the thin veil that separates the spirit realm from the material realm. It is similar to when the prophet Elisha prayed to opened the servant’s eyes to see the hills full of angelic armies. Whereas in one moment the servant couldn’t see them (and Elisha could), in the next moment (after Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his eyes) the servant could see the chariots of fire that had been there all along (read 2 Kings 6:15-17). Some people have this same spiritual gift today.

I believe each person is assigned a personal angel at birth. I believe this angel is either strengthen by our intimacy with God over time or weakened by our rebellion from God over time. In addition to personal angels, I’ve heard testimony about people who’ve seen warrior angels that battle the demonic and who are always dressed in armor. I’ve also heard testimony about people who’ve seen healing angels that are like tornados of fire and worship angels who sing and dance.

I believe certain angels are assigned to us based on the calling on our lives. While we all have a personal angel, if we find ourselves in a lot of spiritual warfare, we may be assigned a warrior angel. If we delight in worship, we may be assigned a worship angel. If we often pray for people’s physical healing, we may be assigned a healing angel.

If we speak God’s words in some way, either through preaching, teaching, or prophetic gifting, we may be assigned an angel who delivers the words of God to our hearts and minds. A friend of mine told me she saw an angel whispering words into my ear when I was praying for someone. During that prayer session, I sensed the Lord speaking very specific words to my heart about the person.

There is an active spirit realm all around us every day. Do we notice it? There are angels and demons warring against each other, and you and I are often the battleground. Are we aware of it?

If you want to read more from someone who can see into the spirit realm, I recommend this book: The Veil

Hope at Denny’s

Cam and I were exhausted from shaking all night, and we were hungry (see my post called Hand Spun Shakes for the backstory on that). He suggested Denny’s. Cam is prophetic⏤strongly prophetic. Every time Cam “suggested” we go to a particular restaurant or place, it always ended up being a divine appointment. I should have realized this was going to be another one, but I didn’t. All I could think about is eating a Moons Over My Hammy breakfast sandwich, a classic late night meal for me from years ago during “study” sessions in seminary. 

Denny’s in Redding is in a shady part of town. We could sense it as we got out of the car. The first thing Cam said was, “Hey, we need to have our guard up.” I knew what he meant. He was saying there was demonic stuff crawling around, and we needed to have our physical and spiritual heads on a swivel. 

On our way toward the restaurant, we walked past the hotel next door. It was called The Red Lion Inn. I commented to Cam as I pointed at the hotel sign, “We’re heading into the lion’s den.” We both laughed, but we couldn’t have predicted how right we were.  

Just as we approached the entry door to Denny’s (mind you it is 11pm at this point) a dad and his young adult daughter were about to enter Denny’s at the same time. I recognized them from Bethel Church earlier that day. Out of all the people there I’m not sure why I recognized them, but I did, so I pointed to them and said, “Hey! Bethel?” They both turned and smiled and acknowledged that they had been there that day. 

They both had a European accent that we would later discover was from Sweden. People from all over the world fly to Bethel for various reasons. They flew in for a week so that the daughter, who’s 21, could check out their school of ministry. The daughter immediately invited us to have dinner with them, which seemed strange at the time. But since the whole trip had been one adventure after another, we agreed and embarked on yet another unexpected adventure. 

The four of us sat at a booth together, and as soon as we sat down I asked them about what led them to Bethel. The dad (we’ll call him Matt to protect his identity) said he had done bible school in the U.S. before moving back to his home country of Switzerland. As soon as the daughter started to share her story (we’ll call her Lulu since that was the affectionate nickname used by her father) all of the alarm bells in Cam’s spirit and my spirit started to go off. We had seen this sort of thing before, unfortunately.  

Lots of things gave it away: her personal story of hearing evil voices and seeing evil things since she was a young girl, her longtime struggle with deep depression and self-hate, her scars from cutting that went up and down both arms, the way her eyes shifted away from me and Cam when she talked, how she would “go away” into a sudden catatonic state while we affirmed her identity in Christ or spoke of the love of the Father or talked about Jesus. All of these were indicators that she was heavily demonized. She was fighting for her life and the demons didn’t want her free. 

Demonization this severe in a Christian is not unlike domestic abuse or human trafficking. The young girl was being tormented daily by many demons that resided within her. She didn’t know how to get free. Yet, she had been demonized for so long, since she was 12 years old according to her story, she also wondered that if she got totally free whether it would make her lonely. She had gotten used to the voices even if they were awful to her. They were some of her only “friends” as odd as that sounds.

There can develop a kind of trauma bonding with demons. The lies and the manipulations can create this toxic bond between the tormentors and the tormented. We saw this a lot in the world of human trafficking when I was a part of a nonprofit that fought against child sex trafficking in the Baltimore region. The dynamic was similar here. The truest part of her, the real Lulu, wanted freedom. But the deceived part of her wasn’t sure it was possible.  

The other interesting thing about Lulu is that she had a really strong seer gift, which means she could see things in the spirit realm. Cam is a seer too. Lulu had been seeing demons and other things in the spirit since she was very young. Lower level seers get glimpses of things. Higher level seers can see things in great detail. Yet, if this gift goes without guidance, instruction and wisdom, this gift can be turned and used against the person who has it. Even worse, it can be recruited into the occult world of witchcraft. This kind of powerful gifting is a threat to the enemy, and so he often goes to great lengths to torment and demonize seers if he can get a foothold. She, unfortunately, gave him all too many footholds and open doors into her life.

We talked as we ate dinner together. We tried to encourage Lulu and her dad. We explained a little about deliverance, and Cam and I tried our best to wait until dinner was over before we set about to get her free. When you can literally see demons (in Cam’s case) and/or sense them (in my case), it is hard to have dinner with them sitting in the booth across from you. We did our best.  

We then adjourned to my favorite ministry room known as the parking lot. Cam told me later that angels were encircled around us out there as demons were moving in to help their “compatriots” residing in the girl. He commanded them to leave in Jesus’s name so we could have room to work. 

We worked through the deliverance process with her and cast out a handful of demons. Most of them were so deeply entrenched that each one took a while to leave. Though the dad had a charismatic church background, he had never seen a deliverance firsthand and certainly not with his daughter. It shook him. 

We didn’t have the time or energy to try to get them all out, so we didn’t try. Instead, we took her hands in ours and imparted everything we could—the increase of the Holy Spirit’s presence, more power, more love, more joy. We could see her confidence growing. Hope was returning as her identity in Christ was being re-established.

When Cam released joy to her it was something to behold. She collapsed in laughter from the sheer overflow of joy that was being downloaded into her soul. Of course, demons don’t like their host so full of joy, so the spirits of despair and depression rose up, yelled obscenities, and gnashed their teeth at Cam. Spirits of despair and depression hate joy, and Cam was releasing a weaponized joy into Lulu that they were powerless to prevent.

During this process, both Cam and I experienced the Father’s love for Lulu. This was His daughter. She was trapped, enslaved, abused and tormented by these demons. He wanted her free, and so did we. She felt the Father’s love too. She kept hugging and holding on to me and Cam. She didn’t want us to leave. Through us she got a taste of the freedom, joy and love of the Kingdom of God. She got a taste of her real identity; she is a warrior princess. She is the one whom Jesus loves. She is a daughter of the King.  

It was nearing 2am so we had to leave. We strongly suggested that Matt take his daughter to the deliverance ministry offered by Bethel Church during the weekdays. We stressed that more ministry was absolutely essential in order for her journey into freedom to continue. We exchanged information and left. During the drive back to the place where we were staying we felt saturated in the love of God for Lulu. She was our sister, and in some ways, our daughter. The love and compassion we felt for her was unusually strong. It wasn’t love we were capable of conjuring up ourselves. It was the Father’s love. It was the compassion of Christ. 

I am happy to report that we got word yesterday that Lulu has a time slot for tomorrow (Friday, March 8th) to receive more deliverance ministry from the Bethel ministry team. Please be praying for her to be totally free and for her identity in Christ to be restored. 

A final postscript to this encounter with Lulu:

One of the more interesting parts of ministering deliverance to a girl who is a seer is that she could see things in the spirit as they were happening. Sporadically throughout the night she would tell us things that she was seeing in the spirit. At one point, she was hugging me tightly and said to Cam and me, “You both have the most beautiful armor on. I see it. It’s beautiful. It looks like Roman armor. And you have helmets on with that thingy on top.” 

I asked, “Helmets with a plume?” 

She said, “Yes, and it is so beautiful with all different colors.” 

Since Cam is also a seer, I asked him about it later. He said that as soon as she started describing the armor he could see it. He said it was beautiful, shiny gold. As he was searching for words, he finally said, “It looked royal!” This is the armor of God. And while not all of us are gifted in a way where we can see it in the spirit, we can all be sure to put it on daily (Ephesians 6:10-18).  

Who would have thought that a late-night trip to Denny’s would end up in a parking lot deliverance for a daughter from Sweden? Only God. The Father gave us all something that night. It was the beginning of hope and freedom for Lulu and her dad, and it was a download of love and encouragement for me and Cam. Thank you, Jesus!